“American withdrawal would only benefit Russia.”
While the world was focused on President Donald Trump’s overnight blindsiding of the Pentagon and U.S. allies, announcing he is pulling troops out of Syria so Turkey can crush Kurdish forces that have helped the U.S. fight ISIS, the Trump administration was quietly laying plans to pull out of a key and critical compact, the Open Skies Treaty.
First proposed in 1992, since 2002 the Open Skies Treaty has allowed the now 34 signatory nations to fly over each others’ territory for the purpose of monitoring and recording military deployments and movements.
In the real world, the Open Skies Treaty allows the most powerful nations on earth to monitor Russian military movements.
And President Trump wants to end that.
U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel on Monday sent Trump’s Acting National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brien, a letter demanding he “ensure that the United States does not unwisely and rashly withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty.”
Chairman Engel also called the possible withdrawal “reckless,” and noted “American withdrawal would only benefit Russia.”
Chairman Engel’s letter was followed by this tweet:
Observation flights under the Treaty have generated additional info regarding Russian military action in Ukraine & provided a check on further Russian aggression. @NATO allies have stressed the importance of the Open Skies Treaty for their efforts to monitor Russia’s military.
— House Foreign Affairs Committee (@HouseForeign) October 7, 2019
Experts are perplexed and outraged.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia:
We are now pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty? Really? Please tell me this can’t be true. https://t.co/2KfZoYA8ep
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) October 7, 2019
Investigative journalist and expert on Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe says “Trump is acting like a kamikaze pilot destroying America in any way he can and in a hurry”:
Trump is considering pulling out of the open skies treaty. Definitely a birthday weekend for Putin
At this point trump is acting like a kamikaze pilot destroying America in any way he can and in a hurry. At home and especially abroad. We will pay for a long time from his damage pic.twitter.com/92ts8tzDbm
— Olga Lautman (@olgaNYC1211) October 7, 2019
Dr. Michael Carpenter’s résumé says all you need to know:
“Dr. Carpenter previously served in the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, the Balkans, and Conventional Arms Control. He also served in the White House as a foreign policy advisor to Vice President Joe Biden as well as on the National Security Council as Director for Russia. Previously, Dr. Carpenter was a career Foreign Service Officer with the State Department.”
He says pulling out is a bad idea:
I’ve been very critical of Russia’s cheating on the Open Skies Treaty and I do believe we need a serious discussion of its pros and cons. But a precipitous unilateral withdrawal is the wrong way to address those concerns and will damage the unity of the NATO alliance.
— Michael Carpenter (@mikercarpenter) October 7, 2019
Russian Media Analyst:
The Trump administration is pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty, which allows the United States and our allies and partners in Europe to monitor Russian military deployments. Withdrawal risks dividing the transatlantic alliance. #Russia https://t.co/Zqst365U4J pic.twitter.com/UmbPR7cuRO
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) October 7, 2019
Image via Wikimedia
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The Frightening Parallels Between QAnon and Hitler’s Nazis
The QAnon conspiracy cult enjoyed a major victory when, on August 11, far-right extremist Marjorie Taylor Greene won a GOP congressional primary in Georgia — and given how overwhelmingly Republican her district is, Greene is likely to win the general election in November and be sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2021. QAnon, known for their outrageous conspiracy theories, believe that the U.S. government has been infiltrated by an international ring of pedophiles and Satanists and that President Donald Trump was put in power to battle them. And Gregory Stanton, president of Genocide Watch and an expert on the history of anti-Semitism, believes that there are parallels between QAnon’s outrageous views and the views that Nazis promoted in Germany during the 1930s.
Describing QAnon’s views in an article published by Just Security on September 9, Stanton writes, “A secret cabal is taking over the world. They kidnap children, slaughter and eat them to gain power from their blood. They control high positions in government, banks, international finance, the news media and the church. They want to disarm the police. They promote homosexuality and pedophilia. They plan to mongrelize the white race so it will lose its essential power. Does this conspiracy theory sound familiar? It is. The same narrative has been repackaged by QAnon.”
According to Stanton, there are countless parallels between QAnon’s conspiracy theories and the anti-Semitism that Adolf Hitler and his Nazis promoted in Germany before and during World War II.
“The Nazis worshiped Adolf Hitler as the leader who would rescue the white race from this secret Jewish plot,” Stanton explains. “Nazi ‘stormtroopers’ — storm detachment, Sturmabteilung — helped bring Hitler to power. Nazi Germany went on to conquer Europe and murder 6 million Jews and millions of Roma, Slavs, LGBTQ and other people.”
Central to Nazi ideology, Stanton notes, was the anti-Semitic 1902 pamphlet, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and Stanton stresses that QAnon’s ideology is a “rebranded version” of that pamphlet.
“QAnon purveys the fantasy that a secret Satan-worshiping cabal is taking over the world,” Stanton observes. “Its members kidnap white children, keep them in secret prisons run by pedophiles, slaughter and eat them to gain power from the essence in their blood. The cabal held the American presidency under the Clintons and (former President Barack) Obama, nearly took power again in 2016, and lurks in a ‘Deep State’ financed by Jews, including George Soros — and in Jews who control the media. They want to disarm citizens and defund the police. They promote abortion, transgender rights and homosexuality. They want open borders so brown illegal aliens can invade America and mongrelize the white race.”
Stanton continues, “QAnon true believers think Donald Trump will rescue America from this Satanic cabal. At the time of ‘The Storm,’ supporters of the cabal will be rounded up and executed. The QAnon conspiracy theory has now spread to neo-Nazis in Germany, where over 200,000 German QAnon accounts infest the internet.”
Stanton goes on to write that QAnon’s critics “are perplexed at how any rational person could fall for such an irrational conspiracy theory.” But when people are suffering hardships, Stanton explains, they “respond to fear and terror” and “blame their misfortunes on scapegoats” — which is what happened in Germany during the 1930s.
“In the 1930s,” Stanton recalls, “millions of Europeans were unemployed. Violent battles between Nazis and communists raged in city streets. Democratic governments were powerless. Fascist dictators ruled Spain and Italy. Hitler took power in Germany and conquered Western Europe. Stalin’s communists conquered the East. The Hitler-Stalin Pact sealed totalitarian rule over most of Europe. It took World War II and the deaths of millions to defeat the Nazis’ genocidal tyranny, and another 50 years to free the gulags of the Soviet Union.”
Stanton adds that in 2020, it is obvious that QAnon’s influence is growing when a QAnon supporter like Greene is “likely” on her way to Congress and President Donald Trump praises her as a “future Republican star.”
“The world has seen QAnon before,” Stanton warns. “It was called Nazism. In QAnon, Nazism wants a comeback.
Experts Gamed Out a Contested 2020 Election — All Scenarios Resulted in ‘Street-Level Violence’ in America
Experts are warning of a dark winter if the 2020 presidential election results are contested.
“On the second Friday in June, a group of political operatives, former government and military officials, and academics quietly convened online for what became a disturbing exercise in the fragility of American democracy,” the Boston Globe reported Saturday. “The group, which included Democrats and Republicans, gathered to game out possible results of the November election, grappling with questions that seem less far-fetched by the day: What if President Trump refuses to concede a loss, as he publicly hinted recently he might do? How far could he go to preserve his power? And what if Democrats refuse to give in?”
While former Vice President Joe Biden currently has large leads in public polling on the race, Trump has refused to say he will accept the results if he loses.
A Georgetown law professor and former Defense Department official who helped organize the Transition Integrity Project explained the situation to the newspaper.
“All of our scenarios ended in both street-level violence and political impasse,” Prof. Rosa Brooks explained. “The law is essentially … it’s almost helpless against a president who’s willing to ignore it.”
The scenarios are dark.
“Using a role-playing game that is a fixture of military and national security planning, the group envisioned a dark 11 weeks between Election Day and Inauguration Day, one in which Trump and his Republican allies used every apparatus of government — the Postal Service, state lawmakers, the Justice Department, federal agents, and the military — to hold onto power, and Democrats took to the courts and the streets to try to stop it,” the Globe explained.
“If it sounds paranoid or outlandish — a war room of seasoned politicos and constitutional experts playing a Washington version of Dungeons and Dragons in which the future of the republic hangs in the balance — they get it,” the newspaper reported. “But, as they finalize a report on what they learned and begin briefing elected officials and others, they insist their warning is serious: A close election this fall is likely to be contested, and there are few guardrails to stop a constitutional crisis, particularly if Trump flexes the considerable tools at his disposal to give himself an advantage.”
Historian Nils Gilman explained the leverage Trump has in a contested election.
“He doesn’t have to win the election,” said Gilman. “He just has to create a plausible narrative that he didn’t lose.”
Read the full report.
Trump’s ‘Nonstop’ Drive for Self-Destruction Is ‘Habitual and Incurable’: Presidential Scholar
The Associated Press has written a lengthy story about how Trump’s chaotic response to the pandemic has led to uncontrolled outbreaks and 130,000 dead Americans in just four months, and it notes that Trump has essentially stopped trying to contain the disease and has instead moved to wage culture wars against monument vandals.
Cal Jillson, a presidential scholar at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, tells the AP that the president’s focus on protecting statues at a time when a deadly pandemic is killing thousands of people every week is an act of self-destruction.
“If he could change, he would,” he said. “It’s not helping him now. It’s just nonstop. It is habitual and incurable. He is who he is.”
Jillson also said that Trump’s habit of making a constant spectacle, which helped his presidential campaign in 2016, has become a massive liability during a time of national crisis.
“People would watch Trump and see the instability… the emergencies of his own making he would then claim to have taken care of, and be mildly entertained or at least not deeply worried,” he said. “A lot of that ‘Am I still amused?’ quickly gets to a ‘No’ answer.”
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