‘Never fight someone else’s war’: US aid brought Pakistan more losses than benefits, says Imran Khan

In an interview with RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze, Khan, a member of Pakistan’s National Assembly and the leader of the Pakistan Movement for Justice, criticized Washington’s approach on Afghanistan, saying that using force would only further antagonize the region. Pakistan has been strongly affected by what has been happening in neighboring Afghanistan, thanks to bellicose US rhetoric and failures, the opposition figure believes.

“There is a problem, unfortunately, that the American policy of using a one-dimensional military solution to problems in Afghanistan has led not only to the longest war, but it has caused immense problems to Pakistan,” Khan told RT.

Washington and Islamabad were formerly close allies. After the 9/11 attacks, the two countries forged a strategic alliance to help the US fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants. However, the longstanding friendship suffered a major rift after US President Donald Trump lambasted the county, calling it a “safe haven” for terrorist groups which are directly engaging US troops stationed in neighboring Afghanistan.

Shortly after that, in early January, the State Department officially cut security funding for Pakistan, accusing it of allegedly protecting terrorists.

“My point of view is that this American aid has been very costly for Pakistan,” Khan said, adding that there is “no comparison” of its benefits to the damage done by participating in the US war. Pakistan “took a heavy punishment,” as the lives of 70,000 people were lost, and up to 4 million people were internally displaced, according to the official. The economic fallout is no less striking – the economy lost about $100 billion and much of the country’s tribal and border areas are devastated.

“So this small aid has been very costly. And the lesson learned, from Pakistan’s point of view, is to never fight someone else’s war.”

However, Washington wants Islamabad to compensate for its own failures and win the “badly lost war” in Afghanistan. The allegations of assisting terrorists are also linked to attempts to shift the blame to Pakistan, Khan believes. Despite “almost half a million armed forces [being present] in Afghanistan,” including NATO troops and the Afghan Army, Washington lashes out at Pakistan for “two or three thousand insurgents.”

“That surely cannot be the reason why they’ve lost and have not been able to win for 16 years,” Khan argues.

The mistake lies in the core of the current American policy on Afghanistan, Khan says. He believes that the only plausible way to achieve peace is by bringing the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government to the negotiating table. Instead, the US still sticks to military means which had failed long ago.

“If he [Trump] had even drawn any lessons from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, before that the British in the 19th century invasion of Afghanistan, he would know that this military solution which Donald Trump also has tried, is going to fail. The only solution, the only way to bring peace in Afghanistan is all the neighbors sit together and then come up with a political solution. There is no other solution apart from that,” Khan said.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/424270-us-aid-cost-pakistan/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

SAA Continues Operations in Ghouta: Heavy Losses upon Terrorists

Courtesy SANA.

7 March 2018 Damascus Countryside, SANA — Syrian Arab Army units on Wednesday continued military operations against Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization and affiliated groups in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus Countryside.

SANA’s reporter in Ghouta said that army units carried out over the past hours intensive operations against the terrorists’ hideouts in the surroundings of Hosh al-Ashaari village and the farms of al-Mohamadieh, al-Rihan, and Mesraba, inflicting heavy losses upon the terrorists in personnel and arms.

Army engineering units are combing Hosh al-Ashaari village and clearing the explosive devices and landmines which terrorists had planted in the village, the reporter said.

Speaking to SANA’s correspondent in Ghouta, a field commander said that army units carried out intensive operations against terrorists’ hideouts in the vicinity of al-Mohamadieh, regaining control over a distance of 1 km to the west and a width of 500 m to the north.

Army units restored control over the yoghurt factory that was used as a site of the so-called “Ahrar al-Badia Battalion”, the commander said, adding that the army seized all the documents that were inside the site.

The commander said that the army foiled an infiltration attempt by 29 terrorist groups to a number of military posts in al-Mohamadieh town, inflicting heavy losses upon terrorists’ ranks and equipment while the rest of terrorists fled away towards Aftris village.

Regaining control over a number of the villages and towns in Ghouta contributed to cutting off supply routes and connections among the terrorist groups, as their members are collectively fleeing due to the rapid advance of the army units, the reporter said.

Army units on Tuesday established full control over al-Mohammadieh town and Housh al-Ashaari village.

English Bulletin

Source Article from http://www.syrianews.cc/saa-continues-operations-in-ghouta-heavy-losses-upon-terrorists/

US banks suffer 20% jump in credit card losses….

Keep abreast of significant corporate, financial and political developments around the world. Stay informed and spot emerging risks and opportunities with independent global reporting, expert commentary and analysis you can trust.

Source Article from https://www.ft.com/content/bafdd504-fd2c-11e7-a492-2c9be7f3120a

Press Draws Lame 2010 ObamaCare Parallel in Predicting Big 2018 GOP Midterm Losses

During the past month, many establishment press pundits have pivoted from believing that Republicans will suffer major losses in the 2018 midterm elections because they haven’t accomplished anything to predicting that Republicans will suffer major losses now that they have.

They’re now saying that the just-signed tax law, which they have declared is and will remain deeply unpopular (if so, that will be thanks mostly to their beat reporters’ dishonest coverage), likely causing the GOP to lose a large number of seats, just as ObamaCare’s passage led to serious Democratic Party losses in 2010. These attempts to draw a parallel fail for one obvious reason: ObamaCare’s effective date was deliberately delayed for almost four years, while the just-signed tax law has gone into effect immediately.

Here’s a rundown of some of the “thinking,” if it’s even fair to call it that.

Chris Cillizza at CNN was an early adopter on December 3 (HT to a longtime emailer; bolds are mine throughout this post):

There is an argument to be made — and it will be made by Republicans — that people don’t really know what’s in this bill, and once they find out, they will change their minds. Possible. But not probable. That same argument was put forward by the Obama White House and Congressional Democrats about the ACA; the legislation caused huge Democratic losses in the House and Senate in 2010 and 2014 before it finally began to grow more popular this year, when Republicans tried to get rid of it. That’s a stiff price to pay.

What Republicans passed in the wee hours of Saturday morning then was this: An unpopular bill that will add to the deficit and not pay for itself.

At the Five Thirty Eight blog, Harry Enten wrote the following on Monday (links are in original):

… nothing in the polling to suggest that voters want the GOP to simply “pass something.” There’s also nothing in recent history that supports that line of thinking.

Indeed, for a while at least, Congress wasn’t in the habit of passing clearly unpopular bills. The closest analog, however, might be the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. That bill was unpopular with the American public (though, not as unpopular as the GOP’s tax plan). Nevertheless, then-President Obama argued that his party needed to pass the health care bill to save Democrats’ fate in the midterm elections that year.

Caitlin Huey-Burns at Real Clear Politics had a similar take on Wednesday:

The partisan measure has drawn parallels to the Democrats’ passage of the Affordable Care Act and the political repercussions it had for the party in the 2010 midterms. Back then, Democrats argued that public perception of bill would improve with the passage of time and the implementation of the law. But Republicans won 63 House seats that year and control of the chamber. Even Democrats who did not vote for the health care overhaul lost their seats, as they were tainted by the national party. Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi was unpopular, and Republicans successfully used her as a boogeyman.

Ronald Brownstein wrote the following at The Atlantic on Wednesday:

The Double-Edged Sword of a Party-Line Victory

President Trump and congressional Republicans have just taken the same leap of faith that Democrats did when they passed the Affordable Care Act.

When then-President Obama and the Democratic House and Senate majorities muscled through the ACA in 2010, the bill represented a big policy victory, but an even bigger political gamble. Though ObamaCare fulfilled the party’s decades-long goal of providing (nearly) universal health care, the immediate backlash in the 2010 election helped propel Republicans to the biggest midterm gain in the House for either party since 1938 and gave them a majority in the chamber they still haven’t relinquished.

Republicans could face a similar equation of costs and benefits from the tax bill they just passed.

Though she didn’t make an ObamaCare parallel, Ginger Gibson at Reuters, which is supposed to be a wire service delivering fact-based news, inexplicably claimed that “Pollsters believe the midterms could be a rare ‘wave election,’ when one party seizes back control of Congress. It happened for Republicans in 2010 and 1994” — as if that’s a universal consensus — without citing a single pollster who is actually saying that.

None of these geniuses claiming that Republican tax cuts in 2018 will play just as poorly as Democrats’ imposition of statist healthcare in 2010 have recognized one key difference: ObamaCare’s implementation was deliberately delayed until 2014 (the first enrollment period was in late 2013), while the tax bill’s impact has been immediately visible and will be seen in most paychecks very soon.

ObamaCare’s implementation was delayed because, despite President Barack Obama’s false bravado rhetoric, the administration and the Democratic Party knew it was unpopular and would remain that way. The implementation delay was a desperate attempt to limit its 2010 fallout, but voters saw through the hypocrisy. After all, if “solving” the problem of uninsured Americans was so urgent (which the bill didn’t do anyway), why did Democrats delay ObamaCare’s implementation for almost four years (almost all of 2010, and all of 2011, 2012, and 2013)? Democrats knew that the law was so unpopular that they didn’t dare risk Obama’s 2012 reelection by having it in place.

Additionally, virtually no one believed that ObamaCare would have any positive impact on the economy. There was plenty of evidence that it would be a significant drag during the run-up to its implementation, and that things would get even worse once it was in place — which is what happened. Meanwhile, the just-signed tax bill is expected to have a positive economic impact, some of which has already become immediately visible in the form of bonuses being paid to employees of several major corporations and announcements of increased capital investment plans by companies like Comcast.

Finally, ObamaCare’s passage was premised on now-proven false Congressional Budget Office forecasts that it would be budget-neutral or even nominally reduce long-term deficits — a theoretical impact irresponsibly touted by the press which was only achieved based on collecting taxes for three full years before going live. Everyone with even basic analytical skills and an understanding of human behavior knew that wasn’t true. In the tax bill’s case, CBO’s estimates of the projected increases in budget deficits naively assume that it won’t cause an increase in economic activity and a resulting increase in tax collections above what has been projected. The overall point is that while ObamaCare had nowhere to go but down compared to CBO’s work, the tax bill appears to have nowhere to go but up.

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If these pundits are so smart, why haven’t they mentioned any of these items, all of which render ridiculous any attempt to draw parallels to 2010? As the folks at Instapundit have written so often, including just recently: “Just think of the media as Democratic activists with bylines,” and it all makes sense.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Source Article from https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/tom-blumer/2017/12/23/press-draws-false-2010-parallel-predicting-big-2018-gop-midterm