Bye and sorry for the mess! US not planning to contribute money to Iraq reconstruction

Iraq war destruction

    

As a primary candidate, Donald Trump championed a quasi-isolationist foreign policy. At one Republican primary debate, Trump argued that America had “done a tremendous disservice to humanity” in the Middle East.

“The people that have been killed, the people that have been wiped away – and for what?” the mogul asked. “The Middle East is totally destabilized, a total and complete mess. I wish we had the 4 trillion dollars or 5 trillion dollars. I wish it were spent right here in the United States on schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart!”

Trump still insisted that America must defend itself against attack (or, potentially, disrespect) with overwhelming force, up to and including deliberate war crimes. But his overriding foreign policy message was, nevertheless, that America should trim its imperial sails, and reallocate resources to the home front.

President Trump’s foreign policy has been decidedly different. Since taking office he has escalated American involvement in virtually every foreign conflict while calling for cuts to domestic spending and massive increases in the Pentagon’s budget. He regularly touts the necessity of a global military presence and preemptive wars with bromides like, “Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation.” If the budget currently before Congress is passed, we will spend $716 billion on our military next year.

And yet, when it comes to non-military overseas spending, Trump has retained the isolationist outlook of his early campaign – calling for sweeping cuts to both the State Department and foreign aid. Which is to say: He has embraced a foreign policy that increases America’s involvement in policing the planet – while reducing the diplomatic and “soft power” tools it has for doing so. The result is a geopolitical strategy that is no more nationalist or isolationist than the one Trump inherited, but simply more violent and stupid.

Observe how the Trump doctrine is playing out in post-ISIS Iraq:

The United States does not plan to contribute any money at a conference in Kuwait next week to fund Iraq’s reconstruction drive after the war against Islamic State forces, U.S. and Western officials said, a move critics say could deal a new blow to American standing internationally…Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said his country needs up to $100 billion to fix crumbling infrastructure and cities devastated by the conflict against Islamic State.

A shortage of reconstruction funds could increase the danger of reinvigorating grievances among the minority Iraqi Sunnis against Iraq’s Shi’te-led government.

… In response to a query to the State Department about the lack of a U.S. contribution, a U.S. official pointed to the billions of dollars the U.S. has committed to financing loans and restoring basic services to Iraqi towns and cities in the immediate aftermath of fighting.

“The immediate stabilization needs remain vast, and limited U.S. government resources alone cannot meet these current and pressing needs, let alone consider supporting long-term reconstruction,” the U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The administration argues that private-sector investment, combined with aid from Saudi Arabia, should be able to meet Iraq’s long-term reconstruction needs. But Jeremy Konyndyk, former head of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, told Reuters that private capital would want “to see the risks of their investments in Iraq mitigated by U.S. government contributions.”

If Trump’s position were that America simply has no interest in expending resources on the internal affairs of Iraq, then this policy might be strategically coherent (if perhaps, morally objectionable). But that isn’t his position. This White House believes that countering both ISIS and Iranian influence are both vital national security interests for the United States. Thus, the administration had no problem spending billions upon billions of dollars fighting ISIS in Iraq – and wouldn’t hesitate to do so again, were the militant group to regain territory.

In short, President Trump is happy to spend billions on a pound of cure, but not millions on an ounce of prevention. If killing bad guys is the objective, then money is no object; if stabilizing wartorn regions through humanitarian aid is the proposition, then “limited U.S. government resources alone cannot meet these current and pressing needs.”

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/376843-Bye-and-sorry-for-the-mess-US-not-planning-to-contribute-money-to-Iraq-reconstruction

Putin to Russian Olympic athletes: Sorry we could not protect you amid doping scandal

Competing in professional sports is hard enough in itself, Putin said. “It’s twice as difficult when sport is intermixed with some events, phenomena alien to it, outside circumstances, politics, or something else,” he added.

The president said that the scandals surrounding Russian sport had sparked heated debates within the country, adding that this “creates an extremely difficult environment for achieving results.

Forgive us for not being able to protect you from that,” Putin told the Russian athletes.

The Russian leader promised to help those athletes who were barred from participating in the upcoming Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Certainly, we’re very worried about our sportsmen and women who were not able to participate in the Olympics. We’ll do our best to support them,” Putin said.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/sport/417488-putin-apologizes-russian-athletes/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Re: Egypt journalists: ‘Sorry Palestine, we are governed by a Zionist’

Egyptian journalists staged a protest on Thursday evening in front of the Journalists Syndicate in Cairo, objecting to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

A number of public figures took part in the protest, including former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, human rights activist Tariq Al-Awadhi as well as representatives of the Kefaya Movement, the April 6 Youth Movement and Al-Dustour.

The protesters demanded authorities sever ties with the Zionist entity, expel the Israeli ambassador in Cairo and close the Israeli embassy.

Condemning Arab governments, the protesters changed: “Arab leaders are cowards…either resistance or treachery” and “down with every collaborator”.

Read: Egypt minster calls for opening Arab embassies in Palestine’s Jerusalem

In a bold move, they criticised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s response to Trump’s decision saying: “Sorry Palestine, we are governed by a Zionist.”

Polie forces cordoned off the protesters using iron barricades, while riot police were positioned nerby to ensure the demonstration did not spread.
Amr Badr, member of the Journalists Syndicate, described the American decision and said he doesn’t not expect it to be followed through.

In the first official call to boycott US products, the Journalists Syndicate issued a statement which condemned Trump’s decision and called on all Egyptians to boycott American goods.

Follow our Live Blog: Jerusalem Watch

While the international community has almost unanimously disagreed with Donald Trump’s announcement, reports suggest that the announcement was done with the pre-agreement of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, with the Saudi Arabia going as far as, allegedly, stating to the Palestinian President to accept a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem as the alternative Palestinian capital.

Since the announcement, Saudi Arabia’s royal court has sent notices to the nation’s media outlets to limit the airtime given to protests against Trump’s announcement.

Emboldened by Trump’s annoucement, Israeli housing Minister Yoav Galant decided on Friday to promote a plan to build 14,000 new settlement units in the occupied Jerusalem.

Read: Makkah and Madinah imams silent on Jerusalem in Friday sermons



Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20171209-egypt-journalists-sorry-palestine-we-are-governed-by-a-zionist/#comment-3655483604

Re: Egypt journalists: ‘Sorry Palestine, we are governed by a Zionist’

Egyptian journalists staged a protest on Thursday evening in front of the Journalists Syndicate in Cairo, objecting to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

A number of public figures took part in the protest, including former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, human rights activist Tariq Al-Awadhi as well as representatives of the Kefaya Movement, the April 6 Youth Movement and Al-Dustour.

The protesters demanded authorities sever ties with the Zionist entity, expel the Israeli ambassador in Cairo and close the Israeli embassy.

Condemning Arab governments, the protesters changed: “Arab leaders are cowards…either resistance or treachery” and “down with every collaborator”.

Read: Egypt minster calls for opening Arab embassies in Palestine’s Jerusalem

In a bold move, they criticised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s response to Trump’s decision saying: “Sorry Palestine, we are governed by a Zionist.”

Polie forces cordoned off the protesters using iron barricades, while riot police were positioned nerby to ensure the demonstration did not spread.
Amr Badr, member of the Journalists Syndicate, described the American decision and said he doesn’t not expect it to be followed through.

In the first official call to boycott US products, the Journalists Syndicate issued a statement which condemned Trump’s decision and called on all Egyptians to boycott American goods.

Follow our Live Blog: Jerusalem Watch

While the international community has almost unanimously disagreed with Donald Trump’s announcement, reports suggest that the announcement was done with the pre-agreement of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, with the Saudi Arabia going as far as, allegedly, stating to the Palestinian President to accept a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem as the alternative Palestinian capital.

Since the announcement, Saudi Arabia’s royal court has sent notices to the nation’s media outlets to limit the airtime given to protests against Trump’s announcement.

Emboldened by Trump’s annoucement, Israeli housing Minister Yoav Galant decided on Friday to promote a plan to build 14,000 new settlement units in the occupied Jerusalem.

Read: Makkah and Madinah imams silent on Jerusalem in Friday sermons



Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20171209-egypt-journalists-sorry-palestine-we-are-governed-by-a-zionist/#comment-3655458491

Sorry Prince Harry, ‘Love at first sight doesn’t actually exist, though men are more likely to think so’, say psychologists

Prince Harry was asked in his engagement interview with his fiancée Meghan Markle.

    

“How did you know she was the one?” Prince Harry was asked in his engagement interview with his fiancée Meghan Markle.

“The very first time we met,” he replied.

Well that may have been the case but unfortunately the Prince was probably experiencing lust rather than anything else the first time he met his bride-to-be, because a study has proven once and for all that “love at first sight” doesn’t exist.

Psychologists at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands scientifically investigated the phenomenon to try and work out whether the common rom-com trope is real.

Disappointingly for the romantics amongst us, they concluded that what we often think is love at first sight is in fact more likely strong physical attraction.

Researchers conducted their study on 396 participants, roughly 60 per cent of whom were women, most were heterosexual and the vast majority were young Dutch and German students.

Via an online survey, participants were asked questions about their current romantic relationship (if they were in one).

They were then shown pictures of various strangers and asked to rate their attraction to them, noting any feelings of love, including intimacy, passion, commitment and “eros”, which is measured by statements such as: “I feel that the person and I were meant for each other”.

They were also asked whether they felt that they were “experiencing love at first sight.”

Two further studies were conducted which involved speed dating, where participants either spent 90 or 20 minutes getting to know each other. Again, they were asked their feelings for their potential partners.

Taking the results of all the tests into consideration, 32 participants (most of whom were men) described 49 experiences of love at first sight.

However this was strongly linked to finding the other person incredibly physically attractive – with every point increase on the five-point attraction scale, a participant was nine times more likely to report love at first sight.

But at the speed dating events, none of the instances of reported love at first sight was mutual.

“To conclude, our findings suggest that love at first sight reported at actual first sight resembles neither passionate love nor love more generally,” the researchers said.

They believe that what we think is love at first sight is in fact “a strong initial attraction that some label as ‘love at first sight’ – either retrospectively or in the moment of first sight.”

Interestingly, the participants who were in a relationship at the time of the study and believed they’d fallen in love with their partners at first sight reported higher levels of passion in their relationship than those who didn’t say they fell in love at first sight.

However it’s worth pointing out that all the situations in the study were contrived and not realistic.

With so many people swearing they’ve experienced love at first sight, this study may not put an end to hopeless romanticism. After all, if it happened for Harry and


Comment: It’s probably not the most definitive of surveys but clearly our perception of love is skewed: It’s not really love: Western culture’s misunderstanding of romantic attachment

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/369563-Sorry-Prince-Harry-Love-at-first-sight-doesnt-actually-exist-though-men-are-more-likely-to-think-so-say-psychologists

Franken returns to work 'tremendously sorry' for pain he caused women

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., returned to work Monday to face reporters in Washington for the first time since allegations by multiple women of sexual harassment were made against him.

“I know that I’ve let a lot of people down, the people of Minnesota, my colleagues, my staff, my supporters, and everyone who has counted on me to be a champion for women,” Franken said in prepared remarks outside his Capitol Hill office before fielding a few questions. “To all of you, I just want to again say I am sorry. I know that there are no magic words that I can say to regain your trust. I know that is going to take time. I’m ready to start that process, and it starts with going back to work today.”

The comments are the first Franken has made in an open setting since the initial allegations were made against him. Earlier this month, radio host Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 holiday USO war zone tour and having a picture taken of himself with his hands over her chest while she was asleep on a military transport plane.

Franken said he does not remember the rehearsal in the way Tweeden described it but “you have to respect women’s experience.” Franken said he apologized to Tweeden and was “very grateful” she accepted his apology.

Three other women came forward with accusations that Franken groped them as they posed with him for photographs on three separate occasions between 2007 and 2010.

Franken said that he has taken “thousands” of photos with tens of thousands of people since first running for office and doesn’t recall the alleged encounters, but “from these stories it’s been clear some” women felt he acted inappropriately.

“One is too many,” Franken said. “And for that I am tremendously sorry. And I know that I am going to have to be much more conscious in these circumstances.”

In a series of interviews with Minnesota news outlets on Sunday, the 66-year-old senator and “Saturday Night Live” alum said he was “embarrassed and ashamed” about his alleged actions, but that he is “looking forward to getting back to work.”

“I’ve let a lot of people down, and I’m hoping I can make it up to them and gradually regain their trust,” Franken told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The newspaper also asked Franken if he expects more women to come forward.

“If you had asked me two weeks ago, ‘Would any woman say I had treated her with disrespect?’ I would have said no. So this has just caught me by surprise,” Franken said. “I certainly hope not.”

Shortly after Tweeden’s initial allegation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called for the Senate Ethics Committee to look into the allegations. Franken agreed, and said he would cooperate.

On Sunday, one of Franken’s Senate colleagues, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said the Minnesota Democrat should consider stepping down.

But Franken told Minnesota Public Radio that he has no such plans.

“I’m going to do my job, and I’m going to go forward,” he said. “I’m going to take responsibility. I’m going to be held accountable, and I’m going to try to be productive in the way I speak about this.”

Read more from Yahoo News:

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/franken-returns-work-tremendously-sorry-pain-caused-women-185421507.html