Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Yemen: More Damage To World Peace And Security Due To Trump Wrecking Everything As He Exits

Michigan certified its vote results for Biden, and now crucially Emily Murphey at the GSA has agreed and now recognized officially that at least Joe Biden should be allowed to transition properly as has always happened in the past normally.

But in his lame duckery, still denying his obvious loss, Donald Trump is trashing everything in sight.  Very serious matters of foreign policy are part of this. One of these has been discussed in comments here previously, the removal from the Open Skies Treaty, which right now I am watching Rachel Maddow report that DOD is destroying the planes US used for this. Ack!!!

But for this post I am noting another awful thing they are doing along a bunch of others.  This involves Yemen, long one of the worst humanitarian disasters on the planet, horrible, but so in place for so long that most people pay no attention anymore because, bore, been there done that snore. But it continues to be a place of ongoing civilian deaths from bombs and economic deprivation.

So, just to make things "better," the Trump admin has decided to declare that the Houthi group who rule not only most of northern Yemen, but also its capitol, Sana'a, to be officially a "terrorist group." The immediate result of this ruling is that all kinds of humanitarian aid that has been going to people in the parts of Yemen they live in will no longer receive it.  This is morally awful and just plain stupid.

So this is part of Trump frustrated in his anti-Iran policy.  He exited the Iran nuclear treaty, leading to a massive increase in enriched uranium there.  Ooops! He killed a top general from there to stop attacks on US forces in Iraq by Iranian militias.  But those continue, with more political support in Iraq. Duh.

The argument for this move on the Houthis is that they are backed by Iran, which they are.  But that is a far secondary matter. The Houthis are Zaydi Shia in contrast with the 12-Iman Shia of Iran, not close at all. While Trump admin has long claimed Iran has armed them, most evidence has suggested not much.  Most of the Houthi arms are leftover US arms.

The other part of this is the Saudis, who have been waging war against the Houthis, with Trump deeply tied to the murderous Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who has been behind this awful war against the Houthis in Yemen, support that dates back to the Obama admin.  This makes this a serious issue for the incoming Biden admin. I note that Congress has in recent years moved away from supporting this horrendous war in Yemen that has led to massive deaths among innocent civilians. Those votes that had support from many GOPs in Congress were turned down by Trump vetoes. So, I think it will not be that hard for Biden to finally end this corrupt relation between Trump and MbS to end US support for this war.

Barkley Rosser 


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Anonymous said...

Please remove the hideously destructive comment above.

Anonymous said...


November 22, 2020

Trump Exits Open Skies Treaty, Moves to Discard Observation Planes
Without specialized aircraft and equipment, Biden administration would have difficult time re-entering post-Cold War pact
By Michael R. Gordon – Wall Street Journal

The Trump administration formally shut the door on the Open Skies treaty Sunday, exiting the agreement while moving to get rid of the U.S. Air Force planes that have been used to carry out the nearly three-decade-old accord.

President Trump had served notice in May that the U.S. would withdraw in six months from the accord, which was intended to reduce the risk of war by allowing Russia and the West to carry out unarmed reconnaissance flights over each other’s territories….

Anonymous said...


November 19, 2020

Pompeo Visits West Bank Settlement and Offers Parting Gifts to Israeli Right
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the boycott-Israel movement would be treated as anti-Semitic, and ordered that imports from Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank be labeled products of Israel.
By David M. Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner

…Mr. Pompeo’s whirlwind day was scarcely a mere victory lap. It was a last chance to reinforce Israel’s hard-line approach to the Palestinians and, as Democrats and other supporters of a two-state solution cried foul, to place political land mines in the path of the incoming Biden administration….

Anonymous said...

The point is that the Trump administration has been implementing policy now in such ways that reversal by the Biden administration will have difficulty in attempting reversal. This includes radical new foreign policy changes such as with Israel and with Russia.

Anonymous said...


November 23, 2020

Trump Wars II: The Loser Strikes Back
Trashing the nation on his way out the door.
By Paul Krugman

We all knew that Donald Trump would react badly to defeat. But his refusal to concede, the destructiveness of his temper tantrum and the willingness of almost the entire Republican Party to indulge him have surpassed even pessimists’ expectations.

Even so, it’s very unlikely that Trump will manage to overturn the election results. But he’s doing all he can to wreck America on his way out, in ways large and small. Among other things, his officials are already trying to sabotage the economy, setting the stage for a possible financial crisis on Joe Biden’s watch.

To the uninitiated, the sudden announcement by Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, that he’s terminating support for several emergency lending programs created back in March might not seem like that big a deal. After all, the financial markets aren’t currently in crisis. In fact, defying Trump’s prediction that “your 401(k)s will go to hell” if he were to lose, stocks have risen substantially since Biden’s win.

Furthermore, much of the money allocated to those programs was never actually used. So what’s the problem?

Well, the Federal Reserve, which administers the programs, has objected strenuously — for good reason. You see, the Fed knows a lot about financial crises and what it takes to stop them — and Mnuchin is depriving the nation of tools that could be crucial in the months or years ahead.

In the old days, what we now call financial crises were generally referred to as “panics” — like the Panic of 1907, which was the event that led to the Fed’s creation. The causes of panics vary widely; some have no visible cause at all. Nonetheless, they have a lot in common. They all involve a loss of confidence that freezes the flow of money through the economy, often with dire effects on growth and jobs.

Why do such things happen? ...

Anonymous said...


November 24, 2020

It is in space exploration that the future for mankind lies
By Marsha Freeman

The Chang'e-5 mission to return samples of soil and rocks from the Moon is under way, following its launch on a Long March 5B heavy lift rocket. This sample return mission is the final and most complex of the six missions in the lunar exploration program that Chinese scientists developed 20 years ago.

The scientists are able to carry out programs over decades because they are a key part of the economic fabric of Chinese society, particularly with the present orientation toward an innovation-driven economy.

Chang'e-1 and 2 were each single-spacecraft, which orbited the Moon. Their job was to provide scientists with photographs of the surface to be used in future missions to choose suitable landing spots.

Chang'e-3 was followed by children as well as by adults, especially curious about the exploits of the rover Yutu. Chang'e-4 for the first time in history landed on the far side of the Moon. A relay satellite was needed to allow communication between Chang'e-4 and Earth.

Chang'e-5 is still more complex. The goal of the mission is to bring at least 2 kilograms of rocks and soil from the Moon. There will also be a few locations where a drill will go down deeper and retrieve soil. Ye Peijian, the chief designer of Chang'e-1, notes: "Chang'e-5 will also carry a drilling machine to get Moon rock from a depth of 2 meters underground." Ye also revealed that experts from Hong Kong and Macao would also participate in the lunar probe project.

The biggest challenge in the mission is to bring back the samples to Earth. To do this requires four vehicles, a service module, a return vehicle, the lander, and the ascent vehicle. The Chang'e-5 orbiter carries the collection hardware and the return vehicle. After the robotic lunar lander collects samples, they are placed in an ascent vehicle which will launch from the lunar surface and must rendezvous and dock with the orbiter. No other sample return mission by the Soviet Union did any robotic rendezvous and docking. This requires highly precise timing. If the orbiter or the ascent vehicle were off by a small amount, they would miss rendezvous with the orbiter. When the orbiter gets close to the Earth, the capsule with the samples will be released to land in the same region where the Shenzhou astronauts land.

When the samples come back they will undergo thorough study. Lunar soil is formed by the lunar rock which has been weathered by meteorite impact, solar wind bombardment and cosmic ray radiation. By studying these lunar soil materials, scientists can not only understand the geological evolution of the Moon, but will also provide them with greater understanding of solar activities.

This effort will be of immense benefit for mankind. Space exploration has always provided the "new frontier" of science ever since Sputnik and the U.S. Apollo program. Unfortunately, because of the intense media hype in the West about the "China threat," cooperation between the U.S. and China in manned space has come to a halt. And most recently the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission in a report, "China's Space and Counterspace Capabilities and Activities," wants to place even further restrictions on such cooperation.

Many U.S. analysts find this terribly short-sighted....

Anonymous said...


November 23, 2020

China delists all remaining poverty-stricken counties

The last nine poverty-stricken counties in southwest China's Guizhou Province have been officially removed from the poverty list, the provincial government announced on Monday.

They were also the last remaining poverty-stricken counties in China.

China has vowed to eradicate absolute poverty by 2020 – a major task in its drive to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

At the end of 2019, 52 counties in the northwest, southwest and south of the country remained on the poverty list: nine in Yunnan Province, 10 in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, one in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, seven in Sichuan Province, eight in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, eight in Gansu Province and nine in Guizhou Province.

Assessment by third-party agencies earlier this month showed that the poverty incidence in the nine counties in Guizhou decreased to zero percent and that the satisfaction rate among locals was over 99 percent, said Li Jian, director of the provincial poverty alleviation and development office, at a press briefing.

The average annual net income of impoverished people in these nine counties has risen to 11,487 yuan (about $1,740), well above the 4,000-yuan (about $609) national poverty line set this year, Li said.

A program to relocate poor rural residents has contributed significantly to Guizhou's success in poverty reduction. About 1.88 million people living in poor mountainous areas have been relocated to urban areas, according to provincial authorities. Various supporting measures have been taken to ensure that at least one person on average in each relocated household gets employed....

Anonymous said...

"Retreat" is over; the empire returns:


November 19, 2020

Britain announces its largest military investment since the Cold War
By Karla Adam - Washington Post

LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday announced Britain's biggest boost in military spending since the end of the Cold War, as the country looks to head off threats from China and Russia and exert "global influence" as a power separate from the European Union.

Over the next four years, the British armed forces will receive an extra 16.5 billion pounds ($21 billion), helping to develop cyber- and space capabilities, create an artificial-intelligence agency and “restore Britain’s position as the foremost naval power in Europe,” Johnson said.

Britain — which has fought alongside the United States in places such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan — already had one of the largest military budgets in Europe, surpassing the NATO guideline of 2 percent of gross domestic product. This new budget would represent a 10 percent rise from previous spending plans, in what the government characterized as the largest increase in 30 years.

Britain will “end the era of retreat, transform our armed forces, bolster our global influence,” Johnson told Parliament via video link....

Anonymous said...

Better the empire than the National Health Service:

November 23, 2020



Cases   ( 1,527,495)
Deaths   ( 55,230)

Deaths per million   ( 812)


Cases   ( 946,648)
Deaths   ( 14,583)

Deaths per million   ( 174)

Anonymous said...


November 19, 2020

Britain announces its largest military investment since the Cold War
By Karla Adam - Washington Post

Britain will “end the era of retreat, transform our armed forces, bolster our global influence,” Johnson told Parliament via video link....

[ This then is what the Brexit folks were intent on the whole time, and the suffering of the British makes no apparent difference to them. This was why Jeremy Corbyn had to be ruined. I am appalled. ]

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Reportedly Netanyahu met with both SecState Pompeo and Saudi Crown Prince MbS in Neom, KSA, although some in KSA are denying it happened. Supposedly iran and the Palestinians were discussed. I am wondering if there was any discussion of the Yemen situation at all as well. I saw not reporting on that, although that is a serious situation that, as I have posted here, Trump is making much worse as he goes out the door.

Of course, Israel is not directly involved in the Yemen situation to my knowledge, but it is the Saudis who are doing most of the killing of people there with the support of the US.

Anonymous said...

Barkley Rosser is correct; there is no more dire problem in the world than that in Yemen. The war on Yemen must stop, yet it continues.

Anonymous said...

November 24, 2020

No time to waste as Yemen inches toward famine, warns UNICEF chief

UNITED NATIONS -- The head of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Monday warned that there is no time to waste as war-torn Yemen inches toward famine.

"There is no time to waste. Children in Yemen need peace. An end to this brutal conflict is the only way they can fulfil their potential, resume their childhood and, ultimately, rebuild their country," UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement.

Raising alarm over "an imminent catastrophe" in war-ravaged Yemen, Fore reiterated the urgent need for combatants to stop fighting.

Fore also appealed to the international community to step up and provide urgently needed funds for aid programs.

The UNICEF chief repeated the call on all parties to the conflict to ensure that children are protected and that unhindered access to communities in need is ensured.

On Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced deep concern over the situation in Yemen, calling for urgent action on the part of the international community to "stave off catastrophe."

UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock on Nov. 17 allocated 100 million U.S. dollars to help people feed themselves in Yemen and other countries most at risk from the growing hunger epidemic caused by conflict, economic decline, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yemen remains the world's worst humanitarian crisis, the result of five years of a brutal conflict, disease, economic collapse and a breakdown of public institutions and services. A staggering 80 percent of the country's population - over 24 million people - require some form of humanitarian assistance and protection, including more than 12 million children.

The situation has worsened dramatically with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has turned a deep crisis into an imminent catastrophe," said Fore....

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Track Covid Cases in Places Important to You

(The NYT will track Covid in areas near to you.

How convenient is that?)

Twinkle said...

Nice post. It is really interesting. Thanks for sharing the post!
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