Former UN ambassador John Bolton blames former President Obama for arming Iraq’s Iranian-dominated Shiite military:
“Sadly, Iran’s progress was foreseeable from the inception of Barack Obama’s strategy of using Iraqi military forces and Shia militia units as critical elements in the campaign to eradicate the ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq. The Baghdad government is effectively Iran’s satellite. Accordingly, Obama’s decision to provide that regime with military assistance and advice strengthened Iran’s hand even further and materially contributed to its efforts to establish dominance in Iraq’s Shia regions.”
But Bolton also finds the Trump administration culpably asleep at the wheel:
“Apparently, neither the Pentagon, nor the State Department, nor the National Security Council advised the new Trump administration of the implications of facilitating Iran’s Middle East grand strategy….The Trump administration cannot continue idly watching Iran advance without opposition. Washington and its regional allies need a comprehensive strategy to deal with Iran, not a series of ad hoc responses to regional developments. Time is fast running out.”
EU ratifies PESCO
“The EU has moved a step closer towards having a joint military force by signing an agreement on a permanent command structure.
“The agreement on PESCO, or Permanent Structured Cooperation, was signed in Brussels by 23 members of the 28-strong European Union on Monday. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini supported the move, hailing it as an “historic moment.” Backed by a €5-billion ($6.5-billion) EU defense fund, PESCO “will enable member states to use the economy of scale of Europe and in this manner to fulfil the gap of output that we have.
“The agreement will come into force in December, after which members will be legally bound to participate in projects under PESCO. Work on the pact started last year amid uncertainty over the UK’s decision to withdraw from the European Union, and US President Donald Trump’s continued criticism of European NATO members for failing to deliver on defense-spending commitments.”
“All EU countries except Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Malta and Portugal said Monday they would sign up to the pact, which will be officially launched at a summit next month. By the time of the summit, diplomats expect only Britain, Denmark and Malta not to be involved….
“The new initiative aims to spend more on defense systems and make member countries’ militaries much more integrated with each other. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel stressed it would have economic benefits. He said Europe spends 50 percent as much as the United States on defense yet only has 15 percent of its military efficiency.”
NATO, however, remains the principal military organization for defending Europe.
Rand confirms reports attack on him was unprovoked
Senator Paul Rand himself has confirmed previous reports that the attack on him by a neighbor was dastardly and completely unprovoked. The Daily Caller describes the attacker as a “socialist.”