On FPF #456, Will Porter returns to the show to discuss the evolving justification for Trump's assassination of Soleimani. Will explains how the Trump admin has now given several reasons that they needed to and had the power to kill Soleimani. Will and Kyle look at the failure of Trump to have appropriate authorization for the strike and the strategic failures of the strike.
On FPF #455, I discuss the Senate voting on a War Powers bill to constrain Trump's ability to start a war with Iran. Trump has continued on the presidential tradition of killing whoever he wants, and he is unbound by the Constitution. The House will also need to pass the bill. However, Trump has threatened to veto the legislation, and Congress is unlikely to get the needed 2/3 in each house to override it.
On FPF #454, I discuss recent progress made in negotiations with the Taliban. The US and Taliban will soon implement a reduction in violence pact. If successful, the pact could be the first step in a peace deal between the US and the Taliban. However, there are a lot of potential paths that could lead the US away from peace. Including the president's erratic decisions on foreign policy.
On FPF #453, I discuss Trump's firing of impeachment witnesses, insider attacks in Afghanistan, and Iraq. Trump fired EU Ambassador Sondland and NSC Ukraine expert Vinland. Both men testified in the House impeachment hearing providing Democrats with great soundbites and little evidence. In Afghanistan, two US soldiers were killed by an insider attack. The attack is further proof the war is failing. Iraq says the attack that Trump used as an excuse to assassinate Soleimani was carried out by ISIS and not a Shia militia group. If the Iraqi military and intelligence is correct, then Trump was duped by jihadists into a conflict with Iran.
On FPF #452, I discuss Trump's acquittal and the special guest at his State of the Union address. I explain how impeachment turned into dangerous anti-Russia propaganda. Adam Schiff and the Democrats used undying zombie of Russiagate to try to remove Trump from office. As predicted before impeachment started, Trump was acquitted by Senate votes almost entirely along party lines.
Trump invited failed Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaido to his SOTU. The failed coup attempt has led Trump to place deadly sanctions on Venezuela. The invite to the SOTU indicates the US will continue to support Guaido's illegitimate and weak claim to power.
Michael Maharry returns to the show to discuss Afghanistan and his new book, Constitution Owner's Manual. Mike and Kyle describe how Trump has ramped up the war in Afghanistan. Mike answers questions about how the Constitution can be used to limit the president's war-making abilities. He explains the problems with the War Powers Act and the AUMFs.
Michael Maharrey serves as the national communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center and the managing editor of the SchiffGold website. He hosts his own podcast, Thoughts from Maharrey Head, as well as the Friday Gold Wrap podcast and the It’s Your Dime interview series for SchiffGold.
On FPF #450, I discuss the House vote to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force. The bill was passed in 2002 allowing President Bush to start a war with Saddam's regime in Iraq. Saddam was hung in 2006 and his army disbanded. However, both presidents Obama and Trump invoked the AUMF as giving them "authority" to carry out military operations in Iraq. The House vote is an attempt for Congress to regain some control over the president's near-endless war-making powers.
On FPF #449, I cover some of the details of Trump's "Deal of the Century" and explain why it is meant to be rejected by the Palestinians. While Trump claims the deal creates a Palestinian State, the deal actually gives limited autonomy to a collection of several small, disconnected areas that will be called Palestine. The Palestinians will not have a military and minimal border crossings. For these reasons - and many more - the Palestinians denounced the peace plan. I argue the point of the plan was for the Palestinians to reject it, so Israel will have the excuse to continue the occupation and theft of Palestinian land.
On FPF #448, I discuss several news stories that are being ignored as the media obsessively covers impeachment. In Afghanistan, a US plane was downed and the UN announced it needs to provide basic aid to an additional three million Afghans this year. The US Embassy in Baghdad was hit with a rocket. The Iraqi security force continues to kill protesters. Many of the protesters are demanding American forces leave. Trump announced his Isreal/Palestine "Deal of the Century." The deal appears DOA as it fails to meet even basic Palestinian demands.
On FPF #447, I discuss the Democrats push to demonize Russia in a failing attempt to impeach Trump. Rep Adam Schiff has led with Cold War rhetoric to try to pump up a lacking case. The narrative the Democrats are pushing forward against Trump is dishonest and dangerous. Fanning the flames of Russiagate will lead to a potential war and more of our tax dollars wasted.
On FPF #446, I discuss the US continuing to push Juan Guaido's failed coup attempt against Maduro. Nearly a year ago, Guaido declared himself president of Venezuela with the backing of the US. He claimed this authority from his position as the leader of a legislative body. Gaudio lost his position in the congress and seemingly his claim to the presidency. However, Secretary of State Pompeo recently said the US would continue to support Guaido and announced more sanctions against Venezuela.
On FPF #445, I debunk lies about North Korea and Iran. On North Korea, the blob often claims the US must take an aggressive position on North Korea because of North Korean nuclear weapons. I explain how the North Korean nuclear weapon program is a reaction to America's hostile policy towards North Korea. The war state is also pushing the claim that Iran is getting closer to a nuclear weapon. Iran continues to be inspected by the IAEA and does not have a nuclear weapons program.
On FPF #444, I discuss the Congressional hearing of the Inspector General for the Afghan War. During his testimony, he said US officials have a "disincentive" to tell the truth about the situation in Afghanistan, and we have created a situation that basically requires people to lie. The lies being told about Afghanistan ensure the US will not leave the country after nearly two decades, and Americans do not know the war has long been lost. So we will continue to send our money and children to Afghanistan to be wasted.
On FPF #443, I discuss the fallout of the Soleimani assassination and the lies the Trump administration is telling. Trump and his team have had to walk back all their claims that Soleimani was an imminent threat. Now, Pompeo has claimed the decision was made to establish real deterrence over Iran. The Iraqi government is now pushing the American forces to leave, but the US is refusing to listen. Protesters have taken to the street in Iran to protest their government after a Ukrainian flight was shot down by the Iranian military.
Will Porter returns to Foreign Policy Focus to talk about Trump's 'maximum pressure' strategy. Will covers the recent news that Iran shot down the Ukrainian civilian flight, killing 176 people. Will and Kyle explain how Trump's maximum pressure against Iran created the tensions leading to the deadly event. Will and Kyle breakdown their recent article Maximum Failure: Trump’s Convulsive North Korea Strategy Can’t Bring Kim to the Table. The article explains how Trump squandered his opportunity to bring peace to North Korea with maximum pressure and poor staffing decisions.
Will Porter is a staff writer at RT. He publishes articles at Consortium News, Antiwar.com, and the Libertarian Institute.
On FPF #441, I cover the assassination of Soleimani and the subsequent Iranian missile attack. The Iranian missile attack did not kill anyone, and that appears to have been the Iranian intention. The symbolic response to Trump's act of war, allowed Trump to back away from the brink of a shooting war with Iran. However, I argue it is incorrect to believe Trump is a strategic mastermind playing 3D chess. Heightened tensions with Iran only exist because Trump withdrew from the Nuclear Deal and started an unprovoked economic war against Iran. The US economic war put the US and Iran on the path to a shooting war, and the US will remain on that path until it abandons sanctions.
On FPF #440, I cover all the breaking news from Iraq, including Iran's missile attack on the al-Asad Airbase in Iraq. The attack was a response to the US assassination of Soleimani. The assassination has provoked moves by several actors. US and allies are moving troops in and out of Iraq. The Iraqi government voted to kick Americans out of Iraq. Trump took to Twitter to make several threats of what would happen if Iran responded by harming American interests.
Scott Horton returns to Foreign Policy Focus to cover the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Quds Force. Scott discusses the importance of Soleimani and why his killing could spark more conflict in the Middle East. He then debunks the claims coming out of the Trump admin that Soleimani killed 100s of Americans and Iran was behind 9/11. Kyle and Scott review key points of the Iraq War to explain how Iran - and Soleimani - became so influential in Iraq.
On FPF #438, I talk about the torture of Chelsea Manning. Chelsea heroically leaked to Wikileaks the Afghan war logs, Iraq War documents, and State Department cables that revealed US war crimes. Chelsea was given 35 years for liberating the documents. She spent the first two years of her sentence mostly in solitary confinement.
After allowing Chelsea to rot in prison for seven years, Obama finally granted her clemency at the end term. However, the Trump Administration is aggressively attempting to turn journalism into a crime by prosecuting Julian Assange for publishing the documents Manning gave to him. Chelsea was ordered to testify in Assange's case, but she has ignored the Grand Jury and refused to testify. As a punishment, she has been thrown in jail without charges. She has now spent most of 2019 behind bars, and 2020 looks like more of the same. The UN Special Rapporteur for Torture just released a report showing Manning prison stay is tantamount to torture.
On FPF #437, I discuss Iraqi protesters breaking into the US Embassy in Baghdad. The protesters took to the street outside of the embassy in response to US airstrikes on an Iraqi militia. The US claims the strikes targeted an Iranian backed militia that had attacked an Iraqi military base. However, the US has not provided any evidence for this claim. The Iraqi government has called the strike a breach of their sovereignty. I explain how this will likely power Iran.
On FPF #436, I do the second half of my end of year wrap up. I continue to ask if American foreign policy has made Americans safer. I look at the wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. In all cases, the wars led by the war party are making us less safe.
On FPF #435, I discuss how Trump's foreign policy has been unsuccessful and made Americans less safe in 2019. I break down Trump's 2019 policy in Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. Trump has moved the world away from arms control and towards more war.
On FPF #434, I update the most important news of the last week. I discuss Kim's upcoming end of year deadline and what could happen if the US fails to engage North Korea in meaningful talks. Trump signed the 2020 NDAA this week. The bill will sanction European energy projects like the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. In Libya, regional powers continue to escalate the civil war.
I invited Sam Jacobs on the show to discuss the dark history of the ATF. Sam has a recent article covers the ATF gun-walking operations know as 'Fast and Furious.' Sam explains how the program provided arms to deadly cartels. The weapons were used to kill many Mexicans and a US border agent. Sam covers the ATF murders a Ruby Ridge. During the standoff, AFT's incompetence and blood lust led to a 14-year old boy and an innocent woman to be gunned down.
Sam Jacobs is the lead writer and chief historian at Ammo.com. Work from Ammo.com's Resistance Library has been featured by USA Today, Reason, Bloomberg's Business Week, Zero Hedge, The Guardian, and National Review as well as many other prominent news and alt-news publications.
On FPF #432, I explain my view that the Democrats' case for impeaching Trump is very weak. The House passed two articles of impeachment this week, although House leadership is now preventing those from going to the Senate. While everyone is distracted with these potential minor crimes committed by Trump, there are major news stories breaking around the world. I cover several of those stories in the second half of the show. Many of those stories are about actual serious crimes Trump is committing.