US Finds Itself Alone in Supposed "Fight" Against ISIS

December 7, 2016 (The New Atlas) - The Brookings Institution's Daniel Byman in a paper titled, "The limits of air strikes when fighting the Islamic State," laments that America's alleged war on the Islamic State (IS) is limited by a lack of capable local allies.

The paper states more specifically that:
The trouble is that local allies are often themselves flawed instruments: corrupt, ineffective, and brutal. Often, U.S. troops are necessary to leaven local forces, provide necessary intelligence, and otherwise carry much of the burden.
Byman concludes that US air power,  "absent other tools and a broader strategy," will always be limited. 

And indeed for the United States, if its goal was ever truly to eliminate the Islamic State, the use of air power alone, and clearly without any capable local allies, will range in efforts anywhere from limited to absolutely futile, if not completely counterproductive.

Whether one believes the US is truly involved in Syria and Iraq to fight the Islamic State, or simply using the terrorist organisation both as a means of undermining each nation's respective governments and as a vector to remain relevant and engaged in the region, its lack of capable local allies (besides, perhaps, the Islamic State itself) is an obvious and growing problem.

Russia Does have Capable Local Allies, So Does Iran 

Conversely, Russia and Iran are involved in the Middle East to crush the Islamic State. Both nations realise that the fall of either Syria or Iraq to heavily armed militants sponsored by a conglomeration of NATO and Persian Gulf states equates to a launching pad being established for destabilisation and even full-scale war within their borders next. 

And for both Russia and Iran, they have found themselves very capable local allies, going far in explaining their success versus the United States' apparent failure and retreat from the conflict and even from the region.

US Policymakers Propose Working Closer with ISIS' Sponsors

December 7, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - US-based corporate-financier funded policy think tank, the Brookings Institution, published a particularly incoherent piece titled, "Should we work with the devil we know against the Islamic State?" The piece's author, a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, Daniel Byman, claims (emphasis added):
Saudi Arabia has proven a major source of terrorist recruits and financing, while the Syria-Turkey border was a major crossing point for Islamic State recruits. Both countries [Saudi Arabia and Turkey] still have much to do, but that’s the point—if the Trump administration alienates them, the Islamic State problem will get much worse. With the United States on the other side in Syria, Turkey and Saudi Arabia might send anti-aircraft weapons to Syrian rebels and otherwise escalate the fighting in ways dangerous for international terrorism—actions that, so far, the United States has helped reduce. 
In essence, Byman is admitting what the rest of the world already long ago concluded - the vast fighting capacity the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS) possesses is not only a result of immense state sponsorship, it is sponsored by two of America's closest allies in the region - Saudi Arabia and NATO-member Turkey.

It was Turkey's own foreign minister who inadvertently admitted while trying to make a case for the Turkish invasion and occupation of northern Syria that Turkey itself served as the primary staging point for ISIS and supplied the summation of its weapons and reinforcements required in Syria and beyond.

A May 2016 Washington Times article titled, "Turkey offers joint ops with U.S. forces in Syria, wants Kurds cut out," would quote the Turkish Foreign Minister admitting (emphasis added):
Joint operations between Washington and Ankara in Manbji, a well-known waypoint for Islamic State fighters, weapons and equipment coming from Turkey bound for Raqqa, would effectively open “a second front” in the ongoing fight to drive the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, from Syria’s borders, [Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu] said.
Byman confirms this with his appeal for the United States to remain aligned and committed to Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Retroactively Blaming Syria for a War the US Engineered 

Byman continues by claiming:
Assad facilitated the flow of fighters to Iraq to kill American soldiers there after the 2003 U.S. invasion. He has supported terrorism against Israel and otherwise opposed U.S. interests. And an Assad victory would be widely, and correctly, seen as a triumph for its biggest friend—the clerical regime in Iran. 
However, according to the US Army's West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) in a 2008 report titled, "Bombers, Bank Accounts and Bleedout: al-Qa'ida's Road In and Out of Iraq," it is admitted that not only did Syria play a significant role in fighting Al Qaeda and its affiliates since their inception, but that underground networks were involved in trafficking terrorists into Iraq during the US occupation, not the Syrian government itself.

US Policymakers Seek "New Thailand" Amid Asian Pivot

December 4, 2016 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - With the passing of Thailand's head of state, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, a universally revered cultural and pragmatic leader for the last 70 years, Thailand's enemies see an opportunity in what they perceive as a void in national unity.

Throughout Washington's policy circles, several articles containing analysis have been circulated regarding an opportunity for "change" or a "New Thailand."

The least subtle of these articles is Foreign Policy magazine's "A Chance for Change in the New Thailand: Now that the king is gone, can Thailand’s opposition come together to challenge the ruling military junta?," which in title alone gives away the West's desire to foment the sort of "colour revolutions" and "regime change" it has backed around the world from North Africa to the Middle East to Eastern Europe and even Asia itself.

The article makes fundamental mistakes no real geopolitical analysis would make if informing readers was their goal. They are, however, mistakes one would make if they were advocating regime change and needed to create a false pretext with which to justify it.

The article claims:

the waiting game is now over. In a few months at most — following a period of mourning for the beloved king — the dust will settle and a new political landscape will come into being. In this new environment, the democratic opposition will be able to organize and mobilize far more effectively for a return to democratic rule. It will be able to capitalize on the unpopularity of the new king, mobilizing populations who were unwilling to challenge the junta and its royal mandate. It will also be able to unite various groups around common strategies and campaigns, now that the uncertainties of the referendum and the king’s health have passed. These campaigns might target the new centers of power, or use elections as mobilizing opportunities, or focus on uniting both major parties against the junta. 
But of course, this will depend on the ability of civil society groups to bridge their divisions and unite behind a single banner: returning Thailand to democratic governance.
However, the so-called "democratic opposition" Foreign Policy deceptively refers to is in fact simply the supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra, who represent a small and dwindling minority amid Thai politics.

Even in 2011, when Shinawatra's sister took power, his political party garnered the support of only 35% of all eligible voters, failed to win even the popular vote and when in 2014 tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets to call for the resignation of his party from power, he failed to mobilise a street presence even remotely proportional in his own support. 

Shinawatra himself was a categorically undemocratic figure himself who sought to create a single party government, actively eliminated his political enemies both through litigation and through assassinations as well as cultivated a violent street movement used to intimidate and coerce the population. 

Thailand: Careless Journalism Backs a Western Colour Revolution

December 4, 2016 (The New Atlas) Sputnik International is a Russian-based media platform that has added depth and reach to the alternative media.

It was unfortunate then, to see their article, "Dislike: Thai Activist Arrested for Posting Unflattering Article About the King," which carelessly repeated Western media propaganda regarding Thailand.

Aiding and Abetting Western Colour Revolutions... 

The story involves alleged "activist" Jatupat Boonpattararaksa of the "New Democracy Movement," a US-EU-backed opposition movement meant to create in Thailand the same instability Western-backed "colour revolutionaries" have caused across Eastern Europe and the Middle Eastern and North African region (MENA).

Sputnik cites iLawFX, a US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Open Society funded front. 

Jatupat was detained for distributing a BBC Thai article claiming to be a "biography" of Thailand's new king and head of state, King Maha Vajiralongkorn. The BBC biography was rife with disinformation and slander aimed at undermining the new head of state's role in unifying and moving the nation forward after over a decade of political turmoil brought about by the US-European backed government of Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The BBC Thai itself was established in 2014 when the Shinawatra government was deposed from power amid massive street protests and a subsequent military coup. It has since sown the same deceptive and subversive disinformation the BBC is know for worldwide.

Sputnik's unfortunate article even goes as far as citing the BBC, as well as the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Open Society-funded front, iLawFX.

The Folly of Repeating Falsehoods 

Sputnik's article reports that Thailand possesses a "draconian lese-majeste law," but fails to note that the majority of jail sentences involve threats of armed subversion or assassination against Thailand's head of state and/or his family. Sputnik also reports that Jatupat has been arrested several times before, but again, fails to note that previous arrests took place under the very same circumstances Sputnik itself often reports on regarding Western-backed "colour revolutionaries" being arrested in Russia, Eastern Europe and across the MENA region.

Saving Face: America's TPP Disaster

December 2, 2016 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Long before US President-elect Donald Trump even began his presidential campaign, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was already crumbling along with the rest of America's so-called "pivot to Asia" policy.

In late 2011, then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would begin promoting what was called "America's Pacific Century." A US State Department archive containing Secretary Clinton's remarks on the subject would reveal the "pivot to Asia" being promoted as (our emphasis):

...a need for a more dynamic and durable transpacific system, a more mature security and economic architecture that will promote security, prosperity, and universal values, resolve differences among nations, foster trust and accountability, and encourage effective cooperation on the scale that today’s challenges demand. 

And just as the United States played a central role in shaping that architecture across the Atlantic – to ensure that it worked, for us and for everyone else – we are now doing the same across the Pacific. The 21st century will be America’s Pacific century, a period of unprecedented outreach and partnership in this dynamic, complex, and consequential region.

In both title and stated intentions, the "pivot to Asia" was a policy of, by and for the United States. Secretary Clinton would compare US intentions toward Asia Pacific with its alleged accomplishments across the Atlantic, even citing Afghanistan and Libya as success stories despite the fact that both nations were rendered and to this day remain decimated, dysfunctional failed states following US intervention.

From the Beginning the TPP was About Domination, Not Cooperation 

Secretary Clinton would mention the TPP specifically, claiming:
There is new momentum in our trade agenda with the recent passage of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and our ongoing work on a binding, high-quality Trans-Pacific Partnership, the so-called TPP. The TPP will bring together economies from across the Pacific, developed and developing alike, into a single 21st century trading community. A rules-based order will also be critical to meeting APEC’s goal of eventually creating a free trade area of the Asia Pacific.
In reality, however, the TPP was never about creating a "trading community," it was about reasserting US domination over Asian-Pacific trade. Prominent US policy think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), published a paper authored by Robert Blackwill, Henry Kissinger and Ashley Tellis titled, "Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China." In it, the TPP is referred to specifically in the context of containing China, not fostering economic cooperation (our emphasis):
The congressional role in sustaining a successful U.S. grand strategy toward China is manifested primarily in three areas: giving the president trade-promotion authority so that he may quickly conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) freetrade agreements now being negotiated in Asia, reforming and providing the defense budgets necessary to maintain U.S. power projection and a credible Asian alliance system, and continuously holding U.S. administrations accountable for the implementation of their response to the rise of Chinese power.
Here, rhetoric about building stronger and more beneficial relationships with Asia-Pacific is dropped, and the reality of US policy serving a singular agenda, the containment of China's regional and global rise, is revealed. Throughout the report, the TPP is repeatedly cited as a means of competing with what US policymakers call "China’s asymmetrical economic advantages."

China's economic and geopolitical rise has in turn helped drive development across all of Asia. Immense infrastructure projects from highways connecting China to Thailand, dams powering Laos, ports and pipelines in Myanmar and rail projects region-wide alone have tangibly transformed Asia over the past decade in ways US economic and military ties have failed categorically to match.