Otto Does Foreign Policy

Philip Giraldi

Does anyone remember Otto, the brain damaged ex-CIA assassin played so deliciously by Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda? Otto cruised around London in a massive old Chrysler, driving on the right and forcing British drivers off the road while screaming that they were a**holes. Described by one reviewer as a walking id, Otto’s most famous line was “Oh, you English are so superior, aren’t you? Well, would you like to know what you’d be without us, the good ol’ US of A to protect you? I’ll tell you. The smallest f**king province in the Russian Empire, that’s what! If it wasn’t for us, you’d all be speaking German! Singing ‘Deutschland, Deutschland über alles’….”

Exit Otto, who is a fictional character, enter stage right Mitt Romney, who is, unfortunately, all too real. Mitt demonstrated his international savoir faire shortly after arriving in London by telling NBC’s Brian Williams that he had concerns about the preparations for the Olympics. This presumably was at least in part intended to highlight the splendid job he did in Salt Lake City after receiving massive subsidies from the federal government to prevent the total collapse of the enterprise. He wanted to compare that well-oiled machine to the work of the hapless Brits who, per Mitt, seem to be unable to control their own labor unions. Labor unions are a bit scarce in Utah. Unfortunately, the hapless Brits found out about the interview and Romney learned that the first rule in visiting foreign countries is not to insult your hosts.

Full-Scale War in Syria

Stephen Lendman

Washington has no business being involved in Syria

Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov calls it "full-scale civil war." It's full-scale but not civil. Syria's been invaded. Civil war implies two internal warring sides. That's very much not the case. Primakov said, "Mercenaries and volunteers from other states are fighting (Assad) jointly with violent internal forces."

Most Syria opponents are nonviolent. They want peaceful conflict resolution. Washington has other ideas.

"President Obama has given a direct order to the CIA to support the Syrian opposition." "That is flagrant interference in internal affairs of a sovereign state, which does not endanger the United States or anyone else." "Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding militants. Turkey is giving them active support." [So are other regional countries.] "Russia holds the only correct position," he added. "We have a moral position: we care for life and security of millions of people and for stability of the huge and important region."

Syria is strategically important for Moscow. Tartus is its only Mediterranean base. Protecting it is key. Assad is a valued regional ally. It's in Russia's interest to support him. Moscow backed Annan's peace plan dependent on keeping him in power and having Syrian sovereignty be respected. Its strategy also lets other global allies know it's committed to back them if needed. Some have their own internal problems and need reassurance.

Afghan Aid Squandered by U.S. Political Insiders

Matthew J. Nasuti

When the dinner bell rings in Washington, D.C., a swarm of politically-connected consultants and nonprofit organizations (NGOs) rush in to feast on aid funds designated for Afghanistan. The culprits are members of an exclusive club of favored parties who feed off of USAID and State Department contracts, grants and awards. The group includes Checchi and Company, Louis Berger Group, Chemonics, Inc., the Asia Society, Democracy International, the Brookings Institution, Casals and Associates, Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), National Democracy Institute, the International Republican Institute, etc.

A review of their boards of directors and leadership reveals that many are former USAID, State Department, Millennium Challenge, U.S. Institute of Peace, National Endowment for Democracy or United Nations officials who have decided to cash in on their relationships and experience. While the relationships between these groups and the U.S. Government are incestuous, an equally important problem is that most of this aid (tens of billions of dollars each year) is simply wasted.

Ordinary Afghans need good food, clean water, sewage treatment improvements, rural health care and education; instead these aid groups primarily generate reports, surveys and hold meetings with each other in Kabul. The following is a recent summary of how Afghan aid funds are being expended by the United States.

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