Analysis 08-26-2020

ANALYSIS

Will the US Military Intervene in the 2020 Election?

 

As the November presidential election grows nearer, the number of theories about what will happen continue to grow.  Charges about fraudulent ballots and denying citizens the opportunity to vote are heard on a nearly continuous basis.

One of the more interesting theories is that in the election confusion, President Trump will refuse to leave office.  This led two retired Army officers (Col. Paul Yingling and Lt. Col. John Nagl) to pen a story in Defense One calling on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, to order to military to remove the president should he refuse to accept defeat and leave the White House.

The authors wrote, “As the senior military officer of the United States, the choice between these two options lies with you…In the Constitutional crisis described above, your duty is to give unambiguous orders directing US military forces to support the Constitutional transfer of power.  Should you remain silent, you will be complicit in a coup d’état.”  They went on to mention that the chainman was already complicit in the use of military force against protestors in front of the White House.

Although the article was perceived as a trial balloon set up by pro-Biden people, it raised some interesting observations by those who served in the US Military Officer Corps.

This article was written by two very junior members of the retired officer corps.

In over 244 years, there has never been a threat of a military involvement in a presidential election.  And nearly everyone seems in agreement in that.  Giving the military any role would only open the door to more intrusive actions in the future.

In the US, the dividing line between civilian control of government and the military is noticeably clear.  In 1952, General Dwight Eisenhower even had to resign his position as a retired general to become president.  It was only after he left office that President Kennedy reappointed him to the rank of General of the Army – thus reinstating his military pension.

Although there has been much made about the ambiguity that this election may create, the rules that govern a contested result are clearly outlined in the 20th Amendment of the Constitution.  Trump’s term as president ends at noon on January 20th, 2021 – period.  He must have clearly won reelection to be re-inaugurated.

Without going into all the details (this case may be even more complicated as Biden may be incapacitated after winning, but before taking office), the House of Representative has the authority to choose an acting president if the Electoral College is unable to pick a president and vice president in time.  That person will remain acting president until the mess is cleared up.  If necessary, the Senate picks the vice president.

Therefore, there is little room for the type of ambiguity that would allow Trump to remain in office and force a military operation.  It is very doubtful that the military would rally around an illegal Trump or Biden presidency in the clear outcome of an election or vote by the House of Representatives for an acting president.

Condemnation of the article was from both sides of the political spectrum.

Kori Schake of the American Enterprise Institute, who authored a book with General Mattis on the Civilian-Military divide, said “the Constitution is clear on it. The law is clear on it.  The Congress is in the driver’s seat.”

Retired Army General Raymond Thomas, former head of the US Special Operations Command tweeted that the article was “really irresponsible.”

 

Succession?

Although the law and the Constitution clearly leave the military out of the 2020 presidential election, the New York Times did raise a situation that might involve the military in a post-election fracas.

NYT reporter Ben Smith reported on August 2, that a group of former government officials called the Transition Integrity Project had gamed several scenarios for the election.  One was where Trump wins the electoral vote but loses the popular vote to Biden.  The narrow lose by Biden comes from a close vote in Pennsylvania, which takes weeks of recounting the votes.

Rather than concede, the person who was acting as Biden in the game (John Podesta, former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman) claimed voter suppression and persuaded the Democratic governors of Wisconsin and Michigan to appoint pro-Biden electors.

According to the NYT, “In that scenario, California, Oregon, and Washington then threatened to secede from the United States if Trump took office as planned.  The House named Mr. Biden as president; the Senate and White House stuck with Mr. Trump.  At that point in the scenario, the nation stopped looking to the media for clues and waited to see what the military would do.”

Again, this could be a trial balloon.  And, as in the earlier scenario, state laws are clear that the winner of that state’s presidential vote have their electors vote for the state’s winner.

This leaves the threat of California, Oregon, and Washington seceding.  All three states threatened it after the 2016 election and California even went so far as to circulate a petition to put it on the 2018 ballot (the petition failed to get enough signatures from California voters).

The secession of these three states would have dramatic strategic consequences.  The Navy’s largest Pacific port is in San Diego.  If Hawaii were to secede (likely if states start to leave the US), that will take the Naval Base at Pearl Harbor out too – leaving the US with no major naval facilities in the Pacific.   This would be disastrous at a time when the US and China are clearly positioning themselves for a potential war.

In such a situation, Trump may be willing to let some of the states secede but would insist that the naval ports along the Pacific Coast and other Army, Air Force, and Marine bases remain in US hands.  This would undoubtedly include reinforcing these facilities from the encroachment by any of the state forces.

It is quite possible that the states and the federal government would come to an agreement giving the federal government long term leases on the facilities.

Or the states may prefer to occupy these military bases themselves.

It is interesting to note that the US Civil War begun in the same way, when the US federal government reinforced the fort in Charleston, South Carolina’s harbor in the days leading up to hostilities.  It was when Confederate forces began bombarding the fort (Fort Sumter) that the Civil War began.

Although threats made in the days leading up to a presidential election are common, these issues must be considered.

America is in the middle of growing civil unrest.  Several cities like Portland, Chicago, New York City, and Seattle have become nearly ungovernable due to constant protests and some riots.  When Trump called on federal police to go to Portland to protect the federal courthouse, many agencies in the government did not want to become involved.

There are many unresolved issues in this election.  While past presidential elections have been resolved on Election Night, this one may take weeks before a winner is declared.  Democrats are pushing for more clarity and guarantees in the election process, while the Republicans are fighting widespread use of mail in ballots.

And there is the ongoing Covid virus issue that overshadows everything.

The longer that it takes to declare a clear winner (if possible) the greater the risk of more unrest.

It is quite possible that gunfire will punctuate this election season.  However, the gunfire is unlikely to be coming from the military.

Week of August 26, 2020

Will the US Military Intervene in the 2020 Election?

 

As the November presidential election grows nearer, the number of theories about what will happen continue to grow.  Charges about fraudulent ballots and denying citizens the opportunity to vote are heard on a nearly continuous basis.

One of the more interesting theories is that in the election confusion, President Trump will refuse to leave office.  This led two retired Army officers (Col. Paul Yingling and Lt. Col. John Nagl) to pen a story in Defense One calling on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, to order to military to remove the president should he refuse to accept defeat and leave the White House.

The authors wrote, “As the senior military officer of the United States, the choice between these two options lies with you…In the Constitutional crisis described above, your duty is to give unambiguous orders directing US military forces to support the Constitutional transfer of power.  Should you remain silent, you will be complicit in a coup d’état.”  They went on to mention that the chainman was already complicit in the use of military force against protestors in front of the White House.

Although the article was perceived as a trial balloon set up by pro-Biden people, it raised some interesting observations by those who served in the US Military Officer Corps.

This article was written by two very junior members of the retired officer corps.

In over 244 years, there has never been a threat of a military involvement in a presidential election.  And nearly everyone seems in agreement in that.  Giving the military any role would only open the door to more intrusive actions in the future.

In the US, the dividing line between civilian control of government and the military is noticeably clear.  In 1952, General Dwight Eisenhower even had to resign his position as a retired general to become president.  It was only after he left office that President Kennedy reappointed him to the rank of General of the Army – thus reinstating his military pension.

Although there has been much made about the ambiguity that this election may create, the rules that govern a contested result are clearly outlined in the 20th Amendment of the Constitution.  Trump’s term as president ends at noon on January 20th, 2021 – period.  He must have clearly won reelection to be re-inaugurated.

Without going into all the details (this case may be even more complicated as Biden may be incapacitated after winning, but before taking office), the House of Representative has the authority to choose an acting president if the Electoral College is unable to pick a president and vice president in time.  That person will remain acting president until the mess is cleared up.  If necessary, the Senate picks the vice president.

Therefore, there is little room for the type of ambiguity that would allow Trump to remain in office and force a military operation.  It is very doubtful that the military would rally around an illegal Trump or Biden presidency in the clear outcome of an election or vote by the House of Representatives for an acting president.

Condemnation of the article was from both sides of the political spectrum.

Kori Schake of the American Enterprise Institute, who authored a book with General Mattis on the Civilian-Military divide, said “the Constitution is clear on it. The law is clear on it.  The Congress is in the driver’s seat.”

Retired Army General Raymond Thomas, former head of the US Special Operations Command tweeted that the article was “really irresponsible.”

 

Succession?

Although the law and the Constitution clearly leave the military out of the 2020 presidential election, the New York Times did raise a situation that might involve the military in a post-election fracas.

NYT reporter Ben Smith reported on August 2, that a group of former government officials called the Transition Integrity Project had gamed several scenarios for the election.  One was where Trump wins the electoral vote but loses the popular vote to Biden.  The narrow lose by Biden comes from a close vote in Pennsylvania, which takes weeks of recounting the votes.

Rather than concede, the person who was acting as Biden in the game (John Podesta, former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman) claimed voter suppression and persuaded the Democratic governors of Wisconsin and Michigan to appoint pro-Biden electors.

According to the NYT, “In that scenario, California, Oregon, and Washington then threatened to secede from the United States if Trump took office as planned.  The House named Mr. Biden as president; the Senate and White House stuck with Mr. Trump.  At that point in the scenario, the nation stopped looking to the media for clues and waited to see what the military would do.”

Again, this could be a trial balloon.  And, as in the earlier scenario, state laws are clear that the winner of that state’s presidential vote have their electors vote for the state’s winner.

This leaves the threat of California, Oregon, and Washington seceding.  All three states threatened it after the 2016 election and California even went so far as to circulate a petition to put it on the 2018 ballot (the petition failed to get enough signatures from California voters).

The secession of these three states would have dramatic strategic consequences.  The Navy’s largest Pacific port is in San Diego.  If Hawaii were to secede (likely if states start to leave the US), that will take the Naval Base at Pearl Harbor out too – leaving the US with no major naval facilities in the Pacific.   This would be disastrous at a time when the US and China are clearly positioning themselves for a potential war.

In such a situation, Trump may be willing to let some of the states secede but would insist that the naval ports along the Pacific Coast and other Army, Air Force, and Marine bases remain in US hands.  This would undoubtedly include reinforcing these facilities from the encroachment by any of the state forces.

It is quite possible that the states and the federal government would come to an agreement giving the federal government long term leases on the facilities.

Or the states may prefer to occupy these military bases themselves.

It is interesting to note that the US Civil War begun in the same way, when the US federal government reinforced the fort in Charleston, South Carolina’s harbor in the days leading up to hostilities.  It was when Confederate forces began bombarding the fort (Fort Sumter) that the Civil War began.

Although threats made in the days leading up to a presidential election are common, these issues must be considered.

America is in the middle of growing civil unrest.  Several cities like Portland, Chicago, New York City, and Seattle have become nearly ungovernable due to constant protests and some riots.  When Trump called on federal police to go to Portland to protect the federal courthouse, many agencies in the government did not want to become involved.

There are many unresolved issues in this election.  While past presidential elections have been resolved on Election Night, this one may take weeks before a winner is declared.  Democrats are pushing for more clarity and guarantees in the election process, while the Republicans are fighting widespread use of mail in ballots.

And there is the ongoing Covid virus issue that overshadows everything.

The longer that it takes to declare a clear winner (if possible) the greater the risk of more unrest.

It is quite possible that gunfire will punctuate this election season.  However, the gunfire is unlikely to be coming from the military.

Analysis 08-19-2020

ANALYSIS

Biden Picks a Running Mate

 

The last piece for the 2020 presidential election has been put in place – the choice of Biden’s vice-presidential running mate.  The choice is junior California Senator Kamala Harris, who had run for the presidential nomination, but had pulled out due to low polling numbers.

The comments from the different parts of the political spectrum were to be expected.  Democrats and the most media outlets were excited and saw Harris as the ideal choice.  Republicans and the conservative media saw her as a potential drag on the Biden ticket.

Harris is 55 years old and a lawyer from California.  Both of her parents are immigrants – the mother from India and the father from Jamaica.  She was California Attorney General from 2010 to 2017, when she was elected to the US Senate.

One of the first demands of a vice presidential running mate is to balance the ticket.  And, she has done that in many ways.  She is 22 years younger than Biden.  She comes from the West, while Biden is from the Eastern United States.  While Biden is considered moderate, she is well known for her many liberal and progressive stands but not considered as part of the growing left-wing progressive wing of the party.

She also brings several things to the race that it is hoped will excite the electorate.  She has an Indian background, which will probably excite the Indian community in the US.  India is a major source of professional immigrants into the US.

Harris is the daughter of two immigrants, which will allow the Biden-Harris ticket to draw a clear line between their open borders policy and Trump’s policy of limiting immigration.

As California’s Attorney General, she can claim to be a “law and order” candidate at a time when violent crime in America is on the rise.

Finally, the Harris candidacy can be shown as a “look towards the future with a new generation ready to take the reins of leadership.”

Although Biden was praised for this choice, it is well known that she wasn’t his first choice.  During the campaign, Biden had promised to pick a woman as a running mate.  Soon, elements in the Democratic Party had demanded that the woman should be a “person of color.”

This seriously limited Biden’s choice.  He needed to have a running mate of national stature, who could take over if necessary.  He was left with several black congresswomen who had far left leaning ideologies and a woman who had lost the race for governor in Georgia.

Biden clicked well with Michigan’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, according to Obama senior advisor David Axelrod.  She also would be able to bring her state, Michigan, back into the Democratic fold after voting for Trump in 2016.  Winning Michigan is critical to Biden’s electoral strategy.

The problem was that Whitmer is white and her policies are more moderate.  And, Biden needed someone with more progressive policies to provide an ideological balance to the ticket.  Without that, the left wing of the Democratic Party would not have been energized enough to vote.

In the end, Harris was seen as the candidate that would do the least harm.

Although Harris will be portrayed as an African-American child of immigrants who had to struggle to get to where she is, the truth is a bit different.  She has nothing in common with the African-American experience of poverty and segregation since her parents aren’t from the US.

She is from an affluent, educated family.  Her mother is a high-caste East Indian breast cancer scientist.  Her father was a Jamaican born economist who is a professor emeritus at Stanford University.  She spent years growing up out of the US in countries like Canada.

Despite the media calling Harris a moderate, her record is quite progressive.  Her voting record in the 116th Senate was more liberal than 97% of Democratic senators.  Only Senators Sanders and Warren (both presidential candidates in this cycle) were more liberal.

In terms of immigration, she says undocumented immigrants aren’t criminals.  She wants government controlled medical care for Americans.  She wants to ban all offshore drilling and fracking for oil.  She wants American energy to be “carbon neutral by 2030.

One stance that may spell trouble for the Biden/Harris ticket is her stand on the Second Amendment, which guarantees Americans right to own firearms.  She is anti-gun and has stated that if she were president, she would sign an executive order banning “assault weapons” and high capacity magazines.  She also supported other anti-gun legislation while Attorney General of California.

Her attitude on advancing gun laws was evident in the August 2019 Democratic debate when Biden pointed out that the president doesn’t have the constitutional authority to rewrite gun laws by executive order without Congress.  Kamala Harris laughed and said, “Oh, Joe, yes we can.”

Given that in the past 8 months 10 million Americans have become first time gun owners and many of the guns that were purchased were “assault weapons,” this will not go down well with a large block of voters.  A Rasmussen poll conducted this week showed that likely voter support for gun control has dropped 12 points in the last year.  Forty-seven percent of likely voters said they or someone in their household owns a firearm.  In gun owning households, 27% said they or someone in the household had purchased a firearm within the last 6 months.

In addition, the threat to use executive orders rather than the legislative process will also be a concern since she could very well become president within four years..

While the political positions of a vice president may not be a major concern, given Biden’s age and mental state, it is quite possible that she could be president in the next four years through the 25thAmendment.

The 25th Amendment sets the rules for declaring the president unable to fulfill the office.  And it is the vice president who determines what happens.  If the VP determines that the president can’t fulfill the office of president, he or she, with the approval of the majority of the Cabinet, can step in as acting president.

There are some roadblocks to the process.  The president can oppose the action, which sends it to Congress, which must vote by a 2/3 majority that the president can’t fulfill the office.

Here’s where the actions behind the scenes are important.  Has Harris had discussions on this subject and is there an informal agreement in place?

Obviously, those who are determining Biden policy now are likely to be unwilling to see a Harris acting presidency where they would be “out of power.”  Would they give Harris a say in national policy in return for not declaring Biden unfit for office?  Would they make sure the Cabinet is so loyal to Biden that Harris would be unable to muster a majority?  Would Harris keep them in the White House?

There’s also the question of obtaining the 2/3 majority in the House and Senate.  Would Republicans, aware of her left leaning agenda, vote to make her acting president, if Biden and his closest advisors oppose it?  An incapacitated Biden would be preferable to a competent Harris.

Republicans might agree to her acting presidency in return for some agreements.  This occurred when Democrats voted to confirm Nelson Rockefeller as Vice President under President Gerald Ford in return for an agreement that Rockefeller would not run for president later.

On the other hand, some (including CNN News) have hinted that Biden will only be in office a small time before resigning, leaving the presidency to Harris.  This would allow a very progressive president to take office without having to run for the presidency or answer questions or undergo scrutiny about her agenda.

Of course, the political composition of the House and Senate may have an impact.  If the Republicans retake the House, a Biden resignation would leave a Republican Speaker of the House next in line for the Presidency.  And, a Republican Senate (if the GOP retains the Senate) would have to vote on a Harris choice of vice president.

There is also a question of what may happen between now and Inauguration Day 2021.  The Democratic Party leadership might have to pull Biden if his condition gets worse before Election Day.  The alternate could be Harris or another person.

If it becomes necessary to pull Biden after he wins the election, the decision would be up to the electors, who have the final say of who becomes president.

The fact that Biden is old and his declining mental condition is becoming common knowledge means that voters will be more likely to look at Harris and her policies before they vote.  If that is the case, her political stances will have much more importance than in normal presidential elections.

But we will not know how important they were until after November 3rd.

Week of August 19, 2020

Biden Picks a Running Mate

 

The last piece for the 2020 presidential election has been put in place – the choice of Biden’s vice-presidential running mate.  The choice is junior California Senator Kamala Harris, who had run for the presidential nomination, but had pulled out due to low polling numbers.

The comments from the different parts of the political spectrum were to be expected.  Democrats and the most media outlets were excited and saw Harris as the ideal choice.  Republicans and the conservative media saw her as a potential drag on the Biden ticket.

Harris is 55 years old and a lawyer from California.  Both of her parents are immigrants – the mother from India and the father from Jamaica.  She was California Attorney General from 2010 to 2017, when she was elected to the US Senate.

One of the first demands of a vice presidential running mate is to balance the ticket.  And, she has done that in many ways.  She is 22 years younger than Biden.  She comes from the West, while Biden is from the Eastern United States.  While Biden is considered moderate, she is well known for her many liberal and progressive stands but not considered as part of the growing left-wing progressive wing of the party.

She also brings several things to the race that it is hoped will excite the electorate.  She has an Indian background, which will probably excite the Indian community in the US.  India is a major source of professional immigrants into the US.

Harris is the daughter of two immigrants, which will allow the Biden-Harris ticket to draw a clear line between their open borders policy and Trump’s policy of limiting immigration.

As California’s Attorney General, she can claim to be a “law and order” candidate at a time when violent crime in America is on the rise.

Finally, the Harris candidacy can be shown as a “look towards the future with a new generation ready to take the reins of leadership.”

Although Biden was praised for this choice, it is well known that she wasn’t his first choice.  During the campaign, Biden had promised to pick a woman as a running mate.  Soon, elements in the Democratic Party had demanded that the woman should be a “person of color.”

This seriously limited Biden’s choice.  He needed to have a running mate of national stature, who could take over if necessary.  He was left with several black congresswomen who had far left leaning ideologies and a woman who had lost the race for governor in Georgia.

Biden clicked well with Michigan’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, according to Obama senior advisor David Axelrod.  She also would be able to bring her state, Michigan, back into the Democratic fold after voting for Trump in 2016.  Winning Michigan is critical to Biden’s electoral strategy.

The problem was that Whitmer is white and her policies are more moderate.  And, Biden needed someone with more progressive policies to provide an ideological balance to the ticket.  Without that, the left wing of the Democratic Party would not have been energized enough to vote.

In the end, Harris was seen as the candidate that would do the least harm.

Although Harris will be portrayed as an African-American child of immigrants who had to struggle to get to where she is, the truth is a bit different.  She has nothing in common with the African-American experience of poverty and segregation since her parents aren’t from the US.

She is from an affluent, educated family.  Her mother is a high-caste East Indian breast cancer scientist.  Her father was a Jamaican born economist who is a professor emeritus at Stanford University.  She spent years growing up out of the US in countries like Canada.

Despite the media calling Harris a moderate, her record is quite progressive.  Her voting record in the 116th Senate was more liberal than 97% of Democratic senators.  Only Senators Sanders and Warren (both presidential candidates in this cycle) were more liberal.

In terms of immigration, she says undocumented immigrants aren’t criminals.  She wants government controlled medical care for Americans.  She wants to ban all offshore drilling and fracking for oil.  She wants American energy to be “carbon neutral by 2030.

One stance that may spell trouble for the Biden/Harris ticket is her stand on the Second Amendment, which guarantees Americans right to own firearms.  She is anti-gun and has stated that if she were president, she would sign an executive order banning “assault weapons” and high capacity magazines.  She also supported other anti-gun legislation while Attorney General of California.

Her attitude on advancing gun laws was evident in the August 2019 Democratic debate when Biden pointed out that the president doesn’t have the constitutional authority to rewrite gun laws by executive order without Congress.  Kamala Harris laughed and said, “Oh, Joe, yes we can.”

Given that in the past 8 months 10 million Americans have become first time gun owners and many of the guns that were purchased were “assault weapons,” this will not go down well with a large block of voters.  A Rasmussen poll conducted this week showed that likely voter support for gun control has dropped 12 points in the last year.  Forty-seven percent of likely voters said they or someone in their household owns a firearm.  In gun owning households, 27% said they or someone in the household had purchased a firearm within the last 6 months.

In addition, the threat to use executive orders rather than the legislative process will also be a concern since she could very well become president within four years..

While the political positions of a vice president may not be a major concern, given Biden’s age and mental state, it is quite possible that she could be president in the next four years through the 25thAmendment.

The 25th Amendment sets the rules for declaring the president unable to fulfill the office.  And it is the vice president who determines what happens.  If the VP determines that the president can’t fulfill the office of president, he or she, with the approval of the majority of the Cabinet, can step in as acting president.

There are some roadblocks to the process.  The president can oppose the action, which sends it to Congress, which must vote by a 2/3 majority that the president can’t fulfill the office.

Here’s where the actions behind the scenes are important.  Has Harris had discussions on this subject and is there an informal agreement in place?

Obviously, those who are determining Biden policy now are likely to be unwilling to see a Harris acting presidency where they would be “out of power.”  Would they give Harris a say in national policy in return for not declaring Biden unfit for office?  Would they make sure the Cabinet is so loyal to Biden that Harris would be unable to muster a majority?  Would Harris keep them in the White House?

There’s also the question of obtaining the 2/3 majority in the House and Senate.  Would Republicans, aware of her left leaning agenda, vote to make her acting president, if Biden and his closest advisors oppose it?  An incapacitated Biden would be preferable to a competent Harris.

Republicans might agree to her acting presidency in return for some agreements.  This occurred when Democrats voted to confirm Nelson Rockefeller as Vice President under President Gerald Ford in return for an agreement that Rockefeller would not run for president later.

On the other hand, some (including CNN News) have hinted that Biden will only be in office a small time before resigning, leaving the presidency to Harris.  This would allow a very progressive president to take office without having to run for the presidency or answer questions or undergo scrutiny about her agenda.

Of course, the political composition of the House and Senate may have an impact.  If the Republicans retake the House, a Biden resignation would leave a Republican Speaker of the House next in line for the Presidency.  And, a Republican Senate (if the GOP retains the Senate) would have to vote on a Harris choice of vice president.

There is also a question of what may happen between now and Inauguration Day 2021.  The Democratic Party leadership might have to pull Biden if his condition gets worse before Election Day.  The alternate could be Harris or another person.

If it becomes necessary to pull Biden after he wins the election, the decision would be up to the electors, who have the final say of who becomes president.

The fact that Biden is old and his declining mental condition is becoming common knowledge means that voters will be more likely to look at Harris and her policies before they vote.  If that is the case, her political stances will have much more importance than in normal presidential elections.

But we will not know how important they were until after November 3rd.

2020-19-08-التحليل

التحليل

هل بإمكان كامالا هاريس نجدة حملة بايدن؟

د. منذر سليمان وجعفر الجعفري

من بين أبرز التحديات التي تعانيها حملة المرشح الديمقراطي جوزيف بايدن صدقية صاحبها وأهليته، فضلاً عن انحسار تأييده بين أهم قطاعين للحزب، وهما قطاع المرأة والسود أو الأفارقة الأميركيين، اللذين يُؤمل زيادة إقبالهما على مراكز الاقتراع.

الاعتبارات التي أدت لاختيار بايدن لكمالا هاريس نائبة له متعددة، خصوصاً وأنها انتقدته بشدة خلال المرحلة التمهيدية من الانتخابات، مسلّطة الضوء على سجلّه في معارضة “نقل طلبة المدارس السود بالباصات إلى أخرى ميسورة وأفضل علماً”، ومتحدثة عن تجربتها الشخصية كطفلة في المدارس الابتدائية. علاوة على ذلك، فإن ذكريات سجلّه في محاباة خيارات المؤسسة الحاكمة على حساب مصالح الأقليات ما زالت غضّة عند المتضررين من قراراته آنذاك، من خلال إهمال اتهامات التحرش الجنسي التي ساقتها المتدربة في السلك القضائي أنيتا هيل ضد المرشح لعضوية المحكمة العليا كلارينس توماس. بايدن كان يرأس اللجنة القانونية ورفض الاستماع لشهادة السيدة هيل في مجلس الشيوخ آنذاك.

أقطاب الحزب الديموقراطي وقياداته رحّبوا بشدة باختيار هاريس، مروّجين لخبرتها في مجال “تطبيق القانون” كمدّعية عامة لولاية كاليفورنيا، التي يؤمل استثمارها لأبعد الحدود لقطع الطريق على اتهامات الخصم الجمهوري بأنه غير جاد في تطبيق القانون.

وقابلها التيار الليبرالي والتقدمي، ولا سيما أنصار المرشح السابق بيرني ساندرز، بالريبة والحذر من انحيازها المطلق إلى جانب أجهزة الشرطة والأمن، وارتفاع أعداد المعتقلين من الأقليات والسود خلال ولايتها لنحو 200 ألف اكتظّت بهم السجون والمعتقلات، ولدورها المحوري في تقديم “اعتراض قانوني” ضد قرار قاضٍ عدّ “عقوبة الإعدام غير دستورية”، في مفارقة ادعائها بأنها تعارض عقوبة الإعدام.

وسائل الإعلام الرئيسيّة، المرئية والمقروءة على نحو خاص، احتفت بها من خلال تناول مزاياها الشخصية كإمرأة سوداء، خطيبة مفوّهة ومُناظِرة قوية يعوّل عليها قادة الحزب في التصدي لنائب الرئيس مايك بنس. كما يتطلع أولئك القادة إلى استثمار دورها في مجلس الشيوخ من خلال براعة استجوابها لمرشحَي الرئيس ترامب، بريت كافانو للمحكمة العليا، وجيف سشينس لوزارة العدل.

أثبتت هاريس أيضاً قدرتها على جمع التبرعات من كبار المموّلين، خلال حملتها الانتخابية القصيرة، وعلى دعم “وول ستريت” لها، على قاعدة أنها تمثل “يسار الوسط والأكثر اعتدالاً بين المرشحين الآخرين”، الذين أعربوا عن نيتهم فرض قيود جديدة على حركة تبادل الأسهم  ورؤوس الأموال.

تبلغ هاريس من العمر 55 عاماً، وتصغر المرشح الرئاسي جو بايدن بنحو 22 عام، آتية من الساحل الغربي للولايات المتحدة، ما يعزّز سردية الحزب الديموقراطي بأن المرشحيْن يكملان بعضهما بعضاً ليس من الناحية الجغرافية فحسب، بل لاعتبارات تنوع العرق وحداثة العمر وتقارب التوجهات السياسية أيضاً، ما يضعها في بؤرة أكبر مراكز القوى حساسية ونفوذاً.

يراهن الحزب الديموقراطي على استثمار أصولها الهندية والجامايكية لتحفيز الأقليات على المشاركة بأعداد كبيرة، وإقناع الناخبين بانفتاح الحزب واعتداله مقابل تصلّب الحزب الجمهوري وعنصريته ضد الأقليات التي شرّعها الرئيس ترامب.

بايدن من ناحيته كان يميل لاختيار امرأة أخرى، من البيض والمؤثّرين في بلورة سياسات الحزب الديموقراطي، حاكمة ولاية مشيغان غريتشن ويتمر، التي نالت غضب الرئيس ترامب لإصرارها على التمسك بإرشادات المراجع العلمية والطبية بارتداء الأقنعة في عموم الولاية، ما دفع الرئيس ترامب إلى حشد مؤيديه مدجّجين بالأسلحة والتظاهر أمام مقر حاكم الولاية.

ولاية مشيغان تعد ضمن قائمة الولايات الحاسمة في الانتخابات، واختيار حاكمتها لو قُدّر لبايدن ذلك كان سيعود بفوائد جمّة على نتائج الانتخابات، علاوة على تأييد ولايات محورية أخرى لها كجارتها ويسكونسن.

بايدن وقادة الحزب الديموقراطي، وخصوصاً الرئيس السابق باراك أوباما، ابتعدوا عن اختيار ويتمر لاعتبارات سياسية صرفة، إذ تميل في توجهاتها إلى التيار الليبرالي والتقدمي مقابل شروط الحزب لعنصر يضمن استمرارية سياسات المؤسسة الأمّ بعيداً عن “مطالب القوى التقدمية باعتماد سياسات أقرب للقوى المتضررة” من سياسات العولمة التي ينشدها الحزب، بقطبيه بيرني ساندرز، واليزابيث ووران.

أشدّ ما يخشاه الحزب الجمهوري هو تراجع الحالة الذهنية للمرشح جو بايدن، مما يتطلب تفعيل المادة الـ 25 من تعديلات الدستور بإعلانه “غير قادر على ممارسة مهمّاته”، وهو الشرط المنوط بنائب الرئيس، وتولّي كامالا هاريس منصب الرئيس رسمياً. إفشال ذلك أو إلغاوه يتطلب موافقة (ثلثي) 2/3 أعضاء مجلسَي الكونغرس.

قلق الجمهوريين له ما يبرره، وخصوصاً لتولي امرأة “ملونة” وليبرالية منصب الرئاسة، في تحدٍ صارخٍ للمعايير السائدة منذ ولادة الكيان السياسي الأميركي بحصر مركز الرئاسة برجل أبيض من أصول بريطانية يدين بمذهب البروتستانت، White Anglo-Saxon Protestant، يشاطرهم في ذلك تيار لا بأس به من المحافظين في الحزب الديموقراطي.

قادة الحزبين، الديموقراطي والجمهوري، يتقاطعان في رؤيتهما لمستقبل جو بايدن بناء على تراجع أهليته الذهنية، والذي قد يضطر للتخلي عن المنصب قبل الانتخابات المقررة في 3 تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر المقبل، أو قبل مراسم التنصيب في 21 كانون الثاني/ يناير 2021، ما سيعيد الحسابات مرة أخرى بإبقاء هاريس مرشحة للحزب أو استبدالها بشخصية أخرى.

2020-19-08-التقرير الأسبوعي

هل بإمكان كامالا هاريس نجدة حملة بايدن؟

د. منذر سليمان وجعفر الجعفري

من بين أبرز التحديات التي تعانيها حملة المرشح الديمقراطي جوزيف بايدن صدقية صاحبها وأهليته، فضلاً عن انحسار تأييده بين أهم قطاعين للحزب، وهما قطاع المرأة والسود أو الأفارقة الأميركيين، اللذين يُؤمل زيادة إقبالهما على مراكز الاقتراع.

الاعتبارات التي أدت لاختيار بايدن لكمالا هاريس نائبة له متعددة، خصوصاً وأنها انتقدته بشدة خلال المرحلة التمهيدية من الانتخابات، مسلّطة الضوء على سجلّه في معارضة “نقل طلبة المدارس السود بالباصات إلى أخرى ميسورة وأفضل علماً”، ومتحدثة عن تجربتها الشخصية كطفلة في المدارس الابتدائية. علاوة على ذلك، فإن ذكريات سجلّه في محاباة خيارات المؤسسة الحاكمة على حساب مصالح الأقليات ما زالت غضّة عند المتضررين من قراراته آنذاك، من خلال إهمال اتهامات التحرش الجنسي التي ساقتها المتدربة في السلك القضائي أنيتا هيل ضد المرشح لعضوية المحكمة العليا كلارينس توماس. بايدن كان يرأس اللجنة القانونية ورفض الاستماع لشهادة السيدة هيل في مجلس الشيوخ آنذاك.

أقطاب الحزب الديموقراطي وقياداته رحّبوا بشدة باختيار هاريس، مروّجين لخبرتها في مجال “تطبيق القانون” كمدّعية عامة لولاية كاليفورنيا، التي يؤمل استثمارها لأبعد الحدود لقطع الطريق على اتهامات الخصم الجمهوري بأنه غير جاد في تطبيق القانون.

وقابلها التيار الليبرالي والتقدمي، ولا سيما أنصار المرشح السابق بيرني ساندرز، بالريبة والحذر من انحيازها المطلق إلى جانب أجهزة الشرطة والأمن، وارتفاع أعداد المعتقلين من الأقليات والسود خلال ولايتها لنحو 200 ألف اكتظّت بهم السجون والمعتقلات، ولدورها المحوري في تقديم “اعتراض قانوني” ضد قرار قاضٍ عدّ “عقوبة الإعدام غير دستورية”، في مفارقة ادعائها بأنها تعارض عقوبة الإعدام.

وسائل الإعلام الرئيسيّة، المرئية والمقروءة على نحو خاص، احتفت بها من خلال تناول مزاياها الشخصية كإمرأة سوداء، خطيبة مفوّهة ومُناظِرة قوية يعوّل عليها قادة الحزب في التصدي لنائب الرئيس مايك بنس. كما يتطلع أولئك القادة إلى استثمار دورها في مجلس الشيوخ من خلال براعة استجوابها لمرشحَي الرئيس ترامب، بريت كافانو للمحكمة العليا، وجيف سشينس لوزارة العدل.

أثبتت هاريس أيضاً قدرتها على جمع التبرعات من كبار المموّلين، خلال حملتها الانتخابية القصيرة، وعلى دعم “وول ستريت” لها، على قاعدة أنها تمثل “يسار الوسط والأكثر اعتدالاً بين المرشحين الآخرين”، الذين أعربوا عن نيتهم فرض قيود جديدة على حركة تبادل الأسهم  ورؤوس الأموال.

تبلغ هاريس من العمر 55 عاماً، وتصغر المرشح الرئاسي جو بايدن بنحو 22 عام، آتية من الساحل الغربي للولايات المتحدة، ما يعزّز سردية الحزب الديموقراطي بأن المرشحيْن يكملان بعضهما بعضاً ليس من الناحية الجغرافية فحسب، بل لاعتبارات تنوع العرق وحداثة العمر وتقارب التوجهات السياسية أيضاً، ما يضعها في بؤرة أكبر مراكز القوى حساسية ونفوذاً.

يراهن الحزب الديموقراطي على استثمار أصولها الهندية والجامايكية لتحفيز الأقليات على المشاركة بأعداد كبيرة، وإقناع الناخبين بانفتاح الحزب واعتداله مقابل تصلّب الحزب الجمهوري وعنصريته ضد الأقليات التي شرّعها الرئيس ترامب.

بايدن من ناحيته كان يميل لاختيار امرأة أخرى، من البيض والمؤثّرين في بلورة سياسات الحزب الديموقراطي، حاكمة ولاية مشيغان غريتشن ويتمر، التي نالت غضب الرئيس ترامب لإصرارها على التمسك بإرشادات المراجع العلمية والطبية بارتداء الأقنعة في عموم الولاية، ما دفع الرئيس ترامب إلى حشد مؤيديه مدجّجين بالأسلحة والتظاهر أمام مقر حاكم الولاية.

ولاية مشيغان تعد ضمن قائمة الولايات الحاسمة في الانتخابات، واختيار حاكمتها لو قُدّر لبايدن ذلك كان سيعود بفوائد جمّة على نتائج الانتخابات، علاوة على تأييد ولايات محورية أخرى لها كجارتها ويسكونسن.

بايدن وقادة الحزب الديموقراطي، وخصوصاً الرئيس السابق باراك أوباما، ابتعدوا عن اختيار ويتمر لاعتبارات سياسية صرفة، إذ تميل في توجهاتها إلى التيار الليبرالي والتقدمي مقابل شروط الحزب لعنصر يضمن استمرارية سياسات المؤسسة الأمّ بعيداً عن “مطالب القوى التقدمية باعتماد سياسات أقرب للقوى المتضررة” من سياسات العولمة التي ينشدها الحزب، بقطبيه بيرني ساندرز، واليزابيث ووران.

أشدّ ما يخشاه الحزب الجمهوري هو تراجع الحالة الذهنية للمرشح جو بايدن، مما يتطلب تفعيل المادة الـ 25 من تعديلات الدستور بإعلانه “غير قادر على ممارسة مهمّاته”، وهو الشرط المنوط بنائب الرئيس، وتولّي كامالا هاريس منصب الرئيس رسمياً. إفشال ذلك أو إلغاوه يتطلب موافقة (ثلثي) 2/3 أعضاء مجلسَي الكونغرس.

قلق الجمهوريين له ما يبرره، وخصوصاً لتولي امرأة “ملونة” وليبرالية منصب الرئاسة، في تحدٍ صارخٍ للمعايير السائدة منذ ولادة الكيان السياسي الأميركي بحصر مركز الرئاسة برجل أبيض من أصول بريطانية يدين بمذهب البروتستانت، White Anglo-Saxon Protestant، يشاطرهم في ذلك تيار لا بأس به من المحافظين في الحزب الديموقراطي.

قادة الحزبين، الديموقراطي والجمهوري، يتقاطعان في رؤيتهما لمستقبل جو بايدن بناء على تراجع أهليته الذهنية، والذي قد يضطر للتخلي عن المنصب قبل الانتخابات المقررة في 3 تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر المقبل، أو قبل مراسم التنصيب في 21 كانون الثاني/ يناير 2021، ما سيعيد الحسابات مرة أخرى بإبقاء هاريس مرشحة للحزب أو استبدالها بشخصية أخرى.

2020-18-08-التحليل

التحليل

الإمارات تطبيع مجاني
لخدمة الأميركي

         إعلان البيت الأبيض “تطبيع الإمارات” علاقاتها مع تل أبيب، وما ينطوي عليه من تمثيل ديبلوماسي متبادل واتفاقيات واستثمارات اقتصادية، لم يكن لهما ما يبرّرهما، أو ليمثّلا مفاجأة في سياق الصراع العربي – الصهيوني نظراً إلى تهافت معظم دويلات الخليج على نسج علاقات وثيقة مع العدو “الإسرائيلي”، منذ زمن بعيد، وخصوصاً لما وُصف “بإنهاء حالة العداء والحرب” بين الطرفين، اللذيْن لم تنشب بينهما أي مواجهة عسكرية أو غيرها، وليس للإمارات حدود مشتركة مع فلسطين المحتلة.

        توقيت الإعلان يؤشر على حقيقة الأهداف الكامنة والجامعة بين الأطراف الثلاثة: حاجة كل من الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب وبنيامين نتنياهو إلى تسجيل “تقدم” سياسي لاستثماره في الحملات الانتخابية، الأول يعاني من شح الإنجازات وتراكم التحديات الداخلية والخارجية، والثاني يسعى على نحو محموم إلى التشبث بالسلطة وإبعاد شبح المحاكمة وقرارها بسجنه على خلفية قضايا فساد وتجاوزات أخلاقية. أمّا الطرف الثالث، أبو ظبي، فقد نذر نفسه لخدمة الخطط الأميركية في الوطن العربي أينما استطاع إلى ذلك سبيلاً، وخصوصاً في اليمن وليبيا والسودان.

        أميركياً، رأت المؤسسات الإعلامية والسياسية والنخب الفكرية أن “الاتفاق الإسرائيلي – الإماراتي”  حاجة “ماسّة لكلٍ من دونالد ترامب وبنيامين نتنياهو لتسجيل انتصار على صعيد السياسة الخارجية، وقد وافق الأخير على “تعليق” عملية بسط السيادة على أجزاء كبيرة من الضفة الغربية.”

        الرئيس ترامب وصف الأمر بأنه “اختراق هائل”، ونتنياهو عدّه “يوماً تاريخياً”. أما الحاكم الفعلي للإمارات محمد بن زايد، فقد فضّل الصمت “كي يترك باباً خلفياً للتراجع إذا اشتدت الانتقادات”، كما تعتقد أوساط الجالية اليهودية الأميركية، “لكنه يعلم بالتأكيد أن هناك كلفة سياسية كبيرة إذا تراجع، وخاصة مع اقتراب الانتخابات الأميركية”.

        من أبرز أبعاد انزلاق الإمارات لتنفيذ ما يُطلب منها أميركياً انها تأتي بتنسيق فاعل مع النظام السعودي ومتقدمة عليه في بعض التفاصيل لاعتبارات داخلية صرفة في ما يخص السلطة الدينية، التي تتماثل ببعض الحذر مع التوجهات السياسية للرياض، لكنها بحاجة إلى مزيد من الوقت بانتظار دراسة حجم وطبيعة ردود الأفعال على تلك الخطوة المكمّلة لنهج “كامب ديفيد”، الذي رعته وموّلته وعمّمته في الوطن العربي.

        تاريخ أسرة آل سعود في خدمة المشاريع الغربية ليس وليد اللحظة، وخصوصاً في ما يتعلق بالنضال الفلسطيني، الذي أجهضته الرياض منذ بداياته في ثورة العام 1936، وما استتبعها من مراحل نضالية متفاوتة، ومخاصمتها الشاملة للفكر التقدمي والتحرر القومي العربي.

        ليس من المبالغة القول إن أي خطوة تقدم عليها دويلات الخليج تجري بالتنسيق والرعاية السّعودية، التي لها أطماع غير كامنة في أراضي كل الكيانات السياسية في شبه جزيرة العرب، ولعل الكويت واليمن وقطر تمثّل عناوين حية لأهدافها.

        تأكيدا على ذلك، كشفت يومية “نيويورك تايمز”، 13 آب/أغسطس الجاري، أن “ولي العهد السعودي الأمير محمد بن سلمان، الحاكم الفعلي، يرغب في اتخاذ خطوة مماثلة، لكنه يخشى رد عناصر محافظة في بلاده، التي لا تتمتع بحرية الحركة نفسها لدولة مثل الإمارات”.

        وعليه، ليس من الإنصاف والحكمة التغاضي عن دور وقرار آل سعود في إجهاض كل ما يتعلق بالنزعات التحررية للشعوب العربية، التي سعت وما زالت تسعى للسيطرة على مواردها الطبيعية وتوزيع عائداتها بشكل أكثر عدلاً ومساواة، وتسخيرها في نهضة اقتصادية واجتماعية حقيقية.

       التقارب الإماراتي مع “إسرائيل” لم يأتِ مفاجئاً وخصوصا بعد تصريحات “مسؤولي الموساد” المتكررة بأنهم زاروا الإمارات مراراً، ولديهم علاقات مع الدول الخليجية منذ 50 عاماً، كما نقلت وسائل إعلاميّة غربيّة متعددة.

       ما لم يسلّط الضوء عليه على نحوٍ كافٍ هو العلاقة الجدلية بين المخزون البشري المتواضع جداً للإمارات مقارنة بالدور الإقليمي المتعاظم المنوط بها، وانتشارها عسكريا “بجنود وضباط من جنسيات عربية وأجنبية” على رقعة جغرافية مترامية الأطراف، وتدخلاتها المباشرة في سوريا واليمن وليبيا وفلسطين، التي شهدت وصول طائرات إماراتية محملة بالمعدات الطبية إليها بالتزامن مع انتشار جائحة كورونا، قيل إنها لمصلحة الفلسطينيين، والتي رفضها الغزاويون جملة وتفصيلاً.

       اتضح لاحقاً أن تلك الطائرات كانت تنقل “أسلحة إسرائيلية” إلى ليبيا واليمن، وتُسلّم معدات طبية متطورة “لإسرائيل” دفعت ثمنها أبو ظبي، وهي نحو 100 ألف جهاز لفحص فايروس  كورونا، برعاية ورضى واشنطن، بلا ريب.

       بيان الإعلان المشترك تحدث بوضوح عن ضرورة “زيادة التكامل الاقتصادي والتنسيق الأمني” بين أبو ظبي وتل أبيب، أي إن علاقات قائمة سبقت الإعلان ينبغي تطويرها لدرجة أعلى من “التكامل والتنسيق”.

       خطوة الإمارات التطبيعيّة ليست منفصلة عن سياق نهج التسوية والتنازلات التي دشّنها النظام العربي الرسمي بعد حرب أكتوبر/تشرين الأول 1973، وما استتبعها من اتفاقيات كامب ديفيد وأوسلو ووادي عربة، وتنبىء بخطوات مماثلة لدول خليجية، كالبحرين وعُمان والسعودية، مستغلة حالة التراجع في المد القومي وتشديد الحصار على القوى والفصائل المقاتلة المناهضة للمخططات الأميركية.

2020-18-08-التقرير الأسبوعي

الإمارات تطبيع مجاني
لخدمة الأميركي

         إعلان البيت الأبيض “تطبيع الإمارات” علاقاتها مع تل أبيب، وما ينطوي عليه من تمثيل ديبلوماسي متبادل واتفاقيات واستثمارات اقتصادية، لم يكن لهما ما يبرّرهما، أو ليمثّلا مفاجأة في سياق الصراع العربي – الصهيوني نظراً إلى تهافت معظم دويلات الخليج على نسج علاقات وثيقة مع العدو “الإسرائيلي”، منذ زمن بعيد، وخصوصاً لما وُصف “بإنهاء حالة العداء والحرب” بين الطرفين، اللذيْن لم تنشب بينهما أي مواجهة عسكرية أو غيرها، وليس للإمارات حدود مشتركة مع فلسطين المحتلة.

        توقيت الإعلان يؤشر على حقيقة الأهداف الكامنة والجامعة بين الأطراف الثلاثة: حاجة كل من الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب وبنيامين نتنياهو إلى تسجيل “تقدم” سياسي لاستثماره في الحملات الانتخابية، الأول يعاني من شح الإنجازات وتراكم التحديات الداخلية والخارجية، والثاني يسعى على نحو محموم إلى التشبث بالسلطة وإبعاد شبح المحاكمة وقرارها بسجنه على خلفية قضايا فساد وتجاوزات أخلاقية. أمّا الطرف الثالث، أبو ظبي، فقد نذر نفسه لخدمة الخطط الأميركية في الوطن العربي أينما استطاع إلى ذلك سبيلاً، وخصوصاً في اليمن وليبيا والسودان.

        أميركياً، رأت المؤسسات الإعلامية والسياسية والنخب الفكرية أن “الاتفاق الإسرائيلي – الإماراتي”  حاجة “ماسّة لكلٍ من دونالد ترامب وبنيامين نتنياهو لتسجيل انتصار على صعيد السياسة الخارجية، وقد وافق الأخير على “تعليق” عملية بسط السيادة على أجزاء كبيرة من الضفة الغربية.”

        الرئيس ترامب وصف الأمر بأنه “اختراق هائل”، ونتنياهو عدّه “يوماً تاريخياً”. أما الحاكم الفعلي للإمارات محمد بن زايد، فقد فضّل الصمت “كي يترك باباً خلفياً للتراجع إذا اشتدت الانتقادات”، كما تعتقد أوساط الجالية اليهودية الأميركية، “لكنه يعلم بالتأكيد أن هناك كلفة سياسية كبيرة إذا تراجع، وخاصة مع اقتراب الانتخابات الأميركية”.

        من أبرز أبعاد انزلاق الإمارات لتنفيذ ما يُطلب منها أميركياً انها تأتي بتنسيق فاعل مع النظام السعودي ومتقدمة عليه في بعض التفاصيل لاعتبارات داخلية صرفة في ما يخص السلطة الدينية، التي تتماثل ببعض الحذر مع التوجهات السياسية للرياض، لكنها بحاجة إلى مزيد من الوقت بانتظار دراسة حجم وطبيعة ردود الأفعال على تلك الخطوة المكمّلة لنهج “كامب ديفيد”، الذي رعته وموّلته وعمّمته في الوطن العربي.

        تاريخ أسرة آل سعود في خدمة المشاريع الغربية ليس وليد اللحظة، وخصوصاً في ما يتعلق بالنضال الفلسطيني، الذي أجهضته الرياض منذ بداياته في ثورة العام 1936، وما استتبعها من مراحل نضالية متفاوتة، ومخاصمتها الشاملة للفكر التقدمي والتحرر القومي العربي.

        ليس من المبالغة القول إن أي خطوة تقدم عليها دويلات الخليج تجري بالتنسيق والرعاية السّعودية، التي لها أطماع غير كامنة في أراضي كل الكيانات السياسية في شبه جزيرة العرب، ولعل الكويت واليمن وقطر تمثّل عناوين حية لأهدافها.

        تأكيدا على ذلك، كشفت يومية “نيويورك تايمز”، 13 آب/أغسطس الجاري، أن “ولي العهد السعودي الأمير محمد بن سلمان، الحاكم الفعلي، يرغب في اتخاذ خطوة مماثلة، لكنه يخشى رد عناصر محافظة في بلاده، التي لا تتمتع بحرية الحركة نفسها لدولة مثل الإمارات”.

        وعليه، ليس من الإنصاف والحكمة التغاضي عن دور وقرار آل سعود في إجهاض كل ما يتعلق بالنزعات التحررية للشعوب العربية، التي سعت وما زالت تسعى للسيطرة على مواردها الطبيعية وتوزيع عائداتها بشكل أكثر عدلاً ومساواة، وتسخيرها في نهضة اقتصادية واجتماعية حقيقية.

       التقارب الإماراتي مع “إسرائيل” لم يأتِ مفاجئاً وخصوصا بعد تصريحات “مسؤولي الموساد” المتكررة بأنهم زاروا الإمارات مراراً، ولديهم علاقات مع الدول الخليجية منذ 50 عاماً، كما نقلت وسائل إعلاميّة غربيّة متعددة.

       ما لم يسلّط الضوء عليه على نحوٍ كافٍ هو العلاقة الجدلية بين المخزون البشري المتواضع جداً للإمارات مقارنة بالدور الإقليمي المتعاظم المنوط بها، وانتشارها عسكريا “بجنود وضباط من جنسيات عربية وأجنبية” على رقعة جغرافية مترامية الأطراف، وتدخلاتها المباشرة في سوريا واليمن وليبيا وفلسطين، التي شهدت وصول طائرات إماراتية محملة بالمعدات الطبية إليها بالتزامن مع انتشار جائحة كورونا، قيل إنها لمصلحة الفلسطينيين، والتي رفضها الغزاويون جملة وتفصيلاً.

       اتضح لاحقاً أن تلك الطائرات كانت تنقل “أسلحة إسرائيلية” إلى ليبيا واليمن، وتُسلّم معدات طبية متطورة “لإسرائيل” دفعت ثمنها أبو ظبي، وهي نحو 100 ألف جهاز لفحص فايروس  كورونا، برعاية ورضى واشنطن، بلا ريب.

       بيان الإعلان المشترك تحدث بوضوح عن ضرورة “زيادة التكامل الاقتصادي والتنسيق الأمني” بين أبو ظبي وتل أبيب، أي إن علاقات قائمة سبقت الإعلان ينبغي تطويرها لدرجة أعلى من “التكامل والتنسيق”.

       خطوة الإمارات التطبيعيّة ليست منفصلة عن سياق نهج التسوية والتنازلات التي دشّنها النظام العربي الرسمي بعد حرب أكتوبر/تشرين الأول 1973، وما استتبعها من اتفاقيات كامب ديفيد وأوسلو ووادي عربة، وتنبىء بخطوات مماثلة لدول خليجية، كالبحرين وعُمان والسعودية، مستغلة حالة التراجع في المد القومي وتشديد الحصار على القوى والفصائل المقاتلة المناهضة للمخططات الأميركية.

Analysis 08-03-2020

ANALYSIS

US Redeploys its Forces in Europe

 

This week, the American Secretary of Defense Mark Esper outlined the new US European Command Force Posture Policy.  Given the fact that this is a presidential election year and the election is only about 3 months away, it immediately became controversial. Democrats were quick to accuse Trump of appeasing Russia and abandoning Germany as a NATO reliable partner and ally.

The basics of the policy is that about one third of the American forces in Germany will redeploy to forward NATO nations or bases on American soil.

This is not a uniquely Trump Administration move.  These policies were outlined and agreed upon by the Obama Administration many times from 2009 to 2016.  The Readiness Initiative launched in 2014, which was agreed upon by the Heads of State of NATO significantly reinforced NATO’s collective defense.

In 2016, NATO leaders approved a strengthened deterrence and defense posture which led to the forward deployment of NATO units to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.  An outgrowth of the NATO Heads of State meeting in Warsaw in July 2016 was setting up a regional NATO hub in Naples, Italy to strengthen NATO’s southern flank as unrest started to roil the Mediterranean region.

Consequently, the Trump initiatives must be seen in this historical setting.  It moves assets closer to the NATO border with Russia, and, per the 2018 Brussels Summit, allows for a rapid deployment into the NATO Theater within 30 days (the “four thirties” plan).  US military exercises (Defender Europe 2020) earlier this year showed that the US could deploy US based forces into Europe within 30 days.

 

Strategic Needs

One of the reasons for the new National Defense Strategy is the realization that defense goals change as foreign threats evolve, technology improves, and national politics change.  This was seen in the US European Command Review that the SecDef outlined this week.

Obviously one factor is the ongoing NATO relationship with Russia.  While the US and Russia work out a new nuclear treaty, which will impact NATO, some NATO nations like Germany increase their economic ties with Russia, especially regarding energy and natural gas purchases.

Unlike the Cold War era, when NATO focused primarily on European defense, NATO has become an international force.  They were active in the former Yugoslavia, which was part of Europe, but not part of the NATO region.  Their air forces were also active in Libya.

With the growing tensions surrounding Libya and Turkish expansionism, NATO must look south.

There is also the growing Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean.  Now that Russian ships have a warm water port in Syria, Russian ships can deploy longer to the Mediterranean, resupply, and receive needed repairs without returning to their home port.  What was once considered an American lake, is now part of the growing chessboard of the NATO/Russia “Great Game.”

There is also a growing Russian presence near NATO borders.  Russian reconnaissance aircraft, which were rarely seen in the last 30 years are now aggressively testing NATO responses from Great Britain east to Alaska and Canada’s far northern territories.

This aggressiveness by the Russian military has worried some of the newer NATO nations, who still remember being unwilling members of the Soviet bloc.  Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania especially remember that before World War Two, the Western powers allowed them to be occupied by the Soviet Union with no active response.  By moving NATO assets closer to Russia, it not only makes more strategic sense, it also provides strong proof of the NATO guarantee that these nations will not fall under Russian influence again.

 

The Evolving Strategy – the SecDef Speech

Although it can be seen purely in a NATO/European manner, the SecDef speech made it clear that this new strategy fits into the worldwide scope.  He said, “As we’ve entered a new era of Great Power Competition, we are now at another one of those inflection points in NATO’s evolution.”

Although that includes deterring Russia, the SecDef made it clear that it would “improve US strategic flexibility and EUROCOM operational flexibility.”

The plan will reposition about 11,900 military personnel from Germany – from roughly 36,000 down to 24,000.  Of the 11,900, nearly 5,600 service members will be repositioned within NATO countries and approximately 6,400 will return to the US, with many rotating through Europe from time to time.

Some of the rotations are due to equipment not designed for a European battlefield.  Nearly 4,500 members of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment will return to the US.  Similar units will start rotating in countries further east, close to the Black Sea, and closer to the Russian border.

This makes tactical sense.  These units employ the Stryker armored vehicle, which was designed during the Clinton presidency for the transition from a Cold War military to one that would operate in the Third World.  It was designed to be lighter and easier to deploy by aircraft and to be more practical on the unimproved roads and bridges of lesser developed nations.

Although faster than a main battle tank, the Stryker was controversial.  It is lightly armored and without additional armor can only protect its occupants from the 14.5 mm Russian heavy machinegun ammunition – and then, only from the front.  The same bullet will penetrate the armor from the side.  However, to be airmobile, the vehicle could not carry more armor, unless it was flown in separately and attached in the combat theater.

The Stryker was considered a temporary measure until Future Combat Systems Manned Ground Vehicles came online.  However, that program was cancelled

The Stryker was a good idea for an era where the US would only be fighting insurgents.  However, it would be of marginal use (outside of reconnaissance or engaging light infantry) in a European theater where main battle tanks would be controlling the battleground.

The strength of the Stryker is its ability to be air lifted into a theater of operations.  By moving the 2nd Cavalry Regiment back to the US, it can still be quickly redeployed to Europe.  However, by remaining in the US, it allows it to be moved quickly to the Western Pacific, which is seeing increased tensions between the US and China.

The plan also will move more military personnel to Italy, which was once the headquarters of NATO southern operations and still has the infrastructure.  This will mean the movement of about 2,000 soldiers from Germany to Belgium and Naples

A fighter squadron and elements of a fighter wing will be repositioned to Italy, which will provide more coverage in the Mediterranean and bring the aircraft closer to the Black Sea area of operations.

While forces are being moved from Germany, which Trump has accused of not fulfilling their NATO obligations, some units are remaining in nations with better relations with President Trump.  The Air Force command in Mildenhall, Britain, will remain there rather than moving to Germany, as was once planned. Britain has a closer working relationship with the US than Germany.

Another part of the European strategy is the activation of V Corps (Fifth Corps).  According to the agreement between President Trump and Polish President Duda last year, the V Corps forward headquarters will be in Poland.  The V Corps had been stationed in Germany until its deactivation in 2013.

Now that President Duda has been reelected, we can expect to see the signing of the necessary Defense Cooperation Agreement that will be the legal basis of the US deployment to Poland.

Although it is uncertain what assets will be assigned to V Corps, it is interesting that in the Defender Europe 2020 exercises earlier this year, the famed First Cavalry Division went to Poland to set up a temporary headquarters.  The 1st Cav, as it is called, is one of America’s most powerful mechanized units and although it will remain stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, it is expected to frequently rotate some of its units through Eastern Europe as part of V Corps.

 

Conclusion

What does this US European Command Force Posture Policy accomplish?

By shifting some units away from Germany and closer to the border of Russia, it has improved deterrence.  If something happens in Europe, the units that will be asked to fight will be close to the expected area of operations.

By stationing the V Corps in Poland, the US is rewarding Poland, who is one of the few NATO countries to meet its commitments.  And, since Poland has the largest tank force of any European NATO nation, it creates a potentially powerful counterforce to the Russian Army.

Shifting forces to Italy recognizes that the southern flank of NATO is much more unstable than it once was.  With unrest in Libya, Syria, Turkey, and the Eastern Mediterranean, the additional air power will help offset the lack of American naval assets in the region and provide more of a counter to the Russian Fleet.

Shifting US military units to Italy also allows them to be better positioned to assist the US African Command.

Admittedly, there is some politics involved.  Germany, whose relations with Trump are not that good, loses more about 12,000 American soldiers who help boost the local economy.  However, it must be admitted that Germany isn’t the “front line” nation that it was during the Cold War.  A conflict with Russia will start hundreds of miles east of Germany, not on the German border.

Britain will be rewarded by keeping the major American Air Force Base in Mildenhall.  Britain has kept its NATO commitments and by helping Britain in Europe, it allows Britain to keep more assets in and around the South China Sea.

And the close relationship between the US President Trump and the British Prime Minister Johnson also helps.

The US European Command Force Posture Policy also gives the US more worldwide flexibility.  As tensions grow between the US and China, there is a need to be able to quickly move American military units into the Western Pacific.  However, there is still the need to keep the units within quick reach of Europe.

By stationing more units in the US, Trump can keep his promise of bringing more American soldiers back home.

However, there is a strategic advantage.  US military units stationed in the US lie halfway between the NATO Theater and the Western Pacific Theater.  They are better able to respond to the situation in either Europe or The Western Pacific.

Positioning within the US also allows the units to play to their strength.  Light mechanized units like those who use the Stryker vehicle can deploy faster from the US than units that are stronger but use main battle tanks like the M-1 Abrams that require shipment by sealift.  The more powerful units can deploy in a rotating manner, often using redeployed tanks that are permanently stored in Europe.

Although the new US European Command Force Posture Policy will be politically controversial in this election year, To Trump supporters, it makes sense for a nation that has major obligations in Europe and the Pacific.  Repositioning the military assets must eventually be based on sound military thinking, not short-term politics.

Week of August 03, 2020

US Redeploys its Forces in Europe

 

This week, the American Secretary of Defense Mark Esper outlined the new US European Command Force Posture Policy.  Given the fact that this is a presidential election year and the election is only about 3 months away, it immediately became controversial. Democrats were quick to accuse Trump of appeasing Russia and abandoning Germany as a NATO reliable partner and ally.

The basics of the policy is that about one third of the American forces in Germany will redeploy to forward NATO nations or bases on American soil.

This is not a uniquely Trump Administration move.  These policies were outlined and agreed upon by the Obama Administration many times from 2009 to 2016.  The Readiness Initiative launched in 2014, which was agreed upon by the Heads of State of NATO significantly reinforced NATO’s collective defense.

In 2016, NATO leaders approved a strengthened deterrence and defense posture which led to the forward deployment of NATO units to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.  An outgrowth of the NATO Heads of State meeting in Warsaw in July 2016 was setting up a regional NATO hub in Naples, Italy to strengthen NATO’s southern flank as unrest started to roil the Mediterranean region.

Consequently, the Trump initiatives must be seen in this historical setting.  It moves assets closer to the NATO border with Russia, and, per the 2018 Brussels Summit, allows for a rapid deployment into the NATO Theater within 30 days (the “four thirties” plan).  US military exercises (Defender Europe 2020) earlier this year showed that the US could deploy US based forces into Europe within 30 days.

 

Strategic Needs

One of the reasons for the new National Defense Strategy is the realization that defense goals change as foreign threats evolve, technology improves, and national politics change.  This was seen in the US European Command Review that the SecDef outlined this week.

Obviously one factor is the ongoing NATO relationship with Russia.  While the US and Russia work out a new nuclear treaty, which will impact NATO, some NATO nations like Germany increase their economic ties with Russia, especially regarding energy and natural gas purchases.

Unlike the Cold War era, when NATO focused primarily on European defense, NATO has become an international force.  They were active in the former Yugoslavia, which was part of Europe, but not part of the NATO region.  Their air forces were also active in Libya.

With the growing tensions surrounding Libya and Turkish expansionism, NATO must look south.

There is also the growing Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean.  Now that Russian ships have a warm water port in Syria, Russian ships can deploy longer to the Mediterranean, resupply, and receive needed repairs without returning to their home port.  What was once considered an American lake, is now part of the growing chessboard of the NATO/Russia “Great Game.”

There is also a growing Russian presence near NATO borders.  Russian reconnaissance aircraft, which were rarely seen in the last 30 years are now aggressively testing NATO responses from Great Britain east to Alaska and Canada’s far northern territories.

This aggressiveness by the Russian military has worried some of the newer NATO nations, who still remember being unwilling members of the Soviet bloc.  Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania especially remember that before World War Two, the Western powers allowed them to be occupied by the Soviet Union with no active response.  By moving NATO assets closer to Russia, it not only makes more strategic sense, it also provides strong proof of the NATO guarantee that these nations will not fall under Russian influence again.

 

The Evolving Strategy – the SecDef Speech

Although it can be seen purely in a NATO/European manner, the SecDef speech made it clear that this new strategy fits into the worldwide scope.  He said, “As we’ve entered a new era of Great Power Competition, we are now at another one of those inflection points in NATO’s evolution.”

Although that includes deterring Russia, the SecDef made it clear that it would “improve US strategic flexibility and EUROCOM operational flexibility.”

The plan will reposition about 11,900 military personnel from Germany – from roughly 36,000 down to 24,000.  Of the 11,900, nearly 5,600 service members will be repositioned within NATO countries and approximately 6,400 will return to the US, with many rotating through Europe from time to time.

Some of the rotations are due to equipment not designed for a European battlefield.  Nearly 4,500 members of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment will return to the US.  Similar units will start rotating in countries further east, close to the Black Sea, and closer to the Russian border.

This makes tactical sense.  These units employ the Stryker armored vehicle, which was designed during the Clinton presidency for the transition from a Cold War military to one that would operate in the Third World.  It was designed to be lighter and easier to deploy by aircraft and to be more practical on the unimproved roads and bridges of lesser developed nations.

Although faster than a main battle tank, the Stryker was controversial.  It is lightly armored and without additional armor can only protect its occupants from the 14.5 mm Russian heavy machinegun ammunition – and then, only from the front.  The same bullet will penetrate the armor from the side.  However, to be airmobile, the vehicle could not carry more armor, unless it was flown in separately and attached in the combat theater.

The Stryker was considered a temporary measure until Future Combat Systems Manned Ground Vehicles came online.  However, that program was cancelled

The Stryker was a good idea for an era where the US would only be fighting insurgents.  However, it would be of marginal use (outside of reconnaissance or engaging light infantry) in a European theater where main battle tanks would be controlling the battleground.

The strength of the Stryker is its ability to be air lifted into a theater of operations.  By moving the 2nd Cavalry Regiment back to the US, it can still be quickly redeployed to Europe.  However, by remaining in the US, it allows it to be moved quickly to the Western Pacific, which is seeing increased tensions between the US and China.

The plan also will move more military personnel to Italy, which was once the headquarters of NATO southern operations and still has the infrastructure.  This will mean the movement of about 2,000 soldiers from Germany to Belgium and Naples

A fighter squadron and elements of a fighter wing will be repositioned to Italy, which will provide more coverage in the Mediterranean and bring the aircraft closer to the Black Sea area of operations.

While forces are being moved from Germany, which Trump has accused of not fulfilling their NATO obligations, some units are remaining in nations with better relations with President Trump.  The Air Force command in Mildenhall, Britain, will remain there rather than moving to Germany, as was once planned. Britain has a closer working relationship with the US than Germany.

Another part of the European strategy is the activation of V Corps (Fifth Corps).  According to the agreement between President Trump and Polish President Duda last year, the V Corps forward headquarters will be in Poland.  The V Corps had been stationed in Germany until its deactivation in 2013.

Now that President Duda has been reelected, we can expect to see the signing of the necessary Defense Cooperation Agreement that will be the legal basis of the US deployment to Poland.

Although it is uncertain what assets will be assigned to V Corps, it is interesting that in the Defender Europe 2020 exercises earlier this year, the famed First Cavalry Division went to Poland to set up a temporary headquarters.  The 1st Cav, as it is called, is one of America’s most powerful mechanized units and although it will remain stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, it is expected to frequently rotate some of its units through Eastern Europe as part of V Corps.

 

Conclusion

What does this US European Command Force Posture Policy accomplish?

By shifting some units away from Germany and closer to the border of Russia, it has improved deterrence.  If something happens in Europe, the units that will be asked to fight will be close to the expected area of operations.

By stationing the V Corps in Poland, the US is rewarding Poland, who is one of the few NATO countries to meet its commitments.  And, since Poland has the largest tank force of any European NATO nation, it creates a potentially powerful counterforce to the Russian Army.

Shifting forces to Italy recognizes that the southern flank of NATO is much more unstable than it once was.  With unrest in Libya, Syria, Turkey, and the Eastern Mediterranean, the additional air power will help offset the lack of American naval assets in the region and provide more of a counter to the Russian Fleet.

Shifting US military units to Italy also allows them to be better positioned to assist the US African Command.

Admittedly, there is some politics involved.  Germany, whose relations with Trump are not that good, loses more about 12,000 American soldiers who help boost the local economy.  However, it must be admitted that Germany isn’t the “front line” nation that it was during the Cold War.  A conflict with Russia will start hundreds of miles east of Germany, not on the German border.

Britain will be rewarded by keeping the major American Air Force Base in Mildenhall.  Britain has kept its NATO commitments and by helping Britain in Europe, it allows Britain to keep more assets in and around the South China Sea.

And the close relationship between the US President Trump and the British Prime Minister Johnson also helps.

The US European Command Force Posture Policy also gives the US more worldwide flexibility.  As tensions grow between the US and China, there is a need to be able to quickly move American military units into the Western Pacific.  However, there is still the need to keep the units within quick reach of Europe.

By stationing more units in the US, Trump can keep his promise of bringing more American soldiers back home.

However, there is a strategic advantage.  US military units stationed in the US lie halfway between the NATO Theater and the Western Pacific Theater.  They are better able to respond to the situation in either Europe or The Western Pacific.

Positioning within the US also allows the units to play to their strength.  Light mechanized units like those who use the Stryker vehicle can deploy faster from the US than units that are stronger but use main battle tanks like the M-1 Abrams that require shipment by sealift.  The more powerful units can deploy in a rotating manner, often using redeployed tanks that are permanently stored in Europe.

Although the new US European Command Force Posture Policy will be politically controversial in this election year, To Trump supporters, it makes sense for a nation that has major obligations in Europe and the Pacific.  Repositioning the military assets must eventually be based on sound military thinking, not short-term politics.