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Author: TriSec    Date: 01/24/2017 10:57:16

Good Morning.

It's our fourth day under the new regime.

Bursting like a sorry thunderclap over Washington, Mr. Trump wasted little time in starting to dismantle the last eight years. Among the number of executive orders he's issued (or are they dictates - where is Congress?) is a hiring freeze for some sectors within the Federal Government.

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump is signing a memorandum that freezes hiring for some federal government workers as a way to reduce payrolls and rein in the size of the federal workforce.

Trump's directive is fulfilling one of his campaign promises. He tells reporters that members of the military will be exempted from the hiring freeze.

The new president has vowed to take on the federal bureaucracy, and the action could be the first step in an attempt to curtail government employment.

The memorandum signed by Trump's is similar to one that President George W. Bush signed at the start of his administration in 2001.

It's not known yet what kind of impact such a move is going to have, and it is noted that veterans are exempt, and unlike most of his actions, this one does have precedent, so we'll see.

Moving on to our wars, we're all aware of what Mr. Trump said recently about Iraq. It feels pretty certain that we're going to go back in and take what we want next time. I think all we're waiting for is some kind of Gleiwitz Incident before we start this all over again.

But then there's also Afghanistan. There has been no vocalization of what the next policy there is going to be. Our enemy there, perhaps taking advantage of our chaos, is calling for us to withdraw. Normally we'd laugh off such a thing, but these days - who the fuck knows?

The Taliban has called on President Donald Trump to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, saying it is a "quagmire" that has produced little but 15 years of destruction and death.

Trump has never stated what his policy is on Afghanistan, though he has said he supports U.S. troops stationed there and he appointed two former generals with extensive experience in Afghanistan to top security positions.

In an open letter to the new U.S. president published on a Taliban web page verified by the SITE Intelligence Group on January 23, the insurgent movement told Trump the United States has lost credibility after spending billions of dollars on a 15-year entanglement with no end in sight.

"The responsibility to bring to an end this war rests on your shoulders," it said.

The Taliban has repeatedly urged the United States and its allies to leave Afghanistan, ruling out peace talks with the Kabul government as long as foreign forces remain on Afghan soil.

While the United States sent tens of thousands of troops to Afghanistan when it first invaded in 2001 to oust Al-Qaeda, the number of U.S. forces in NATO's coalition this year has dwindled to 8,400.

Since coalition forces ended their main combat mission in 2014, the Taliban has made steady inroads against the Western-backed government in Kabul, with government forces now in control of only two-thirds of the country.

Trump's views on such foreign wars have been ambivalent. He has sharply criticized past U.S. administrations for their handling of conflicts in the Muslim world, but he has also pledged to eradicate militant Islamists around the globe.

Finally today, we'll take a look at our next war. Although there were recent rumours that the US and Russia had done a few joint bombing runs in Syria, it appears that it was just that - rumours. But what may change is a willingness to re-examine our strategy there with regard to the Great Bear.

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Monday opened the door to cooperating with Russia "or anyone else" to combat the Islamic State group in Syria, suggesting it could reverse a previous refusal to coordinate military action with Moscow as long as it backs the Syrian government.

"I think if there's a way that we can combat ISIS with any country, whether it's Russia or anyone else, and we have a shared national interest in that, sure, we'll take it," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.

Asked if the openness extended to working with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has been condemned internationally for killing civilians, Spicer said, "We're not going to get together with people under the guise of defeating ISIS if that's not truly their guise." He added, "So let's not take that too far."

Spicer also suggested that Trump already has told Defense Secretary James Mattis to change the U.S. approach to fighting the Islamic State.

"I think he has ordered it," Spicer said, adding that Trump would discuss the matter with Mattis during a visit to the Pentagon Friday.

"At that time, he will continue to have conversations about what he wants from them and the joint chiefs," he added, referring to the military service chiefs.

During the more than two years that President Barack Obama directed U.S. military action against ISIS in Syria, he resisted Russian overtures to coordinate military action. Obama believed Moscow was acting counter to U.S. interests by propping up Assad, whose government Obama called illegitimate. The Pentagon has maintained a hotline with the Russian military to deal with the narrower issue of avoiding air accidents in Syria.

With Trump in the White House, Moscow seems eager to draw the new administration into closer military cooperation, perhaps reflecting Trump's frequent statements during the presidential campaign that he welcomed opportunities to improve relations with Moscow.

With any leadership change, it seems like suddenly anything is possible. Unfortunately with this one...anything is indeed possible.

37 comments (Latest Comment: 01/24/2017 20:10:38 by Scoopster)
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