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Robert Wenzel

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SHOCKER: Charles Koch and George Soros to Team Up and Form Foreign Policy Institute

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George Soros and Charles Koch are joining to finance a new foreign-policy think tank in Washington D.C., reports the Boston Globe. The claim is that it will promote an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing.

It will be called the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, an homage to John Quincy Adams, who in a seminal speech on Independence Day in 1821 declared that the United States “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” The Quincy Institute will promote a foreign policy based on this live-and-let-live principle, says The Globe.

The Globe adds:
This is a radical notion in Washington, where every major think tank promotes some variant of neocon militarism or liberal interventionism. Soros and Koch are uniting to revive the fading vision of a peaceable United States...In concrete terms, this means the Quincy Institute will likely advocate a withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and Syria; a return to the nuclear deal with Iran; less confrontational approaches to Russia and China; an end to regime-change campaigns against Venezuela and Cuba; and sharp reductions in the defense budget.
Of course, we will have to see if the Institute sticks to the principle of advocating for a foreign policy of live-and-let-live. If it does, it will be one of the most important institutes created in at least the first quarter of the 21st century and be an important part of the Charles Koch legacy. But you have to wonder. Doesn't his partner in this venture, Soros, finance a lot of revolutions and take sides all over the damn planet? He is almost the anti-Quincy.
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Is the United States Trying to Incite Unrest in Venezuela?

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The U.S. government is placing pressure on major banks to keep their distance from "illicit" Venezuelan financial flows, specifically identifying Petroleos de Venezuela as a problem area.

This has resulted in Citibank announcing that it will stop processing debt payments to Petroleos de Venezuela's bondholders. The bank has cited "a periodic risk-management review."

The bank told bondholders that it would end its role as Petroleos de Venezuela's  principal pay agent and suspend its processing of at least seven debt bonds, including $5 billion in debt payments due in October and November of this year.

If Petroleos de Venezuela can not find another major bank processor, the state oil firm will not be able to make its payments and all hell could break lose.
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Inside the Strange Mind of NATO's Anders Fogh Rasmussen

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This week, I attended a talk here in San Francisco by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, sponsored jointly by The World Affairs Council and The Commonwealth Club.

I have never heard remarks before quite like those made by Rasmussen, the former Prime Minister of Denmark.

In nearly perfect English, he called for the expanded role for NATO pretty much across the world. He said there was an "arc of crisis" around the world, from north and central Africa to Iraq and Syria. From the Baltics to the Black Sea and on the peninsula of Korea.

He stated that the answer to this global crisis was that NATO needed more ships, planes and troops on the ground. He called for all NATO countries to expand defense spending to two percent of their GDPs and said that the only NATO countries that currently spend above this level are the US, the UK, Greece and Estonia. He justified NATO, which was, of course, formed as a North Atlantic alliance, expansion into activities into the Pacific by pointing out that the NATO member, the US, has a Pacific coast line and that other NATO members have territories in the Pacific.
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In Defense of Dennis Rodman

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Dennis Rodman is one strange dude.

I once visited a club he had in Chicago, during the days of the Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls championship years. The crowd was the strangest crowd I have ever seen in my life. It looked like a convention of a secret transvestite subchapter of the Hell’s Angels.

Despite his strangeness, Rodman did have an influence on the nation by being the first to cover his body with tattoos. For whatever reason, millions have followed Rodman into getting inked-up bodies. Prior to Rodman’s tattoos, they were mostly worn just by merchant sailors — and only one, on the arm.

But Rodman, his pro basketball playing days well behind him, is now in the national spotlight for playing exhibition games in North Korea at the invitation of NK’s leader, the crazed Kim Jong-un.
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