Harry C. Blaney III

We are living in a time that we see at home and abroad attacks on justice, human rights and a leader in our nation that espouses racism and hate. It is time thus to remember the words on his birth date pf Martin Luther King Jr.  He knew deeply the forces of evil and hate and the returned both with peaceful protest and understanding and love. It is sad that we have moved so much backward from not only his fight against bigotry but also his work  for the poor and neglected. We are seeing around the world but also now a determined effort to harm the “least among us” at home by Trump and his supporters, but also abroad with his acquiescence in acts of cruelty and violation of human rights and not least admiration of brutal dictators.  King would have understood that context and would voice his opposition but in the hope of redemption by moral force.

A personal note, Martin Luther King Jr was a beacon of hope and justice during my grad student days. I heard him at a Yale commencement and later in London heard his talk at St. Paul’s Cathedral on his way to pick up his Nobel prize. I joined earlier also at grad school in a “sit-in” effort in St. Augustine in Florida on Spring break sponsored and led by King’s Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), landed in jail with many others including my wonderful Yale Chaplain William Sloane Coffen Jr.

I leave for my readers a quote from him on this the anniversary of his birth:

“ I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

“God is not interested merely in freeing black men and brown men and yellow men, but Gold is interested in freeing the whole human race.”

The other line in his draft “Letter from Birmingham Jail” which is with me to this very day was ”In justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

Let us not forget is goals and sacrifice.




Harry C. Blaney III

There is deep concern at home and abroad that America has lost it way and its values. The process of “de-construction” or really just destruction of our federal government is real as it seems that we are witnessing major attacks on a broad range of vital and needed programs that have been at the heart of decent and caring government that saves lives, provides for the “common good” and protects our nation from enemies within and without in a very high risk world made even more so by indifferent, spiteful and unbalanced president.

These destructive acts are now on going in our departments and agencies Clear existential dangers that have solutions are instead made worse deliberately by people who have no interests in the common good but very much have the aim to make the rich even richer at the expense of the middle class and poor. We see this in the destruction and non-enforcement of environmental laws and regulation at EPA, we see it at the Energy Department with the gutting of clean energy programs, and we see it in HHS with the forceful effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act which means that thousands of people will lose their life earlier and suffer from sickness than would be the case with decent medial care. The planed Trump efforts to decimate our National Monuments will destroy the beauty and grander of many of America’s key great natural wonders.

Globally, millions of our most vulnerable fellow inhabitants of this earth will die because of Trump brutal and mindless cuts in our assistance programs for food, Health care, medicine and clean water and education efforts to the most needed. This is like committing mass murder!

Undercover the GOP, with encouragement of the right wing media, the GOP Congress has largely gone along with these cuts like climate change research, new clean energy technologies, funding for adequate IRS oversight, massive cuts to EPA and for childhood education in public schools (where 90 of our children go), and on and on. But now we have attacks on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and putting more burdens on retired Federal workers by increasing their health contributions, retirement and other benefits and many other destructive goals. The decimation of our civil service is going on massively as part of a White House  and GOP strategy to eliminate any programs that actually do good for our citizens while expanding those that hurt our citizens.

A key problem is we need our citizens to have better education in order to tell lies from truth, science-based confirmed knowledge from denial of science truth. We also need a media that tells the truth and not repeats Trump’s world of lies and hates without question.

This however is all part of a larger far right or Alt-Right effort to destroy government for the people and by the people to make it a government that protects the very rich. How else can you assess the nefarious tax bill? For the State Department the cuts and gutting of its professional core reflect the desire to run our foreign policy only from the White House where “transactional deal”s can be made to benefit Trump, his family and his rich supporters. This has cost us the respect of the rest of the world. And provides crazily aid and support for some authoritarian states and our opponents.  But not of course help the American people or strengthen our national securit,y or friendship with our allies.

We welcome your comments! (See comments line to give your views.)



Harry C. Blaney III

As I listened to the speech by Trump that was billed as a serious national security statement, it became very soon a nasty partisan campaign speech of self justification and harsh criticism of every one and especially our allies and those that did so much good for out nation in the past. It sounded a like he was taking revenge on all the wonderful things that were accomplished by others for our nation.

I wanted to run and hide and cringed as so many misstatements and the kind of half crazy petulance that only added to the fear and worry of those who looked for us to lead our international community towards solutions. But he has mostly increased even more to our dangers. Trump’s demand for more money from our allies, while cutting us off from trade and cooperation with others, along with belittling of international institutions that were the great creation after WW II for a more decent world, were signs of a bitter man doing harm to our constructive leadership.

Cooperation for him was simply grabbing all for us, and nothing for them. Not win-win but you lose was his byword. More hostility or “America First” rather than we are here on this common earth to make the entire world better.

Today’s so-called “National Security” speech by Donald Trump was plainly an embarrassment from start to finish. It was an irrational and nasty rant at the rest of the world. It was a denouncement of all that was good that other US leaders did, an attack on our allies, and not least a set of lies about all the wonderful things he has done to make “America great again.”

There was a glaring difference in both tone and substance between the official national security written strategy of 55 pages and much of Trump’s statements in his speech. The document contains some areas of serious policy analysis while Trump’s speech was often much like is irrational tweets and filled with self-praise for things he had no influence upon and just for his own greetness.

He ignored the issue of Russian interference in our elections. Indeed he had praise for Putin and what he call his help in sharing intelligence with Putin on possible terrorist attacks in St. Peterburg.

The document and to a degree Trump acknowledged the “great power rivals” and that Russia and China challenge “American influence, values, and wealth.” But his policies and words in his campaign and in office contradict that phrase regarding values. He had no specific understanding about what needed to be done about these difficult issues. Indeed his “destructive” approach at home and abroad have only exacerbated these potential challenges and lead to more conflict than cooperation.

The disconnects were bizarre with castigating of our friends and allies while the document acknowledges the value of working with our allies. Further, the main document was short on specific solutions often just pointing to problem areas or goals. His language seemed like an off the top confused campaign speeches and having little that is coherent, practical or even beneficial. Trump defaulted to more hate towards his critics and opponents….except for Putin. On China and Russia the document saw them as “strategic competitor.” But no solution for interfering in our elections.

There was also no acknowledgment of the need to act on climate change and none to deal with Russian political interference in US elections. And the repetitive statements of “America first” only increased the sense of our nation being sent off the rails on the global stage.

In reality he has made us a laughing stock. In my 50+ years of following national security statements and polices (and contributing to them), this was the worst ever and shows again Trump ignorance and that of his far right partisan supporters. They are a major danger to America’s constructive leadership and proved e confusion to the rest of the world.

In short, his speech gave no indication that he had learned anything in his time in office.



Harry C. Blaney III

One of the most idiotic event of my lifetime happen just the past week when it was reported that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta (CDC) what words they could not use. This immediately set of alarms both triggered by history and by understanding what is the basics of true national security for a democratic nation.

The “bad’ or forbidden words were:

“vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

I think you get the drift of what was intended. It was to politicized our language, get it written into our budget process words with malevolent ideological intent.

Worst was the substitute words or phrases that were suggested by the Trump overseers they were: Instead of “science-based” or -“evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” In short, the local village idiot like Roy Moore or climate deniers would be equal to science based facts. Is it because the Republicans on the Hill are equally dense on science and facts, or are they influenced by the likes of the Koch Brothers, billionaires who have written the tax for the rich bill, the lobbyists for the oil and coal industry and their big fat checks for reelection or the treats of withholding money if they are not obedient?

Think of the implications for our health, for honest and tested science, and for free speech and implications for such an action in our America. Also it is reported that other agencies including the Department of State also received limitation on words they could use which is un-presidente. Further, the Trump people even gave misleading and insulting and politicized new words to use in the same way that Hitler did.

It is just the most recent signs of authoritarian rule and of the simple fact we are being led by both a man of deep ignorance and one who has demonic and dangerous tendencies that threaten in a fundamental way American democracy and frank and open and free debate.

My fears go back to a lecture I heard from the great Christian and controversial theologian Paul Tillich in the 1950s at a college conference in Ohio. He said that one of the great crimes that the Nazis committed was the destruction of the German language by changing the meaning of past words that were commonly understood among thinkers and philosophers into words that aimed to take new meaning to support Nazi rule and propaganda lies and rid the thinking by Germans of words that had real meaning supporting humane values. I have never forgot those thoughts.

The second example that I studied intensely was the Soviet revolution and likewise the period in Germany that lead to Hitler. Both were regimes where words were used to spread hate and as ways of limiting free speech. They used the banning of words and phrases that threatened recognition of true freedom of thought, tolerance, and speech. Now we have in full view the exact same methods of coercion and same methods to destroy truth and fact based discourse.

This move is as dangerous as any act of terrorism and Russian plot against our elections…it is now the deep mad “enemy within” the White House and the GOP that is trying and could caused us to fear the truth and have forced upon us a lexicon of hate, lies and falsehoods.

Efforts to “wash our minds” and silent those who are our truth tellers is as un-American as any external act and leads to a darkness that many of have seen in the past and is appearing in many authoritarian states like Egypt, Turkey, Russia, China and many more.

Words matter and the truth matters and we need the right words to tell the truth.

We Welcome your comments.



Harry C. Blaney III,   DATE LINE: Berlin, Germany

The decision to undermine the Iran nuclear deal was sadly but another, albeit momentous, act of destruction of American and global security.  It is apiece with several other actions by Trump that are acts of destruction of key frameworks that support security, peace, justice and prosperity for our nation and for our entire earth and the people who share our fragile planet with us. That is how many European citizens and leaders are feeling and it undermines a global framework of cooperation and peace.

Here in Germany there is a deep fear of what Trump is doing to global security and indeed also unity and democracy here. His model is total destruction of all past structures that were created by anyone except himself. Most apparent is that he wishes to “deconstruct” anything that keeps the peace, respect human rights, supports international cooperation and serves the interest of common people at home and abroad. “America First” sounds not unlike here the Hitler’s similar “Germany Over all.”

In the case of the Trump unbelievable and stupid Iran deal rejection he is also making unhinged belligerent words and actions towards North Korea. It all looks like he is looking for war so as to deflect the move towards the dangers to him and his presidency of revelations and possible indictments of deals with Russia and obstruction of justice or simply his hate of all that is good. Many of his military advisors and civilian cabinet members have all said that the Iran nuclear deal is in American security interests, yet he seems to have chosen the likely path of catastrophic war in both cases.

In Europe there is near total agreement that the Nuclear deal is good for global security, has been adhered to by Iran, and the alternative is for possible immediate action by Iran to renounce the deal and start the move we to build its nuclear program without much limits. Contrary to some right-wing writers some real restrictions continue beyond the 10 years set by the Iran nuclear deal. Fortunately, America can’t unilaterally dissolve the deal since our European allies, EU, Russia and China support it. Europeans look in horror also at the reality that no agreements made now by America can be trusted. Those on the street and others in Berlin that I talked to are truly frightened by what they see in Trump’s actions which are totally contrary to American values and destabilizing of global peace.

Now it is up to the American Congress to act to either do Trump’s cruel bidding to destroy an agreement on which there is almost total support even by some that opposed it originally, or to keep our word and not vote for withdrawal but agreeing to Trump’s demand of imposing new sanctions when none are called for and which the Europeans can and will ignore. We should work via diplomacy on the outstanding issues we have with Iran. That has a much better chance to getting results than blind anger and the cost of war. We all need now to fight for that outcome as the alternative is mutual catastrophic harm for all.

We welcome your comments!!!



Harry C. Blaney III

If necessary “we will have no choice but totally destroy North Korea.” Donald Trump at the UNGA

I am ashamed as an American citizen of the speech that Donald trump made to the UN on Tuesday. It was threatening, it was contradictory, rude, and it insulted the whole purpose of the United Nations and the common goal of seeking peace and human rights.

It showed America as a selfish, ignorant, and offensive nation rather than the “the leader of the free world.” Trump diminished our nation and did NOT make our nation greater.

The threat by Donald Trump that he would “totally destroy North Korea” was one of the most stupid and dangerous statements ever to emulate from an American Preside not just at the UN General Assembly but ever. It was filled with public unnecessary threats, indifference to others, even advocating for others the narrow nationalistic and isolationist policies he thinks works for him to others as if that kind of stance would make our world more safe and prosperous. It makes our world clearly less safe and more dangerous as the US urges other to be selfish and nationalistic as their only main concern. It does not get them to act in the larger interest.

The UN Trump speech was the largest verbal disaster I have ever known in my many decades as a professional in foreign affairs. His words makes America appear selfish, nationalistic, and to be feared. It was through and through disingenuous on many levels.

Further it was hypocritical as well, with its many contradictions. Like supporting human rights when we (Trump) supports the likes of brutal dictators in Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Poland, Philippines, etc. All along never saying what is happening in Russia or what they did in Ukraine and Syria. Russian actions undermining democracy and unity in America and Europe yet were only vaguely alluded to. His moves to leave the Iran deal and the Paris climate change accord show even more his indifference to our global threats. Selfishness has not been a core American value and contrary to our values is inciting others to be equally selfish and self-centered. This ends only in war, conflict and “beggar my neighbor “ policies worldwide. It encourages genocide, it promotes authoritarian nationalism which is dangerous to our nation and other democracies.

It was for me the a sad moment seeing a person, our so-called president, undemanding all of our values, traditions, insulting the sacrifices of Americans who died to protect our nation and freedom worldwide. It was an insult to our constitution’s proclamation on universal equality liberty, and human rights.

One of the strange revelations is the very weak even often apologetic reviews the Trump UN speech has received from much of the mainline press, including op-eds, and editorials. There are exceptions, but one of the strangest is that of David Ignatius of the Washington Post entitled “A Welcome Flirtation with the U.N.” that almost was overflowing with his praise of the speech for its so called more moderate tone and the fluffy and empty and contradictory platitudes that it contained. He did helpfully cite some contradictions in the talk. He however downplayed the Trump threats and the stupid North Korea nuclear “war play” with language that did not help American goals. Did it help to call Kim “Rocket Man” when one day we may need to sit down together to save off catastrophe?

Trump was like a bully on the playing field trying to intimidate his opponent, in this case Kim Jong Un, to react with a crazy attack to perhaps justify war with the NK? There is little doubt in my mind that he was sassing on Kim without concern for the outcome and to further undermine ideas of a diplomatic solution. (I hope I am wrong and thought his words would help make a “deal.”) The result was predictable with Kim and his people sassing him back saying Trump was a dog barking.

The larger problem was neither Trump nor Kim seem able to pay the cooperative diplomatic game of mutual “win-win,” but with the daily cry in NK that America will attack is reinforced now by Trump’s “totally destroy North Korea.” We now can only hope both will see the self-destruction cliff before them embodied in their words and threats. I have never in over four decades of foreign policy work and following presidential speeches and helping to shape some, such crude and foolish words uttered by a president. Already there is some effort by the concerned nations to try to walk back this confrontational stances by both sides.

The contrast finally was the tone of such leaders as French president Macron who did not talk of nationalism but of global cooperation and integration to address the worlds ills. We have a very serious problem of many high risks and we need not add to them but solve them and this speech only set that goal back.

We welcome your comments!!



Harry C. Blaney III

On Friday North Korea sent another missile over Japan with a range of about 2,300 miles. The Trump administration’s response was that they had “military options.” There was considerable “tough” military talk coming from all of the key national security actors. One pithy remark by NSC head McMaster was “For those ….who have been commenting on a lack of military option, there is a military option” ….adding that it would not be the Trump’s preferred choice. To add another quote: North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is “begging for war,” US ambassador Haley said at an emergency UN Security Council meeting.

No kidding,  all of this silly bullying along with outcome of  millions of deaths!!! We must remember that Trump promised not to allow North Korea to threaten the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile. Already we have had the “threat, and just the “threat” by NK, which has been on going for a decade.

On the other side, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, as quoted by the NK news agency KCNA, saying “it aims to reach an equilibrium” of military force with the United States. his actual quote: “Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military option.”

Clearly, the picture is very gloomy and one has to hope, in time, clearer heads everywhere will prevail, but that will take good and massive efforts by all and a change of tone and substance and actions. But that means that there is a need for a systemic change in the landscape and in leader’s minds. Let me add a “military” option by either side is collective mass suicide.

We and nobody else has found a neat and risk free answer to the nuclear threats from North Korea.  Everyone is playing the most disastrous game possible named “chicken racing” where each car races at high speed at the other waiting for the other to blink and get out of the way!! The result of this game we all know.

This topic is on the minds of many of our global leaders from Putin, May, Merkel, Xi, Abe and Kim. Of course Trump has it in his gun sights but it seems has little understanding so far of paths which both sides can accept and live with. The hope is this will, in time, change before we end in a nuclear cataclysm.

While the landscape is dangerous and complex solutions exist that both sides can accept and would be a “Win-win” for all providing they are seeking mutual security, not aggression against others and willingness to get rid of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and accept third party inspection.

The main problems are that most analysts think that Kim is committed to having a large arsenal of nuclear warheads and missiles so that they can powerfully  threaten and make other nations fear him and gain benefits especially goods, investments, and recognition as a major player in the region if not the world.  The great irony is making peace could achieve many key rational goals!

The problem is compounded in America with the instability of Trump and his blindness to reality, but we don’t know if Trump fears war less than the distraction of our citizens by being a war president, and perhaps free himself from the danger of losing his office.

One approach which has been put forth  argues as a more realistic policy, is on deterring Pyongyang from using its nuclear weapons rather than pursuing unlikely attempts to denuclearize the peninsula. The problem with this is that is what we are trying to do now, but the reaction has been more aggressive behavior. It has risks of error and craziness of Kim, and it all means added continued uncertain high risk for the entire world.

What are the key “change elements” that just might redirect this massive disastrous trajectory that makes our globe a very ugly place to survive no mater where we may be?

The first is for Trump to see this challenge not an opportunity for conflict or via mutual threats but via a sustainable true long-term strategy and the gains of bringing stability to all of Korea. That means using all the tools of diplomacy.

The second, is for China to see that a nuclear war on their border is more dangerous to their national interests and for their population and economy, than gains from continued support for the Kim dynasty and all their madness and threats. They need to recognize the ensuing instability and that a better option is a negotiated solution that likely they and all could easily live with. That means negotiations while NK nuclear program is hopefully  at least in a “standstill”…something NK is strongly against now. But there is US talk of a true ban on Chinese trade if they do not cease trade with NK and fully implement the UN sanctions.  The same goes for Putin’s Russia which right now has an ambiguous stance, agreeing to limited UN sanctions but continuing to secretly trade with North Korea. They would too be harmed by a nuclear war in the region.

The third, is for the international community including the United Nations Security Council, our European allies, Japan and other Asian nations, and other key actors to agree on a package of “carrots” that could be put on offer to North Korea that might tempt them to put away their nuke for a model of a normal and decent and prosperous nation.

Forth, is acknowledging that there should be a nuclear free zone in all of Korea, that NK withdraw its artillery and conventional missiles well beyond range of hitting SK cities and especial the capital, and most important there would be a dismantlement of the nuclear weapons and long range missiles in the NK verified by the IAEA similar but beyond to the ”deal” with Iran. Further, the border between NK and SK be policed by UN armed troops to keep both side apart and as a deterrence to armed action. We would recognize SK under any agreement and we would have a peace treaty to end the Korean war. We and our allies would pledge non-aggression to a NK that acts peacefully.

Fifth, is a consensus “verboten” idea, simply at some point of “regime change,” either internally or externally but not engendered by America. But the outcome of such a change would have to be rational leaders that would see both prosperity and external help as a positive and not make nuclear weapons the fundamental requirement of their nation. This option most likely would be discarded absent major changes/crisis in NK.

One condition that would help which is rare in our new “Trumpain” age is  return to the quality of sanity, search for common ground, thoughtful judgement, sense of proportion, of seeing ahead and, not least, decency and caring for all the planet.

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