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Tuesday, November 22

Tulsi Gabbard as Secretary of State would signal that USA has turned over a new leaf

Last week Russia expert Stephen F. Cohen told John Batchelor that the U.S. Congress is the bastion, the citadel, of Cold War policy. He was right but Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq War combat veteran, is the one shining exception.

Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite

One of the first female combat veterans, youngest woman at the time to be elected to a U.S. state legislature, and elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013 (D-HI02), Tulsi Gabbard was interviewed yesterday by Donald Trump, possibly for a Cabinet position in his presidential administration. Here is her statement on the meeting. Hold onto your hat:
PRESS RELEASE

Gabbard Statement on Meeting with President-Elect Donald Trump

November 21, 2016

New York, NY—U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released the following statement on her meeting with President-elect Donald Trump regarding Syria:
President-elect Trump asked me to meet with him about our current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as other foreign policy challenges we face.
I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect now, before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government — a war which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and forced millions of refugees to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families.
While the rules of political expediency would say I should have refused to meet with President-elect Trump, I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives.
Serving the people of Hawaiʻi and our nation is an honor and responsibility that I do not take lightly. Representing the aloha spirit and diversity of the people of Hawaiʻi, I will continue to seek common ground to deliver results that best serve all Americans, as I have tried to do during my time in Congress.
Where I disagree with President-elect Trump on issues, I will not hesitate to express that disagreement. However, I believe we can disagree, even strongly, but still come together on issues that matter to the American people and affect their daily lives. We cannot allow continued divisiveness to destroy our country.
President-elect Trump and I had a frank and positive conversation in which we discussed a variety of foreign policy issues in depth.
I shared with him my grave concerns that escalating the war in Syria by implementing a so-called no fly/safe zone would be disastrous for the Syrian people, our country, and the world. It would lead to more death and suffering, exacerbate the refugee crisis, strengthen ISIS and al-Qaeda, and bring us into a direct conflict with Russia, which could result in a nuclear war. 
We discussed my bill to end our country’s illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government, and the need to focus our precious resources on rebuilding our own country, and on defeating al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups who pose a threat to the American people.
For years, the issue of ending interventionist, regime-change warfare has been one of my top priorities. This was the major reason I ran for Congress — I saw firsthand the cost of war, and the lives lost due to the interventionist warmongering policies our country has pursued for far too long.
Let me be clear, I will never allow partisanship to undermine our national security when the lives of countless people lay in the balance.
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According to Sputnik's report today on Tulsi's meeting with Trump:
    
Former Sanders' Supporter May Join Trump's Cabinet
November 22, 2016 - 09:04 (updated 10:08)

US Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is being considered by President-elect Donald Trump for a position in the future cabinet, local media reported.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Gabbard, a former supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' primaries campaign who has often been at odds with the party line, is being considered by Trump's transition team for posts such as the secretary of state, the secretary of defense and the UN ambassador, the ABC News channel reported late on Monday, citing a senior official from the incoming president's team.

The reports come after Gabbard's meeting with Trump earlier in the day. The House of Representatives member from Hawaii stated that she had discussed foreign policy issues during a meeting at the Trump Tower in New York. The issues included current US policies in war-torn Syria and anti-terrorism.

The meeting was described highly positively by the Trump team source, with Trump viewing Gabbard as "very impressive," according to the channel.

After the meeting, Gabbard pointed out she disagrees with Trump on many issues and would not hesitate to express disagreement, but stressed that divisiveness must end and both sides must come together.

Gabbard served as the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee until she resigned in order to support Sanders in the primary race for the Democratic presidential nomination. She is known for staunchly opposing interventionism and being in favor of keeping the embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad in power.

She has also voiced opposition to gun control and advocates for stricter refugee policies.

The congresswoman has previously slammed current US President Barack Obama's policies on Syria as "illegal," stating that Obama's goal of removing Assad puts him in league with terrorists such as Daesh [Islamic State] terrorist group, outlawed in the United States and Russia among other countries.

[END REPORT]

Tulsi sits on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees. (In her first congressional term she was on the Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs committes.) Her strong military ties suggest that she would work very well with Lt.Gen. Michael T. Flynn (Ret.), Mr Trump's pick for National Security Adviser.

From Wikipedia,  here is an outline of Tulsi's military service:

Military service (2004–present)

Rep. Gabbard at the ceremony of her promotion to major on October 12, 2015
In April 2003, while serving in office, Gabbard enlisted in the Hawaii Army National Guard.[61] She received several distinguished honor graduate titles and awards at Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training.[citation needed]
In July 2004, Gabbard asked to deploy with her Hawaii Army National Guard unit, volunteering for a 12-month tour in Iraq, where she served in a field medical unit as a specialist with a 29th Support Battalion medical company.[62] She learned that she would not be able to serve with her unit and perform her duties as a legislator, and thus chose not to campaign for a second term in office.[16][63] 
Gabbard served at Logistical Support Area Anaconda in Iraq.[64] While on a rest-and-relaxation tour in August 2005, she presented Hawaii's condolences to the government of London regarding the 7/7 terrorist attacks.[62] She was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal at the end of this tour.[citation needed]
Upon her return from Iraq in 2006, Gabbard began serving as a legislative aide for U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka in Washington, DC.[65] She was responsible for issues involving veteran affairs, energy and natural resources, judiciary, and homeland security. She served as a surrogate speaker for Akaka on many occasions, and built a grassroots network with the veteran community in Hawaii.[citation needed]
In March 2007, while working for Akaka, Gabbard graduated from the Accelerated Officer Candidate School at the Alabama Military Academy.[66] She was the first woman to finish as the distinguished honor graduate in the Academy's 50-year history.[5][65] She was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and assigned again to the 29th Brigade Special Troops Battalion of the Hawaii Army National Guard, this time to serve as the Military Police Platoon Leader.[67]
Gabbard continued to work for Akaka until 2009, when she again voluntarily deployed with her unit to the Middle East.
In May 2010, Gabbard was one of thirty finalists for a White House Fellowship[68] and one of three finalists from Hawaii,[69]but was not selected as a fellow.[70]
In June 2011, Gabbard visited Indonesia[71] as part of a peacekeeping training with the Indonesian Army.[72]
On October 12, 2015, Captain Gabbard was promoted to major at a ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Akaka administered the oath of office to the new major.[73][74] She continues to serve as a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard.[75]
[END]

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