|Home||Switchboard||Unix Administration||Red Hat||TCP/IP Networks||Neoliberalism||Toxic Managers|
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells
From Jesse's Café Américain -- Sitting On Top Of the World. April 02, 2015
|News||Neoconservatism||Recommended Links||American Imperialism||Neocolonialism||American Exceptionalism||Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA|
|Anatol Leiven on American Messianism||Media-Military-Industrial Complex||New American Militarism||Demonization of Putin||The Deep State||Predator state||Economic costs of American Exceptionalism|
|Diplomacy by deception||Terrorism as a smokesreen for National Security State implementation||Narcissism as Key American Value||Right to protect||Corporatism||National Security State||Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism|
|Color revolutions||"F*ck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place||Syria civil war||Civil war in Ukraine||Ukraine: From EuroMaydan to EuroAnschluss||Civil war in Ukraine||Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair|
|Robert Kagan||Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton||Obama: a yet another Neocon||Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ?|
|Antiamericanism as a Blowback to American Empire||Philippics||Hyman Minsky||Machiavellism||Understanding Mayberry Machiavellians||Humor||Etc|
|The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine
and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the
Deity to regenerate our victims,
while incidentally capturing their markets; to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples,
while blundering accidentally into their oil wells
John T. Flynn
Like any great country the USA is prone to creating its own empire. In this sense it is not that different from Spain, Great Britain, France, and Germany. The difference is that the USA prefer indirect methods installing puppet regimes and creating "fifth column" within the country. Like Great Britain in the past the USA pretences are global in nature as in "Sun never sets in British Empire")
U.S. global domination agenda is bipartisan. It far precedes 'neocons', as an extension of north America's 'manifest destiny' doctrine, which was transformed into U.S. finance imperialism. For a very frank discussion of US empire see https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YM_MH_Bfq5c
Internally the US dual party structure provides a clever mechanism that is directed toward reducing resistance against imperial policies. Voters are forced to support this system by endorsing one of two basically equally jingoistic imperial candidates.
The new documents suggest that mantra 'No Rivals' that the USA neocons promote is actually a long lasting foundational trait of this republic, that precede emergence of neocons as a dominant political force. Neocons dominance in Washington just reveals US post-Soviet geostrategic agenda, including its Mideast proxy Israel's new role. According to Wikipedia (American imperialism - Wikipedia) :
Journalist Ashley Smith divides theories of the U.S. imperialism into 5 broad categories: (1) "liberal" theories, (2) "social-democratic" theories, (3) "Leninist" theories, (4) theories of "super-imperialism", and (5) "Hardt-and-Negri-ite" theories. There is also a conservative, anti-interventionist view as expressed by American journalist John T. Flynn:
A "social-democratic" theory says that imperialistic U.S. policies are the products of the excessive influence of certain sectors of U.S. business and government—the arms industry in alliance with military and political bureaucracies and sometimes other industries such as oil and finance, a combination often referred to as the "military–industrial complex". The complex is said to benefit from war profiteering and the looting of natural resources, often at the expense of the public interest. The proposed solution is typically unceasing popular vigilance in order to apply counter-pressure. Johnson holds a version of this view.
Alfred T. Mahan, who served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during the late 19th century, supported the notion of American imperialism in his 1890 book titled The Influence of Sea Power upon History. In chapter one Mahan argued that modern industrial nations must secure foreign markets for the purpose of exchanging goods and, consequently, they must maintain a maritime force that is capable of protecting these trade routes.page needed]
A theory of "super-imperialism" says that imperialistic U.S. policies are not driven simply by the interests of American businesses, but by the interests of the economic elites of a global alliance of developed countries. Capitalism in Europe, the U.S. and Japan has become too entangled, in this view, to permit military or geopolitical conflict between these countries, and the central conflict in modern imperialism is between the global core and the global periphery rather than between imperialist powers.
American occupation of Mexico City in 1847
Ceremonies during the annexation of the Republic of Hawaii, 1898
Following the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the idea of American imperialism was reexamined. On October 15, the cover of William Kristol's Weekly Standard carried the headline, "The Case for American Empire." Rich Lowry, editor in chief of the National Review, called for "a kind of low-grade colonialism" to topple dangerous regimes beyond Afghanistan. The columnist Charles Krauthammer declared that, given complete U.S. domination "culturally, economically, technologically and militarily," people were "now coming out of the closet on the word 'empire.'" The New York Times Sunday magazine cover for January 5, 2003, read "American Empire: Get Used To It."
In the book "Empire", Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri argued that "the decline of Empire has begun". Hardt says the Iraq War is a classically imperialist war, and is the last gasp of a doomed strategy. This new era still has colonizing power, but it has moved from national military forces based on an economy of physical goods to networked biopower based on an informational and affective economy. The U.S. is central to the development and constitution of a new global regime of international power and sovereignty, termed Empire, but is decentralized and global, and not ruled by one sovereign state; "the United States does indeed occupy a privileged position in Empire, but this privilege derives not from its similarities to the old European imperialist powers, but from its differences." Hardt and Negri draw on the theories of Spinoza, Foucault, Deleuze and Italian autonomist marxists.
Geographer David Harvey says there has emerged a new type of imperialism due to geographical distinctions as well as uneven levels of development. He says there has emerged three new global economic and politics blocs: the United States, the European Union and Asia centered on China and verification needed] He says there are tensions between the three major blocs over resources and economic power, citing the 2003 invasion of Iraq, whose goal was to prevent rivals from controlling oil. Furthermore, Harvey argues there can arise conflict within the major blocs between capitalists and politicians due to their opposing economic interests. Politicians, on the other hand, live in geographically fixed locations and are, in the U.S. and Europe, accountable to the electorate. The 'new' imperialism, then, has led to an alignment of the interests of capitalists and politicians in order to prevent the rise and expansion of possible economic and political rivals from challenging America's dominance.
Classics professor and war historian Victor Davis Hanson dismisses the notion of an American empire altogether, mockingly comparing it to other empires: "We do not send out proconsuls to reside over client states, which in turn impose taxes on coerced subjects to pay for the legions. Instead, American bases are predicated on contractual obligations — costly to us and profitable to their hosts. We do not see any profits in Korea, but instead accept the risk of losing almost 40,000 of our youth to ensure that Kias can flood our shores and that shaggy students can protest outside our embassy in Seoul."
Factors unique to the "Age of imperialism"
A variety of factors may have coincided during the "Age of Imperialism" in the late 19th century, when the United States and the other major powers rapidly expanded their territorial possessions. Some of these are explained, or used as examples for the various perceived forms of American imperialism.
- The prevalence of racism, notably John Fiske's conception of Anglo-Saxon racial superiority, and Josiah Strong's call to "civilize and Christianize"—all manifestations of a growing Social Darwinism and racism in some schools of American political thought.
- Early in his career, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt was instrumental in preparing the Navy for the Spanish–American War and was an enthusiastic proponent of testing the U.S. military in battle, at one point stating "I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one".
Industry and trade are two of the most prevalent factors unique to imperialism. American intervention in both Latin America and Hawaii resulted in multiple industrial investments, including the popular industry of Dole bananas. If the United States was able to annex a territory, in turn they were granted access to the trade and capital of those territories. In 1898, Senator Albert Beveridge proclaimed that an expansion of markets was absolutely necessary, "American factories are making more than the American people can use; American soil is producing more than they can consume. Fate has written our policy for us; the trade of the world must and shall be ours."
U.S. foreign policy debate
1898 political cartoon: "Ten Thousand Miles From Tip to Tip" meaning the extension of U.S. domination (symbolized by a bald eagle) from Puerto Rico to the Philippines. The cartoon contrasts this with a map of the smaller United States 100 years earlier in 1798.
Annexation is a crucial instrument in the expansion of a nation, due to the fact that once a territory is annexed it must act within the confines of its superior counterpart. The United States Congress' ability to annex a foreign territory is explained in a report from the Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations, "If, in the judgment of Congress, such a measure is supported by a safe and wise policy, or is based upon a natural duty that we owe to the people of Hawaii, or is necessary for our national development and security, that is enough to justify annexation, with the consent of the recognized government of the country to be annexed."
Prior to annexing a territory, the American government still held immense power through the various legislations passed in the late 1800s. The Platt Amendment was utilized to prevent Cuba from entering into any agreements with foreign nations, and also granted the Americans the right to build naval stations on their soil. Executive officials in the American government began to determine themselves the supreme authority in matters regarding the recognition or restriction of 
When asked on April 28, 2003, on al-Jazeera whether the United States was "empire building," Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld replied "We don't seek empires, we're not imperialistic. We never have been."
However, historian Donald W. Meinig says the imperial behavior by the United States dates at least to the Louisiana Purchase, which he describes as an "imperial acquisition—imperial in the sense of the aggressive encroachment of one people upon the territory of another, resulting in the subjugation of that people to alien rule." The U.S. policies towards the Native Americans he said were "designed to remold them into a people more appropriately conformed to imperial desires."
Writers and academics of the early 20th century, like Charles A. Beard, in support of non-interventionism (sometimes referred to as "isolationism"), discussed American policy as being driven by self-interested expansionism going back as far as the writing of the Constitution. Some politicians today do not agree. Pat Buchanan claims that the modern United States' drive to empire is "far removed from what the Founding Fathers had intended the young Republic to become."
Andrew Bacevich argues that the U.S. did not fundamentally change its foreign policy after the Cold War, and remains focused on an effort to expand its control across the world. As the surviving superpower at the end of the Cold War, the U.S. could focus its assets in new directions, the future being "up for grabs" according to former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz in 1991.
In Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, the political activist Noam Chomsky argues that exceptionalism and the denials of imperialism are the result of a systematic strategy of propaganda, to "manufacture opinion" as the process has long been described in other countries.
Thorton wrote that "[...]imperialism is more often the name of the emotion that reacts to a series of events than a definition of the events themselves. Where colonization finds analysts and analogies, imperialism must contend with crusaders for and against." Political theorist Michael Walzer argues that the term hegemony is better than empire to describe the US's role in the world; political scientist Robert Keohane agrees saying, a "balanced and nuanced analysis is not aided...by the use of the phrase 'empire' to describe United States hegemony, since 'empire' obscures rather than illuminates the differences in form of rule between the United States and other Great Powers, such as Great Britain in the 19th century or the Soviet Union in the twentieth.". Emmanuel Todd assumes that USA cannot hold for long the status of mondial hegemonic power due to limited resources. Instead, USA is going to become just one of the major regional powers along with European Union, China, Russia, etc.
Other political scientists, such as Daniel Nexon and Thomas Wright, argue that neither term exclusively describes foreign relations of the United States. The U.S. can be, and has been, simultaneously an empire and a hegemonic power. They claim that the general trend in U.S. foreign relations has been away from imperial modes of control.
Some critics of imperialism argue that military and cultural imperialism are interdependent. American Edward Said, one of the founders of post-colonial theory, said that,
[...], so influential has been the discourse insisting on American specialness, altruism and opportunity, that imperialism in the United States as a word or ideology has turned up only rarely and recently in accounts of the United States culture, politics and history. But the connection between imperial politics and culture in North America, and in particular in the United States, is astonishingly direct.
International relations scholar David Rothkopf disagrees and argues that cultural imperialism is the innocent result of globalization, which allows access to numerous U.S. and Western ideas and products that many non-U.S. and non-Western consumers across the world voluntarily choose to consume. Matthew Fraser has a similar analysis, but argues further that the global cultural influence of the U.S. is a good thing.
Nationalism is the main process through which the government is able to shape public opinion. Propaganda in the media is strategically placed in order to promote a common attitude among the people. Louis A. Perez Jr. provides an example of propaganda used during the war of 1898, "We are coming, Cuba, coming; we are bound to set you free! We are coming from the mountains, from the plains and inland sea! We are coming with the wrath of God to make the Spaniards flee! We are coming, Cuba, coming; coming now!"
U.S. military basesFurther information: List of United States military bases
Chalmers Johnson argues that America's version of the colony is the military base. Chip Pitts argues similarly that enduring U.S. bases in Iraq suggest a vision of "Iraq as a colony".
While territories such as Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Puerto Rico remain under U.S. control, the U.S. allowed many of its overseas territories or occupations to gain independence after World War II. Examples include the Philippines (1946), the Panama canal zone (1979), Palau (1981), the Federated States of Micronesia (1986) and the Marshall Islands (1986). Most of them still have U.S. bases within their territories. In the case of Okinawa, which came under U.S. administration after the Battle of Okinawa during the Second World War, this happened despite local popular opinion. As of 2003[update], the United States had bases in over 36 countries worldwide.
Benevolent imperialismMain articles: Neoconservatism and Monroe Doctrine
Political cartoon depicting Theodore Roosevelt using the Monroe Doctrine to keep European powers out of the Dominican Republic.
One of the earliest historians of American Empire, William Appleman Williams, wrote, "The routine lust for land, markets or security became justifications for noble rhetoric about prosperity, liberty and security."
Max Boot defends U.S. imperialism by claiming: "U.S. imperialism has been the greatest force for good in the world during the past century. It has defeated communism and Nazism and has intervened against the Taliban and Serbian ethnic cleansing." Boot used "imperialism" to describe United States policy, not only in the early 20th century but "since at least 1803". This embrace of empire is made by others neoconservatives, including British historian Paul Johnson, and writers Dinesh D'Souza and Mark Steyn. It is also made by some liberal hawks, such as political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski and Michael Ignatieff.
British historian Niall Ferguson argues that the United States is an empire and believes that this is a good thing. Ferguson has drawn parallels between the British Empire and the imperial role of the United States in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, though he describes the United States' political and social structures as more like those of the Roman Empire than of the British. Ferguson argues that all of these empires have had both positive and negative aspects, but that the positive aspects of the U.S. empire will, if it learns from history and its mistakes, greatly outweigh its negative aspects.page needed]
Another point of view implies that United States expansion overseas has indeed been imperialistic, but that this imperialism is only a temporary phenomenon; a corruption of American ideals or the relic of a past historical era. Historian Samuel Flagg Bemis argues that Spanish–American War expansionism was a short-lived imperialistic impulse and "a great aberration in American history", a very different form of territorial growth than that of earlier American history. Historian Walter LaFeber sees the Spanish–American War expansionism not as an aberration, but as a culmination of United States expansion westward.
Historian Victor Davis Hanson argues that the U.S. does not pursue world domination, but maintains worldwide influence by a system of mutually beneficial exchanges. On the other hand, a Filipino revolutionary General Emilio Aquinaldo felt as though the American involvement in the Philippines was mutually destructive, "...the Filipinos fighting for Liberty, the American people fighting them to give them liberty. The two peoples are fighting on parallel lines for the same object. We know that parallel lines never meet." American influence worldwide and the effects it has on other nations have multiple interpretations according to whose perspective is being taken into account.
Liberal internationalists argue that even though the present world order is dominated by the United States, the form taken by that dominance is not imperial. International relations scholar John Ikenberry argues
Following are excerpts from the Pentagon's Feb. 18 draft of the Defense Planning Guidance for the Fiscal Years 1994-1999: This Defense Planning guidance addresses the fundamentally new situation which has been created by the collapse of the Soviet Union, the disintegration of the internal as well as the external empire, and the discrediting of Communism as an ideology with global pretensions and influence. The new international environment has also been shaped by the victory of the United States and its coalition allies over Iraqi aggression -- the first post-cold-war conflict and a defining event in U.S. global leadership. In addition to these two victories, there has been a less visible one, the integration of Germany and Japan into a U.S.-led system of collective security and the creation of a democratic "zone of peace."
U.S. blueprint for proxy Israel's role in conquering a 'new world order' agenda for incoming Benjamin Netanyahu regime, compatible with fascist 'eretz israel' agenda: 1996 A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm http://www.israeleconomy.org/strat1.htm
Following is a policy blueprint prepared by The U.S. Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies' "Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000." The main substantive ideas in this paper emerge from a discussion in which prominent opinion makers, including Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser participated. The report, entitled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," is the framework for a series of follow-up reports on strategy.
1997 A Geostrategy For Eurasia, by Zbigniew Brzezinski [major democratic strategist] Foreign Affairs,76:5, September/October 1997 Council on Foreign Relations Inc. http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/9709brzezinski.h...
much more at http://www.burbankdigest.com/
"Rebuilding America's Defenses" – A Summary
Blueprint of the PNAC Plan for U.S. Global Hegemony
Some people have compared it to Hitler's publication of Mein Kampf, which was ignored until after the war was over.
Full text of Rebuilding America's Defenses here
By Bette Stockbauer
05/06/03: When the Bush administration started lobbying for war with Iraq, they used as rationale a definition of preemption (generally meaning anticipatory use of force in the face of an imminent attack) that was broadened to allow for the waging of a preventive war in which force may be used even without evidence of an imminent attack. They also were able to convince much of the American public that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the attacks of 9/11, despite the fact that no evidence of a link has been uncovered. Consequently, many people supported the war on the basis of 1) a policy that has no legal basis in international law and 2) a totally unfounded claim of Iraqi guilt.
What most people do not know, however, is that certain high ranking officials in the Bush administration have been working for regime change in Iraq for the past decade, long before terrorism became an important issue for our country. In 1997 they formed an organization called the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). They have sought the establishment of a much stronger U.S. presence throughout the Mideast and Iraq's Saddam Hussein has been their number one target for regime change. Members of this group drafted and successfully passed through Congress the Iraqi Liberation Act, giving legal sanctions for an invasion of the country, and funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to Hussein opposition groups called the Iraqi National Congress and The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.
The PNAC philosophy was formed in response to the ending of Cold War hostilities with Russia and the emergence of America as the world's only preeminent superpower. Claiming that this is a "strategic moment" that should not be squandered, members of PNAC say that America should use its position to advance its power and interests into all areas of the globe. They believe the time is ripe for establishing democracies in regimes considered hostile to U.S. interests and are not hesitant to advise the use of military means to achieve those ends.
PNAC members on the Bush team include Vice-President Dick Cheney and his top national security assistant, I. Lewis Libby; Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz; National Security Council member Eliot Abrams; Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton; and former Chairman of the Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle. Other PNAC members exerting influence on U.S. policy are the President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq Randy Scheunemann, Republican Party leader Bruce Jackson and current PNAC chairman William Kristol, conservative writer for the Weekly Standard. Jeb Bush, the president's brother and governor of Florida, is also a member.
Their campaign to overthrow Hussein was unsuccessful during the Clinton presidency and early days of Bush's term, but on 9/11 they found the event they needed to push for the overthrow of Hussein. Within 24 hours both Wolfowitz and Cheney were calling for an invasion of Iraq, even before anyone knew who had been responsible for the attacks.
Individuals who now belong to PNAC have been influencing White House policy since the Reagan era, calling for coups in Central America and claiming that a nuclear war with Russia could be "winnable." Richard Perle is one of their most prominent spokesmen. He and Michael Ledeen (of the American Enterprise Institute), who is currently lobbying for war with Syria and Iran, have adopted a stance that they call "total war" - the ability to wage multiple simultaneous wars around the globe to achieve American ends. Recently Perle commented on America's war on terrorism: "No stages," he said, "This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq . . . this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war . . . our children will sing great songs about us years from now."
Members of PNAC are so self-assured they are advancing America's best interests that they publish policy papers specifically outlining their plans, plans that many fear may be laying the groundwork for a third world war. Their ideas are peculiarly atavistic, considering the friendly ties that have been forged between most of the major nations during the past ten years.
Their central policy document is entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses (RAD)," published on their website at http://newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf. It outlines a plan for American hegemony in the coming years, pinpointing "problem areas" of the world and suggesting regime change of unfavorable governments so that eventually the whole world will be unified under the banner of American democracy.
Already we are seeing evidence of PNAC influence on U.S. policy. For instance, the concept of "Homeland Defense" comes straight from "RAD." Iran, Iraq and North Korea, nations that George Bush calls the "Axis of Evil", are listed together in "RAD" several times as possible military threats to the U.S. There is a suggestion that military spending be increased to 3.8 percent of the GDP, exactly the amount (over and above present expenses for the Iraqi campaign) Bush has proposed for next year's budget. Its basic statement of policy bespeaks and advocates the very essence of the idea of preemptive engagement.
Bush's National Security Strategy of September 20, 2002, adopted PNAC ideas and emphasized a broadened definition of preemption. Since we are already hearing accusations against regimes in Iran and Syria, will they be slated next for invasion?
The document is written with all of the single-mindedness, unilateralism and inattention to international ramifications (with either friend or foe) that the Bush administration displayed in its current build-up for war with Iraq. There is even assertion of the necessity of American political leadership overriding that of the U.N. (p. 11), a policy that was sadly played out when the U.S. invaded Iraq without the approval of either the U.N. or the international community.
Rebuilding America's Defenses
I believe that "Rebuilding America's Defenses" is a must-read for anyone concerned about the future of our planet. Since the document is over 80 pages long I have created a summary of its major ideas in order to make it more accessible.
Subject areas are arranged under 4 categories:
A. Pax Americana - outlining the rationale for global empire,
B. Securing Global Hegemony - pinpointing regions that are considered trouble spots for U.S. policy,
C. Rebuilding the Military - plans for expansion of U.S. military might, and
D. Future Wars of Pax Americana - the "RAD" vision of complete control of land, sea, air, space and cyberspace.
As much as possible I have used direct quotations followed by page numbers so that the reader can consult the original. My personal comments are in italics.
For further reading about the PNAC, see the following articles:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1665.htm (Information Clearing House has many excellent articles about the PNAC.)
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2326.htm (this article is followed by a long list of links to published articles about the plans of the Bush Administration influenced by the PNAC.)
A. Pax Americana
"It is not a choice between preeminence today and preeminence tomorrow. Global leadership is not something exercised at our leisure, when the mood strikes us or when our core national security interests are directly threatened; then it is already too late. Rather, it is a choice whether or not to maintain American military preeminence, to secure American geopolitical leadership, and to preserve the American peace" (p. 76).
The building of Pax Americana has become possible, claims "RAD," because the fall of the Soviet Union has given the U.S. status as the world's singular superpower. It must now work hard not only to maintain that position, but to spread its influence into geographic areas that are ideologically opposed to our influence. Decrying reductions in defense spending during the Clinton years "RAD" propounds the theory that the only way to preserve peace in the coming era will be to increase military forces for the purpose of waging multiple wars to subdue countries which may stand in the way of U.S. global preeminence.
Their flaws in logic are obvious to people of conscience, namely, 1) a combative posture on our part will not secure peace, but will rather engender fear throughout the world and begin anew the arms race, only this time with far more contenders, and 2) democracy, by its very definition, cannot be imposed by force.
Following is the preamble to the document:
"As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's most preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievement of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?
"[What we require is] a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities.
"Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of the past century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership" (from the Project's Statement of Principles).
Four Vital Missions
PNAC members believe that there are four vital missions "demanded by U. S. global leadership," but claim that "current American armed forces are ill-prepared to execute" these missions.
"Homeland Defense. America must defend its homeland. During the Cold War, nuclear deterrence was the key element in homeland defense; it remains essential. But the new century has brought with it new challenges. While reconfiguring its nuclear force, the United States also must counteract the effects of the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction that may soon allow lesser states to deter U.S. military action by threatening U.S. allies and the American homeland itself. Of all the new and current missions for U.S. armed forces, this must have priority.
"Large Wars. Second, the United States must retain sufficient forces able to rapidly deploy and win multiple simultaneous large-scale wars and also to be able to respond to unanticipated contingencies in regions where it does not maintain forward-based forces. This resembles the 'two-war' standard that has been the basis of U.S. force planning over the past decade. Yet this standard needs to be updated to account for new realities and potential new conflicts.
"Constabulary Duties. Third, the Pentagon must retain forces to preserve the current peace in ways that fall short of conduction major theater campaigns. A decade's experience and the policies of two administrations have shown that such forces must be expanded to meet the needs of the new, long-term NATO mission in the Balkans, the continuing no-fly-zone and other missions in Southwest Asia, and other presence missions in vital regions of East Asia. These duties are today's most frequent missions, requiring forces configured for combat but capable of long-term, independent constabulary operations.
"Transform U.S. Armed Forces. Finally, the Pentagon must begin now to exploit the so-called 'revolution in military affairs,' sparked by the introduction of advanced technologies into military systems; this must be regarded as a separate and critical mission worthy of a share of force structure and defense budgets" (p. 6).
"In conclusion, it should be clear that these four essential missions for maintaining American military preeminence are quite separate and distinct from one another – none should be considered a 'lesser included case' of another, even though they are closely related and may, in some cases, require similar sorts of forces. Conversely, the failure to provide sufficient forces to execute these four missions must result in problems for American strategy. The failure to build missile defenses will put America and her allies at grave risk and compromise the exercise of American power abroad. Conventional forces that are insufficient to fight multiple theater wars simultaneously cannot protect American global interests and allies. Neglect or withdrawal from constabulary missions will increase the likelihood of larger wars breaking out and encourage petty tyrants to defy American interests and ideals. And the failure to prepare for tomorrow's challenges will ensure that the current Pax Americana comes to an early end" (p. 13).
On Usurping the Power of the UN
"Further, these constabulary missions are far more complex and likely to generate violence than traditional 'peacekeeping' missions. For one, they demand American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations, as the failure of the UN mission in the Balkans and the relative success of NATO operations there attests.
"Nor can the United States assume a UN-like stance of neutrality; the preponderance of American power is so great and its global interests so wide that it cannot pretend to be indifferent to the political outcome in the Balkans, the Persian Gulf or even when it deploys forces in Africa. Finally, these missions demand forces basically configured for combat. While they also demand personnel with special language, logistics and other support skills, the first order of business in missions such as in the Balkans is to establish security, stability and order. American troops, in particular, must be regarded as part of an overwhelmingly powerful force" (p. 11).
On Preserving American Preeminence
"Since today's peace is the unique product of American preeminence, a failure to preserve that preeminence allows others an opportunity to shape the world in ways antithetical to American interests and principles. The price of American preeminence is that, just as it was actively obtained, it must be actively maintained" (p. 73).
"The fourth element in American force posture – and certainly the one which holds the key to any longer-term hopes to extend the current Pax Americana – is the mission to transform U.S. military forces to meet new geopolitical and technological challenges" (p. 11).
"America's armed forces, it seemed, could either prepare for the future by retreating from its role as the essential defender of today's global security order, or it could take care of current business but be unprepared for tomorrow's threats and tomorrow's battlefields" (p. i).
"Moreover, America stands at the head of a system of alliances which includes the world's other leading democratic powers. At present the United States faces no global rival. America's grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible. There are, however, potentially powerful states dissatisfied with the current situation and eager to change it, if they can, in directions that endanger the relatively peaceful, prosperous and free condition the world enjoys today. Up to now, they have been deterred from doing so by the capability and global presence of American military power. But, as that power declines, relatively and absolutely, the happy conditions that follow from it will be inevitably undermined" (p. i).
B. Securing Global Hegemony
"In a larger sense, the new president will choose whether today's 'unipolar moment,' to use columnist Charles Krauthammer's phrase for America's current geopolitical preeminence, will be extended along with the peace and prosperity that it provides" (p. 4).
"RAD" takes the posture that only the U.S. should manipulate international relations and points out "trouble spots" that may cause future problems, like Iraq, Iran, Korea and all of East Asia. There is concern that several nations might come together to challenge U.S. interests. Consequently any nation that produces nuclear weapons or engages in significant arms build-up will be viewed as a potential threat.
"America's global leadership, and its role as the guarantor of the current great-power peace, relies upon the safety of the American homeland; the preservation of a favorable balance of power in Europe, the Middle East and surrounding energy-producing region, and East Asia; and the general stability of the international system of nation-states relative to terrorists, organized crime, and other 'non-state actors.' The relative importance of these elements, and the threats to U.S. interests, may rise and fall over time. Europe, for example, is now extraordinarily peaceful and stable, despite the turmoil in the Balkans. Conversely, East Asia appears to be entering a period with increased potential for instability and competition. In the Gulf, American power and presence has achieved relative external security for U.S. allies, but the longer-term prospects are murkier. Generally, American strategy for the coming decades should seek to consolidate the great victories won in the 20th century – which have made Germany and Japan into stable democracies, for example – maintain stability in the Middle East, while setting the conditions for 21st century successes, especially in East Asia.
"A retreat from any one of these requirements would call America's status as the world's leading power into question. As we have seen, even a small failure like that in Somalia or a halting and incomplete triumph as in the Balkans can cast doubt on American credibility. The failure to define a coherent global security and military strategy during the post-Cold War period has invited challenges; states seeking to establish regional hegemony continue to probe for the limits of the American security perimeter" (p. 5).
Iraq and the Persian Gulf
"After eight years of no-fly-zone operations, there is little reason to anticipate that the U.S. air presence in the region should diminish significantly as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power. Although Saudi domestic sensibilities demand that the forces based in the Kingdom nominally remain rotational forces, it has become apparent that this is now a semi-permanent mission. From an American perspective, the value of such bases would endure even should Saddam pass from the scene. Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region" (p. 17).
"In the Persian Gulf region, the presence of American forces, along with British and French units, has become a semi-permanent fact of life. Though the immediate mission of those forces is to enforce the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq, they represent the long-term commitment of the United States and its major allies to a region of vital importance. Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein" (p. 14).
"Although the no-fly-zone air operations over northern and southern Iraq have continued without pause for almost a decade, they remain an essential element in U.S. strategy and force posture in the Persian Gulf region. Ending these operations would hand Saddam Hussein an important victory, something any American leader would be loath to do. Likewise, withdrawing from the Balkans would place American leadership in Europe – indeed, the viability of NATO – in question. While none of these operations involves a mortal threat, they do engage U.S. national security interests directly, as well as engaging American moral interests" (p. 11).
"In Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia, enduring U.S. security interests argue forcefully for an enduring American military presence" (p. 74).
"The Air Force presence in the Gulf region is a vital one for U.S. military strategy, and the United States should consider it a de facto permanent presence, even as it seeks ways to lessen Saudi, Kuwaiti and regional concerns about U.S. presence" (p. 35).
Axis of Evil
"It is now commonly understood that information and other new technologies – as well as widespread technological and weapons proliferation – are creating a dynamic that may threaten America's ability to exercise its dominant military power. Potential rivals such as China are anxious to exploit these transformational technologies broadly, while adversaries like Iran, Iraq and North Korea are rushing to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons as a deterrent to American intervention in regions they seek to dominate" (p. 4).
"The current American peace will be short-lived if the United States becomes vulnerable to rogue powers with small, inexpensive arsenals of ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads or other weapons of mass destruction. We cannot allow North Korea, Iran, Iraq or similar states to undermine American leadership, intimidate American allies or threaten the American homeland itself. The blessings of the American peace, purchased at fearful cost and a century of effort, should not be so trivially squandered" (p. 75).
"Reflecting the gradual shift in the focus of American strategic concerns toward East Asia, a majority of the U.S. fleet, including two thirds of all carrier battle groups, should be concentrated in the Pacific. A new, permanent forward base should be established in Southeast Asia (p. 39).
"As stressed several times above, the United States should seek to establish – or reestablish – a more robust naval presence in Southeast Asia, marked by a long-term, semi-permanent home port in the region, perhaps in the Philippines, Australia, or both" (p. 44).
"In Southeast Asia, American forces are too sparse to adequately address rising security requirements….Except for routine patrols by naval and Marine forces, the security of this strategically significant and increasingly tumultuous region has suffered from American neglect…..Southeast Asia region has long been an area of great interest to China, which clearly seeks to regain influence in the region. In recent years, China has gradually increased its presence and operations in the region.
"Raising U.S. military strength in East Asia is the key to coping with the rise of China to great-power status. For this to proceed peacefully, U.S. armed forces must retain their military preeminence and thereby reassure our regional allies. In Northeast Asia, the United States must maintain and tighten its ties with the Republic of Korea and Japan. In Southeast Asia, only the United States can reach out to regional powers like Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia and others. This will be a difficult task requiring sensitivity to diverse national sentiments, but it is made all the more compelling by the emergence of new democratic governments in the region. By guaranteeing the security of our current allies and newly democratic nations in East Asia, the United States can help ensure that the rise of China is a peaceful one. Indeed, in time, American and allied power in the region may provide a spur to the process of democratization inside China itself….A heightened U.S. military presence in Southeast Asia would be a strong spur to regional security cooperation, providing the core around which a de facto coalition could jell" (pp. 18-19).
"The prospect is that East Asia will become an increasingly important region, marked by the rise of Chinese power….A similar rationale argues in favor of retaining substantial forces in Japan. In recent years, the stationing of large forces in Okinawa has become increasingly controversial in Japanese domestic politics, and while efforts to accommodate local sensibilities are warranted, it is essential to retain the capabilities U.S. forces in Okinawa represent. If the United States is to remain the guarantor of security in Northeast Asia, and to hold together a de facto alliance whose other main pillars are Korea and Japan maintaining forward-based U.S. forces is essential" (p. 18).
"As discussed above, the focus of American security strategy for the coming century is likely to shift to East Asia. This reflects the success of American strategy in the 20th century, and particularly the success of the NATO alliance through the Cold War, which has created what appears to be a generally stable and enduring peace in Europe. The pressing new problem of European security – instability in Southeastern Europe – will be best addressed by the continued stability operations in the Balkans by U.S. and NATO ground forces supported by land-based air forces. Likewise, the new opportunity for greater European stability offered by further NATO expansion will make demands first of all on ground and land-based air forces. As the American security perimeter in Europe is removed eastward, this pattern will endure, although naval forces will play an important role in the Baltic Sea, eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea, and will continue to support U.S. and NATO operations ashore" (pp. 43-44).
"The Balkans, and southeastern Europe more generally, present the major hurdle toward the creation of a Europe 'whole and free' from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The delay in bringing security and stability to southeastern Europe has not only prevented the consolidation of the victory in the Cold War, it has created a zone of violence and conflict and introduced uncertainty about America's role in Europe" (pp. 15-16).
"Despite the shifting focus of conflict in Europe, a requirement to station U.S. forces in northern and central Europe remains. The region is stable, but a continued American presence helps to assure the major European powers, especially Germany, that the United States retains its longstanding security interest in the continent. This is especially important in light of the nascent European moves toward an independent defense 'identity' and policy; it is important that NATO not be replaced by the European Union, leaving the United States without a voice in European security affairs" (p. 16).
"Although U.S. Navy and Marine forces generally operate on a regular cycle of deployments to European waters, they rely on a network of permanent bases in the region, especially in the Mediterranean. These should be retained, and consideration given to establishing a more robust presence in the Black Sea" (p. 17).
Several statements advocating the possible necessity of removing hostile regimes can be found in the document.
"American military preeminence will continue to rest in significant part on the ability to maintain sufficient land forces to achieve political goals such as removing a dangerous and
hostile regime when necessary" (p. 61).
"The need to respond with decisive force in the event of a major theater war in Europe, the Persian Gulf or East Asia will remain the principal factor in determining Army force structure for U.S.-based units. However one judges the likelihood of such wars occurring, it is essential to retain sufficient capabilities to bring them to a satisfactory conclusion, including the possibility of a decisive victory that results in long-term political or regime change" (p. 25).
"America's adversaries will continue to resist the building of the American peace; when they see an opportunity as Saddam Hussein did in 1990, they will employ their most powerful armed forces to win on the battle-field what they could not win in peaceful competition; and American armed forces will remain the core of efforts to deter, defeat, or remove from power regional aggressors" (p. 10).
C. Rebuilding the Military
"If an American peace is to be maintained, and expanded, it must have a secure foundation on unquestioned U.S. military preeminence" (p. 4).
One stated objective of "RAD" is "to outline the large, 'full-spectrum' forces that are necessary to conduct the varied tasks demanded by a strategy of American preeminence for today and tomorrow" (p. 5). Much of the document is an elucidation of those missions and includes specific recommendations about weaponry, deployment patterns, increased personnel and defense spending.
"In sum, the 1990s have been a 'decade of defense neglect'. This leaves the next president of the United States with an enormous challenge: he must increase military spending to preserve American geopolitical leadership, or he must pull back from the security commitments that are the measure of America's position as the world's sole superpower and the final guarantee of security, democratic freedoms and individual political rights" (p. 4).
"Preserving the desirable strategic situation in which the United States now finds itself requires a globally preeminent military capability both today and in the future. But years of cuts in defense spending have eroded the American military's combat readiness, and put in jeopardy the Pentagon's plans for maintaining military superiority in the years ahead. Increasingly, the U.S. military has found itself undermanned, inadequately equipped and trained, straining to handle contingency operations, and ill-prepared to adapt itself to the revolution in military affairs" (p. i).
The four core missions of PNAC referred to below were outlined in section A. Pax Americana.
"To carry out these core missions, we need to provide sufficient force and budgetary allocations. In particular, the United States must:
MAINTAIN NUCLEAR STRATEGIC SUPERIORITY, basing the U.S. nuclear deterrent upon a global, nuclear net assessment that weighs the full range of current and emerging threats, not merely the U.S.-Russia balance.
RESTORE THE PERSONNEL STRENGTH of today's force to roughly the levels anticipated in the 'Base Force' outlined by the Bush Administration, an increase in active-duty strength from 1.4 million to 1.6 million.
REPOSITION U.S. FORCES to respond to 21st century strategic realities by shifting permanently based forces to Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia, and by changing naval deployment patterns to reflect growing U.S. strategic concerns in East Asia.
MODERNIZE CURRENT U.S. FORCES SELECTIVELY, proceeding with the F-22 program while increasing purchases of lift, electronic support and other aircraft; expanding submarine and surface combatant fleets; purchasing Comanche helicopters and medium-weight ground vehicles for the Army, and the V-22 Osprey 'tilt-rotor' aircraft for the Marine Corps.
CANCEL 'ROADBLOCK' PROGRAMS such as the Joint Strike Fighter, CVX aircraft carrier, and Crusader howitzer system that would absorb exorbitant amounts of Pentagon funding while providing limited improvements to current capabilities. Savings from these canceled programs should be used to spur the process of military transformation.
DEVELOP AND DEPLOY GLOBAL MISSILE DEFENSES to defend the American homeland and American allies, and to provide a secure basis for U.S. power projection around the world.
CONTROL THE NEW 'INTERNATIONAL COMMONS' OF SPACE AND 'CYBERSPACE,' and pave the way for the creation of a new military service – U.S. Space Forces – with the mission of space control.
EXPLOIT THE 'REVOLUTION IN MILITARY AFFAIRS' to ensure the long-term superiority of U.S. conventional forces. Establish a two-stage transformation process which
• ?maximizes the value of current weapons systems through the application of advanced technologies, and,
• ?produces more profound improvements in military capabilities, encourages competition between single services and joint-service experimentation efforts.
INCREASE DEFENSE SPENDING gradually to a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually" (p. v).
"In general terms, it seems likely that the process of transformation will take several decades and that U.S. forces will continue to operate many, if not most, of today's weapons systems for a decade or more. Thus, it can be foreseen that the process of transformation will in fact be a two-stage process: first of transition, then of more thoroughgoing transformation. The break-point will come when a preponderance of new weapons systems begins to enter service, perhaps when, for example, unmanned aerial vehicles begin to be as numerous as manned aircraft. In this regard, the Pentagon should be very wary of making large investments in new programs – tanks, planes, aircraft carriers, for example – that would commit U.S. forces to current paradigms of warfare for many decades to come" (p. 13).
List of recommendations for modernizing the Army (see p. 23).
"American landpower remains the essential link in the chain that translates U.S. military supremacy into American geopolitical preeminence. Even as the means for delivering firepower on the battlefield shift – strike aircraft have realized all but the wildest dreams of air power enthusiasts, unmanned aerial vehicles promise to extend strike power in the near future, and the ability to conduct strikes from space appears on the not-too-distant horizon – the need for ground maneuvers to achieve decisive political results endures. Regimes are difficult to change based upon punishment alone. If land forces are to survive and retain their unique strategic purpose in a world where it is increasingly easy to deliver firepower precisely at long ranges, they must change as well, becoming more stealthy, mobile, deployable and able to operate in a dispersed fashion. The U.S. Army, and American land forces more generally, must increasingly complement the strike capabilities of the other services. Conversely, an American military force that lacks the ability to employ ground forces that can survive and maneuver rapidly on future battlefields will deprive U.S. political leaders of a decisive tool of diplomacy" (p. 30).
Air Force - Toward a Global First-Strike Force
List of recommendations for modernizing the Air Force (See p. 31).
"Although air power remains the most flexible and responsive element of U.S. military power, the Air Force needs to be restructured, repositioned, revitalized and enlarged to assure continued 'global reach, global power'" (p. 31).
"Because of its inherent mobility and flexibility, the Air Force will be the first U.S. military force to arrive in a theater during times of crisis; as such, the Air Force must retain its ability to deploy and sustain sufficient numbers of aircraft to deter wars and shape any conflict in its earliest stages. Indeed, it is the Air Force, along with the Army, that remains the core of America's ability to apply decisive military power when its pleases. To dissipate this ability to deliver a rapid hammer blow is to lose the key component of American military preeminence" (p. 37).
"A gradual increase in Air Force spending back to a $110 billion to $115 billion level is required to increase service personnel strength; build new units, especially the composite wings required to perform the 'air constabulary missions' such as no-fly zones; add the support capabilities necessary to complement the fleet of tactical aircraft; reinvest in space capabilities and begin the process of transformation" (p. 37).
"The ability to have access to, operate in, and dominate the aerospace environment has become the key to military success in modern, high-technology warfare. Indeed, as will be discussed below, space dominance may become so essential to the preservation of American military preeminence that it may require a separate service. How well the Air Force rises to the many challenges it faces – even should it receive increased budgets – will go far toward determining whether U.S. military forces retain the combat edge they now enjoy" (pp. 38-39).
"A recent study done for the Air Force indicates that a worldwide network of forward operating bases….might cost $5 billion to $10 billion through 2010. The study speculates that some of the cost might be paid for by host nations anxious to cement ties with the United States, or, in Europe, be considered as common NATO assets and charged to the NATO common fund" (p. 20).
List of recommendations for modernizing the Navy (See pp. 39-40).
List of recommendations for modernizing the Marines (See pp. 47-48).
"The end of the Cold War leaves the U.S. Navy in a position of unchallenged supremacy on the high seas, a dominance surpassing that even of the British Navy in the 19th and early parts of the 20th century. With the remains of the Soviet fleet now largely rusting in port, the open oceans are America's, and the lines of communication open from the coasts of the United States to Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia. Yet this very success calls the need for the current force structure into question. Further, the advance of precision-strike technology may mean that naval surface combatants, and especially the large-deck aircraft carriers that are the Navy's capital ships, may not survive in the high-technology wars of the coming decades. Finally, the nature and pattern of Navy presence missions may be out of synch with emerging strategic realities. In sum, though it stands without peer today, the Navy faces major challenges to its traditional and, in the past, highly successful methods of operation" (p. 39).
"Thus, while naval presence, including carrier presence, in the western Pacific should be increased, the Navy should begin to conduct many of its presence missions with other kinds of battle groups based around cruisers, destroyers and other surface combatants as well as submarines. Indeed, the Navy needs to better understand the requirement to have substantial numbers of cruise-missile platforms at sea and in close proximity to regional hot spots, using carriers and naval aviation as reinforcing elements" (p. 46).
"The Navy's force of attack submarines also should be expanded. It is unclear that the current and planned generations of attack submarines (to say nothing of new ballistic missile submarines) will be flexible enough to meet future demands. The Navy should reassess its submarine requirements not merely in light of current missions but with an expansive view of possible future missions as well" (p. 46).
"The Navy must begin to transition away from its heavy dependence on carrier operations….. Design and research on a future CVX carrier should continue, but should aim at a radical design change to accommodate an air wing based primarily on unmanned aerial vehicles" (p. 40).
"To offset the reduced role of carriers, the Navy should slightly increase its fleets of current-generation surface combatants and submarines for improved strike capabilities in littoral waters and to conduct an increasing proportion of naval presence missions with surface action groups. Additional investments in counter-mine warfare are needed, as well" (p. 40).
"In particular, the Marine Corps, like the Navy, must turn its focus on the requirements for operations in East Asia, including Southeast Asia. In many ways, this will be a 'back to the future' mission for the Corps, recalling the innovative thinking done during the period between the two world wars and which established the Marines' expertise in amphibious landings and operations" (p. 47).
"As a supplement to forces stationed abroad under long-term basing arrangements, the United States should seek to establish a network of 'deployment bases' or 'forward operating bases' to increase the reach of current and future forces. Not only will such an approach improve the ability to project force to outlying regions, it will help circumvent the political, practical and financial constraints on expanding the network of American bases overseas" (p. 19).
"There should be a strong strategic synergy between U.S. forces overseas and in a reinforcing posture: units operating abroad are an indication of American geopolitical interests and leadership, provide significant military power to shape events and, in wartime, create the conditions for victory when reinforced. Conversely, maintaining the ability to deliver an unquestioned 'knockout punch' through the rapid introduction of stateside units will increase the shaping power of forces operating overseas and the vitality of our alliances. In sum, we see an enduring need for large-scale American forces" (p. 74).
"Further, improvements should be made to existing air bases in new and potential NATO countries to allow for rapid deployments, contingency exercises, and extended initial operations in times of crisis. These preparations should include modernized air traffic control, fuel, and weapons storage facilities, and perhaps small stocks of prepositioned munitions, as well as sufficient ramp space to accommodate surges in operations. Improvements also should be made to existing facilities in England to allow forward operation of B-2 bombers in times of crisis, to increase sortie rates if needed" (p. 34).
"The Air Force should be redeployed to reflect the shifts in international politics. Independent, expeditionary air wings containing a broad mix of aircraft, including electronic warfare, airborne command and control, and other support aircraft, should be based in Italy, Southeastern Europe, central and perhaps eastern Turkey, the Persian Gulf, and Southeast Asia"
"…significant reductions in U.S. nuclear forces might well have unforeseen consequences that lessen rather than enhance the security of the United States and its allies" (p. 8).
"Over the past decade, efforts to design and build effective missile defenses have been ill-conceived and underfunded, and the Clinton Administration has proposed deep reductions in U.S. nuclear forces without sufficient analysis of the changing global nuclear balance of forces" (p. 6).
"Rather than maintain and improve America's nuclear deterrent, the Clinton Administration has put its faith in new arms control measures, most notably by signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The treaty proposed a new multilateral regime, consisting of some 150 states, whose principal effect would be to constrain America's unique role in providing the global nuclear umbrella that helps to keep states like Japan and South Korea from developing the weapons that are well within their scientific capability, while doing little to stem nuclear weapons proliferation. Although the Senate refused to ratify the treaty, the administration continues to abide by its basic strictures. And while it may make sense to continue the current moratorium on nuclear testing for the moment – since it would take a number of years to refurbish the neglected testing infrastructure in any case – ultimately this is an untenable situation. If the United States is to have a nuclear deterrent that is both effective and safe, it will need to test." (pp. 7-8).
"…of all the elements of U.S. military force posture, perhaps none is more in need of reevaluation than America's nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons remain a critical component of American military power but it is unclear whether the current U.S. nuclear arsenal is well-suited to the emerging post-Cold War world. Today's strategic calculus encompasses more factors than just the balance of terror between the United States and Russia. U.S. nuclear force planning and related arms control policies must take account of a larger set of variables than in the past, including the growing number of small nuclear arsenals – from North Korea to Pakistan to, perhaps soon, Iran and Iraq – and a modernized and expanded Chinese nuclear force. Moreover, there is a question about the role nuclear weapons should play in deterring the use of other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical and biological, with the U.S. having foresworn those weapons' development and use. It addition, there may be a need to develop a new family of nuclear weapons designed to address new sets of military requirements, such as would be required in targeting the very deep under-ground, hardened bunkers that are being built by many of our potential adversaries" (p. 8).
"But what should finally drive the size and character of our nuclear forces is not numerical parity with Russian capabilities but maintaining American strategic superiority – and, with that superiority, a capability to deter possible hostile coalitions of nuclear powers. U.S. nuclear superiority is nothing to be ashamed of; rather, it will be an essential element in preserving American leadership in a more complex and chaotic world" (p. 8).
D. Future Wars of Pax Americana
"Until the process of transformation is treated as an enduring military mission – worthy of a constant allocation of dollars and forces – it will remain stillborn" (p. 60).
"RAD" envisions a future in which the United States is in complete control of land, sea, air, space and cyberspace of planet Earth. It finds objectionable the limitations imposed by the ABM treaty and urges a newer rendition of Reagan's 'Star Wars' defense shield program. Three missions are seen as crucial.
1. Global Missile Defenses - "A network against limited strikes, capable of protecting the United States, its allies and forward-deployed forces, must be constructed. This must be a layered system of land, sea, air and space-based components" (p. 51).
"The first element in any missile defense network should be a galaxy of surveillance satellites with sensors capable of acquiring enemy ballistic missiles immediately upon launch" (p. 52).
"At the same time, the administration's devotion to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with the Soviet Union has frustrated development of useful ballistic missile defenses. This is reflected in deep budget cuts – planned spending on missile defenses for the late 1990s has been more than halved, halting work on space-based interceptors, cutting funds for a national missile defense system by 80 percent and theater defenses by 30 percent. Further, the administration has cut funding just at the crucial moments when individual programs begin to show promise. Only upgrades of currently existing systems like the Patriot missile – originally designed primarily for air defense against jet fighters, not missile defense – have proceeded generally on course.
"Most damaging of all was the decision in 1993 to terminate the 'Brilliant Pebbles' project. This legacy of the original Reagan-era 'Star Wars' effort had matured to the point where it was becoming feasible to develop a space-based interceptor capable of destroying ballistic missiles in the early or middle portion of their flight – far preferable than attempting to hit individual warheads surrounded by clusters of decoys on their final course toward their targets. But since a space-based system would violate the ABM Treaty, the administration killed the 'Brilliant Pebbles' program, choosing instead to proceed with a ground-based interceptor and radar system – one that will be costly without being especially effective" (p. 52).
2. Control of Space - "RAD" advises instituting a new "Space Service" thereby escalating U.S. military preparedness "from the theatre level to the global level" in order to achieve worldwide dominance, both militarily and commercially.
"Yet to truly transform itself for the coming century, the Air Force must accelerate its efforts to create the new systems – and, to repeat, the space-based systems – that are necessary to shift the scope of air operations from the theater level to the global level" (p. 64).
"…control of space – defined by Space Command as 'the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space' – must be an essential element of our military strategy" (p. 55).
"Much as control of the high seas – and the protection of international commerce – defined global powers in the past, so will control of the new 'international commons' be a key to world power in the future. An America incapable of protecting its interests or that of its allies in space or the 'infosphere' will find it difficult to exert global political leadership" (p. 51).
"The proliferation of technologies for delivering highly accurate fires over increasingly great distances poses a great challenge for both the Army and the Marine Corps, but rather than attempting to compete in the game of applying long-range fires, both services would be better off attempting to complement the vastly improved strike capabilities of the Navy and Air Force, and indeed in linking decisive maneuvers to future space capabilities as well" (p. 68).
"Target significant new investments toward creating capabilities for operating in space, including inexpensive launch vehicles, new satellites and transatmospheric vehicles, in preparation for a decision as to whether space warfare is sufficiently different from combat within earth's atmosphere so as to require a separate 'space service'. Such a transformation would in fact better realize the Air Force's stated goal of becoming a service with true global reach and global strike capabilities" (p. 64).
"Given the advantages U.S. armed forces enjoy as a result of this unrestricted use of space, it is shortsighted to expect potential adversaries to refrain from attempting to disable or offset U.S. space capabilities. And with the proliferation of space know-how and related technology around the world, our adversaries will inevitably seek to enjoy many of the same space advantages in the future. Moreover, 'space commerce' is a growing part of the global economy. In 1996, commercial United States, and commercial revenues exceeded government expenditures on space. Today, more than 1,100 commercial companies across more than 50 countries are developing, building, and operating space systems.
"The complexity of space control will only grow as commercial activity increases. American and other allied investments in space systems will create a requirement to secure and protect these space assets; they are already an important measure of American power. Yet it will not merely be enough to protect friendly commercial uses of space.
"As Space Command also recognizes, the United States must also have the capability to deny America's adversaries the use of commercial space platforms for military purposes in times of crises and conflicts. Indeed, space is likely to become the new 'international commons', where commercial and security interests are intertwined and related. Just as Alfred Thayer Mahan wrote about 'sea-power' at the beginning of the 20th century in this sense, American strategists will be forced to regard 'space-power' in the 21st" (pp. 54-55).
"In short, the unequivocal supremacy in space enjoyed by the United States today will be increasingly at risk" (p. 55).
"As Colin Gray and John Sheldon have written, 'Space control is not an avoidable issue. It is not an optional extra.' For U.S. armed forces to continue to assert military preeminence, control of space – defined by Space Command as 'the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space' – must be an essential element of our military strategy. If America cannot maintain that control, its ability to conduct global military operations will be severely complicated, far more costly, and potentially fatally compromised" (p. 55).
"But, over the longer term, maintaining control of space will inevitably require the application of force both in space and from space, including but not limited to anti-missile defenses and defensive systems capable of protecting U.S. and allied satellites; space control cannot be sustained in any other fashion, with conventional land, sea, or airforce, or by electronic warfare. This eventuality is already recognized by official U.S. national space policy, which states that the 'Department of Defense shall maintain a capability to execute the mission areas of space support, force enhancement, space control and force application.' (Emphasis added.)" (p. 56).
3. Control of Cyberspace - "Although many concepts of 'cyber-war' have elements of science fiction about them, and the role of the Defense Department in establishing 'control,' or even what 'security' on the Internet means, requires a consideration of a host of legal, moral and political issues, there nonetheless will remain an imperative to be able to deny America and its allies' enemies the ability to disrupt or paralyze either the military's or the commercial sector's computer networks.
"Conversely, an offensive capability could offer America's military and political leaders an invaluable tool in disabling an adversary in a decisive manner. Taken together, the prospects for space war or 'cyberspace war' represent the truly revolutionary potential inherent in the notion of military transformation. These future forms of warfare are technologically immature, to be sure. But, it is also clear that for the U.S. armed forces to remain preeminent and avoid an Achilles Heel in the exercise of its power they must be sure that these potential future forms of warfare favor America just as today's air, land and sea warfare reflect United States military dominance" (p. 57).
Strategy for Transforming Conventional Forces
Read below notions of how conventional warfare will be conducted in the future, including the use of microbes and "advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes."
"In exploiting the 'revolution in military affairs,' the Pentagon must be driven by the enduring missions for U.S. forces. This process will have two stages: transition, featuring a mix of current and new systems; and true transformation, featuring new systems, organizations and operational concepts. This process must take a competitive approach, with services and joint-service operations competing for new roles and missions. Any successful process of transformation must be linked to the services, which are the institutions within the Defense Department with the ability and the responsibility for linking budgets and resources to specific missions" (p. 51).
"Although it may take several decades for the process of transformation to unfold, in time, the art of warfare on air, land, and sea will be vastly different than it is today, and 'combat' likely will take place in new dimensions: in space, 'cyber-space,' and perhaps the world of microbes. Air warfare may no longer be fought by pilots manning tactical fighter aircraft sweeping the skies of opposing fighters, but a regime dominated by long-range, stealthy unmanned craft. On land, the clash of massive, combined-arms armored forces may be replaced by the dashes of much lighter, stealthier and information-intensive forces, augmented by fleets of robots, some small enough to fit in soldiers' pockets. Control of the sea could be largely determined not by fleets of surface combatants and aircraft carriers, but from land- and space-based systems, forcing navies to maneuver and fight underwater. Space itself will become a theater of war, as nations gain access to space capabilities and come to rely on them; further, the distinction between military and commercial space systems – combatants and noncombatants – will become blurred. Information systems will become an important focus of attack, particularly for U.S. enemies seeking to short-circuit sophisticated American forces. And advanced forms of biological warfare that can target specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool" (p. 60).
Changes in Naval Warfare: "Beyond immediate opportunities such as conversion of Trident submarines, consideration should be given to employing a deactivated carrier to better understand the possibilities of operating large fleets of UAVs at sea. Likewise, submerged 'missile pods,' either permanently deployed or laid covertly by submarines in times of crisis, could increase strike capabilities without risking surface vessels in littoral waters. In general, if the Navy is moving toward 'network-centric' warfare, it should explore ways of increasing the number of 'nodes on the net'" (p. 67).
Army of the Future: "Consider just the potential changes that might effect the infantryman. Future soldiers may operate in encapsulated, climate-controlled, powered fighting suits, laced with sensors, and boasting chameleon-like 'active' camouflage. 'Skin-patch' pharmaceuticals help regulate fears, focus concentration and enhance endurance and strength. A display mounted on a soldier's helmet permits a comprehensive view of the battlefield – in effect to look around corners and over hills – and allows the soldier to access the entire combat information and intelligence system while filtering incoming data to prevent overload. Individual weapons are more lethal, and a soldier's ability to call for highly precise and reliable indirect fires – not only from Army systems but those of other services – allows each individual to have great influence over huge spaces. Under the 'Land Warrior' program, some Army experts envision a 'squad' of seven soldiers able to dominate an area the size of the Gettysburg battlefield – where, in 1863, some 165,000 men fought" (p. 62).
Comment section added to this article on October 30, 2011
mforza · 48 weeks ago
Throughout this document which is capital in understanding the catastrophic events to which 9/11 was designed to be the detonator, wars of aggression against peaceful nations, total annihilation of nations and civilizations, are coldly described as their aim and plan, with specific methods to reach their genocidal and even biocidal (destruction of all life) pathologically evil
To understand the motor behind this PNAC's genocidal wars, the FILTER must imperatively be removed from our investigative reading.
The key word that is filtered out from the debate, yet it is the elephant in the room, is the very FACT that most signatories of this document are either JEWISH or ultra-zionists, most of them appear also in the Jewish-Israeli documents for identical strategy, a document which invariably exposes the treasonous allegiance to an entity enemy to the USA, of the often dual-nationals signatories to these two major documents. As a few examples:
Participants in the Study Group on "A New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000:"
Richard Perle, American Enterprise Institute, Study Group Leader
James Colbert, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Johns Hopkins University/SAIS
Douglas Feith, Feith and Zell Associates
Robert Loewenberg, President, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
Jonathan Torop, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
David Wurmser, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
Meyrav Wurmser, Johns Hopkins University
While it is theoretically of ZERO importance to which racial or religious or national or cultural origins one is, we must have the intellectual courage to recognize that inspite of this ideal we humanists do hold, there is a group amidst us who has departed from us, who by exclusion and hatred of the others has slipped into a degree of pathological mass-sociopathy for whom the aim has become annihilation and domination of what they consider "the enemy" namely all non-jews --
The cross-pollination of racist ideology between their "secular" and "religious" networks, is striking to whomever reads extensively and critically Jewish and Israeli publications and declarations, and compares it to the malevolent activities of the same Judeo-centric networks, foundations, trusts, thinbk-tanks, etc etc etc with often lofty names feigning "pro-democracy" nd "pro-peace" while they are the very radical opposite.
Wars of aggression and total genocide corresponds 100 % to Jewish Talmudic ideology, contrary to all the hype.
Reproduced from Lawrence Wilkerson Travails of Empire - Oil, Debt, Gold and the Imperial Dollar
August 15, 2015 | Jesse's Café Américain"We are imperial, and we are in decline... People are losing confidence in the Empire."This is the key theme of Larry Wilkerson's presentation. He never really questions whether empire is good or bad, sustainable or not, and at what costs. At least he does not so in the same manner as that great analyst of empire Chalmers Johnson.
It is important to understand what people who are in and near positions of power are thinking if you wish to understand what they are doing, and what they are likely to do. What ought to be done is another matter.
Wilkerson is a Republican establishment insider who has served for many years in the military and the State Department. Here he is giving about a 40 minute presentation to the Centre For International Governance in Canada in 2014.
I find his point of view of things interesting and revealing, even on those points where I may not agree with his perspective. There also seem to be some internal inconsistencies in this thinking.
But what makes his perspective important is that it represents a mainstream view of many professional politicians and 'the Establishment' in America. Not the hard right of the Republican party, but much of what constitutes the recurring political establishment of the US.
As I have discussed here before, I do not particularly care so much if a trading indicator has a fundamental basis in reality, as long as enough people believe in and act on it. Then it is worth watching as self-fulfilling prophecy. And the same can be said of political and economic memes.
At minute 48:00 Wilkerson gives a response to a question about the growing US debt and of the role of the petrodollar in the Empire, and the efforts by others to 'undermine it' by replacing it. This is his 'greatest fear.'
He speaks about 'a principal advisor to the CIA Futures project' and the National Intelligence Council (NIC), whose views and veracity of claims are being examined closely by sophisticated assets. He believes that both Beijing and Moscow are complicit in an attempt to weaken the dollar.
This includes the observation that "gold is being moved in sort of unique ways, concentrated in secret in unique ways, and capitals are slowly but surely divesting themselves of US Treasuries. So what you are seeing right now in the supposed strengthening of the dollar is a false impression."
The BRICS want to use oil to "force the US to lose its incredibly powerful role in owning the world's transactional reserve currency." It gives the US a great deal of power of empire that it would not ordinarily have, since the ability to add debt without consequence enables the expenditures to sustain it.
Later, after listening to this again, the thought crossed my mind that this advisor might be a double agent using the paranoia of the military to achieve the ends of another. Not for the BRICS, but for the Banks. The greatest beneficiary of a strong dollar, which is a terrible burden to the real economy, is the financial sector. This is why most countries seek to weaken or devalue their currencies to improve their domestic economies as a primary objective. This is not so far-fetched as military efforts to provoke 'regime change' have too often been undertaken to support powerful commercial interests.
Here is just that particular excerpt of the Q&A and the question of increasing US debt.
I am not sure how much the policy makers and strategists agree with this theory about gold. But there is no doubt in my mind that they believe and are acting on the theory that oil, and the dollar control of oil, the so-called petrodollar, is the key to maintaining the empire.
Wilkerson reminds me very much of a political theoretician who I knew at Georgetown University. He talks about strategic necessities, the many occasions in which the US has used its imperial power covertly to overthrow or attempt to overthrow governments in Iran, Venezuela, Syria, and the Ukraine. He tends to ascribe all these actions to selflessness, and American service to the world in maintaining a balance of power where 'all we ask is a plot of ground to bury our dead.'
A typical observation is that the US did indeed overthrow the democratically elected government of Mossadegh in 1953 in Iran. But 'the British needed the money' from the Anglo-Iranian oil company in order to rebuild after WW II. Truman had rejected the notion, but Eisenhower the military veteran and Republic agreed to it. Wilkerson says specifically that Ike was 'the last expert' to hold the office of the Presidency.
This is what is meant by realpolitik. It is all about organizing the world under a 'balance of power' that is favorable to the Empire and the corporations that have sprung up around it.
As someone with a long background and interest in strategy I am not completely unsympathetic to these lines of thinking. But like most broadly developed human beings and students of history and philosophy one can see that the allure of such thinking, without recourse to questions of restraint and morality and the fig leaf of exceptionalist thinking, is a terrible trap, a Faustian bargain. It is the rationalization of every nascent tyranny. It is the precursor to the will to pure power for its own sake.
The challenges of empire now according to Wilkerson are:
This presentation ends about minute 40, and then it is open to questions which is also very interesting.
- Disequilibrium of wealth - 1/1000th of the US owns 50% of its total wealth. The current economic system implies long term stagnation (I would say stagflation. The situation in the US is 1929, and in France, 1789. All the gains are going to the top.
- BRIC nations are rising and the Empire is in decline, largely because of US strategic miscalculations. The US is therefore pressing harder towards war in its desperation and desire to maintain the status quo. And it is dragging a lot of good and honest people into it with our NATO allies who are dependent on the US for their defense.
- There is a strong push towards regional government in the US that may intensify as global warming and economic developments present new challenges to specific areas. For example, the water has left the Southwest, and it will not be coming back anytime soon.Lawrence Wilkerson, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William Mary, and former Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.Related: Chalmers Johnson: Decline of Empire and the Signs of Decay
Kouros , , March 21, 2019 at 11:39 pm
Mar 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
As usual, Trump made the announcement of recognizing Israel's claim to the Golan Heights without any consultation with any of the relevant administration officials:
President Donald Trump's tweet on Thursday recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory surprised members of his own Middle East peace team, the State Department, and Israeli officials.
U.S. diplomats and White House aides had believed the Golan Heights issue would be front and center at next week's meetings between Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. But they were unprepared for any presidential announcement this week.
No formal U.S. process or executive committees were initiated to review the policy before Trump's decision, and the diplomats responsible for implementing the policy were left in the dark.
Even the Israelis, who have advocated for this move for years, were stunned at the timing of Trump's message.
After more than two years of watching Trump's impulsive and reckless "governing" style, it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone that he makes these decisions without advance warning. There is no evidence that Trump ever thinks anything through, and so he probably sees no reason to tell anyone in advance what he is going to do.
Trump almost never bothers consulting with the people who will be responsible for carrying out his policies and dealing with the international fallout, and that is probably why so many of his policy decisions end up being exceptionally poor ones. The substance of most of Trump's foreign policy decisions was never likely to be good, but the lack of an organized policy process on major decisions makes those decisions even more haphazard and chaotic than they would otherwise be.
There is absolutely no upside for the United States in endorsing illegal Israeli claims to the Golan Heights. It is a cynical political stunt intended to boost Netanyahu and Likud's fortunes in the upcoming election, and it is also a cynical stunt aimed at shoring up Trump's support from Republican "pro-Israel" voters and donors.
Whatever short-term benefit Israel gains from it, the U.S. gains nothing and stands to lose quite a bit in terms of our international standing.
There has been no consideration of the costs and problems this will create for the U.S. in its relations with other regional states and beyond because Trump couldn't care less about the long-term effects that his decisions have on the country.
Once again, Trump has put narrow political ambitions and the interests of a foreign government ahead of the interests of the United States. That seems to be the inevitable result of electing a narcissist who conducts foreign policy based on which leaders flatter and praise him.
Trump's bad decision can be traced back to Bolton's visit to Israel earlier this year:
Administration officials said that National Security Advisor John Bolton was instrumental to the decision, after visiting Israel in January to assure officials there that the United States would not abandon them in Syria despite Trump's sudden withdrawal of troops from the battlefield.
Nervous Israeli officials saw an opportunity. "It was an ask," one Israeli source said, "because of the timing -- it suddenly became a relevant issue about Iran."
Bolton is usually the culprit responsible any destructive and foolish policy decision over the last year, and his baleful influence continues to grow. We can also see the harmful effects of the administration's Iran obsession at work. In the end, the Syria "withdrawal" hasn't happened and apparently isn't going to, but Trump nonetheless gives Israel whatever it wants in exchange for nothing so that they will be "reassured" of our unthinking support.
SF Bay March 21, 2019 at 10:28 pmWell, of course Trump puts America last. There is one and only one person he is interested in -- himself. As you say this is his narcissistic personality at work.
My never ending question is always, "Why does any Republican with a conscience remain silent? Are they really all this shallow and self absorbed? Is there nothing Trump does that will finally force them to put country before party and their own ambition?"
It's a really sad state of events that has put this country on the road to ruin.
I wonder what Mr. Kagan has to say now about "authoritarian" regimes?!Trump 2016 , , March 22, 2019 at 1:45 am
Trump is making one hell of a mess for the next president to clean up. Straightening out all this stupidity will take years. Here's hoping that Trump gets to watch his foreign policy decisions tossed out and reversed from federal prison.Grumpy Old Man , , March 22, 2019 at 3:29 am
He ought to recognize Russia's seizure of Crimea. Why not? Кто кого?Tony , , March 22, 2019 at 8:50 am
The decision to leave the INF treaty was taken in a similar way and with a total disregard for the consequences. The leaders of the European NATO countries have shown utter spinelessness in going along with it.Some Perspective , , March 22, 2019 at 9:08 am
The administration says that a Russian missile violates the treaty but it will not tell us what the range of the missile is. Nor will it allow its weapons inspectors to go and look at it.
The reason is clear: Fear that the weapons inspectors' findings would contradict the administration's claims.
I voted Republican ever since I started voting. I voted for Bush I, Dole, Dubya, and McCain. I couldn't vote for either Obama or Romney, but I voted for Trump because of Hillary Clinton.Sid Finster , , March 22, 2019 at 10:22 am
I am shocked and horrified by what I've seen under Trump. I am deeply disappointed that so few Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter) have stood up to him on foreign policy, and I will never vote Republican again. This GOP/Israel connection stinks to high heaven. Anyone who studied or remembers our problem with Communist spies back in the '50s has got to be hearing alarm bells ringing in their ears. Worries about Soviet spying and Russian meddling pale in comparison to what's now going on in plain sight with Israel.
We're losing our country. We're losing America.
To be fair, it ain't just Team R that has the sloppy crush on Israel. Team D is just as bad, even if they don't gush quite so publicly. In fact, episodes such as this one are useful in a way, as they make it hard to pretend that this is just a one-off, a misguided decision that we have to go along with to appease a powerful friend.G-Pol , , March 22, 2019 at 11:15 am
Europoliticians tell that last one a lot. "We really don't want to but the Americans twisted our arms ZOMG Special Relationship so sorry ZOMG!" Only with a lot more Eurobureaucratese.
I agree with the article's premise, but not because of this move regarding Israel.
Personally, I believe this move will have little impact on the outcome of the crisis in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and the other Arab monarchies are too focused on containing Iran and Turkey to give a crap about what Israel does. The only Arab states that I can see objecting to this move are Syria (obviously) and the others who were already allied with Iran and/or Turkey to begin with.
Right now, the REAL center of attention in the region should be Northern Syria. THAT's where the next major war likely will begin. In that area, Saudi Arabia and to a lesser extent Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are the ones doing the major escalations, while Israel has virtually no role at all aside from sideline cheer-leading. And of course, Trump is doing nothing to stop what could become the next July Crisis. What's "America First" about that?
Nevertheless, Israel should be very concerned about Northern Syria. If war breaks out and the US is forced to go to war with its own NATO ally as a result, Israel should prepare to kiss its alliance with the US goodbye.
There is no way our international reputation will come out of this war unscathed, and odds are we'll be in a far worse position diplomatically than we were at any point in our history, even during the Iraq war. When that happens, the American people will be out to assign blame. Many (rightfully or not) will blame Israel due to its connections to neoconservatism and Saudi jingoism, and consequently we may end up seeing BOTH parties becoming unfriendly to Israel over the subsequent generation.
All of this could be prevented if President Trump would just tell Saudi Arabia to STOP the nonsense. But no. He's too focused on MIC profits. He's not America First. And quite frankly, I'm starting to think Benjamin Netanyahu is not Israel-first either, because if he were he'd be warning Trump about the mess he's going to end up getting America, Israel, and much of Europe and the Middle East into.
Mar 18, 2015 | Russia Insider
Washington is betraying the best interests of the American people through its current foreign policy... European democracy is threatened by US, not Russian, foreign policy
The avalanche of commentary since the Ukrainian crisis erupted a year ago has overshadowed any reflections on the immense forgone benefits (technically speaking, the "opportunity cost") of what might have been if Washington had been working for peace and stability instead of war and chaos.
Imagine the following: After the unraveling of the Communist bloc, Europe, in partnership with the US, had forged a new security system in which Russia was treated as a valued and equal partner – one whose interests were respected. Russia, decimated by a century of wars and Communist imperialism, would doubtless have eagerly reciprocated in kind. Most countries of the former Soviet Union would have then proceeded to build a new Eurasian structure of which Russia would have served as the natural umbrella, given its long-standing interaction with the region's diverse nations and cultures.
Indeed, as Putin himself had proposed in his visionary October 2011 article, the Eurasian Union could have become one of the pillars of a huge harmonized economic area stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok and based on the EU's single-market rules (acquis communautaire).
The rising Far Eastern economic powerhouse, with the world's most populous country, China, at its centre, would have linked up with the world's largest economy (the EU). An enormous Eurasian production and financial bloc would have been created – one that drew primarily on secure supplies of Russian energy and other natural resources. Untold investment opportunities would have opened up in Siberia and Russia's Far East as well as in Central Asia. Hundreds of millions of people in Eurasia and elsewhere would have been lifted out of poverty. And, not least, the EU would have been refashioned as an integral part of the dynamic trans-Eurasian economy (rather than as a German-centred empire, as appears to be the case today), thereby making a major contribution to overcoming the ongoing global economic depression.
All of this was not to be, however. Why not? First and foremost, because the self-proclaimed "exceptional" power (actually, a mere "outlying island" in the Atlantic, according to the founder of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder) and its dysfunctional "deep-state" officialdom did not want it to be. How could they have permitted such a thing? How could they have allowed other countries to get on with improving the lives of their citizens without being obliged to seek Washington's approval every step of the way?
European democracy is threatened by US, not Russian, foreign policy
In order to make sure that they were not side-lined, the US elites had to intervene. The Western propaganda machine started churning out all sorts of nonsense that Putin is a new Hitler who is bent on restoring the Soviet empire and who is bullying Europe, while continuing to bang on about his "increasingly autocratic rule".
Deadly attacks by chauvinistic proxies were launched on the Russophone people in South Ossetia, Georgia in 2008 and more recently in Ukraine.
And in what is eerily reminiscent of Stalinist "bloc discipline", the EU/NATO nomenclature was ordered to implement the absurd strategy of severing the Russian economy from the EU. For their part, the cowering Eurocrats willingly obliged by imposing sanctions on Russia that, perversely, have had a negative impact on their own economies (but, let it be stressed, not that of the US). No questions raised and no public debate on the wisdom of such a strategy permitted.
Stuck in an Orwellian nightmare, Europe has to demonstrate its unfailing loyalty to Big Brother and go along with the view that Russia, an intrinsic and valuable part of the European mainstream both historically and culturally, represents universal evil and that the Earth will not be safe until the Federation has been dismembered and Putinism wiped out once and for all.
This abuse and humiliation of Europe is unparalleled. The continent that gave the world the wonders of the Antiquity, modern democracy, the industrial revolution and what is arguably the greatest tradition of philosophy, fine arts and classical music is being bullied by its oversized offspring. Having self-destructed in two world wars, it has become an easy and even willing prey to an arrogant, ignorant and power-drunk predator that has never experienced the hardships and horrors that Europe has. War and extermination camps are etched into the European DNA. America "knows" about them only from afar – and, not least, from the Hollywood entertainment industry.
Even more terrifying, intellectually third-rate Washington viceroys such as Victoria Nuland and the freelancing armchair warrior Senator McCain are allowed to play God with our continent. The so-called European "leaders" are colluding with them in plunging Europe into the abyss and thereby risking nuclear confrontation.
America, too, is a loser
But this is not just a tragedy for Europe and Eurasia. We are also witnessing the wilful misrule of America and, by default, of the entire West. Indeed, Washington is betraying the best interests of the American people through its current foreign policy. The "democracy-promoters" running Washington's foreign-policy apparatus apparently do not understand that America has nothing to lose and a lot to gain from the Eurasian economic project: the rising tide of global economic welfare would lift everyone's boats, including its own. Why should it matter to Washington if the rising tide comes from other quarters beyond its control?
Indeed, the damage extends beyond the economy. By aligning with the forces of chaos – such as chauvinistic extremists in Ukraine – Washington and its Euro-vassals are corrupting the moral (and intellectual) core of the West. If it continues to support such forces against Russia, united Europe will lose not only its backbone but its very soul. The moral consequences of this loss will be enormous and could lead to the precipitous erosion of Western democracy.
The 'autocrats' want to work with the West, not against it
US and EU leaders believe that the Russian and Chinese "autocrats" are out to destroy the West because the latter hate freedom (as George W. Bush might have put it). And hence, they argue, the autocrats must be stopped in their tracks. The simple truth is that Western leaders are too blinkered to understand that far from desiring to destroy the West, Russia and China want it to prosper so that they can work with it to everyone's benefit. Having enjoyed a privileged position over several centuries and having attained unprecedented prosperity in recent decades, the West simply cannot understand that the rest of humanity has no interest in fomenting the "clash of civilizations" but rather craves peace and stability so that it can finally improve its economic lot.
Perhaps, however, all is not yet lost. It is still possible that reason – and economic forces – will prevail and force the West to correct the errors of its ways. What we need, perhaps, more than ever is the ability to step out of the box, question our fundamental assumptions (not least about Russia and China) and find the courage to change policies that have proved disastrous. After all, critical thought, dispassionate analysis and the ability to be open to new ideas is what made the West so successful in the past. If we are to thrive once again in the future, we must resurrect these most valuable and unsurpassed assets.
Vlad Sobell teaches political economy in Prague and Berlin Europeans Look On as US Sows Discord on the Continent Wed, Nov 2
What I cannot understand is the naive belief that elected politicians would act in the interests of those whom they represent. Under what other circumstances do we see human beings act with disinterested altruism? So why would a bunch of people who have been ruthlessly selected for selfishness, arrogance, and callousness - a bunch of carefully chosen psychopaths, if you will - behave in that way?
'My Ph.D. dissertation chairman, who became a high Pentagon official assigned to wind down the Vietnam war, in answer to my question about how Washington gets Europeans to always do what Washington wants replied: "Money, we give them money." "Foreign aid?" I asked. "No, we give the European political leaders bagfuls of money. They are for sale. We bought them. They report to us." Perhaps this explains Tony Blair's $50 million fortune one year out of office'.
- Paul Craig Roberts
"Washington is betraying the best interests of the American people through its current foreign policy".
Not only it's foreign policy but it's domestic policy as well. Let's call it for what it really is. The Wall Street/Corporate policy which is the driving force behind behind everything the US does
"We, the [CENSORED] people, control America and the Americans know it." -- Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of [CENSORED]
"When we're done with the U.S. it will shrivel up and blow away." -- Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of [CENSORED]
The welfare or future of the American people are not part of the equation.
Mar 02, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
KiwiAntz , February 20, 2019 at 6:31 am
The "Exceptional Nation" has now become the "Detestable Nation"!
The Puppet show display by Pence & Pompeo to rap Europeans over the knuckles for everything from not exiting the Iran Nuclear deal to not stopping the Nordstream pupeline & trying to contain Hiawei is blowing up in the Trump Administration's faces as these so called Allies or Vassals of the American Empire are refusing to tow the line?
Trump has alienated & disgusted it's Allies, so much that they can now see how deranged, unworkable & destructive is the Americans Foreign Policy & its bankrupt disfunctional , delusional Policies?
It's ridiculous, irrational & pathological hatred for Iran has shown that the US is the main Terrorist Nation on Earth not Iran who has never invaded anyone unlike the hypocritical US Empire!
Meanwhile in Sochi, the real Diplomacy for peace is taking place with Russia, Iran, Turkey & Syria having won the War against the US Empire & its cowardly, crony white helmeted, ragtag bunch of proxy Army misfits made up of Israel, ISIS, SDF & the Kurds now scurrying out of the Country like rats leaving a sinking ship!
And what was really laughable about VP Pences speech in Warsaw was the defeating silence to the pauses in that speech expecting people to clap on demand which never happened?
How embarrassing & really showed the lack of respect & utter contempt that everyone has for America these days!
Sam F, February 20, 2019 at 12:32 pm
A failure for US oligarchy foreign policy is a win for the US and the rest of the world.
Let's hope we see the end of NATO as an excuse for US bully tyrants to "defend" us with greedy aggression.
Perhaps that will lead to strengthening the UN and isolating it from the economic power of US tyrants.
The UN would be far stronger if it taxed its members instead of begging for support, on pain of embargo by all members, and monitored for corrupt influence.
Deschutes , Mar 1, 2019 2:55:06 AM | link
Mar 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
b , Feb 28, 2019 1:23:41 PM | 38
It'll eventually dawn on the Yanks that it was NK's Nukes which brought AmeriKKKa to the negotiating table; NOT US sanctions which brought NK to the table.
The ability to "Manhattan" Manhattan is too strong a negotiating position to swap for some insulting threats and vague non-binding promises. The biggest problem for the US now will be the impossibility of "proving" that it can be trusted.
Just more grist for the bullshit mill that is US foreign policy, i.e. the US government can never be trusted at the negotiating table. Ridiculous to demand N. Korea dismantle their nuclear reactor before sanctions are lifted. Fucking ridiculous demand, why in the hell would N. Korea do that? They need it to produce energy, and to make plutonium to defend themselves from total asshole country USA which, as everybody knows has been on a 25 year sanctioning/bombing/country destroying rampage, leaving entire countries laid to waste. Rest assured, that if N. Korea gets rid of all its nukes as USA wants -- before the drop of a hat USA will totally, completely wipe N. Korea off the map with its own nukes and massive military buildup surrounding N. Korea. As usual, the USA is the biggest problem for the entire world's progress towards peace and prosperity :-(((
Steve , Mar 1, 2019 6:03:28 AM | link
Any nation which still trust any promise coming from the USA and its European, Australian and Canadian poddles deserves to be colonized and destroyed.">link
Sally Snyder , Feb 28, 2019 8:35:08 AM | linkHere is an article that explains why the North Koreans believe that the United States is not trustworthy:Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 28, 2019 2:20:17 PM | link
The Korean people have paid a very heavy price simply because of their unfortunate geographic location immediately adjacent to the world's largest Communist state.The North Korean Foreign Minister gave a press conference in Hanoi. I updated the piece above at its end with the reports of what he said.
Feb 15, 2019 | www.unz.com
In 2003, America (and its lap-dog UK) invaded and destroyed Iraq on the basis of lies to the effect that the U.S. (and UK) regime were certain that Saddam Hussein had and was developing weapons of mass destruction . These U.S. allegations were based on provable falsehoods when they were stated and published, but the regime's 'news'-media refused to publish and demonstrate (or "expose") any of these lies . That's how bad the regime was -- it was virtually a total lock-down against truth, and for international conquest (in that case, of Iraq): it was mass-murder and destruction on the basis of sheer lies.
That's today's U.S. Government -- that's its reality, not its 'pro-democracy' and 'human rights' myth. (After all: its main ally is the Saud regime, which the U.S. regime is now helping to starve and kill by cholera perhaps millions of Houthis to death .)
In 2011, the U.S. regime, then under a different nominal leader than in the Iraq invasion, invaded and destroyed Libya -- also on the basis of lies that its press (which is controlled by the same billionaires who control the nation's two political Parties) stenographically published from the Government and refused ever to expose as being lies.
In 2011-2019 (but actually starting undercover in 2009 ), the U.S. regime (and its then allies King Saud and Tayyip Erdogan, and the Thanis who own Qatar ) hired tens of thousands of jihadis from around the world to serve as foot-soldiers (the U.S. regime calls them 'rebels') , in order to bring down Syria's secular, non-sectarian, Government, and thereby, via these jihadist proxy-forces , they invaded and destroyed Syria -- likewise on the basis of lies that the 'news'-media hid, secreting from the public such facts as that "The US Government's Interpretation of the Technical Intelligence It Gathered Prior to and After the August 21 Attack CANNOT POSSIBLY BE CORRECT." But the lies are never publicly acknowledged by any of the participating regimes and their press.This is an international empire of death and destruction based upon lies.
In 2011-2014, the U.S. regime perpetrated a bloody coup that ousted Ukraine's democratically elected Government and replaced it by a fascist rabidly anti-Russian regime that destroyed Ukraine and perpetrated ethnic cleansing . How much of this reality was being reported in the U.S. regime's press, at the time, or even afterward? It was hidden news at the time , and so those realities have since become buried, to become now only hidden history; and the U.S. regime and its 'news'-media continue to hide all of this ugly reality. It remains hidden, and isn't mentioned by either the regime or its press.
Right now, the U.S. regime (along with its other lap-dog Canada) is perpetrating, or at least attempting to perpetrate, a coup to take over Venezuela .
On February 8th, the Latin American Geopolitical Strategic Center (CELAG) issued their study, "The Economic Consequences of the Boycott of Venezuela" , and reported that throughout the five-year period of 2013-2017, Venezuela's "economy and society suffered a suffocation [of] $ 22.5 billion in annual revenues, as a result of a deliberate international strategy of financial isolation [of Venezuela]. Evidently, this financial pressure intensified since 2015 with the fall in the price of crude oil." So: that's a total loss of over $112 billion from Venezuela during the entire 5-year period, and the result has become (especially after 2014) the impoverishment of the country. The U.S. regime and its allies and their propaganda-media blame, for that, not themselves, but the very same Government they're trying to take down. The U.S. regime and its allies have contempt for the public everywhere. The more that Venezuelans blame their own Government for this impoverishment, instead of blame America's Government for it, the more that their exploiters will have contempt for them, but also the more that their exploiters will benefit from them, because the exploiters' taking control of the Government will then be much easier to do.
The U.S-and-allied exploiters are attempting to install in Venezuela a man who has absolutely no justification under the Venezuelan Constitution to be claiming to be the country's 'interim President' . For some mysterious reason, Venezuela's President isn't calling for that traitor to be brought up on charges of treachery -- attempting a coup -- and facing Venezuela's Supreme Judicial Tribunal on such a charge, which Tribunal is the Constitutionally authorized body to adjudicate that matter. So, Venezuela's Government is incompetent -- but so too have been all of its predecessors since at least 1980, and incompetence alone is not Constitutional grounds for replacing Venezuela's President by a foreign-imposed coup . At least Venezuela's actual President is no traitor, such as his would-be successor, Juan Guaido, definitely is .
Did Venezuela invade America so as for America's economic war against it to be justified? Did Iraq invade America so as for America's destruction of it to be justified? Did Libya invade America so as for America's destruction of it to be justified? Did Syria invade America so as for America's destruction of it to be justified? Did Ukraine invade America so as for America's destruction of it to be justified? None of them did, at all. In each and every case, it was pure aggression, by America, the international rogue nation.
Back in 1986, regarding America's international relations including its coups and invasions, the U.S. quit the International Court of Justice (ICJ), when that Court ruled against the U.S. in the Iran-Contra case, Nicaragua v. United States , which concerned America's attempted coup in that country. But though the U.S. propaganda-media reported the Government's rejection of that verdict in favor of Nicaragua, they hid the more momentous fact: the U.S. Government stated that it would not henceforth recognize any authority in the ICJ concerning America's international actions. The public didn't get to know about that. Ever since 1986, the U.S. Government has been a rogue regime, simply ignoring the ICJ except when the ICJ could be cited against a country that the U.S. regime is trying to destroy ('democratize'). And then, when the ICJ ruled on 9 March 2005 against the U.S. regime in a U.S. domestic matter where the regime refused to adhere to the U.S. Constitution's due-process clause regarding the prosecutions and death-sentences against 51 death-row inmates, and the Court demanded retrials of those convicts, the U.S. regime, in 2005, simply withdrew completely from the jurisdiction of the ICJ . Ever since 9 March 2005, the U.S. regime places itself above, and immune to, international law, regarding everything. George W. Bush completed what Ronald Reagan had started.
This rogue regime has no real legitimacy even as a representative of the American people. It doesn't really represent the American public at all . It is destroying the world and lying through its teeth all the while. Its puppet-rulers on behalf of America's currently 585 billionaires are not in prison from convictions by the International Court of Justice in the Hague. They're not even being investigated by the International Court of Justice in the Hague. That's a U.N. agency. Does the U.N. have any real legitimacy, under such circumstances as this? Can an international scofflaw simply refuse to recognize the authority of the international court? This mocks the U.N. itself. The U.S. places itself above the U.N.'s laws and jurisdiction and yet still occupies one of the five permanent seats on the U.N's Security Council and still is allowed to vote in the U.N.'s General Assembly. Why doesn't the U.N. simply expel America? It can't be done? Then why isn't a new international legal body being established to replace the U.N. -- and being granted legal authority everywhere regardless of whether a given national regime acknowledges its legal authority over matters of international law? Why is Venezuela being internationally isolated and sanctioned, instead of the U.S. being internationally isolated and sanctioned?
On top of all that, this is the same U.S. regime that has blocked the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and that has broken one international agreement after another -- not only NAFTA, and not only the nuclear agreement on Iran, and not only many nuclear agreements with first the Soviet Union and then Russia, but lots more -- and all with total impunity.
And it's not only the countries that the U.S. invades or otherwise destroys, which are being vastly harmed by this international monster-regime. How many millions of the flood of asylum-seekers who are pouring into Europe have done that in order to reach safety from America's bombs and proxy-troops -- jihadists and fascist terrorists -- which have ravaged their own homelands? What is that flood of refugees doing to Europe, and to European politics -- forcing it ever-farther to the right and so tearing the EU apart? Why are not Europeans therefore flooding their own streets with anti-American marches and movements for their own Governments to impose economic sanctions against all major American brands, and demanding prosecution of all recent American Presidents, starting at least with G.W. Bush -- or else to vote out of office any national politicians who refuse to stand up against the American bully-regime?
It isn't only weak nations such as Nigeria that are corrupt and rotten to the core. The entire U.S. empire, and especially its U.S. masters, are.
How much more will the peoples of the world remain suckers to the vast corporate propaganda-operation by that out-of-control beast of a rapacious regime, which displays the Orwellian nerve to label as being a 'regime' each and every Government that it seeks to overthrow and to call itself a 'democracy' ? The U.S. regime is itself actually allied the most closely with the world's most barbaric rulers, the Saud family, that own Saudi Arabia. The U.S. regime is also allied with the apartheid and internationally aggressive regime in Israel. Is such an international gang, as this is, going to get off scot-free, as if there were no international law -- or at least none that applies to itself?
And, if the U.S. regime is so concerned to 'protect democracy' and 'protect human rights' all over the world (as that perennially lying bunch always claim to be the 'justification' for their invasions and coups), then why isn't it starting first by prosecuting itself? (Or, maybe, by prosecuting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, for his many crimes -- and prosecuting his predecessors for financing the 9/11 attacks against Americans?) Well, of course, Hitler didn't do anything of the sort. (Nor did he prosecute his allies.) He set the standard. Maybe, ideologically, Hitler and Mussolini and Hirohito actually won the war, though this has happened after they first physically lost what everyone had thought was the end of WW II. After all, nobody is prosecuting the U.S. regime today. Isn't that somewhat like a global victory for fascism -- the Axis powers -- after the fact? Maybe "we" won the war, only to lose it later. Doesn't that appear to be the case? Mussolini sometimes called fascism "corporationism" , and this is how it always functions, and functions today by agreement amongst the controlling owners of international corporations that are headquartered in the U.S. and in its vassal-nations abroad.
Is this to go on interminably? When will this international reign of fascism end?
What would happen if all the rest of the world instituted an international legal and enforcement system (under a replacement U.N.) in which all commitments and contractual proceeds to benefit American-based international corporations and the U.S. Government were declared to be immediately null and void -- worthless except as regards the claims against the U.S. entities? (The owners of those entities have been the beneficiaries of America's international crimes.) Contracts can be unilaterally nullified. The U.S. Government does it all the time, with no justification except lies. Here, it would be done as authentically justifiable penalties, against actually massive global crimes.
The U.S. militarily occupies the world; this is a global empire; it has over a thousand military bases worldwide. Why aren't the people in all of those occupied countries demanding their own governments simply to throw them out -- to end the military occupation of their land?
You can't have a world at peace, and anything like international justice, without enforcing international law. This is what doing that would look like.
What we know right now is actually a lawless world. That's what every international gangster wants.
-- -- -- -- --
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .
niteranger , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:46 am GMTAmerica is a Corporate Fascist Military Industrial-Intelligence Police State. The Intelligence Agencies are inseparable from the Corporations, The Bankers, and The Billionaires they work for. Most of the economic-social-media pathways are controlled by the Magic Jews. Elections are a fraud. You have seen what happened when the person they picked, Hillary didn't win. Trump may be an idiot but he won fair and square. The entire Mueller Fiasco is a demonstration of the Intelligence State and a warning for anyone who doesn't play their game. The Super Jew Zionist Senator Shumer warned Trump in a Freudian Slip about upsetting the Intelligence agencies which the Jewish Media quickly tried to hide.exiled off mainstreet , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:51 am GMT
This is the county where dimwits like Cortez complain about Mexican kids on the border while Obama and his associates bombed 7 Muslim countries, murdered and starved hundreds of thousands of children including those in Yemen and not a fucking thing was said by anyone on the left.
America and the world are headed for the dark ages. I doubt if anyone will really survive. Think Tanks for the super rich run by Intel know this and are preparing for the worse case scenario are you!The implications of this are enormous. This is the first time I've seen it wrapped up in a single article.Zumbuddi , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:58 am GMT"Total lockdown against truth and for internatio al conquest . . .mass murder and destruction on the basis of sheer lies. That's today's U. S. Government, that's it's reality."Justsaying , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:33 am GMT
It worked so well in WWI and WWII, why mess with a sure thing?
To behave otherwise, that is, honestly and decently would return a heap of millionaires to their rag-picker tin-peddlar origins.animalogic , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:04 am GMT
Ever since 1986, the U.S. Government has been a rogue regime
Why the leniency for a regime that has been led by gangsters of varying shades for the best part of the post-WWII era, hands down? Unless the Vietnam war and the companion Gulf of Tomkin lie, the mass murder in Laos and Cambodia and the Korean war are brushed aside. As was the kidnapping of Aristide of Haiti and Panama's Noriega are trivial mobster rule blips and the sodomising of Ghadhafi's cadaver by "rebels" after relentless bombing that left a once prosperous nation in utter ruin regarded as an unfortunate "aberration". The tainting of American hands with the blood of millions of innocents extends well beyond the leaders who presided over arguably the worst atrocities and crimes of the post-WWII era. For a nation that takes pride in its slogan of a government of, for and by the people, the people cannot escape responsibility for the horrendous crimes committed in their name.@exiled off mainstreet Agree: great summary article.Commentator Mike , says: February 15, 2019 at 8:27 am GMTReasonable article but US a fascist country? And I was reading elsewhere that this same US is now a communist country, with those billionaires apparently secret communists. Really!?! How can we have a meaningful debate if we can't agree even on basic definitions of what we're arguing about?EliteCommInc. , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:07 am GMTI think some of this is over the top. However, I am not sure that one can excuse challenging the case based on news reports. The case on its face had little of any supporting material. But there were news agencies that provided a counter narrative, they just weren't the mainstream sources. Which is why I think your giving an out where none exists.Michael Kenny , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:57 am GMT
Instead, a better case could be made as to how those that questioned the case got the boot and in some cases got it good. Those voices were not only muted out by the media, the advocates, but the public as well. One cannot ignore the palpable anger after 9/11. The country wanted revenge. And they would have it. Unlike Mr. Neeson, we did not restrain ourselves from acting out, against anyone of we held suspect as similar in nature -- we lashed out with few reservations.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -
Now I have to admit that the questions of international order are tricky. Who wants to take on enforcing the rule of law against the US when she violates the very rules she helped create and espouses. When the leadership bends, breaks or ignores the rules in the name of country. It's hard to make a case that everyone else abide by the rules if you yourself breaks them. Maybe people pf conscience will hire people who actually abide by what they say they will do when applying for the job of leadership.
But I have to be honest, I am cautious when it comes bodies of international order: UN, IMF, World Bank, WTO, NAFTA, and others. I appreciate the value of NATO, but I am a bit dubious about the agitation that the US take the lead in addressing Europe's security, at our expense. And while I would like to avoid what about, most nations treat the international bodies of justice with no small amount of reticence on their own account. I am unclear of China has backed away from provoking the Phillipines after the UNCLOS ruling regarding commercial development zones. They have made a point to say they will abide by UNCLOS except where they disagree. The short answer is that ultimately the developed world has to operate with some integrity. There's a lot of complaining about the Saudis and Israel. But those states can simply point to the US or the Europeans states and make a constituent claim,
"What's good for the gander . . ."
There is a manner of discipline and that is to our failures and the cost. We are at the moment large enough to absorb them (not sure that is not more face saving facade than truth). Iraq is a failure. Libya is a failure. Afganistahn most likely a failure, even we end up with some manner of negotiated settlement, it will still be far short of our objective(s). The Ukraine still threatens to fall into a full blown civil war. After five years plus of bombing Yemen, the end is nowhere in sight. If the Saudis think the Yemenis a threat, then they should deal with it. The Syria gambit was never a smart move and it has cost us. I am a firm believer that part of these issues results in not having a national draft system where our entire population is bought in on the US project and in so doing have an incentive to hold its government accountable. Because there is no body count to shock the public into reality as in previous military engagements.
We simply are not electing enough men such as representative Walter Jones into office, who upon recognizing an error will seek to change course. And I like him, I suspect, get increasingly restless about how our unrequited hypocrisy (if continued) will play out for us in the end. I think there are signs of trouble, just hints, that we need to get our ducks in order.
We honor and protect our sovereignty by respecting that of others (minus some outstanding extreme circumstance).
Note: not all of the US military programs are about the use of force. The US does huge amounts of humanitarian aide, independently and in conjunction with with are numerous aid depts. And as a nation we remain the most effectively generous (giving nations) on the planet to others in need, including private charitable organizations, no small number of them faith and practice based.
How many multitudes of sins that will cover is unknown to me.A typical piece of American racism. Naturally, the peoples of all these countries are far too primitive and far too stupid to see that they are being manipulated!HiHo , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:29 am GMTDear Eric,JackOH , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:35 am GMT
To quote your first para: 'In 2003, America (and its lap-dog UK) invaded and destroyed Iraq on the basis of lies to the effect that the U.S. (and UK) regime were certain that Saddam Hussein had and was developing weapons of mass destruction.'
It should read: 'In 2003, the UK (and its lap dog USA) invaded and destroyed Iraq. I know you Americans like to think that the USA is sovereign in its bullying of the world, but many people apart from myself, see it differently.
Rothschild runs the 'free west' and he is based in The City of London where he operates the world's drug money laundering operation. Yes, even all the drugs moved out of Afghanistan by his private drug army you call the CIA, those profits are laundered in London.
It is Rothschild in London that decides who to invade and why. The USA is Rothschild's private supply of canon fodder, weaponry and congenital idiots who think Jesus of Nazareth, that you erroneously call Jesus Christ, condones the violence, the blood baths and the pure evil that is the USA.
Your nation and its corrupt state is the puppet of Rothschild. I can understand it is especially hard for you to finger one of your own, especially as you consider yourself to be the goyim's friend, but that is not actually true is it?
What sort of idiot would want to get involved in a three year old war in 1917? What sort of buffoon would want to get involved in a Europe in the 1940s and in the Orient at the same time, if there were not vast profits to be made?
Everything that has happened since 1914 when the Fed came in to existence right up to the attacks on Venezula today, only make sense if you are Rothschild.
HiHo Silver Lining.Eric, thanks.Sean , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:47 am GMT
I'm not into America-bashing. Life's too short, and, besides, I did half-seriously think of emigrating from the States, and didn't do it.
But–but–I think there's enough evidence to support the writing of a "black book" of American democracy since 1945, a hit piece modeled on a similarly titled book about Communism's depredations that, I think, was first published in France maybe thirty years ago.
Better observers than I can probably offer a laundry list of American cruelties worth including, and some of those better observers comment here on Unz Review .
American military interventions, a Constitution drained of effectiveness and meaning, the "ethnic cleansing" of American cities, the gratuitous cruelties of American health care, etc .
Keep the book short, about 250-350 pp., and include good front and back matter to focus the reader's attention.@niteranger If the author of this piece a child who believes in fairy stories about American exceptionalism . America is more powerful than other countries and if it is "The International Rogue Nation" then it is solely as a result of being more powerful that other countries, for were they as strong as America they all would do the same as America.jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:13 pm GMT
This is the county where dimwits like Cortez complain about Mexican kids on the border while Obama and his associates bombed 7 Muslim countries, murdered and starved hundreds of thousands of children including those in Yemen and not a fucking thing was said by anyone on the left.
The Democrats want future voters to swamp the votes of native-born Americans. The kids in Yemen are irrelevant. So are the innocent kids in countries like Syria.
America is a Corporate Fascist Military Industrial-Intelligence Police State
That is just a long winded way of saying it is a state. Like any other state America can't call 911 if it gets into trouble so it has to do its own dirty work. Or, of course. America could just surrender to moral imperatives and live as tree huggers in perpetual peace. Except it would come to an end, just as it did for the Tibetans (and their trees).Felix Krull , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:15 pm GMT
The International Rogue Nation: America
The U.S. regime is also allied with the apartheid and internationally aggressive regime in Israel.
How about, The International Rogue Mafias: America and Israel?These U.S. allegations were based on provable falsehoods when they were stated and published, but the regime's 'news'-media refused to publish and demonstrate (or "expose") any of these lies.jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:29 pm GMT
Back in the late summer of 2003, when Washington finally admitted there were no WMD in Iraq, the Danish Public Broadcaster had invited four of the heaviest hitters in Danish MSM, four foreign policy editors of the largest news outlets in Denmark.
The conversation was supposed to be about something else, but the WMD-news had dropped that same morning, and at one point they discuss the missing WMD. One guy spontaneously says: "I never believed in the WMD-story anyway." The three others quickly agree, because they don't want to be seen as the slow, gullible kid in the class.
So they'd been peddling this WMD-nonsense aggressively since the invasion, but they didn't actually believe that story themselves? The broadcast was taken off the internet 24 hours later, but I have their names in my little book.Felix Krull , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:42 pm GMT
What we know right now is actually a lawless world. That's what every international gangster wants.
Well yes, but they also want not only a monopoly on violence and compliant tax, debt, wage and dollar slaves, but also "legal" support for it all, hence "gubbermint." Keep payin' dem taxes and hoping for da Messiah in the forms of the likes of the Cacklin' Hyena, The Trumpster, and "Bibi."And another thing: back in the day, the PM, Anders "Fogh of War" Rasmussen spoke frequently about Saddam in the Danish parliament. But he never said "weapons of mass destruction", he said "dangerous weapons" – didn't want to be caught lying to the legislature, would you? Nobody ever called him out on it; you'd think journalists were familiar with sleazy rhetoric, but not on this occasion. He went on to become secretary general of NATO.Charles Homer , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:46 pm GMTAs shown in this article, Russia has significant concerns about American breaches of the INF treaty that have received almost no coverage in the Western media: https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/02/the-russian-response-to-washingtons.html
Rather than presenting a balanced viewpoint where we hear both sides of the story regarding nuclear treaty violations by both sides, we are subjected to what can best be termed "fake news".
The Alarmist , says: February 15, 2019 at 2:26 pm GMTAsagirian , says: Website February 15, 2019 at 2:47 pm GMT
"Is this to go on interminably? When will this international reign of fascism end?"
The plutocrat criminal elite are working fast and furiously to import a new electorate and slave labour force: At some point they will no longer be able to finance the machine, because you get what you pay for, and bread and circuses aren't cheap, and at that point the machine will pull back from the world, if not outright devolve into mayhem in its streets.How Jewish-controlled Media work.Johnny Walker Read , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:00 pm GMT
Globo-homo logic. Russia didn't do it. Punish Russia.Just came across these powerful words from Kevin Tillman, Pat Tillman's brother.peter mcloughlin , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:07 pm GMT
Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can't be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.
Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few "bad apples" in the military.
Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It's interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.
- Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.
- Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started. Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.
- Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.
- Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.
- Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.
- Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.
- Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.
- Somehow torture is tolerated.
- Somehow lying is tolerated.
- Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.
- Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.
- Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.
- Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.
- Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.
- Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.
- Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.
- Somehow this is tolerated.
- Somehow nobody is accountable for this.
In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don't be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that "somehow" was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.
Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat's birthday.
Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/after-pats-birthday-2/Global empires rise because of the desire for power, which is also their Nemesis. Power gives prestige, status, wealth, security and a sense of invincibility: the opposite of what is feared most. But they cannot hold that power forever, though they try, and eventually they end up getting the war they have always dreaded: utter defeat. But their leaders are deluded, blindly leading their people to annihilation – even nuclear – because power is the one thing they will destroy themselves and everyone else over. The pattern of history is clear.Agent76 , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:23 pm GMT
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/Feb 11, 2019 Venezuelans' message to the US: Hands off our countryAgent76 , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:35 pm GMT
The Grayzone reports from inside Venezuela, where millions of people waited in long lines to sign an open letter to the US public, strongly rejecting foreign intervention in their country.
15.04.2017 Americans Are No Different Than Germans Were (and Are)
Daniel Goldhagen blamed the Holocaust on "the Germans" (by which he meant the German people), and said that they perpetrated the Holocaust because they positively enjoyed murdering "the Jews".
http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/04/15/americans-no-different-than-germans-were-and-are.htmlFeb 18, 2013 Corporatocracy, Globalization, An Empire ExpandsMoi , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:38 pm GMT
A short video clip from the Documentary Zeitgeist: Addendum, in it a Corporatocracy is explained. "A Incredible cozy relationship between Government and Corporations"@niteranger I think this sums up things pretty well:Miro23 , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:48 pm GMT
"All the other stuff, the love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted." D. H. Lawrence.@Commentator MikeChe Guava , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:12 pm GMT
Reasonable article but US a fascist country? And I was reading elsewhere that this same US is now a communist country, with those billionaires apparently secret communists. Really!?! How can we have a meaningful debate if we can't agree even on basic definitions of what we're arguing about?
Fascist country, Communist country – a more understandable definition would be a Mafia run state. The US regime uses violence and threats (local and international) to get its way. It corrupts and terrorizes politicians and forces through its projects. It's all about money and power and it rubs traditional Anglo society's face in the mud while its getting looted.@Justsaying You have a pointy head, but rubbish conclusions I am also tired of hearing 'sodomy' or 'sodomized' re. Ghaddafi, assaulting the anus and rectum with bayonets is not 'sodomy'.wayfarer , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:30 pm GMT
Hillary Clinton enjoyed it, I world prefer not to repeat her moronic statement, but will because of the many morons are on this site now, 'we came, we saw, he died, (cackle, cackle, cackle'). She liked to pretend that this is her classical education. She clearly has none. But she sure has an ugly pair of cankles.Anon  Disclaimer , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:31 pm GMT
Fifth Column: Is any group of people who undermine a larger group from within, usually in favour of an enemy group or nation. The activities of a fifth column can be overt or clandestine. Forces gathered in secret can mobilize openly to assist an external attack. This term is also extended to organised actions by military personnel. Clandestine fifth column activities can involve acts of sabotage, disinformation, or espionage executed within defense lines by secret sympathizers with an external force.
"Censored 'Israel Lobby' Document Leaks"
source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_lobby_in_the_United_StatesEnantiodromiajacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:42 pm GMT
Principle od enantiodromia : one thing pushed to the extreme leads to the opposite .
( Hegel with his thesis-antithesis ideas was just another moronic german philosopher )@niterangerIlyana_Rozumova , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:45 pm GMT
Trump may be an idiot but he won fair and square.
He's a lying New York idiot Israel firster who demonstrates a new meaning to the concept of winning fair and square and "won" the position as Cuck-in-Chief of the Corporate Fascio-Commie Military Industrial-Intelligence Police State, that's all. He should have saved us all a lot of trouble and just eloped with the Cackling Hyena instead.Mrs Ilhan Omar Is the voice from the graves of Millions of Muslims murdered by US Military under leadership of US politicians (purchased for pennies), and ordered by Israel.Cheburashka , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:46 pm GMT@exiled off mainstreet Interesting for me it's all known for several years, so I was about to say myself "same old, same old". Then I read your comment and think to myself "well, contrary to my belief, obviously publishing this article does make sense"Anon  Disclaimer , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:47 pm GMT@Asagirian Most of the european business and population do NOT agree with the yankee sanctions to Russia ( or to Venezuela , or to Iran , Cuba .. ) . Nothing ideological , it is just that the EU has no oil , the EU needs russian , iranian , venezuelan oil and gas , and the EU countries NEED to sell products to any country willing to buy them . The abusive yankee pressure on the EU to santion any country that the US wants will backfire .Harold Smith , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:55 pm GMTjacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:00 pm GMT
"This rogue regime has no real legitimacy even as a representative of the American people. It doesn't really represent the American public at all. It is destroying the world and lying through its teeth all the while."
Words seem insufficient to describe the situation, don't they? What we're witnessing, apparently, is the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. The Satanic cult known from the Book of Revelation as the "beast from the sea" is attempting to rise to the top of the world by "giving worth to evil" (i.e. worshiping Satan). To put it another way, the beast rises to the top by bringing everyone and everything else down.
Being relatively small in number, the Satanic cult operates primarily by deception, corruption and manipulation. If the beast cannot get the people to destroy themselves, it resorts to mass murder, but the end result is always destruction.
"Its puppet-rulers on behalf of America's currently 585 billionaires are not in prison from convictions by the International Court of Justice in the Hague."
Money has nothing to do with it (other than being another tool in the Satanists' tool box). They do what they do because they're evil. Evil is both the means and the end. To put it in Biblical terms, the Satanists seek to do to the whole world what Satan did to Eve. Only when whole world is brought down can evil claim victory over good (as per the Satanic agenda set forth in Isaiah 14:13,14).@Commentator Mikeanonymous  Disclaimer , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:04 pm GMT
How can we have a meaningful debate if we can't agree even on basic definitions of what we're arguing about?
Excellent question, but the two, fascism and the various forms of big "C" Communism, are not necessarily mutually exclusive even though fascism as often used today was intended as a catch-all smear word by the Marxist cornballs a century ago.
In fact, Marxism, Bolshevism and Stalinism are can all be or become forms of fascism. Likewise, as Orwell saw, there is no essential difference between various iterations of capitalism and the various forms of communism that they oftentimes supported and promoted and still do.
Also, I highly doubt whether a meaningful debate regarding politics is possible whether or not definitions are agreed upon.
[During the war]words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them.
Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, inaptness to act on any.
– Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, Chap X, ~400 BC
"Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society."
– John Adams, letter to J. H. Tiffany, Mar. 31, 1819.
Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language," 1946
IOW, it's pretty much all bullsh!t. Reader and listener beware.The gangster laughs in your face: "Whadda going to do about it, kid?". Answer is nothing can be done.c matt , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:04 pm GMT
At this point the US government barely even bothers to cover itself with plausible stories but just goes ahead with it's open violence. Who is there to stop it?
The pattern actually goes back 121 years to the Spanish-American war when the US smelled weakness and pounced. It's been on a roll ever since, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. The barriers to the US having a completely free hand are Russia, China, Iran, countries about which there's much heavy propaganda being thrown about. Their areas are limited though and they can't help the Venezuelans or most of the others. The US has a huge budget for internal spying and security to ensure that the people in charge stay that way so don't get optimistic. This supposed democracy is rigged from start to finish. The US has been very efficient in brainwashing it's residents into thinking it is all legit.jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:05 pm GMT
Can an international scofflaw simply refuse to recognize the authority of the international court?
Why yes, yes it can. There is no such thing as rule of law. There is only rule by might. Law is mere rationalization.@Lizajacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
It just doesn't matter anymore how any country is described or classified.
I wish I had thought of that! Excellent. Brilliant.@HiHojacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:14 pm GMT
What sort of idiot would want to get involved in a three year old war in 1917? What sort of buffoon would want to get involved in a Europe in the 1940s and in the Orient at the same time, if there were not vast profits to be made?
Talk about sweet summaries; yours is masterful!
Anyone who doubts it would do well to read Fish's, Tragic Deception,
FDR and America's involvement in World War II
https://openlibrary.org/books/OL21320930M/Tragic_deception@Stephen Paul Foster This thread is uncommonly full of great comments and yours is another. Excellent.jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:20 pm GMT
This question [about the UN] is proof that the author needs psychiatric assistance.
And more than a brief stay in a reprogramming (anti-brainwashing) camp.
The UN was formed by the usual One World (globalist) crowd to serve their ends and theirs only. Anyone who fails to see that needs to be questioned deeply, no matter how correct he or she is about other matters.@SeanTsar Bomba for CIA , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:20 pm GMT
Like any other state America can't call 911 if it gets into trouble so it has to do its own dirty work. Or, of course. America could just surrender to moral imperatives
What moral imperatives are you referring to?This is exactly right. The UN member nations are ready to replace the UN with an organization that can curb criminal regimes like the US. This has been the case since the 80s.jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT
Considering the terminal degeneracy of the criminal enterprise that runs the US, it's going to take a war. Classified US policy is to use urban populations as human shields for the CIA COG autocracy. COIN drills like Watertown are dry runs for CIA martial law during war with Russia.
The one hopeful sign is superior SCO missile technology, which allows kinetic warheads to be substituted for nuclear ones. This permits regime decapitation by somewhat less destructive means. Most of you are still going to die, of course. But Russia and China will leave some habitable zones for people they can trust. Make sure you know human rights and humanitarian law,
and you can demonstrate a record of sticking up for them, and the postwar criminal tribunals will let you reconstruct a peaceful and lawful American state.
It's a shame it's going to take a couple hundred million dead, mostly American, to stop the CIA regime, but the world knows it's got to be done. If we're too chicken to storm Langley and hang those criminal scumbags, we're going to have to pay.@Johnny Walker ReadJames Wood , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT
Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat's birthday.
Somehow the poor sap is still a sucker. Good grief.This continuous harping on international law should be wearing thin even with you, Mr. Zuesse. The US outspends the next 24 nations combined on arms, I understand. For the US might is right. Until you and those who oppose US policy have an army that can break the US military might you have no hope.Harold Smith , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT
You really need to think this through and stop the empty posturing. The bird flipped to the International Court of Justice by John Bolton for the third time apparently should teach you a lesson. Three strikes and you're out. Go home.@niterangerjacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:28 pm GMT
"Elections are a fraud. You have seen what happened when the person they picked, Hillary didn't win. Trump may be an idiot but he won fair and square."
If elections are a fraud (which they obviously are) how can orange clown be said to have won "fair and square"? It's a contradiction. The evil orange clown had to lie to win the election; he had to completely misrepresent himself. What orange clown did was tantamount to stealing ballots/rigging voting machines. Orange clown is nothing but Satanic low-life scum.
Also, how do you know Clinton was "the person they picked [to win]"? That's very speculative, IMO. A solid argument can be made that orange clown was actually the chosen one.@Miro23jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:30 pm GMT
Fascist country, Communist country – a more understandable definition would be a Mafia run state.
Exactly.@nsa Agree. Only one oblique reference to that other mafia state, Israel, in the whole piece.Harold Smith , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:32 pm GMT@HiHoHank , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:49 pm GMT
"What sort of idiot would want to get involved in a three year old war in 1917?"
An evil idiot.
"What sort of buffoon would want to get involved in a Europe in the 1940s and in the Orient at the same time, if there were not vast profits to be made?"
An evil buffoon.
"Everything that has happened since 1914 when the Fed came in to existence right up to the attacks on Venezula (sic) today, only make sense if you are Rothschild."
They do what they do because they're evil.@Commentator Mike Fascists, communist, liberal and conservative. Those terms don't have as much meaning as you might think. In fact they are used as tools.Benjy , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:11 pm GMT@Harold Smith The Rothschild's are the Kings of the Jews. They have conquered the Bourbon, Habsburgs, the Hohenzollern, the Romanovs. They have merged with the house of Windsor. They have been mercilessly harvesting the entire planet for 200 years. They send Moslems against Christians, Christians agains Moslems, Moslems against Hindu's, Chirstians against Christians, Christians against Chinese, Christians against Hindus, Japanese against Chinese, US Christians against Japanese, Zulu against white, and on and on. Wars are the jews harvest.bookish1 , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:26 pm GMT
They also sent all of these groups to get slaves from each other in raids and wars to provide human material from all the other races, except jewish, to sell on these jewish run slave markets. For centuries.
They extracted blood and organs from the children of the victims for use in the kabalistic rituals.America's lying to get us into wars goes farther back than the 1950's to 2000's. The reasons for WW2 against Germany was based on devilish lies. So we claimed Hitler had to be stopped because he planned on taking over the whole world and that he had killed millions of innocent people(which he hadn't) but then turned around and helped the real murderers of millions of people which was the Soviet Union. And it goes on and on and there will be more lies and more wars to follow.Hank , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:39 pm GMT@DESERT FOX You can almost tell just how important the issue of private central banking is by the fact that you can't get anyone to really explain it, or even talk about it. Right now I would settle for just knowing exactly who owns it.jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:43 pm GMT@Hankjacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:52 pm GMT
Fascists, communist, liberal and conservative. Those terms don't have as much meaning as you might think. In fact they are used as tools.
Left and right are two more extremely ambiguous and often misleading terms.
It seems that most of us think that language is used in precise ways, but that's probably not the case.@bookish1Reactionary Utopian , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:53 pm GMT
America's lying to get us into wars goes farther back than the 1950's to 2000's. The reasons for WW2 against Germany was based on devilish lies
So we claimed Hitler had to be stopped because he planned on taking over the whole world
When in fact it was a handful of mafiosi financial oligarchs, many based in New Yoik, who desired to control the whole world via co-opted Marxist principles. One of their tools was the "holy" UN which the author seems to think is some sort of Messiah. A Rockefeller "donated" the land for the UN Headquarters building, and the UN was formed under the direction of Commies and their sympathizers associated with FDR. I'm convinced that WW2 was instigated partly to begin imposing globalism on the rest of us, just as the constitution of Uncle Shylock was rammed down our throats. All for the benefit of us lowly proles, peasants and peons, of course.I'm giving about 1.8 cheers for this piece. I agree with much of it, but I surely don't share the author's enthusiasm for this International Court of Justice, not for the workings of the United Nations in general. Give one of these international legal outfits any actual power in America, and "hate crime" laws? You ain't seen nothin' yet. In much of the world, "anti-Semitism" (whatever that's construed to mean) is already a criminal offense. Hell, leave it up to these international bodies, and the Unz Review goes dark -- and quickly, too. No, thanks.DESERT FOX , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:01 pm GMT@Hank The owners are the Rothschilds, the Rockerfellers. the Warburgs , the Schiffs, etc., all satanic zionists and they control every central bank in the world including the FED and the Bank of England.Harold Smith , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:04 pm GMT@Benjyjacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:21 pm GMT
"They send Moslems against Christians, Christians agains Moslems, Moslems against Hindu's, Chirstians against Christians, Christians against Chinese, Christians against Hindus, Japanese against Chinese, US Christians against Japanese, Zulu against white, and on and on. Wars are the jews harvest."
The Satanists are small in number and generally cowardly so their general modus operandi is to get their victims to destroy themselves. To put it in Biblical terms, their goal is to do to the whole world what Satan did to Eve; they deceive, corrupt, manipulate and ultimately stand tall over the destruction they've brought about. They're destroyers.Speaking of the UN and war, Douglas Reed provides a lot of great info about the two; too much to summarize here, but I offer a sample for the curious.WorkingClass , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:37 pm GMT
The Second War produced a third result, additional to the advance of the [Marxist permanent] revolution into Europe and the establishment by force of the Zionist state: namely, the second attempt to set up the structure of a "world government", on the altar of which Western nationhood was to be sacrificed. This is the final consummation to which the parallel processes of Communism and Zionism are evidently intended to lead; the idea first emerged in the Weishaupt papers, began to take vigorous shape in the 19th Century, and was expounded in full detail in the Protocols of 1905. In the First War it was the master-idea of all the ideas which Mr. House and his associates "oozed into the mind" of President Wilson, and sought to make the president think were "his own". It then took shape, first as "The League to Enforce Peace" and at the war's end as "The League of Nations".
-Douglas Reed, The Controversy of Zion, p.470
But of course we can write him off as an early kunspiracy theorist, can't we? And them protykalz is fake. Fake, I tell yi!Well yeah. The Anglo/Zionist Empire is an evil empire indeed. I've known that since serving under President Johnson in the mid sixties.
The geniuses over at ZeroHedge will be surprised to learn about imperial aggression against Venezuela. They believe the explanation for Venexuela's troubles is "Socialism doesn't work".
I'm a Nationalist. So I say screw your International Court of Justice. What the U.S. needs is a New Republic complete with a new constitution. Failing that, secession will be the way forward.
Feb 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Michael Welton via Counterpunch.org,
As the world watches aghast at another US and allies' attempt to engineer a coup in Venezuela, I would like to offer a few insights from Stephen Kinzer' provocative chapter, "The deep hurt," (pp. 227-250) in his book, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of the American Empire (2017). This remarkable text carries some hope and lessons for all of us. It tells the story of the great conflict around the turn of 20th century about the role that the US might play in either dominating the world or building a cosmopolitan democracy where all people feel secure that they reside in one country, the earth.
Indeed, Kinzer states:
"Anti-imperialists decisively influenced American history by helping to ensure that the first burst of American annexation would be the last" (p. 228).
Even swash-buckling Teddy Roosevelt was influenced, losing his zest for the idea of conquest. When he charged into the White House he held two views simultaneously, intervene to help other people, without oppressing them. Kinzer thinks that this dichotomy "torments our national psyche" (p. 229). In the early parts of the book Kinzer sets out the anti-imperialist (Mark Twain) and pro-imperialist visions (Henry Cabot Lodge). These speeches are worth gathering round for reflection.
During the following hundred years much of what the anti-imperialists predicted has come to pass. The United States has become an "actively interventionist power. It has projected military or covert power into dozens of countries on every continent except Antarctica"(ibid.). George Frisbie Hoar was right, Kinzer points out, when he "warned that intervening in other lands would turn the United States into a 'vulgar, commonplace empire founded upon physical force"" (ibid.).
Anti-imperialists also predicted that an "aggressive foreign policy would have pernicious effects at home" (ibid.). Military budgets have soared to heights unimaginable in the days of fervent expansionism in the 1898 war with the Philippines. The armaments industries wield extraordinary clout. The wealth-soaked elites dominate politics. The invasion and overthrowing of distant regimes resides in the hands of a few decision-makers. And militaristic values and rituals saturate American life and expunge peaceful ones.
To be sure, American intervention brought some material blessings (good schools and orderly systems of justice, etc) and rising American power was perceived as "good for everyone simply because it means strengthening the world's most beneficent nation" (p. 230). The expansionists of 1898 believed that America was "inherently benevolent," and subject nations would rally around the May pole in celebratory dance. "The opposite happened .Carl Schurz was right when he warned that dominating foreigners would ultimately force Americans to 'shoot them down because they stand up for their independence'" (p. 231).
Kinzer states that: " In the face of profound new challenges, Americans are once again debating the role of the United States in the world. Should it intervene violently in other countries? This remains what Senator William V. Allen called it in 1899: 'The greatest question that has ever been presented to the American people'" (p. 231). American culture carries a current of anti-imperialism and commitment to an international legal order. They played a big role in the establishment of the UN and nurturing global governance. They remain the world's only superpower with enormous capacity to move towards building the cosmopolitan world order. What is evident now in this dark moment of history is that the world as it is, is not the way it has to be.
It is difficult, I think, for the United States with its inordinate military might and present delusionary self-understanding to wrench itself free from wanting to intervene for political and economic reasons. Many in the post-WW I world had placed their bet for a better world on the Presbyterian professor Woodrow Wilson. Famously, Wilson triggered immense hopefulness to the disenfranchised in the colonies of European powers. He preached that they should "choose the sovereignty under which the shall live" (p. 232). In office, American troops were dispatched to intervene in Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Russia .Like his predecessors -- and successors -- Wilson insisted that he was doing it for the good of the target countries. Americans would leave them alone, he promised, as soon as they learned 'to elect good men'" (ibid.). Today scholars speak of the "shattered peace" of the post-WW I world. Was the desire to begin building, slowly, carefully, a cosmopolitan world order, as Jan Smuts thought, an "impossible dream"?
Kinzer observes that "this most compassionate of presidents not only invaded countries that defied the United States, but studiously ignored appeals from colonized people outside Europe, notably in Egypt, India, Korea, and Indochina. His hypocrisy set the stage for generations of war and upheaval" (ibid.). Margaret MacMillan's lively and densely detailed book, Paris 1919 (2001) , provides the stories for these outcast colonized countries.
Today, the US has intervened one more time. The difference now may well be that there is little pretence that the US is engaging in the bully politics of "might is right." They don't care two hoots about what the world thinks. They do not give a damn about the self-determination of all countries and peoples. This invasion is stripped of any moral or legal justification. The US has decided to declare the Speaker of the House, Juan Guaido, president. This is unheard of! And Canada has forsaken the best of its liberal and social democratic traditions of adherence to rule of law to hitch its caboose to the US's rampaging imperialist train.
There are several lessons that Kinzer draws from American history of intervention that our worth careful reflection.
1) American imperialists (and many Americans) truly believe that they are superior and that the world would become a better place if nations submitted to their leadership . The United States would be better off, Kinzer says, if it became a learning nation and not a teaching one.
2) Early promoters of American intervention were zealous patriots. They proclaimed love of country and loyalty to the flag. Yet they could not imagine that people from non-white countries might feel just as patriotic. Love of country was a mark of civilization. Lesser peoples, therefore, couldn't grasp it.
3) Americans have been said to be ignorant about the world. They are, says Kinzer, but so are other peoples. The difference is that American leaders, puffed with a sense of mission, acted on ignorance. American leaders see little reason to bother learning about the nations whose affairs they intrude.
4) Violent intervention in other countries always produces unintended consequences. Cuba was turned into a protectorate in 1901. A fine idea? It led ultimately to a bitter anti-American regime. Intervention in the Philippines sparked waves of nationalism across East Asia that contributed to the Communist revolution in China in 1949. Later American interventions also had terrible results planners never anticipated. From Iran and Guatemala to Iraq and Afghanistan, intervention has devastated societies and produced violent anti-American passion.
5) Generations of American foreign policy makers have made decisions on three assumptions: the US is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires toughness; and toughness is best demonstrated by the threat or use of force. Thus: America is inherently righteous; its influence on rest of world always benign.
6) Most American interventions are not soberly conceived, with realistic goals and clear exit strategies. But violent invasions always leave so-called "collateral damage": families killed, destroyed towns, ruined lives, damaged land.
7) The argument that the United States intervenes to defend "freedom" rarely matches facts on the ground. Many (most?) interventions prop up predatory regimes. The goal is simply to increase American power rather than to liberate the suffering.
8) Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands. The current invasion of Venezuela is such an example. The name "United States" is associated with bombing, invasion, occupation, night raids, covert action, torture, kidnapping, and secret prisons. Who wants to be saved by America? John Bolton recently threatened Maduro with prison in Guantanamo if he doesn't get the hell out of Venezuela.
9) Nations lose their virtue when they repeatedly attack other nations. That loss, as Washington predicted, has cost the United States its felicity. Kinzer says that the US can regain it only by understanding its own national interests more clearly. He thinks it is late for the United States to change its course in the world -- but not too late.
Leguran , 5 hours ago linkCatInTheHat , 5 hours ago link
America has not become an interventionist power. What has happened is a Coup d'Etat has been staged through Congressional rules that give unconstitutional powers to a tiny group on the basis of their 'seniority' and reconcilliation committee appointment. These few, not the American people want intervention, war, you name it. They spent $5 trillion in the Middle East alone. So, let's not blame the American people.Son of Captain Nemo , 5 hours ago link
5) Generations of American foreign policy makers have made decisions on three assumptions: the US is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires toughness; and toughness is best demonstrated by the threat or use of force. Thus: America is inherently righteous; its influence on rest of world always benign.
6) Most American interventions are not soberly conceived, with realistic goals and clear exit strategies. But violent invasions always leave so-called "collateral damage": families killed, destroyed towns, ruined lives, damaged land.
7) The argument that the United States intervenes to defend "freedom" rarely matches facts on the ground. Many (most?) interventions prop up predatory regimes. The goal is simply to increase American power rather than to liberate the suffering.
8) Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands. The current invasion of Venezuela is such an example. The name "United States" is associated with bombing, invasion, occupation, night raids, covert action, torture, kidnapping, and secret prisons. Who wants to be saved by America? John Bolton recently threatened Maduro with prison in Guantanamo if he doesn't get the hell out of Venezuela."
America is the HIGHLY narcissistic, high functioning, psychopathic garden variety neighbor, highly destructive businessman you work hard to avoid. How any American can see the US and it's people as exceptional is beyond me. No yellow vests anti WAR protests have evolved to STOP the US genocidal killing machine.
The US, the white supremacist nation has zero trouble killing maiming and displacing millions of brown Muslims & Christians in 3 world countries. This WILL come home to roost as what the Zionazi empire of psychopaths does to other countries they will do to USMoribundus , 6 hours ago link
9) "Nations lose their virtue when they repeatedly attack other nations. That loss, as Washington predicted, has cost the United States its felicity. Kinzer says that the US can regain it only by understanding its own national interests more clearly. He thinks it is late for the United States to change its course in the world -- but not too late."...
I don't even think Teddy as self righteous and psychopathic as he was at the turn of the 20th Century would have ponied up to cannibalizing his own ( https://wikispooks.com/wiki/9-11/Israel_did_it ) in order to build ever more "pretexts" through the torture and murder of other sovereign nations simply as a means to "control" resources for the good of his $currency and it's banks and not a Country and it's peoples under the rule of law to a parasite/cyst that it is willing to die for ( https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-19/top-us-general-says-american-troops-should-be-ready-die-israel ) before it's own Nation!...
It is not only "too late" Mr. Kinzer... It's epitaph was written large almost 18 years ago when it's people chose not to address that crime of betrayal and treason to it's Constitution and stood idly by as it's government squandered it children's childrens childrens wealth for that lie ( https://www.ae911truth.org/news/506-grand-jury-to-hear-9-11-evidence-an-interview-with-the-lawyers-who-made-it-happen )Nunyadambizness , 6 hours ago link
Another gr8 lesson about American freedom and democracy is in book: The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Americans should know that before slaves from Africa white trash from Britain was shipped as slaves. See: They were white and they were slaves.Smi1ey , 6 hours ago link
" Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. ... In the execution of such a plan nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded, and that in place of them just and amicable feelings toward all should be cultivated....
Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial, else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other....
The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. ... GEORGE WASHINGTON
I wish we had listened.Chupacabra-322 , 8 hours ago link
Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands.
Meanwhile, their own people in America see them as Satan worshiping pedophiles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS8i7C7JJ14schroedingersrat , 11 hours ago link
As the raises & sets one can be assured of one thing. People are gullible as ****.Dick Buttkiss , 6 hours ago link
As Taleb nicely put: Our political leaders have no skin in the game and are completely unaccountable. Best preconditions for disaster!IntercoursetheEU , 14 hours ago link
Indeed, as that's the nature of the state in any and all its iterations. Reform it? Yes. But only by eradicating it altogether. Why? Because, as the great Albert Jay Nock said,
"Sending in good people to reform the state is like sending in virgins to reform the whorehouse."
Think this is impossible? Think again...Justapleb , 14 hours ago link
McCabe, evil whitey on the front line here too? ; chickens coming home to roost finally? Guess there are two kind of people, those who work for a living, and the barbarians who appropriate the fruits of other's labor.DFGTC , 14 hours ago link
Mark Twain wrote savagely and derisively about the Moro Massacre, where the US killed around a thousand Filipino natives who were hiding in a dormant volcano, they just rimmed it with artillery and killed everyone.
Because they would not pay tribute. We waterboarded about 200 important people, the equivalent of mayors and councilmen, ranking officers in militias we had no business disbanding.
1898 was lies and deceit from the outset. We promised the Philippine General Aguinaldo that if he fought the Spanish on land, then we would fight them at sea. In exchange for victory over the Spanish, the Philippines would be freed from colonization.
Except then we took it ourselves and killed anyone who disagreed. Slaughter, rape, torture, it was never for one moment noble. The USA granted the Philippines its independence after the Japanese conquered them, lol.Kokito , 7 hours ago link
Empires do not give up power, their grip weakens ... Empires do not devolve back into "republics", they crash and burn ... And there are really only two options: a) soft collapse b) hard collapse (there is no [c] option)keep the bastards honest , 14 hours ago link
Exactly -The article was written by another delusional trying to reconstruct/masquerade the US criminal empire behind the a new facelift, too little too late. The guy didn't get the memo from Putin/Xi, telling him tat it is a multipolar world & that the US criminal empire is death & that it will never come back in any shape, way or form, to violate international law & carry out war crimes.Chuckster , 15 hours ago link
American or uk coups are not beneficial. Very sad. Checking USA coups online there is a huge list, after the Allende govt in Chile, comes Australia, the Whitlam govt, much loved, but ousted in a coup, bloodless by his choice. The people were waiting for Gough to call them out. Newspaper staff arrived from overseas.
first day in office his govt had let the conscientious objectors out of the 2 years they were serving in jail. There had been mass demonstrations against Aus participation and incarceration to no avail with the previous govt. Brought back our Australians from Vietnam, and twenty or 30 or more major things. Every day.Atalanta , 15 hours ago link
We have learned nothing. Apparently we are using the taming of the lion method which has been used for thousands of years to take control of countries on Venezuela. The apparent goal is to take over several Latin and south American countries. Will this be good or bad? Our past history indicates it will be a disaster. Have we had any successes?lnardozi , 15 hours ago link
Craving for respect. This started after the first bite in the apple, history said. Religion is based on that happening. Americans invented the extra load called fastest. Watch Hollywood portraying it. Respect shown all over the show for plain murderers. Graveyard managers and priest making the picture complete. Making that part of the world the right place for a second coming. Resulting in sending all believers to the place named hell.
The fact that this is not taken for granted is exactly what is wrong with America. If only we could just learn to leave other people alone unless attacked. They even call the idea of not mass murdering people 'isolationism'. Hey, well guess what? I don't want to murder other people who never bothered me. I can't say I'm a Christian, but aren't they supposed to disagree with this sort of thing? They're also supposed to be like 80% of the population, why don't we ever hear, 'murder bad' from them?
Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com
peterAUS , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:35 pm GMTBack to topic. This link, I believe, points into a very interesting direction. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-23/imperial-naivete-american-public I don't think that "naivete" is a correct word there. Some, perhaps, interesting excerpts:
.a public lulled into a warm and fuzzy sense of moral superiority based on the notion that we only go to war to save the good and punish the evil, and if we meddle in other nations' domestic affairs and elections, we're only doing so for their own good.
If we weren't a kindly, generous Empire, we'd let them go down the drain without trying to set them straight.
Key expression " moral superiority "
There is more:
. the American public naively assumes that their Imperial Project is so god-like in its powers and prowess that no other great power should be able to meddle in our domestic affairs and elections.
I don't think it's "naive" though. It's something else like, again:
there are no limits on our execution of power because we're morally superior
That is the key. That is what, deep in their hearts, Americans believe. We .are .better than .anybody .else. So, blaming "them", media, whatever no no that's a copout. Weak one. The crux is simple, eternal, hard wired: "I am better than you". "I can be homeless punk here, but, I am better than YOU." Feels good. That's all.
Nov 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Russ , Nov 6, 2018 1:48:22 PM | link
Circe | Nov 6, 2018 1:27:02 PM | 164
They were saying that Trump didn't promote the economic boom enough. Then they trotted out their economic analyst to tout all the great economic statistics!
Well of course, for the corporate media lying about the economy has priority over any kind of Trump-bashing.
William Gruff , Nov 6, 2018 2:25:31 PM | linkUnfortunately, Debsisdead is correct. The United States cannot be fixed. It could be that Trump knows what's needed and is deliberately trying to set the US on a course towards sanity using shock treatment, and is deliberately trying to wean America from the petrodollar in such a manner that Americans have no other country to blame/bomb, thus saving civilization from America's inevitable spasm of ultraviolence when the BRICS succeed in taking the petrodollar down. This seems unlikely, though.
The sad reality is that the delusion Americans suffer from (result of their universal cradle-to-grave brainwashing that I mentioned earlier) is too deeply rooted as a core component of their identities.
That mass-based delusion must be overcome before America's psychotic behavior on the world stage can be addressed, but I see no forces within the US making any progress in that direction at all.
Even the brightest and most humanistic Americans are horribly twisted to appalling evil by unquestionable faith in their own exceptionalism. As a consequence it could be that the only hope for humanity lies in a radical USA-ectomy with the resulting stump being cauterized.
I certainly wish there were some other way, but I don't see one.
Sep 16, 2018 | crookedtimber.org
Thomas Beale 09.13.18 at 9:58 am ( 16 )I'd suggest that the two strains of 'conservatism' that matter are:
a) maintaining oppression/rule over subordinate classes to prevent them up-ending the status quo (the Robin view) and
b) maintaining philosophical +/- cultural values fundamental to a civilised society, typically so-called enlightenment values, freedom of mind, body and property etc. These are understood in a wide spectrum of concrete interpretations, from free-market purists to social democrats, and don't therefore correspond to one kind of on-the-ground politics.
Progressives tend attack a) (a non-philosophical form of conservatism – it's just about preserving a power structure), and usually claim that b) (the one that matters) doesn't exist or isn't 'conservative', or else ignore it.
We have the basic problem of same term, variable referents
Lobsterman 09.13.18 at 10:27 pm ( 40 )(b) doesn't exist. Conservatives are, as a group, in eager favor of concentration camps for toddlers, the drug war, unrestrained surveillance, American empire, civil forfeiture, mass incarceration, extrajudicial police execution, etc. etc. They have internal disagreements on how much to do those things, but the consensus is for all of them without meaningful constraint. And they are always justified in terms of (a).
ph 09.14.18 at 11:50 am ( 58 )@40
Most here voted for or supported Obama whose record of incarcerating and persecuting journalists, punishing whistle-blowers, extra-judicial executions including citizens of the United States, placing children in cages, violent regime change abroad, spying on citizens, and expanding the security state was as bad or worse as that of Bush and Trump, in some cases by some margin.
The current heroes of the 'resistance' lied America into Iraq or Libya, hacked into the computers of the elected representatives/lied about it, and support torture/enhanced interrogations, all under Obama. 'Liberals' lionize these clown criminals along with 'responsible' republicans whilst embracing open bigots such as Farrakhan. And, yes, if one is willing to share the podium with Farrakhan that's tacit support of his views.
Conservative as a political category post 1750 works and the basic argument of the OP holds. The comments not so much.
Sep 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Moscow Exile September 11, 2018 at 2:03 amhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/NWB6IUE0hJUMark Chapman September 11, 2018 at 10:47 am
Whither then the endless cries from libtards to send Putin to this court?I don't know why so many people are having trouble realizing that the United States intends to make the rules, not follow them, and to be the ultimate arbiter of its own behaviour. And at its very core, this is an intent that recognizes no equal. Allies are great, America loves to have them so that it can employ them as it sees fit, but does not recognize their authority to hold Americans to any standard of conduct. Certainly this does not hold true at the administrative levels – no American is going to get away with speeding on the autobahn by saying indignantly, "Of course I wasn't speeding – I'm an AMERICAN!" But speeding by an individual is hardly a national embarrassment. In any international context, allies and enemies alike are going to have to just accept that no international rules supersede American self-regulation, and you'll just have to be good with the concept that America is scrupulously fair in meting out justice to its own subjects.et Al September 12, 2018 at 2:54 am
Oddly enough, American military members and contractors who are accused of various crimes – which it stands to reason they committed, since Americans as a society are no better and no worse than any other social group on the planet – their government elevates their motivation to patriotism, the defending of home and family values. Presumably these transcendent laws protect Americans who blast Iraqi civilians off of balconies for the hell of it, as they did at Nisour Square in 2007. Please note that although eventually four Blackwater employees were tried and convicted in US Federal Court, (a) it was 7 years after the fact, (b) only one employee was found guilty of murder, while the remainder pleaded down to manslaughter and lesser firearms charges which implied they were careless rather than vicious, (c) 14 of 17 Iraqis killed were agreed by the USA to have been entirely without cause, and (d) the original conviction was overturned by a US District Judge on the grounds that all charges against Blackwater had been improperly built on testimony given in exchange for immunity. The entire process weighed heavily in favour of Iraq just giving up in disgust, and had it not persevered, there is every reason to believe Blackwater would have escaped any prosecution. No doubt they were characterized throughout the process as American patriots who were simply protecting their families and their nation and safeguarding American values.
One of the first moves in a humanitarian or policing mission involving the USA will be the establishment of a status-of-forces agreement in which American soldiers accused of any crime must be tried by a US court or under American authority. When American citizens are killed in such scenarios, such as the four Blackwater contractors killed and whose burnt bodies were hung from a bridge in Fallujah, Iraq, a disproportionate vengeance is enacted which punishes the whole population.
You all remember what happened to Fallujah; the American-led coalition invaded it twice, and razed it to the ground in a display of violence that made even US allies nervous.
American contractors in Iraq were earning about $600.00 a day. It is pretty hard to imagine they were all motivated by patriotism and family values.
Sep 14, 2018 | www.unz.com
I have no choice. I must don the mantle of greatness and take the reins of the country. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I will run for the office of dictator, or President in American parlance.
Readers may ask, "But Fred, what makes you think you are qualified to be President?" To which I respond, "Nothing. But have you seen what we have now? You want a White House with John Bolton in it?"
I append here a few of the enlightened policies which I will effect. Hold your applause until the end. Interspersed for perusal are a few slogans that I may use to incite your fervor.
One: I will end all policies hostile to Cuba. I will not make life difficult for eleven million perfectly good people to please a ratpack of phony Cubans afflicting Miami. In fact, I will offer Havana a twenty-billion-dollar loan if they will take the bastards back. Cuba poses no danger to anyone. They have good cigars. They should be left alone to live as they please and drink mojitos. If nutcake Republicans protest my policy, I will have them stuffed into an abandoned oil well. Along with the pseudo-Cubans.
Two: Elizabeth Warren will be required to take a DNA test to see whether she is a wild Indian. If she is, she will have to wear feathers. Otherwise, to see a psychiatrist.
We have nothing to be afred of but Fred hisself! Has a classic ring, don't you think?
Three: I will end the Afghan war in an afternoon, relying on use the exit strategy proposed by James P. Coyne, the Sun Tsu of our age:
"OK, on the plane. Now ."
If Lindsey Graham complains that we need to kill more puzzled goatherds, I will have him inserted into the oil well on top of the Republicans and pseudo-Cubans, with Oprah tamped down on top as a sort of cork. There is nothing in Afghanistan that Americans need or want, except opium products, and private enterprise now provides these in abundance. Check the nearest street corner, or ask your kids.
Four: I will make membership in AIPAC a felony, and remind its members that I could have Oprah temporarily removed from the oil well to make more room. Aipackers can act as they please in their own country–I will not meddle in foreign affairs–but leave ours alone.
Fred! Ahhhhhh . This has a nicely orgasmic quality that will appeal to the younger demographic. It represents the satisfaction that my rule will bring to the entire country.
Five: I will end all sanctions against Iran. Then I will sell those Persian rascals airplanes and cars and electronic stuff and towel softener and lock them into the American economic system. This will make Boeing and AT&T and Intel love me with the deep sweet love that never dies, at least as long as the money flows, and there will be lots of jobs in Seattle.
Six: I will bring charges of treason against the contents of the Great Double Wide on Pennsylvania Avenue. The evidence is incontrovertible. The first rule of empire is Don't Let Your Enemies Unite. Everybody who has an empire knows this. Except us. Inside the White House a bunch of apparently brain-damaged political mostly left-overs, suffering from Beltway Bubble Syndrome, push China, Russia, and Iran together like some kind of international spaghetti-grope LGTBQRSTUV threesome. Who are our dismal leaders really working for? China?
A Fred in Every Pot This makes no sense, you may say. No, but we are doing politics. It is almost iambic pentameter, like Shakespeare. It will lend class to my campaign.
Seven: I will keep the F-35 program. It provides a lot of jobs. However, I will but get rid of the airplane. Isn't this brilliant? Instead of building the thing, workers will dig holes and fill them in, but keep their current salaries. It will improve their health, and make America safer. The fewer dangerous things the children in the Five-Sided Wind Tunnel have, the less trouble it can cause.
Better Fred than Dead! Some readers will dispute this. What do they know?
Eight: I have been urged to end affirmative action on the grounds that things should be done by people who can actually do them. This is racist. I will have nothing to do with it. Instead I will make affirmative action democratic and inclusive. Everyone will qualify for it. Special privilege should not be restricted to a minority. It isn't the American way.
Fred! Good as Any, Better'n Some. Good thinking.
Nine: I will abolish NATO. America should find a cheaper way to control the vassals. There is of course the bedtime story that NATO exists to confront the Russkies, and only incidentally provides a compulsory market for American armament. Nuts. Russia cannot seem dangerous to anyone who wasn't dropped on his head at some formative juncture in life. Smallish population, low military budget.
Likewise South Korea, which has twice the population and forty times the economy of the North. If it wants to defend itself, it has my blessing. If it doesn't, it isn't our problem.
Tippecanoe and Frederick Too! This may require exhumation, but for this we have backhoes.
Ten: I will make a modest reduction in the military budget, say seventy-five percent. To keep the soldiers happy I will invest in high-throughput roller coasters, a shooting range with BB guns, and really loud speaker systems that say Va roooom and Bangbangbang and fzzzzzzzzboom. These will provide psychic emoluments of martial life without the murder.
Eleven: The money thus saved I will use on pressing domestic problems. LA has 68,000 homeless people on the streets, San Francisco loses conventions because of so many homeless defecating on the sidewalks, Portland has homeless riots,. The lower primates in Antifa and BLM rend such social fabric as any longer exists. Dams are aging. Our trains are out of of the Fifties. And we spend a trillion a year on goddam aircraft carriers?
Fred? Well, Got a Better Idea?
Twelve: As an educational reform, I will have the Department of Education filled with linoleum cement, the occupants being left inside. This will raise the national IQ by at least three points. I will pass an amendment to the fragments of the Constitution saying, "No federal entity or person shall say, think, suggest, or do anything whatever regarding schooling on pain of garroting." Part of the savings from lowering the military budget will go to purchasing garrotes. The duration, content, and nature of the schools shall be left to localities without exception.
Thirteen: The father of any girl subjected to genital mutilation will be awarded a free gender reassignment operation, preferably with tin-snips. Genital mutilation should be inclusive. The father will then be placed for two weeks in the bottom of a public latrine in Uganda. If this doesn't suffice to deter the practice, I may be forced to adopt extreme measures. A country that allows such treatment of daughters deserves to go to hell. And seems to be.
Fourteen: I will impose a literacy test for voting. People too dim to find their way home should not be permitted to influence policies they have never heard of and can't spell. Yes, this might be called illiberal. If so, it will doubtless be the only example of illiberalism in this meritorious list.
Fifteen: In higher education, I will prescribe horse whipping for anyone saying microaggression, white privilege, whiteness, patriarchy, safe space, people of color, racism, any kind of phobia, or "Resist" in a squalling voice with an exclamation point. No curriculum containing the word "Studies" will be permitted.
Sixteen: Anyone prescribing Ritalin for children under twenty-one will be thrown from a helicopter.
In conclusion, I say to my yearning public, There, you, see, there is hope. Together we can do this. See you at the polls.
... ... ...
Fred Reed is a former news weasel and part-time sociopath living in central Mexico with his wife and three useless but agreeable street dogs. He says it suits him.
FoxTwo , says: September 15, 2018 at 11:03 am GMTIn today's world of political insanity, a healthy dose of sarcasm may be considered as a good antidote. Love your columns Fred; keep them up!
Sep 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Kiza , Sep 13, 2018 12:17:37 PM | 25
@cs17 This is an old point of information abuse by the Western government trolls. I cannot count how many times I have disputed one-sided claims such as yours.
The truth is relatively simple - yes, the Budapest Memorandum specifies the inviolability of the Ukrainian border including Crimea, but it also specifically addresses the non-interference into Ukrainian affairs (I used to quote the sections of the Memorandum, but I will skip here). Then the small matter of a coup against a dully elected and recognized government using the $5B by the usual US regime changers represents the original breach of the signed Budapest Memorandum. Unless, of course, the signatory is an exceptional nation for who the international laws and signed agreements do not apply. In the normal legal world, if one party breaches an agreement, the other party is not bound by this agreement any more.
No wonder the Russians came finally to understand that US is non-agreement capable: sign an agreement, immediately start breaching the agreement, unleash an army of presstitutes and trolls who will keep accusing the other party of the breach of agreement.
Sep 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.comMoribundus ,The really dangerous American fascist... is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power...
They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest.
Their final objective, toward which all their deceit is directed, is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
~quoted in the New York Times, April 9, 1944
Henry A. Wallace
Sep 11, 2018 | news.antiwar.com
Declares Russian and Iranian officials to be 'cowards'
Speaking at the UN during the latest session on Syria's Idlib Province, US Ambassador Nikki Haley warned Russia and Iran would face "dire consequences" if they continue to back a Syrian military offensive against Islamist rebels in the province.
Idlib is the last major rebel-held territory in Syria, and taking it is seen by Syria and its allies as effectively ending the Syrian War. The US has insisted they oppose any moves into Idlib.
Haley went on to say that Iran and Russia are "cowards interested in a bloody military conquest" and that the US continues to intend to respond militarily if any chemical weapons are used. President Trump has also suggested that a military response could happen if he believes the offensive is a "slaughter."
Haley was unclear what the "dire consequences" would actually be. Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia reiterated that there was no reason to think Syria would use chemical weapons in Idlib, and said the presence of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Idlib obliges Syria to move against them.
Sep 12, 2018 | original.antiwar.com
In a September 10 speech to the Federalist Society, National Security Advisor John Bolton offered "a major announcement on US policy toward the International Criminal Court." The US government, per Bolton, considers the court "fundamentally illegitimate. We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC."
Bolton threatened sanctions against the court and those who resort to it or cooperate with it in investigations of war crimes involving the United States or Israel. He also announced the first such sanction, closure of a Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington in retaliation for the state of Palestine's referral of charges against Israel for actions in the West Bank and Gaza.
What's with this sudden interest in the court and its jurisdiction?
Why is Bolton suddenly so concerned with protecting notions of "sovereignty" (he uses the word nine times) that the US government itself routinely ignores at its convenience, claiming global jurisdiction over individuals and organizations outside its own borders in matters ranging from the 17-year "war on terror" to its financial regulation and sanctions schemes?
The answer, in a word: Afghanistan. The regime installed by the US after its 2001 invasion of that country, and maintained in power by the US since then, ratified the Rome Statute in 2003. Crimes committed in Afghanistan since then, regardless of the perpetrators' nationalities, therefore fall under the ICC's jurisdiction.
Bolton finds it unconscionable that an American – in particular an American soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, or politician – accused of crimes committed in Afghanistan might be tried in a court Afghanistan's government has duly accepted the authority of. So much for "sovereignty."
Bolton wants it both ways. On one hand, the long arm of US law must reach everywhere, be it to a bank in Switzerland, to a hacker's keyboard in the United Kingdom, or to a battlefield in the Middle East. On the other hand, no foreign arm of law must ever reach a US citizen, regardless of the alleged crime or where it was committed.
Pretty messed up, but there's a simple solution. All the US government has to do is close its embassies and consulates in, withdraw its troops from, and advise its citizens not to travel to, any of the 120-odd countries which recognize the International Criminal Court as their judicial authority for war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.
Starting with Afghanistan.
Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism. He lives and works in north central Florida. This article is reprinted with permission from William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism.
Aug 30, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , Aug 28, 2018 1:50:29 PM | 8
But there is a third party to these agreements--South Korea--and we certainly know South Koreans stand to lose as much as their kin in the North should war again erupt.
I'm sure Korean press have asked President Moon for his reaction, but it's likely published in Korean. At this point Moon must choose between his nothing to gain alliance with the Outlaw US Empire or his excellent opportunity to make Korea whole again and the outstanding economic gains that will bring.
I must also wonder if in his meetings with Kim they discussed the very likely prospect that this situation would arise and how to counter.
In two weeks, the Far Eastern Economic Conference will begin in Vladivostok where sideline talks will likely occur on this issue, but I'd hope we'd see a few statements in reaction well before then. Also, prior to Mattis's announcement, the following event was reported by DPRK news outlet Rodong Sinmun and subsequently reported by EurasiaFuture :
"According to a south Korean radio, U.S. special units in Japan staged a drill of flying 1 200 km to the Philippines through air transport.
"The radio said one can confirm that the drill would be the drill aimed at "the infiltration into Pyongyang" in case of change of direction.
"Prior to the exercise, it was disclosed that the Michigan, the nuclear submarine belonging to the U.S. Navy, transported Green Berets, Delta Force and other special units present in Okinawa, Japan to the Jinhae naval base of south Korea in late July or early in August.
"In this regard, Rodong Sinmun in a commentary on Sunday says that it was extremely provocative and dangerous military moves to mar the hard-won atmosphere of the peace on the Korean peninsula and the dialogue between the DPRK and the U.S. and prevent the implementation of the Singapore DPRK-U.S. Joint Statement.
"Such acts prove that the U.S. is hatching a criminal plot to unleash a war against the DPRK and commit a crime which deserves merciless divine punishment in case the U.S. fails in the scenario of the DPRK's unjust and brigandish 'denuclearization first'.
"We can not but take a serious note of the double-dealing attitudes of the U.S. as it is busy staging secret drills involving man-killing special units while having a dialogue with a smile on its face.
"The U.S. would be sadly mistaken if it thinks that it can browbeat someone through trite "gunboat diplomacy" which it used to employ as an almighty weapon in the past and attain its sinister intention.
"The U.S. should ponder over its deeds."
Clearly, the US had already pondered for as soon as the ink was dry in Singapore, the Outlaw US Empire unilaterally moved denuclearization from step 3 to step 1 and has kept that stance.
Aug 25, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
james , Aug 25, 2018 3:07:24 PM | 3
thanks b.. further signs of the usa coming apart at the seams and getting closer to some type of war.. it seems like a reckless ride from here on in..
there is no way anyone in their right mind would enter into an agreement with the usa.. and even when they do, as in the examples of north korea here, or iran recently - the usa backs out of them!! that is not the kind of dance partner anyone would want to tango with..
the msm only holds trumps feet to the fire domestically to let him know that if he strays from supporting the financial/military complex, he is toast.. they never do it when he is carrying water for this same complex...
it is hard to tell the difference between trump and the hawks in his present gov't especially in light of his tweets.. maybe someone hacked his twitter account, but i doubt it.. those are his tweets, not bolton or pompeo's..
i think it is hard to hold out any hope for trump being different then the ongoing succession of presidents.. that are all serving the plutocracy at this point, and trump is no exception... the only difference is we are getting closer to the wheels coming off the usa here..
Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
In near simultaneous statements addressed to the Iranian public in a speech aired on state TV, the supreme leader who has the final word over all affairs in the Islamic republic, issued the directive: "I ban holding any talks with America... America never remains loyal to its promises in talks."
"America's withdrawal from the nuclear deal is a clear proof that America cannot be trusted," state TV quoted Khamenei further.
As part of his series of tweets, some of which mocked Trump's policy in the Middle East, Khamenei published an infographic presenting his position on ratcheting tensions with the U.S.
He also slammed the idea that this was the first such offer of talks, saying that Iran has proudly resisted unfair and imbalanced U.S. offers of negotiations for decades, and even cited President Ronald Reagan's sending his national security advisor, Robert McFarlane to Tehran for failed negotiations.
Notably, he appeared to troll Trump personally as well as his cabinet in the following:
A stupid man tells the Iranian nation that 'your government spends your money on Syria'. This is while his boss-- the U.S. president-- has admitted he spent 7 trillion dollars in the Middle East without gaining anything in return!
The top Iranian cleric also briefly referenced Iran's domestic crisis, which has included sporadic protests and clashes with the police throughout the summer in response to a plummeting rial and inability of people to access imported goods, stating "Today's livelihood problems do not emerge from outside; they are internal."
He urged the country to resist sanctions and erect "prudent" ways shielding from their effects.
It will be interesting to see if Trump responds to this directly in a tweet, or if any official reaction will be forthcoming from the White House.
But in the meantime it appears the possibility of any renegotiation after Trump's official pullout of the JCPOA last May has just had to the door slammed on it.
truthseeker47 -> vvaleria692 Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:41 Permalinkpeddling-fiction -> truthseeker47 Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:50 Permalink
Of course Iranian leaders do not want to negotiate with Trump, they know they cannot walk all over him like they did with Obummer.TBT or not TBT -> peddling-fiction Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:57 Permalink
No war? Chuckle.
The mullahs are going to be quite the whiny bitches for a while. The anti-American pro Islam President Obama, Commie CIA director, for sale Sec of State, gay agenda Pentagon director and Ben Rhodes and ValJar, Rice and their ill will not be returning. Islamic socialism will be performing the economic wonders you can expect, putting a strong clamp on you their foreign subversion and domestic payrolls too. Meanwhile, they've got a middle class that hates them and views Islam as foreign dirty Arabs' inhuman sect. Good luck with that.
Aug 13, 2018 | www.euronews.com
Iran's leader orders government not to talk to USIran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banned holding any direct talks with the United States, state TV reported, rejecting an offer last month by U.S.
He said "It was my mistake to allow the government for starting The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. I gave the permission for the negotiations because of the insistence of the gentlemen".
President Donald Trump for talks with no preconditions with Tehran.
"I ban holding any talks with America ... America never remains loyal to its promises in talks ... just gives empty words ... and never retreats from its goals for talks," Khamenei was quoted as saying by TV.
Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif told Al Jazeera that Iran will not change its policies in the Middle East because of US sanctions and threats.
Posted by: partizan | Aug 13, 2018 8:50:05 AM | 38
charles cosimano , , August 8, 2018 at 2:44 am
Aug 08, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
In the wake of President Trump's Helsinki press conference, National Review declared itself "Against Moral Equivalence." The magazine claimed that there could be no equating American meddling in foreign elections with Russian interference in our election because the goal of the U.S. is to "promote democracy and political liberty and human rights." Though while America's actions might be noble and have the sanction of heaven, National Review did concede that its efforts to promote democracy have often been "messy" -- an adjective that the people of Iraq might find understated.
Like many of Trump's critics, National Review 's embrace of American exceptionalism, of exempting the United States from the moral laws of the universe because of its commitment to democracy, is of a type the West has seen before. Swept up in their revolutionary enthusiasm, the French Jacobins made similar claims. In late 1791, a member of the Assembly, while agitating for war with Austria, declared that France "had become the foremost people of the universe, so their conduct must now correspond to their new destiny. As slaves they were bold and great; are they to be timid and feeble now that they are free?"
Robespierre himself was taken aback by the turn of a domestic revolution into a call for military adventurism. Of plans to invade Austria and to overthrow "enemies" of liberty in other nations, he famously remarked, "No one loves armed missionaries." (Robespierre's advice might have also benefited the American occupiers of Iraq.) The Jacobins' moral preening led France to declare war on Austria in 1792 and set in motion years of French military adventurism that devastated much of central Europe. Military imperialism abroad and guillotines at home became the legacy of self-declared French exceptionalism.
Hubristic nations that claim a unique place for themselves high atop the moral universe tend to be imperialistic. This is because claims of national exceptionalism, whether of the French or American variety, are antinomian, even nihilistic. The "exceptional" ones carve out for themselves an exemption from the moral law. And prideful claims of moral purity are the inevitable predicate to imposing one's will upon another. Once leaders assert that their national soul is of a special kind -- indispensable and not subject to the same rules -- the road to hell has been paved.The Immorality of American Exceptionalism A Jacobin-in-Chief
While supporters of American exceptionalism are careful to claim the mantle of Western civilization, their philosophical orientation in fact amounts to a repudiation of the central principles of the West and the Constitution.
Arguably, the tradition of the Judeo-Christian West has been special because it has asserted that human nature is not particularly special. And the Constitution has been exceptional because it's warned Americans that we are not particularly exceptional.
For example, the legacy of Pauline Christianity, Irving Babbitt tells us, is "the haunting sense of sin and the stress it lays upon the struggle between the higher and lower self, between the law of the flesh and the law of the spirit." No person or nation is above this moral challenge. The uniquely American repudiation of exceptionalism shines brightly in The Federalist , where no angels can be found among men, and, because no one's behavior enjoys the sanction of heaven, extensive checks are placed upon people's ability to impose their wills upon others. The foreign policy that flowed out of the worldview of the Framers was that of George Washington, a strong recommendation against hubris and foreign meddling.
These historical and cultural warnings about human nature have since been swept away by acolytes of American exceptionalism. Our moral superiority, they claim, makes us Masters of the Universe, not careful and mindful custodians of our own fallen nature. We have been put on earth to judge other nations, not to be judged. Tossing the legacy of the Framers onto the ash heap of history, George W. Bush declared in his Second Inaugural Address that our exceptionalism creates an obligation to promote democracy "in every nation and culture." In this endeavor, Bush pronounced, the United States enjoys the sanction of heaven, as "history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the author of liberty." Bush's Second Inaugural was probably better in the original French.
Now, the puffed-up American establishment, many of whom supported the bloody Iraq war, drip with moral condescension as they brand Vladimir Putin an existential outlaw and the enemy of democracy, foreclosing the possibility of common ground with Russia on nuclear weapons, China, terrorism, and other issues that matter to the national security of the United States. That Washington has meddled in countless nations' affairs from Iraq to Russia -- and caused untold damage -- is of no account to the establishment. Rules do not apply to democracy promoters.
After the Iraq war, we should have reconsidered our hubristic American exceptionalism. One can take pride in the American tradition without laying claim to a uniquely beautiful national soul that is exempt from the laws of nature and of nature's God. The hysterical reaction to Trump's truthful admission that the United States too has made mistakes in its relationship with Russia is a sign that American exceptionalism is still in full flower among elites. Without the return of a certain humility, there will be more military adventures abroad and political strife at home.
William S. Smith is research fellow and managing director at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at The Catholic University of America. 11 Responses to America the Unexceptional
Nelson August 7, 2018 at 11:32 pmI agree with the sentiment but the facts show we've always been this way. Historically speaking our hubris didn't start with George W. Bush. We had quite the exceptionalist spirt with "Manifest Destiny" back in the 19th century. And indeed it took a bit of hubris to declare independence from Britain.
All great powers are exempt from any moral law, not merely because it does not exist, but because even if it did, who could enforce it?paradoctor , , August 8, 2018 at 2:44 am
Exceptionalism is the sin of pride.Wayne Lusvardi , , August 8, 2018 at 2:58 am
Dr. Smith wrote his PhD dissertation in political philosophy on a critique of romanticism in political thinking. However, in the above article he somehow believes America is unexceptional for having exempted itself from God's laws and natural law. But what if American policy makers acted out of political necessity and realism, not "hubris" or un-humility? I might agree with Smith about using "democracy building" as a pretense for military intervention. But does Smith take what US presidents and congressmen say at face value? What if US intervention in Iraq had to do with trying to balance power between Iraq and Iran, or stop Islamic expansionism from pushing into Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states? Moralism can be just as dangerous as democracy building in foreign affairs.polistra , , August 8, 2018 at 3:21 am
We did renounce exceptionalism and imperialism after WW1. Wilson's pet agencies faded out and we focused internally. We remained non-interventionist until 1946 when the Wilsonians snatched power again.Robert , , August 8, 2018 at 4:19 am
We should figure out why and how the bureaucracy and media gave up Empire in the early '20s. Obviously the people were tired, just as they are now, but the people are irrelevant.
Something changed in the power structure. What was it? Can we help it to happen again?
A very fine article, one of the best that TAC has published.Andrew , , August 8, 2018 at 6:07 am
The writer in question of the referenced piece at National Review, Jimmy Quinn, is a 20something college intern, proving they aren't even interested in hiring newer young conservatives at NRO who don't just mindlessly repeat the neoconservative line on "American exceptionalism". They are long past their days as a serious magazine. If not by ideology, just by having a more interesting collection of writers, I'd say even the Weekly Standard is now a better magazine than National Review. It's become like the boring Pravda rulebook for Official Conservatism™ in America.TomG , , August 8, 2018 at 8:29 am
Well done, Mr. Smith. Our hubris blinds this nation to the pain it inflicts in other lands. I reflect again and again on these words from the hymn (tune Finlandia):Roberto , , August 8, 2018 at 9:29 am
This is my song, oh God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
This is my song, thou God of all the nations;
a song of peace for their land and for mine.
When nations rage, and fears erupt coercive,
The drumbeats sound, invoking pious cause.
My neighbors rise, their stalwart hearts they offer,
The gavels drop, suspending rights and laws.
While others wield their swords with blind devotion;
For peace I'll stand, my true and steadfast cause.
We would be one as now we join in singing,
Our hymn of love, to pledge ourselves anew.
To that high cause of greater understanding
Of who we are, and what in us is true.
We would be one in loving and forgiving,
with hopes and dreams as true and high as thine.
C'mon people, it's right to separate yourselves from the bombast and violent meddling we've done all over the world, but let's not get carried away with this ridiculous "we're just like any other bully" mentality.JonF , , August 8, 2018 at 9:38 am
The exceptionalism is in the elevation of individual human freedom as a foundational principle. We declared it, the French declared it, and it remains a beacon for many others, no matter how poorly we've observed it from time to time.
"Military imperialism abroad and guillotines at home became the legacy of self-declared French exceptionalism." No, that was the paroxysm of revolution, one that the U,S. fortunately avoided.
The real legacy was the sweeping away of monarchy across the continent, despite the irony of Napoleon making himself emperor.
For all our imperialism, did we treat western Europe the same as Stalin treated eastern Europe?
Is it just an accident of history that the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, former British colonies all, lead the world in the protection of individual human rights? You can draw a line, crooked though it may be, from those countries right back to the Magna Carta.
Yes, we had slavery, a legacy of our status as an agricultural colony, but the British, French, and Americans all abolished it because it couldn't square with our declared principles.
We may forget why we are exceptional but our immigration pressure shows that the the rest of the world hasn't.
Re: The Jacobins' moral preening led France to declare war on Austria in 1792john35 , , August 8, 2018 at 9:40 am
It wasn't just the Jacobins: pretty much everyone wanted war. The royalists hoped that foreign intervention would restore Louis XVI as an absolute monarch. The moderates wanted to consolidate the gains of the Revolution and deflect public anger at its economic failings. The radicals, as noted, looked to evangelize Europe with the Rights of Man. And the foreign powers wanted to crush the Revolution lest its ideals take root in their own country -- and help themselves to this or that bit of France's empire.
Thanks for reading "National Review" to bring us this hilarious declaration.
Aug 02, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.comMillennials Are Done with US Domination of World Affairs By Bruce Jentleson Posted on August 2, 2018 by Lambert Strether ... ... ...
This year, an average of all respondents – people born between 1928 and 1996 – showed that 64 percent believe the U.S. should take an active part in world affairs, but interesting differences could be seen when the numbers are broken down by generation.
The silent generation, born between 1928 and 1945 whose formative years were during World War II and the early Cold War, showed the strongest support at 78 percent. Support fell from there through each age group. It bottomed out with millennials, of whom only 51 percent felt the U.S. should take an active part in world affairs. That's still more internationalist than not, but less enthusiastically than other age groups.
There is some anti-Trump effect visible here: Millennials in the polling sample do identify as less Republican – 22 percent – and less conservative than the older age groups. But they also were the least supportive of the "take an active part" view during the Obama administration as well.
Four sets of additional polling numbers help us dig deeper.
- Military power : Only 44 percent of millennials believe maintaining superior military power is a very important goal, much less than the other generations. They also are less supportive of increasing defense spending. And when asked whether they support the use of force, millennials are generally disinclined, especially so on policies like conducting airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, using troops if North Korea invades South Korea, and conducting airstrikes against violent Islamic extremist groups.
- American 'exceptionalism' : Millennials also were much less inclined to embrace the idea that America is "the greatest country in the world." Only half of millennials felt that way, compared to much higher percentages of the other three generations. In a related response, only one-quarter of millenials saw the need for the U.S. to be "the dominant world leader." These findings track with the 2014 American National Election Study , which found that while 78 percent of silent, 70 percent of boomer and 60 percent of Gen X respondents consider their American identity as extremely important, only 45 percent of millennials do.
- Alliances and international agreements : Millennials are especially supportive of NATO, at 72 percent. In this measure, they are close to the other generations' levels of NATO support. Their 68 percent support for the Paris climate agreement is higher than two of the other three age groups. And their 63 percent support for the Iran nuclear nonproliferation agreement is even with boomers and higher than Gen X. https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/XN2y2/6/
- Globalization and key trade issues : Millennials' 70 percent agreement with the statement that "globalization is mostly good for the United States" is higher than all the other age groups. Similarly, 62 percent believe that NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) is good for the U.S. economy – well above the others surveyed. The margin is also positive although narrower on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
These and other polls show millennials to have a world view that, while well short of isolationist, is also not as assertively and broadly internationalist as previous generations.
... ... ...
By Bruce Jentleson , Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, Duke University. Cross-posted from Alternet .
StephenLaudig , August 2, 2018 at 3:18 pmJTMcPhee , August 2, 2018 at 4:47 pm
"active part in world affairs" has, since 1893, usually meant invasions and bombing.
The US military, the costliest in history, hasn't won a war since 1946, unless Panama and Grenada count. Korea is still a tie. Perhaps many are coming to realize that all the US population [compared to corporations and corporation owners which show allegiance only to money] needs is a border patrol and a coast guard. Not 'our' empire.Romancing The Loan , August 2, 2018 at 3:27 pm
"War is a racket." And people like me were and are its thug enforcers (enlisted 1966 to "do my duty to God and my country," in that Vietnam place )Ultrapope , August 2, 2018 at 5:11 pm
First, the United States has been at war in Afghanistan and Iraq for close to half the lives of the oldest millennials, who were born in 1981
They're not counting the first Iraq War.
Only 70% in favor of "globalization" is pretty good in light of our lifetime of propaganda. I'd be in favor of disbanding NATO and cutting the military and intelligence budget by 80%, at least as a starting offer.JTMcPhee , August 2, 2018 at 4:50 pm
I think you have an interesting point re: "globalization" and propaganda. In school (2000-2010ish) the term globalization was presented as a kind of antonym of isolationist. It was portrayed as an attitude of openness to other countries, travelling internationally, sharing in someone else culture, etc. The business/economic side was sort of introduced in high school, but even then I remember being taught a definition of "globalization" closer to "multiculturalism" than to one like "Imperialism". Post-high school life (and the GFC) really drove home the true meaning of the word.
To this day I still reflexively read the word globalization as something akin to "multiculturalism", despite knowing full well that it is anything but. From discussing politics with other people in my generation I also get a sense that they are operating with this weird dual (schizo?) meaning of "globalization".
Any other millennials have a similar experience with this word?juliania , August 2, 2018 at 6:13 pm
It might be nice to see the survey instruments too, to see what the questions were and how loaded in favor of Empire or balanced (that deadly word) they were.Schmoe , August 2, 2018 at 7:03 pm
I didn't much like being put into the group called the Silent Generation, so I went to wikipedia to see why it was called that.
" While there were many civil rights leaders, the "Silents" are called that because many focused on their careers rather than on activism, and people in it were largely encouraged to conform with social norms. As young adults during the McCarthy Era, many members of the Silent Generation felt it was dangerous to speak out Time magazine coined the term "Silent Generation" in a November 5, 1951 article titled "The Younger Generation" The Time article said that the ambitions of this generation had shrunk, but that it had learned to make the best of bad situations [?] In the United States, the generation was comparatively small They are noted as forming the leadership of the civil rights movement as well as comprising the "silent majority"
Ah, that's why I didn't much like it – and that was Nixon's silent majority, not me, wikipedia – not me! But I'll forgive you because down below you put me in the group called "The Lucky Few" and said how many of us were Really Good People. I'll buy that. ;))
Interesting results on Millennials' view of American Exceptionalism. I am not at all surprised by those results, and I wonder if study abroad programs are having a deep impact on young people's political views. They are seeing in detailed fashion the utter horror of government-sponsored or managed healthcare, as well as how "socialism" in northern European has inflicted a very favorable standard of living on most of the middle class.
Conversely, I still have to laugh at the 2012 campaign ad sponsored by Rickets of TD Ameritrade fame that described the results of "socialism" and showed post-War Europe pictures of old ladies on the side of the road. One of my parent's friends (now in her '80s) seemed surprised that people in Europe didn't live shacks when shown my parent's vacation pictures.
Jul 08, 2018 | www.unz.com
Minnesota Mary , September 8, 2015 at 8:40 pm GMT@Moi
American Exceptionalism = National Narcissism. Same with Jewish Exceptionalism. Both lead to hubris which will be the undoing of America and Israel.
Jun 20, 2018 | www.rt.com
Jun 20, 2018, RT Op-ed The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.It's parallel universe time when US Pentagon chief James 'Mad Dog' Mattis complains that America's "moral authority" is being undermined by others – specifically Russian leader Vladimir Putin. This is the ex-Marine general who gained his ruthless reputation from when illegally occupying US troops razed the Iraqi city of Fallujah in the 2004-2005 using "shake and bake" bombardment of inhabitants with banned white phosphorus incendiaries.
A repeat of those war crimes happened again last year under Mattis' watch as Pentagon chief when US warplanes obliterated the Syrian city of Raqqa, killing thousands of civilians. Even the pro-US Human Rights Watch abhorred the repeated use of white phosphorus during that campaign to "liberate" Raqqa, supposedly from jihadists.
These are but two examples from dense archives of US war crimes committed over several decades, from its illegal intervention in Syria to Libya, from Iraq to Vietnam, back to the Korean War in the early 1950s when American carpet bombing killed millions of innocent civilians.
For Mattis to lament during a speech at a naval college last week that America's moral authority is being eroded by Putin is a symptom of the delusional official thinking infesting Washington.According to Mattis, the problem of America's diminishing global reputation has nothing to do with US misconduct – even though the evidence is replete to prove that systematic misconduct. No, the problem, according to him, is that Russia's Putin is somehow sneakily undermining Washington's moral authority.
Mattis told his audience: "Putin aims to diminish the appeal of the western democratic model and attempts to undermine America's moral authority." He added that the Russian leader's "actions are designed not to challenge our arms at this point but to undercut and compromise our belief in our ideals."
The US Secretary of Defense doesn't elaborate on how he thinks Russia is achieving this dastardly plot to demean America. It is simply asserted as fact. This has been a theme recycled over and over by officials in Washington and Brussels, other Western government leaders and of course NATO and its affiliated think-tanks. All of which has been dutifully peddled by Western news media.
It is classic "in denial" thinking. The general loss of legitimacy and authority by Western governments is supposedly nothing to do with their own inherent failures and transgressions, from bankrupt austerity economics, to deteriorating social conditions, to illegal US-led wars and the repercussions of blowback terrorism and mass migration of refugees.
Oh no. What the ruling elites are trying to do is shift the blame from their own culpability on to others, principally Russia. American political analyst Randy Martin says that Mattis' latest remarks show a form of collective delusion among Western political establishments and their aligned mainstream news media.
"What a powerful delusion Mattis and Western leaders like him are encumbered with," says Martin. "The US undercuts and compromises its own avowed beliefs and ideals because it has lost any moral integrity that it might have feasibly pretended to have due to decades of its own criminal foreign conduct."Read more This is America: Outrage at Trump is phony, US leaders have praised dictators for decades
The analyst added: "America's so-called moral authority is the free pass it gives itself to topple democracy in Ukraine, replacing it with neo-Nazis; it has turned economically prosperous Libya into a wasteland, after murdering its leader Muammar Gaddafi; it funds and openly sponsors the MKO terror group in Iran for regime change in Tehran; and it is neck deep in fueling the Saudi coalition's genocidal war in Yemen."
Despite this litany of criminality committed by the US with the acquiescence of European allies, Washington, says Martin, "preaches a bizarre doctrine of 'exceptionalism' and somehow arrogates a moral right to dominate the world. This is the fruit of the diseased minds of sociopaths."
This week, three headline-making issues speak volumes about America's declining moral authority.
... ... ...
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.
Jun 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
"The US has a history of sabotage, violation and withdrawal with respect to bilateral and multilateral international commitments." Iran's Foreign Ministry is urging Pyongyang to "exercise complete vigilance" when the 34-year-old Kim negotiates with the 71-year-old Real Estate tycoon who literally wrote a book on making deals.
Kim Jong-un should watch out for Trump's "America First" agenda and Washington's tendency to "betray international agreements and unilaterally withdraw from them," said a spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, Bahram Qassemi .
"Tehran believes that the North Korean government should be quite vigilant as the US by nature could not be judged in an optimistic way," Qassemi added.
"The US has a history of sabotage, violation and withdrawal with respect to bilateral and multilateral international commitments," the spokesman said.
Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran deal on May 8 - calling it an "unacceptable" and "defective" arrangement.
He also pulled out of the 2015 Paris climate deal - and is stoking international tensions over a current trade war that has caused Britain, Germany and France to reassess the transatlantic bond. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire wondered if Europe should continue to be "vassals who obey decisions taken by the United States."
Trump imposed tariffs on EU steel and aluminum, while Mexico and Canada were hit with similar tariffs on June 1. He refused to endorse the joint communique during the G7 summit in Quebec - calling the hose, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, "very dishonest and weak."
The EU says it will retaliate.
PrayingMantis -> ravolla Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:17 PermalinkJuggernaut x2 -> ikemike Mon, 06/11/2018 - 19:03 Permalink
... the Iranians, I'm quite sure, are hinting about this "conference" held more than 10 years ago as reported by the "Saker" ... and this conference was "planning" a war with Iran, but perhaps the "agreement" with Iran (nullified recently by Trump) got in the way ... and now, it would be too late for the empire to strike Iran, having Russia, China and, perhaps other countries, supporting Iran ...
... the excerpt below is from this link >>> https://thesaker.is/trump-goes-full-shabbos-goy/ ... note: McCain & Guliani's attendance ...
... " ... This topic, the AngloZionist plans of war against Iran, has been what made me write my very first post on my newly created blog 10 years ago . Today, I want to reproduce that post in full. Here it is:
Where the Empire meets to plan the next war
Take a guess: where would the Empire's puppeteers meet to finalize and coordinate their plans to attack Iran?
Washington? New York? London? NATO HQ in Brussels? Davos?
In Herzilia. Never heard of that place?
The Israeli city of Herzliya is named after Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, and it has hosted a meeting of the Empire's Who's Who over the past several days at the yearly conference of the Herzilia Institute for Policy and Stragegy. For a while, Herzilia truly became the see of the Empire's inner core of heavy hitters.
(Non-Israeli) speakers included:
Jose Maria Aznar Former Prime Minister of Spain, Matthew Bronfman, Chair of the Budget and Finance Commission, World Jewish Congress, and member of the World Jewish Congress Steering Committee, Amb. Nicholas Burns US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Prof. Alan Dershowitz Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, Senator John Edwards Head of the One America Committee and candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Gordon England US Deputy Secretary of Defense, Dr. Marvin C. Feuer Director of Policy and Government Affairs, AIPAC, Newt Gingrich Former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rudolph Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York City and candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, General the Lord Charles Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB LVO OBE. Former Chief of the Defense Staff and Chief of the General Staff of the British Army, Amb. Dr. Richard Haass President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Stephen E. Herbits Secretary-General of the World Jewish Congress, Amb. Dr. Robert Hunter President of the Atlantic Treaty Association and Former U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO. Senior Advisor at the RAND Corporation in Washington (also serves as Chairman of the Council for a Community of Democracies, Senior International Consultant to Lockheed Martin Overseas Corporation), Amb. Dr. Richard H. Jones United States Ambassador to Israel (also served as the Secretary of State's Senior Advisor and Coordinator for Iraq Policy), Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman Director, Israel and Middle East Office, American Jewish Committee (also served in the IDF Intelligence Directorate for over 25 years), Christian Leffler Deputy Chief of Staff of the European Commissioner for External Relations and Director for Middle East and Southern Mediterranean, European Commission, The Hon. Peter Mackay Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator John McCain U.S. Senator (R) from Arizona and candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Dr. Edward L. Morse Chief Energy Economist, Lehman Brothers, Dr. Rolf Mützenich Member of the German Federal Parliament (SPD) and member of the Committee on Foreign Policy of the Bundestag (and Board Member of the "Germany-Iran Society"), Torkel L. Patterson President of Raytheon International, Inc., Richard Perle Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (previously served as Chairman of the Defense Policy Board and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy), Amb. Thomas R. Pickering Former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (previously served as Senior Vice President of Boeing), Jack Rosen Chairman of the American Jewish Congress (and member of the Executive Committee of AIPAC and of the Council on Foreign Relations), Stanley O. Roth Vice President for Asia, International Relations of the Boeing Company (member of the Council on Foreign Relations), James Woolsey Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and many others.
Pretty much the entire Israeli "Defence" establishment (why does nobody call it "Aggression establishment?) was present too.
Not bad for a "conference"?!
Of course, the main topic at the conference was the upcoming war with Iran. Richard Perle, the "Prince of Darkness", delivered the keynote and conclusion: "If the Israeli government comes to the conclusion that it has no choice but to take action, the reaction of the U.S. will be the belief in the vitality that this action must succeed, even if the U.S. needs to act with Israel in the current American administration".
Noticed anything funny in his words? It's the "world only superpower" which will have the "belief" (?) in the action of a local country and, if needed, act with it. Not the other way around. Makes one wonder which of the two is the world only superpower, does it not?
Anyway – if anyone has ANY doubts left that the Empire will totally ignore the will of the American people as expressed in the last election and strike at Iran, this conference should settle the issue.Rudog -> Juggernaut x2 Mon, 06/11/2018 - 19:07 Permalink
Gaddafi and Saddam are just a couple of examples of how much you can trust the Zio Snakes of America.Miner -> gzcekkyret Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:21 Permalink
We only steal land for freedom, and we use love bullets, and love bombs.Chief Joesph Mon, 06/11/2018 - 19:09 Permalink
North Korea doesn't need this warning. They've experienced it. We promised to build them non-proliferation reactors in exchange for de-nuclearization in the 90's, but Congress never funded it.
That's my country. hoo-rah.tsog Mon, 06/11/2018 - 19:26 Permalink
Yeah, just ask any Native American Indian about the treaties the U.S. had ever signed and reneged on. From 1778 to 1904, the United States government entered into more than 500 treaties with the Native American tribes; all of these treaties have since been violated in some way or outright broken by the US government. The list of treaties can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_treaties .
Iran is very right in what it says, the U.S. is not a country to be trusted. And to think that the U.S. will be anymore honest with North Korea! It will never happen.
"But thus I counsel you, my friends: Mistrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. They are people of a low sort and stock; the hangmen and the bloodhound look out of their faces. Mistrust all who talk much of their justice! Verily, their souls lack more than honey. And when they call themselves the good and the just, do not forget that they would be pharisees, if only they had -- power."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
Jun 04, 2018 | theduran.com
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (a popular opposition party), appeared on the Russian evening news criticizing strongly American exceptionalism. It is worth noting briefly that Zhirinovsky leads an opposition party, and was the third most popular candidate in the Russian election.
Due to the fact he ran in the Russian election, he obviously ran against Putin, meaning Zhirinovsky is NOT for the record, a Kremlinbot these are the words of an opposition candidate, so the west should be careful what they wish for, when they wish for a different Russian leader.
Amercian exceptionalism is perhaps the greatest issue plaguing the American consciousness, and has been since the early days of manifest destiny. If anyone is wondering, that actually manifested itself, in the whole scale destruction of native American civilization, upon the bones of which America stands.
We've criticized American exceptionalism here at The Duran , because it's dangerous to the world, as well as to the rights of normal American civilians, who want to live in a peaceful earth, that hasn't been destroyed by the military-industrial complex. Exceptionalism creates in an individual, immense pride, not unlike that in Nazi Germany before the war, and as we've seen since the beginning, pride comes before the fall.
That is what I wrote in this article below , which was quoted here and here by major Russian news agencies. Благодарю вас уважаемые коллеги! Спаси Господи! That is thanks to YOUR readership by the way, and I am very grateful to everyone!
American Exceptionalism: Mike Pompeo says Americans must believe in the "essential rightness" of the USA
Zhirinovsky too noticed how exceptionalism inspired Hitler as well, in fact. Now, Vladimir Zhirinovsky weights in on exceptionalism:Zhirinovsky was asked to comment on the American Idea of a "city on a hill", specifically, he was asked why many Americans feel this way. Zhirinovsky went back to history, which is one of the most forgotten yet most important fields of study, crucial to understanding everything in life. Specifically, he quoted from American senator and historian Albert Beveridge who said in 1897 :
It is an American question. It is a world question. Shall the American people continue their resistless march toward the commercial supremacy of the world? Shall free institutions broaden their blessed reign as the children of liberty wax in strength until the empire of our principles is established over the hearts of all mankind?
That was a quote from the speech of a famous American senator, the entire speech is honestly quite frightening. It could literally be taken out of Mien Kampf had the references to America simply be changed to Germany. Later in the speech, it goes on to say :
Has the Almighty Father endowed us with gifts beyond our deserts, and marked us as the people of His peculiar favor
[and close to the end it says:
Fellow-Americans, we are God's chosen people .. . We cannot retreat from any soil where Providence has unfurled our banner ; it is ours to save that soil for liberty and civilization. For liberty and civilization and God's promises fulfilled, the flag must henceforth be the symbol and the sign to all mankind.
This was written in 1897, and represents how deep-rooted and cult-like American Exceptionalism is, based on a pseudo-religious idea of the inherent superiority of a single nation.
One of the most interesting observations Zhirinovsky had, was that exceptionalism seems to come from ignorance of the world, and it does seem that anti-intellectualism, identity politics, and a special lack of cultural awareness has helped create this concept. For example, the speech about exceptionalism does not mention the French or the British, because early American exceptionalism was in its roots, not a Trans-Atlantic idea. It was formed by Anti-Monarchist people, who believed it was their destiny to defy the world's traditions, and establish their own utopia. As a result, Americans do this day often instinctively believe in how many "rights" they have, and how "free" their country is, compared to the rest of the world.
For example, Zhirinovsky said:
Americans think Europe is dirty, the world is filled with good for nothing barbarians, that they gained supremacy, and that the US is the Land of Milk and Honey, Cannan, a Big Israel.
This is true. Many Americans genuinely feel that their country is so advanced and safe, whereas the rest of the world is scary and dangerous. This often wrong, and in actually dangerous places, like some countries the US invaded, they often only became dangerous AFTER America came, and brought freedom and democracy.
It's not uncommon for Americans to talk about everything "over there", or "overseas" like its hell on earth, and for them to say "Thank God I live in America, I am so free and safe here."
They often say this completely ignorant of the fact that MANY countries have a higher living standard than the US. For example, the US is not even in the TOP 10 countries by living standards , compiled by this non-profit. According to the United Nations Human Development Index, the US is ONLY in the tenth place.
These are just simple examples from broader sources that know the real world.
Americans are perfectly within their rights to love their country. No one is arguing against this, nor does any peace-loving person want to take rights away from anyone else. The only issue is when one person, or group, believes they have the right to take away other people's rights.
American exceptionalism, according to Zhirinovsky, inspired Hitler, and we all know what he felt about other people's rights.
April 26, 2018The hypocrisy is especially evident in Washington's approach to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East 'allies.' President Donald Trump poses for photos with ceremonial swordsmen on his arrival to Murabba Palace, as the guest of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, Saturday evening, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead) American leaders like to portray the United States as an exemplar of ethical conduct in the international system. The reality is far different, and it has been for decades. Throughout the Cold War, the United States embraced extremely repressive rulers , including the Shah of Iran, Nicaragua's Somoza family, Taiwan's Chiang Kai-shek, and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, all the while portraying them as noble members of the "Free World." Such blatant hypocrisy and double standards continue today regarding both Washington's own dubious behavior and the U.S. attitude toward the behavior of favored allies and friends.
The gap between professed values and actual policy is especially evident in the Middle East. U.S. officials routinely excoriate Syria and Iran, not only for their external behavior, but for manifestations of domestic abuse and repression. Some of those criticisms are valid. Both Bashar al-Assad's regime and Iran's clerical government are guilty of serious international misconduct and human-rights violations. But the credibility of Washington's expressions of outrage is vitiated when those same officials remain silent, or even excuse, equally serious -- and in some cases, more egregious -- abuses that the United States and its allies commit.
Following the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons in early April, President Trump painted Assad as an exceptionally vile enemy. He immediately issued a tweet describing the Syrian leader as "an animal" who gassed his own people. In his subsequent address to the American people announcing punitive air and missile strikes , Trump charged that the incident confirmed "a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime. The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead." The president also blasted Russia and Iran for their longstanding sponsorship of Assad. "To Iran and to Russia, I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?"
TAC 's Daniel Larison provided an apt response to that question. "Trump should know the answer, since he just hosted one of the chief architects of the war on Yemen that the U.S. has backed to the hilt for the last three years. Britain welcomed the Saudi crown prince earlier on, and France just hosted him in the last few days. All three have been arming and supporting the Saudis and their allies in Yemen no matter how many atrocities they commit."
Indeed, the United States has been an outright accomplice in those atrocities, which among other tragic effects, has led to a cholera epidemic in Yemen. The U.S. military refuels Saudi coalition warplanes and provides intelligence to assist them in their attacks on Yemen -- attacks that have exhibited total indifference about civilian casualties. A recent revelation implicates Washington in even more atrocious conduct. Evidence has emerged that Saudi forces have employed white phosphorous munitions, and that the United States supplied those foul weapons that inflict horrible burns on their victims. For U.S. leaders to criticize Syria for using chemical weapons in light of such behavior may reach a new level of hypocrisy.
Washington's double standard also is evident regarding the international conduct of another U.S. ally: Turkey. U.S. officials reacted with a vitriolic denunciation of Russia's annexation of Crimea, but the reaction was -- and remains -- very different regarding Ankara's invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and the occupation of that country's northern territory. Washington's criticism was tepid even at the beginning, and it has become more so with the passage of time. Indeed, there is greater U.S. pressure on the government of Cyprus to accept a peace settlement that would recognize the legitimacy of the puppet Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus that Ankara established (and has populated with settlers from the Turkish mainland) and countenance the continued presence of Turkish troops. Although the United States initially imposed mild sanctions on Turkey for invading and occupying its neighbor, they were soon lifted . Sanctions imposed against Russia are stronger, and there is little prospect that they will be lifted, or even eased, in the foreseeable future.
Washington's criticism of Turkey's repeated military incursions into northern Iraq and northern Syria likewise have been barely audible. That has been the case even though the targets in Syria are Kurdish forces that aided the United States and its allies in their war against ISIS.
The flagrant U.S. double standard also is apparent in the disparate assessments of the domestic conduct of Iran and such U.S. allies as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley verbally eviscerates Tehran at every opportunity for repressing its population. When anti-government demonstrations erupted in several Iranian cities earlier this year, Haley was quick to embrace their cause. "The Iranian regime's contempt for the rights of its people has been widely documented for many years," she stated during a Security Council session. Haley added that the United States stood "unapologetically with those in Iran who seek freedom for themselves, prosperity for their families, and dignity for their nation."
Iran certainly does not resemble a Western-style democracy, but its political system is vastly more open than either Egypt's or Saudi Arabia's. Although the clerical Guardian Council excludes any candidate for office that it deems unacceptable, competing elections take place between individuals with often sharply contrasting views. President Hassan Rouhani won a new electoral mandate over a decidedly more hardline opponent in the May 2017 presidential election. Compared to some U.S. allies in the Middle East, Iran resembles a Jeffersonian democracy.
The Saudi royal family does not tolerate even a hint of domestic opposition. People have been imprisoned or beheaded merely for daring to criticize the regime. Saudi Arabia's overall human-rights record is easily one of the worst in the world, as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented. It is a measure of just how stifling the system is that the government finally allowing women to drive is considered a radical reform. A similar suffocating miasma of repression exists in Egypt, where President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has imprisoned thousands of political opponents, executed hundreds, and wins rigged elections by absurd margins reminiscent of those in Soviet satellite countries during the Cold War.
Yet, President Trump and other U.S. officials express little criticism of those brutal, autocratic allies. Trump's demeanor during his state visit to Riyadh last year bordered on fawning. Washington approves multi-billion-dollar arms deals for both Saudi Arabia and Egypt, despite their legendary human-rights abuses. As noted, the United States even continues to assist Saudi Arabia in its atrocity-ridden military intervention in Yemen.
There may be plausible geo-strategic reasons for persisting in such double standards. Iran, for example, has been openly hostile to the United States and its policy objectives since the fall of the Shah. It is not illogical for Washington to be intent on countering the influence of Tehran and its Syrian ally, even if that requires making common cause with other repressive regimes in the region. But U.S. leaders need to be candid with the American people and acknowledge that their decisions are based on cold calculations of national interest, not ethical considerations. They should at least spare us their pontificating and the pretense that they care about the rights or welfare of Middle Eastern populations. Washington's policies indicate otherwise.
Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at The American Conservative , is the author or coauthor of 10 books on international affairs, including Perilous Partners: The Benefits and Pitfalls of America's Alliances with Authoritarian Regime. MORE FROM THIS AUTHORHow Rigid Alliances Have Locked Us Into Unwanted ConflictsWas Trump's Threat to Prosecute Hillary a Dictatorial Impulse?Hide 10 comments 10 Responses to Too Many Foreign Policy Double Standards Hurt U.S. Credibility
Realist April 26, 2018 at 3:36 am"Too Many Foreign Policy Double Standards Hurt U.S. Credibility"incredibility , says: April 26, 2018 at 8:02 am
One is too many."Evidence has emerged that Saudi forces have employed white phosphorous munitions, and that the United States supplied those foul weapons that inflict horrible burns on their victims. For U.S. leaders to criticize Syria for using chemical weapons in light of such behavior may reach a new level of hypocrisy."EliteCommInc. , says: April 26, 2018 at 10:23 am
Gah! I am so ashamed of having voted for this man. I really thought he was going to get us out of there. I can't believe he's selling the Saudis white phosphorus bombs at the same time he's justifying missile strikes against Syria because of "alleged" use of chemical weapons.
What "credibility" are you talking about?"I can't believe he's selling the Saudis white phosphorus bombs at the same time he's justifying missile strikes against Syria because of "alleged" use of chemical weapons."Michael Kenny , says: April 26, 2018 at 11:11 am
You don't have anything to be ashamed about. One can be disappointed that the candidate of their choice by hook or by crook has gone astray. But those are his choices. And those choices are to the delight of those we opposed in the election. I suspect that if we sold WP, it's a sale that took place long before the election.
I thought he would reduce our footprint as well. In fact, I suspected he was going to less with less. Other states are entitled to work out their issues with one another. As a nation we have some shame to bear, but Pres. Trump is far down the least.The author torpedoes his own argument when he says "there may be plausible geo-strategic reasons for persisting in such double standards. Precisely! Ultimately, all the author wants is that US politicians spare Americans their pontificating and the pretence that they care about the rights or welfare of populations. In other words, he has no quibble with the foreign policy, he just wants US politicians to be open about what they're doing.b. , says: April 26, 2018 at 11:53 am"Iran, for example, has been openly hostile to the United States and its policy objectives since the fall of the Shah."Sid_finster , says: April 26, 2018 at 1:42 pm
Iran has been openly hostile to the US since Eisenhower engineered the fall of Mosaddegh, and for good reasons. The Shah and his torturers fit right in with MbS and al-Siri, or the Bush/Tenet CIA and its Haspels.
"Evidence has emerged that Saudi forces have employed white phosphorous munitions, and that the United States supplied those foul weapons "
Talk about burying the lede along with the bodies."A wolf, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf's right to eat him. He thus addressed him: "Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me."Ray Joseph Cormier , says: April 26, 2018 at 2:42 pm
"Indeed," bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, "I was not then born."
Then said the Wolf, "You feed in my pasture."
"No, good sir," replied the Lamb, "I have not yet tasted grass."
Again said the Wolf, "You drink of my well."
"No," exclaimed the Lamb, "I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother's milk is both food and drink to me."
Upon which the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, "Well! I won't remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations."
Moral: The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny."
For a few more years, the US will have absolute power over other people and we will use that power in an absolutely corrupt way at the behest of our overlords in Riyadh and Jerusalem. When retribution finally comes our way, no one will shed a tear for us.
Nor should they, for we do evil.There is no criticism of Israel illegally annexing the Golan and East Jerusalem in violation of International Law.JOHN CHUCKMAN , says: April 26, 2018 at 4:05 pm
A Democracy for Jews and a Military Dictatorship for Palestinians is untenable.Truly, what credibility?Miguel , says: April 26, 2018 at 11:26 pm
You really do have virtually none left in your long march to empire.
It has been almost nothing but lies and manipulation for decades.
Yes, you still have subservient countries like Britain or France who parrot your stuff, but that's only because they are afraid of the consequences of not doing so.
You cannot be both a decent country and a world empire, and almost everyone in the world outside the United States understands that.Great article in my opinion. I disagree with the comment of Michael Kenny: I don't think the author just wants the U.S. politicians to stop lyinf and to start to admit that they -U.S. politicians and the other U.S. people with power- do what they do because of their interests. I think the author wants to denounce the fact that all the ethical arguments presented by those with power -not only in the U.S., by the way- are "necessary lies".David Smith , says: April 27, 2018 at 10:53 am
How necessary lies? Simple: no president, or ruller, can face his polity's people to say that they are going to war on economics or political interests; the only way to justify, I would dare to say emotionaly more than morally, all the horrors of war, is with the excuse of the "Greater Good". To do evil is justified if it is done in order to check a bigger evil", so to speak.
But obvoisully, no one accepts all the spenditures of war "just to do good".
And I think the author points to another, maybe more profound matter: it is like the tale of the lier shepperd who, when the wolf was really coming, no one believed him, and well, the tale didn´t end too well for the shepperd; but I will leave it as an open end.
Now the other countries arround the world are also interets´guided, and therefore can be considered schemers aswell. The problem is that even schemers need to be able to feel trust, or common action becomes immpossible.Good article, but a bit off-base on the criticism of Turkey's annexation of northern Cyprus. As you may or may not recall, in 1974 the Greek military junta planned to annex all of Cyprus to Greece, which would have violated the treaty then in force and brought northern Cyprus, which was predominantly inhabited by Turks, under Greek rule. Turkey responded accordingly by taking northern Cyprus. Greece and Turkey have had a long history of conflict; it is a mistake to make a simple good guys vs bad guys story out of it. I know it was a long time ago, but history is important.
Apr 27, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The Wall Street Journal editors make a ludicrous argument in favor of a "revised" deal with Iran:
This is a major advance, and it offers hope that the U.S. and France, Britain and Germany can agree on a revised pact. Contrary to common misunderstanding, Iran, Russia and China wouldn't have to agree to these changes. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is known, isn't a treaty. Mr. Obama never submitted it for Senate approval because he knew it would be defeated. The deal is essentially a set of assurances agreed to at the United Nations that lack the force of U.S. law.
The JCPOA was endorsed by a U.N. Security Council resolution (UNSCR 2231), so all member states are obliged to respect the deal as it was written. The deal wasn't a treaty, but that doesn't give the U.S. license to violate it or arbitrarily change it after the fact. Indeed, every attempt to "rewrite" an agreement once it has already been made is a violation that makes U.S. promises seem worthless.
There is no "Western consensus" in support of "rewriting" the deal. Germany has no interest in revising the agreement, and has said so explicitly. If the U.S. and France cook up some other agreement between themselves, none of the other parties will respect its terms. If one or two parties to the agreement can go back and "rewrite" the parts they don't like whenever they want, none of the other parties will see any reason to abide by its requirements. Thinking that the U.S. can "rewrite" a deal and that the other side simply has to go along with it is as arrogant as it is stupid.
Iran would have to agree to any changes because Iran would be the one implementing those changes, and their government has said many times in no uncertain terms that this isn't going to happen. The reason for this should be obvious: Iran isn't going to agree to make additional concessions when the other parties have no intention of offering them anything more, and Iran already gave up as much as it was prepared to concede the first time. Iran isn't going to give up more when they are under less pressure and have more international support. Besides, if they accepted a "rewrite" of the deal now, it would just be a matter of time until the U.S. came back with another "rewrite" and then another after that.
"Rewriting" the requirements of an agreement made in good faith is a dishonest and treacherous way to deal with other governments. Other governments can see that for what it is, and they will know that the U.S. can't be trusted to keep its end of a bargain. All of this talk about a "new deal" is just a bit of kabuki to distract from the fact that the U.S. is about to renege on its international commitments for no good reason. Hawks are desperate to spread blame around for their reckless scrapping of a working nonproliferation agreement, but everyone can see through this. When the deal falls apart, the Trump administration and its hawkish allies will be the only ones responsible.
liberal April 27, 2018 at 10:02 amliberal , says: April 27, 2018 at 10:03 am
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is known, isn't a treaty. Mr. Obama never submitted it for Senate approval because he knew it would be defeated.
By that standard (ratified by 2/3 vote in Senate) most of our trade treaties are not treaties. They're passed by the normal legislative process. (TPP would have been an example; NAFTA was passed that way, too.)
Of course, given the rabid AIPAC-inspired hatred of Iran, I'm not saying the JCPOA would have passed that way, either.Is it just me, or would Trump renouncing the JCPOA be the final nail in the coffin of the NPT?Bill H , says: April 27, 2018 at 10:16 am" a violation that makes U.S. promises seem worthless."redfish , says: April 27, 2018 at 10:58 am
Russia has defined the US as a nation who cannot be negotiated with because its promises are meaningless. They have a word for it which goes beyond "untrustworthy," and means someone who makes promises with no intention of keeping them even at the time they are made.
More and more nations will reach the same conclusion.liberal,Christian Chuba , says: April 27, 2018 at 11:30 am
By that standard (ratified by 2/3 vote in Senate) most of our trade treaties are not treaties. They're passed by the normal legislative process. (TPP would have been an example; NAFTA was passed that way, too.)
Of course, given the rabid AIPAC-inspired hatred of Iran, I'm not saying the JCPOA would have passed that way, either.
Not sure what the debate is they aren't treaties by strict Constitutional standards. Treaties are passed without ratification just like wars are entered without a Declaration of War.
Maybe the outcome of all this is that foreign leaders who want solid agreements will try to get real treaties from the US government instead of convincing the US to do some extra-Constitutional measure that they think should be treated like a treaty when it isn't.
And that would be a good thing, from a conservative perspective.Don't you understand, all international agreements are bound by U.S. law because all of the nations of the earth must bow down to us.b. , says: April 27, 2018 at 12:46 pm
We are such an egotistic, narcissistic people. We will get our comeuppance when we least expect it. I keep hoping for us to wake up but I hope in vain.The Wall Street Journal editorial board thinks like a sleazy lawyer – what a surprise. The honor of thieves – and I would not count on Germany maintaining its "splendid isolation" either.redfish , says: April 27, 2018 at 2:29 pm
Back in the day, Schroeder pretended to oppose Bush's Iraq invasion for electoral gain, while carefully pretending any of the actual options he had to work against it. The options included using Germany's then-membership in the USNC to unilaterally invoke UN Resolution 377 to force a meeting of the UN General Assembly, with the goal of pass a resolution opposing and disavowing the planned invasion of Iraq. Other, smaller and less powerful countries without much affliction of "Western values and civilization" were trying to organize such a step outside the USNC, and US "diplomats" spent a lot of effort making threats to coerce the more vulnerable nations that participated into dropping out.
Today, Merkel declares that Germany "supports" the repeated illegal bombing of Syria, and has little to say regarding the Turkish and US invasions and Israeli acts of aggression.
Should we consider Israel, undeclared nuclear state, or India, non-signatory to the NPT? Or the failure of the US and Russia to follow the example set by China and settle for minimum means of reprisal even in the face of US forward based missile defense designed to neutralize any deterrent of a "reasonable" size and number?
Should we consider Iraq, Libya, Yemen – those crimes of aggression perpetrated by "the West"?
Nobody can look at the historic record, and with a straight face claim that the US and its various "allies" and hanger-ons and co-belligerents have any standing with respect to the conduct of Iran. Neither Trump nor Macron believes for a moment that the "new deal" is the objective of all this "diplomacy". The only ones fooled are the dupes that take these contortions at face value, and believe that either "leader" is acting in good faith.Christian Cuba,Sid Finster , says: April 27, 2018 at 4:29 pm
Don't you understand, all international agreements are bound by U.S. law because all of the nations of the earth must bow down to us.
All international agreements are based on legal processes established by the existence of nations as sovereign entities operating on their own principles, through self-determination.
This is recognized and established in the UN Charter, by the way.
In effect, it practically means the US needs to acknowledge Iranian law, and Iran needs to acknowledge American law.
Globalists who have wanted to act outside this framework have been the arrogant ones, in different ways and different forms, over the decades.Oh, but this is a very valuable lesson, at least for those who didn't figure out the meanings of Iraq and Libya.collin , says: April 27, 2018 at 4:39 pm
The United States cannot be trusted, and can only be dealt with only from a position of strength.Again, can't Iran Leader just visit Trump at his hotel during one of weekends and enjoy the best tasting chocolate ever? Or better yet, deliver a Boeing plane to the Iran/Trump summit where Trump takes all the credit for the jobs? Maybe Iran can state how big Trump's hands are. (or Something)GregR , says: April 27, 2018 at 5:00 pm
Really I can't tell if Trump is really against the Iran deal or just wants a couple Iranian concessions (or complements on his golfing game) to not back out of the deal. Trump loves to talk loudly and do very little. (It is a very weird way to be a dove.)I can only surmise that Trump's plan is to destroy America's standing as the indispensable party, and instead make us the poison pill. I really do think if the US walks back from this we will see the rest of the world open the doors to Iran further to make up the shortfall. It would be the only way to save the deal and encourage Iran to uphold it end of the deal.Janwaar Bibi , says: April 27, 2018 at 5:57 pm
This of course would push the US to implement trade sanctions against the EU, Russia, and China. Further isolating the US as the rest of the world turns its back on us.I read somewhere that the US government violated most treaties that it signed with Native American tribes.Fran Macadam , says: April 28, 2018 at 11:47 am
The ethnic cleansing of Cherokees and the seizure of the Black Hills from the Sioux after gold was discovered there are just two of the more notorious examples.
The US violated treaties with impunity because the Native Americans were powerless. Today the US is a client state of the Saudis and Israelis, and it violates international law in the Middle East at their behest for the same reason – because it can.
When it comes to nations or people, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.Our elites get away with whatever they can, and there is no law beyond, whatever cane be done, will be done.
Since international trade is conducted in US dollars, which are backed by the full faith and power of the US military, there is little junior partners can do other than to obey to avoid punishing economic sanctions, or at worst election interference, regime change, covert military action and ultimately open war.
France, always a rival of Britain, senses Brexit weakness and an opportunity to cosy up to the US to its own advantage in the globalist system. As an international bankster, this fits Macron's own elitist agenda well.
Apr 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Hope you get better very soon b. I'm not a dietist or so but maybe stick to yoghurt or something for a couple of days :-)
Something completely different... the Syrian ambassador to China gave a nice interview recently and had this to say which many already know: (reaffirmation never hurts)
"Our friends here in China and in Russia tell us that we should not say this. Nevertheless, we do not respect the UN. It is controlled by many players, but in the end the master of puppets who pulls all the strings in the UN is the US.
So these are the major supporters of the terrorist groups in Syria: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, France, Great Britain and the US. [...]
Each one of them has its own terrorist groups. [...] They are warlords. Their true doctrine and ideology is money . It depends on who is paying them.
They get their money from the Saudi Arabia and they follow Wahhabi model of Islam, which is not the model accepted by the majority of the Muslim people across the world."
Posted by: xor | Apr 26, 2018 2:48:46 PM | 20
Apr 03, 2015 | Alternet...President Barack Obama, who had run a quasi-antiwar liberal campaign for the White House, had embraced the assassination program and had decreed, "the CIA gets what it wants." Intelligence budgets were maintaining the steep upward curve that had started in 2001, and while all agencies were benefiting, none had done as well as the CIA At just under $15 billion, the agency's budget had climbed by 56 percent just since 2004.
Decades earlier, Richard Helms, the CIA director for whom the event was named, would customarily refer to the defense contractors who pressured him to spend his budget on their wares as "those bastards." Such disdain for commerce in the world of spooks was now long gone, as demonstrated by the corporate sponsorship of the tables jammed into the Grand Ballroom that evening. The executives, many of whom had passed through the revolving door from government service, were there to rub shoulders with old friends and current partners. "It was totally garish," one attendee told me afterward. "It seemed like every arms manufacturer in the country had taken a table. Everyone was doing business, right and left."
In the decade since 9/11, the CIA had been regularly blighted by scandal-revelations of torture, renditions, secret "black site" prisons, bogus intelligence justifying the invasion of Iraq, ignored signs of the impending 9/11 attacks-but such unwholesome realities found no echo in this comradely gathering. Even George Tenet, the CIA director who had presided over all of the aforementioned scandals, was greeted with heartfelt affection by erstwhile colleagues as he, along with almost every other living former CIA director, stood to be introduced by Master of Ceremonies John McLaughlin, a former deputy director himself deeply complicit in the Iraq fiasco. Each, with the exception of Stansfield Turner (still bitterly resented for downsizing the agency post-Vietnam), received ringing applause, but none more than the night's honoree, former CIA director and then-current secretary of defense Robert M. Gates.
Although Gates had left the CIA eighteen years before, he was very much the father figure of the institution and a mentor to the intelligence chieftains, active and retired, who cheered him so fervently that night at the Ritz-Carlton. He had climbed through the ranks of the national security bureaucracy with a ruthless determination all too evident to those around him. Ray McGovern, his supervisor in his first agency post, as an analyst with the intelligence directorate's soviet foreign policy branch, recalls writing in an efficiency report that the young man's "evident and all-consuming ambition is a disruptive influence in the branch." There had come a brief check on his rise to power when his involvement in the Iran-Contra imbroglio cratered an initial attempt to win confirmation as CIA director, but success came a few years later, in 1991, despite vehement protests from former colleagues over his persistent willingness to sacrifice analytic objectivity to the political convenience of his masters.
Book cover of 'Kill Chain.'
Photo Credit:Henry Holt
Click to enlarge.
Gates's successful 1991 confirmation as CIA chief owed much, so colleagues assessed, to diligent work behind the scenes on the part of the Senate Intelligence Committee's staff director, George Tenet. In 1993, Tenet moved on to be director for intelligence programs on the Clinton White House national security staff, in which capacity he came to know and esteem John Brennan, a midlevel and hitherto undistinguished CIA analyst assigned to brief White House staffers. Tenet liked Brennan so much that when he himself moved to the CIA as deputy director in 1995, he had the briefer appointed station chief in Riyadh, an important position normally reserved for someone with actual operational experience. In this sensitive post Brennan worked tirelessly to avoid irritating his Saudi hosts, showing reluctance, for example, to press them for Osama bin Laden's biographical details when asked to do so by the bin Laden unit back at headquarters.
Brennan returned to Washington in 1999 under Tenet's patronage, initially as his chief of staff and then as CIA executive director, and by 2003 he had transitioned to the burgeoning field of intelligence fusion bureaucracy. The notion that the way to avert miscommunication between intelligence bureaucracies was to create yet more layers of bureaucracy was popular in Washington in the aftermath of 9/11. One concrete expression of this trend was the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, known as T-TIC and then renamed the National Counter Terrorism Center a year later. Brennan was the first head of T-TIC, distinguishing himself in catering to the abiding paranoia of the times. On one occasion, notorious within the community, he circulated an urgent report that al-Qaeda was encrypting targeting information for terrorist attacks in the broadcasts of the al-Jazeera TV network, thereby generating an "orange" alert and the cancellation of dozens of international flights. The initiative was greeted with malicious amusement over at the CIA's own Counterterrorism Center, whose chief at the time, José Rodríguez, later opined that Brennan had been trying to build up his profile with higher authority. "Brennan was a major factor in keeping [the al-Jazeera/al-Qaeda story] alive. We thought it was ridiculous," he told a reporter. "My own view is he saw this, he took this, as a way to have relevance, to take something to the White House." Tellingly, an Obama White House spokesman later excused Brennan's behavior on the grounds that though he had circulated the report, he hadn't believed it himself.
Exiting government service in 2005, Brennan spent the next three years heading The Analysis Corporation, an obscure but profitable intelligence contractor engaged in preparing terrorist watch lists for the government, work for which he was paid $763,000 in 2008. Among the useful relationships he had cultivated over the years was well-connected Democrat Anthony Lake, a former national security adviser to Bill Clinton, who recommended him to presidential candidate Barack Obama. Meeting for the first time shortly after Obama's election victory, the pair bonded immediately, with Obama "finishing Brennan's sentences," by one account. Among their points of wholehearted agreement was the merit of a surgical approach to terrorist threats, the "need to target the metastasizing disease without destroying the surrounding tissue," as Brennan put it, for which drones and their Hellfire missiles seemed the ideal tools. Obama was initially balked in his desire to make Brennan CIA director because of the latter's all-too-close association with the agency's torture program, so instead the new president made him his assistant for counterterrorism and homeland security, with an office down the hall from the Oval Office. Two years into the administration, everyone in the Ritz-Carlton ballroom knew that the bulky Irishman was the most powerful man in U.S. intelligence as the custodian of the president's kill list, on which the chief executive and former constitutional law professor insisted on reserving the last word, making his final selections for execution at regularly scheduled Tuesday afternoon meetings. "You know, our president has his brutal side," a CIA source cognizant of Obama's involvement observed to me at the time.
Now, along with the other six hundred diners at the Helms dinner, Brennan listened attentively as Gates rose to accept the coveted award for "exemplary service to the nation and the Central Intelligence Agency." After paying due tribute to previous honorees as well as his pride in being part of the CIA "family," Gates spoke movingly of a recent and particularly tragic instance of CIA sacrifice, the seven men and women killed by a suicide bomber at an agency base, Forward Operating Base Chapman, in Khost, Afghanistan, in 2009. All present bowed their heads in silent tribute.
Gates then moved on to a more upbeat topic. When first he arrived at the Pentagon in 2007, he said, he had found deep-rooted resistance to "new technology" among "flyboys with silk scarves" still wedded to venerable traditions of fighter-plane combat. But all that, he informed his rapt audience, had changed. Factories were working "day and night, day and night," to turn out the vital weapons for the fight against terrorism. "So from now on," he concluded, his voice rising, "the watchword is: drones, baby, drones!"
The applause was long and loud.
Excerpted from Andrew Cockburn's new book, Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins Henry Holt, 2015). Reprinted here with permission from the author.
Apr 25, 2018 | www.unz.com
AnonymousThat does sound like something parroted by Slumlord Hannity and other Fox News types. What is America? Land? People? Government? If I don't like the government and its policies (purchased by moneyed interests and non-Americans) am I an "America hater"? I lived all my life in America. I have close relatives and immediate family who fought in wars and immediate family buried at Arlington. How does one qualify as an America hater? Not to genuflect to the military and their illegal and gravely immoral wars and actions? To disagree with the neocon/neolib policies and policymakers? Policies which run counter to Christian morality and natural law? If so then I'm an America hater in good standing.
But when [Lang] bristles that "I confess that I was unaware that this is a forum for people who hate America," I won't be getting my hopes up too high.
EnglishOutsider , April 25, 2018 at 5:32 pm GMT@Anonymous
I dislike the policies of my government as much as you appear to dislike the policies of yours. So we're on the parallel tracks there. But it's possible to do that and still be a patriot. That's democracy.
Democracy's not working at present, certainly not in my country and maybe not quite as expected for all those Americans patriots who voted anti-neocon. But it's still a good idea, democracy, wouldn't you agree?
Apr 24, 2018 | www.unz.com
Rurik , April 18, 2018 at 6:05 pm GMT@Steve Gittelson
it's a wonder there's anything left of this country at all.
spiritually, there isn't
just as morally, the ZUSA is a dead husk. This country has absolutely zero credibility or standing in the world anymore. All they've got is a military they can use to menace and bully the rest of the planet into submission. Which is a specialty of the Clintons.
It's wasn't just the Branch Dravidians who were burned alive (no doubt to the cackling of the war hag), or just Gadhafi who was murdered by her sub-human orcs, but this man also had his country illegally bombed and was dragged off to a mock kangaroo court until he was given a chance to speak, whereupon he humiliated his tormentors
so they poisoned him in his cell.
the reason I post this image of the hag is to remind readers of what the alternative to Trump actually was.
Fred likes to fulminate over all things Trump (and us Deplorables – calling us 'gas station louts, and much worse ; ), for his own dubious agenda (biological warfare ; ), but the fact remains that even as Trump adopts all the traits of a neocon war pig, and always has been an egotistical and superficial man, he's still a gazillion times to the n'th power preferable to the gorgon war hag.
For all of Trump's many foibles and failings, he isn't the root cause of all the things Fred is lambasting in this article. Rather it's the ((deepstate)) that Trump has made a devil's bargain with, which does not change with presidents. If we're ever to prevent the looming war with Russia, then it would behoove us to look behind the curtain at the fiend pulling the levers. Talking about Trump, as if he's the cause of it all, is like being enthralled over the theatrics of the wizard of Oz.
Apr 21, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com
tc2011 , 13 Apr 2018 16:21What Freedland and others are advocating is illegal. They have no moral or legal authority.
For the avoidance of any doubt or confusion, attacking a foreign country without legal basis under international law represents the "supreme international crime". The launching of an "aggressive war" is the "supreme crime" because it is the overarching offense which contains within itself "the accumulated evil of the whole" (e.g. rape, torture, murder, mass murder, ethnic cleansing, etc).
People were tried, convicted and hung at Nuremberg for the crime of waging wars of aggression (as well as crimes against humanity).
Regardless of how unpalatable we may find it, even the verified use of chemical weapons -be they by state or non-state actors - is not a legal basis to attack a country, any country.
As Phyllis Bennis, Fellow and Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., clearly explained (following the last alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, and subsequent military strike on the Syrian air base ordered by President Trump):
"The UN Charter is very vague about a lot of things, but it's very clear about one thing, and that is, when is it legal to go to war? When is it legal to use a military strike? There's only two occasions according to the UN Charter The UN Charter says, "A country can use military force under two circumstances: Number one, if the Security Council authorizes it." Number two, Article 51 of the UN Charter, which is about self-defence. But it's a very narrowly constrained version of self-defence It says very explicitly, "If a country has been attacked." "until the Security Council can meet, immediate self-defence is allowed." Neither of those two categories applied here. So, it was clearly an illegal act."
Jun 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com
It was during the spring of 2006 that I began this project. I wanted to investigate whether the growing volume of criticism toward Russia, sometimes by people who could hardly claim to be knowledgeable about the country, concealed a political agenda.
As I researched the subject, I discovered evidence of Russophobia shared by different circles within the American political class and promoted through programs and conferences at various think tanks, congressional testimonies, activities of NGOs, and the media. Russophobia is not merely a critique of Russia, but a critique beyond any sense of proportion, waged with the purpose of undermining the nation's political reputation.
... ... ....
Although a critical analysis of Russia and its political system is entirely legitimate, the issue is the balance of such analysis. Russia's role in the world is growing, yet many U.S. politicians feel that Russia doesn't matter in the global arena. Preoccupied with international issues, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, they find it difficult to accept that they now have to nego- tiate and coordinate their international policies with a nation that only yesterday seemed so weak, introspective, and dependent on the West. To these individuals, Russophobia is merely a means to pressure the Kremlin into submitting to the United States in the execution of its grand plans to control the world's most precious resources and geostrategic sites. In the meantime, Russia has grown increasingly resentful, and the war in the Caucasus in August 2008 has demonstrated that Russia is prepared to act unilaterally to stop what it views as US unilateralism in the former Soviet region.
And some in Moscow are tempted to provoke a much greater confrontation with Western states. The attitude of ignorance and self-righteousness toward Russia tells us volumes about the United States' lack of preparation for the twenty-first century's central challenges that include political instability, weapons proliferation, and energy insecurity. Despite the dislike of Russia by a considerable number of American elites, this attitude is far from universally shared. Many Americans understand that Russia has gone a long way from communism and that the overwhelming support for Putin's policies at home cannot be adequately explained by high oil prices and the Kremlin's manipulation of the public-despite the frequent assertions of Russophobic observers.
Balanced analysts are also aware that many Russian problems are typical difficulties that nations encounter with state-building, and should not be presented as indicative of Russia's "inherent drive" to autocracy or empire. As the United States and Russia move further to the twenty-first century, it will be increasingly important to redefine the relationship between the two nations in a mutually enriching way.
Political and cultural phobias are, of course, not limited to those of an anti-Russian nature. For instance, Russia has its share of America-phobia -- a phenomenon that I have partly researched in my book Whose World Order (Notre Dame, 2004) and in several articles. Anti-American attitudes are strongly present in Russian media and cultural products, as a response to the US policies of nuclear, energy, and military supremacy in the world. Extreme hegemonic policies tend to provoke an extreme response, and Russian nationalist movements and often commentators react harshly to what they view as unilateral encroachment on Russia's political system and foreign policy interests. Russia's reactions to these policies by the United States are highly negative and frequently inadequate, but hardly more extreme than the American hegemonic and imperial discourse.
The Anti-Russian LobbyWhen the facile optimism was disappointed, Western euphoria faded, and Russophobia returned ... The new Russophobia was expressed not by the governments, but in the statements of out-of-office politicians, the publications of academic experts, the sensational writings of jour- nalists, and the products of the entertainment industry. (Rodric Braithwaite, Across the Moscow River, 2002)1
....Russophobia is not a myth, not an invention of the Red-Brovvns, but a real phenomenon of political thought in the main political think tanks in the West . .. [T]he Yeltsin-Kozyrev's pro-U.S. "giveaway game" was approved across the ocean. There is reason to say that the period in ques- tion left the West with the illusion that Russia's role was to serve Washington's interests and that it would remain such in the future. (Sergei Mikoyati, International Affairs /October 2006j)2
This chapter formulates a theory of Russophobia and the anti-Russian lobby's influence on the U.S. Russia policy. 1 discuss the Lobby's objec- tives, its tactics to achieve them, the history of its formation and rise to prominence, and the conditions that preserved its influence in the after- math of 9/11.1 argue that Russophobia has been important to American hegemonic elites in pressuring Russia for economic and political conces- sions in the post-Cold War era.
1. Goals and Means
The central objective of the Lobby has been to preserve and strengthen America's power in the post-Cold War world through imperial or hegemonic policies. The Lobby has viewed Russia with its formidable nuclear power, energy reserves, and important geostrategic location as a major obstacle in achieving this objective. Even during the 1990s, when Russia looked more like a failing state3 than one capable of projecting power, some members of the American political class were worried about the future revival of the Eurasian giant as a revisionist power. In their percep- tion, it was essential to keep Russia in a state of military and economic weakness-not so much out of emotional hatred for the Russian people and their culture, but to preserve American security and promote its val- ues across the world. To many within the Lobby, Russophobia became a useful device for exerting pressures on Russia and controlling its policies. Although to some the idea of undermining and, possibly, dismembering Russia was personal, to others it was a necessity of power dictated by the realities of international politics.
According to this dominant vision, there was simply no place in this "New American Century" for power competitors, and America was destined eventually to assume control over potentially threatening military capabilities and energy reserves of others. As the two founders of the Project for the New' American Century (PNAC), William Kristol and Robert Kagan, asserted when referring to the large military forces of Russia and China, "American statesmen today ought to recognize that their charge is not to await the arrival of the next great threat, but rather to shape the international environment to prevent such a threat from arising in the first place."4
Russia was either to agree to assist the United States in preserving its world-power status or be forced to agree. It had to either follow the U.S. interpretation of world affairs and develop a political and economic system sufficiently open to American influences or live as a pariah state, smeared by accusations of pernicious behavior, and in constant fear for its survival in the America-centered world. As far as the U.S. hegemonic elites were concerned, no other choice was available.
This hegemonic mood was largely consistent with mainstream ideas within the American establishment immediately following the end of the Cold War. For example, 1989 saw the unification of Germany and the further meltdown of the Soviet Union, which some characterized as "the best period of U.S. foreign policy ever."5 President Jimmy Carter's former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski envisioned the upcoming victory of the West by celebrating the Soviet Union's "grand failure."6
In his view, the Soviet "totalitarian" state was incapable of reform. Communism's decline was therefore irreversible and inevitable. It would have made the system's "practice and its dogma largely irrelevant to the human conditions," and communism would be remembered as the twentieth century's "political and intellectual aberration."7 Other com- mentators argued the case for a global spread of Western values. In 1990 Francis Fukuyama first formulated his triumphalist "end of history" thesis, arguing a global ascendancy of the Western-style market democracy.®
... ... ...
Marc Plattner declared the emergence of a "world with one dominant principle of legitimacy, democracy."9 When the Soviet system had indeed disintegrated, the leading establishment journal Foreign Affairs pronounced that "the Soviet system collapsed because of what it was, or more exactly, because of what it was not. The West 'won' because of what the democracies were-because they were free, prosperous and successful, because they did justice, or convincingly tried to do so."10 Still others, such as Charles Krauthammer, went as far as to proclaim the arrival of the United States' "unipolar moment," a period in which only one super- power, the United States, would stand above the rest of the world in its military, economic, and ideological capacity.11
In this context of U.S. triumphalism, at least some Russophobes expected Russia to follow the American agenda. Still, they were worried that Russia may still have surprises to offer and would recover as an enemy.12
Soon after the Soviet disintegration, Russia indeed surprised many, although not quite in the sense of presenting a power challenge to the United States. Rather, the surprise was the unexpectedly high degree of corruption, social and economic decay, and the rapid disappointment of pro-Western reforms inside Russia. By late 1992, the domestic economic situation was much worsened, as the failure of Western-style shock ther- apy reform put most of the population on the verge of poverty. Russia was preoccupied not with the projection of power but with survival, as poverty, crime, and corruption degraded it from the status of the indus- trialized country it once was. In the meantime, the economy was largely controlled by and divided among former high-ranking party and state officials and their associates. The so-called oligarchs, or a group of extremely wealthy individuals, played the role of the new post-Soviet nomenklatura; they influenced many key decisions of the state and suc- cessfully blocked the development of small- and medium-sized business in the country.13 Under these conditions, the Russophobes warned that the conditions in Russia may soon be ripe for the rise of an anti-Western nationalist regime and that Russia was not fit for any partnership with the United States.14
The mid-1990s saw the emergence of post-Soviet Russophobia. The Lobby's ideology was not principally new, as it still contained the three central myths of Sovietophobia left over from the Cold War era: Russia is inherently imperialist, autocratic, and anti-Western. This ideology now had to be modified to the new conditions and promoted politically, which required a tightening of the Lobby's unity, winning new allies within the establishment, and gaining public support.15
... ... ...
The impact of structural and institutional factors is further reinforced by policy factors, such as the divide within the policy community and the lack of presidential leadership. Not infrequently, politicians tend to defend their personal and corporate interests, and lobbying makes a difference in the absence of firm policy commitments.
Experts recognize that the community of Russia watchers is split and that the split, which goes all the way to the White House, has been responsible for the absence of a coherent policy toward the country. During the period of 2003-2008, Vice President Richard Dick Cheney formed a cohesive and bipartisan group of Russia critics, who pushed for a more confrontational approach with the Kremlin. The brain behind the invasion of Iraq, Cheney could not tolerate opposition to what he saw as a critical step in establishing worldwide US hegemony. He was also harboring the idea of controlling Russia's energy reserves.91
Since November 2004, when the administration launched a review of its policy on Russia,92 Cheney became a critically important voice in whom the Lobby found its advocate. Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and, until November 2004, Colin Powell opposed the vice president's approach, arguing for a softer and more accommodating style in relations with Moscow.
President Bush generally sided with Rice and Powell, but he proved unable to form a consistent Russia policy. Because of America's involvement in the Middle East, Bush failed to provide the leadership committed to devising mutually acceptable rules in relations with Russia that could have prevented the deterioration in their relationship. Since the end of 2003, he also became doubtful about the direction of Russia's domestic transformation.93 As a result, the promising post-9/11 cooperation never materialized. The new cold war and the American Sense of History
It's time we start thinking of Vladimir Putin's Russia as an enemy of the United States. (Bret Stephens, "Russia: The Enemy," The Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2006)
If today's reality of Russian politics continues ... then there is the real risk that Russia's leadership will be seen, externally and internally, as illegitimate. (John Edwards and Jack Kemp, "We Need to Be Tough with Russia," International Herald Tribune, July 12, 2006)
On Iran, Kosovo, U.S. missile defense, Iraq, the Caucasus and Caspian basin, Ukraine-the list goes on-Russia puts itself in conflict with the U.S. and its allies . . . here are worse models than the united Western stand that won the Cold War the first time around.
("Putin Institutionalized," The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2007) In order to derail the U.S.-Russia partnership, the Lobby has sought to revive the image of Russias as an enemy of the United States. The Russophobic groups have exploited important differences between the two countries' historical self-perceptions, presenting those differences as incompatible.
1. Contested History
Two versions of history
The story of the Cold War as told from the U.S. perspective is about American ideas of Western-style democracy as rescued from the Soviet threat of totalitarian communism. Although scholars and politicians disagreed over the methods of responding to the Soviet threat, they rarely questioned their underlying assumptions about history and freedom.' It therefore should not come as surprise that many in the United States have interpreted the end of the Cold War as a victory of the Western freedom narrative. Celebrating the Soviet Union's "grand failure"-as Zbigniew Brzezinski put it2-the American discourse assumed that from now on there would be little resistance to freedom's worldwide progression. When Francis Fukuyama offered his bold summary of these optimistic feelings and asserted in a famous passage that "what we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War... but the end of history as such,"3 he meant to convey the disappearance of an alternative to the familiar idea of free- dom, or "the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."4
In Russia, however, the Cold War story has been mainly about sovereignty and independence, rather than Western-style liberalism. To many Russians it is a story of freedom from colonization by the West and of preserving important attributes of sovereign statehood.
In a world where neocolonialism and cultural imperialism are potent forces, the idea of freedom as independence continues to have strong international appeal and remains a powerful alternative to the notion of liberal democracy. Russians formulated the narrative of independence centuries ago, as they successfully withstood external invasions from Napoleon to Hitler. The defeat of the Nazi regime was important to the Soviets because it legitimized their claims to continue with the tradition of freedom as independence.
The West's unwillingness to recognize the importance of this legitimizing myth in the role of communist ideology has served as a key reason for the Cold War.5 Like their Western counterparts, the Soviets were debating over methods but not the larger assumptions that defined their struggle.
This helps to understand why Russians could never agree with the Western interpretation of the end of the Cold War. What they find missing from the U.S. narrative is the tribute to Russia's ability to defend its freedom from expansionist ambitions of larger powers. The Cold War too is viewed by many Russians as a necessarily defensive response to the West's policies, and it is important that even while occupying Eastern Europe, the Soviets never celebrated the occupation, emphasizing instead the war vic- tory.6 The Russians officially admitted "moral responsibility" and apolo- gized for the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia.7 They may be prepared to fully recognize the postwar occupation of Eastern Europe, but only in the context of the two sides' responsibility for the Cold War. Russians also find it offensive that Western VE Day celebrations ignore the crucial contribution of Soviet troops, even though none of the Allies, as one historian put it, "paid dearer than the Soviet Union for the victory. Forty Private Ivans fell in battle to every Private Ryan."8 Victory over Nazi Germany constitutes, as another Russian wrote, "the only undisputable foundation of the national myth."9
If the two sides are to build foundations for a future partnership, the two historical narratives must be bridged. First, it is important to recognize the difficulty of negotiating a common meaning of freedom and accept that the idea of freedom may vary greatly across nations. The urge for freedom may be universal, but its social content is a specific product of national his- tories and local circumstances. For instance, the American vision of democracy initially downplayed the role of elections and emphasized selection by merit or meritocracy. Under the influence of the Great Depression, the notion of democracy incorporated a strong egalitarian and poverty-fighting component, and it was not until the Cold War- and not without its influence-that democracy has become associated with elections and pluralistic institutions.10 Second, it is essential to acknowledge the two nations' mutual respon- sibility for the misunderstanding that has resulted in the Cold War. A historically sensitive account will recognize that both sides were thinking in terms of expanding a territorial space to protect their visions of security. While the Soviets wanted to create a buffer zone to prevent a future attack from Germany, the Americans believed in reconstructing the European continent in accordance with their ideas of security and democracy. A mutual mistrust of the two countries' leaders exacerbated the situation, making it ever more difficult to prevent a full-fledged political confronta- tion. Western leaders had reason to be suspicious of Stalin, who, in his turn, was driven by the perception of the West's greed and by betrayals from the dubious Treaty of Versailles to the appeasement of Hitler in Munich. Arrangements for the post-World War II world made by Britain, the USSR, and the United States proved insufficient to address these deep-seated suspicions.
In addition, most Eastern European states created as a result of the Versailles Treaty were neither free nor democratic and collaborated with Nazi Germany in its racist and expansionist policies. The European post-World War 1 security system was not working properly, and it was only a matter of time before it would have to be transformed.
Third, if an agreeable historical account is to emerge, it would have to accept that the end of the Cold War was a product of mutually beneficial a second Cold War, "it also does not want the reversal of the U.S. geopolitical gains that it made in the decade or so after the end of the Cold War."112 Another expert asked, "What possible explanation is there for the fact that today-at a moment when both the U.S. and Russia face the common enemy of Islamist terrorism-hard-liners within the Bush administration, and especially in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, are arguing for a new tough line against Moscow along the lines of a scaled-down Cold War?"113
Yet another analyst wrote "at the Cold War's end, the United States was given one of the great opportunities of history: to embrace Russia, the largest nation on earth, as partner, friend, ally. Our mutual interests meshed almost perfectly. There was no ideological, territorial, his- toric or economic quarrel between us, once communist ideology was interred. We blew it. We moved NATO onto Russia's front porch, ignored her valid interests and concerns, and, with our 'indispensable-nation' arrogance, treated her as a defeated power, as France treated Weimar Germany after Versailles."114
Mar 27, 2018 | www.rt.com
The decision to expel 60 Russian diplomats suggests that President Donald Trump is either following the siren call of 'entangling alliances,' or taking the lead in escalating the conflict with Moscow to appease domestic critics. Not only did Trump's order affect more than twice as many diplomats as the March 14 move by London, it accounts for more than half of the total Russian diplomats expelled by various US allies on Monday. Monday's action is the biggest expulsion of alleged "intelligence officers" since the Cold War and the largest in US history, according to US ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman.
Though Trump campaigned on the "America First" foreign policy , openly critical of the nation-building and "humanitarian" interventions his predecessors engaged in, little of that remains after the first year of his presidency. The media and the opposition Democrats appear to have buttonholed the president with never-ending accusations that he is somehow "soft" on Russia.Read more 2017 could have been year Russia and US made up. Now they stand on brink of new Cold War
In reality, the current administration has taken the hostility toward Moscow, inherited from Barack Obama's second term, and turned it up a notch, from pressuring Russian media to register as foreign agents and approving the sale of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, to expelling more Russian diplomats and shutting down consulates .
In addition to expelling the diplomats, Trump ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle, Washington. The decision cited the consulate's proximity to a US submarine base and to Boeing production facilities, implying the diplomats were really intelligence operatives.
That was echoed by White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah, who told reporters the expulsion is aimed at "significantly degrading their intelligence capabilities around the world, not just in the US."
Shah said the move was "coordinated with NATO allies," and represented a US response to Russia's "brazen and reckless" actions, namely, the alleged nerve agent attack that reportedly injured former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK, three weeks ago.
16 EU states now expelling 33 Russian diplos-- Danny Kemp (@dannyctkemp) March 26, 2018
🇩🇪 Germany 4
🇵🇱 Poland 4
🇨🇵 France 4
🇨🇿 Czech 3
🇱🇹 Lithuania 3
🇮🇹 Italy 2
🇩🇰 Denmark 2
🇳🇱 Netherlands 2
🇪🇸 Spain 2
🇱🇻 Latvia 1
🇫🇮 Finland 1
🇪🇪 Estonia 1
🇷🇴 Romania 1
🇸🇪 Sweden 1
🇭🇷 Croatia 1
🇭🇺 Hungary 1
British authorities have asserted that Russia was "highly likely" to have been behind the incident, but have refused to provide any evidence to back up Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Minister Boris Johnson's words. Johnson even went so far as to compare Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler - twice! - though it was Russia that carried the disproportionate burden in defeating Hitler's "Thousand-year Reich" in the Second World War.
On March 14, May ordered the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats. Russia retaliated by expelling the same number of British diplomats, as well as shutting down the consulate in St. Petersburg and British Council operations in Russia.
Seasoned observers of international relations might note that it is usually Britain that follows the US lead – whether in the 1999 attack on Yugoslavia, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, or the 2011 regime change operation in Libya – and not the other way around. Yet, according to White House's Shah, the US is "joined at the hip" with the UK on this. What gives?
This needs to be emphasized. The majority of the EU countries did not join in this mass expulsion. As for those that did, expulsions were mostly pro forma, undertaken in order to keep the British happy. Why then the wildly disproportionate response from Trump? https://t.co/4FldvIS80W-- George Szamuely (@GeorgeSzamuely) March 26, 2018
America's first president, George Washington, warned way back in 1796 of the danger of "entangling alliances," which would draw the newly created country into foreign wars on behalf of allied governments. Such alliances would also lead to poor relations with other nations and distort US policies to favor the wishes of its allies over the will of the American people.
Yet today's US policymakers, from the highest officials of the Trump administration to the NeverTrump think-tanks, treat it as an article of faith that the US is strong because it has entangling alliances with countries all over the world, and a military presence all over the planet.Read more US abusing its rights as host country by expelling Russian diplomats at UN – Russia's UN envoy
Washington and other allies of London "blindly follow the principle of Euro-Atlantic unity at the expense of common sense, the rules of civilized state-to-state dialogue and the principles of international law," the Russian Foreign Ministry said , condemning the expulsions.
Shah's comments, that the US relationship with Russia is entirely "up to the Russian government and up to Putin," as if Washington had no agency in the matter, certainly seems to suggest that Trump is all tangled up in the "special relationship" with London.
However, there is also the possibility that Trump or some of his advisers are pursuing hostility towards Moscow in order to counter the narrative of 'Russian collusion' – which originated from the Hillary Clinton campaign after the humiliating loss in the 2016 election, and continues to be pushed by many in the US media and the Democratic party.
"What we are witnessing now is part of a long-term program of unbridled Russophobia," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Rossiya-1 TV.
Reporters covering the White House presented a good example on Monday. In the rare moments when they digressed from discussing Trump's alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, reporters mostly wanted to know "what took so long" to expel the diplomats and why more is not being done against Russia. CNN's Jim Sciutto finally got a question, only to demand more sanctions against "Russian oligarchs" and Putin personally.
No matter what Trump does against Russia, it fails to mollify his critics, who see evidence of his "collusion" with Moscow in absolutely everything.
Closing Russia's consulate in Seattle hurts Americans in our Northwest who want to visit Russia, not Putin's oligarchs. Typical misdirection by Trump Administration.-- Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) March 26, 2018
Trump didn't have an option to keep the 60 Russian spies posing as diplomats in the US, but I guarantee he looked for one. He also hasn't criticized Putin or implemented all of the sanctions Congress passed against Russia. Trump's a traitor & shouldn't be president. #ImpeachTrump-- Scott Dworkin (@funder) March 26, 2018
Whatever the intent behind Monday's decision, its timing and execution were certainly problematic. The expulsion of diplomats came as Russia was collectively mourning the deaths of 64 people, many of them children , in a mall fire in the Siberian city of Kemerovo. Adding insult to injury sounds like really poor diplomacy, no matter who's behind it.
Then again, as the former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali noted in his 1999 memoir, Washington sees no need for diplomacy when power will do.
"The Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy. Nor does the United States, " wrote Boutros-Ghali.
Mar 20, 2018 | www.unz.com
remo , Website Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 8:36 am GMT"Sir, Further to your report ("Poison exposure leaves almost 40 needing treatment", TIMES Mar 14)' may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved."Tom Welsh , Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 8:53 am GMT
Stephen Davies. Consultant in emergency medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.
Meanwhile, a doctor who was one of the first people at the scene has described how she found Ms Skripal..She said she treated her for almost 30 minutes, saying "there was no sign of any chemical agent on Ms Skripals face or body."
The woman, who asked not to be named, told the NNC she moved Ms Skripal into the recovery position and opened her airway, as others tended to her father.
she said she treated her for almost 30 minutes, saying there was no sign of any chemical agent on Ms Skripal's face or body.
The doctor said she had been worried she would be affected by the nerve agent, hut added that she "feels fine".
Some nerve agent. We read that Vladimir Putin's passport was found three days later at the scene.One wonders how the Skripals are right now. Have they recovered completely, or partially? Are they still deathly ill? Has one or both of them died?Ger , Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 6:17 pm GMT
In any case, why have there been no public announcements of these important facts? It is useless to cite privacy, when the government hastened to trumpet the case – and its own dubious conclusions – as publicly as possible.
Just like MH17, or the alleged (but fake) poison gas attacks in Syria, the policy has been to launch an initial barrage of accusations completely unsupported by the slightest shred of evidence – and then drop the matter abruptly, leaving the public with a strong impression of "Russian wickedness" although nothing has actually been proved.
Incidentally, I wonder where the Skripals are and why. Apparently the Russian government applied for consular access to Yulia (who is a Russian citizen) but this was bluntly refused – against all norms of international law and civilized behaviour.Skripal and daughter cheap, convenient, collateral damage for the warmongers. A person trained to handle organic nerve material introduces it into Skripal's car, they go for a morning drive and stop to have a pizza. After pizza, they begin to feel a little queasy. Go sit on a park bench. A passing citizen sees them, calls for medical assistance. Doctor says probably poisoned by toxic agent. Doctor knows it was not highly refined military grade.Beckow , March 20, 2018 at 5:03 pm GMT
How does the doctor know this: He is just down the street from the British Nerve Agent Factory and has been trained to recognize and treat real exposures to potent nerve agents. A policeman ends up in same hospital as Skripal because he sees car parked overtime or illegally, opens door to check for ownership gets zapped by toxic agent. Car is lifted by straps so as not poison others and hauled to Potent Downs or whatever the Nerve Agent Factory is called. Now it can be doctored to fit the crime and I don't mean the Russians. How am I doing? Got a better tale?
We understand we are not being taken seriously
Good, understanding that you are a joke is the first step on the road to possible recovery.
Try for once to imagine a reverse scenario: an Englishman dies under suspicious circumstances in a provincial town in Russia. (Or 3-4 of them over 15-20 years.) He was considered a 'traitor' by UK for whatever reason. Immediately Russia declares that it was an ' unacceptable attack on Russia's sovereignty, that Britain did it, and that it is 'highly likely' that Teresa May ordered it herself' . Russian government also says that they will not disclose any details, show no evidence and will not even allow basis diplomatic protocol for UK embassy. Why? For reasons of ' state security '. Wouldn't any rational outsider consider that a joke?
Now, I do understand that you – and most Brits – think that you are special. That there is one set of rules for you, and another for the ' others '. You have been conditioned by propaganda to assert this without any shame and to demonise Russia based on decades of half-witted stories (most taken out of context and exaggerated). Why would anyone take you seriously?
People who walk around saying that they are exceptional, meaning they are 'Gods', or that they talk 'to God', are generally ignored or kept in an institution. Claiming that you are 'exceptional and special' is the same as claiming that you are divine – that's what it has meant historically.
This 'joke' is not that funny any more. Grow up.
Mar 20, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Banger , March 19, 2018 at 9:09 amAmerican Exceptionalism is perhaps the most toxic ideology since Nazism and Stalinism. It says that the United States is always virtuous even when it tortures, when it bombs towns, villages, cities in the name of "freedom or installs dictators, military governments, trains torturers, and, yes, rapes and loots in the name of "democracy."
At least this appointment along with the election of Trump shows the true face of the United States in international affairs. When we face the fact we are (a) an oligarchy and (b) a brutal Empire we might have a chance to return to something more human. Few readers, even of TAC, will want to look at our recent history of stunning brutality and lack of interest in even being in the neighborhood of following international law.
Feb 20, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca
Hillary Clinton: "If I'm President, We Will Attack Iran We Would be Able to Totally Obliterate Them." By Stephen Lendman Global Research, February 19, 2018 Global Research 5 July 2015 Region: Middle East & North Africa , USA Theme: Militarization and WMD , US NATO War Agenda In-depth Report: IRAN: THE NEXT WAR?
Among Global Research's most popular articles in 2016.
Hillary is Dangerous. She Means What She says? Or Does She? (M. C. GR. Editor)
* * *
On July 3, 2015, presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton addressed a hand-picked audience at a Dartmouth College campaign event. She lied calling Iran an "existential threat to Israel I hope we are able to get a deal next week that puts a lid on (its) nuclear weapons program."
Even if we do get such a deal, we will still have major problems from Iran. They are the world's chief sponsor of terrorism.
They use proxies like Hezbollah to sow discord and create insurgencies to destabilize governments. They are taking more and more control of a number of nations in the region and they pose an existential threat to Israel.
We have to turn our attention to working with our partners to try to reign in and prevent this continuing Iranian aggressiveness.
Fact: US and Israeli intelligence both say Iran's nuclear program has no military component. No evidence whatever suggests Tehran wants one. Plenty indicates otherwise.
As a 2008 presidential aspirant, she addressed AIPAC's annual convention saying:
The United States stands with Israel now and forever. We have shared interests .shared ideals .common values. I have a bedrock commitment to Israel's security.
(O)ur two nations are fighting a shared threat" against Islamic extremism. I strongly support Israel's right to self-defense (and) believe America should aid in that defense.
I am committed to making sure that Israel maintains a military edge to meet increasing threats. I am deeply concerned about the growing threat in Gaza (and) Hamas' campaign of terror.
No such campaign exists. The only threats Israel faces are ones it invents.
Clinton repeated tired old lies saying Hamas' charter "calls for the destruction of Israel. Iran threatens to destroy Israel."
"I support calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard what it is: a terrorist organization. It is imperative that we get both tough and smart about dealing with Iran before it is too late."
She backs "massive retaliation" if Iran attacks Israel, saying at the time:
" I want the Iranians to know that if I'm president, we will attack Iran. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."
She endorses using cluster bombs, toxic agents and nuclear weapons in US war theaters. She calls them deterrents that "keep the peace." She was one of only six Democrat senators opposed to blocking deployment of untested missile defense systems – first-strike weapons entirely for offense.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Apr 15, 2016 | www.nytimes.com
BOOK REVIEW: AMERICA'S WAR FOR THE GREATER MIDDLE EAST (A Military History) By Andrew J. Bacevich Illustrated. 453 pp. Random House. $30.
In the opening chapter of his latest book, the military historian Andrew J. Bacevich blames Jimmy Carter, a president commonly viewed as more meek than martial, for unwittingly spawning 35 years of American military intervention in the Middle East. Bacevich argues that three mistakes by Carter set precedents that led to decades of squandered American lives and treasure.
First, Carter called on Americans to stop worshiping "self-indulgence and consumption" and join a nationwide effort to conserve energy. Self-sacrifice, he argued in what is now widely derided as Carter's "malaise speech," would free Americans from their dependence on foreign oil and "help us to conquer the crisis of the spirit in our country."
The president came across as more hectoring pastor than visionary leader, Bacevich argues in "America's War for the Greater Middle East." His guileless approach squandered an opportunity to persuade Americans reeling from high foreign oil prices to trade "dependence for autonomy."
Carter's second mistake was authorizing American support to guerrillas fighting a Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan, a move that eventually helped fuel the spread of radical Islam. Finally, in a misguided effort to counter views that he was "too soft," Carter declared that the United States would respond with military force to any outside effort to seize Persian Gulf oil fields. "This statement, subsequently enshrined as the Carter Doctrine, inaugurated America's war for the greater Middle East," Bacevich writes.
This book, Bacevich's eighth, extends his string of brutal, bracing and essential critiques of the pernicious role of reflexive militarism in American foreign policy. As in past books, Bacevich is thought-provoking, profane and fearless. Assailing generals, journalists and foreign policy experts alike, he links together more than a dozen military interventions that span 35 years and declares them a single war. Bacevich analyzes each intervention, looking for common themes from Carter's late 1970s missteps to Barack Obama's widespread use of assassination by drone strike today.
Washington's penchant for intervention, Bacevich contends, is driven by more than America's thirst for oil or the military-industrial complex's need for new enemies. In addition to these two factors, he argues that "a deeply pernicious collective naïveté" among both Republicans and Democrats spawns interventions doomed by "confusion and incoherence."
The ultimate responsibility for the United States' actions lies with an "oblivious" American public engrossed in "shallow digital enthusiasms and the worship of celebrity," Bacevich writes. Americans support freedom, democracy and prosperity in other nations, he tells us, as long as they get the lion's share of it. "Ensuring that Americans enjoy their rightful quota (which is to say, more than their fair share) of freedom, abundance and security comes first," Bacevich says. "Everything else figures as an afterthought."
Bacevich's argument is heavy-handed at times, but when he writes about military strategy, he is genuinely incisive. Citing numerous examples, he convincingly argues that destructive myths about the efficacy of American military power blind policy makers, generals and voters. The use of overwhelming lethal force does not immediately cause dictators or terrorists to turn tail and run, even if that's what politicians in Washington want to believe. Rather, it often leads to resentment, chaos and resistance.
A presumption that using military power signified to friends and foes that Washington was getting serious about a problem diminished the role of diplomats and diplomacy. " 'Getting serious' also implied a preference for uniforms over suits as the principal agents of U.S. policy," Bacevich writes. "Henceforth, rather than military power serving as the handmaiden of diplomacy, the reverse would be true."
In another repeated mistake, triumphalist American commanders prematurely declare victory without realizing that their opponent has simply withdrawn to fight another day as a guerrilla force, as occurred in Afghanistan in 2001. They also personalize the enemy, wrongly assuming that the removal of figures like Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Muammar Qaddafi will instantly end conflict.
From Somalia in 1993 to Yemen today, American commanders and policy makers overestimated the advantage American military technology bestows on them. And most crucially of all, the United States has failed to decide whether it is, in fact, at war.
"In the war for the greater Middle East, the United States chose neither to contain nor to crush, instead charting a course midway in between," Bacevich writes. "Instead of intimidating, U.S. military efforts have annoyed, incited and generally communicated a lack of both competence and determination." The historical forces at work in the Middle East are different from the dynamics that led to American victories in World War II and the Cold War. American officials have failed to understand that. What's more, a deluded Washington foreign policy establishment believes that an American way of life based on "consumption and choice" will be accepted over time in the "Islamic world."
But it is here, in his description of the "Islamic world," that Bacevich stumbles. What is missing in this book about "the greater Middle East" are the people of the greater Middle East. Bacevich's most highly developed Muslim character in these pages is Saddam Hussein. The former Afghan president Hamid Karzai is a distant second. Beyond those two, the rest of the world's estimated 1.6 billion Muslims come across as two-dimensional caricatures.
And so Bacevich lumps together vastly different nationalities - from Bosnians to Iraqis to Somalis - often referring to all of them primarily as "Muslims." The dizzying complexities of each country's history, politics, culture, resources and rivalries are missing. And when it comes to how "Muslims" view the world, Bacevich veers into the simplistic essentialism that he accuses Washington policy makers of following.
Bacevich suggests that in the "Islamic world" lifestyles based on "consumption and choice" might not work. Such broad-brush statements might well be considered simplistic and even bigoted if applied to other faiths. Can one contend that a "Christian world," "Hindu world" or "Jewish world" exists? Are such generalizations analytically useful? Do the world's hundreds of millions of Muslims practice their faith identically?
As a result of this essentialism, Bacevich glosses over a vital point about the Middle East today: A historic and brutal struggle between radicals and modernists for the future of the region is underway. One can argue that the United States has no place in that fight, but making sweeping generalizations about Muslims as Bacevich does limits our understanding of the forces at work in the region. It also plays into the hands of extremists who seek to divide the world by faith.
In the most troubling passage of the book, Bacevich breezily questions pluralism itself. "According to one of the prevailing shibboleths of the present age, this commingling of cultures is inherently good," he writes. "It fosters pluralism, thereby enriching everyday life. Yet cultural interaction also induces friction, whether spontaneously generated or instigated by demagogues and provocateurs."
We do live in a dangerous world, but it is also an inevitably interconnected one. The commingling of cultures cannot be stopped. Nor should it be.
For all that, Bacevich is right that the United States' reflexive use of armed intervention in the Middle East is folly. An unquestioning faith in military might and an underinvestment in diplomacy has tied Washington in a policy straitjacket. Bacevich's call for Americans to rethink their nation's militarized approach to the Middle East is incisive, urgent and essential.
David Rohde is the national security investigations editor for Reuters and a contributing editor for The Atlantic.
Jul 01, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
NemesisCalling | Jun 30, 2017 8:21:54 PM | 31For all the haters of us ugly Americans, just remember that we at this blog are suffering in our country standing up for the truth, pitted against our neighbors, coworkers, and friends in the arena of political debate and decrying the massive injustice of our foreign aggression.lex.talionis | Jun 30, 2017 9:14:01 PM | 36
I won't call ya out by name, but lumping us forlorn sacks into your "untouchable" category reeks of reactionary arrogance that is, to pay patrons at this fine blog their due, beneath you.
In the mean time, American issues = issues concerning the empire they we all want to see destroyed. Liberating Americans should also be on your wish list.Amen @31
The world knows the military industrial complex that has worked over years, and year to create the ugly tentacles throughout what was once our government has been usurped. Dollars. All these bastards see is dollars. Not human life. Not the potential of that lost life in science, math, technology. Just dollars.
For heavens sakes the voters in Arizona returned the worst of ALL Warmongers to Congress. And you, the World, think for a moment we, citizens in this colony, have a snowball's chance in hell reeling these creatures in all by ourselves are sorely mistaken.
We can't even get the voters to learn that their votes equal WAR pushed by both Parties they are aligned with. Get real. Our challenge is yours. Help us!
h | Jun 30, 2017 8:38:56 PM | 32
I know there are many highly intelligent Americans, who are already today suffering and paying a price. And I agree that (widespread) anti-American sentiment is as stupid and reactionary as any other form of nationalism. It's just another 'divide and rule' ideology to keep ordinary people at each others' throats, rather than see them united against their common enemy, the global so-called 'elite'/ oligarchs.
Playing groups of people against one another is the oldest domination trick in the world, but it seems to work every single time...sad! ;-)
smuks | Jun 30, 2017 8:50:51 PM | 35
@ Nemesis and all,
I'm from California. Technically the USA. My take on things is we United States of Americans are exceptional. Most of us are exceptionally ignorant and violent. That is exceptionally sad.
I am very glad to have found MoA and the crew of experts. I have learned so very much.
Big up b! Booyakah as they say in JA. God help us.
Jan 05, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.comPeter K. : January 05, 2017 at 07:42 AM , 2017 at 07:42 AM...It's hilarious how cocky and confident the neoliberals were throughout the election. It's amazing how wrong they were. Trump's victory is almost worth it.
Friday, February 26, 2016
by Common Dreams
"We Are Not Denmark": Hillary Clinton and Liberal American Exceptionalism
by Matthew Stanley
Several months removed, it now seems clear that the Democratic debate on October 13 contained an illuminating moment that has come to embody the 2016 Democratic Primary and the key differences between its two candidates. Confronting Bernie Sanders's insistence that the United States has much to learn from more socialized nations, particularly the Nordic Model, Hillary Clinton was direct: "I love Denmark. But we are not Denmark. We are the United States of America."
The implication behind this statement-the reasoning that ideas and institutions (in this case social and economic programs) that are successful in other nations are somehow practically or ideologically inconsistent with Americans and American principles-speaks to a longstanding sociopolitical framework that has justified everything from continental expansion to the Iraq War: American exceptionalism. Rooted in writings of Alexis de Tocqueville and the mythology of John Winthrop's "City Upon a Hill," the notion that the history and mission of the United States and the superiority of its political and economic traditions makes it impervious to same the forces that influence other peoples has coursed through Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address," the Cold War rhetoric of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, and the foreign policy declarations of Barack Obama.
Despite particular historical trends-early and relatively stable political democracy, birthright citizenship, the absence of a feudal tradition, the relative weakness of class consciousness-historians have critiqued this "American exceptionalism" as far more fictive than physical, frequently citing the concept as a form of state mythology. Although different histories lead naturally to historical and perhaps even structural dissimilarities, America's twenty-first century "exceptions" appear as dubious distinctions: gun violence, carbon emissions, mass incarceration, wealth inequality, racial disparities, capital punishment, child poverty, and military spending.
Yet even at a time when American exceptionalism has never been more challenged both by empirically-validated social and economic data and in public conversation, the concept continues to play an elemental role in our two-party political discourse. The Republican Party is, of course, awash with spurious, almost comically stupid dialogue about a mythic American past-"making America great again"-the racial and ethnic undertones of which are unmistakable. Those same Republicans have lambasted Obama and other high profile Democrats for not believing sufficiently in their brand of innate, transhistoric American supremacy.
But this Americentrism is not the sole province of the GOP. We need look no further than bipartisan support for the military-industrial complex and the surveillance state to see that national exceptionalism, and its explicit double-standard toward other nations, resides comfortably within the Democratic Party as well. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa censured Obama's use of the term in the fall of 2013, with the latter likening it to the "chosen race" theories of Nazi Germany. Hyperbole notwithstanding, academics often do associate American exceptionalism with military conquest.
It does, after all, have deep roots in the Manifest Destiny ethos that spurred the Mexican War, drove continental and trans-Pacific expansion, and emerged as a paternalistic justification for voluminous military interventions in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. As Dick Cheney suggests, "the world needs a powerful America." In this unilateral missionizing zeal Clinton proves most typical. As historian Michael Kazin argues in a recent piece for The Nation: "Hillary Clinton is best described as a liberal. Like every liberal president (and most failed Democratic nominees) since Wilson, she wants the United States to be the dominant power in the world, so she doesn't question the massive sums spent on the military and on the other branches of the national-security state. "
But Clinton's brand of American exceptionalism goes beyond the issue of American military dominion and into the policy potentials of mid-century social liberalism and, more specifically, the neoliberalism that has since replaced it. Indeed, since George McGovern's failed presidential bid of 1972, neoliberals, moving decidedly rightward on economic issues, have consistently employed exceptionalist code to fight off movements, ideas, and challengers from the left.
The victims include leftist efforts toward both American demilitarization and the expansion of a "socialistic" welfare state. Socialist feminist Liza Featherstone and others have denounced Clinton's uncritical praise of the "opportunity" and "freedom" of American capitalism vis-à-vis other developed nations. "With this bit of frankness," Featherstone explains, referring to the former Secretary of State's "Denmark" comments, "Clinton helpfully explained why no socialist-indeed, no non-millionaire-should support her.
She is smart enough to know that women in the United States endure far more poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity than women in Denmark-yet she shamelessly made clear that she was happy to keep it that way." Indeed, Clinton's denunciation of the idea that the United States should look more like Denmark betrayed one of the glaring the fault lines within the Democratic Party, and between Clintonian liberalism and Sandersite leftism. It also revealed a more clandestine strain of American exceptionalism common among liberals and the Democratic Party elite in which "opportunity" serves as a stand-in for wider egalitarian reform. As Elizabeth Bruenig highlighted in The New Republic: "Since getting ahead on one's own grit is such a key part of the American narrative, it's easy to see how voters might be attracted to Clinton's opportunity-based answer to our social and economic woes, though it leaves the problem of inequality vastly under-addressed. Indeed, a kind of American exceptionalism does seem to underpin much opportunity-focused political rhetoric."
This preference for insider politics (rather than mass movements involving direct action) and limited, means-tested social programs speaks to a broader truth about modern liberalism: it functions in a way that not only doesn't challenge the basic tenets of American exceptionalism, it often reinforces them. Whether vindicating war and torture and civil liberties violations, talking past the War on Drugs and the carceral state, or exhibiting coolness toward the type of popular protest seen during of Occupy Wall Street, with its direct attacks on a sort of American Sonderweg, establishment Democrats are adept at using a more "realistic" brand of Americentrism to consolidate power and anchor the party in the status quo. Now the 2016 Democratic Primary has seen progressive ideas including universal health care, tuition-free college, and a living minimum wage, all hallmarks of large swaths of the rest of the developed world, delegitimized through some mutation of liberal exceptionalist thinking. These broadminded reforms are apparently off limits, not because they are not good ideas (though opponents make that appraisal too), but because somehow their unachievability is exceptional to the United States.
All this is not to exclude (despite his "democratic socialist" professions) Sanders's own milder brand of "America first," most evident in his economic nationalism, but to emphasize that American exceptionalism and the logical and practical dangers it poses exist in degrees across a spectrum of American politics. Whatever his nationalistic inclinations, Sanders's constant reiteration of America's need to learn from and adapt to the social, economic, and political models of other nations demonstrates an ethno-flexibility rarely seen in American major party politics. "Every other major country " might as well be his official campaign slogan. This bilateral outlook does not fit nearly as neatly within Clinton's traditional liberal paradigm that, from defenses of American war and empire to the, uses American exceptionalism tactically, dismissing its conservative adherents as nationalist overkill yet quietly exploiting the theory when politically or personally expeditious.
In looking beyond our national shores and domestic origin-sources for fresh and functional policy, Sanders seems to grasp that, from the so-called "foreign influences" of the Republican free soil program or Robert La Follette's Wisconsin Idea or even Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, American high politics have been at their most morally creative and sweepingly influential not only when swayed by direct action and mass movements, but also when they are less impeded by the constraints of ethnocentrism and exceptionalism. The "We are not Denmark" sentiment might appear benign, lacking as it does the bluster of Republican claims to national supremacy and imaginary "golden age" pasts and what economist Thomas Picketty has termed a "mythical capitalism." But it is the "seriousness" and very gentility of liberal Americentrism that underscores the power, omnipresence, and intellectual poverty of cultural dismissal. "I still believe in American exceptionalism," Clinton has proclaimed in pushing for U.S. military escalation in Syria. Indeed she does, and it is by no means relegated to the sphere of foreign policy.
www.theamericanconservative.com"I even brought my Bible-the evangelicals, OK?" Donald Trump whinged at a campaign stop in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses. "We love the evangelicals and we're polling so well." For good measure, he waved his prop a little more and doubled down, "I really want to win Iowa-and again, the evangelicals, the Tea Party-we're doing unbelievably, and I think I'm going to win Iowa."
This sycophantic word vomit was about average as Trump's public forays into religion go. His transparent attempts to cast himself as a churchgoer have been awkward at best , and more often approach the bizarre if not the heretical . Nevertheless, as the man himself would say, the professing evangelicals-and the "professing" is key here -love him. They really, really do.
But for all the headlines the Trumpvangelicals have snagged, their vehement support is ably matched by the strident opposition to Trump found among millions of American Christians of all stripes, many of them (like me) appalled that such blatant pandering and brash prurience is, well, working on our fellow travelers in the faith. Nearly a year into this misadventure, it is still tempting to ask: How is this happening? How is the heir of the Moral Majority endorsing a twice-divorced former strip club owner? How is Trump so appealing to what is supposed to be a Christian nation?
And it is in precisely that last phrase-"Christian nation"-the answer may be found: America's entrenched , pseudo-Christian civil religion is the primary culprit here. President Trump is the due result of our theologically vacant imperial cult, which in the guise of orthodoxy worships only the power of the state.
Granted, the connection may not be immediately obvious, particularly in light of the harsh critiques Trump has received from many prominent Christians, as well as his own dime-store costume faith.
These surface obstacles obscure the deeper fit. Trump's extravagant self-deification, his demands of personal allegiance, and his obsession with unique national and personal greatness all flow naturally out of a civil religion which co-opts Christianity to cast an aura of divine approval on Washington. Indeed, Trump fancies himself a modern Caesar , tinged with divinity and cloaked in gold . Our civil religion gives him just the theological resource he needs.
Consider, first, Trump's view of himself. As Frank Bruni persuasively argued in the New York Times , the Republican frontrunner comes off not as "someone interested in serving God" so much as "someone interested in being God." Trump so closely links himself and the divine that he drifts into boasting of his own accomplishments in the very process of explaining why God is important. The candidate feels he is above the need for God's forgiveness ( as it is written , "there is one who is righteous, yea, just one") and recently named "an eye for an eye" as his favorite Bible verse, an interesting selection given the New Testament's assignment of vengeance as God's prerogative.
Of course, Americans might rightly protest that we don't ascribe divinity to the presidency, but the office is undoubtedly sacralized. Its successes-notably in foreign policy-are attributed to divine blessing. Conventional politicians may be more politic than Trump, but most will happily harness God to tow their pet projects. A classic example is what theologian Michael J. Gorman labels the "divine passive voice," in which, often in the run-up to war, presidents say things like "We are called " to subtly invoke a holy authority for their plans. In a Trump White House, the voice would simply become slightly more active.
Beyond this there's Trump's demand ( and receipt ) of intense personal loyalty. One gets the feeling that the provision of a bust of Trumpself for long-distance veneration would not be taken amiss by many of his followers, but usually a simple pledge of allegiance will do.
"I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there are hurricanes or whatever, will vote on or before the 12th for Donald J. Trump for President," he asked Floridian supporters to promise in advance of their state's primary. This sort of ultimatum is right at home in a civil religion that facilitates unthinking Christian loyalty to the state by means of a clever syncretism: If America is "under God"-if the United States becomes the " city on a hill "-we needn't worry about obeying God rather than men. It's all one and the same as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph is idolatrously mutated into an American tribal deity.
But the most convincing link lies in Trump's preoccupation with greatness. In the context of American civil religion, Gorman explains , "Greatness is defined especially as financial, political, and/or military strength, and this definition carries with it the conviction that both America and Americans should always enjoy and operate from a position of strength and security."
"Weakness," he adds, "is un-American; Americans want to be number one. For many, these kinds of secular strengths are seen as manifestations of power from God." Gorman wrote that more than five years ago, but Trump couldn't have said it better himself. His is a perverse patriotism inextricably tied to the notion that God likes America (and the Donald) most. Trump is certainly more explicit in his promises of unparalleled personal ("the greatest jobs president God ever created") and national ("we will have so much winning") greatness, but his distinction from our standard-issue civil religion is one of degree, not kind.
We might ask why a Trumpian candidate is only now appearing-and with such success-on our political stage. The civil religion is hardly new, but surely Trump is. The tipping point, I suggest, is primarily about the expansion of power in the executive branch, a process which has been underway for decades but accelerated in recent times. The authority of the White House has expanded to match the sanctity we've assigned it. (Not for nothing is it called the imperial presidency.) The modern office "looks nothing like the modest, businesslike, law-governed executive the Framers envisioned," and if it did, Trump wouldn't want it.
In The Four Loves , C.S. Lewis recounts a conversation with an elderly clergyman sincerely convinced that his "own nation, in sober fact, has long been, and still is markedly superior to all others." "To be sure," Lewis muses, "this conviction had not made my friend (God rest his soul) a villain; only an extremely lovable old ass. It can however produce asses that kick and bite." If mixed with assurance of unique divine favor, he continues, this dangerous nonsense "draws evil after it. If our country's cause is the cause of God, wars must be wars of annihilation. A false transcendence is given to things which are very much of this world."
In Trump we find such nonsense crystallized into an ass that kicks and bites, and gleefully plans to torture and murder because this is what will make America great again. His gilded self-aggrandizement is the organic fruit of a "Christian" nation that welcomed such theo-nationalism in drabber forms for years. We may not for a while see again so shameless an execution of the temple ceremonies of the American state, but the false transcendence of our civil religion will not die with the Trump campaign.
Bonnie Kristian is a writer who lives in the Twin Cities. She is a graduate student at Bethel Seminary, a contributor at The Week , a columnist at Rare, and a fellow at the American Security Initiative Foundation. Her writing has also appeared at Time , Relevant, and The American Conservative , among other outlets. Find her at bonniekristian.com and @bonniekristian .
Brendan, May 5, 2016 at 7:00 am
Well, America has had a born again evangelical Christian in the Whitehouse in recent memory, and how did that work out?
I suspect most Presidents are a reflection of culture, rather than shapers and formers of it. In other words, the problem didn't begin and end with Trump.
Nick Valentine, May 5, 2016 at 8:03 am
The opinion of the New York Times is not normally a reliable voice when one seems to determine what is and what is not properly Christian.
Nonetheless, as a Christian voter, I'll gladly explain my support of Donald Trump despite his questionable Christian "creds".
I don't care.
I've given up on finding a true, virtuous, Conservative Christian to lead us in DC, because that's never going to happen. This is NOT a devoutly Christian nation any longer. Sure, many people identify as Christians, but like Trump, few of them ever pick up a Bible.
Instead, I prefer the man who speaks his mind – however un-PC his mind may be – honestly and forthrightly, and who talks directly to the citizens about the real issues that concern us as a nation:
Illegal immigration, Islamic terrorism, corruption in government, jobs and the economy, crony-capitalists who are destroying the middle class by shipping jobs overseas, and unfair trade deals that also damage American jobs.
Based on Mr. Trump's business success and extreme confidence, he strikes me as the man most likely to right this ship of state.
So as a Christian, I'm confident that if Trump is President, I'll do just fine.
In all honesty, any Christians who are looking for devout Christianity at the polls should probably stay home.
Daniel (not Larison ), May 5, 2016 at 8:59 am
Instead, I prefer the man who speaks his mind – however un-PC his mind may be – honestly and forthrightly, and who talks directly to the citizens about the real issues that concern us as a nation:
Does "speaking his mind" and being "un-PC" include shameless, ham-fisted pandering to Evangelicals, as posted in the article?
Trump is as deceptive as the rest of them, perhaps more so. You just get a kick out of him offending certain people, the people that you don't like either. If anyone–including Trump–said something to hurt your precious feelings, you wouldn't say "I love how he speaks his mind!" You'd call him an @sshole.
That doesn't make you weak, it makes you human. But to support it when others are the victims is just sad.
JLF, May 5, 2016 at 9:30 am
The most frightening thing will not come in the immediate wake of Trump's inauguration. It will not be brought by Democrats and Republicans-in-exile. It will come from the Trump faithful when they see that their idol has feet of clay and cannot perform the miracles he says he will. Even with a compliant Congress (and Court), Trump will not build a wall. Mexico will not pay for it. He will not deport 11 million illegal aliens. Europe will not contribute more to its defense, and Trump will not abandon NATO. China will continue on as before, indifferent to the blustering of the American president because it realizes Trump needs Chinese workers to manufacture the things Americans will not (at Chinese wages), the same things (at low prices) that maintain the lifestyle of the Trump supporters.
The scales fallen from their eyes, Trump's followers will act in the same way any mob acts and turn on the one that has betrayed them. Only two questions remain: how long after inauguration will it take for their enlightenment, and how will The Donald react to being cast down from his pedestal?
Rancor, May 5, 2016 at 9:49 am
So civil religion is now a name for national megalomania?
The British saw themselves as the lost tribe of Israel
The French as Galls and descendants of the Roman Empire
The Germans as Germanics who are supposed to destroy the Rome
The Russians as Katechons who must conquer Europe, as the last and true Rome
All of this is civil religion?
If you think the Americans sacralize the presidency, then I don't think you know what it actually means to sacralize a state authority. Look at Putin, Stalin and the tsars in Russia. American presidents are nowhere near them in sacralization
John Gruskos, May 5, 2016 at 10:02 am
Trump muses about the possibility of using torture and assassination against a small number of terrorists who have American blood on their hands.
Clinton, on the other hand, presents us with a deadly serious plan ("no fly zone")to start an unnecessary unjustified war against Syria, Russia and Iran, the only beneficiaries of which would be Al-Qaida and ISIS, the inevitable results of which would be the destruction of Middle Eastern Christianity and an intensification of the migrant invasion of Europe, and the obvious risk of which is a catastrophic nuclear exchange.
Please remove the plank from your own eye before trying to remove the speck from mine.
Trump will be the first president since Eisenhower who can be trusted to enforce the immigration laws, reduce the trade deficit, and avoid unnecessary wars. He is receiving enthusiastic support because of his *platform*, not his alleged cult of personality. The clown act was a necessary tactic to circumvent the media gatekeepers who prevented previous outsiders such as Buchanan, Tancredo and Paul from presenting their ideas to the public. See Scott Adams' blog for a full explanation. Bravo Trump! You weren't too proud to fight for the interests of the American people.
Robert Thomas, May 5, 2016 at 10:20 am
Not that I am particularly religious nor does religion play a part in my politics.
However I don't need to be a bible thumper to see how over my life Christianity has been slowly systematically and successfully attacked and wiped clean from our culture but the left and their orahanizatuons like the ACLU. Trump is the first guy who actually acknowlages this and addresses it by simply saying " we will say Merry Christmas again"
When B.J.B. And Michael Sheuer both support Trump That's a great indicator that My support for Trump is well founded.
I was surprised to see an article like this written in TAC
It would be more fitting and we'll received in the national review or huffington post!
Clint, May 5, 2016 at 10:54 am
"I will be the greatest representative of the Christians they've had in a long time." It appears Trump will be a better advocate for Christians than Obama or Hillary Clinton.
SteveM, May 5, 2016 at 11:16 am
These days the ONLY thing we get from a president are NEGATIVE impacts. I.e., too much war, too much immigration, too much regulation, a pathologically busted health care solution, tolerance of a pathological tax code, tolerance of Beltway Swamp corruption, supplicant to the Security State. All of it – just too much
If Trump us just gives a small respite, let alone some actual relief from the massive parasitic hammer of the Leviathan, I'll settle for that.
"Business as usual" just can't continue. It can't
Kurt Gayle, May 5, 2016 at 11:57 am
@ JLF, who wrote: "The most frightening thing will come from the Trump faithful when they see that their idol has feet of clay and cannot perform the miracles he says he will."
With all due respect, JLF, I think you hold those of us who are "the Trump faithful" in an unusual level of contempt.
Look, here's the deal: Trump is the only candidate who has identified the problems of Middle America and who has identified ways to begin to fix those problems. Trump is not a "miracle" worker, but he does have the will and the courage to lead the country back in the right direction. And as his supporters he has our backing all the way.
As President Trump will no doubt run into problems in implementing some aspects of his broad, multi-faceted program to make America great again. For sure there will be setbacks and delays, because (1) there is so much wrong with the country that has to be set right again, and because (2) there are so many powerful, wealthy, vested interests who will oppose doing what the country needs.
But as tough and steadfast a group as we Trump supporters have shown ourselves to be, why would you think that we would see setbacks and delays as signs of some sort of "betrayal"? Why? That doesn't make any sense. Haven't you learned yet, JFL, that of all the groups of Americans supporting all the candidates of both parties, those of us who are Trump supporters are by far the most loyal, the most unshakeable, and the toughest.
So, don't try to hang some kind of prissy faint-of-heart label on us. As Trump supporters we're in this for the long haul. We're ready to fight against the setbacks. We'll be fighting this out for as long as it takes to get the job done.
TB, May 5, 2016 at 6:40 pm
Nelson said: You can't be a Christian and hate thy neighbor.
all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.
Lee, May 5, 2016 at 6:42 pm
Well, let's see what John Adams had to say about the Christian nation concept. ""The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."
Or what of Thomas Jefferson's letter to John Adams on April 11 of 1823?
"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding ."
There's a whole lot more I could point to that further illustrates the erroneous nature of the Christian nation myth. But people love their myths, just as the term Christian is quite a bit problematic in that historically it most accurately describes Orthodox Jews.
LouisM, May 5, 2016 at 6:55 pm
Bush2/Cheney fancied themselves caesars invading multiple Mideast nations. Obama fancies himself as god. He has gone beyond any president in usurping the congress and the states for his personal beliefs in Islam, global warming, drugs, immigration, unions, sexual identity, Title IX, Healthcare, etc.
Is Trump a surprise? Only in that he is unapologetic and doesn't hide it. More than likely future presidents will not be as overt and obvious but that does not make them any less psychopathic in seeing the Presidency as a throne rather than a orchestra leader.
tz, May 5, 2016 at 7:27 pm
Sad. Bush and Obama have both tortured and murdered and garnered only a few peeps – aside from the few low level personnel who were all but ordered to do so, who is in prison, much less been tried?
Trump is the epitome of our last two decades of compromise, of the end justifies the means, the "24" "Jack Bauer" that will save the day at any cost, and is somehow the amoral savior.
The most rabidly righteous evangelicals who hate even the mild "damn" love "24". For some reason they originally preferred Cruz.
This is the one thing – Trump may be many other forms of evil, but is not a hypocrite. He doesn't equivocate on torture (listen to Cruz's debate response). He doesn't pull punches. He doesn't triangulate or check the polls.
WYSIWYG. The problem is he is a mirror, and the problem is it is your image staring back even if you find it horrible.
Jay L , May 6, 2016 at 12:09 pm
Trump is what you get when a party becomes bankrupt of any real ideas other than personal greed. The party of NO wing of the Republican Party has reached its logical conclusion. The Party has paid only lip service to Evangelicals for a generation. Look at all the shirt sleeve pols that end up in sex and/or money scandals all the while thumping the bible and being born again. Look how every problem can be solved and every issue addressed if only you support us is giving the corporate and wealthy class another round of tax cuts and hand outs. The Party has over and over said to the Evangelicals if you support us we will get around to your agenda right after we address the lobbyists who fund our greed. I have wondered for years when the Evangelicals would see that the ends don't justify the means philosophy of the Republican Party isn't really interested in what they have to say. One doesn't achieve a Christian state through the seven deadly sins.
My greatest fear is that Trumps rise and the rise of a civil religion/cult is but a step on the path to chaos. History has shown many times that when people don't see religion as an answer to their problems that they next turn to civil god champions and when their champions ultimately fail there is nothing left to turn to except the social chaos of tearing the whole structure down. Many of Trumps and Bernie's supporters won't listen to or care about what dangers, even to themselves, are on the path they are supporting as long as it hurts the current ruling class that refuses to share the benefits of the system.
A. G. Phillbin , May 6, 2016 at 3:36 pm
Why is the author, and some commenters here, acting as if the label "Evangelical" means any more to those Evangelicals than the label "Catholic" means to most Catholics, or the label "Jewish" means to most Jews, etc.
People are asked in a survey to identify by religion. People saying, for example, "Catholic," would include both liberal and traditionalist Catholics, practicing Catholics and lapsed Catholics and perhaps even ex-Catholics who haven't converted to anything. But the poll would only reflect the number of people who checked the "Catholic" box, not the depth of their faith.
Similarly, would not people checking "Evangelical" include people who were born into an Evangelical Christian household, but don't practice much themselves and have given little thought as to what being an Evangelical means, as well as the very devout?
Without knowing which Evangelicals or which Catholics or which Jews are supporting a candidate or political position, how useful is the information?
Jul 25, 2015 | Zero Hedge
Original title: The Eroding Character Of The American People
Paul Craig Roberts
How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool's hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game.-Bob Dylan, "Hurricane"
Attorney John W. Whitehead opens a recent posting on his Rutherford Institute website with these words from a song by Bob Dylan. Why don't all of us feel ashamed? Why only Bob Dylan?
I wonder how many of Bob Dylan's fans understand what he is telling them. American justice has nothing to do with innocence or guilt. It only has to do with the prosecutor's conviction rate, which builds his political career. Considering the gullibility of the American people, American jurors are the last people to whom an innocent defendant should trust his fate. The jury will betray the innocent almost every time.
As Lawrence Stratton and I show in our book (2000, 2008) there is no justice in America. We titled our book, "How the Law Was Lost." It is a description of how the protective features in law that made law a shield of the innocent was transformed over time into a weapon in the hands of the government, a weapon used against the people. The loss of law as a shield occurred prior to 9/11, which "our representative government" used to construct a police state.
The marketing department of our publisher did not appreciate our title and instead came up with "The Tyranny of Good Intentions." We asked what this title meant. The marketing department answered that we showed that the war on crime, which gave us the abuses of RICO, the war on child abusers, which gave us show trials of total innocents that bested Joseph Stalin's show trials of the heroes of the Bolshevik Revolution, and the war on drugs, which gave "Freedom and Democracy America" broken families and by far the highest incarceration rate in the world all resulted from good intentions to combat crime, to combat drugs, and to combat child abuse. The publisher's title apparently succeeded, because 15 years later the book is still in print. It has sold enough copies over these years that, had the sales occurred upon publication would have made the book a "best seller." The book, had it been a best seller, would have gained more attention, and perhaps law schools and bar associations could have used it to hold the police state at bay.
Whitehead documents how hard a not guilty verdict is to come by for an innocent defendant. Even if the falsely accused defendant and his attorney survive the prosecutor's pressure to negotiate a plea bargain and arrive at a trial, they are confronted with jurors who are unable to doubt prosecutors, police, or witnesses paid to lie against the innocent defendant. Jurors even convicted the few survivors of the Clinton regime's assault on the Branch Davidians of Waco, the few who were not gassed, shot, or burned to death by US federal forces. This religious sect was demonized by Washington and the presstitute media as child abusers who were manufacturing automatic weapons while they raped children. The charges proved to be false, like Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction," and so forth, but only after all of the innocents were dead or in prison.
The question is: why do Americans not only sit silently while the lives of innocents are destroyed, but also actually support the destruction of the lives of innocents? Why do Americans believe "official sources" despite the proven fact that "official sources" lie repeatedly and never tell the truth?
The only conclusion that one can come to is that the American people have failed. We have failed Justice. We have failed Mercy. We have failed the US Constitution. We have failed Truth. We have failed Democracy and representative government. We have failed ourselves and humanity. We have failed the confidence that our Founding Fathers put in us. We have failed God. If we ever had the character that we are told we had, we have obviously lost it. Little, if anything, remains of the "American character."
Was the American character present in the torture prisons of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and hidden CIA torture dungeons where US military and CIA personnel provided photographic evidence of their delight in torturing and abusing prisoners? Official reports have concluded that along with torture went rape, sodomy, and murder. All of this was presided over by American psychologists with Ph.D. degrees.
We see the same inhumanity in the American police who respond to women children, the elderly, the physically and mentally handicapped, with gratuitous violence. For no reason whatsoever, police murder, taser, beat, and abuse US citizens. Every day there are more reports, and despite the reports the violence goes on and on and on. Clearly, the police enjoy inflicting pain and death on citizens whom the police are supposed to serve and protect. There have always been bullies in the police force, but the wanton police violence of our time indicates a complete collapse of the American character.
The failure of the American character has had tremendous and disastrous consequences for ourselves and for the world. At home Americans have a police state in which all Constitutional protections have vanished. Abroad, Iraq and Libya, two formerly prosperous countries, have been destroyed. Libya no longer exists as a country. One million dead Iraqis, four million displaced abroad, hundreds of thousands of orphans and birth defects from the American ordnance, and continuing ongoing violence from factions fighting over the remains. These facts are incontestable. Yet the United States Government claims to have brought "freedom and democracy" to Iraq. "Mission accomplished," declared one of the mass murderers of the 21st century, George W. Bush.
The question is: how can the US government make such an obviously false outrageous claim without being shouted down by the rest of the world and by its own population? Is the answer that good character has disappeared from the world?
Or is the rest of the world too afraid to protest? Washington can force supposedly sovereign countries to acquiesce to its will or be cut off from the international payments mechanism that Washington controls, and/or be sanctioned, and/or be bombed, droned, or invaded, and/or be assassinated or overthrown in a coup. On the entire planet Earth there are only two countries capable of standing up to Washington, Russia and China, and neither wants to stand up if they can avoid it.
For whatever the reasons, not only Americans but most of the world as well accommodate Washington's evil and are thereby complicit in the evil. Those humans with a moral conscience are gradually being positioned by Washington and London as "domestic extremists" who might have to be rounded up and placed in detention centers. Examine the recent statements by General Wesley Clark and British Prime Minister Cameron and remember Janet Napolitano's statement that the Department of Homeland Security has shifted its focus from terrorists to domestic extremists, an undefined and open-ended term.
Americans with good character are being maneuvered into a position of helplessness. As John Whitehead makes clear, the American people cannot even prevent "their police," paid by their tax payments, from murdering 3 Americans each day, and this is only the officially reported murders. The actual account is likely higher.
What Whitehead describes and what I have noticed for many years is that the American people have lost, in addition to their own sense of truth and falsity, any sense of mercy and justice for other peoples. Americans accept no sense of responsibility for the millions of peoples that Washington has exterminated over the past two decades dating back to the second term of Clinton. Every one of the millions of deaths is based on a Washington lie.
When Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, was asked if the Clinton's regime's sanctions, which had claimed the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children, were justified, she obviously expected no outrage from the American people when she replied in the affirmative.
Americans need to face the facts. The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise.
The American people have been scientifically mis-educated, propagandized, and beaten down. A disproportionate number of the under 30's are societal DOAs thanks to ... weaponized TV. But I am being too optimistic...
... Americans are "intentionally ignorant" of other countries' rights and sovereignty while other countries had been well-informed of America's malicious intents of destroying other countries' rights and sovereignty ...
No, I don't think Americans are intentionally ignorant, any more than other nationalities. What they are tribal. Tribal peoples don't care whether their policies are right or wrong; they are instinctively loyal to them and to those who formulate them.
Also, I have to say that I believe the US empire is a long, long, way from collapse. It is still expanding, for goodness sake. Empires collapse only when the shrinking process is well under way. (The recent Soviet Empire was exceptional, in this regard.) It will take several more generations before the darkness lifts, I'm afraid.
The only conclusion that one can come to is that the American people have failed.
It's now official, PCR is a complete dipshit.
Hey Paul, how about you get your head out of the clouds and stop looking down your nose at everyone long enough to read a couple of books about brainwashing and then get back to us. Maybe you start with this: http://edward-bernays.soup.io/post/19658768/Edward-Bernays-Propaganda-19...
"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind."
-- Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
"Americans need to face the facts. The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise."
I think that happened August 13, 1971, but didn't get fully organized (as in Mafia) until 2000.
The majority have their nose to the grind stone and as such can not see past the grind stone. They rely on "official sources" to put the rest of the world in order for them, but have no time to audit the "official sources". Would public education suffer if mothers and fathers were monitoring what the children were learning? But who has got time for that when both parents are working? How many non-work organizations were your parents and grand-parents involved in (both the wage-earner and the housekeeper)? How many organizations are you involved in?
Do you constantly hassle your local politicians or do you just say, "I'll vote 'em out in four years time"? (Yes, I know, you just don't vote. Fair enough, this question is for the voters.)
Yes, some of us are guilty of not fighting back. We had "Shut up and do as you're told" and "Well, if you're not happy with what you've got then work harder" beaten into us. Some of us are a little awake because, despite all our efforts, the grind stone was removed from us and then we got to see the larger picture of what lies behind the grind stone. Others are still busy, nose to the wheel, and all they see is the wheel.
And that is before we even consider HypnoToad on the Idiot Box. Some "need" the idiot box to help them wind down. Some can no longer enjoy the silence. (Remember Brave New World? It's true. Many people can no longer stand to be around silence, with nothing but their own thoughts.) I tell everyone that TV is crap. Radio is crap. Newspapers are crap. Turn that shit off for six months to a year, then go back to it and see what you really think of it. But they can't handle the thought of being away from "the background noise".
Ever spoken to grandparents who remember wars and depressions? And even amongst the rations and the hardships they still find positive memories? Time to talk to them again. Or not. I guess we'll get first-hand experience soon enough.
Allow me for a moment to share a brief anecdote about the new "American Character".
Last Sunday I was at the local supermarket. I was at the bakery counter, when suddenly a nicely dressed, Sunday best, non-Caucasian woman barrels into my cart riding a fat scooter. She rudely demands from the counter person a single cinnamon bun and then wheels off towards the front. Curious, I follow her up the aisle as she scarfs down the pastry in three bites. She then proceeds to stuff the empty bag between some soda bottles and scooters through the checkout without paying for her item. In the parking lot she then disembarks from her scooter, easily lifts it into the trunk of her Cadillac and walks to the drivers side, gets in and speeds off with her kids, who were in the back seat.
Amazed at what I had just witnessed, I went back into the store, retrieved the empty bag, included it in my few items at checkout and then went to the manager to share this story with him. He laughed and said there was nothing he could do.
The new "American Character" is that of a sense of entitlement and apathy.
I weep for the future.
Having character is not politically correct. Plus there's no need to develop character anymore because there's no jobs requiring any!
Consumption is the ONLY value of the inDUHvidual today.
And the less character they have, the more shit they'll consume to feel fulfilled cause they can't get that from themselves.
clymer Sat, 07/25/2015 - 07:34
Macholatte, i don't think PCR is writing from a point of view that is haughty and contemptful of the American people, per se, but rather from a perspective that is hopeless and thoroughly depressed after contemplating what the American people of many generations ago has taken for themselves as natural rights from a tyrranical government, only to see the nation slowly morph into something even worse than what was rejected by the founders.
"A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within...
He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist."
"The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise. "
"I think that happened August 13, 1971 "
The entirety of the Western Hemisphere, not just 'The United States', was seized by invaders from Europe.
It is not an 'American' disease: it is a European disease and always was.
The indiginous populations of the Western Hemisphere were suystemaically and with forethought expropriated, ensalved, and slaughtered. The indiginous persons that dwelled within the geographical domain that presently comprise the USA were still being margialized, forcibly relocated, and murdered, long after the so-called 'American Civil War' had been decided.
...& As much as it is fashionable and/or politically expedient to vilify and blame the 'white' Europeans both for this history and extenuate that history to inform the present state of affairs, the Dutch, the French, the Portuguese, and the Spanish ( most eggregiously IMHO) were brutal and savage.
Look at the demographics of the Western Hemisphere.
If you have a shred of honesty you just can't hang the blame on 'whites', put it on a bumper sticker or a #shittyhashtagmeme and go back to fucking off.
The disgusting fraud of Manifest Destiny was a fig leaf to hide the enormity of these crimes; but, they are most obviously European crimes.
...& has Europe changed since the West was settled? Did Europeans even stop their warring amonsgst themselves?
See for yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europe
That would be: Hell NO.
Neither in Europe itself, nor in the settled West.
The Pacific Ocean wasn't named for calm waters.
It was named thusly because it is the natural geographic boundary where the mayhem and brutality and genocide ceased, if only because the greedy and ruthless Europeans had run out of land in the Western Hemisphere with people upon it to plunder and murder...
The US will collapse within the next decade if some serious new technology is not developed and the infrastructure to use it is put in. There is too much debt and not enough material resources to continue growing the ponzi scheme that is our monetary system at an exponential rate without something breaking. The question is, will it be at the end of this boom-bust cycle, or the next? And if you look at what is being done on the financial front, which is the backbone of our neo-empire, that is shrinking.
The USD is slowly falling out of favor. There will come a point where that rapidly accelerates. We've been in a state of collapse for 15 years.
ignorance is choice these days and Americans love it.
Not only a choice, but the ONLY choice they are prepared to accept. Cognitive Dissonance at it's finest. And to make matters worse, in only the best American fashion, we've asked if if it can be Supersized to go along with the Freedom Lies we feed ourselves.
I've seen the enemy, and....
But only if I'm willing to look in the mirror. Today's American doesn't look for what's right there in front of him/her, we look for all the new 'Social Norms' that we aren't living up to. This article is completely on target, and I hope Roberts hasn't decided to do any remodeling, cause too many idle nails guns make for a great Evening News sidebar mention.
Damnit all to hell.
Fun Facts's picture
- protocol #1 - Take control of the media and use it in propaganda for our plans
- protocol #2 - Start fights between different races, classes and religions
- ... ... ...
- protocol #13 - Use our media to create entertaining distractions
- protocol #14 - Corrupt minds with filth and perversion
- protocol #15 - Encourage people to spy on one another
We educators began seeing this shift towards "me-ism" around 1995-6. Students from low to middle income families became either apathetic towards "education" or followed their parent's sense of "entitlement." Simultaneously, the tech age captured both population's attention. Respecting "an education" dwindled.
Fast forward to the present: following the 2007-8 crash, we noted clear divisions between low income vs middle/upper class students based on their school behavior. Low to slightly middle income students brought to school family tensions and the turmoil of parents losing their jobs. A rise in non-functioning students increase for teachers while the few well performing students decline significantly.
Significant societal, financial shifts in America can always be observed in the student population.
"When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility."
- Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, 1985
"The American people have been scientifically mis-educated".
You've got the answer there. The education system is the root cause of the problem. I'm from Europe, but if I've understood correctly, the US education policy is to teach as little as possible to children, and expect them to fill in the gaps in the Universities, past a certain age.
Only, it can't work. Children WILL learn, as childhood is the time when most informations are stored. If the schools don't provide the knowledge, they will get it from the television, movies or games, with the consequences we can see: ignorance, obsession with TV and movies stars, inability to differentiate life from movies, and over-simplistic reasoning (if any).
In Europe, we knew full well children learn fast and a lot, and that was why the schools focused on teaching them as much general knowldge as possible before 18 years old, which is when - it is scientifically proved - the human brain learns best.
Recently, the EU leading countries have understood that having educated masses doesn't pay if you want to lead them like sheep, so they are perfidiously trying to lower the standards... to the dismay of parents.
My advice, if I may presume to give any, would be to you USA people: teach your children what they won't learn at school, history, geography, literature (US, European and even Asian, why not), a foreign language if you can, arts, music, etc; and keep them away from the TV, movies and games.
And please adapt what you teach them to their age.
Bang on! One anecdotal example: insisting that all 3rd graders use calculators "to learn" their multiplication tables. If I didn't do flashcards at home with my kids they wouldn't know them. As somebody who majored in engineering and took many many advanced math courses, I always felt that knowing your 'times tables' was essential to being successful in math.
What better way to dumb down otherwise intelligent children by creating a situation where the kid can't divide 32 by 4 without a calculator. Trigonometry? Calculus? Linear Algebra? Fuggedaboudit.
The CB's and MIC have Americans right where they want them. the consequences of 3-4 generations of force feeding Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny
Some of US were never fucking asleep. Some of us were born with our eyes and minds open. We were, and are: hated, and reviled, and marginalized, and disowned for it. The intellectual repression was, and is, fucking insane and brutal. Words such as ethics and logic exist for what purpose? What are these expressions of? A bygone time? Abstractions?
Those that have tried to preserve their self awareness, empathy, and rationality have been ruthlessly systematically demeaned and condemed for confronting our families, our culture and institutions. We all have a right to be angry and disgusted and distrustful of the people and institutions around us. I am very fucking angry, and disgusted, and distrustful of the people and institutions around me.
But I still have hope. Nothing lasts forever.. This self-righteous nation called The United States, this twisted fraud of a culture called America, is most dangerously overdue for receipt of chastisment and retribution. It would be best if the citizenry of the United States taught themselves a lesson in stead of inviting Other nations and cultures to educate them.
A serious self education may be tedious and imperfect; but, it would be far far cheaper than forcing someone to come all the way over those oceans to educate Americans at the price they will be demanding for those lessons...
I do not require representation. I will speak my own mind and act of my own accord.
Every time other so-called Americans take a shit on me for thinking and speaking and acting differently it is a badge of honor and a confirmation of my spiritual and intellectual liberty. They don't know it but they are all gonna run out of shit before I run out of being free.
"The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise. "
"I think that happened August 13, 1971 "
The entirety of the Western Hemisphere, not just 'The United States', was seized by invaders from Europe. It is not an 'American' disease: it is a European disease and always was.
The indiginous populations of the Western Hemisphere were suystemaically and with forethought expropriated, ensalved, and slaughtered. The indiginous persons that dwelled within the geographical domain that presently comprise the USA were still being margialized, forcibly relocated, and murdered, long after the so-called 'American Civil War' had been decided.
...& As much as it is fashionable and/or politically expedient to vilify and blame the 'white' Europeans both for this history and extenuate that history to inform the present state of affairs, the Dutch, the French, the Portuguese, and the Spanish ( most eggregiously IMHO) were brutal and savage.
Look at the demographics of the Western Hemisphere. If you have a shred of honesty you just can't hang the blame on 'whites', put it on a bumper sticker or a #shittyhashtagmeme and go back to fucking off. The disgusting fraud of Manifest Destiny was a fig leaf to hide the enormity of these crimes; but, they are most obviously European crimes....& has Europe changed since the West was settled? Did Europeans even stop their warring amongst themselves?
See for yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europe
That would be: Hell NO. Neither in Europe itself, nor in the settled West. The Pacific Ocean wasn't named for calm waters. It was named thusly because it is the natural geographic boundary where the mayhem and brutality and genocide ceased, if only because the greedy and ruthless Europeans had run out of land in the Western Hemisphere with people upon it to plunder and murder...
"The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise."
I agree with the first part. As for the latter, "government," by definition, is a criminal enterprise. It doesn't start out pure as the driven snow and then change into something nefarious over time. Its very essence requires the initiation of violence or its threat. Government without the gun in the ribs is a contradiction.
The fact that those in power got more votes than the losing criminals does not magically morph these people into paragons of virtue. They are almost without exception thoroughly deranged human beings. Lying is second nature to them. Looting is part of the job description. Killing is an end to their means: the acquisition and aggrandizement of power over others, no matter how much death and destruction results.
These people are sick bastards. To expect something virtuous from them after an endless string of wanton slaughter, theft and abuse, is simply wishful thinking.
I agree with Paul Craig Roberts. He asks "Why" and "How." Well, Paul, here is my answer. Decades of Public Education and over 50 years of mass media monopoly. In an age where FOX is the top rated News station and CNN is considered liberal? Where kids in Public school are offered Chocolate milk and frozen pizza for school breakfast before going to class rooms with 30-40 kids. When Texas political appointees chose school text book content for the nation? A nation where service has ended, replaced with volunteer soldiers signing up for pay and benefits, instead of just serving as service, like we did in the 70's?
Paul Craig Roberts points out the police war against the people. That comes right from the very top, orders filter down to street cops. Street Cops are recruited from groups of young men our fathers generation would have labeled mental! But now they are hired across the board, shaved heads, tatoos, and a code of silence and Cops Above Justice.
- Crazed Cops
- And a corporate owned government.
The people have allowed the elites to rule in their place, never bothering to question the two fake candidates we are allowed to vote for.
There is a difference between IGNORANCE and STUPIDITY. As Ron White said, "YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID". In todays information age, ignorance is a choice.
Part of the problem that no one is talking about or addressing is the population explosion. And it's not linear. Those who are the least educated, fully dependent others for their survival (welfare), the most complacent, and often with violent criminal records are breeding the fastest.
Evolution is not guaranteed. It can be argued that the apathy we experience today is a sign of the human race de-evolving. It takes a certain amount of cognitive ability to observe and question what is going on.
Further, the society we have created where "60 is the new 40" creates very little time to pay attention to what is going on in the world. Many people rely on mainstream media which is not really news any more. When six corporations control more than 90% of the news, it's the message of the corporate elite that we are fed. This becomes painfully obvious when you start turning to other sources for information like social media and independent news. Mainstream media today is full of opinion bias - injecting opinion as though it were fact. They also appeal to the lowest commmon denominator by focusing on emotionally charged topics and words rather than boring facts. Finally, the mainstream media is extremely guilty of propaganda by omission, ignoring important events altogether or only presenting one side of the story as is being done with regard to ISIS, Syria, and Ukraine today. People who watch the mainstream media have no idea that the US played a significant role in arming ISIS and aided in their rise to power. They have no idea that it was likely ISIS that used chemical weapons in Syria. They have no idea that the US has propped up real life neo nazis in high government positions in Ukraine. And they have ignored the continuing Fukushima disaster that is STILL dumping millions of gallons of radioactive water into the ocean every single day.
To sum up, democracies only work when people pay attention and participate. People are either too stupid, too overworked, are are looking to the wrong sources for information.
Until we break up mainstream media, remove incentives for those who cannot even care for themselves to stop breeding, and make fundamental changes to our society that affords people the time to focus on what is happening in the world, it will only get worse.
A dying empire is like a wounded, cornered animal.
It will lash out uncontrollably and without remorse in a futile effort to save itself from certain death.
The problem is that we have no "Constitution." That is a fable. The constitution of the separation of powers has been undermined from almost day one. Witness the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.
In the centuries since then, there has been no "separation of powers." Marbury v Madison (1803) gave the Supreme Court the right to "decide" what the "law" was. Although, only in the 20th century did the "Supreme" court really start "legislating" from the bench.
We're just peons to the Overall Federal Power; the three "separate" parts of the federal government have been in collusion from the first. But like all empires, this one is in the final stage of collapse; it has just gotten too big.
Yes sir. Globalization has failed us. The infinite growth paradigm has failed us, as we knew it would. Castro's Cuba, based in a localized agrarian economy, is looking pretty good about now. Localization is the only way back to sustainability.
Books? Who said books? You mean reading books? Let me throw a couple out there: I read 'The Image: A Guide To Pseudo-Events In America' last year, it was published 50+ years ago by a very recommended writer and accomplished historian. Boorstin's observations are truer today and even more concerning thanks to our modern, ubiquitous "connectivity". http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/159979.The_Image
Another by Boorstin, The Discoverers was my fav, like Bryson's 'Short History' on steroids:
I'm currently trying to fathom all of the historical implications of the claims Menzies is making in his book '1434', where apparently everything I learned about history is a lie. While he's making a lot of claims(hoping some sticks?) I'm not truly convinced. It is a very good, believable thought experiment. It almost makes perfect sense given the anglo/euro history of deceit & dishonesty, but I digress:
This one took a long time to grok, Dr Mandelbrot tried to warn us:
Benoit's friend & protege tried to warn us too:
Put them together and you get the financial meltdown's 'Don't say we didn't warn you' manifesto from 2006(not a book, but a compelling read):
OK, I'm tired. Time to unplug.
Adorno famously pointed out in 1940 that the "Mass culture is psychoanalysis in reverse." It takes 75 years for someone such as PCR to reiterate. He doesn't blame the masses because he simply points out the fact that Americans are completely ignorant and blindly believe anything MSM spoon-fed to them.
George Orwell once remarked that the average person today is about as naive as was the average person in the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages people believed in the authority of their religion, no matter what. Today, we believe in the authority of what Adorno called Culture Industry and MSM, no matter what. Today we are indeed in another Dark Age
"Americans" are not one person. Individuals are not fungible. Reasoning from the "average American" leads to false conclusions.
Jacques Derrida says, "The individualism of technological civilization relies precisely on a misunderstanding of the unique self. It is the individualism of a role and not of a person. In other words it might be called the individualism of a masque or persona, a character [personnage] and not a person." There are many Americans but they all play the same role in the Pursuit of Happiness, aka wage slaves, career slaves, debt slaves, information junkies, and passive consumers.
Paul Craig Roberts believe that the people are capable of creating a better and more just society. Instead the people have voted against their own best interest and overwhelmingly believe the propaganda.
When do the people or the society take responsibility for its greater good or own the crimes of those they put into power?
Blaming the aristocracy or the oligarchs seems like a scapegoat when the people have never stood up to the corruption in a cohesive or concerted way. imho, After a few generations of abuse and corruption the people need to take responsibility for their future. I expect that most will just buy into the charade and live the lie, on that basis as a society we are doomed to live in a corporatocracy fascist state.
Aldous Huxley called it a scientific dictatorship, Edward Bernays referred to us as a herd.
In the USA being white, monied and having the capacity to afford a good education is privileged. To his credit he speaks to the greater population, the 'average citizen' and not the plutocratic class.
What we have is the result of conditioning and commoditizing a population. The country is filled with consumers, not citizens. Teach the acquisition of money and goods as the main goal and individualism as the only acceptable social unit. We end up with a nation of insatiable sociopaths, ruled by power-hungry psychopaths.
Divisive politics, jackbooted authority from the DC scumpond down to the cop on the beat, the constant preaching of the cult of the individual as a sustitute for true liberty... all of these have served to destroy a sense of community and decentness between Americans.
The ONLY thing that could threaten the ruling class is a banding together of the people - in large numbers. 'They' have purposefully and effectively quashed that.
Shifting responsibility to the usual suspects is simply a manifestation of the American moral collapse. Man up and do some self evaluation.
"what I have noticed for many years is that the American people have lost, in addition to their own sense of truth and falsity, any sense of mercy and justice for other peoples"
Unfortunately, Paul, the American people have lost any sense of mercy and justice for their own people.
Painful as it may be, we need to rationally look at US history/society. The nascent US was formed by stealing land from the native population and using human capital (read African Slaves) to generate wealth (it took a civil war with circa 500K casualties to stop this- one could argue the US "civil war" never ended). More recently, the US has been almost continuously at war since 1940, we dropped atomic bombs on Japan. Currently, the US/NATO war theater extends from the Levant, to Caspian Basin, Persian Gulf, China Sea, Indian Ocean, Horn of Africa (Saudi/US war on Yemen), the Maghreb and E Europe and Russian Border.
"... the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise ..."
Governments were created by the history of warfare, which was always organized crime developing on larger and larger scales. In the context, the greater problem is that people like Paul Craig Roberts are reactionary revolutionaries, who provide relatively good analysis, followed by bogus "solutions" based upon impossible ideals.
The "American People" are the victims of the best scientific brainwashing that money could buy. As Cognitive Dissonance has previously stated on Zero Hedge: "The absolute best controlled opposition is one that doesn't know they are controlled."
It is practically impossible to exaggerate the degree to which that is so, on such profound levels, because of the ways that most people want to continue to believe that false fundamental dichotomies and impossible ideals are valid, and should be applied to their problems, despite that those mistaken ideas cause the opposite to happen in the real world, because those who promote those kinds of false fundamental dichotomies and their related impossible ideals, ARE "controlled opposition."
Rather, the place to begin would be by recognizing that all human beings and civilizations must necessarily operate as entropic pumps of energy flows, which necessarily are systems of organized lies operating robberies. Everyone has some power to rob, and power to kill to back that up. Governments assembled and channeled those powers. There was never a time when governments were not organized crime. There could never be any time when governments were not organized crime. The only things that exist are the dynamic equilibria between different systems of organized lies operating robberies. Those dynamic equilibria have become extremely unbalanced due the degree that the best organized gangs of criminals were able to control their opposition.
Paul Craig Roberts, as well as pretty well all of the rest of the content published on Zero Hedge, are presentations of various kinds of controlled opposition groups, most of which do not recognize that they are being controlled by the language that they use, and the philosophy of science that they take for granted. THAT is the greatest failure of the American People, as well as most of the rest of the people everywhere else. They believe in false fundamental dichotomies, and the related impossible ideals, and therefore, their bogus "solutions" always necessarily backfire badly, and cause the opposite to happen in the real world.
After all, the overwhelming vast majority of the American People operate as the controlled opposition to the best organized gangs of criminals that most control the government of the USA. Therefore, the FAILURES of the American People are far more profound and problematic than what is superficially presented by guys like Paul Craig Roberts, and also, of course, his suggested bogus "solutions" are similarly superficial.
The ONLY things which can actually exist are the dynamic equilibrium between different systems of organized lies operating robberies. The degree to which the American People, as well as most of the rest of the people in the world, FAIL to understand that is the degree to which they enable the best organized gangs of criminals to control them, due to the vast majority of people being members of various controlled opposition groups. Controlled opposition always presents relatively superficial analysis of the political problems, which are superficially correct. However, they then follow that up with similarly superficial "solutions." Therefore, magical words are bandied about, that express their dualities, through false fundamental dichotomies, and the related impossible ideals.
Governments must exist because organized crime must exist. Better governments could be achieved through better organized crime. However, mostly what get presented in the public places are the utter bullshit of the biggest bullies, who dominate the society because they were the best organized gangs of criminals, who were also able to dominate their apparent opposition. Therefore, instead of more realistic, better balancing of the dynamic equilibria between different systems of organized lies operating robberies, we get runaway developments of the best organized gangs of criminals being able to control governments, whose only apparent opposition is controlled to stay within the same bullshit frame of reference regarding everything that was actually happening.
The mainline of the FAILURES of the American People have been the ways that the international bankers were able to recapture control over the American public "money" supply. After that, everything else was leveraged up, through the funding of the political processes, schools, and mass media, etc., being more and more dominated by that fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting system. Of course, that FAILURE has now become more than 99% ... Therefore, no political possible ways appear to exist to pull out of that flaming spiral nose dive, since we have already gone beyond the event horizon into that social black hole.
Most of the content on Zero Hedge which is based upon recognizing that set of problems still acts as controlled opposition in that regard too. Therefore, the bogus "solutions" here continue to deliberately ignore that money is necessarily measurement backed by murder. Instead of accepting that, the controlled opposition groups like to promote various kinds of "monetary reforms." However, meanwhile, we are actually already headed towards the established debt slavery systems having generated debt insanities, which are going to provoke death insanities.
In that context, the only realistic resolutions to the real problems would necessarily have to be monetary revolutions, that may emerge out of the future situations, after the runaway debt insanities have provoked death insanities. Indeed, the only genuine solutions to the problems are to develop different death control systems, to back up different debt control systems, which must necessarily be done within the context that governments are the biggest forms of organized crime, controlled by the best organized gangs of criminals.
The various controlled opposition groups do not want to face those social facts. Rather, they continue to want to believe in the dualities expressed as false fundamental dichotomies and the related impossible ideals, which is their greatest overall FAILURE. In my view, the article above by Roberts contained a lot of nostalgic nonsense. There was never a time when there were any governments which were not based on the applications of the principles and methods of organized crime, and there could never be any time in the future when that could be stopped from being the case.
The greatest FAILURE of the American People, as well as most of the rest of the world's people, has been to become so brainwashed to believe in the biggest bullies' bullshit world view, that there is no significant opposition that is not controlled by thinking inside of the box of that bullshit. The government did NOT transform into a criminal enterprise. The government was necessarily ALWAYS a criminal enterprise. That criminal enterprise has become more and more severely UNBALANCED due to the FAILURE of the people to understand that they were actually members of an organized crime gang, called their country. Instead, they were more and more scientifically brainwashed to believe in bullshit about everything, including their country.
The ONLY connection between human laws and the laws of nature is the ability to back up lies with violence. The development of the government of the USA has been the developed of integrated systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence. Those systems of ENFORCED FRAUDS have been able to become more extremely unbalanced because there is almost nothing which is publicly significant surrounding that core of organized crime but various controlled opposition groups.
Of course, it seems politically impossible for my recommendations to actually happen within the foreseeable future, as the current systems of debt slavery drive through debt insanities to become death insanities, but nevertheless, the only theoretically valid ideas to raise to respond to the real problems would have to based upon a series of intellectual scientific revolutions. However, since we have apparently run out of time to go through those sorts of paradigm shifts sufficiently, we are stuck in the deepening ruts of political problems which guys like Roberts correctly present to be the case
... HOWEVER, ROBERTS, LIKE ALMOST EVERYONE ELSE, CONTINUE TO PRESUME UPON DUALITIES, AND THEREFORE, HAVE THEIR MECHANISMS REGARDING "SOLUTIONS" ABSURDLY BACKWARDS.
Rather, we should start with the concept of SUBTRACTION, which then leads to robbery. We should start with the recognition that governments are necessarily, by definition, the biggest forms of organized crime. Governments did NOT transform into being that. Governments were always that. The political problems we have now are due to the best organized gangs of criminals, which currently are primarily the biggest gangsters, which can rightly be referred to as the banksters, having dominated all aspects of the funding of politics, enough to capture control over all sociopolitical institutions, so that the American People would more and more be subjected to the best scientific brainwashing that money could buy, which was built on top of thousands of years of previous history of Neolithic Civilizations being based on backing up lies with violence.
The runaway systems of ENFORCED FRAUDS, or the integrated systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, that more and more dominate the lives of the American People are due to the applications of the methods of organized crime, and could not be effectively counter-balanced in any other ways. However, the standing social situation is that there is no publicly significant opposition that is not controlled to stay within the same frame of reference of the biggest bullies, which is now primarily the frame of reference of the banksters. Indeed, to the degree to which people's lives are controlled by the monetary system, they are debt slaves. Moreover, the degree to which they do not understand, and do not want to understand, that money is necessarily measurement backed by murder, then they think like controlled opposition groups, who have their mechanisms absurdly backwards, when they turn from their superficial analysis of what the political problems, to then promote their superficial solutions of those problems.
I AGREE that "Americans need to face the facts." However, those facts are that citizens are members of an organized crime gang, called their country. "Their" country is currently controlled by the best organized gangs of criminals. However, there are no genuine resolutions for those problems other than to develop better organized crime. Since the controlled opposition groups that are publicly significant do not admit any of the deeper levels of the scientific facts regarding human beings and civilizations operating as entropic pumps of energy flows, but rather, continue to perceive all of that in the most absurdly backward ways possible, the current dynamic equilibria between the different systems of organized lies operating robberies continue to become more and more extremely UNBALANCED.
In the case of the article above, Roberts does NOT "face the facts" that governments were always forms of organized crime, and must necessarily be so, because human beings must live as entropic pumps of energy flows. Rather, Roberts tends to illustrate how the controlled opposition takes for granted certain magical words and phrases, such as "Liberty" or "Constitution," that have no adequate operational definitions to connect them to the material world.
We are living inside of an oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, which has applied the progress in science primarily to become better at backing up lies with violence, while refusing to allow scientific methods to admit and address how and why that has been what has actually happened. Therefore, almost all of the language that we use to communicate, as well as almost all of the philosophy of science that we take for granted, was based on the biggest bullies' bullshit, which is now primarily manifested as the banksters' bullshit, as that bullshit developed in America to become ENFORCED FRAUDS.
ALL of the various churches, corporations, and countries are necessarily various systems of organized lies operating robberies. Those which are the biggest now were historically the ones that were the best at doing that. The INTENSE PARADOXES are due to human systems necessarily being organized lies operating robberies, wherein the greatest social successfulness has been achieved by those who were the best professional liars and immaculate hypocrites. That flows throughout ALL of the established systems, which are a core of organized crime, surrounded by controlled opposition groups.
The degree to which the American People, as well as the rest of the world's people, have been more and more scientifically brainwashed to believe in bullshit about governments in particular, and human beings and civilizations in general, is the degree to which the established systems based upon ENFORCED FRAUDS are headed towards some series of psychotic breakdowns. For all practical purposes, it is politically impossible to get enough people to stop acting like incompetent political idiots, and instead start acting more like competent citizens, because they do not understand, and moreover have been conditioned to not want to understand that governments are necessarily organized crime.
Roberts ironically illustrated the deeper nature of the political problems that he also shares, when he perceives that governments have somehow transformed into being criminal enterprise, when governments were always necessarily criminal enterprises. Similarly, with those who recognize that, but then promote the impossible solutions based upon somehow stopping that from being the case, which is as absurdly backwards as stopping human beings from operating as entropic pumps of energy flows, which then also presumes that it would be possible to stop human civilizations from being entropic pumps of energy flows.
Rather, the deeper sorts of intellectual scientific revolutions that we should go through require becoming much more critical of the language that we use to communicate with, and more critical about the philosophy of science that we presumed was correct. Actually, we were collectively brainwashed to believe in the biggest bullies' bullshit, which is as absurdly backwards as it could possibly be. However, due to the collective FAILURES of people to understand that, as reflected by the ways that the core of organized crime is surrounded by nothing which is publicly significant than layers of controlled opposition, there are no reasonable ways to doubt that the established debt slavery systems will continue to drive even worse debt insanities, which will provoke much worse death insanities. Therefore, to be more realistic about the foreseeable future, the development of new death control systems will emerge out of the context of crazy collapses into chaos, wherein the runaway death insanities provide the possible opportunities for new death controls to emerge out of that situation.
Of course, the about 99% FAILURE of the American People to want to understand anything that I have outlined above indicates that the foreseeable future for subsequent generations shall not too likely be catalyzed transformations towards enough people better understanding their political problems, in order to better resolve those problems. Rather, what I mostly expect is for the psychotic breakdowns of the previous systems of ENFORCED FRAUDS to give opportunities to some possible groups of controlled opposition to take advantage of that, to perhaps emerge as the new version of professional liars and immaculate hypocrites, who will be able to operate some new version of organized lies, operating robberies, who may mostly still get away with being some modified versions of still oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, due to social success still being based upon the best available professional liars and immaculate hypocrites, who were able to survive through those transformations, so that the new systems arise from some of the seeds of the old systems.
At the present time, it is extremely difficult to imagine how the human species could possibly reconcile progress in physical science by surpassing that with progress in political science. Rather, what mostly exists now is the core of organized crime, which gets away with spouting the bullshit about itself, such as how the banksters dominate the mass media, and the lives of everyone else who depend upon the established monetary system (which is dominated by the current ways that governments ENFORCE FRAUDS by privately controlled banks), while that core of organized crime has no publicly significant opposition that is not controlled by the ways that they think, which ways stay within the basic bullshit world view, as promoted by the biggest bullies for thousands of years, and as more and more scientifically promoted to brainwash the vast majority of people to believe in that kind of bullshit so completely that it mostly does not occur to them that they are doing that, and certainly almost never occurs to them that they are doing that in the most profoundly absurd and backward ways possible.
That is how and why it is possible for an author like Roberts to correctly point out the ways in which the government of the USA is transforming into being more blatantly based on organized crime ... HOWEVER, Roberts is not willing and able to go through deeper levels of intellectual scientific revolutions, in order to recognize how and why governments were always necessarily manifestations of organized crime. Therefore, as is typically the case, Roberts does not recognize how ironically he recommends that Americans should "face the facts," while he himself does not fully do so.
The whole history of Neolithic Civilizations was social pyramid systems based on being able to back up lies with violence, becoming more sophisticated systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, which currently manifest as the globalized electronic frauds of the banksters, were are backed up by the governments (that those banksters effectively control) having atomic bombs. Those are the astronomically amplified magnitudes of the currently existing combined money/murder systems. Therefore, it appears to be politically impossible at the present time to develop better governments, due to the degree that almost everyone is either a member of the core groups of organized crime, or members of the surrounding layers of groups of controlled opposition, both of which want to stay within the same overall bullshit frame of reference, because, so far, their lives have been socially successful by being professional liars and immaculate hypocrites.
Ironically, I doubt that someone like Roberts, or pretty well everyone else whose material is published on Zero Hedge is able and willing to recognize the degree to which they are actually controlled opposition. Indeed, even more ironically, as I have repeated before, even Cognitive Dissonance, when he previously stated on Zero Hedge: "The absolute best controlled opposition is one that doesn't know they are controlled." DOES NOT "GET IT" regarding the degree to which he too is controlled opposition, even while superficially attempting to recognize and struggle with that situation. (Indeed, of course, that includes me too, since I am still communicating using the English language, which was the natural language that most developed to express the biggest bullies' bullshit world view.)
Overall, I REPEAT, the deeper problems are due to progress in physical science, NOT being surpassed by progress in political science. Instead, while there EXIST globalized electronic frauds, backed by atomic bombs, practically nothing regarding the ways of thinking that made that science and those technologies possible has found any significant expression through political science, because political science would have to go through even more profound paradigm shifts within itself in order to do that.
The INTENSE PARADOXES continue to be the manifestation of the oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, that deliberately refuses to become any more genuinely scientific about itself. Therefore, the banksters have been able to pay for the best scientific brainwashing that money could buy, for generation after generation, in order to more and more brainwash most of the American People to believe in the banksters' bullshit world view. While there exist electronic frauds, backed by atomic bombs, practically nothing regarding the physical science paradigm shifts that made that possible have even the slightest degree of public appreciation within the realms of politics today, which are almost totally dominated by the biggest bullies' bullshit world view, despite that being as absurdly backwards as possible, while the controlled opposition groups, mostly in the form of old-fashioned religions and ideologies, continue to stay within that same bullshit world view, and adamantly refuse to change their perceptual paradigms regarding political problems.
However, I REPEAT, the issues we face are NOT that governments have transformed to become criminal enterprises, but that governments were always necessarily criminal enterprises, which had the power to legalized their own lies, and then back those lies up with legalized violence. Thereby, the best organized criminals, the international bankers, as the biggest gangsters, or the banksters, were able to apply the methods of organized crime through the political processes. Meanwhile, the only "opposition" that was allowed to be publicly significant was controlled, to basically stay within the same bullshit world view, which is what Roberts has done in his series of articles, as well as what is almost always presented in the content published on Zero Hedge.
The NEXT LEVEL of "the need to face the facts" is to recognize that the political economy is based upon ENFORCED FRAUDS, or systems of debt slavery backed by wars based on deceits. However, the NEXT LEVEL "the need to face the facts" is the that the only possible changes are to change the dynamic equilibria between the different systems of organized lies operating robberies, i.e., change those ENFORCED FRAUDS, in ways which CAN NOT STOP THOSE FROM STILL BEING ENFORCED FRAUDS, because of the degree to which money is necessarily measurement backed by murder.
For the American People, as well as the rest of the world's people, to stop being such dismal FAILURES would require them to become more competent citizens. However, at the present time they appear to be totally unable to do that, because they are unwilling to go through the profound paradigm shifts that it would take them to become more competent citizens inside of world where there exist globalized electronic frauds, backed by atomic bombs. The vast majority of the American People would not like to go through the severe cognitive dissonance that would be required, to not only recognize that "their" government was a criminal enterprise, but that it also must be, and that they too must necessarily be members of that organized crime gang. However, without that degree of perceptual paradigm shifts of the political problems, then enough of the American People could not become more competent citizens.
Somehow, most people continue to count on themselves never having to think about how and why progress was achieved in physical science, by going through series of profound paradigm shifts in the ways that we perceived the world. Most people continue to presume that it is not necessary for their perception of politics to go through profound paradigm shifts, that surpass those which have already been achieved in physical science. We continue to live in an oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, that employs science and technology to become better at being dishonest and violent, but does not apply science and technology to "face the facts" about that scientific dictatorship as a whole.
At the present time, technologies which have become trillions of times more capable and powerful are primarily used as special effects within the context of repeating the same old-fashioned, stupid social stories, such as promoted by the biggest bullies, and their surrounding controlled opposition groups. Ironically, especially when it comes to politics, that tends to manifest the most atavistic throwbacks to old-fashioned religions and ideologies being relied upon to propose bogus "solutions," despite that those kinds of social stories adamantly refuse to change their paradigms in light of the profound paradigms shifts which have been achieved in physical science.
The article above was another illustration of the ways that the typical reactionary revolutionaries, Black Sheeple, or controlled opposition groups, respond to recognizing the more and more blatant degrees to which there has been an accelerating "transformation of government into a criminal enterprise." THE PROBLEM IS THAT THEY CONTINUE TO STAY WITHIN THE SAME OLD-FASHIONED BULLSHIT-BASED FRAME OF REFERENCE, INSTEAD, AROUND AND AROUND WE GO, STUCK IN THE SAME DEEPENING RUTS, since they do NOT more fully "face the facts" regarding how and why the only realistic solutions to the real problems would require developing better organized crime. INSTEAD, they continue to promote the same dualities based upon false fundamental dichotomies, and the associate bogus "solutions" based upon impossible ideals ...
Given that overall situation, that there there almost nothing which is publicly significant than the core of organized crime, surrounded by controlled opposition groups, I see no reasonable hopes for the foreseeable material future of a civilization controlled by ENFORCED FRAUDS, since there is no publicly possible ways to develop better dynamic equilibria between the different systems of organized lies operating robberies, since the biggest forms of doing that were most able to get away with pretending that they are not doing that, which was facilitated by their controlled opposition promoting the opinions that nobody should do that, while actually everyone must be doing that.
Roberts' article above, to me, was another typical example of superficially correct analysis, which implies some bogus "solutions" because those are based upon the same superficiality. It is NOT good enough to recognize "transformation of government into a criminal enterprise," unless one goes through deeper levels of analysis regarding how and why that is what actually exists, and then, one should continue to be consistent with that deeper analysis when one turns to proposing genuine solutions to those problems, namely, I REPEAT THAT the only realistic resolutions to the real political problems requires the transformation of government into a better organized criminal enterprise, which ideally should be based upon enough citizens who are competent enough to understand that they are members of an organized crime gang, which should assert themselves to make sure that their country becomes better organized crime.
Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com
When Russians Were Americanophiles Anatoly Karlin December 18, 2017 700 Words 298 Comments Reply
At the tail end of the Cold War, there was an incredible atmosphere of Americanophilia throughout the USSR, including amongst Russians.
Blue – approve of USA; orange – disapprove.
Around 75%-80% of Russians approved of the United States around 1990, versus <10% disapproval.
By modern standards , this would have put Russia into the top leagues of America fans , such as Poland, Israel, and the United Kingdom. It was also around 10%-15% points higher than contemporary US approval of Russia.
The blogger genby dug up a VCIOM poll from 1990 asking Russians – that is, Russians within the RSFSR, i.e. the territory of the modern day Russian Federation – what they thought about Americans.
The poll was redone in 2015, keeping the same questions, which allows a direct comparison between the two dates.
What in your opinion characterizes the United States? 1990 2015 High criminality and moral degradation 1 15 No warmth in people's relations 1 15 High living standards 35 12 Large gap between rich and poor 5 11 Racial discrimination 1 9 Highly developed science and technology 15 7 Success depends on personal effort 20 7 Free society 13 5 Other . 6 Can't say for sure 10 12
I would wager Russian opinions on America were more positive c.1990 than the opinions of the average American on his own country today!
Is US government friendly or hostile to Russia? 1990 2015 Friendly 35 3 Not very friendly 40 32 Hostile 2 59 Can't say 23 6
These results speak for themselves and hardly need more commentary.
Nowadays, of course, things are rather different. Suffice to say the numbers of America fans have plummeted, while the percentage of Russians with actively negative views emerged essentially out of nowhere to constitute majority opinion.
According to other polls, Russian approval of the US rarely breaks above 30% , and the sentiments are quite mutual . Just 1% (that's one percent) of Russians approved of US leadership by 2016 . Although there were hopes that this trend would turn around after Trump, which seemed plausible in early 2017 and indeed seemed to be happening , this was in the end not to be.
What I think is more significant is that nobody likes to talk about it now, because it reflects badly on pretty much everyone.
Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy in exchange for jeans and "common human values."
These figures testify to the complete and utter failure of Soviet propaganda, which spent decades spinning tales about American criminality, unemployment, and lynched Negroes only to end up with a society with some of the most Americanophile sentiments in the entire world.
It also makes it much harder to scapegoat Gorbachev, or the mythical saboteurs and CIA agents in power that feature prominently in sovok conspiracy theories, for unraveling the Soviet Union, when ordinary Soviets themselves considered America the next best thing since Lenin and the US government to be their friend.
For their part, Americans would have to acknowledge that Russians do not have a kneejerk hatred of America, and that the "loss of Russia" was largely of their own doing.
The arrogant refusal to take into account Russian interests after the Cold War, instead bombing their allies, expanding NATO to Russian borders in contravention of verbal commitments made to the USSR, and for all intents and purposes treating it as a defeated Power, may have made sense when it seemed that the US would be the world's dominant hyperpower for the foreseeable future and Russia was doomed to die anyway – as was conventional wisdom by the late 1990s. And from a purely Realpolitik perspective, the results have hardly been catastrophic; the US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, tied up further European integration into an Atlantic framework, and closed off the possibility of the "Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok" envisaged by Charles de Gaulle. On the other hand, in a world where China is fast becoming a peer competitor – with the implicit backing of a resentful Russia – this may, in retrospect, not have been the best long-term play.
Anon , Disclaimer December 18, 2017 at 2:10 pm GMTWell, this Americanophobia plays well for Americans, who afford a new arms race. Yes, you may think that America is deep in debt, but its creditors see it as an investment. When the Exxons of the West will milk the Siberian mineral riches, America will pay everything back. The alternative, a world where they would invest in Rosneft in order to get a share of the plunder of, idk, Gulf of Mexico, is silly. As we saw in the 80′s, the best form of war against Russia is not to bomb and starve Moscow. That won't scare the locals. Let Kremlin do it instead.Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm GMT
If Putin is not careful, if he doesn't go low tech, low cost, the Americans will win the long game.Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy in exchange for jeans and "common human values."Randal , December 18, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT
Your 'empire' fell to pieces as rapidly as the Hapsburgs' in 1918 and you had to expend handsome sums in an attempt just to hold onto Chechenya (populaiton 1.1 million). You have 150 million people as is and can do without having to stomp on recalcitrant minorities and to craft institutions which function in multilingual environments. You never had much of a constituency in Austria for attempting to reassemble the Hapsburg dominions and Hungary's ambitions haven't in the last century gone beyond attempting to capture Magyar exclaves.
Look at the other principals in the 1st world war: overseas dependencies retained by them consist of a portfolio of insular territories which prefer their current status and whose total population hardly exceeds that of Switzerland. The only one which has retained contiguous peripheral provinces predominantly populated by minorities would be Turkey. You're not injured for the loss of an opportunity to replicate the Turkish experience with ethnic cleansing (of Greeks and Armenians) conjoined to abuse (of Kurds). Everyone lost their empire, and they're not generally the worse for it.
You have a large national state. Kvetching that you don't have Azerbaijan or Estonia is inconsistent with good sense.Randal , December 18, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT
Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making
What's remarkable to me about that graph of opinion over time is how pig-headedly resilient Russian naivety about the US has been. Time after time it appears the scales would fall from Russians' eyes after the US regime disgraced itself particularly egregiously (Kosovo, Iraq, Georgia), and within a few months approval would be back up to 50% or above. It took the interference in the Ukraine in 2014 to finally make the truth stick.@Art DecoVerymuchalive , December 18, 2017 at 3:17 pm GMT
There are no disgraces incorporated into any of these events
That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments, and supporting Georgia was, like NATO expansion in general and numerous other consistently provocative US foreign policy measures directed against post-Soviet Russia, a literally stupid matter of turning a potential ally against the real rival China into an enemy and ally of said rival.
You are perfectly entitled to endorse mere stupidity on the part of your rulers, but the fact that you so shamelessly approve of waging illegal wars counter to treaty commitments discredits any opinions you might have on such matters.inertial , December 18, 2017 at 3:26 pm GMT
Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy
Actually, present Russian borders are more those of Peter the Great, circa 1717, than Old Muscovy. Russia, unlike nearly all the Great Powers of the C20th, has retained its Empire – Siberia, the Russian Far East, Kamchatka, South Russia and the Crimea ( first acquired as recently as 1783 ).
Once those dim-witted Ukies finally implode the Ukrainian economy, Russia will be able to gobble up the rest of southern and eastern Ukraine – all the way to Odessa.
The places that seceded from the Soviet Union are places that Russians don't want ( Northern Kazakhstan excepted ) and are urgently required to receive all those Central Asian immigrants who will be deported by sensible Russian governments in the near future. ( I exclude Armenians from the last clause )Yes, US had squandered a lot of good will in exchange for extremely valuable "geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe."Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 3:35 pm GMT
Incidentally, Soviet propaganda was never anti-American. It was anti-capitalist, an important distinction. Whereas in America, anti-Russian propaganda has always been anti- Russian .Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 4:46 pm GMT
the US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, tied up further European integration into an Atlantic framework,
Washington could get both by integrating and not alienating americanophile Russia.
closed off the possibility of the "Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok" envisaged by Charles de Gaulle.
It also closed off the possibility of an American-led Global North.@Randal That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments,Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 5:01 pm GMT
We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq and both places had it coming.@Art DecoFelix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 5:12 pm GMT
You have a large national state.
Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state . Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.
I don't know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' – an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it's that all the land that's historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.
PS: just because we had trouble holding onto Chechnya doesn't mean that annexing Belarus will be hard. Sure, we can expect blowback in the form of Western sanctions, but I don't anticipate much resistance from inside Belarus.@Art Deco With that kind of thinking I don't see how you can criticise Russia's incursions into the Ukraine. At least Russia has an actual reason to fight a war in the Ukraine. US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever. US interests suffered as a result of its ill-advised aggression, they ended up empowering their avowed enemy – Iran.Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 5:50 pm GMT@Felix Keverich With that kind of thinking I don't see how you can criticise Russia's incursions into the Ukraine. At least Russia has an actual reason to fight a war in the Ukraine.Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 5:58 pm GMT
They dissed you. La di dah. My own countrymen have put up with that from an array of Eurotrash and 3d world kleptocrats every time we open the newspaper.
US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever.
No, we did so because that was the best alternative. The other alternative was a sanctions regime which Big Consciences were assuring the world was causing a six-digit population of excess deaths each year or taking the sanctions off and letting Saddam and the other Tikritis to follow their Id. Iraq was a charnel house, and the world is well rid of the Tikriti regime, especially Iraq's Kurdish and Shia provinces, which have been quiet for a decade. You don't take an interest in the ocean of blood for which the Ba'ath Party was responsible, but you're terribly butthurt that politicians in Kiev don't take orders from Moscow. Felix, I can taste teh Crazy.@Art Deco
Your 'rump state' extends over 6.6 million sq miles and has a population of 152 million.
Exactly, and you're missing the point. Re-read my previous comment again:
I don't know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' – an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it's that all the land that's historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.
Russians know more about these things than you do. The vast majority of us do not regard Belarus and Ukraine as part of "заграница" – foreign countries. Ukrainians and in particular Belorussians are simply variants of us, just like regional differences exist between the Russians in Siberia and Kuban'.
I don't care, because this isn't a popularity contest. There were similar polls in Crimea showing majority support for the EU, just before the peninsula voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia. LOL
The question that matters to me is will there be a vast resistance movement inside Belarus following the annexation, and to be honest I don't expect one.
May 08, 2003 |
Nineteenth-century empires were often led on from one war to another as a result of developments which imperial governments did not plan and domestic populations did not desire. In part this was the result of plotting by individual 'prancing proconsuls', convinced they could gain a reputation at small risk, given the superiority of their armies to any conceivable opposition; but it was also the result of factors inherent in the imperial process.The difference today is that overwhelming military advantage is possessed not by a set of competing Western states, but by one state alone. Other countries may possess elements of the technology, and many states are more warlike than America; but none possesses anything like the ability of the US to integrate these elements (including Intelligence) into an effective whole, and to combine them with weight of firepower, capacity to transport forces over long distances and national bellicosity. The most important question now facing the world is the use the Bush Administration will make of its military dominance, especially in the Middle East. The next question is when and in what form resistance to US domination over the Middle East will arise. That there will be resistance is certain. It would be contrary to every historical precedent to believe that such a quasi-imperial hegemony will not stir up resentment, which sooner or later is bound to find an effective means of expression.
US domination over the Middle East will, for the most part, be exercised indirectly, and will provoke less grievance than direct administration would, but one likely cause of trouble is the 'proletarian colonisation' of Israel – the Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories. Given past experience and the indications now coming from Israel, there is little reason to hope for any fundamental change in Israeli policies. Sharon may eventually withdraw a few settlements – allowing the US Administration and the Israeli lobby to present this as a major concession and sacrifice – but unless there is a tremendous upheaval in both Israeli and US domestic politics, he and his successors are unlikely to offer the Palestinians anything more than tightly controlled bantustans.
Palestinian terrorism, Israeli repression and wider Arab and Muslim resentment seem likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
How long it will be before serious resistance grows is hard to tell. In some 19th-century cases, notably Afghanistan, imperial rule never consolidated itself and was overthrown almost immediately by new revolts. In others, it lasted for decades without involving too much direct repression, and ended only after tremendous social, economic, political and cultural changes had taken place not only in the colonies and dependencies but in the Western imperial countries themselves. Any attempt to predict the future of the Middle East must recognise that the new era which began on 11 September 2001 has not only brought into the open certain latent pathologies in American and British society, culture and politics; it has also fully revealed the complete absence of democratic modernisation, or indeed any modernisation, in all too much of the Muslim world.
The fascination and the horror of the present time is that so many different and potentially disastrous possibilities suggest themselves. The immediate issue is whether the US will attack any other state. Or, to put the question another way: will the US move from hegemony to empire in the Middle East? And if it does, will it continue to march from victory to victory, or will it suffer defeats which will sour American public support for the entire enterprise?
For Britain, the most important question is whether Tony Blair, in his capacity as a senior adviser to President Bush, can help to stop US moves in this direction and, if he fails, whether Britain is prepared to play the only role it is likely to be offered in a US empire: that fulfilled by Nepal in the British Empire – a loyal provider of brave soldiers with special military skills. Will the British accept a situation in which their chief international function is to provide auxiliary cohorts to accompany the Roman legions of the US, with the added disadvantage that British cities, so far from being protected in return by the empire, will be exposed to destruction by 'barbarian' counter-attacks?
As is clear from their public comments, let alone their private conversations, the Neo-Conservatives in America and their allies in Israel would indeed like to see a long-term imperial war against any part of the Muslim world which defies the US and Israel, with ideological justification provided by the American mission civilisatrice – 'democratisation'. In the words of the Israeli Major-General Ya'akov Amidror, writing in April under the auspices of the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, 'Iraq is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is the Middle East, the Arab world and the Muslim world. Iraq will be the first step in this direction; winning the war against terrorism means structurally changing the entire area.' The Neo-Con model is the struggle against 'Communism', which they are convinced was won by the Reaganite conflation of military toughness and ideological crusading. The ultimate goal here would be world hegemony by means of absolute military superiority.
The Neo-Cons may be deluding themselves, however. It may well be that, as many US officials say in private, Bush's new national security strategy is 'a doctrine for one case only' – namely Iraq. Those who take this position can point to the unwillingness of most Americans to see themselves in imperial terms, coupled with their powerful aversion to foreign entanglements, commitments and sacrifices. The Bush Administration may have made menacing statements about Syria, but it has also assured the American people that the US military occupation of Iraq will last 18 months at the very most. Furthermore, if the economy continues to falter, it is still possible that Bush will be ejected from office in next year's elections. Should this happen, some of the US's imperial tendencies will no doubt remain in place – scholars as different as Andrew Bacevich and Walter Russell Mead have stressed the continuity in this regard from Bush through Clinton to Bush, and indeed throughout US history. However, without the specific configuration of hardline elements empowered by the Bush Administration, American ambitions would probably take on a less megalomaniac and frightening aspect.
In this analysis, both the grotesque public optimism of the Neo-Con rhetoric about democratisation and its exaggeration of threats to the US stem from the fact that it takes a lot to stir ordinary Americans out of their customary apathy with regard to international affairs. While it is true that an element of democratic messianism is built into what Samuel Huntington and others have called 'the American Creed', it is also the case that many Americans have a deep scepticism – healthy or chauvinist according to taste – about the ability of other countries to develop their own forms of democracy.
In the case of Iraq, this scepticism has been increased by the scenes of looting and disorder. In addition, there have been well-publicised harbingers both of incipient ethnic conflict and of strong mass opposition to a long-term US military presence and a US-chosen Iraqi Government. Even the Washington Post , which was one of the cheerleaders for this war in the 'serious' American press, and which has not been too anxious to publicise Iraqi civilian casualties, has reported frankly on the opposition to US plans for Iraq among the country's Shia population in particular.
Even if most Americans and a majority of the Administration want to move to indirect control over Iraq, the US may well find that it has no choice but to exercise direct rule. Indeed, even those who hated the war may find themselves morally trapped into supporting direct rule if the alternative appears to be a collapse into anarchy, immiseration and ethnic conflict. There is a tremendous difference in this regard between Iraq and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, the mass of the population has been accustomed to fend for itself with very little help from the state, very little modern infrastructure and for that matter very little formal employment. In these circumstances, it was possible for the US to install a ramshackle pretence of a coalition government in Kabul, with a tenuous truce between its elements held in place by an international peacekeeping force backed by US firepower. The rest of the country could be left in the hands of warlords, clans and ethnic militias, as long as they made their territories open hunting ranges for US troops in their search for al-Qaida. The US forces launch these raids from airbases and heavily fortified, isolated camps in which most soldiers are kept rigidly separated from Afghans.
Doubtless many US planners would be delighted to dominate Iraq in the same semi-detached way, but Iraq is a far more modern society than Afghanistan, and much more heavily urbanised: without elements of modern infrastructure and services and a state to guarantee them, living standards there will not recover. Iraq needs a state; but for a whole set of reasons, it will find the creation of a workable democratic state extremely difficult. The destruction of the Baath regime has involved the destruction of the Sunni Arab military dominance on which the Iraqi state has depended since its creation by the British. Neither the US nor anyone else has any clear idea of what to put in its place (if one ignores the fatuous plan of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz to install Ahmad Chalabi as an American puppet and Iraqi strongman). Equally important, the US will not allow the creation of a truly independent state. Ultimately, it may well see itself as having no choice but to create the state itself and remain deeply involved not just in supporting it but in running it, as the British did in Egypt for some sixty years.
Very often – perhaps most of the time – the old imperial powers preferred to exercise control indirectly, through client states. This was far cheaper, far easier to justify domestically and ran far less chance of provoking native revolt. The problem was that the very act of turning a country into a client tended to cripple the domestic prestige of the client regime, and to place such economic, political and moral pressures on it that it was liable to collapse. The imperial power then had the choice of either pulling out (and allowing the area to fall into the hands of enemies) or stepping in and imposing direct control. This phenomenon can be seen from Awadh and Punjab in the 1840s to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1989.
Of course, the threat to imperial client states did not come only from within their own borders. In a world where ethnic, clan, religious and personal loyalties spilled across national boundaries, a power that seized one territory was likely to find itself inexorably drawn to conquering its neighbours. There were always military, commercial or missionary interests to agitate for this expansion, often backed by exiled opposition groups ready to stress that the mass of the population would rejoice in an imperial invasion to bring them to power.
Whatever the Neo-Cons and the Israeli Government may wish, there is I believe no fixed intention on the part of the US Administration to attack either Syria or Iran, let alone Saudi Arabia. What it had in mind was that an easy and crushing US victory over Iraq would so terrify other Muslim states that they would give up any support for terrorist groups, collaborate fully in cracking down on terrorists and Islamist radicals, and abandon their own plans to develop weapons of mass destruction, thereby making it unnecessary for the US to attack them. This applied not only to perceived enemies such as Syria, Iran and Libya, but to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen and other states seen as unreliable allies in the 'war against terrorism'. If the US restricts itself to this strategy and this goal, it may enjoy success – for a while at least. Several states in the region are clearly running very scared. Moreover, every single state in the region – including Iran – feels under threat from the forces of Sunni Islamist revolution as represented by al-Qaida and its ideological allies; so there is a genuine common interest in combating them.
But for this strategy to work across such a wide range of states and societies as those of the Muslim world, US policymakers would have to display considerable sensitivity and discrimination. These are virtues not usually associated with the Bush Administration, least of all in its present triumphalist mood. The policy is in any case not without its dangers. What happens if the various pressures put on the client regimes cause them to collapse? And what happens if an enemy calls America's bluff, and challenges it to invade? It is all too easy to see how a new US offensive could result. Another major terrorist attack on the US could upset all equations and incite another wave of mass hysteria that would make anything possible. If, for example, it were once again perceived to have been financed and staffed by Saudis, the pressure for an attack on Saudi Arabia could become overwhelming. The Iranian case is even trickier. According to informed European sources, the Iranians may be within two years of developing a nuclear deterrent (it's even possible that successful pressure on Russia to cut off nuclear trade would not make any crucial difference). Israel in particular is determined to forestall Iranian nuclear capability, and Israeli commentators have made it clear that Israel will take unilateral military action if necessary. If the US and Israeli Governments are indeed determined to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, they may not have much time.
The second factor is the behaviour of the Shias of Iraq, and especially of Iranian-backed factions. Leading Shia groups have boycotted the initial discussions on forming a government. If they maintain this position, and if the US fails to create even the appearance of a viable Iraqi government, with disorder spreading in consequence, Iran will be blamed, rightly or not, by powerful elements in Washington. They will use it as an additional reason to strike against Iranian nuclear sites. In response, Tehran might well promote not only a further destabilisation of Iraq but a terrorist campaign against the US, which would in turn provoke more US retaliations until a full-scale war became a real possibility.
Although the idea of an American invasion of Iran is viewed with horror by most military analysts (and, as far as I can gather, by the uniformed military), the latest polls suggest that around 50 per cent of Americans are already prepared to support a war to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. Moreover, the voices of moderation among the military tend to be the same ones which warned – as I did – of the possibility of stiff Iraqi resistance to a US invasion and the dangers of urban warfare in Baghdad, opposed Rumsfeld's plans to invade with limited numbers of relatively lightly armed troops and felt vindicated in their concern by the initial setbacks around Nasiriya and elsewhere. The aftermath has shown Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld to have been correct in their purely military calculations about Iraq, and this will undoubtedly strengthen them in future clashes with the uniformed military. Rumsfeld's whole strategy of relying on lighter, more easily transportable forces is, of course, precisely designed to make such imperial expeditions easier.
As for the majority of Americans, well, they have already been duped once, by a propaganda programme which for systematic mendacity has few parallels in peacetime democracies: by the end of it, between 42 and 56 per cent of Americans (the polls vary) were convinced that Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the attacks of 11 September. This gave the run-up to the war a peculiarly nightmarish quality in the US. It was as if the full truth about Tonkin Gulf, instead of emerging in dribs and drabs over a decade, had been fully available and in the open the whole time – and the US intervention in Vietnam had happened anyway.
While the special place of Saddam Hussein in American demonology means that this wouldn't be an easy trick to repeat, the American public's ignorance of international affairs in general and the Muslim world in particular make it by no means impossible. It isn't just Fox TV: numerous even more rabid media outlets, the Christian Coalition and parts of the Israeli lobby are all dedicated to whipping up hatred of Arabs and Muslims. More important is the fact that most Americans accept Bush's equation of terrorism and 'evil', which makes it extremely difficult to conduct any serious public discussion of threats from the Muslim world in terms which would be acceptable or even comprehensible to a mass American audience. Add to this the severe constraints on the discussion of the role of Israel, and you have a state of public debate close to that described by Marcuse. If America suffered another massive terrorist attack in the coming years, the dangers would be incomparably greater.
If the plans of the Neo-Cons depended on mass support for imperialism within the US, they would be doomed to failure. The attacks of 11 September, however, have given American imperialists the added force of wounded nationalism – a much deeper, more popular and more dangerous phenomenon, strengthened by the Israeli nationalism of much of the American Jewish community. Another attack on the American mainland would further inflame that nationalism, and strengthen support for even more aggressive and ambitious 'retaliations'. The terrorists may hope that they will exhaust Americans' will to fight, as the Vietcong did; if so, they may have underestimated both the tenacity and the ferocity of Americans when they feel themselves to have been directly attacked. The capacity for ruthlessness of the nationalist or Jacksonian element in the American democratic tradition – as in the firebombing of Japan and North Korea, neither of which had targeted American civilians – has been noted by Walter Russell Mead, and was recently expressed by MacGregor Knox, an American ex-soldier, now a professor at the LSE: Europeans 'may believe that the natural order of things as they perceive it – the restraint of American power through European wisdom – will sooner or later triumph. But such expectations are delusional. Those who find militant Islam terrifying have clearly never seen a militant democracy.'
America could certainly be worn out by a protracted guerrilla struggle on the scale of Vietnam. It seems unlikely, however, that a similar struggle could be mounted in the Middle East – unless the US were to invade Iran, at which point all bets and predictions would be off. Another terrorist attack on the US mainland, using some form of weapons of mass destruction, far from demoralising the US population would probably whip it into chauvinist fury.
To understand why successful guerrilla warfare against the US is unlikely (quite apart from the fact that there are no jungles in the Middle East), it is necessary to remember that the imperial domination made possible by 19th-century Western military superiority was eventually destroyed by three factors: first, the development of military technology (notably such weapons as the automatic rifle, the grenade and modern explosives) which considerably narrowed the odds between Western armies and 'native' insurgents. Second, the development of modern ideologies of resistance – Communist, nationalist or a combination of the two – which in turn produced the cadres and structures to organise resistance. Third, weariness on the part of 'metropolitan' populations and elites, stemming partly from social and cultural change, and partly from a growing awareness that direct empire did not pay economically.
Guerrilla warfare against the US is now a good deal more difficult because of two undramatic but immensely important innovations: superbly effective and light bullet-proof vests and helmets which make the US and British soldier almost as well protected as the medieval knight; and night-vision equipment which denies the guerrilla the aid of his oldest friend and ally, darkness. Both of these advantages can be countered, but it will be a long time before the odds are narrowed again. Of course, local allies of the US can be targeted, but their deaths are hardly noticed by US public opinion. More and more, therefore, 'asymmetric warfare' will encourage a move to terrorism.
The absence or failure of revolutionary parties led by cadres working for mass mobilisation confirms this. The Islamists may alter this situation, despite the disillusioning fate of the Iranian Revolution. But as far as the nationalists are concerned, it has been tried in the past, and while it succeeded in expelling the colonialists and their local clients, it failed miserably to produce modernised states. Algeria is a clear example: a hideously savage but also heroic rebellion against a particularly revolting form of colonialism – which eventually led to such an utterly rotten and unsuccessful independent state that much of the population eventually turned to Islamic revolution.
And now this, too, is discredited, above all in the one major country where it succeeded, Iran. Arab states have failed to develop economically, politically and socially, and they have also failed properly to unite. When they have united for the purposes of war, they have been defeated. Rebellion against the US may take place in Iraq. Elsewhere, the mass response to the latest Arab defeat seems more likely to be a further wave of despair, disillusionment and retreat into private life – an 'internal emigration'. In some fortunate cases, this may lead to a new Islamist politics focused on genuine reform and democratic development – along the lines of the changes in Turkey. But a cynicism which only feeds corruption and oppression is just as likely a result.
Even if despair and apathy turn out to be the responses of the Arab majority, there will also be a minority which is too proud, too radical, too fanatical or too embittered – take your pick – for such a course. They are the natural recruits for terrorism, and it seems likely that their numbers will only have been increased by the latest American victory. We must fear both the strengthening of Islamist terrorism and the reappearance of secular nationalist terrorism, not only among Palestinians but among Arabs in general. The danger is not so much that the Bush Administration will consciously adopt the whole Neo-Con imperialist programme as that the Neo-Cons and their allies will contribute to tendencies stemming inexorably from the US occupation of Iraq and that the result will be a vicious circle of terrorism and war. If this proves to be the case, then the damage inflicted over time by the US on the Muslim world and by Muslims on the US and its allies is likely to be horrendous. We have already shown that we can destroy Muslim states. Even the most ferocious terrorist attacks will not do that to Western states; but if continued over decades, they stand a good chance of destroying democracy in America and any state associated with it.
Sep 14, 2015 | The Guardian
The waning clout stems from the lobby siding with the revanchist Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose Iran strategy since the 2012 US presidential campaign has been to unabashedly side with Republican hawks. AIPAC's alignment with the position effectively caused the group to marginalize itself; the GOP is now the only place where AIPAC can today find lockstep support. The tens of millions AIPAC spent lobbying against the deal were unable to obscure this dynamic.
We may not look back at this as a sea change – some Senate Democrats who held firm against opposition to the deal are working with AIPAC to pass subsequent legislation that contains poison pills designed to kill it – but rather as a rising tide eroding the once sturdy bipartisan pro-Israeli government consensus on Capitol Hill. Some relationships have been frayed; previously stalwart allies of the Israel's interests, such as Vice President Joe Biden, have reportedly said the Iran deal fight soured them on AIPAC.
Even with the boundaries of its abilities on display, however, AIPAC will continue its efforts. "We urge those who have blocked a vote today to reconsider," the group said in a spin-heavy statement casting a pretty objective defeat as victory with the headline, "Bipartisan Senate Majority Rejects Iran Nuclear Deal." The group's allies in the Senate Republican Party have already promised to rehash the procedural vote next week, and its lobbyists are still rallying for support in the House. But the Senate's refusal to halt US support for the deal means that Senate Democrats are unlikely to reconsider, especially after witnessing Thursday's Republican hijinx in the House. These ploys look like little more than efforts to embarrass Obama into needing to cast a veto.
If Republicans' rhetoric leading up to to their flop in the Senate – Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina took to the floor during the debate and pulled out an old trick from the run-up to the Iraq war: blaming Iran for 9/11 and saying a failure to act would result in a worse attack – is any indication, even Democrats like the pro-Israel hawk Chuck Schumer will find it untenable to sidle up to AIPAC and the Republicans.
Opponents of the deal want to say the Democrats played politics instead of evaluating the deal honestly. That charge is ironic, to say the least, since most experts agree the nuclear deal is sound and the best agreement diplomacy could achieve. But there were politics at play: rather than siding with Obama, Congressional Democrats lined up against the Republican/Netanyahu alliance. The adamance of AIPAC ended up working against its stated interests.
Groups like AIPAC will go on touting their bipartisan bona fides without considering that their adoption of Netanyahu's own partisanship doomed them to a partisan result. Meanwhile, the ensuing fight, which will no doubt bring more of the legislative chaos we saw this week, won't be a cakewalk, so to speak, but will put the lie to AIPAC's claims it has a bipartisan consensus behind it. Despite their best efforts, Obama won't be the one embarrassed by the scrambling on the horizon.TiredOldDog 13 Sep 2015 21:47
a foreign country whose still hell bent on committing war crimes
I guess this may mean Israel. If it does, how about we compare Assad's Syria, Iran and Israel. How many war crimes per day in the last 4 years and, maybe, some forecasts. Otherwise it's the usual gratuitous use of bad words at Israel. It has a purpose. To denigrate and dehumanize Israel or, at least, Zionism.
ID7612455 13 Sep 2015 18:04
The problem with the right in the USA is that they offer no alternatives, nothing, nada and zilch they have become the opposition party of opposition. They rely on talking point memes and fear, and it has become the party of extremism and simplicity offering low hanging fruit and red meat this was on perfect display at their anti Iran deal rally, palin, trump, beck and phil robinson who commands ducks apparently.
winemaster2 13 Sep 2015 17:01
Put a Brush Mustache on the control freak, greed creed, Nentanhayu the SOB not only looks like but has the same mentality as Hitler and his Nazism crap.
Martin Hutton -> mantishrimp 12 Sep 2015 23:50
I wondered when someone was going to bring up that "forgotten" fact. Is it any wonder the Iranians don't trust the US. After the US's spying exploits during the Iraqi WMD inspections, why are you surprised that Iran asks for 24 days notice of inspection (enough time to clear out conventional weapons development but not enough to remove evidence of nuclear weapons development).
mantishrimp 12 Sep 2015 20:51
Most Americans don't know the CIA overthrew the Iranian government in 1953 and installed the Shaw. Most Republicans know that most Americans will believe what Fox news tells them. Republicans live in an alternate universe where there is no climate change, mammon is worshiped and wisdom is rejected hatred is accepted negotiation is replaced by perpetual warfare. Now most Americans are tired of stupid leadership and the Republicans are in big trouble.
ByThePeople -> Sieggy 12 Sep 2015 20:27
Is pitiful how for months and months, certain individuals blathered on and on and on when it was fairly clear from the get go that this was a done deal and no one was about cater to the war criminal. I suppose it was good for them, sucking every last dime they could out of the AICPA & Co. while they acted like there was 'a chance'. Nope, only chance is that at the end of the day, a politician is a politician and he'll suck you dry as long as you let 'em.
What a pleasure it is to see the United States Congress finally not pimp themselves out completely to a foreign country whose still hell bent on committing war crimes. A once off I suppose, but it's one small step for Americans.
ByThePeople 12 Sep 2015 20:15
AIPAC - Eventually everything is seen for what is truly is.
ambushinthenight -> Greg Zeglen 12 Sep 2015 18:18
Seems that it makes a lot of sense to most everyone else in the world, it is now at the point where it really makes no difference whether the U.S. ratifies the deal or not. Israel is opposed because they wish to maintain their nuclear weapons monopoly in the region. Politicians here object for one of two reasons. They are Israeli first and foremost not American or for political expediency and a chance to try undo another of this President's achievements. Been a futile effort so far I'd say.
hello1678 -> BrianGriffin 12 Sep 2015 16:42
With the threat you describe from Israel it seems only sensible for Iran to develop nuclear weapons - if my was country (Scotland) was in Iran's place and what you said is true i would only support politicians who promised fast and large scale production of atomic weapons to counter the clear threat to my nation.
nardone -> Bruce Bahmani 12 Sep 2015 14:12
Netanyahu loves to play the victim, but he is the primary cause that Jews worldwide, but especially in the United States, are rethinking the idea of "Israel." I know very few people who willingly identify with a strident right wing government comprised of rabid nationalists, religious fundamentalists, and a violent, almost apocalyptic settler community.
The Israeli electorate has indicated which path it wishes to travel, but that does not obligate Jews throughout the world to support a government whose policies they find odious.
Greg Zeglen -> Glenn Gang 12 Sep 2015 13:51
good point which is found almost nowhere else...it is still necessary to understand that the whole line of diplomacy regarding the west on the part of Iran has been for generations one of deceit...and people are intensely jealous of what they hold dear - especially safety and liberty with in their country....
EarthyByNature -> Bruce Bahmani 12 Sep 2015 13:45
I do trust your on salary with a decent benefits package with the Israeli government or one of it's slavish US lobbyists. Let's face it, got to be hard work pouring out such hateful drivel.
BrianGriffin -> imipak 12 Sep 2015 12:53
The USA took about six years to build a bomb from scratch. The UK took almost six years to build a bomb. Russia was able to build a bomb in only four years (1945-1949). France took four years to build a bomb. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction
The Chinese only took four years. http://www.china.org.cn/english/congress/228244.htm
steelhead 12 Sep 2015 12:48
As part of this deal the US and allies should guarantee Iran protection against Israeli aggression. Otherwise, considering Israel's threats, Iran is well justified in seeking a nuclear deterrent.
BrianGriffin -> HauptmannGurski 12 Sep 2015 12:35
"Europe needs business desperately."
Sieggy 12 Sep 2015 12:32
In other words, once again, Obama out-played and out-thought both the GOP and AIPAC. He was playing multidimensional chess while they were playing checkers. The democrats kept their party discipline while the republicans ran around like a schoolyard full of sugared-up children. This is what happens when you have grownups competing with adolescents. The republican party, to put it very bluntly, can't get it together long enough to whistle 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' in unison.
They lost. Again. And worse than being losers, they're sore, whining, sniveling, blubbering losers. Even when they've been spanked - hard - they swear it's not over and they're gonna get even, just you wait and see! Get over it. They lost - badly - and the simple fact that their party is coming apart at the seams before our very eyes means they're going to be losing a lot more, too.
AIPAC's defeat shows that their grip on the testicles of congress has been broken. All the way around, a glorious victory for Obama, and an ignominious defeat for the republicans. And most especially, Israel. Their primary goal was to keep Iran isolated and economically weak. They knew full well that the Iranians hadn't had a nuclear program since 2003, but Netanhayu needed an existential threat to Israel in order to justify his grip on power. All of this charade has bee at the instigation of and directed by Israel. And they lost They were beaten by that hated schwartze and the liberals that Israel normally counts on for unthinking support.
Their worst loss, however, was losing the support of the American jews. Older, orthodox jews are Israel-firsters. The younger, less observant jews are Americans first. Netanhayu's behavior has driven a wedge between the US and Israel that is only going to deepen over time. And on top of that, Iran is re-entering the community of nations, and soon their economy will dominate the region. Bibi overplayed his hand very, very stupidly, and the real price that Israel will pay for his bungling will unfold over the next few decades.
BrianGriffin -> TiredOldDog 12 Sep 2015 12:18
"The Constitution provides that the president 'shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur'"
Hardly a done deal. If Obama releases funds to Iran he probably would be committing an impeachable crime under US law. Even many Democrats would vote to impeach Obama for providing billions to a sworn enemy of Israel.
Glenn Gang -> Bruce Bahmani 12 Sep 2015 12:07
"...institutionally Iranclad(sic) HATRED towards the west..." Since you like all-caps so much, try this: "B.S."
The American propel(sic) actually figured out something else---that hardline haters like yourself are desperate to keep the cycle of Islamophobic mistrust and suspicion alive, and blind themselves to the fact that the rest of us have left you behind.
FACT: More than half of the population of Iran today was NOT EVEN BORN when radical students captured the U.S. Embassy in Teheran in 1979.
People like you, Bruce, conveniently ignore the fact that Ahmedinejad and his hardline followers were voted out of power in 2013, and that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei further marginalized them by allowing the election of new President Hassan Rouhani to stand, though he was and is an outspoken reformer advocating rapprochement with the west. While his outward rhetoric still has stern warnings about anticipated treachery by the 'Great Satan', Khamenei has allowed the Vienna agreement to go forward, and shows no sign of interfering with its implementation.
He is an old man, but he is neither stupid nor senile, and has clearly seen the crippling effects the international sanctions have had on his country and his people. Haters like you, Bruce, will insist that he ALWAYS has evil motives, just as Iranian hardliners (like Ahmedinejad) will ALWAYS believe that the U.S. has sinister motives and cannot EVER be trusted to uphold our end of any agreement. You ascribe HATRED in all caps to Iran, the whole country, while not acknowledging your own simmering hatred.
People like you will always find a 'boogeyman,' someone else to blame for your problems, real or imagined. You should get some help.
beenheretoolong 12 Sep 2015 10:57
No doubt Netanyahu will raise the level of his anger; he just can't accept that a United States president would do anything on which Israel hadn't stamped its imprimatur. It gets tiresome listening to him.
geneob 12 Sep 2015 10:12
It is this deal that feeds the military industrial complex. We've already heard Kerry give Israel and Saudi Arabia assurances of more weapons. And that $150 billion released to Iran? A healthy portion will be spent for arms..American, Russian, Chinese. Most of the commenters have this completely backwards. This deal means a bonanza for the arms industry.
Jack Hughes 12 Sep 2015 08:38
The Iran nuclear agreement accomplishes the US policy goal of preventing the creation of the fissionable material required for an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
What the agreement does not do is eliminate Iran as a regional military and economic power, as the Israelis and Saudis -- who have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to lobby American politicians and brainwash American TV viewers -- would prefer.
To reject the agreement is to accept the status quo, which is unacceptable, leaving an immediate and unprovoked American-led bombing campaign as the only other option.
Rejection equals war. It's not surprising that the same crowd most stridently demanding rejection of the agreement advocated the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. These homicidal fools never learn, or don't care as long as it's not their lives at risk.
American politicians opposed to the agreement are serving their short-term partisan political interests and, under America's system of legalized bribery, their Israeli and Saudi paymasters -- not America's long-term policy interests.
ID293404 -> Jeremiah2000 12 Sep 2015 05:01
And how did the Republicans' foreign policy work out? Reagan created and financed Al Qaeda. Then Bush II invades Iraq with promises the Iraqis will welcome us with flowers (!), the war will be over in a few weeks and pay for itself, and the middle east will have a nascent democracy (Iraq) that will be a grateful US ally.
He then has pictures taken of himself in a jet pilot's uniform on a US aircraft carrier with a huge sign saying Mission Accomplished. He attacks Afghanistan to capture Osama, lets him get away, and then attacks Iraq instead, which had nothing to do with 9/11 and no ties with Al Qaeda.
So then we have two interminable wars going on, thanks to brilliant Republican foreign policy, and spend gazillions of dollars while creating a mess that may never be straightened out. Never mind all the friends we won in the middle east and the enhanced reputation of our country through torture, the use of mercenaries, and the deaths and displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians. Yeah, we really need those bright Republicans running the show over in the Middle East!
HauptmannGurski -> lazman 12 Sep 2015 02:31
That is a very difficult point to understand, just look at this sentence "not understanding the fact in international affairs that to disrespect an American president is to disrespect Americans" ... too much emperor thinking for me. We have this conversation with regard to Putin everywhere now, so we disrespect all 143 million Russians? There's not a lot of disrespect around for Japanese PM Abe and Chinese Xi - does this now mean we respect them and all Japanese and Chinese? Election campaigns create such enormous personality cults that people seem to lose perspective.
On the Iran deal, if the US had dropped out of it it would have caused quite a rift because many countries would have just done what they wanted anyway. The international Atomic Energy Organisation or what it is would have done their inspections. Siemens would have sold medical machines. Countries would grow up as it were. But as cooperation is always better than confrontation it is nice the US have stayed in the agreement that was apparently 10 years in the making. It couldn't have gone on like that. With Europe needing gazillions to finance Greece, Ukraine, and millions of refugees (the next waves will roll on with the next spring and summer from April), Europe needs business desparately. Israel was happy to buy oil through Marc Rich under sanctions, now it's Europe's turn to snatch some business.
imipak -> BrianGriffin 11 Sep 2015 21:56
Iran lacks weapons-grade uranium and the means to produce it. Iran has made no efforts towards nuclear weapons technology for over a decade. Iran is a signatory of the NPT and is entitled to the rights enshrined therein. If Israel launches a nuclear war against Iran over Iran having a medical reactor (needed to produce isotopes for medicine, isotopes America can barely produce enough of for itself) that poses no security threat to anyone, then Israel will have transgressed so many international laws that if it survives the radioactive fallout (unlikely), it won't survive the political fallout.
It is a crime of the highest order to use weapons of mass destruction (although that didn't stop the Israelis using them against Palestinian civilians) and pre-emtive self-defence is why most believe Bush and Blair should be on trial at the ICJ, or (given the severity of their crimes) Nuremberg.
Israel's right to self-defense is questionable, I'm not sure any such right exists for anyone, but even allowing for it, Israel has no right to wage unprovoked war on another nation on the grounds of a potential threat discovered through divination using tea leaves.
imipak -> Jeremiah2000 11 Sep 2015 21:43
Iran's sponsorship of terrorism is of no concern. Such acts do not determine its competency to handle nuclear material at the 5% level (which you can find naturally). There are only three questions that matter - can Iran produce the 90-95% purity needed to build a bomb (no), can Iran produce such purity clandestinely (no), and can Iran use its nuclear technology to threaten Israel (no).
Israel also supports international terrorism, has used chemical weapons against civilians, has directly indulged in terrorism, actually has nuclear weapons and is paranoid enough that it may use them against other nations without cause.
I respect Israel's right to exist and the intelligence of most Israelis. But I neither respect nor tolerate unreasoned fear nor delusions of Godhood.
imipak -> commish 11 Sep 2015 21:33
I've seen Iranian statements playing internal politics, but I have never seen any actual Iranian threats. I've seen plenty about Israel assassinating people in other countries, using incendiaries and chemical weapons against civilians in other countries, conducting illegal kidnappings overseas, using terrorism as a weapon of war, developing nuclear weapons illegally, ethnically cleansing illegally occupied territories, that sort of thing.
Until such time as Israel implements the Oslo Accords, withdraws to its internationally recognized boundary and provides the International Court of Justice a full accounting of state-enacted and state-sponsored terrorism, it gets no claims on sainthood and gets no free rides.
Iran has its own crimes to answer, but directly threatening Israel in words or deeds has not been one of them within this past decade. Its actual crimes are substantial and cannot be ignored, but it is guilty only of those and not fictional works claimed by psychotic paranoid ultra-nationalists.
imipak -> moishe 11 Sep 2015 21:18
Domestic politics. Of no real consequence, it's just a way of controlling a populace through fear and a never-ending pseudo-war. It's how Iran actually feels that is important.
For the last decade, they've backed off any nuclear weapons research and you can't make a bomb with centrifuges that can only manage 20% enriched uranium. You need something like 90% enrichment, which requires centrifuges many, many times more advanced. It'd be hard to smuggle something like that in and the Iranians lack the skills, technology and science to make them.
Iran's conventional forces are busy fighting ISIS. What they do afterwards is a concern, but Israel has a sizable military presence on the Golan Heights. The most likely outcome is for Iran to install puppet regimes (or directly control) Syria and ISIS' caliphate.
I could see those two regions plus Iraq being fully absorbed into Iran, that would make some sense given the new geopolitical situation. But that would tie up Iran for decades. Which would not be a bad thing and America would be better off encouraging it rather than sabre-rattling.
(These are areas that contribute a lot to global warming and political instability elsewhere. Merging the lot and encouraging nuclear energy will do a lot for the planet. The inherent instability of large empires will reduce mischief-making elsewhere to more acceptable levels - they'll be too busy. It's idle hands that you need to be scared of.)
Israelis worry too much. If they spent less time fretting and more time developing, they'd be impervious to any natural or unnatural threat by now. Their teaching of Roman history needs work, but basically Israel has a combined intellect vastly superior to that of any nearby nation.
That matters. If you throw away fear and focus only on problems, you can stop and even defeat armies and empires vastly greater than your own. History is replete with examples, so is the mythologicized history of the Israeli people. Israel's fear is Israel's only threat.
mostfree 11 Sep 2015 21:10
Warmongers on all sides would had loved another round of fear and hysteria. Those dark military industrial complexes on all sides are dissipating in the face of the high rising light of peace for now . Please let it shine.
bishoppeter4 11 Sep 2015 20:09
The rabid Republicans working for a foreign power against the interest of the United States -- US citizens will know just what to do.
Jeremiah2000 -> Carolyn Walas Libbey 11 Sep 2015 19:21
"Netanyahu has no right to dictate what the US does."
But he has every right to point out how Obama is a weak fool. How's Obama's red line working in Syria? How is his toppling of Qadaffi in Libya working? How about his completely inept dealings with Egypt, throwing support behind the Muslim Brotherhood leaders? The leftists cheer Obama's weakening of American influence abroad. But they don't talk much about its replacement with Russian and Chinese influence. Russian build-up in Syria part of secret deal with Iran's Quds Force leader. Obama and Kerry are sending a strongly worded message.
Susan Dechancey -> whateverworks4u 11 Sep 2015 19:05
Incredible to see someone prefer war to diplomacy - guess you are an armchair General not a real one.
Susan Dechancey -> commish 11 Sep 2015 19:04
Except all its neighbours ... not only threatened but entered military conflict and stole land ... murdered Iranian Scientists but apart from that just a kitten
Susan Dechancey -> moishe 11 Sep 2015 19:00
Israel has nukes so why are they afraid ?? Iran will never use nukes against Israel and even Mossad told nuttyyahoo sabre rattling
Susan Dechancey 11 Sep 2015 18:57
Iran is not a made-up country like Iraq it is as old as Greece. If the Iraq war was sold as pushover and failed miserably then an Iran war would be unthinkable. War can be started in an instant diplomacy take time. UK, France, Germany & EU all agree its an acceptable alternative to war. So as these countries hardly ever agree it is clear the deal is a good one.
To be honest the USA can do what it likes now .. UK has set up an embassy - trade missions are landing Tehran from Europe. So if Israel and US congress want war - they will be alone and maybe if US keeps up the Nuttyahoo rhetoric European firms can win contracts to help us pay for the last US regime change Iraq / Isis / Refugees...
lswingly -> commish 11 Sep 2015 16:58
Rank and file Americans don't even know what the Iran deal is. And can't be bothered to actually find out. They just listen to sound bites from politicians the loudest of whom have been the wildly partisan republicans claiming that it gives Iran a green light to a nuclear weapon. Not to mention those "less safe" polls are completely loaded. Certain buzz words will always produce negative results. If you associate something positive "feeling safe" or "in favor of" anything that Iran signs off on it comes across as indirectly supporting Iran and skews the results of the poll. "Iran" has been so strongly associated with evil and negative all you have to do is insert it into a sentence to make people feel negatively about the entire sentence. In order to get true data on the deal you would have to poll people on the individual clauses the deal.
It's no different from how when you run a poll on who's in favor "Obamacare" the results will be majority negative. But if you poll on whether you are in favor of "The Affordable Care Act" most people are in favor of it and if you break it down and poll on the individual planks of "Obamacare" people overwhelming approve of the things that "Obamacare does". The disapproval is based on the fact that Republican's have successfully turned "Obamacare" into a pejorative and has almost no reflection of people feelings on actual policy.
To illustrate how meaningless those poll numbers are a Jewish poll (supposedly the people who have the most to lose if this deal is bad) found that a narrow majority of Jews approve of the deal. You're numbers are essentially meaningless.
The alternative to this plan is essentially war if not now, in the very near future, according to almost all non-partisan policy wonks. Go run a poll on whether we should go to war with Iran and see how that turns out. Last time we destabilized the region we removed a secular dictator who was enemies with Al Queda and created a power vacuum that led to increased religious extremism and the rise of Isis. You want to double down on that strategy?
MadManMark -> whateverworks4u 11 Sep 2015 16:34
You need to reread this article. It's exactly this attitude of yours (and AIPAC and Netanyahu) that this deal is not 100% perfect, but then subsequently failed to suggest ANY way to get something better -- other than war, which I'm sorry most people don't want another Republican "preemptive" war -- caused a lot people originally uncertain about this deal (like me) to conclude there may not be a better alternative. Again, read the article: What you think about me, I now think about deal critics like you ("It seems people will endorse anything to justify their political views.)
USfan 11 Sep 2015 15:34
American Jews are facing one of the most interesting choices of recent US history. The Republican Party, which is pissing into a stiff wind of unfavorable demographics, seems to have decided it can even the playing field by peeling Jews away from the Democrats with promises to do whatever Israel wants. So we have the very strange (but quite real) prospect of Jews increasingly throwing in their lot with the party of Christian extremists whose ranks also include violent antiSemites.
Interesting times. We'll see how this plays out. My family is Jewish and I have not been shy in telling them that alliances with the GOP for short-term gains for Israel is not a wise policy. The GOP establishment are not antiSemtic but the base often is, and if Trump's candidacy shows anything it's that the base is in control of the Republicans.
But we'll see.
niyiakinlabu 11 Sep 2015 15:29
Central question: how come nobody talks about Israel's nukes?
hello1678 -> BrianGriffin 11 Sep 2015 14:02
Iran will not accept being forced into dependence on outside powers. We may dislike their government but they have as much right as anyone else to enrich their own fuel.
JackHep 11 Sep 2015 13:30
Netanyahu is an example of all that is bad about the Israeli political, hence military industrial, establishment. Why Cameron's government allowed him on British soil is beyond belief. Surely the PM's treatment of other "hate preachers" would not have been lost on Netanyahu? Sadly our PM seems to miss the point with Israel.
talenttruth 11 Sep 2015 13:12
The American Warmonger Establishment (that now fully entrenched "Military Industrial Complex" against which no more keen observer than President Dwight Eisenhower warned us), is rip-shit over the Iran Agreement. WHAT? We can't Do More War? That will be terrible for further increasing our obscene 1-percent wealth. Let's side with Israeli wingnut Netanyahu, who cynically leverages "an eye for an eye for an eye for an eye" to hold his "Power."
And let's be treasonous against the United States by trying to undermine U.S. Foreign Policy FOR OUR OWN PROFIT. We are LONG overdue for serious jail time for these sociopaths, who already have our country "brainwashed" into 53% of our budget going to the War Profiteers and to pretending to be a 19th century Neo-Colonial Power -- in an Endless State of Eternal War. These people are INSANE. Time to simply say so.
Boredwiththeusa 11 Sep 2015 12:58
At the rally to end the Iran deal in the Capitol on Wednesday, one of the AIPAC worshipping attendees had this to say to Jim Newell of Slate:
""Obama is a black, Jew-hating, jihadist putting America and Israel and the rest of the planet in grave danger," said Bob Kunst of Miami. Kunst-pairing a Hillary Clinton rubber mask with a blue T-shirt reading "INFIDEL"-was holding one sign that accused Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry of "Fulfilling Hitler's Dreams" and another that queried, "DIDN'T WE LEARN ANYTHING FROM 1938?"
His only reassurance was that, when Iran launches its attack on the mainland, it'll be stopped quickly by America's heavily armed citizenry."
That is indicative of the mindset of those opposed to the agreement.
Boredwiththeusa 11 Sep 2015 12:47
AIPAC is a dangerous anti-american organization, and a real and extant threat to the sovereignty of the U.S. Any elected official acting in concert with AIPAC is colluding with a foreign government to harm the U.S. and should be considered treasonous and an enemy of the American people.
tunejunky 11 Sep 2015 12:47
AIPAC, its constituent republicans, and the government of Israel all made the same mistake in a common episode of hubris. by not understanding the American public, war, and without the deference shown from a proxy to its hegemon, Israel's right wing has flown the Israeli cause into a wall. not understanding the fact in international affairs that to disrespect an American president is to disrespect Americans, the Israeli government acted as a spoiled first-born - while to American eyes it was a greedy, ungrateful ward foisted upon barely willing hands. it presumed far too much and is receiving the much deserved rebuke.
impartial12 11 Sep 2015 12:37
This deal is the best thing that happened in the region in a while. We tried war and death. It didn't work out. Why not try this?
Nov 13, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
nhs | Nov 12, 2017 3:19:22 PM | 1How the establishment attempts to brainwash collective memory concerning war criminalsstr8arrow62 | Nov 12, 2017 3:46:35 PM | 2Rolling that wheelchair bound POS ex-Prez. out on to the field at the last super duper bowl to a cheering audience can now be considered a weekly 2 minutes of stupidity ritual.Daniel | Nov 12, 2017 4:04:02 PM | 3nhs @2, yes, this rehabilitation of war criminals is startling. I first noticed it a few years ago, and wrote this comment during the primaries when I still had hope that Sanders could present a step in the right direction.notheonly1 | Nov 12, 2017 6:56:13 PM | 7
A few years back, Stephen Colbert did a dance routine skit in which he danced into Henry Kissinger's office and then left. I commented that I didn't think it appropriate to include that war criminal in a "progressive" comedy skit that didn't call him out as the monster he is, and I got a lot of grief from Colbert fans (which I was also).
Then, in Jon Stewart's last season on The Daily Show, he had Henry Kissinger on as a guest and did a disgustingly fawning interview. I was sickened.
Why? I asked. Why was Viacom introducing to this younger audience a war criminal and treating him like some great statesman?
Then, the Obama Administration (Ash Carter specifically) gave Kissinger the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest award our country can grant to a civilian.
But then, in one of the debates against Bernie Sanders, HRC gave a shout out to Kissinger as a dear friend whom she has gone to for advice on foreign policy for decades, and to whom she would seek out his "wise counsel" if elected President.
And then the previous couple of years of gradually refurbishing Kissinger made sense.
Why people with liberal/progressive values - or simple humane values - didn't immediately see that as disqualifying for a Democratic candidate is beyond me.@ nhs | Nov 12, 2017 3:19:22 PM | 1
A very good example as to why Krishnamurti called this society 'profoundly sick'.
Although we now know that it is much more than that. Instead of being profoundly sick, this society is terminally ill.
This happening is reminiscent of the practices the Fascists devised in Germany. The media depicted the most rabid war criminals as loyal followers of the Führer. In other words, they were above the law and shielded from any public scrutiny (by the same kind of 'media') until they ended up at the Nuremberg Tribunal, in which the big boys got scot free and the little guys were hung. Which in turn led to the German 'proverb' "Die Kleinen hängt man und die Grossen läßt man laufen." (The little ones are hanged and the big ones walk away.)
So, by itself there is nothing new about that. What is most disturbing though, is the impunity the so called 'news' 'media' displays when lying to the public. One day the chicken will come home to roost.
The archaic leadership delusion needs to go. Abolish the office of the most dangerous man on earth. The government is public enemy number one and there are two ways of denial about it:
The first is related to ' inexterminateable ' obedience . There are really still people out there that believe all the shit the 'media' churns out on behalf of the owners of this planet (at least that's how see themselves).
Secondly, those who are told at every possible opportunity how 'exceptional' they are, are also likely to accept the war crimes of their leaders, as these are of course exceptional leaders.The U.S. can unilaterally withdraw from all treaties against war crimes and attack anybody at will - because 'exceptional' countries must be given the freedom to do what their decrepitude demands.
The U.S. has destroyed life, liberty and the pursuit of survival of millions of innocent people. Only the most repugnant folks are okay with that and with those who ordered the war crimes. But the problem is that a large part of the population suffers from instilled amnesia and does not know what war crimes these psychopathic puppets need to be tried for. Because killing one million innocent people for resources sounds about right for the average Joe and Jane. Got to fill that SUV up. The destruction of sovereign countries based on lies poses no problem for the average Joe and Jane. Incubator lies, WMD lies, Sarin gas lies are all reason enough to bomb a place that contains more ancient artifacts than any other country into smithereens. Plus, it's job security to commit war crimes.
After all we only do it to protect the American people and their allies from all these dictators that we have prepped up prior. With the exception of Syria, that is on the regime change wish list of public enemy number one since 70 years.
Thanks for the link, even though I had some stomach fluid coming up at the sight of these pathetic excuses for what goes for a Human Being.
Sigh. It really looks like it will get a lot worse before it can get slightly better.
Oct 24, 2017 | www.unz.com
Stop thinking of this country as the sole superpower or the indispensable nation on Earth and start reimagining it as the great fracturer, the exceptional smasher, the indispensable fragmenter. Its wars of the twenty-first century are starting to come home big time -- home being not just this particular country (though that's true , too) but this planet. Though hardly alone , the U.S. is, for the moment, the most exceptional home-destroyer around and its president is now not just the commander-in-chief but the home-smasher-in-chief.
Just this week, for instance, home smashing was in the headlines. After all, the Islamic State's "capital," the city of Raqqa, was " liberated ." We won! The U.S. and the forces it backed in Syria were finally victorious and the brutal Islamic State (a home-smashing movement that emerged from an American military prison in Iraq) was finally driven from that city ( almost !). And oh yes, according to witnesses , the former city of 300,000 lies abandoned with hardly a building left undamaged, unbroken, unsmashed. Over these last months, the American bombing campaign against Raqqa and the artillery support that went with it reportedly killed more than 1,000 civilians and turned significant parts of the city into rubble -- and what that didn't do, ISIS bombs and other munitions did. (According to estimates , they could take years to find and remove.) And Raqqa is just the latest Middle Eastern city to be smashed more or less to bits.
And since the splintering of the planet is the TomDispatch subject of the day, what about the recent Austrian election, fought out and won by right-wing "populists" on the basis of anti-refugee sentiments and Islamophobia? Where exactly did such sentiments come from? You know perfectly well: from America's war on terror and the much-vaunted " precision warfare " (smart bombs and the rest) that continues to fracture a vast swath of the planet from Afghanistan to Libya and beyond.
In the Greater Middle East and Africa, people by the tens of millions , including staggering numbers of children , have been uprooted and displaced, their homes destroyed, their cities and towns devastated, sending survivors fleeing across national borders as refugees in numbers that haven't been seen since a significant part of the planet was leveled in World War II. In this way, America's 16-year-old war on terror has been a genuine force for terror, and so for the kind of resentment and fear that's now helping to crack open a recently united Europe (and in the United States helped elect well, you know just who).
And that's only a small introduction to the largely unexplored American role in the fracturing of this planet. Don't even get me started on our president and climate change!
As it happens, the fellow who brought the nature of this splintering home to me was TomDispatch regular John Feffer, who in early 2015 began writing for this website what became his remarkable dystopian novel Splinterlands . In it, he imagined our shattered planet in 2050 so vividly that it's stayed with me ever since -- and evidently with him, too, because today he considers just how quickly the splintering process he imagined has been occurring not in his fictional version of our world, but in the all-too-real one.
Robert Magill , October 25, 2017 at 3:40 pm GMT
If we lose the state in a fourth great shattering, we will lose an important part of ourselves as well: our very humanity.
In many respects the "state", USA that is, is already lost. What we had until the 1950s was an ongoing mythology known as America; an agreed upon, ongoing concern known abroad for its popular music, for Hollywood, for a thriving middle class, a healthy working-class and a supplier of goods and services to the world, envy of all. Well, we shot a few holes in Myth America!
First to go was the music: replaced by Bubblegum; downhill from there. Tin Pan Alley is now dumpster heaven. The middle class now resides in Beijing with largess delivered to our Dollar emporiums (not seen here since the Great Depression). Noticeable gaps in the starving malls once housed record stores and book shops; remember them?
The final blow has landed on the movie houses across the land. Near empty, struggling. Even in the depths of the 30′s, movie house were full. But then, "No myth:No nation". No more.
Oct 10, 2017 | russia-insider.com
Particularly guilty are the media, because they are in the business of selling this horror show to the unsuspecting public.
Take a few minutes and listen to what this man has to say.
He says it well, and he hits the nail on the head, as painful as it might be to admit it.
Time for a change of leadership, America.
(Full transcript follows below with key points in bold.)
Isn't this how how the US acts all over the world though? They destroy countries, cause civil wars, bring sorrow and poverty to entire nations. Just like that. They seem to not even notice the consequences of their actions. They blame others for everything, and then gloat about being sinless. With this simple, carefree mentality, they can allow themselves everything.
America fines European banks and companies, to punish them for defying America. They impose unilateral sanctions in Europe against those who want to buy cheaper Russian gas, instead of the more expensive American gas. They tap phones and read emails of billions of people on the planet, including the leaders of US allied countries. They arrest foreign citizens all over the world and throw them in secret jail outside of the US. Outside of the US of course, so that they can torture them , without fear of breaking any of their own laws. They plan and execute coup d'etats and color revolutions. They usually time them with the elections in the victim country.
They de facto continue to militarily occupy Germany and Japan . The US has a huge number of military bases in these countries. A base, by the way, is a foreign military force. It directly limits the sovereignty and the ability of the occupied country to act in their own national interests.
They start and execute military operations without sanctions from the UN. They falsely justify their own actions and act on false pretenses . For cover, they gather fake coalitions And all of this is done with that simple American air of naïveté. That same mindset allows them to be allied with what is left of Islamic State in Deir-ez-Zor.
With the same simple-mindedness, Trump threatened to destroy an entire country at the UN General Assembly. The Americans have already announced that they are pulling out of the the nuclear agreement with Iran. Without any justifiable reasons, in spite of everything and everyone. Just like that.
When Donald Trump became President, he received the people's mandate to build a rational relationship with Russia, and to implement a more rational policy in the world.
He wasn't supposed to overthrow foreign governments . Right now , Trump acts in direct opposition to his voters' expectations.
Is there, at least , one problem in the world which the US has helped solve this year? - No.
What's worse, he made North Korea even more dangerous and non-complying. South Korea and Japan are in clear danger now. He has deployed more troops to Afghanistan , but we don't know what he is trying to accomplish there either. In Syria, the US has lost its strategic goals and started to directly oppose Russia and the anti-terrorist forces. He is on bad terms with Turkey, he has scared off Europe, and nothing good is happening in South America, either. Tensions between the US and China are growing. Relations with Russia are at an all-time low.
It's bad enough that the US took over Russian diplomatic residencies, but they are also tearing through them like nobody's business. How else one would label the actions of those agents in our Consulate in San Francisco? Does it mean that Russia must respond in a mutual manner? Perhaps as simple-mindedly as the US does? If Russia did, it would ruin the very concept of diplomacy. What would be next? Or does Washington prefer not to think about that? Or do they? The less diplomacy there is, the less politeness and nice words, the higher the demand for US weapons. That's much better.
It's not like diplomacy is very lucrative. It's about airing concerns, which leads to...unneeded restrictions. Taking the high road is difficult, and the low road is always there . It is coarser, but it does have elements of cheap theatricality.
Take for example what Trump did when he went to Puerto Rico after the hurricane. For appearances sake, he brought his wife along. She wasn't wearing her usual high heels , but specially bought yellow Timberlands. He made the local Americans happy, personally throwing paper towels into the crowd. It looked like one big ridiculous show.
And it all took place on a day of nationwide mourning in honor of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Oct 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com
H. I. on May 13, 2011This Book Explains EVERYTHING!!!!!
Hedges cogently and systematically dismantles the most pernicious cultural delusions of our era and lays bare the pitiful truths that they attempt to mask. This book is a deprogramming manual that trims away the folly and noise from our troubled society so that the reader can focus on the most pressing matters of our time.
Despite the dark reality Hedges excavates, his screed is a liberating tonic against the crazy-making double-speak and the lies Americans are sold by our country's elite in order to distract us from the true threat and nature of the Corporate State, from the cult of celebrity, to how our nation's Universities have been hijacked to serve the interests, not of the public, but of our corporate overlords. It explains the self-same conditions in all aspects of our society and culture that we now must face, the ever-shrinking flame of enlightenment being exchanged for the illusory shadows on a cave wall.
As a twenty-something caught in the death-throes of American Empire and culture, I have struggled to anticipate where our country and our world are heading, why, and what sort of life I can expect to build for myself. Hedges presents the reader with the depressing, yet undeniable truth of the forces that have coalesced to shape the world in which we now find ourselves. The light he casts is searing and relentless. He fearlessly and incisively calls us out on the obvious farce our democracy has become, how we got here, and highlights the rapidly closing window in which we have to do something to correct it. It is a revelation, and yet he merely states the obvious. The empire has no clothes.
One of the most powerful aspects of this book was in regard to how our Universities are run these days. I may be in the minority, but I experienced a life-changing disillusionment when I gained entrance to a prestigious "elite" University. Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy. In the eyes of the University, students were not minds to be empowered and developed, but walking dollar signs.
Instead of critical thinking, students were taught to OBEY, not to question authority, and then handed a piece of paper admitting them to the ruling class that is destroying America without a moral compass. Selfishness, deceit, disregard for the common good, and a win-at-all-costs attitude were rewarded. Empathy, curiosity, dissent, and an honest, intellectually rigorous evaluation of ourselves and our world were punished. Obviously I am not the only one to whom this was cause to fear for the future of our country.
Five stars is not enough. Ever since I began reading Empire of Illusion, I have insisted friends and family pick up a copy, too. Everyone in America should read this incredibly important book.
The truth shall set us free.
By Franklin the Mouse on February 5, 2012Dream WeaversBy Walter E. Kurtz on September 25, 2011
Mr. Hedges is in one heck of a foul mood. His raging against the evolving of American democracy into an oligarchy is accurate, but relentlessly depressing. The author focuses on some of our most horrid characteristics: celebrity worship; "pro" wrestling; the brutal porn industry; Jerry Springer-like shows; the military-industrial complex; the moral void of elite colleges such as Yale, Harvard, Berkeley and Princeton; optimistic-ladened pop psychology; and political/corporate conformity.
Mr. Hedges grim assessment put me in a seriously foul mood. The chapter involving the porn trade that is run by large corporations such as AT&T and GM (the car maker, for crying out loud) was an especially dark, profanity-laced depiction of the abuse and moral decay of American society .
He is correct in his belief that the continual barrage of psuedo-events and puffery disguised as news (especially television) has conditioned most of Americans to be non-critical thinkers.
Entertainment, consumption and the dangerous illusion that the U.S. is the best in the world at everything are childish mindsets.
The oddest part of Mr. Hedges' book is the ending. The last three pages take such an unexpectedly hard turn from "all is lost" to "love will conquer," I practically got whiplash. Overall, the author should be commended for trying to bring our attention to what ails our country and challenging readers to wake up from their child-like illusions.
Now, time for me to go run a nice, warm bath and where did I put those razor blades?...Amazing bookBy Richard Joltes on July 18, 2016
I must say I was captivated by the author's passion, eloquence and insight. This is not an academic essay. True, there are few statistics here and there and quotes from such and such person, but this is not like one of those books that read like a longer version of an academic research paper. The book is more of author's personal observations about American society. Perhaps that is where its power comes from.
Some might dismiss the book as nothing more than an opinion piece, but how many great books and works out there are opinion pieces enhanced with supporting facts and statistics?
The book is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is about celebrity worship and how far people are willing to humiliate themselves and sacrifice their dignity for their five minutes of fame. But this is not just about those who are willing to make idiots out of themselves just to appear on television. This is about how the fascination with the world of rich and famous distracts the society from the important issues and problems and how it creates unhealthy and destructive desire to pursue wealth and fame. And even for those few who do achieve it, their lives are far from the bliss and happiness shown in movies. More than one celebrity had cursed her life.
Chapter two deals with porn. It offers gutwrenching, vomit inducing descriptions of lives and conditions in the porn industry. But the damage porn does goes far beyond those working in the "industry". Porn destroys the love, intimacy and beauty of sex. Porn reduces sex to an act of male dominance, power and even violence. Unfortunately, many men, and even women, buy into that and think that the sex seen in porn is normal and this is how things should be.
After reading this chapter, I will never look at porn the same way again. In fact, I probably will never look at porn at all.
Chapter three is about education. It focuses mostly on college level education and how in the past few decades it had increasingly changed focus from teaching students how to be responsible citizens and good human beings to how to be successful, profit seeking, career obsessed corporate/government drones. The students are taught that making money and career building are the only thing that matters. This results in professionals who put greed and selfishness above everything else and mindlessly serve a system that destroys the society and the whole planet. And when they are faced with problems (like the current economic crisis) and evidence that the system is broken, rather than rethink their paradigm and consider that perhaps they were wrong, they retreat further into old thinking in search of ways to reinforce the (broken) system and keep it going.
Chapter four is my favorite. It is about positive thinking. As someone who lives with a family member who feeds me positive thinking crap at breakfast, lunch and supper, I enjoyed this chapter very much. For those rare lucky few who do not know what positive thinking is, it can be broadly defined as a belief that whatever happens to us in life, it happens because we "attracted" it to ourselves. Think about it as karma that affects us not in the next life, but in this one. The movement believes that our conscious and unconscious thoughts affect reality. By assuming happy, positive outlook on life, we can affect reality and make good things happen to us.
Followers of positive thinking are encouraged/required to purge all negative emotions, never question the bad things that happen to them and focus on thinking happy thoughts. Positive thinking is currently promoted by corporations and to lesser extent governments to keep employees in line. They are rendered docile and obedient, don't make waves (like fight for better pay and working conditions) and, when fired, take it calmly with a smile and never question corporate culture.
Chapter five is about American politics and how the government and the politicians had sold themselves out to corporations and business. It is about imperialism and how the government helps the corporations loot the country while foreign wars are started under the pretext of defense and patriotism, but their real purpose is to loot the foreign lands and fill the coffers of war profiteers. If allowed to continue, this system will result in totalitarianism and ecological apocalypse.
I have some objections with this chapter. While I completely agree about the current state of American politics, the author makes a claim that this is a relatively recent development dating roughly to the Vietnam War. Before that, especially in the 1950s, things were much better. Or at least they were for the white men. (The author does admit that 1950s were not all that great to blacks, women or homosexuals.)
While things might have gotten very bad in the last few decades, politicians and governments have always been more at the service of Big Money rather than the common people.
And Vietnam was not the first imperialistic American war. What about the conquest of Cuba and Philippines at the turn of the 20th century? And about all those American "adventures" in South America in the 19th century. And what about the westward expansion and extermination of Native Americans that started the moment the first colonists set their foot on the continent?
But this is a minor issue. My biggest issue with the book is that it is a powerful denunciation, but it does not offer much in terms of suggestions on how to fix the problems it is decrying. Criticizing is good and necessary, but offering solutions is even more important. You can criticize all you want, but if you cannot suggest something better, then the old system will stay in place.
The author does write at the end a powerful, tear inducing essay on how love conquers all and that no totalitarian regime, no matter how powerful and oppressive, had ever managed to crush hope, love and the human spirit. Love, in the end, conquers all.
That is absolutely true. But what does it mean in practice? That we must keep loving and doing good? Of course we must, but some concrete, practical examples of what to do would be welcome.An excellent and sobering view at the decline of reason and literacy in modern societyBy Jeffrey Swystun on June 29, 2011
This is an absolutely superb work that documents how our society has been subverted by spectacle, glitz, celebrity, and the obsession with "fame" at the expense of reality, literacy, reason, and actual ability. Hedges lays it all out in a very clear and thought provoking style, using real world examples like pro wrestling and celebrity oriented programming to showcase how severely our society has declined from a forward thinking, literate one into a mass of tribes obsessed with stardom and money.
Even better is that the author's style is approachable and non judgemental. This isn't an academic talking down to the masses, but a very solid reporter presenting findings in an accurate, logical style.
Every American should read this, and then consider whether to buy that glossy celebrity oriented magazine or watch that "I want to be a millionaire" show. The lifestyle and choices being promoted by the media, credit card companies, and by the celebrity culture in general, are toxic and a danger to our society's future.What does the contemporary self want?By S. Arch on July 10, 2011
The various ills impacting society graphically painted by Chris Hedges are attributed to a lack of literacy. However, it is much more complex, layered, and inter-related. By examining literacy, love, wisdom, happiness, and the current state of America, the author sets out to convince the reader that our world is intellectually crumbling. He picks aspects of our society that clearly offer questionable value: professional wrestling, the pornographic film industry (which is provided in bizarre repetitive graphic detail), gambling, conspicuous consumption, and biased news reporting to name a few.
The front of the end of the book was the most compelling. Especially when Hedges strays into near conspiracy with comments such as this: "Those who manipulate the shadows that dominate our lives are the agents, publicists, marketing departments, promoters, script writers, television and movie producers, advertisers, video technicians, photographers, bodyguards, wardrobe consultants, fitness trainers, pollsters, public announcers, and television news personalities who create the vast stage for illusion. The are the puppet masters." As extreme as that is, he is more credible when he says, "Commodities and celebrity culture define what it means to belong, how we recognize our place in society, and how we conduct our lives." I say 'credible' because popular and mass culture's influence are creating a world where substance is replaced by questionable style.
What resonated most in the book is a passage taken from William Deresiewicz's essay The End of Solitude: "What does the contemporary self want? The camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity. As the two technologies converge -- broadband tipping the Web from text to image, social-networking sites spreading the mesh of interconnection ever wider -- the two cultures betray a common impulse.
Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible. If not to the millions, on Survivor or Oprah, then to the hundreds, on Twitter or Facebook. This is the quality that validates us, this is how we become real to ourselves -- by being seen by others. The great contemporary terror is anonymity. If Lionel Trilling was right, if the property that grounded the self, in Romanticism, was sincerity, and in modernism it was authenticity, then in postmodernism it is visibility."
Visibility has replaced substance and accomplishment; packaging over product, sizzle not steak. Chris Rojek calls this "the cult of distraction" where society is consumed by the vacuous and the vapid rather than striving for self-awareness, accomplishment and contribution ("Propaganda has become a substitute for ideas and ideology."). Hedges builds on Rojek's descriptor by suggesting we are living in a "culture of illusion" which impoverishes language, makes us childlike, and is basically dumbing us all down.
This is definitely a provocative contribution and damning analysis of our society that would be a great choice for a book club. It would promote lively debate as conclusions and solutions are not easily reached.A book that needs to be read, even if it's only half true.
Empire of Illusion might be the most depressing book I've ever read. Why? Because it predicts the collapse of America and almost every word of it rings true.
I don't know if there's really anything new here; many of the ideas Hedges puts forth have been floating around in the neglected dark corners of our national discourse, but Hedges drags them all out into the daylight. Just about every social/cultural/economic/political ill you can think of is mentioned at some point in the text and laid at the feet of the villains whose insatiable greed has destroyed this once-great country. Hedges is bold. He predicts nothing less than the end of America. Indeed, he claims America has already ended. The American Dream is nothing more than an illusion being propped up by wealthy elites obsessed with power and the preservation of their lifestyle, a blind academia that has forgotten how to critique authority, and a government that is nothing more than the puppet of corporations. Meanwhile, mindless entertainments and a compliant news media divert and mislead the working and middle classes so they don't even notice that they are being raped to death by the power-elite and the corporations.