|Home||Switchboard||Unix Administration||Red Hat||TCP/IP Networks||Neoliberalism||Toxic Managers|
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better
|News||Who Rules America||Recommended books||Recommended Links||Anatol Leiven on American Messianism||Economic costs of American Exceptionalism||American imperialism: the attempt to secure global hegemony|
|Narcissism as Key American Value||Neoliberalism as secular religion, "idolatry of money||NeoMcCartyism||Russiagate: Special Prosecutor Mueller and his fishing expedition||Neoconservatism||Antirussian hysteria as a method of suppressing of dissent against neoliberalism and militarism||What's the Matter with Kansas|
|Cultural imperialism||Technological imperialism||Andrew Bacevich on the American militarism||Anti-Americanism||Industrial Espionage||Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State||Diplomacy by deception|
|National Security State||Corporatism||Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization||Fighting Russophobia||Fifth Column of Globalization||Understanding Mayberry Machiavellians (Rovism)||The History of Media-Military-Industrial Complex Concept|
|Big Uncle is Watching You||Nation under attack meme||Antirussian hysteria as a method of suppressing of dissent against neoliberalism and militarism||National Socialism and Military Keysianism||Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime||Authoritarian Corporatism||Terrorism as a smokesreen for National Security State implementation|
|Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite||William Browder, MI6, economic rape of Russia, and Magnitsky Act||Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ?||American Exceptionalism as Civil Religion||Fighting Neo-Theocracy||Inside democratization hypocrisy fair||The Unlikely History of American Exceptionalism Walter A. McDougall|
|Quotes||Mark Twain Quotes||Niccolo Machiavelli||Reinhold Niebuhr||Propaganda Quotes||Politically Incorrect Humor||Etc|
|I call it a tribal phenomena. A tribe can be a religion, a nation, a gender, a race, or any group which is different
from the group you identify with. It is not confined to religion.
And it seems to be an inherent trait in the human species that was one aspect of our evolution. Only when we learn that it is better to cooperate with each other rather than kill each other will we be free from this deadly disease which may, in the end, destroy us all.
sheridan44 comment in The Guardian
“[American exceptionalism] is a reaction to the inability of people to understand global complexity or important issues like American energy dependency. Therefore, they search for simplistic sources of comfort and clarity. And the people that they are now selecting to be, so to speak, the spokespersons of their anxieties are, in most cases, stunningly ignorant.”
According to George Soros, the events of 9/11 renewed a "distorted view" of American supremacy that "postulates that because we are stronger than others, we must know better and we must have right on our side." In other words 9/11 was important step to the transformation of the USA in the "National Security State" with the permanent regime of Total surveillance" over the population. The next step were events of 2008, which signified crisis of neoliberalism as an ideology. Neoliberalism now can mostly be propagated by brute force, via military intervention or some form of coup d'état (aka color revolutions) much like Trotskyites planned to propagate socialism to other countries via Permanent Revolution. With "Democracy promotion" instead of "liberation of proletariat".
Rise of American exeptionalism is also connected with the reaction to neoliberalism with its redistribution of wealth up by most of US population. Actually this is global phenomenon: neoliberalism gives strong impulse to the rise of neofascism in many countries, not only in the USA. As William I. Robinson noted in his article Global Capitalism Crisis of Humanity and the Specter of 21st Century Fascism
Yet another response [ to globalization] is that I term 21st century fascism.5 The ultra-right is an insurgent force in many countries. In broad strokes, this project seeks to fuse reactionary political power with transnational capital and to organise a mass base among historically privileged sectors of the global working class – such as white workers in the North and middle layers in the South – that are now experiencing heightened insecurity and the specter of downward mobility. It involves militarism, extreme masculinisation, homophobia, racism and racist mobilisations, including the search for scapegoats, such as immigrant workers and, in the West, Muslims.
Twenty-first century fascism evokes mystifying ideologies, often involving race/culture supremacy and xenophobia, embracing an idealised and mythical past. Neo-fascist culture normalises and glamorises warfare and social violence, indeed, generates a fascination with domination that is portrayed even as heroic.
American exceptionalism is unique in many ways as it does not include mass mobilization (see Inverted Totalitarism). "Go shopping" famously recommended George W Bush after 9/11. It should probably be more correctly called US-specific version of far right nationalism. The latter is a milder variant of one that existed in 30th of the last century in national-socialist countries of Europe, such as Italy and Spain, which does not necessarily employ physical violence against political opponents.
The sad fact is that the America of today is even more arrogant than the America in the days of Manifest Destiny and gunboat diplomacy. Indeed, the dissolution of the USSR cemented the national myth of superiority. The establishment of unparalleled industrial might, military victories in two world wars and on both sides of the globe, and the staggering economic defeat of Communism in the Cold War all have combined to cement America’s presumption of chapters in a long history of escalating national illusions of pre-eminence and blind national egoism. The dominant view about the USA from most countries is that it has a split paranoid personality, a “Jekyll and Hyde” America, “a democracy inside, an empire outside.” American policy makers, with their pretensions of global superiority after collapse of the USSR and with ever-increasing power of their military machine moved steadily toward making the whole globe a US preserve. Despite its vulgarity and borderline obsession with pornography (or may be because of that) the US culture made inroad all over the globe, and even in Europe and Russia despite rich cultural traditions of both. While the blatant American imperialism of the turn of the last century is now only a memory, today the nations face policies evidence more insidious brands of imperialism: cultural imperialism, economic imperialism, the imperialism of neoliberal ideology and forced globalization on the US terms. All are spread by the same national arrogance, the same cock-sure certainly that we are right. Many nations fear the United States practices a contemporary brand of “soft imperialism,” enslaving nations with IMF debt meachisms under the auspice of economic globalization. Converting the Third World in debt slaves or simply exploit it. In spite of such fears, and despite the setbacks, Americans remain convinced that eventually all nations are destined to fall into step and adopt “the American way.” All the while, the US politicians decry the rigid fundamentalism of our enemies while we remain utterly blind to our own.
Americans have been, and are today, exposed almost from birth to a particularly virulent strain of nationalism unlike that found in other modern nations. The resulting affliction stems from an unswerving faith in national superiority and uniqueness that is deeply ingrained in the American mind. Historically, these notions of superiority sprang from myths of the visions of chosen-ness, and high destiny; from the myth of frontier self-sufficiency; and finally from the perceived universality of American ideology and dominance of US culture and English language over the globe. While in some of us, nationalist feelings are not that pronounced, few of us are immune, and that is especially visible in times of anger, or fear. In spite of, and perhaps because of, our many strengths, practically all of us as Americans share this particularly prideful, unlovely, and potentially fatal weakness. In one form or another and to some degree or another, we carry national pride across the invisible boundary that separates benign patriotism from malignant far right nationalism. Hillary candidacy demonstrates that this process went too far and became really malignant:
Still, Americans are sure that they, like Woodrow Wilson, have seen “visions that other nations have not seen,” and that, accordingly, the United States’ mission has always been to become the “light of the world.”28 Indeed, from the very beginning, the American national identity was built on audacious visions of chosen-ness, destiny, and mission. Ronald Reagan was not the first nor the last in a long line of entrenched American visionaries to proclaim American exceptionalism, with its missionary implications of the Puritan “city on the hill,” no longer a stationary beacon, but an active force, the “leader of the free world” directing its forces against “empires of evil.”29
With such visions comes a warning: “the adoption of political and social values … as a framework for national identification is possible only if these values are based on some source of apparent ultimate truth which confers on them absolute validity — if they can claim universality.”30 If Americans unflinchingly believe that theirs is the single principle of Absolute Truth representing the universal interests of humankind, then any opposition will appear either criminal or inhuman.31 As Arthur Schlesinger Jr. puts it, “Those who are convinced that they have a monopoly on Truth always feel that they are saving the world when they slaughter heretics. Their object remains the making of the world over in the image of their dogmatic ideology — their goal is a monolithic world, organized on the principle of the infallibility of a single creed.”32 If Americans are so egotistical as to believe that their nation with its gleaming lamp of Ultimate Truth is the envy of the world, then they will perceive no wrong in trying to make the world over in America’s image, by whatever means. However, the world is a very complex and diverse place, and Ultimate Truth is a highly elusive and unstable substance. Thus, these are not only very arrogant ideas; they are also very dangerous ideas.
The way in which American elite as a whole relates with the rest of the world demonstrates a strong nationalistic (as in cultural nationalism) and chauvinistic point of view. That means that mass media presents events only from the particular point of view, that militarism is always encouraged and defended. With the considerable part of brainwashed lemmings (aka American public) believing that their nation, or culture, is superior to all others.
This view involves a unique mixture of prejudice, xenophobia and inter-group and in-group violence, with the latter directed at suppression of dissent. Indeed, the United States’ inflated sense of eminence create additional, non-economic stimulus for the country elite to act in fundamentally ethnocentric ways, and to to strive for unilateral rule of the world using military supremacy as door opener to resources of other nations. And first of all oil.
The other key support of American exeptionalism are large financial institutions, which depend on the success of the US "financial imperialism". We can view imperialism as ethnocentrism in action. And "financial imperialism" is very similar to "old-style" European imperialism, where European nations discovered new lands and imposed capitalism, their system of law and culture on the native peoples usually through violence. Like old colonies were forced to abandon their way of life and adopt a “superior” lifestyle and became resource base of metropolia, financial imperialism impose debt on other nations keeping them in a kind of debt slavery with the same result: they also became resource base for metropolia.
American exceptionalism might also have religious overtones as "citi on the hill" metaphor implies. It is not thus accidental that the first deep analyses of American exceptionalism was done by Niebuhr from the religious positions in his famous book The Irony of American History. Niebuhr as a theologian came to conclusion that it represents a sin that inevitably lead to the false allure of simple solutions and lack of appreciation of limits of power. In his opinion "Messianic consciousness" which constitute the core of American exceptionalism, was partially inherited form religious dogmas of early religious sects which came to colonize America. Those views were later enhanced and developed further by Professor Bacevich. See more details exposition of his views on the subject in the page New American Militarism
Any unbiased analysis of the nationalist activities leads to a disappointing conclusion: nationalists can behave as compradors: as enthusiastic servants of a foreign occupier of their own territory. In this case international banking cartel. Ukraine is one example, Serbia and Georgia are other but very similar examples. In the same way the USA can be viewed as a country occupied by financial oligarchy with most of its citizents converted into "debt slaves".
The policy which oppose exceptionalism is often called Noninterventionism
Noninterventionism is a rather clunky and unappealing label for a set of very appealing ideas: that the U.S. should mind its own business, act with restraint, respect other nations, refrain from unnecessary violence, and pursue peace. If future administrations took just a few of these as guiding principles for the conduct of foreign policy, America and the world would both be better off.
There were several important thinkers who contributed to understand of this complex and multifaceted, like any type of nationalism, phenomena. We will discuss (in breif) just four thinkers that made significant impact in understanding of this very complex concept. Among them:
American neo-conservatism is a closely related phenomenon. In this case the key point is that the pre-eminence of the USA as the sole superpower needs to be maintained at all costs and with wide use of military force. Among prominent neocons we can name Hillary Clinton and most of republican candidates for the presidency in the 2016 presidential race. That means that American exeptionalism is an establishment view, the view of the US elite, not some anomaly.
In his brilliant foreword to Niebuhr's book The Irony of American History Bacevich noted:
In Niebuhr's view, America's rise to power derived less from divine favor than from good fortune combines with a fierce determination to convert that good fortune in wealth and power. The good fortune cane in the form of vast landscape, rich in resources, ripe for exploitation, and apparently insulated from the bloody cockpit of [European] power politics. The determination found expression in a strategy of commercial and territorial expansionism that proved staggeringly successful, evidence not of superior virtue but of shrewdness punctuated with a considerable capacity for ruthlessness.
In describing America's rise to power Niebuhr does not shrink from using words like "hegemony" and "imperialism". His point is not to tag the United States with responsibility for all the world's evils. Rather, it is to suggest that it does not differ from other great powers as much as Americans may imagine.
...Niebuhr has little patience for those who portray the United States as acting on God's behalf. "All men are naturally inclined to obscure the morally ambiguous element in this political cause by investing it with religious sanctity," he once observed. " This is why religion is more frequently a source of confusion then of light in the political realm.". In the United States, he continued "The tendency to equate our political [goals] with our Christian convictions cause politics to generate idolatry."
In the introduction to American Exceptionalism and Human Rights Michael Ignatieff identifies three main types of exceptionalism:
I would add to it
The contributors to American Exceptionalism and Human Rights use Ignatieff's essay as a starting point to discuss specific types of exceptionalism -- America's approach to capital punishment and to free speech, for example -- or to explore the social, cultural, and institutional roots of exceptionalism.
The second important contribution to to the studies of American exceptionalism is Anatol Lieven. He correctly linked American exceptionalism with far right nationalism which Wikipedia defined as
Far-right politics or extreme-right politics are right-wing politics to the right of the mainstream centre right on the traditional left-right spectrum. They often involve a focus on tradition as opposed to policies and customs that are regarded as reflective of modernism. They tend to include disregard or disdain for egalitarianism, if not overt support for social inequality and social hierarchy, elements of social conservatism and opposition to most forms of liberalism and socialism.
"America keeps a fine house," Anatol Lieven writes in his probably best book on the American Exceptionalism (America Right or Wrong An Anatomy of American Nationalism ) "but in its cellar there lives a demon, whose name is nationalism." In a way US neocons, who commanded key position in Bush II and Barack Obama administrations are not that different from Israeli Likud Party.
While neocons definitely played an important role in shaping the US policy immediately after 9/11, the origins of aggressive U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 also reflect controversial character of the US national identity, which according to Anatol Lieven embraces two contradictory features.
Both of those tendencies are much older then 9/11. The first aggressive, expansionist war by the US was the war of 1812. See American Loyalists, The Most Important War You Probably Know Nothing About - By James Traub Foreign Policy
The War of 1812 matters because it was America’s first war of choice. The United States did not have to declare war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812, to survive as a nation and indeed President James Madison did not want to. The newly founded United States was growing westward but the “war hawks” in Congress pressed for a conflict with America’s former colonial masters in the hopes of gaining even more territory to the north. The term “hawk” was coined in the run-up to the War of 1812 and the hawks of U.S. foreign policy have been with us ever since.
The War of 1812 was America’s first neocon war. With an audacity that would become familiar, the war hawks appealed to a combination of personal pride — the British navy was forcibly conscripting Americans — and the prospect of material gain — the absorption of British Canada — wrapped up in love of country. No one said the conquest of Canada would be a “cakewalk,” but the hawks were confident the Americans would be greeted as liberators.
These two mutually-excusive impulses caused wild oscillations of the US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East and influenced the nature of U.S. support for Israel. Due to those oscillations those two contradictory impulses are undermining the U.S. foreign policy credibility in the eyes of the worlds and complicates reaching important national objectives.
Some attribute the term “American Exceptionalism” to Alexis de Tocqueville — though he never penned the phrase. In reality this term originated by German Marxists who were trying to explain weakness of worker movement in the USA. The idiom was popularized by neo-conservative pundits (aka former Trotskyites) soon after WWII.
In reality the term "American Exceptionalism is nothing but a disguised, more "politically correct" reference to America's Janus-faced nationalism. It has some mystical components like long vanished under the hill of financial oligarchy the "American dream" and its German-style refrain "God bless America". What is interesting about "God bless America" is that most founding fathers were Deists, profoundly critical of organized religions and they sought to separate personal -- what many of them described as mythologies -- from government. They were profoundly respectful of personal religious belief, but saw government as necessarily secular if freedom was to prevail. Not until the religious revivals of the 1820s through the 1860s can you find many identifying religion as a component of American exceptionalism.
As Martin Woollacott aptly noted in his review of Anatol Lieven book America, Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism ( Guardian):
He cuts through the conformist political rhetoric of America, the obfuscating special language of the "American dream", or the "American exception", which infects even foreign accounts. Even to use the word "nationalism" to describe an American phenomenon is, as he notes, not normal. Americans are not "nationalist", they are "patriotic". It is a patriotism which too often leaves no room for the patriotism of others, combining a theoretical care for all humanity with, in practice, an "indifference verging on contempt" for the interests and hopes of non-Americans. Nothing could be more distant from "the decent respect to the opinions of mankind" recommended to Americans in the early years of their independent existence
Lieven first paints a picture of an in some ways admirable American "civic nationalism", based on respect for the rule of law, constitutionality, democracy, and social (but not economic) equality, and a desire to spread these values in the world. But because this nationalism unrealistically holds that such "American" values can be exported at will, it blinds Americans to the different nature of other societies, sustaining the mistaken idea that if only particular rulers or classes can be displaced, "democracy" will prevail - a "decapitation" theory which contributed to the decision to attack Saddam. The American campaign to democratize other societies, Lieven says, harshly but fairly, "combines sloppiness of intellect and meanness of spirit". But, while in part mythic and not entirely rational, this side of American nationalism is of some value not only to the United States, but to the world as a whole.
...The result, Lieven argues, is that instead of the mature nationalism of a satisfied and dominant state, American nationalism is more akin to that of late developing and insecure states such as Wilhelmine Germany and Tsarist Russia.
"While America keeps a splendid and welcoming house," Lieven writes in his preface, "it also keeps a family of demons in its cellar.
His book supports Mark Twain quite to the effect that we are blessed with three things in this country, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and, thirdly, the common sense to practice neither one!
He also points at the very important side effect of Exceptionalism: "America's hypocrisy," (see for example Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair). An outstanding level of hypocrisy in the US foreign policy also is corroborated by other scholars, among them James Hillman in his recent book "A Terrible Love of War" in which he characterizes hypocrisy as quintessentially American (although British are strong competitors). Now after Snowden, Libya, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, etc we might be appear to be entering an new stage on which "The era of easy hypocrisy is over."
The regime of easy hypocrisy means that America position itself as a blessed nation created by God and (here’s the rub) therefore privileged in what actions it can take around the world and the nation that can safely ignore international norms, which are created only for suckers. It is above the international law.
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
This is pretty precise definition of the idea of introduced by Nazi idea of “decisionism” in which action is seen as a value in itself. Decisionism is a defining feature of any totalitarian state. By extension if you find decisionism exists in particular state, it is rational to expect other F-features of such states. Umberto Eco has listed fourteen attributes along with two major features: irrationalism and decisionism. Eco has them listed as attributes 2 and 3.
The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.
3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action's sake.
Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation. Therefore culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Hermann Goering's fondness for a phrase from a Hanns Johst play ("When I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my gun") to the frequent use of such expressions as "degenerate intellectuals," "eggheads," "effete snobs," and "universities are nests of reds." The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.Fascism has an irrational element that rejects modern thought because it conflicts with traditional beliefs of the Christian religion and because fascism views communist ideology as a child of the Age of Reason and Jewish intellectuals. The Nazis were well aware that Karl Marx was a German Jew. Evolution is seen as modernist and is rejected in favor of Christian creationism. This debate is repeating itself today in American society with Christian fundamentalism attempting to gain control of state education.
Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt
Very closely related to irrationalism is “decisionism” in which action is seen as a value in itself. This is an existential element in fascism that elevates action over thought. Action is a sign of unambiguous power, and thought is associated with weakness and indecision. Carl Schmitt, a Nazi Law constitutional jurist, wrote that a decision is “(an actual historical event) and not within that of a norm (an ahistoric and transcendent idea).” The a priori is overshadowed by the posteriori. Actions over abstract principles, Fact over Idea, Power over pure thought, Certainty over ambiguity are the values and ideological norms that are primary in a totalitarian state.
After fleeing Germany, Marcuse wrote in 1934 a critique of German fascist society and attempted to identify those beliefs and philosophical themes found within fascist ideology. Marcuse believed that the seeds of fascism could be found in the Capitalist Democratic Liberal State, which over time mutate as Monopoly Capitalism gain control of the State as in the case of Germany. The evolution of Capitalism is also the concealed dialectic of Fascism. Those mutated liberal democratic ideas and values are betrayed by a totalitarianism based on action and force.
Using Germany as his example of a fascist society Marcuse writes:From what social idea in Capitalistic Liberalism did this decisionism evolve? It is none other than the economic hero, the free independent entrepreneur of industrial capitalism.The idea of the charismatic, authoritarian leader is already preformed in the liberalist celebration of the gifted economic leader, the “born” executive. Negations, page 18.
And within the political sphere all relationships are oriented in turn toward the most extreme “crisis,” toward the decision about the “state of emergency,” of war and peace. The true possessor of power is defined as beyond all legality and legitimacy: “Sovereign is he who decides on the state of emergency.” (Carl Schmitt, Politische Theologie,1922).
Sovereignty is founded on the factual power to make this decision (decisionism). The basic political relationship is the “friend-enemy relationship.” Its crisis is war, which proceeds until the enemy has been physically annihilated.
There is no social relationship that does not in a crisis turn into a political relationship. Behind all economic, social, religious, and cultural relations stands total politicization. There is no sphere of private or public life, no legal or rational court of appeal that could oppose it.
Negations, page 36.
The total-authoritarian state is born out of the Liberal state and the former concept of the economic leader is transformed into a Fuhrer. We can see this mutation of the concept of the “born” executive into the leader-state (Fuhrerstaat) in George Bush’s speech and actions.
An uneducated but privileged man, George Bush, has merged the idea of the CEO with that of the State Leader. But society has also made this same concatenation of ideas. He is a president of action and seen as a “strong” president. He is doer and not a thinker and his followers are proud of this persona. His opponents are “feminine” and members of the “reality based community.” Consequently, the Bush administration has attempted to engineer the executive branch to be the strongest in American history by claiming “inherent” presidential powers. It is precisely the concept of “state of emergency” that Bush has used to grab more and more state power in the name of security.
He has instituted the hyper-surveillance of Americas with the Patriot act, which is based on the same justification Nazi Law used to empower the Fuhrer. A Bush lawyer and advisor, John Yoo, wrote, Just two weeks after the September 11 attacks, a secret memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales’ office concluded that President Bush had the power to deploy military force “preemptively” against any terrorist groups or countries that supported them—regardless of whether they had any connection to the attacks on the World Trade Towers or the Pentagon. The memo, written by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, argues that there are effectively “no limits” on the president’s authority to wage war—a sweeping assertion of executive power that some constitutional scholars say goes considerably beyond any that had previously been articulated by the department. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6732484/site/newsweek/
Carl Schmitt, a Nazi Law constitutional jurist in Hitler’s Third Reich, wrote a similar justification of power for the State Leader using the concept of the “exception” in his work “Political Theology,” Hence, the thundering opening of his treatise: 'The sovereign is he who decides on the exception.' It is a disturbingly 'realistic' view of politics, which, in the manner of Hobbes, subordinates de jure authority to de facto power: autoritas, non veritas facit legem. (The law is made by the one who has authority (i.e. power) and not the one who possesses the truth (the legitimate sovereign).)
The problem of the exception, for the constitutional jurist Schmitt, can only be resolved within the framework of a decision (an actual historical event) and not within that of a norm (an ahistoric and transcendent idea). Moreover, the legal act which decides what constitutes an exception is 'a decision in the true sense of the word', because a general norm, an ordinary legal prescription, 'can never encompass a total exception'. If so, then, 'the decision that a real exception exists cannot be derived entirely from this norm.' The problem of the exception, in other words, demarcates the limit of the rule of law and opens up that trans-legal space, that no-man's land of existential exigency, which is bereft of legal authority and where the decision of the sovereign abrogates the anomaly of the legal void. …against the legal positivism of his times, Schmitt seems to be arguing that not law but the sovereign, not the legal text but the political will, is the supreme authority in a state. States are not legal entities but historical polities; they are engaged in a constant battle for survival where any moment of their existence may constitute an exception, it may engender a political crisis that cannot be remedied by the application of the rule of law. From the existential priority of the sovereign over the legitimacy of the norm, it would also follow that according to Schmitt, law is subservient to politics and not autonomous of it. The Sovereignty of the Political Carl Schmitt and the Nemesis of Liberalism http://www.algonet.se/~pmanzoor/CarlSchmitt.htm
When the Bush administration argues that increased presidential power is needed to fight terrorism by suspending or overriding the constitutional protections against search and seizures, they are arguing the principles of Nazi constitutional law. Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday vigorously defended the Bush administration's use of secret domestic spying and efforts to expand presidential powers, saying "it's not an accident that we haven't been hit in four years." Talking to reporters aboard his government plane as he flew from Islamabad, Pakistan to Muscat, Oman on an overseas mission, Cheney said a contraction in the power of the presidency since the Vietnam and Watergate era must be reversed. "I believe in a strong, robust executive authority and I think that the world we live in demands it. And to some extent, that we have an obligation as the administration to pass on the offices we hold to our successors in as good of shape as we found them," he said.
http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/12/20/D8EK28B82.htmlAgainst these ever expanding powers of the State stand the once traditional individual freedoms upheld by the Liberal Democratic State. The theologian and philosopher of the Age of Reason, Immanuel Kant wrote…Human right must be kept sacred, no matter how great the sacrifice it costs the ruling powers. One cannot go only halfway and contrive a pragmatically conditioned right….All politics, rather, must bend the knee before sacred human right…
The same idea from slightly different angle is reflected in term "Faith-based community" vs. Reality-based community ( Wikipedia )
Reality-based community is a popular term among liberal political commentators in the United States. In the fall of 2004, the phrase "proud member of the reality-based community" was first used to suggest the commentator's opinions are based more on observation than on faith, assumption, or ideology. The term has been defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from judicious study of discernible reality." Some commentators have gone as far as to suggest that there is an overarching conflict in society between the reality-based community and the "faith-based community" as a whole. It can be seen as an example of political framing.
The source of the term is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush:
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
Commentators who use this term generally oppose former President Bush's policies and by using this term imply that Bush's policies (and, by extension, those of the conservative movement generally) were (or are) out of touch with reality. Others use the term to draw a contrast with the perceived arrogance of the Bush Administration's unilateral policies, in accordance with the aide's quote. Its popularity has prompted some conservative commentators to use the term ironically, to accuse the left-leaning "reality-based community" of ignoring reality.
The Republican Party — and more particularly the neo-con wing of the party — is particularly susceptible to imperial outreach. This imperial mentality is well exemplified by Fox News reporting.
For example, Matt Lewis, a conservative political Pundit on MSNBC attacked Barack Obama for saying “Any world order that elevates one nation above another will fall flat.” In response Lewis stated:
“I think that goes against the idea of American exceptionalism…most Americans believe that America was gifted by God and is a blessed nation and therefore we are better.”
For any conservative the concept of “American Exceptionalism” is rather bemusing. America is not more democratic, more free, more enterprising, more tolerant, or more anything else be it Canada, New Zealand or for that matter Australia. America is just a bigger country and due to its size, human resources and industrial potential it the leading Western country and the owner of world reserve currency, after Great Britain became financially exhausted after WWII. That means that American Exceptionalism is simply a politically correct work for a combustible mixture of nationalism (with Christian messianism component similar to Crusades with "democracy" instead Jesus) and Jingoism. In a very deep sense this is negation of the idea "all men are created equal" and as such is anti-American ;-).
America is a blessed nation as everybody in the country is an immigrant, the nation that at some point of time was freer and more prosperous than many others, but as a great Nazarene once said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”
Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS
Here is one of those neon sentences. Quote,
"The pursuit of freedom, as defined in an age of consumerism, has induced a condition of dependence on imported goods, on imported oil, and on credit. The chief desire of the American people," you write, "is that nothing should disrupt their access to these goods, that oil, and that credit. The chief aim of the U.S. government is to satisfy that desire, which it does in part of through the distribution of largesse here at home, and in part through the pursuit of imperial ambitions abroad."
In other words, you're saying that our foreign policy is the result of a dependence on consumer goods and credit.
Our foreign policy is not something simply concocted by people in Washington D.C. and imposed on us. Our foreign policy is something that is concocted in Washington D.C., but it reflects the perceptions of our political elite about what we want, we the people want. And what we want, by and large - I mean, one could point to many individual exceptions - but, what we want, by and large is, we want this continuing flow of very cheap consumer goods.
We want to be able to pump gas into our cars regardless of how big they may happen to be, in order to be able to drive wherever we want to be able to drive. And we want to be able to do these things without having to think about whether or not the book's balanced at the end of the month, or the end of the fiscal year. And therefore, we want this unending line of credit.
Quite logically the imperial actions is a source of widespread Anti-Americanism. As Ian Tyrrell noted in What is American exceptionalism
It is also important to realize that there is a “negative” version of exceptionalism, i.e. that the US has been exceptionally bad, racist, violent. While this is less a part of the common myths about American history, the attempt to compensate for American exceptionalism by emphasizing unique American evils is equally distorting. We need to think more about this matter, especially when we deal with racial divisions and gender prejudice. Is the US experience a variant on wider racial and gender patterns? While social history has provided new perspectives on the role of women, African Americans, and ethnics in the making of American history, has that new history discredited or qualified ideas of American exceptionalism?
The actual term “American exceptionalism” was originally coined by German Marxists who wished to explain why the US seemed to have by-passed the rise of socialism and Marxism. (Actually the US had much class conflict, some Marxist parties and theorists, and a lively socialist movement, though the latter was not on the scale of, say, France and Germany.) But exceptionalism is much more than about class conflict.
Some historians prefer the terms “differences” or “uniqueness?” Are these suitable substitutes? Whatever the terminology, the implications of American difference/uniqueness have long been debated. Some have said the difference was temporary, and eventually the US would be like other countries. Others have argued that American “specialness” stems from its political, intellectual, and even religious heritage, and is enduring.
Skeptic view on American Exceptionalism is valuable for different reasons some of which were listed by Stephen M. Walt in his The Myth of American Exceptionalism (Foreign Policy, November 2011)
The only thing wrong with this self-congratulatory portrait of America's global role is that it is mostly a myth. Although the United States possesses certain unique qualities -- from high levels of religiosity to a political culture that privileges individual freedom -- the conduct of U.S. foreign policy has been determined primarily by its relative power and by the inherently competitive nature of international politics. By focusing on their supposedly exceptional qualities, Americans blind themselves to the ways that they are a lot like everyone else.
This unchallenged faith in American exceptionalism makes it harder for Americans to understand why others are less enthusiastic about U.S. dominance, often alarmed by U.S. policies, and frequently irritated by what they see as U.S. hypocrisy, whether the subject is possession of nuclear weapons, conformity with international law, or America's tendency to condemn the conduct of others while ignoring its own failings. Ironically, U.S. foreign policy would probably be more effective if Americans were less convinced of their own unique virtues and less eager to proclaim them.
What we need, in short, is a more realistic and critical assessment of America's true character and contributions. In that spirit, I offer here the Top 5 Myths about American Exceptionalism.
Myth 1: There Is Something Exceptional About American Exceptionalism.
Whenever American leaders refer to the "unique" responsibilities of the United States, they are saying that it is different from other powers and that these differences require them to take on special burdens.
Yet there is nothing unusual about such lofty declarations; indeed, those who make them are treading a well-worn path. Most great powers have considered themselves superior to their rivals and have believed that they were advancing some greater good when they imposed their preferences on others. The British thought they were bearing the "white man's burden," while French colonialists invoked la mission civilisatrice to justify their empire. Portugal, whose imperial activities were hardly distinguished, believed it was promoting a certain missão civilizadora. Even many of the officials of the former Soviet Union genuinely believed they were leading the world toward a socialist utopia despite the many cruelties that communist rule inflicted. Of course, the United States has by far the better claim to virtue than Stalin or his successors, but Obama was right to remind us that all countries prize their own particular qualities.
So when Americans proclaim they are exceptional and indispensable, they are simply the latest nation to sing a familiar old song. Among great powers, thinking you're special is the norm, not the exception.
Myth 2: The United States Behaves Better Than Other Nations Do.
Declarations of American exceptionalism rest on the belief that the United States is a uniquely virtuous nation, one that loves peace, nurtures liberty, respects human rights, and embraces the rule of law. Americans like to think their country behaves much better than other states do, and certainly better than other great powers.
If only it were true. The United States may not have been as brutal as the worst states in world history, but a dispassionate look at the historical record belies most claims about America's moral superiority.
For starters, the United States has been one of the most expansionist powers in modern history. It began as 13 small colonies clinging to the Eastern Seaboard, but eventually expanded across North America, seizing Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California from Mexico in 1846. Along the way, it eliminated most of the native population and confined the survivors to impoverished reservations. By the mid-19th century, it had pushed Britain out of the Pacific Northwest and consolidated its hegemony over the Western Hemisphere.
The United States has fought numerous wars since then -- starting several of them -- and its wartime conduct has hardly been a model of restraint. The 1899-1902 conquest of the Philippines killed some 200,000 to 400,000 Filipinos, most of them civilians, and the United States and its allies did not hesitate to dispatch some 305,000 German and 330,000 Japanese civilians through aerial bombing during World War II, mostly through deliberate campaigns against enemy cities. No wonder Gen. Curtis LeMay, who directed the bombing campaign against Japan, told an aide, "If the U.S. lost the war, we would be prosecuted as war criminals." The United States dropped more than 6 million tons of bombs during the Indochina war, including tons of napalm and lethal defoliants like Agent Orange, and it is directly responsible for the deaths of many of the roughly 1 million civilians who died in that war.
More recently, the U.S.-backed Contra war in Nicaragua killed some 30,000 Nicaraguans, a percentage of their population equivalent to 2 million dead Americans. U.S. military action has led directly or indirectly to the deaths of 250,000 Muslims over the past three decades (and that's a low-end estimate, not counting the deaths resulting from the sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s), including the more than 100,000 people who died following the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. U.S. drones and Special Forces are going after suspected terrorists in at least five countries at present and have killed an unknown number of innocent civilians in the process. Some of these actions may have been necessary to make Americans more prosperous and secure. But while Americans would undoubtedly regard such acts as indefensible if some foreign country were doing them to us, hardly any U.S. politicians have questioned these policies. Instead, Americans still wonder, "Why do they hate us?"
The United States talks a good game on human rights and international law, but it has refused to sign most human rights treaties, is not a party to the International Criminal Court, and has been all too willing to cozy up to dictators -- remember our friend Hosni Mubarak? -- with abysmal human rights records. If that were not enough, the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the George W. Bush administration's reliance on waterboarding, extraordinary rendition, and preventive detention should shake America's belief that it consistently acts in a morally superior fashion. Obama's decision to retain many of these policies suggests they were not a temporary aberration.
The United States never conquered a vast overseas empire or caused millions to die through tyrannical blunders like China's Great Leap Forward or Stalin's forced collectivization. And given the vast power at its disposal for much of the past century, Washington could certainly have done much worse. But the record is clear: U.S. leaders have done what they thought they had to do when confronted by external dangers, and they paid scant attention to moral principles along the way. The idea that the United States is uniquely virtuous may be comforting to Americans; too bad it's not true.
Myth 3: America's Success Is Due to Its Special Genius.
The United States has enjoyed remarkable success, and Americans tend to portray their rise to world power as a direct result of the political foresight of the Founding Fathers, the virtues of the U.S. Constitution, the priority placed on individual liberty, and the creativity and hard work of the American people. In this narrative, the United States enjoys an exceptional global position today because it is, well, exceptional.
There is more than a grain of truth to this version of American history. It's not an accident that immigrants came to America in droves in search of economic opportunity, and the "melting pot" myth facilitated the assimilation of each wave of new Americans. America's scientific and technological achievements are fully deserving of praise and owe something to the openness and vitality of the American political order.
But America's past success is due as much to good luck as to any uniquely American virtues. The new nation was lucky that the continent was lavishly endowed with natural resources and traversed by navigable rivers. It was lucky to have been founded far from the other great powers and even luckier that the native population was less advanced and highly susceptible to European diseases. Americans were fortunate that the European great powers were at war for much of the republic's early history, which greatly facilitated its expansion across the continent, and its global primacy was ensured after the other great powers fought two devastating world wars. This account of America's rise does not deny that the United States did many things right, but it also acknowledges that America's present position owes as much to good fortune as to any special genius or "manifest destiny."
Myth 4: The United States Is Responsible for Most of the Good in the World.
Americans are fond of giving themselves credit for positive international developments. President Bill Clinton believed the United States was "indispensable to the forging of stable political relations," and the late Harvard University political scientist Samuel P. Huntington thought U.S. primacy was central "to the future of freedom, democracy, open economies, and international order in the world." Journalist Michael Hirsh has gone even further, writing in his book At War With Ourselves that America's global role is "the greatest gift the world has received in many, many centuries, possibly all of recorded history." Scholarly works such as Tony Smith's America's Mission and G. John Ikenberry's Liberal Leviathan emphasize America's contribution to the spread of democracy and its promotion of a supposedly liberal world order. Given all the high-fives American leaders have given themselves, it is hardly surprising that most Americans see their country as an overwhelmingly positive force in world affairs.
Once again, there is something to this line of argument, just not enough to make it entirely accurate. The United States has made undeniable contributions to peace and stability in the world over the past century, including the Marshall Plan, the creation and management of the Bretton Woods system, its rhetorical support for the core principles of democracy and human rights, and its mostly stabilizing military presence in Europe and the Far East. But the belief that all good things flow from Washington's wisdom overstates the U.S. contribution by a wide margin.
For starters, though Americans watching Saving Private Ryan or Patton may conclude that the United States played the central role in vanquishing Nazi Germany, most of the fighting was in Eastern Europe and the main burden of defeating Hitler's war machine was borne by the Soviet Union. Similarly, though the Marshall Plan and NATO played important roles in Europe's post-World War II success, Europeans deserve at least as much credit for rebuilding their economies, constructing a novel economic and political union, and moving beyond four centuries of sometimes bitter rivalry. Americans also tend to think they won the Cold War all by themselves, a view that ignores the contributions of other anti-Soviet adversaries and the courageous dissidents whose resistance to communist rule produced the "velvet revolutions" of 1989.
Moreover, as Godfrey Hodgson recently noted in his sympathetic but clear-eyed book, The Myth of American Exceptionalism, the spread of liberal ideals is a global phenomenon with roots in the Enlightenment, and European philosophers and political leaders did much to advance the democratic ideal. Similarly, the abolition of slavery and the long effort to improve the status of women owe more to Britain and other democracies than to the United States, where progress in both areas trailed many other countries. Nor can the United States claim a global leadership role today on gay rights, criminal justice, or economic equality -- Europe's got those areas covered.
Finally, any honest accounting of the past half-century must acknowledge the downside of American primacy. The United States has been the major producer of greenhouse gases for most of the last hundred years and thus a principal cause of the adverse changes that are altering the global environment. The United States stood on the wrong side of the long struggle against apartheid in South Africa and backed plenty of unsavory dictatorships -- including Saddam Hussein's -- when short-term strategic interests dictated. Americans may be justly proud of their role in creating and defending Israel and in combating global anti-Semitism, but its one-sided policies have also prolonged Palestinian statelessness and sustained Israel's brutal occupation.
Bottom line: Americans take too much credit for global progress and accept too little blame for areas where U.S. policy has in fact been counterproductive. Americans are blind to their weak spots, and in ways that have real-world consequences. Remember when Pentagon planners thought U.S. troops would be greeted in Baghdad with flowers and parades? They mostly got RPGs and IEDs instead.
Myth 5: God Is on Our Side.
A crucial component of American exceptionalism is the belief that the United States has a divinely ordained mission to lead the rest of the world. Ronald Reagan told audiences that there was "some divine plan" that had placed America here, and once quoted Pope Pius XII saying, "Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind." Bush offered a similar view in 2004, saying, "We have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom." The same idea was expressed, albeit less nobly, in Otto von Bismarck's alleged quip that "God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States."
Confidence is a valuable commodity for any country. But when a nation starts to think it enjoys the mandate of heaven and becomes convinced that it cannot fail or be led astray by scoundrels or incompetents, then reality is likely to deliver a swift rebuke. Ancient Athens, Napoleonic France, imperial Japan, and countless other countries have succumbed to this sort of hubris, and nearly always with catastrophic results.
Despite America's many successes, the country is hardly immune from setbacks, follies, and boneheaded blunders. If you have any doubts about that, just reflect on how a decade of ill-advised tax cuts, two costly and unsuccessful wars, and a financial meltdown driven mostly by greed and corruption have managed to squander the privileged position the United States enjoyed at the end of the 20th century. Instead of assuming that God is on their side, perhaps Americans should heed Abraham Lincoln's admonition that our greatest concern should be "whether we are on God's side."
Given the many challenges Americans now face, from persistent unemployment to the burden of winding down two deadly wars, it's unsurprising that they find the idea of their own exceptionalism comforting -- and that their aspiring political leaders have been proclaiming it with increasing fervor. Such patriotism has its benefits, but not when it leads to a basic misunderstanding of America's role in the world. This is exactly how bad decisions get made.
America has its own special qualities, as all countries do, but it is still a state embedded in a competitive global system. It is far stronger and richer than most, and its geopolitical position is remarkably favorable. These advantages give the United States a wider range of choice in its conduct of foreign affairs, but they don't ensure that its choices will be good ones. Far from being a unique state whose behavior is radically different from that of other great powers, the United States has behaved like all the rest, pursuing its own self-interest first and foremost, seeking to improve its relative position over time, and devoting relatively little blood or treasure to purely idealistic pursuits. Yet, just like past great powers, it has convinced itself that it is different, and better, than everyone else.
International politics is a contact sport, and even powerful states must compromise their political principles for the sake of security and prosperity. Nationalism is also a powerful force, and it inevitably highlights the country's virtues and sugarcoats its less savory aspects.
But if Americans want to be truly exceptional, they might start by viewing the whole idea of "American exceptionalism" with a much more skeptical eye.
For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section
Feb 05, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com,
The head of US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) warned that a nuclear war with Russia or China is a "real possibility" and is calling for a change in US policy that reflects this threat .
"There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state," Vice Adm. Charles Richard wrote in the February edition of the US Naval Institute's monthly magazine .Charles A. Richard, the 11th commander of US Strategic Command
Richard said the US military must "shift its principal assumption from 'nuclear employment is not possible' to 'nuclear employment is a very real possibility,' and act to meet and deter that reality."
The STRATCOM chief said Russia and China "have begun to aggressively challenge international norms and global peace using instruments of power and threats of force in ways not seen since the height of the Cold War."
Richard hyped up Russia and China's nuclear modernization, calling for the US to compete with the two nations. When it comes to China's nuclear weapons, the US and Russia have vastly larger arsenals. Current estimates put Beijing's nuclear arsenal at about 320 warheads, while Washington and Moscow have about 6,000 warheads each .
Even if Beijing doubles its arsenal over the next decade, as the China hawks are predicting, it will still be small compared to Washington's. The US would have to eliminate a good amount of its arsenal to convince Beijing to participate in arms control agreements.
Since STRATCOM is the command post that oversees Washington's nuclear arsenal, its commanders are always overplaying the risk of nuclear war and asking for more money to modernize the stockpile. But with the US prioritizing so-called "great power competition" with China and Russia and an increased US military presence in places like the South China Sea , the Arctic , and the Black Sea , the threat of nuclear war is rising.
Jan 28, 2021 | consortiumnews.com
T here's a news story about a U.S. military convoy entering Syria being shared around social media with captions claiming that President Joe Biden is already "invading" Syria which is getting tons of shares in both right-wing and left anti-imperialist circles.
The virality of these shares has inspired clickbait titles like " Joe Biden Invades Syria with Convoy of U.S. Troops and Choppers on First Full Day as President ," which are being shared with equal virality.
But if you read the original report everyone jumped on, accurately titled "U.S. military convoy enters northeast Syria: report," you don't have to read too far to get to this line :
"Other local media report that such maneuvers are not unusual as the U.S. often moves transfers equipment between Iraq and Syria."
So, while this is a movement of troops between illegitimate military occupations which have no business existing in either country, it is nothing new and would have been happening regardless of which candidate had won the last U.S. presidential election.
Another inaccurate narrative that's gone completely viral is the claim that Biden is sending more troops to Iraq. This one traces back to a single Twitter post by some Trumpy account with the handle "@amuse" who shared a Jerusalem Post article with the caption "BREAKING: President Biden is considering reversing Trump's drawdown in Iraq by adding thousands of troops to combat growing terror threats in the region as evidenced by Thursday's attack near the U.S. embassy."
If you read the actual JPost article titled " Baghdad bombing could be the Biden admin's first challenge " you will see that it contains no such claim, and if you were to search a bit you would find @amuse claiming that they were sharing something they'd learned from "sources" in D.C. instead of accurately summarizing the contents of the article.
Unless you know this person and know them to be consistently trustworthy, there is no valid reason to believe claims allegedly said by alleged anonymous sources to some openly partisan anonymous account on Twitter.
But the bogus tweet was amplified by many influential accounts, most notably by Donald Trump Jr with the caption "Getting back into wars on the first full day. The Swamp/War Inc. is thrilled right now."
Its virality then caused it to work its way outward to dupe many well-meaning anti-imperialists (myself included until I looked into it) who are vigilant against Biden's notorious warmongering , and now there's a widespread narrative throughout every part of the ideological spectrum that Biden is escalating warmongering in both Syria and Iraq.
It is entirely possible – probable even – that reliable warmonger Joe Biden will end up sending more U.S. troops to Iraq and Syria at some point during his administration. But if the antiwar community keeps staring at the movement of ground troops with hypervigilant intensity, they won't be paying enough attention to the areas where the more deadly aspects of Biden's hawkishness are likely to manifest.
Trump's base has been forcefully pushing the narrative that the previous president didn't start any new wars, which while technically true ignores his murderous actions like vetoing the bill to save Yemen from U.S.-backed genocide and actively blocking aid to its people, murdering untold tens of thousands of Venezuelans with starvation sanctions, rolling out many world-threatening Cold War escalations against Russia, engaging in insane brinkmanship with Iran , greatly increasing the number of bombs dropped per day from the previous administration, killing record numbers of civilians , and reducing military accountability for those airstrikes.
Jan. 28, 2019: The Trump administration's U.S. National Security Advisor John R. Bolton, left, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announce sanctions of the Venezuela oil company PDVSA. (The White House, Wikimedia Commons)
Trump may not have started any "new wars," but he kept the old ones going and inflamed some of them. Just because you don't start any new wars doesn't mean you're not a warmonger.
Rather than a throwback to "new wars" and the old-school ground invasions of the Bush era, the warmongering we'll be seeing from the Biden administration is more likely to look like this. More starvation sanctions. More proxy conflicts. More cold war. More coups. More special ops. More drone strikes. More slow motion strangulation, less ham-fisted overt warfare.
It is certainly possible that Biden could launch a new full-scale war; the empire is in desperate straits right now, and it could turn out that a very desperate maneuver is needed to maintain global domination. But that isn't the method that it has favored lately.
The U.S. empire much prefers nowadays to pour its resources into less visible acts of violence like economic siege warfare and arming proxy militias; the Iraq invasion left Americans so bitter toward conventional war that any more of it would increase the risk of an actual antiwar movement in the United States, which would be disastrous for the empire.
So rather than tempt fate with the bad publicity of flag-draped coffins flying home by the thousands again imperialism is now served up with a bit more subtlety, with the military playing more of a backup role to guard the infrastructure of this new approach.
It appears clear that this would be the Biden administration's preferred method of warmongering if given the choice.
The incoming Secretary of State Tony Blinken now advocates replacing the old Bush model of full-scale war with "discreet, small-scale sustainable operations, maybe led by special forces, to support local actors." Biden's nominee for CIA Director William Burns urged caution in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion and later expressed regret that he didn't push back against it.
Rather than picking bloodthirsty psychopath Michele Flournoy for defense secretary as many expected, Biden went with the less cartoonishly evil Raytheon board member Lloyd J. Austin III. All this while depraved coupmonger Victoria Nuland is being added to the administration and the murderous Venezuela coup is folded into its policy.
Antiwar protest in San Francisco, Aug. 29, 2013. (Steve Rhodes, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Too much of the antiwar community is still stuck in the early 2000s. The Western war machine just doesn't generally kill that way anymore, and we need to adjust our perspectives if we want to address the actual murderousness as it is actually showing up. If you keep looking out for obsolete ground invasions, you're going to miss the new form of warmongering completely.
Trump supporters who claim to oppose war missed this completely throughout the entirety of his presidency, confining the concept of "war" solely to its most blatant iterations in order to feel like their president was a peacemaker instead of a warmonger.
One of the few positive developments that could potentially arise from the Biden administration is helping such people to recognize acts of violence like starvation sanctions as war, since they will be opposing Biden and that is how this new administration will be manifesting much of its murderousness.
The political/media class likes to keep everyone focused on the differences between each president and his immediate predecessor, but we can learn a whole lot more by looking at their similarities. Biden's warmongering is going to look a lot like Trump's -- just directed in some different directions and expressing in slightly different ways -- despite all the energy that has been poured into painting them as two wildly different individuals.
Once you see beyond the partisan puppet show, you see a single oligarchic empire continuing the same murderous agendas from one sock puppet administration to the next.
Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium . Her work is entirely reader-supported , so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook , following her antics on Twitter , checking out her podcast on either Youtube , soundcloud , Apple podcasts or Spotify , following her on Steemit , throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of her sweet merchandise , buying her books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers .
This article was re-published with permission.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
Jan 27, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
uncle tungsten , Jan 27 2021 0:10 utc | 84
The USAi general that needs to be recalled is CENTCOM chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr.
The grayzone writer, Gareth Porter explains:A four-star general who previously served as director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, McKenzie is regarded as the most politically astute commander ever to lead Middle East Command, according to journalist Mark Perry. He has also shown himself to be exceptionally brazen in scheming to defend his interests.
Almost immediately after taking command at CENTCOM in March 2019, McKenzie launched his campaign of political manipulation. By requesting additional forces to contain a supposedly urgent Iranian threat, McKenzie triggered the dispatch of an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East. A month later, he told reporters he believed the deployments were "having a very good stabilizing effect," and that he was in the process of negotiating on a larger, long-term U.S. military presence.
As a result of his maneuvering, McKenzie succeeded in acquiring 10,000 to 15,000 more military personnel, bringing the total in his CENTCOM realm to more than 90,000. The rapid increase in assets under his command was revealed in a Senate hearing in March 2020.
I am reminded of the excellent Rolling Stone report on General Stanley McCrystal.Now, flipping through printout cards of his speech in Paris, McChrystal wonders aloud what Biden question he might get today, and how he should respond. "I never know what's going to pop out until I'm up there, that's the problem," he says. Then, unable to help themselves, he and his staff imagine the general dismissing the vice president with a good one-liner.
"Are you asking about Vice President Biden?" McChrystal says with a laugh. "Who's that?"
"Biden?" suggests a top adviser. "Did you say: Bite Me?"
From the start, McChrystal was determined to place his personal stamp on Afghanistan, to use it as a laboratory for a controversial military strategy known as counterinsurgency. COIN, as the theory is known, is the new gospel of the Pentagon brass, a doctrine that attempts to square the military's preference for high-tech violence with the demands of fighting protracted wars in failed states. COIN calls for sending huge numbers of ground troops to not only destroy the enemy, but to live among the civilian population and slowly rebuild, or build from scratch, another nation's government – a process that even its staunchest advocates admit requires years, if not decades, to achieve. The theory essentially rebrands the military, expanding its authority (and its funding) to encompass the diplomatic and political sides of warfare: Think the Green Berets as an armed Peace Corps. In 2006, after Gen. David Petraeus beta-tested the theory during his "surge" in Iraq, it quickly gained a hardcore following of think-tankers, journalists, military officers and civilian officials. Nicknamed "COINdinistas" for their cultish zeal, this influential cadre believed the doctrine would be the perfect solution for Afghanistan. All they needed was a general with enough charisma and political savvy to implement it.
The journalist Michael Hastings was later killed when his car committed a high speed crash and burned. McCrystal was later defrocked by O'bummer. Here is another Rolling Stone related report dated 15 November 2020 by Tessa Stuart.
Grayzone reporter Gareth Porter should avoid any high tech vehicle that is so easy to hack.
Jan 22, 2021 | consortiumnews.com
H ard as it is to believe in this time of record pandemic deaths, insurrection, and an unprecedented encore impeachment, Joe Biden is now officially at the helm of the U.S. war machine. He is, in other words, the fourth president to oversee America's unending and unsuccessful post-9/11 military campaigns.
In terms of active U.S. combat, that's only happened once before, in the , America's second-longest (if often forgotten) overseas combat campaign.
Yet that conflict was limited to a single Pacific archipelago. Biden inherits a global war -- and burgeoning new Cold War -- spanning four continents and a military mired in active operations in dozens of countries, combat in some 14 of them, and bombing in at least seven.
That sort of scope has been standard fare for American presidents for almost two decades now. Still, while this country's post-9/11 war presidents have more in common than their partisan divisions might suggest, distinctions do matter, especially at a time when the White House almost unilaterally drives foreign policy.
So, what can we expect from Commander-in-Chief Biden? In other words, what's the forecast for U.S. service-members who have invested their lives and limbs in future conflict, as well as for the speculators in the military-industrial complex and anxious foreigners in the countries still engulfed in America's war on terror who usually stand to lose it all?
Many Trumpsters, and some libertarians, foresee disaster : that the man who, as a leading senator facilitated and cheered on the disastrous Iraq War, will surely escalate American adventurism abroad. On the other hand, establishment Democrats and most liberals, who are desperately (and understandably) relieved to see Donald Trump go, find that prediction preposterous.
Clearly, Biden must have learned from past mistakes, changed his tune, and should responsibly bring U.S. wars to a close, even if at a time still to be determined.
In a sense, both may prove right -- and in another sense, both wrong. The guess of this long-time war-watcher (and one-time war fighter) reading the tea leaves: expect Biden to both eschew big new wars and avoid fully ending existing ones.
At the margins (think Iran), he may improve matters some; in certain rather risky areas (Russian relations, for instance), he could worsen them; but in most cases (the rest of the Greater Middle East, Africa, and China), he's likely to remain squarely on the status-quo spectrum. And mind you, there's nothing reassuring about that.
Sgt. John Hoxie watches 82nd Airborne Division's All American Week celebration May 18, 2009. Hoxie returned to Fort Bragg for the first time since he was injured during a 2007 deployment to Iraq. (U.S. Army/Flickr)
It hardly requires clairvoyance to offer such guesswork. That's because Biden basically is who he says he is and who he's always been , and the man's simply never been transformational. One need look no further than his long and generally interventionist past record or the nature of his current national-security picks to know that the safe money is on more of the same.
Whether the issues are war, race , crime , or economics , Uncle Joe has made a career of bending with the prevailing political winds and it's unlikely this old dog can truly learn any new tricks.
Furthermore, he's filled his foreign policy squad with Obama-Clinton retreads, a number of whom were architects of -- if not the initial Iraq and Afghan debacles -- then disasters in Libya, Syria, West Africa, Yemen, and the Afghan surge of 2009. In other words, Biden is putting the former arsonists in charge of the forever-war fire brigade.
There's further reason to fear that he may even reject Trump's "If Obama was for it, I'm against it" brand of war-on-terror policy-making and thereby reverse The Donald's very late, very modest troop withdrawals in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia.
Yet even if this new old hand of a president evades potentially existential escalation with nuclear Russia or China and offers only an Obama reboot when it comes to persistent low-intensity warfare, what he does will still matter -- most of all to the global citizens who are too often its victims.
So, here's a brief region-by-region flyover tour of what Joe's squad may have in store for both the world and the American military sent to police that world.
The Middle East: Old Prescriptions for Old Business
It's increasingly clear that Washington's legacy wars in the Greater Middle East -- Iraq and Afghanistan, in particular -- are generally no longer on the public's radar. Enter an elected old man who's charged with handling old business that, at least to most civilians, is old news.
Odds are that Biden's ancient tricks will amount to safe bets in a region that past U.S. policies essentially destroyed. Joe is likely to take a middle path in the region between large-scale military intervention of the Bush or Obama kind and more prudent full-scale withdrawal.
As a result, such wars will probably drag on just below the threshold of American public awareness, while avoiding Pentagon or partisan charges that his version of cutting-and-running endangered U.S. security. The prospect of "victory" won't even factor into the equation (after all, Biden's squad members aren't stupid), but political survival certainly will.
Here's what such a Biden-era future might then look like in a few such sub-theaters.
"Wars will probably drag on just below the threshold of American public awareness."
The war in Afghanistan is hopeless and has long been failing by every one of the U.S. military's own measurable metrics, so much so that the Pentagon and the Kabul government classified them all as secret information a few years back.
Actually dealing with the Taliban and swiftly exiting a disastrous war likely to lead to a disastrous future with Washington's tail between its legs is, in fact, the only remaining option. The question is when and how many more Americans will kill or be killed in that "graveyard of empires" before the U.S. accepts the inevitable.
U.S. Army helicopter pilots fly near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, April 5, 2017. (U.S. Army, Brian Harris, Wikimedia Commons)
Toward the end of his tenure, Trump signaled a serious, if cynical, intent to so. And since Trump was by definition a monster and the other team's monsters can't even occasionally be right, a coalition of establishment Democrats and Lincoln-esque Republicans (and Pentagon officials) decided that the war must indeed go on. That culminated in last July's obscenity in which Congress officially withheld the funds necessary to end it.
As vice president, Biden was better than most in his Afghan War skepticism , but his incoming advisers weren't , and Joe's nothing if not politically malleable. Besides, since Trump didn't pull enough troops out faintly fast enough or render the withdrawal irreversible over Pentagon objections, expect a trademark Biden hedge here.
Syria has always been a boondoggle , with the justifications for America's peculiar military presence there constantly shifting from pressuring the regime of Bashar al-Assad, to fighting the Islamic State, to backing the Kurds, to balancing Iran and Russia in the region, to (in Trump's case) securing that country's meager oil supplies.
As with so much else, there's a troubling possibility that, in the Biden years, personnel once again may become destiny. Many of the new president's advisers were bullish on Syrian intervention in the Obama years, even wanting to take it further and topple Assad.
Furthermore, when it comes time for them to convince Biden to agree to stay put in Syria, there's a dangerous existing mix of motives to do just that: the emotive sympathy for the Kurds of known gut-player Joe; his susceptibility to revived Islamic State (ISIS) fear-mongering; and perceptions of a toughness-testing proxy contest with Russia.
When it comes to Iran, expect Biden to be better than the Iran-phobic Trump administration, but to stay shackled "inside the box."
First of all, despite Joe's long-expressed desire to reenter the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran that Trump so disastrously pulled out of, doing so may prove harder than he thinks. After all, why should Tehran trust a political basket case of a negotiating partner prone to significant partisan policy-pendulum swings, especially given the way Washington has waged nearly 70 years of interventions against Iran's politicians and people?
In addition, Trump left Biden the Trojan horse of Tehran's hardliners, empowered by dint of The Donald's pugnacious policies. If the new president wishes to really undercut Iranian intransigence and fortify the moderates there, he should go big and be transformational -- in other words, see Obama's tension-thawing nuclear deal and raise it with the carrot of full-blown diplomatic and economic normalization. Unfortunately, status-quo Joe has never been a transformational type.
Keep an Eye on Africa
Djiboutian soldiers, Oct. 31, 2019. (U.S. Air Force, J.D. Strong II)
Though it garners far less public interest than the U.S. military's long-favored Middle Eastern playground, Africa figures significantly in the minds of those at the Pentagon, in the Capitol, and in Washington's influential think-tanks.
For interventionist hawks, including liberal ones, that continent has been both a petri dish and a proving ground for the development of a limited power-projection paradigm of drones, Special Operations forces, military advisers, local proxies, and clandestine intelligence missions.
It mattered little that over eight years of the Obama administration -- from Libya to the West African Sahel to the Horn of East Africa -- the war on terror proved, at best, problematic indeed, and even worse in the Trump years.
There remains a worrisome possibility that the Biden posse might prove amenable yet again to the alarmism of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) about the rebirth of ISIS and the spread of other al-Qaeda-linked groups there, bolstered by fear-mongering nonsense masquerading as sophisticated scholarship from West Point's Combating Terrorism Center, and the Pentagon's perennial promises of low-investment, low-risk, and high-reward opportunities on the continent.
So, a savvy betting man might place chips on a Biden escalation in West Africa's Sahel and the Horn of East Africa, even if for different reasons.
American Special Forces and military advisers have been in and out of the remote borderlands between Mali and Niger since at least 2004 and these days seem there to stay. The French seized and suppressed sections of the Sahel region beginning in 1892, and, despite granting nominal independence to those countries in 1960, were back by 2013 and have been stuck in their own forever wars there ever since.
American war-on-terror(izing) and French neo-colonizing have only inflamed regional resistance movements, increased violence, and lent local grievances an Islamist resonance. Recently, France's lead role there has truly begun to disintegrate -- with five of its troops killed in just the first few days of 2021 and allegations that it had bombed another wedding party. (Already such a war-on-terror cliché .)
Don't be surprised if French President Emmanuel Macron asks for help and Biden agrees to bail him out. Despite their obvious age gap, Joe and Emmanuel could prove the newest and best of chums. (What's a few hundred extra troops between friends?)
Especially since Obama-era Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her then-favored errand boy, inbound national security adviser Jake Sullivan, could be said to have founded the current coalition of jihadis in Mali and Niger.
That's because when the two of them championed a heavy-handed regime-change intervention against Libyan autocrat Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, thousands of his Tuareg fighters blew back into that region in a big way with more than just the clothes on their backs. They streamed from post-Gaddafi Libya into their Sahel homelands loaded with arms and anger.
It's no accident, in other words, that Mali's latest round of insurgency kicked off in 2012. Now, Sullivan might push new boss Biden to attempt to clean up his old mess.
Jake Sullivan, second from left, as deputy chief of staff to the secretary of state, with his boss Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, Nov. 20, 2012. (White House, Pete Souza)
On the other side of the continent, in Somalia, where Trump began an 11th-hour withdrawal of a long-failing and aimless U.S. troop presence (sending most of those soldiers to neighboring countries), there's a real risk that Biden could double-down in the region, adding soldiers, special operators, and drones.
After all, if Trump was against it, even after exponentially increasing bombing in the area, then any good Democrat should be for it, especially since the Pentagon has, for some time now, been banging the drum about Somalia's al-Shabaab Islamist outfit being the biggest threat to the homeland.
However, the real selling point for Biden might be the fantasy that Russia and China are flooding into the region. Ever since the 2018 National Defense Strategy decisively shifted the Pentagon's focus from counterterror wars to "great power competition," or GPC, AFRICOM has opportunistically altered its own campaign plan to align with the new threat of the moment, homing in on Russian and Chinese influence in the Horn region.
As a result, AFRICOM'S come-back-to-the-Horn pitch could prove a relatively easy Biden sell.
Russian Bears & Chinese (Sea) Dragons
Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, with Russian President Vladimir Putin during visit to Moscow for state visit, Xi Jinping. (Kremlin)
With that new GPC national security obsession likely to be one Trump-era policy that remains firmly in place, however ill-advised it may be, perhaps the biggest Biden risk is the possibility of stoking up a "new," two-theater, twenty-first-century version of the Cold War (with the possibility that, at any moment, it could turn into a hot one).
After making everything all about Russia in the Trump years, the ascendant Democrats might just feel obliged to follow through and escalate tensions with Moscow that Trump himself already brought to the brink (of nuclear catastrophe). Here, too, personnel may prove a key policy-driver.
Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, is a resident Russia hawk and was an early " arm-Ukraine " enthusiast. Jake Sullivan already has a tendency to make mountains out of molehills on the subject, as when he described a minor road-rage incident as constituting "a Russian force in Syria aggressively attack[ing] an American force and actually injur[ing] American service members."
Then there's the troubling signal of Victoria Nuland, the recent nominee for undersecretary of state for political affairs, a pick that itself should be considered a road-rage-style provocation. Nuland has a history of hawkish antagonism toward Moscow and is reportedly despised by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Her confirmation will surely serve as a conflict accelerant.
Nevertheless, China may be the lead antagonist in the Biden crew's race to risk a foolhardy cataclysm. Throughout the election campaign, the new president seemed set on out-hawking Trump in the Western Pacific, explicitly writing about "getting tough" on China in a March 2020 piece he penned in Foreign Affairs .
Joe had also previously called Chinese President Xi Jinping " a thug ." And while Michèle Flournoy may (mercifully) have been passed over for secretary of defense, her aggressive posture toward Beijing still infuses the thinking of her fellow Obama alums on Biden's team.
As TomDispatch regular Andrew Bacevich pointed out last September, a Flournoy Foreign Affairs article illuminated the sort of absurdity she (and assumedly various Biden appointees) think necessary to effectively deter China.
She called for "enhancing U.S. military capabilities so that the United States can credibly threaten to sink all of China's military vessels, submarines, and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours." Consider that Dr. Strangelove -style strategizing retooled for an inbound urbane imperial presidency.
Endgame: War as Abstraction
Historically, foreign-policy paradigm shifts are exceedingly rare, especially when they tack toward peace. Such pivots appear almost impossible once the immense power of America's military-industrial complex, invested in every way in endless war, as well as endless preparations for future Cold Wars, has reached today's grotesque level.
This is especially so when each and every one of Biden's archetypal national security nominees has, metaphorically speaking, had his or her mortgage paid by some offshoot of that war industry. In other words, as the muckraking novelist Upton Sinclair used to say : "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"
Count on tactics including drones, commandos, CIA spooks, and a mostly amenable media to help the Biden administration make war yet more invisible -- at least to Americans. Most Trump-detesting, and domestically focused citizens will find that just dandy, even if exhausted troopers, military families, and bombed or blockaded foreigners won't.
More than anything, Biden wishes to avoid overseas embarrassments like unexpected American casualties or scandalous volumes of foreign civilian deaths -- anything, that is, that might derail his domestic agenda or hoped-for restorative leadership legacy.
That, unfortunately, may prove to be a pipe dream and leads me to two final predictions: formulaic forever war will never cease boomeranging back home to rot our republican institutions, and neither a celestial God nor secular History will judge Biden-the-war-president kindly.
Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army officer and contributing editor at antiwar.com . His work has appeared in the LA Times , The Nation , Huff Post , T he Hill , Salon , Truthdig , Tom Dispatch , among other publications. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge . His latest book is Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War . Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet . Check out his professional website for contact info, scheduling speeches, and/or access to the full corpus of his writing and media appearances.
This article is from Tom's Dispatch .
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
Jan 19, 2021 | www.rt.com
banallwars 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 04:32 PMWhat a lie. The bombs being dropped from the U.S. made jets the Saudi pilots fly over Yemen killing civilians leaves blood all over his hands not to mention shaking the hand of the Saudi that murdered a journalist before selling him weapons to kill Yemen's civilians.Waryaa Moxamad 48 minutes ago 19 Jan, 2021 05:36 PM1) False flag chemical attack on Syria. 2) killing Soleimani in a sovereign country he was invited to 3) Guaido 4) Bolivia. 5) continuing the wars predecessors started.Debra***** Waryaa Moxamad 40 minutes ago 19 Jan, 2021 05:46 PM
Who is being fooled that U.S. presidency has any say in America's imperialism?Who really pushed for General Soleimani to be killed and has the most personal and intense vendetta against Soleimani? Mike Pompeo. Trump did not give the Pentagon and CIA all the wars they wanted, especially in Syria. Now the Pentagon and the CIA have their puppet, Corrupt Biden, who will do what they command him to do. I would expect in one year to see another massive war. Where? Syria. The US mothers will cry when their sons come home in coffins. The Hez in Lebanon will not back down, and they will enter Syria again. Trump did not want young American boys coming back in coffins!!!!!!!
Jan 17, 2021 | www.rt.com
OneHorseGuy 1 day ago 15 Jan, 2021 02:17 PM"79% of Americans think the US is falling apart" those not accounted for are possibly homeless or illiterate and don't have the opportunity of putting their view forward.RTaccount 1 day ago 15 Jan, 2021 02:22 PMThere will be no peace, no unity, and no prosperity. And there shouldn't be.TheFishh RTaccount 1 day ago 15 Jan, 2021 03:38 PMThe US regimes past and present have worn out their bag of tricks. A magician is a con-man. And the only way they can entertain and spellbind the crowd with their routines is if everyone just ignores the sleight of hand. But people are starting to call the US out for the tricks it is pulling, and that's where the magician's career ends.SJMan333 23 hours ago 16 Jan, 2021 01:02 AMAmerica as a whole is now reaping the fruits of its decades of exceptionalism complex. Through its propaganda machine, Americans as individuals and collectively as a society, have been brainwashed into believing that laws, rules and basic human decency do not apply to themselves. These are only sweetened poisons for them to shove down the throats of other lesser countries, especially those in Africa, Latin America, Middle East and Asia ((bluntly put, non-white countries)) when it suited America's global resource thievery and daylight wealth grabbing. Habitualized into bullying every other countries with no resistance, Americans are now showing their ugly faces on each other. The same exceptionalism delusion "the laws apply to you, not me'' is driving every American (except the colored Americans probably) to blame all the ills of the country on everyone else except himself. Nancy Pelosi advocated total lock-down but treated herself to a total grooming in a hair saloon is just one example. For the sins it has committed over the decades, I guess the time is right for USA to have a dose of its own medicine. Except in this case, America never thought it necessary to develop an antidote.
Jan 15, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
Mao , Jan 15 2021 4:38 utc | 67
A major scandal is unfolding in the US naval community. It turned out that a whole class of ships, on which America had pinned great hopes a couple of decades ago, turned out to be utterly incapable of combat. What exactly are the problems with these ships? Why did they only show up now? What does the massive corruption in the United States have to do with what is happening?
Political events in the United States have overshadowed everything that happens in this country. Including one event related to the Navy, which would indeed have exploded.
We are talking about a whole type of warships, both already delivered to the US Navy, and those still under construction – the so-called Littoral combat ship (LCS) of the Freedom type. And it's not that they're useless. And not at the prohibitive cost. And not even that the gearboxes of the ship's main power plant (GEM) do not withstand the maximum stroke, and with the speed of 47 knots, which was the ridge of this project, he will never be able to walk – they also resigned themselves to this.
But at the end of 2020, it turned out that they generally cannot move faster than a dry cargo ship for more or less a long time. That is, it is not just scrapping metal; it is also almost stationary scrap metal.
Jan 09, 2021 | www.rt.com
Fyodor Lukyanov , the editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs, chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and research director of the Valdai International Discussion Club How could something like this happen in Washington? It was assumed that, despite all its social and political problems that have worsened in recent years, America was different and far more robust than we are now seeing. A habit of being special
The rule of thumb was, 'there is America and there are others'. With the others, shortcomings are natural and to be expected, even if many of them are well-established democracies. But America is a different story, because by default, the US is a role model that was supposed to remain the democratic icon forever.
Exceptionalism is foundational for America's political culture. This type of self-identification was the cornerstone on which the nation and society were built a couple of hundred years ago. That's how Americans are raised. And you will run into this phenomenon everywhere.
When asking his supporters gathered by the Capitol building to go home, President Donald Trump said, "You are special." People from the more liberal political camp have even deeper convictions about the US being exceptional and therefore under an obligation to bring light into the world, as they see it.
That's why everybody is shocked – how could this have happened? The reaction was followed by a wave of explanations as to why the clashes near and inside the Capitol building only looked like similar events in other countries, but in reality, they were something entirely different. Here is a comment from the CNN website, "Sure there are superficial similarities... but what's happening in America is uniquely American. It is that country's monster."
Such restlessness is understandable. If we look at exceptionalism in the context of the world order that we've had in recent decades, we see that after the end of the Cold War, the US has held the unique position of the sole global hegemon. No other power in world history has ever reached this level of dominance.
Besides massive military and economic resources, America's exceptionalism has also been relying on the idea that this nation sets the tone for the global worldview. This authorized America to certify systems of government in other countries and exert influence in situations that it believed required certain adjustments. As we all know, this influence took different forms, including direct military intervention.
We are not going to list the pros and cons of such a world order in this article. What's important is that one of the key aspects of this order is the belief in the infallibility of the global leader. That's why American commentators and experts are so worried about the Capitol Building events and Trump's presidency in general hurting the international status of the US.Boomerang effect
Generally speaking, post-election turmoil is not a rare occurrence. After all, the US itself has encouraged the new political tradition that has emerged in the 21st century. In recent times, in certain places, election campaigns haven't ended after the votes were counted and the winner is announced. Instead, Washington often encouraged the losing side to at least try to challenge the results by taking to the streets. Indeed, resistance was part of the US Declaration of Independence after all.
Western capitals consistently emphasized the legitimacy of such actions in situations when people believed that their votes had been 'stolen'. Washington was usually the lead voice in these declarations. Granted, this mostly applied to immature democracies with unstable institutions, but where are all those unshakable, solid democratic countries today? The world is experiencing so much instability that nobody is exempt from major shocks and crises.Information overload
There is another reason why traditional institutions are losing their footing. They were effective in a solidified informational environment. The sources of information were either controlled or perceived as trustworthy by the majority.
Today there are problems with both. Technological advances boost transparency, but they also create multiple realities and countless opportunities for manipulation. Institutions must be above reproach if they are to survive in the new conditions. It would be wrong to say that they are all crumbling. They are, however, experiencing tremendous pressure, and we can't expect them to be perfect.Looking for a scapegoat
The US is not better or worse at facing the new challenges. Or, rather, it is better in some areas and worse in others. This would all be very normal if America's exceptionalism didn't always need affirmation.
Situations in which the US appears to be just like any other country, albeit with some unique characteristics, are a shock to the system. In order to stay special, America looks where to place the blame. Ideally, the guilty party should be someone acting in the interests of an outside power, someone un-American.
This mechanism is not unknown to Russians from the experience in our country – for a long time now, Russian elites have been keen to blame outsiders for their own failures. But America's motivation today is even stronger; there is more passion, because simply covering up the failures is no longer enough – America wants to prove that it is still perfect.
Russia says American system 'archaic' & not up to 'modern democratic standards' after rioters raid Washington's Capitol building
Democrats are taking back the American political landscape. For the next two years (until the 2022 mid-term elections), they will have all the power – in the White House and Congress. Trump's supporters have seriously scared the ruling class, and the Capitol building debacle during the last days of his presidency has created a perfect pretext for cleaning house. Big Tech companies are at their disposal (so far).Internal targets
Target number one is Trump himself. They want to make an example out of him, so that others wouldn't dare challenge the sanctity of the political establishment. But Trump will not be enough, something must be done about his numerous supporters. The awkward finale of his presidency opens the door for labeling his fans as enemies of the republic and democracy.
The Democrats will do everything within their power to demoralize their earnest opponents. This won't be hard, since the Republican Party itself is a hot mess right now. Trump has alienated almost all his supporters from the party leadership, but he is still popular among regular voters.
Demonstrative restoration of order and democratic fundamentals will also be used to reclaim the role model status. The reasoning is clear – we successfully neutralized the terrible external and internal threats to our democracy, so now we have regained the right to show the world how one should deal with the enemies of said democracy. The 'summit of democracies' idea proposed by Joseph Biden is starting to look like an emergency meeting for closing the ranks in a fight against enemies of progress.Foreign targets
And this brings us back to the foreign policy issue, because it's not difficult to predict who will be enemy number one. Putin as an almighty puppeteer of all undemocratic forces in the world (including Trump) has been part of the rhetoric for a few years now. Hillary Clinton said it when giving a campaign speech in Nevada in August 2016, and Nancy Pelosi echoed the sentiment after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building. Of course, China is a close second on the enemy list created by the Democratic leadership, but there are some economic restraints there.
America's inevitable strife to reclaim its exceptionalism will clash with the current tendencies in global development. All aspects of international affairs, from economy to security, to ideology and ethics, are diversifying. Attempts to divide the world along the old democracy vs. autocracy lines, i.e. go back to the agenda prevalent at the end of the 20th to the beginning of the 21st century, are doomed, because this is not the way the world is structured now.
But attempts will be made nevertheless, and we can't rule out some aggressive 'democracy promotion'. Even if it's just to prove that the embarrassing Trump episode was nothing more than an unfortunate accident. This, by the way, could become a short-term unifying factor for the diverse members of the Democratic Party, some of whom represent the old generation, while others are energetic young proponents of left-wing politics.
We can conclude that the world will not really benefit from the new presidency, even if respected foreign policy professionals return to the White House now that Trump is leaving. It might stabilize America's frenzy in international affairs that we are all used to by now, but a new wave of ideology will neutralize the potential advantage (if it even existed, which is debatable).
America's resolve to prove to the world that it's not like others will encounter the large-scale 'material resistance', which will make a dangerous situation even worse. At least with Trump we knew that he didn't like wars, and he didn't start any new ones. Biden's credit history is very different.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Jan 09, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
William Gruff , Jan 8 2021 23:58 utc | 108
Can the hysterical little girls freaking out about tourists in the Capitol building do me one little favor? I just want to see one video clip of rioting in DC back on the 6th.
All of these posts and we don't have a single link to evidence of rioting or mob-like behavior. This is important because years from now people reading this thread may not clearly remember what you imagined you saw and need some visual reminders of this imaginary rioting that you are talking about. Please include some links or people of tomorrow will suspect that what you little girls are wailing about didn't happen. In particular I want to see some imagery of "baseball bats and metal pipes" on the scene in DC. Is this too much to ask for?
Digital Spartacus , Jan 9 2021 0:00 utc | 109
Indeed. Lots of froth, no substance or citations from many here.
Jan 09, 2021 | news.antiwar.com
Biden has previously said he plans to pass new legislation aimed at combating 'domestic terrorism'
In the wake of pro-Trump demonstrators entering the US Capitol Building, Joe Biden made it clear that he views the incident as "terrorism" in comments on Thursday.
"Don't dare call them protesters," he said from Wilmington, Deleware. "They were a riotous mob. Insurrectionists. Domestic terrorists. It's that basic. It's that simple."
As The Wall Street Journal reported in November , Biden has said he plans to make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism. The Capitol incident will likely speed up the process of crafting domestic terror-related legislation that could have grave implications for the civil liberties of Americans.
Biden's transition team is also reportedly considering new "Red Flag" laws that would give law enforcement more authority to confiscate firearms.
Biden voted for the 2001 Patriot Act, which greatly expanded the federal government's surveillance capabilities. He has said the Patriot Act was modeled on a terrorism bill he wrote after the 1994 Oklahoma City bombing, that was never signed into law.
"I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing," he was quoted as saying by the New Republic in 2001. "And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill," he said, referring to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.
In a 2002 Senate hearing on FBI counterterrorism efforts, Biden again took credit for creating the Patriot Act. "Civil libertarians were opposed to it," he said. "Right after 1994, and you can ask the attorney general this, because I got a call when he introduced the Patriot Act. He said, 'Joe, I'm introducing the act basically as you wrote it in 1994.'"
Democrats in Congress are also calling to prioritize domestic terrorism. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), a former CIA analyst and Pentagon official, made her priorities clear in an interview with MSNBC .
"The post 9/11 era is over. We are in a new era. We had a generational event with the infiltration of the Capitol," Slotkin said. "The single greatest national security threat right now is our internal division. It's the threat of domestic terrorism."
Jan 08, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
That the incoming president declares a number of activist from the opposing party to be 'terrorists' demonstrates how unqualified he is for that job.
Is this a terrorist? These were not terrorists but tourists who came from all over the states to Washington for fun and to register their disagreement with the 'elites'.
Those rabbles were in no way terrorists. They were not even a mob. Most of them were out-of-town rednecks who felt that they had been wronged. They wanted to express that. They were surprised when they found how easy it was to enter the Capitol and they apparently took more time to take pictures than to rearrange the furniture.
Another such view :[L]et's be clear about what did not take place at the Capitol Building last night. This was not a fascist coup, as so many shrill, supposedly liberal commentators are claiming. Their flagrant use of the word 'fascist' to describe every political movement they disapprove of is an insult to reason and history. This wasn't a coup full stop. The National Guard suppressed the morons, the barricades were put back up, and even their hero Donald Trump told them to go home. A coup is a conscious effort to illegally seize power from the government. These people couldn't even believe they made it into the Capitol Building. They were like children finding a candy store unguarded.
A children's game. Indeed.
Yet Biden and others are furious about the stunt because it lifted the veil off their vaunted U.S. 'democracy' and its empty rituals:Nicholas J. Fuentes @NickJFuentes - 21:01 UTC · Jan 7, 2021
The US Capitol is hardly a "sacred temple of democracy," it's the sleaziest brothel in the world, totally bought and controlled by powerful interest groups and foreign governments. Who are they kidding?
Congressional processes are dirty fights about the distribution of the loot. There is nothing sacred about it. Just consider the massive bribes that were taken during the Georgia Senate races. Those hundreds of millions of 'donations' will have to be paid back in kind.
The real danger to the people does not come from those 'deplorables' who walked into the Capitol but from the 'elite' who will use the incident for their purposes :The threat inflation, the wild claims about a fascist coup, are transparent efforts by the cosseted political and cultural elites to endow their project with moral importance; to give their restoration of managerial, technocratic power after the four-year populist experiment – which is fundamentally the project that Biden and his influential supporters are currently engaged in – the gloss of historical urgency. It is mission creation.William Gruff , Jan 8 2021 21:35 utc | 56
Worse, this narrative-building will allow the elites to circumscribe even more forms of political thought and speech than they already desire to do , on the basis that the latent fascism among the American rabble is likely to be stirred up by inflammatory ideas and commentary. Indeed, we've already been given a chilling glimpse of this post-incursion clampdown on 'violent' speech in Twitter's extraordinary decision to ban, outright, three of Trump's tweets last night and to lock him out of his account for 12 hours.
It strikes me that this unilateral use of corporate power by Silicon Valley to prevent the democratically elected president of the United States from engaging with millions of his voters and supporters, to physically forbid him from partaking in online discussion, is a grave assault on democracy, too. More grave, I would say, than the immoral and anti-democratic incursion of the Capitol Building. Already, right away, we are seeing that the threat-inflating response to last night's events will likely have longer-lasting negative consequences for open debate and democratic norms than the thing itself.Biden is famous for mixing his words up. He meant to say that the protesters were "domestic tourists" . I'm sure he meant to thank them for doing their part to revitalize America's service economy.Heironymous Dosh , Jan 8 2021 21:57 utc | 69My man Viking Guy has done it again. He managed to trick the son in law of Nancy Pelosi into a selfie https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ErH5LslW4AAOiyv?format=jpg&
Nov 12, 2020 | www.unz.com
Paul Craig Roberts' Interview with the European magazine Zur Zeit ( In This Time ):
A few months ago it looked like the re-election of Trump was almost certain, but now there was a close race between Trump and Biden? What happen during the last months?
In the months before the election, the Democrats used the "Covid pandemic" to put in place voting by mail. The argument was used that people who safely go to supermarkets and restaurants could catch Covid if they stood in voting lines. Never before used on a large scale, voting by mail is subject to massive vote fraud.
There are many credible reports of organized vote fraud committed by Democrats. The only question is whether the Republican establishment will support challenging the documented fraud or whether Trump will be pressured to concede in order to protect the reputation of American Democracy.
For those influenced by a partisan media that is denying the massive fraud that occurred, here is an overview of the elements of the fraud and the legal remedies. https://www.unz.com/article/of-color-revolutions-foreign-and-domestic-the-first-72-hours/
It is difficult to know or to ensure that the ballots are actual ballots from registered voters. For example in the early hours of the morning of November 4 large ballot drops occurred in Michigan and Wisconsin that wiped out Trump's lead. State officials have reported that people not registered -- probably illegals -- were permitted to vote. Postal service workers have reported being ordered to backdate ballots that suddenly appeared in the middle of the night after the deadline. These techniques were used to erase Trump's substantial leads in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia.
Digital technology has also made it easy to alter vote counts. US Air Force General Thomas McInerney is familiar with this technology. He says it was developed by the National Security Agency in order to interfere in foreign elections, but now is in the hands of the CIA and was used to defeat Trump. Trump is considered to be an enemy of the military/security complex because of his wish to normalize relations with Russia, thus taking away the enemy that justifies the CIA's budget and power.
People do not understand. They think an election has been held when in fact what has occurred is that massive vote fraud has been used to effect a revolution against red state white America. Leaders of the revolution, such as Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are demanding a list of Trump supporters who are "to be held accountable." Calls are being made for the arrest of Tucker Carlson, the only mainstream journalist who supported President Trump.
In a recent column I wrote:
"Think what it means that the entirety of the US media, allegedly the 'watchdogs of democracy,' are openly involved in participating in the theft of a presidential election.
"Think what it means that a large number of Democrat public and election officials are openly involved in the theft of a presidential election.
"It means that the United States is split irredeemably. The hatred for white people that has been cultivated for many years, portraying white Americans as "systemic racists," together with the Democrats' lust for power and money, has destroyed national unity. The consequence will be the replacement of rules with force."
Mainstream media in Europe claim, that Trump had "divided" the United States. But isn`t it actually the other way around, that his opponents have divided the country?
As the German newspaper editor Udo Ulfkotte revealed in his book, Bought Journalism , the European and US media speak with one voice -- the voice of the CIA. The very profitable and powerful US military/security complex needs foreign enemies. Russiagate was a CIA/FBI successful effort to block Trump from reducing tensions with Russia. In 1961 in his last address to the American people President Dwight Eisenhower warned that the growing power of the military/industrial complex was a threat to American democracy. We ignored his warning and now have security agencies more powerful than the President.
The military/security complex favors the disunity that the Democrat Party and media have fostered with their ideology of Identity Politics. Identity politics replaced Marxist class war with race and gender war. White people, and especially white heterosexual males, are the new oppressor class. This ideology causes race and gender disunity and prevents any unified opposition to the security agencies ability to impose its agendas by controlling explanations. Opposition to Trump cemented the alliance between Democrats, media, and the Deep State.
It is possible that the courts will decide who will be sworn into office at January 20, 2021. Do you except a phase of uncertainty or even a constitutional crisis?
There is no doubt that numerous irregularities indicate that the election was stolen and that the ground was well laid in advance. Trump intends to challenge the obvious theft. However, his challenges will be rejected in Democrat ruled states, as they were part of the theft and will not indict themselves. This means Trump and his attorneys will have to have constitutional grounds for taking their cases to the federal Supreme Court. The Republicans have a majority on the Court, but the Court is not always partisan.
Republicans tend to be more patriotic than Democrats, who denounce America as racist, fascist, sexist, imperialist. This patriotism makes Republicans impotent when it comes to political warfare that could adversely affect America's reputation. The inclination of Republicans is for Trump to protect America's reputation by conceding the election. Republicans fear the impact on America's reputation of having it revealed that America's other major party plotted to steal a presidental election.
Red state Americans, on the other hand, have no such fear. They understand that they are the targets of the Democrats, having been defined by Democrats as "racist white supremacist Trump deplorables."
The introduction of a report of the Heritage Foundation states that "the United States has a long and unfortunate history of election fraud". Are the 2020 presidential elections another inglorious chapter in this long history?
This time the fraud is not local as in the past. It is the result of a well organized national effort to get rid of a president that the Establishment does not accept.
Somehow you get the impression that in the USA – as in many European countries democracy is just a facade – or am I wrong?
You are correct. Trump is the first non-establishment president who became President without being vetted by the Establishment since Ronald Reagan. Trump was able to be elected only because the Establishment thought he had no chance and took no measures to prevent his election. A number of studies have concluded that in the US the people, despite democracy and voting, have zero input into public policy.
Democracy cannot work in America because the money of the elite prevails. American democracy is organized in order to prevent the people from having a voice. A political campaign is expensive. The money for candidates comes from interest groups, such as defense contractors, Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the Israel Lobby. Consequently, the winning candidate is indebted to his funders, and these are the people whom he serves.
European mainstream media are portraying Biden as a luminous figure. Should Biden become president, what can be expected in terms of foreign and security policy, especially in regard to China, Russia and the Middle East? I mean, the deep state and the military-industrial complex remain surely nearly unchanged.
Biden will be a puppet, one unlikely to be long in office. His obvious mental confusion will be used either to rule through him or to remove him on grounds of mental incompetence. No one wants the nuclear button in the hands of a president who doesn't know which day of the week it is or where he is.
The military/security complex needs enemies for its power and profit and will be certain to retain the list of desirable foreign enemies -- Russia, Iran, China, and any independent-inclined country in Latin America. Being at war is also a way of distracting the people of the war against their liberties.
What the military/security complex might not appreciate is that among its Democrat allies there are some, such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who are ideological revolutionaries. Having demonized red state America and got rid of Trump (assuming the electoral fraud is not overturned by the courts), Ocasio-Cortez and her allies intend to revolutionize the Democrat Party and make it a non-establishment force. In her mind white people are the Establishment, which we already see from her demands for a list of Trump supporters to be punished.
I think I'm not wrong in assuming that a Biden-presidency would mean more identity politics, more political correctness etc. for the USA. How do you see this?
Identity politics turns races and genders against one another. As white people -- "systemic racists" -- are defined as the oppressor class, white people are not protected from hate speech and hate crimes. Anything can be said or done to a white American and it is not considered politically incorrect.
With Trump and his supporters demonized, under Democrat rule the transition of white Americans into second or third class citizens will be completed.
How do you access Trump's first term in office? Where was he successful and where he failed?
Trump spent his entire term in office fighting off fake accusations -- Russiagate, Impeachgate, failure to bomb Russia for paying Taliban to kill American occupiers of Afghanistan, causing Covid by not wearing a mask, and so on and on.
That Trump survived all the false charges shows that he is a real person, a powerful character. Who else could have survived what Trump has been subjected to by the Establishment and their media prostitutes. In the United States the media is known as "presstitutes" -- press prostitutes. That is what Udo Ulfkotte says they are in Europe. As a former Wall Street Journal editor, I say with complete confidence that there is no one in the American media today I would have hired. The total absence of integrity in the Western media is sufficient indication that the West is doomed.
Twodees Partain , says: November 12, 2020 at 7:21 pm GMT • 1.0 days agoAnn Nonny Mouse , says: Website November 12, 2020 at 7:42 pm GMT • 1.0 days ago
Never before used on a large scale, voting by mail is subject to massive vote fraud.
I would take it a little further and say that voting by mail is a method of vote fraud. The supposed safeguards are easily circumvented, as some whistleblowers have illustrated with ballots being brought forth in large numbers after election day without postmarks and postal workers being ordered to stamp them with acceptable postmarks.
It really seems to me that there would be no democrat majorities in Congress or in so many state legislatures without vote fraud.endthefed , says: November 12, 2020 at 7:53 pm GMT • 24.0 hours ago
So fraud is needed to protect the reputation of American democracy. Only fraud can! Thanks, PCR!@NotsofastMarkinLA , says: November 12, 2020 at 9:37 pm GMT • 22.2 hours ago
Eisenhower is always lauded for his MIC warning. Frankly he ticks me off. Thanks for the warning AFTER you were in some position to mitigate.Curmudgeon , says: November 12, 2020 at 9:43 pm GMT • 22.1 hours ago
Worse than the fraud available with vote by mail is the voting of people normally who don't bother to vote. Think of how stupid and uninformed that average American voter is. Now realize how much more stupid and uninformed the non-voter is, only now he votes.
However, the most likely source of fraud that is hard to detect, is ballot harvesting. This should be outlawed as it violates the idea of a secret ballot. Somebody comes to the home of a disinterested voter and makes sure he votes (of course they will never admit to hounding the person) and "helps" them with the ballot. If the voter cannot be cajoled into voting the correct way, you merely throw his ballot in the trash.Beavertales , says: November 12, 2020 at 10:21 pm GMT • 21.5 hours ago
I have little doubt that there have been massive "irregularities", particularly in the so-called battleground states, that are at play in "stealing" the election.
...The favourite phrase these days is "no evidence of wide spread voter fraud". Let's break that down. Only 6 states have been challenged for vote fraud. In the big scheme of things, 6 states is not wide spread, even if there is massive vote fraud within those 6 states. That the vote fraud is not widespread, implies that some vote fraud is acceptable, and that the listener should ignore it. Last and most importantly, in the narrowest of legalistic terms, testimony or affidavits are not evidence. Testimony and affidavits become evidence when supported by physical evidence. An affidavit with a photograph demonstrating the statement would be evidence.
Another phrase is something like "election officials say they have seen no evidence of voter fraud". I have yet to hear a reporter challenge the "seen no evidence of " part of the statement, regardless of the subject, by asking if the speaker had looked for any evidence. They won't, because they know damn well no one has.
That is how the liars operate. Not so different from Rumsfeld's "plausible deniability".Franz , says: November 12, 2020 at 10:54 pm GMT • 21.0 hours ago
Living in an urban setting I often had to visit apartment buildings. Without fail, there was always a pile of undeliverable mail in the lobby under the mailboxes.
The envelopes were mostly addressed to people who had moved out or died. If ballots were sent to these people based on incorrect voter rolls, then these too would likely have been left sitting on the floor or on a ledge for anyone to take.
It doesn't take a leap of faith to know what a Trump-hating leftist would do when no one is looking. This moral hazard was intentionally created by Dems, who know that urban dwellers are transient and lean left politically.@endthefedendthefed , says: November 12, 2020 at 11:08 pm GMT • 20.7 hours ago
Eisenhower is always lauded for his MIC warning. Frankly he ticks me off. Thanks for the warning AFTER you were in some position to mitigate.
Ike's a mystery. Why did he NOT question Harry Truman's commitments to NATO, the UN, and all that rubbish? Ike was a WWII guy. He knew Americans hated the UN in 1953 as much as they hated the League of Nations after WWI. But he let it all slide and get bigger.
His farewell address was just flapdoodle; it wasn't really dredged up till the 70s. Eisenhower spent eight years spreading tripwires and mines and then said "Watch out." Thanks buddy.@BragadociousNotsofast , says: November 12, 2020 at 11:28 pm GMT • 20.4 hours ago
Well, agree on your points however, on the other side of the ledger, he never understood the stupidity of the Korean war (that he could have ended) and majorly up-ramped CIA activities in all manner of regime change (bay of pigs anyone?). Almost a direct path to our foreign policy now (and now domestic policy)@BragadociousLouis Hissink , says: November 13, 2020 at 5:30 am GMT • 14.4 hours ago
He did deploy the military assistance advisory group to Vietnam in 1955. This is considered the beginning of U.S. involvement in the war. This allowed the French to moonwalk out the back door leaving us holding the bag. In fairness this was Johnson's war however. Eisenhower did cut the military budget as a peace dividend to fund interstate system and other domestic projects. In today political spectrum he would be considered a flaming liberal.anonymous  Disclaimer , says: November 13, 2020 at 5:35 am GMT • 14.3 hours ago
As the German newspaper editor Udo Ulfkotte revealed in his book, Bought Journalism, the European and US media speak with one voice -- the voice of the CIA. The very profitable and powerful US military/security complex needs foreign enemies.
What intrigues me is the ultimate political goal of the UN and the WEF when they anticipate a single global government centered at the UN and the absence of nation-states.
So what is the MIC going to do when there are no existential threats of competing nation-states? Or will the MIC re-engineer religious wars between the various religious groups, secular and theological? It seems the aspirations of the WEF and its fellow travellers preclude the occurrence of future armed conflicts.
Of course one needs capitalistic economies to produce the ordnance and materiels for the engineered social factions to war with each other. Yet if the Greens have their way, there will be no mining period.
More likely is the possibility that none of them actually understand what they are doing. As Nassim Taleb is alleged to have remarked, 99% of humans are stupid.The Real World , says: November 13, 2020 at 5:44 am GMT • 14.1 hours ago
The total absence of integrity in the Western media is sufficient indication that the West is doomed.
It's because Western media is completely under the control of Jews, the world's foremost End Justifies Means people. The Fourth Estate has become the world's most powerful Bully Pulpit. There are still a few good ones though, brave souls they are: Kim Strassel of WSJ, Daniel Larison of The American Conservative , Neil Munro of Breitbart.
The rest are more or less lying scums, including everyone on NYTimes, WSJ, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, MSNBC, Fox News (minus Tucker Carlson and Maria Bartiromo), The Economist , and let's not forget the new media: Google, Facebook, Twitter. The world would be a much better place without any of them.@Beavertales -- with either vote flipping on machines or having the totals that paper ballot scanners tabulate adjust via a pre-programmed algorithm. Many elections have already been stolen this way.Alfred , says: November 13, 2020 at 5:51 am GMT • 14.0 hours ago
But, in the vein of what you mention is this fascinating article. I urge everyone to read it. He spills the beans in detail. https://nypost.com/2020/08/29/political-insider-explains-voter-fraud-with-mail-in-ballots/
Imagine hundreds of those people around the country over decades. There must be scads of illegitimate office holders all over. It's horrendousPriss Factor , says: Website November 13, 2020 at 5:56 am GMT • 13.9 hours ago
Nancy Pelosi claims that Biden's victory gives the Democrats a "MANDATE" to alter the economy as they see fit with 50.5%. This proves that Biden will NOT represent everyone – only the left! I have warned that this has been their agenda from day one. Now, three whistleblowers from the Democratic software company Dominion Voting Systems, alleging that the company's software stole 38 million votes from Trump. There are people claiming that Dominion Voting Systems is linked to Soros, Dianae Finesteing, Clintons, and Pelosi's husband. I cannot verify any of these allegations so far.
We are at the Rubicon. Civil War is on the other side. There should NEVER be this type of drastic change to the economy from Capitalism to Marxism on 50.5% of the popular vote. NOBODY should be able to restructure the government and the economy on less than 2/3rds of the majority. That would be a mandate. Trying to change everything with a claim of 50.5% of the vote will only signal, like the Dread Scot decision, that there is no solution by rule of law. This is the end of civilization and it will turn ugly from here because there is no middle ground anymore. As I have warned, historically the left will never tolerate opposition.
Democrats Claim Mandate to Alter the Economy & 3 Whistleblowers from Software Company Allege they stole 38 million votes from Trump | Armstrong EconomicsJust another serf , says: November 13, 2020 at 6:18 am GMT • 13.6 hours ago
DEMOCRATS TURN MENACING AS FRAUD FALLS APART
https://www.bitchute.com/embed/WMA7DXLDgzBy/animalogic , says: November 13, 2020 at 6:35 am GMT • 13.3 hours ago
Yes, the theft is blatant. But what are you, us, going to do about it? We really can't do much as the Office of the President Elect requires us to wear masks. For our safety.@CurmudgeonAnon  Disclaimer , says: November 13, 2020 at 6:55 am GMT • 12.9 hours ago
"in the narrowest of legalistic terms, testimony or affidavits are not evidence. Testimony and affidavits become evidence when supported by physical evidence. " Correct – but they also can become evidence by verbal testimony. ie "I saw the defendant hit the victim with a rock"chet roman , says: November 13, 2020 at 7:05 am GMT • 12.8 hours ago
Not only have they stolen the election but when Joe Biden and other democrats claim that President Trump caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans because of his handling of Covid 19, they are in sane. No world leader could stop the spread of this respiratory virus. However, Joe Biden and democrats have caused the deaths of hundreds of white people, while whipping up weak minded people to kill many whites. Biden and the democrats are criminals. Any one who is white, man or woman, that supports the democratic party is enabling a criminal organization to perpetrate violence on white people, including murder.Clay Alexander , says: November 13, 2020 at 7:18 am GMT • 12.6 hours ago
Since the article was from a German magazine it's understandable that there is no mention of "the one who shall not be named". No mention of the people behind the Lawfare group, the same people behind the impeachment, the same people providing financial and ideological support for the BLM/Antifa, the same people that own the media that spewed lies for 5 years and censored any mention of the Biden family corruption, no mention of the people behind this Color Revolution, the same people who promoted the mail in voting and those that managed the narrative for the media on election night to stop Trump's momentum.
For the public consumption the election will be described in vague terms, like this article, blaming special interests and institutions like the FBI, CIA and MIC without naming names as if an institution, not the oligarchs and chosen pulling the strings, are somehow Marxist, anti-white or anti-Christian.Priss Factor , says: Website November 13, 2020 at 7:24 am GMT • 12.5 hours ago
The interviewer quotes the Heritage Foundation does anyone even care what they say? The English Tavistock Institute by way of the CIA which the British molded from the OSS created programs for the Heritage Foundation as well as the Hoover Institute, MIT, Stanford University, Wharton, Rand etc. These "rightwing think tanks" were created to counter the CIA's "leftwing think tanks" at Columbia, Berkeley etc. Thank you British Intelligence.Thomasina , says: November 13, 2020 at 7:31 am GMT • 12.3 hours ago
Bloat the Vote: https://www.thedailybell.com/all-articles/news-analysis/2020-wisconsin-election-fraud/Biff , says: November 13, 2020 at 7:39 am GMT • 12.2 hours ago
Steve Bannon was just interviewing someone (can't remember his name). Apparently there are about 200 to 300 IT professionals/engineers working on these so-called "glitches" (not glitches at all) which mysteriously "disappeared" thousands of Trump votes. Then they'd dump phony Biden votes into the mix. These IT professionals are going to follow the trail.
I've also heard that Dominion Voting Systems played a big part in this scam by using algorithms. One Trump lawyer said that big revelations are coming.
We're going to have to be patient and just wait.
"The inclination of Republicans is for Trump to protect America's reputation by conceding the election."
I honestly think it's more like the old established Republicans (corporate bought) want Trump to lose because that is what their campaign donors want (Big Pharma, Wall Street, etc.) They are part of the elite, and the elite (both the Democrats AND Republicans) want Trump gone so they can continue their crony capitalist looting. They've got to appear like they're behind Trump, but I don't think they are. Of course, that's not all Republican representatives.
Sounds like they've been rigging elections for awhile now. I bet they just messed up with Hillary. I think that's why she was so upset. She had it, but they screwed up and didn't supply enough ballots.sally , says: November 13, 2020 at 7:45 am GMT • 12.1 hours ago
My conclusion is: They are probably going to get away with it.
My advice: Make them suffer.@KenH inventive creative new ways to deceive.. first it was election machines, then mail in votes. next it will be magic carpet voting. But the votes don't count, cause it is the electoral college that elects the President.Wizard of Oz , says: November 13, 2020 at 7:46 am GMT • 12.1 hours ago
Trump also lost a significant number who did not understand Trump was an Israeli at heart, they thought he was a uncoothed NYC red blooded American.
As far as white, black or pokadot color or any of the religions ganging up against Trump I don't think that happened, the fall out into statistically discoverable categories is just that, fall out, not those categories conspiring to vote or not vote one way or the other.Anonymous  Disclaimer , says: November 13, 2020 at 7:54 am GMT • 12.0 hours ago
PCR seems to have trouble seeing a difference between the counting of perfectly proper votes which Pres Trump's post office delivered late which may or may not be allowed by law which can be determined in court, and fraud like the dead voting or votes being forged.Wally , says: November 13, 2020 at 8:08 am GMT • 11.7 hours ago
The fraud is all so transparent but no one in the power elite seems to give a crap whether the public catches on or not these days. They know that the entire media which creates the false matrix of contrived "truth" that we all live in will back them to the hilt because they are actually just one more working part in the grand conspiracy. We all know that when "O'Brian" says 2 + 2 equals 5 we must all believe it, or at least say we do. We interface with "O'Brian's" minions on a daily basis but we don't know the ultimate identity of "O'Brian" (in the singular or multiple). Many guesses are made, but they hide that from us fairly well with the aid of their militaries and "intelligence" agencies (aka secret police in other times and places).@MarkinLA s://amgreatness.com/2020/11/09/on-electoral-fraud-in-2020/"> https://amgreatness.com/2020/11/09/on-electoral-fraud-in-2020/Biff , says: November 13, 2020 at 8:57 am GMT • 10.9 hours ago
– Why Did Six Battleground States with Democrat Governors (Except One) ALL Pause Counting on Election Night? And How Was This Coordinated?
https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/11/six-battleground-states-democrat-governors-pause-counting-election-night-coordinated/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=websitesharingbuttonsVerymuchalive , says: November 13, 2020 at 9:48 am GMT • 10.1 hours ago
For example in the early hours of the morning of November 4 large ballot drops occurred in Michigan and Wisconsin that wiped out Trump's lead.
In a very similar vein, it is the same thing that happened to Bernie Sanders during the primary's. Joe was down and out, and Bernie was enjoying the lead and then "Bam!" Overnight Joe is back on top.
Well, fool me once,,,,,, .,and blah, blah whatever Bush said .@Stephen AllenSollipsist , says: November 13, 2020 at 10:17 am GMT • 9.6 hours ago
Dr Roberts has referenced in the interview a UR article that goes into considerable detail about the massive electoral fraud by the Democrats and their partners. You've obviously not bothered to read it.
You're like one of those MSM hacks who denies electoral fraud without making any attempt to look at the evidence.@Begemot And it's almost always a closer race than anyone would have guessed beforehand -- which I also find suspicious. How likely is it that the majority of presidential elections over the last century were decided by more or less even numbers of voters from each party, between more or less evenly matched candidates?James Speaks , says: November 13, 2020 at 10:40 am GMT • 9.2 hours ago
Really seems like they've perfected the art of putting on rigged political shows that you can't quite believe in, but don't have anything really solid to back up your suspicions. It's like the "no evidence of fraud" canard -- anything solid enough to show obvious manipulation is explained away as the exception, rather than the tip of a very deep iceberg@S MartiniLee , says: November 13, 2020 at 11:48 am GMT • 8.1 hours ago
Like the false accusations about Russia, delegitimizing the presidential election as fraud is turning out to be much ado about nothing.
Let's review. The Democrats perpetrated the phony 2016 Russian influence fraud, and now the Democrats are perpetrating the phony 2020 election victory.
The common elements are Democrats perpetrate fraud.
Do try to keep up.TomGregg , says: November 13, 2020 at 12:23 pm GMT • 7.5 hours ago
IMO this is a simple remedy to settle the election fraud mess or we will be arguing about this 20 years from now .from the American Thinker.
The candidates on the ballot must have an opportunity to have observers whom they choose to oversee the entire process so the candidates are satisfied that they won or lost a free and fair election.
That is not what happened in the 2020 election. That is the single most important and simple fact that needs to be understood and communicated. The 2020 election was not a free and fair election, because poll-watchers were not allowed to do their essential job. The 2020 election can still be a free and fair election with a clear winner, whoever that may be, but time is running out.
In every instance where poll-watchers were not allowed to observe the process, those votes must be recounted. They must be recounted with poll-watchers from both sides present. If there are votes that cannot be recounted because the envelops were discarded, those votes must be discarded. Put the blame for this on the officials who decided to count the votes in secret. Consider it a way to discourage secret vote counts in the future.
The pandemic has not been fearful enough to close liquor stores, and it in should not be used as excuse to remove the poll-watchers who are essential to a free and fair election. If we must have social distancing, then use cameras.
Certainly, there are other issues with the 2020 election. There may be problems with software, and there are issues like signature verification and dead people voting. Everything should be considered and examined, but no other issue should distract from the simple fact that both sides must be able to view the entire process. If one side is not allowed to view the vote-counting, then that side should be calling it a fraud. We should all be calling it a fraud.
Read more: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/11/the_simplest_most_important_issue_regarding_the_2020_election.html#ixzz6dfsChU00@AnonThe Spirit of Enoch Powell , says: November 13, 2020 at 1:02 pm GMT • 6.8 hours ago
https://www.youtube.com/embed/OyBNmecVtdU?feature=oembedRealist , says: November 13, 2020 at 1:04 pm GMT • 6.8 hours ago
...Trump had control of the Senate, the House and of course the Executive between his inauguration in January of 2017 and the Midterm Elections of 2018, a total time period of 1 year and 10 months. What did he do during this time? He deregulated financial services and passed corporate tax cuts.
At the end of the day, being emotionally invested in US elections is no different to being emotionally invested in Keeping up with the Kardashians , that is to say your life wouldn't be that different if your don't follow either.anon  Disclaimer , says: November 13, 2020 at 1:06 pm GMT • 6.8 hours ago
The Democrats Have Stolen the Presidential Election
The Deep State Has Stolen the Presidential Election. FIFY. But they have been in control for decades they just don't care who knows now. They are taking final steps to make their control impervious to attack.@Notsofast nd protect the actual elephant in the Oval Office: CIA.Priss Factor , says: Website November 13, 2020 at 1:31 pm GMT • 6.3 hours ago
Trumman did speak up one month after JFK was killed by the unmentionable "I" of M.(I).I.C.
This is the reason that the establishment latched on to the Eisenhowerian bon mot but entirely memory hole Trumman's far more explicit warning a freaking month after a sitting president is shot like a turkey in Dallas: it white washes CIA and NSC .MLK , says: November 13, 2020 at 1:32 pm GMT • 6.3 hours ago
Why are CIA goons like Anderson Pooper serving as journalists? CIA is a criminal organization that subverts other nations.
The place to begin, and it's mind-blowing when you think about it this way, is that nothing was resolved on election night. Not who will take the oath on January 20th. Nor which party will control the Senate. Nor even who will be Speaker and which party will control the House.
Suffice it to say, a still raging factional struggle has simply moved to a greater degree behind the curtain.
I noted this movie reference on another thread here:
If your father dies, you'll make the deal, Sonny.
-- "The Godfather"
My point being, you're foolish if you ascribe certainty as to outcome at this point.
Being rid of Trump has been as close to a dues ex machina for the establishment as imaginable since he took the oath. This ineluctable observation elicits no end of foot-stomping by those who assume it necessarily says anything positive about the man.
With every persistent revision of the script they wrote for him, all ending with his political demise at least, Trump has not just survived but grown stronger. While the Democrats turned our elections into something only seen in a third-world shit hole, Trump legitimately drew 71M votes from Americans.
That's a lot of air in the balloon. Believe me, filth like Russian mole Brennan may think everything is finished once they get rid of terrible, awful Trump, but those above his pay grade know better.
Like him or hate him, Trump is the only principal not wholly or largely discredited. He was saved from destruction during his first term by the Republican base moving to protect him. That was the import of his 90-95% approval among them, destroy him and you destroy the Republican Party.
Now, despite -- or perhaps, because of -- everything they've done, that base now includes a significant number of Democrats and independents. Trump is merely a vessel for an American majority attached to this constitutional republic thingie we've got going.
Don't get lost in the details. This isn't a puzzle you can solve by internet sleuthing. The plan they executed -- to steal sufficiently to make the outcome inevitable by the morning after the election at the latest -- failed. This was evident early on Election Day (e.g. fake water main breaks in Atlanta) and necessitated their playing their Fox/AZ card and shutting down the count at least until they had removed Republican monitors.
BannedHipster , says: Website November 13, 2020 at 2:57 pm GMT • 4.9 hours agoRurik , says: November 13, 2020 at 2:59 pm GMT • 4.9 hours ago
People need to stop falling for Republican bullshit.
The Republicans control:
1. The Senate
2. The Supreme Court with a 6 to 3 majority.
3. The majority of state governments by a huge margin:
"In 22 states, Republicans will hold unified control over the governor's office and both houses of the legislature, giving the party wide political latitude -- including in states like Florida and Georgia."
"Eleven states will have divided governments in 2021, unchanged from this year: Democratic governors will need to work with Republican legislators in eight states, and Republican governors will contend with Democratic lawmakers in three."
The Democrats have: Joe Biden, and a slim majority in the House of Representatives which they are almost certain to lose in two years.
What the Republicans are going to do is everything we hate, but they will pretend they were "forced" to do it by the Democrats – the Democrats being the minority party.
Amnesty? Democrats made us do it.
More immigration? Democrats made us do it.
The Republican party is the greater of two evils.Zarathustra , says: November 13, 2020 at 3:00 pm GMT • 4.9 hours ago
Who else could have survived what Trump has been subjected to by the Establishment and their media prostitutes. In the United States the media is known as "presstitutes" -- press prostitutes. That is what Udo Ulfkotte says they are in Europe.
Mr. Ulfkotte died of a "heart attack" in January, 2017
Rest in Peace Udo.Robert Dolan , says: November 13, 2020 at 3:26 pm GMT • 4.4 hours ago
Left and right.
(What you small brains do not understand is this.)
Democrats enabling the elite to invest in far east (lower wage costs, higher profits) did abandon the working class in America. Democrats by this act did throw away the working class as a dirty rug.
Democrats with their TPP exporting most of the production to far east would totally destroy working class in USA. Trump's first act was to cancel this insanity. Democrats are insanely delusional.
Democrats were left. Left is a party that supports the working people.
So here switch occurred. Democratic party now represent the elite, and Republicans now represent the working people.
(The irony of the fate)Robert Snefjella , says: November 13, 2020 at 3:30 pm GMT • 4.4 hours ago
https://www.bitchute.com/video/hxrVAGuE7Oo1/Agent76 , says: November 13, 2020 at 3:45 pm GMT • 4.1 hours ago
The headline for PCR's article is a prediction, not yet established, and incomplete.
There is an ongoing massive attempt to steal the Presidential election as well as to steal an unknown number of House and Senate seats, and who knows what else.
The 'game' is still on. Many tens of millions of citizens – actual total unknown but possibly in numbers unprecedented in American history – voted for Trump. Republican candidates for office generally had strong support, but again, the actual percentage of support is unknown but presumably larger than now 'recorded'.
There are also the many millions who ardently supported Trump, know that Biden is illegitimate, deeply corrupt, and the precursor to perils unknown. Their determination and backbone and intelligence will now be tested.
There is the electoral college process; there are the state legislators that have a say in the process; there is the Supreme Court.
There is also the possibility of pertinent executive orders that mandate transparent processes in the face of, say, apprehended insurrection via fraudulent voting processes.
There is also the matter of how millions of 'deplorables' with trucks and tractors and firearms and other means to make their point will react to obvious massive election travesty.
The conjunction of the COVID global scamdemic/plandemic, with crazed Bill Gates and kin lurking in the background with needles, 'peaceful' protesters in many cities setting fires and looting with near impunity, and a mass media that is clearly comprehensively committed to a demonic degree of dishonesty and manipulation, and lunatic levels of 'identity politics' ideology, are among the elements setting the stage for what may be an historical watershed.
The American Revolution in the 18th century, against the British Crown's authority, came about after years of simmering anger and sporadic resistance against British injustice. At some point there was a 'tipping point'. When Germany invaded and occupied Norway early in the 2nd WW, an effective resistance quickly formed in reaction, where death and torture were the known willing risk. Two years before, those forming the resistance would have been just going on with their lives.
No one knows today how this plays out.anon  Disclaimer , says: November 13, 2020 at 4:21 pm GMT • 3.5 hours ago
Who's Afraid of an Open Debate? The Truth About the Commission on Presidential Debates. The CPD is a duopoly which allows the major party candidates to draft secret agreements about debate arrangements including moderators, debate format and even participants.
Mar 6, 2014 Truth in Media "End Partisanship"
Ben Swann explains how the new coalition of EndPartisanship org is working to break the 2 party hold on primary elections, which currently lock around 50% of voters out of the process.
Sep 5, 2012 DNC Platform Changes on God, Jerusalem Spur Contentious Floor Vote
Democratic National Convention 2012: Delegates opposed to adding language on God, Israel's capital to platform shout, 'No!' in floor vote.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/t8BwqzzqcDs?feature=oembedAnonymous  Disclaimer , says: November 13, 2020 at 4:21 pm GMT • 3.5 hours ago
For those who are sick of Fake News CNN or FoxNews, watch this new channel that many Trump voters are flocking to:
I am currently watching an interview with SD Governor Kristi Noem, who went on ABC to challenge George Stenopolosus' claim that there is no fraud in this election. She pointed out that there has been many allegations, including dead people voting in PA and GA, she says we don't know how widespread this is, but we owe it to the 70+ million people who voted for Trump to investigate and ensure a clean and fair election. She said we gave Al Gore 37 days to investigate the result in 2000, why aren't we giving the same to Trump?
She is extremely articulate and sounds intelligent and honest, and what's more courageous to come forward like this. I hope she runs for president in 2024, I'd vote for her.@Chris in CackalackyOutsideMan , says: November 13, 2020 at 4:30 pm GMT • 3.4 hours ago
Am I the only one who sees something profoundly spiritual happening in front of our eyes?
Yes. In reality, 5% of White men sent Trump packing. That doesn't match the GOP negrophile narrative where "based" Hindustanis join the emerging conservative coalition to make sure White people can't get affordable healthcare in their own countries, though. So we'll have to watch you parasites spool up this pedantic "fraud" nonsense until the fat orange zioclown gracelessly gets dragged out.@DrewAgent76 , says: November 13, 2020 at 4:31 pm GMT • 3.3 hours ago
Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups and Average Citizens
by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page
https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf@TomGreggThomasina , says: November 13, 2020 at 4:42 pm GMT • 3.2 hours ago
Good post. You will gain more insight from this background on the speech and drafting.
Jan 19, 2011 Eisenhower's "Military-Industrial Complex" Speech Origins and Significance US National Archives
President Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell address, known for its warnings about the growing power of the "military-industrial complex," was nearly two years in the making. This Inside the Vaults video short follows newly discovered papers revealing that Eisenhower was deeply involved in crafting the speech.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/Gg-jvHynP9Y?feature=oembed@The Real WorldCyrano , says: November 13, 2020 at 5:03 pm GMT • 2.8 hours ago
Great article. Thanks. Agree with you about the big stealing being electronic. Trump tweeted out yesterday that over 2 million votes were stolen this way. For him to say this, they must have evidence.
Dinesh D'Souza said he hopes that when this matter comes before the Supreme Court that they will tackle once and for all what constitutes a legal vote.
Some pretty big names are involved with this Dominion Voting. It will be interesting to see what Trump's team of IT experts discover re the use of algorithms to swing the vote.Genrick Yagoda , says: November 13, 2020 at 5:07 pm GMT • 2.7 hours ago
Why (Oh, why) did Trump had to go? Because Trump is an enema to the Deep State. He was threatening to expose the biggest lie of the last 100 years – the supposed "liberalism" of US...@Wizard of OzDanFromCT , says: November 13, 2020 at 5:15 pm GMT • 2.6 hours ago
It has already been determined by the court. Pennsylvania ruled that late ballots are not to be counted.
https://static.foxnews.com/foxnews.com/content/uploads/2020/11/602-MD-2020-Order-Nov.-12.pdf@Stephen Allenfatmanscoop , says: November 13, 2020 at 5:15 pm GMT • 2.6 hours ago
The author refers to a body of overwhelmingly persuasive evidence of voter fraud that can be specified and quantified to provide proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases, not to mention hands down proof in civil cases requiring only a preponderance of the evidence to establish guilt. Furthermore, the Democrats' easily documented, elaborate efforts at concealing the vote counting process by shutting down the counting prior to sneaking truckloads of ballots in the back door is by itself powerful circumstantial evidence of their guilt. You have no idea what "evidence" means, either in general usage or in its strictly legal sense.fatmanscoop , says: November 13, 2020 at 5:38 pm GMT • 2.2 hours ago
The election cannot be trusted at all, just based on the insane entitled emotional state of the Globalist establishment alone. The system as-a-whole cannot be trusted, for the same reason. They are actively corrupting it in every way they can, and fully believe (as a matter of religious conviction) that they are right to do so.@CurmudgeonRobert Dolan , says: November 13, 2020 at 5:39 pm GMT • 2.2 hours ago
"no evidence of wide spread voter fraud"
That's one of the Jew/Anglo Puritan Establishment's new catch-phrases. There's also "no evidence" that Joe Biden acted in a corrupt manner in Ukraine, even though he admitted to it on tape. There's "no evidence" that Big Tech is biased against conservative plebians, despite their removing conservative plebians' published content arbitrarily and with no State compulsion to do so. The phrase "there's no evidence" is just a public commitment to ignore any evidence, no matter how blatant or obvious.Peripatetic Itch , says: November 13, 2020 at 5:41 pm GMT • 2.2 hours ago
https://www.trunews.com/stream/michigan-republican-governor-candidate-saw-voter-machines-connected-to-internet@DanFromCTOrville H. Larson , says: November 13, 2020 at 5:57 pm GMT • 1.9 hours ago
This newly discovered legal standard goes beyond "preponderance of the evidence" or even "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt" to establish absolute certainty as the standard.
Just the obvious and necessary complement of the Bob Mueller standard for Russian collusion, don't you think -- "could not (quite) exonerate"? /s
Don't you dare call this hypocrisy.@Rogueanon  Disclaimer , says: November 13, 2020 at 6:05 pm GMT • 1.8 hours ago
When it comes to protecting the integrity of elections, "low-tech" might be best!@endthefedThe Real World , says: November 13, 2020 at 6:42 pm GMT • 1.2 hours ago
His impotence makes a lot more sense when you know the full version was supposed to be Military-Industrial Congressional Complex.@TheTrumanShow as the reason why.Art , says: November 13, 2020 at 6:47 pm GMT • 1.1 hours ago
They went for a softer approach in KY in 2019. The first-term Repub Gov had a Yankee's forthrightness so they just latched onto comments he made regarding the underfunded teachers pension program and amped-it to high heaven getting teachers all in a frightful frenzy.
In that solidly Red state, with all other prominent offices on the ballot (AG, SoS, etc.) going overwhelmingly Repub , somehow the Repub Gov loses to the Dem by around 5000 votes. The "teachers pension" narrative was rolled-out as the reason. (Btw, it seems that Dominion, or another type, software was used to switch the votes in that race. I've seen video about it.)@Orville H. LarsonThe Real World , says: November 13, 2020 at 6:55 pm GMT • 56 minutes ago
When it comes to protecting the integrity of elections, "low-tech" might be best!
Paper ballots as ascribed by Tulsi Gabbard legislation is the only safe option for elections. Kudos to Tulsi!@Orville H. Larson out how the winds are blowing. There is nothing good about it.Priss Factor , says: Website November 13, 2020 at 7:02 pm GMT • 49 minutes ago
Why not this:
-- ONLY in-person voting over a 2-day period, a Sat and Sun, with polls being open from 6AM to 9PM both days.
-- Exceptions are the traditional requested absentee ballot where the voter can be authenticated.
-- Paper ballots must be used at the polls and no single box of 'Straight Vote by Party' is offered.
-- Some kind of SIMPLE scanning tabulator could be used of the ballots and with it NOT being connected to the internet.
There is far too much cheating opportunity built into our current system. That's intended, of course.
It needs to end!No Friend Of The Devil , says: November 13, 2020 at 7:09 pm GMT • 42 minutes ago
... ... ...
Because you don't get it. You are missing the big picture. It was well known that these systems had the ability to be hacked as soon as they were implemented. It is also a well known fact that massive mail in ballots increases the likelihood that corrupt individuals are more likely to get away with election fraud.
Everyone knew about the potential for voter fraud to occur, but the entire system is corrupt, including Trump who has allowed the massive corruption within the system that was present when he entered office to persist and grow because he is a wimpy, spineless, coward, that was too afraid to make any waves and take the heat that he promised his voters.
Why anyone voted for Trump in 2020 confounds me. I voted for him in 2016 and he has turned out to be one of the worst presidents in history.
Trump in his cowardess and dishonesty knew that the ailing economy would harm his chances of being re-elected, so he allowed the health scare scamdemic to occur and destroy the livelihoods, lives, and businesses of hundreds of millions of Americans because he is a psychopath. Trump did not do what he promised. Trump made America worse than it has ever been since the end of slavery. Jeremy Powell said today that the economy is dead and will never recover.
The only injustices that Trump gave a damn about were the injustices against himself and his family, and has committed countless injustices against the entire country and world during his term. Trump is a corrupt narcissist. The facts prove it. Trump is such a corrupt narcissist that he was willing to destroy the entire economy based on scientific fraud, high crimes, and treason to use as political cover for his own incompetency which is the most offensive and disgusting diabolical act ever perpetrated on the entire country.
Trump has also demanded the extradition of Assange after telling his voters that he loved wikileaks. Trump is a two-faced, lying, fraud. It has been his pattern. He consistently supports various groups and people like Wikileaks, Proud Boys, and others and panders to them and voters and tells people that he loves them, and then every time without fail when the heat is on, Trump says," I really don't know anything about them."
"I know nothing." Trump saying "I know nothing." defines his presidency and who he is as a person, a spineless, pandering, corrupt, two-faced, narcissist, loser, and wimp!
Why would anyone vote for him the second time around after a record of pathological incompetency and pathological corruption? What's to approve of about him? Go ahead, investigate voter fraud it if is permitted, and if it isn't then ask yourselves why it is that a system that enables election fraud is in place, and ask yourselves who had the ability to change it and, who had the ability to benefit from it!
Jan 02, 2021 | www.youtube.com
liveltoob , 6 days agoJoseph Klimchock , 6 days ago
She voted against the bill because she's smart and she actually reads thingsShawn Cornell , 1 week ago
Congress has failed the American people again and again. They do almost nothing, we might actually be better if they did NOTHING!!!!!EAZY-E Zero , 5 days ago
One of the few dems that talks sensibly. That's why the communist dems kept changing the rules to keep her out of the debates.Jn Stonbely , 3 days ago
Respectfully, Tulsi Gabbard could have been a better candidate than Joe Biden. That's just my opinion.
Bravo Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard for putting it to the "Demagogue" Party for their deviousness, lies, and clearly ; anti-American behavior !
Kai Chinn , 6 days agoboonarga , 6 days ago
I like Tulsi, she actually has a head on her shoulders and actually cares about the American People! Aaaaand, she is not hard on the eyes either! :)
Gabbard represents what Democrats were before they became evil.
chiefordnance , 4 hours ago
As a Republican Tulsi was the only Democrat I was rooting for, the Democrats destroyed her because she wasn't part of their agenda.
Brian Hariprashad , 2 days ago
She embodies what a true good democrat is idk what's up with the rest of the party, she has my vote
What Is Your Worldview? - Creation or Evolutionism? , 6 days ago
In a world of [neo]liberalism, it is the VICTIM that gets punished, not the criminals.
Jan 02, 2021 | www.rt.com
Idea of 'exceptionalism' encouraged US to quit treaties & makes Americans think they can ignore rules – Russian foreign ministry 2 Jan, 2021 15:00 Get short URL © Sputnik / Russian Foreign Ministry 22 Follow RT on
By Jonny Tickle In recent years, the US has gone crazy with its idea of 'American exceptionalism' and Washington has taught its people that the country does not need to follow any rules and can disregard international agreements, Moscow claims.
Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the claim on Thursday to YouTube channel 'Izolenta live.'
"It's a nuclear power that has gone wild with the idea of its own exceptionalism, withdrawing from lots of documents, treaties, international organizations," she said.ALSO ON RT.COM Russia ready to 'fight off' Western attempts to seize its assets in $50bn battle with oligarchs over collapsed Yukos oil empire
Zakharova also believes that Washington has "encouraged its population to think that they don't owe anybody anything" and "they should not obey anyone," up to and including international law.
However, she noted that the White House may one day decide to return to various deals sidelined in recent years, presumably referring to the incoming president, Joe Biden.READ MORE When in Russia Get yourself a dose of Sputnik V, Foreign Ministry tells US envoy who asked Santa for VACCINE
Since the incumbent at the White House, Donald Trump, came to power in 2017, Washington has reduced its participation in international organizations. In 2018, the US withdrew from UNESCO and from the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). A year later, Trump pulled his country out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), and in 2020 the country left the Open Skies Treaty. Furthermore, on February 5, a fortnight after Biden is due to take office, the US will depart from the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty unless the Kremlin and the new president's team quickly come to an understanding.
Last month, at his annual press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin chided the US for pulling out of treaties that Russia is fully supportive of, noting that there could be an "arms race" if Biden doesn't agree to an extension of START.
"We heard the statement by the president-elect that it would be reasonable to extend the New START. We will wait and see what that will amount to in practical terms. The New START expires in February," Putin pointed out.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!
Jan 02, 2021 | www.veteransforpeace.org
Demonstrators push back against Buncombe County incentives for Pratt & Whitney
Veterans For Peace members in Asheville, North Carolina participated in a Reject Raytheon Demonstration on Dec. 9th.
"Prior to the county vote on the incentives, a spokesperson for the company said it made $21 billion in sales last year. More than half came from the manufacturing of commercial engines used for passengers and cargo. He said military engines made up about 20-30 percent of sales.
"So much of our military hardware gets made here and is sent overseas and used in proxy wars and in purposes that don't really serve the security of the United States itself," Veterans for Peace's Gerry Werhan said."
Read the article
Mar 16, 2020 | www.truthdig.comExceptionalism, triumphalism, chauvinism. These characteristics define most empires, including, like it or not, these United States . The sequence matters. A people and national government that fancies itself exceptional -- an example for the rest of the world -- is apt to assert itself militarily, economically, and culturally around the globe. If that self-righteous state happens to possess prodigious power, as the U.S. has since the Second World War, then any perceived success will lead to a sense of triumphalism, and thus put into motion a feedback loop whereby national "achievement" justifies and validates that conception of exceptionalism.
Then the exceptionalist-triumphalist power inevitably runs off-the-rails, and -- especially when it feels threatened or insecure -- lashes out in fits of aggressive military, economic, religious, or racial chauvinism. This cycle tends to replay again and again until the empire collapses, usually through some combination of external power displacement and internal exhaustion or collapse.
Such imperial hyper-powers, particularly in their late-stages, often employ foot soldiers across vast swathes of the planet, and eventually either lose control of their actions or aren't concerned with their resultant atrocities in the first place. On that, the jury is perhaps still out. Regardless, the discomfiting fact is that by nearly any measure, the United States today coheres, to a remarkable degree, with each and every one of these tenets of empire evolution. This includes, despite the hysterical denials of sitting political and Pentagon leaders, the troubling truth that American soldiers and intelligence agents have committed war crimes across the Greater Middle East since 9/11 on a not so trivial number of occasions. These law of war violations also occurred during the Cold War generation -- notably in Korea and Vietnam -- and the one consistent strain has been the almost complete inability or unwillingness of the U.S. Government to hold perpetrators, and their enabling commanders, accountable.
Enter the International Criminal Court (ICC). First proposed , conceptually, in 1919 (and again in 1937, 1948, and 1971), in response to massive war crimes and human rights violations of the two world wars, the Hague-headquartered court finally opened for business in 2002. With more than 120 signatory member states (though not, any longer, the U.S.) the ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute international violations including "genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression." A compliment, rather than a replacement, to sovereign national justice systems, the ICC is designed to be the "court of last resort," obliged to exercise jurisdiction only when a nation's courts prove unwilling or unable to prosecute such crimes.
All of which sounds both admirable and unthreatening (at least to reasonably well-behaved states with accountable, responsive justice systems), but to the contemporary American imperial hyper-power, the very existence of the ICC is viewed as a mortal threat. Matters demonstrably came to a head this past week when an ICC appeals court reversed a lower-level decision and allowed its special prosecutor -- whose visa Washington has already revoked -- to simply open an official investigation into alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan by all three major parties to the conflict: the Taliban, U.S., and U.S.-backed Kabul-based Afghan government. This decidedly mild decision, which only allows a multi-directional inquiry , unleashed an immediate firestorm in Washington.
The reflexive reactions and responses of current and former Trump officials was both instructive and totally in line with decades worth of bipartisan U.S. disavowal of the very notion of international norms and standards. Trump's recent hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton -- now an MSNBC-DNC darling for his apparent critique of the president in a new memoir -- has spearheaded opposition to the ICC since its inception, has asserted that the ICC is "illegitimate," and that the U.S. Government "will not sit quietly," if "the court comes after us." After the most recent ruling, Secretary of State (and former director of the very CIA that is likely to be implicated in said war crimes investigation) Mike Pompeo declared the ruling a "truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable, political institution masquerading as a legal body," adding, threateningly, that "we will take all necessary measures to protect our citizens from this renegade, unlawful, so-called court."
On that latter point, Pompeo is neither wrong, nor espousing a policy -- no matter how aggressive or rejectionist -- unique to Donald Trump's administration. Here, a brief bit of all but forgotten history is in order. In 1998, the UN General Assembly voted 120-7 to establish the ICC. The United States, in good company with a gaggle of criminally compromised states -- China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Yemen, and Qatar -- voted against the measure. Two years later, however, President Bill Clinton unenthusiastically signed onto this foundational Rome Statute , but with some dubiousness and the requisite American exceptionalist caveat that he "will not, and do not recommend that my successor, submit the treaty to the Senate for advice and consent until our fundamental concerns are satisfied."
Then came the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This tragedy turned (for then ascendant neoconservatives) opportunity for expanded U.S. military global assertiveness, ensured that Clinton's successor -- one George W. Bush -- wouldn't even consider ICC treaty submission to the Senate. Rather, in May 2002, Bush sent a note to the UN Secretary General informing him that the most powerful and influential country in the world no longer intended to ratify the Rome Statute or recognize any obligations to the ICC (which officially opened for business only two months later ). Never simply a morality tale of Republican villainy, Bush's disavowal didn't explain the half of it.
Far more disturbingly, a stunningly euphemistic American Service-members' Protection Act of 2001 amendment, first introduced just 15 days after the 9/11 attacks, to the Supplemental Appropriations Act for Further Recovery From and Response to Terrorist Attacks on the United States, was already under consideration in Congress. With broad bipartisan majorities, that legislation -- which authorized the U.S. president to use "all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any U.S. or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court" -- passed in the House a couple weeks after Bush sent his note to the UN, and the Senate just two weeks later. President Bush then signed this authorization for, up to and including military, force into law on August 2, 2002. Much of the world was appalled and international human rights organizations took to – quite appropriately – calling it the " Hague Invasion Act ." It remains in force today.
The timeline is instructive and itself tells a vital part of the story. Democrats and Republicans alike had chosen to "preempt" -- an internationally prohibited precedent that Bush would later invoke to invade Iraq -- the not yet in force ICC with this bill. They did so, I'd assert, because they knew a salient dirty secret: the U.S. was about to unleash martial fury across the Greater Middle East. In the process, inevitably, American troopers and intelligence spooks would push the limits of acceptable wartime behavior, and thus be vulnerable to international prosecution by the soon effective ICC.
This was unacceptable for an exceptionalist, triumphalist nation, about to undertake chauvinist actions the world over. That unilateral, world-order-be-damned national position held, and still holds, sway in the intervening 18 years. So, for all the Trump administration's coarse obtuseness in response to the opening of the latest ICC Afghan investigation, this is, at root, not (as the mainstream media will inevitably now claim) a Donald phenomenon.Three administrations, and multiple guard-changing Congresses, chose to not to touch the infamous Hague Invasion Act or realign the U.S. with the ICC or the spirit (or even the pretense) of international law.
The cast of elite characters, many still politically influential, who voted for the Hague Invasion Act is nothing short of astounding. The bill passed the House by a margin of 280-138, and counted such "yea" votes as House Intelligence Committee Chair -- top Trump opponent and Russiagate investigator -- Democrat Adam Schiff. Notably, especially in this ongoing electoral cycle, then Vermont Representative Bernie Sanders opposed the measure.In the Senate , an even larger portion of Democrats joined current Speaker Mitch McConnell (and most of his Republican caucus), to vote for the Act. These included such past and present notables as former Secretaries of State John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, current Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and, then Foreign Relations Committee Chair, and now Democratic presidential frontrunner, Joe Biden. His vote, naturally, should come as scant surprise since even in early Senate committee hearings four years earlier, ranking minority member Biden was at best tepid, and at worst quite skeptical of the ICC – even finding unlikely points of agreement with the later Hague Invasion Bill's sponsor, and longtime unilateralist hawk, Republican Senator Jesse Helms.
Still, the swift, frenetic response of senior Trump officials to ICC decision is telling. I suspect that Pompeo and Bolton know the inconvenient truth – that U.S. national security forces have committed crimes in Afghanistan (and elsewhere) and that the U.S. Government hasn't ever truly held these select perpetrators sufficiently accountable. Contra Pompeo, Bolton, and other Trump officials' ardent public assertions, the U.S. military and intelligence community are, in fact – due to being demonstrably "unwilling or unable to prosecute such [war] crimes" – the perfect candidates for ICC investigation, and if evidentiary appropriate, prosecution. The U.S. has a historically abysmal record either of restraining or punishing wartime violations.
The rarely recounted record is an extensive as it is appalling:
- After U.S. Air Force pilots and U.S. Army soldiers strafed and gunned down some 400 Korean refugees (most women, children, and old men) hiding under a bridge at No Gun Ri over the course of four days in 1950, there was no criminal investigation when the military determined the killings represented naught but an "unfortunate tragedy inherent to war."
- When, after a two-year coverup, the journalist Seymour Hersh brought to light the blatant execution of at least 504 civilians in the hamlet of My Lai , South Vietnam, just six soldiers were charged, and only one – Lieutenant William Calley – convicted. Though countless victims were beheaded, scalped, or had their throats slit in an orgy of violence, even Calley's original life sentence was repeatedly reduced by senior generals until he was ultimately granted clemency by President Richard Nixon. Convicted by jury of military officer peers of personally killing at least 22 civilians, Calley served only five months in detention and some three years under house arrest.
- Later in the Vietnam War, when Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert blew the whistle on endemic torture among some U.S. troops, and a subsequent investigation uncovered 141 confirmed incidents of prisoner abuse, not a single criminal charge was filed and only three soldiers were administratively fined or reduced in rank. The only significant punishment meted out was leveled at Herbert -- recipient of four Silver Stars and three Bronze Stars, who was also shot 10 ten times and bayonet thrice -- when his reputation and career were ruined in retaliation.
- When allegations of systemic prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib Prison were reported by Major General Antonio Taguba, and simultaneously uncovered by the very same Seymour Hersh, not a single soldier above the rank of staff sergeant faced charges. Taguba, incidentally, did suffer -- his career unceremoniously curtailed in the wake of threats, intimidation, and harassment by the senior army commander in Iraq (General John Abizaid) and the then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
- Finally, and perhaps most relevant to the current ICC investigatory backlash, after an American AC-130 gunship unloaded on a civilian hospital (by definition, a war crime) repeatedly for 30-60 minutes and killed 42 doctors, patients, and staff members, the top theater commander, General John Campbell, and then Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter changed their stories four times in four days without ever fully explicating what exactly caused the massacre. An official military probe – instructively, the generals always investigate themselves in these matters – found no criminal culpability, and, while Campbell's nominal boss, General Joseph Votel, claimed to have administratively disciplined sixteen soldiers and officers, the names of those personnel – and he details of their punishment – were never released.
Add to that the disconcerting fact that the U.S. crossed a rather macabre tipping point in 2019, whereby, for the first time, the American military and its Afghan allies killed more civilians than the Taliban, and this brings us full circle to an alarming present reality. The very figures who championed and supported the wildly chauvinistic "Hague Invasion" Act seem set to hold sway over, and in Biden's case serve as candidate for, the Democratic Party.In November, that faction will likely, then face off against a Trump team that vehemently opposes even a basic investigation into alleged American criminal misbehavior in the Afghan theater of its ongoing forever wars.
All of which demonstrates, once and for all, that human rights, and international law or norms were never of genuine interest to the United States. None of this will play well on the "Arab," or even broader global, "Street," and will – just like U.S. abuses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo – actually increase worldwide "terrorism" and anti-Americanism. None of which matters to, or greatly concerns, a Washington elite lacking even a modicum of self-awareness.
Because empires, like the United States, which peddle in exceptionalism, triumphalism, and chauvinism are, historically, the world's true rogue states .
Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army officer and a contributing editor at antiwar.com . His work has appeared in the LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, Truthdig, Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge . His forthcoming book, Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War is now available for pre-order . Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet . Check out his professional website for contact info, scheduling speeches, and/or access to the full corpus of his writing and media appearances.Danny Sjursen / Truthdig
Dec 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
DECEMBER 23, 2020
When hawks in the U.S. and Israeli governments talk about "restoring deterrence," what they really mean is that they want to commit acts of aggression but present them as defensive actions.
The president made more reckless threats against Iran today:
When the president illegally ordered the assassination of Soleimani in January of this year, administration officials eventually lined up behind the excuse that it was intended to "restore deterrence" against rocket attacks from Iranian-backed Iraqi militias. Even though these attacks have continued throughout the year much the same as before, we are back to the same old tired issuing of threats of military action in response to attacks that would not be happening if it were not for the president's own reckless actions. As the anniversary of the Soleimani assassination approaches, we are once again drifting towards an avoidable and unnecessary conflict.
Were it not for the president's "maximum pressure" campaign, U.S. forces in Iraq would face far fewer risks than they do today, and conflict between our governments would be much less likely. Had it not been for the president's decision to order the illegal and provocative attack that killed Soleimani and an Iraqi militia leader, tensions between the U.S. and Iran would not be as great as they are now. Trump's approach to Iran for the last two and a half years has been to pick a fight and then blame the other side for responding to his provocations. Far from deterring attacks from Iranian-backed militias and the Iranian military itself, the Trump administration has been provoking and inviting them. It is mostly a matter of luck that this has not yet triggered a larger conflict.
For its part, the Israeli government is also raising the temperature by sending one of its submarines through the Suez Canal to signal its readiness to respond to retaliation for its murder of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh:
An Israeli submarine has embarked for the Persian Gulf in possible preparation for any Iranian retaliation over the November assassination of a senior Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Israeli media reported.
The above-water, fully visible Israeli deployment into the Suez Canal and then the Red Sea was a rare move that was reportedly carried out with the acquiescence of Egyptian authorities and was seen as a clear warning to Iran that Israel was preparing for battle as hostilities continue to rise.
The deployment of the Israeli submarine is described as a "message of deterrence," but it is in fact the result of an ill-advised and illegal attack inside Iran. Had the Israelis not carried out a terrorist attack on Iranian soil, they would not now be worried about possible retaliation. This gets at a basic problem with the hawkish framing of our news coverage related to Iran and the constant misuse of the concept of deterrence by both the U.S. and Israeli governments.First Panel, TAC's 7th Annual Foreign Policy Conference What Does 2020 Mean For Foreign Policy 00:07 / 01:00 3
When hawks in the U.S. and Israeli governments talk about "restoring deterrence," what they really mean is that they want to commit acts of aggression but present them as defensive actions. Blowing up Soleimani had nothing to do with deterring future attacks, and we can see that it has failed to deter them. Murdering Fakhrizadeh definitely had nothing to do with deterring anything. It was just a gratuitous killing that the Israel government did because they could. Now both the U.S. and Israel find that they have to make additional shows of force and issue new threats to ward off possible responses to these earlier aggressive acts. Instead of making them more secure, these aggressive acts have exposed Americans and Israelis to greater risks than they faced earlier on.
In light of reports that the president has asked for military options for attacking Iran and reports that Israel has been preparing for such an eventuality, we have to take the possibility of a U.S. or joint U.S.-Israel attack on Iran seriously. There is absolutely no justification for such an attack, but that is no guarantee that it won't happen. It needs to be emphasized that none of this would be happening if the Trump administration had not taken the reckless and destructive step of reneging on the JCPOA and launching an economic war on Iran. Whatever happens in the next few weeks can be traced back to that, and the president is responsible for the consequences.ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter .
Dec 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
he Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) recently released a lengthy report that predictably advocates for an aggressive and activist foreign policy that they euphemistically dub "defending forward." Like the British imperial "Forward Policy" that it calls to mind and resembles, so-called forward defense seeks to justify interventionism and open-ended warfare in far-flung parts of the world in the name of national security. The essays included in the report warn against "retrenchment" and repeatedly attack advocates of foreign policy restraint in dishonest and misleading ways, and they sound all the usual alarms about the supposed perils of extricating the U.S. from its many unnecessary foreign wars. These arguments are neither new nor particularly interesting, but they can't be ignored because of the significant influence that their purveyors continue to have in Washington and in the Republican Party in particular. If we are going to build a foreign policy of peace and restraint, these arguments have to be answered and discredited.
Panetta sets the tone for the document right away: "More than ever, Americans must go abroad to remain secure at home." This is the interventionists' axiom from which everything else follows, so it is important to start by explaining how wrong it is. To the extent that American security is threatened by other states and terrorist organizations, a forward policy invites more attacks and challenges and exacerbates the dangers it is supposedly combating. Our militarized engagement in many parts of the world is simultaneously destabilizing and provocative, and it makes us far more enemies than we would have otherwise.
Forward deployments make U.S. troops targets, and those deployments then become ends in themselves. Putting these troops in harm's way for decades isn't making Americans any safer, and the "war on terror" has led to the metastasization of terrorist groups on two continents. The forward "defense" that interventionists believe is so critical to our security is at best a redundant waste of lives and resources. At worst, it is sowing seeds for future attacks on Americans and our allies, and it is doing so at enormous expense. Sending troops to the other side of the world is not necessary to keep Americans safe at home. "Defending forward" has nothing to do with defense and everything to do with power projection and domination.
H.R. McMaster joined FDD shortly after being fired from his position as National Security Advisor, and in the last two years he has been attacking restrainers and promoting aggressive policies in a number of prominent articles. His contribution to the FDD report is a previously published Foreign Affairs article called "The Retrenchment Syndrome." As the title suggests, McMaster sees advocates of restraint (or "retrenchment hard-liners" as he calls them) as suffering from a dangerous malady, and his only prescription is more foreign entanglements. I have previously answered McMaster's arguments here , but I will add a few more remarks. McMaster wrongly accuses restrainers of "national narcissism," but he demonstrates no ability to understand the views of his domestic opponents or the thinking of the foreign adversaries whose motives he claims to know. He supports U.S. dominance and power projection in the world, and so he assumes that other major powers must have the same goal, but this is just an alibi for pursuing the aggressive policies that he already favors.
Misunderstanding and misrepresenting the views of restrainers is a running theme in the report. Mark Dubowitz and Jonathan Schanzer are some of the worst offenders. They can't stop themselves from dubbing Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer "realists-cum-isolationists," which is as insulting to them as it is wildly inaccurate. Both of those scholars favor a strategy involving offshore balancing, and Mearsheimer is rather hawkish on China, but they want to reduce the U.S. military footprint in the Middle East and that is unacceptable to FDD. That is why they are branded with the i-word. Dubowitz and Schanzer also mock the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft for supposedly not understanding the foreign policy views of John Quincy Adams, but this just shows how eager they are to distort the views of non-interventionists both past and present. Their contribution is long on accusations of isolationism without offering any evidence, but then this is the point of the isolationist smear. It is never meant to describe, only to distort and vilify, and they resort to this because they are afraid to engage restrainer arguments on the merits.
Like some melodramatic villain from a superhero movie, they declare, "History, unfortunately, is a forever war." One gets the impression that they do not really regard this as misfortune, but rather see it as an opportunity. Yes, history is full of conflicts, but there is far more to our history than warfare, and one thing we should have learned from all those conflicts is how pointless and unnecessary most of them have been. At the very least, we should know to steer clear from aggressive policies that make such conflicts more likely. The Trump administration Iran policy that FDD has championed for years has done just that, and that is one of many reasons why we should regard their recommendations with suspicion.First Panel, TAC's 7th Annual Foreign Policy Conference What Does 2020 Mean For Foreign Policy 00:06 / 01:00 1
Their account of the recent past is no better than their tedious comparisons with the 1930s. They write, "Al-Qaeda launched the 9/11 attacks despite America's best efforts to steer clear of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda was and is based." This is mind-boggling revisionism, conveniently ignoring that the attacks were carried out in large part in response to the continued U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia and U.S. support for the despotic government there. Dubowitz and Schanzer point to the clearest example of disastrous blowback in modern U.S. history and then have the gall to say that this example supports their argument for keeping U.S. forces permanently deployed in other countries where they aren't wanted.
Not surprisingly, the consistent misreadings and distortions of history are some of the biggest flaws in the report. Bradley Bowman and Clifford May rattle off historical "facts" about wars throughout history that elide far more than they reveal. For instance, they speak of "Persian-Roman wars" running from the battle of Carrhae between the Roman Republic and the Parthians to the battle of Nineveh in the seventh century between the Byzantines and the Sasanians. That lumps together many different regimes and dynasties in very crude fashion, and it also misleads the reader into thinking that conflict was incessant when it was not.
While there were many wars between these two powers over the course of seven hundred years, these two states were at peace with each other for the vast majority of that period of time. Indeed, for most of Byzantine history, the emperors in Constantinople were wary of engaging in open warfare and sought to avoid it as much as possible because of the cost and the potential for disaster. This strategy did not invite aggression, and it succeeded in allowing the empire to husband its resources and preserve its strength. One could say that the Byzantines usually practiced responsible statecraft. That is one reason why their empire managed to endure for as long as it did.
Treating war as being essentially unavoidable, Bowman and May belittle restrainers for "stunning ignorance" in calling to end U.S. involvement in its foreign wars today. This amounts to little more than mindless fatalism in accepting that the U.S. is bound to be at war much more often than not. But constant warfare and the strategy that undergirds it are both choices. Vietnam was completely avoidable for the U.S. and also entirely unnecessary for U.S. security, just as our current wars are all wars of choice. Conflict may be an ineradicable part of the human condition, but it doesn't follow that any particular conflict has to happen or that we are fated to participate in it when it does.
There may always be some conflict somewhere (though there has been much less of it in recent decades), but nowhere is it written that a major power has to be at war all of the time, much less in multiple places around the globe. The empires that have engaged in constant warfare have tended to suffer bankruptcy and ruin. Many of these states were governed by men who also believed that peripheral interests were worth fighting over, and they ultimately exhausted themselves in fruitless conflicts.
The U.S. is unusual among great powers in history in that it is relatively separated from its rivals by great distance, but it still chooses to entangle itself in the affairs of distant regions instead of taking advantage of our favorable geography. While modern technologies have reduced the importance of that advantage, they have not eliminated it. America is, in fact, extraordinarily secure from foreign threats, and so it becomes necessary to inflate these threats and overstate the capabilities of other states to make the case for a "forward" policy.
Writing for The New Republic , Jacob Silverman sums up the report very well:
That is the purpose of "Defending Forward": to contort the English language to convince a war-weary public that there is no alternative but to continue the status quo of "forward defense-in-depth military deployments," as Leon Panetta, the former CIA director and defense secretary, euphemistically calls them. But the FDD publication succeeds only in reminding us that, after 19 years of a catastrophic, immoral, illegal war on terror, America's hawks are simply out of answers.
The U.S. has been following something like a "forward defense" strategy for decades. The results have been almost twenty years of expensive failed wars that have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. The U.S. desperately needs to change its strategy and practice restraint in its use of force and the deployment of its armed forces. America does not need to police and dominate the world to be secure, and the sooner we all realize that the better it will be for our country and for the rest of the world. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter .email
Dec 23, 2020 | www.rt.com
Conversation 244 Comments Please read the RT Community Commenting Rules here Log In
Sort by Best
Ghanima223 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 03:27 AMAll power is in the end economic. The US can build 500 warships, the Chinese can easily match that, but unlike the US, they also can pay for it.Tor Gjesdal Ghanima223 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 06:14 PMNo, hehe, all Powers are not all in the end economic. We can be good at economicing life some of us, but Most have no clue about all the real Powers.KlausR922 Ghanima223 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 09:43 AMRussia and China do not have enough fleet to populate the oceans around the US but have more immigrants in the US. Instead, attracting foreign funds or investors (even through mixed marriages) destabilizes their own economies. This suggests, however, that the 'balance of power' remains to the advantage of the US. In fact, if we are all capitalists, what is the significance of this balance?Jewel Gyn 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 03:21 AM"the two most significant threats to this era of global peace and prosperity," Look at yourself in the mirror. US is without doubt the biggest threat to global peace and prosperity. The only reason countries are silent is because of your military and economic might. But it won't be for long...GorillaBalls Jewel Gyn 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 08:59 AMUSA is building useless junk more fitting to the times of Neanderthals and definitely obsolete in the 21st century with borrowed money. Nothing mighty about that.GorillaBalls Jewel Gyn 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 08:54 AMUSA no longer has a mighty economy. Has the world's biggest debt mountain instead along with a permanently concussed military by Iran!! Clown.Iwanasay 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 04:07 AMThis report says it all, the US objective is to dominate the world, not be a part of it, it also proves that the US is military dictatorship where politicians are only elected to channel huge sums of taxpayers money into the Pentagon and military industry purse. Hurry up China and Russia, form a military alliance and bankrupt the US as it wastes more & more against non-existent enemiesFjack1415 Iwanasay 1 day ago 21 Dec, 2020 01:25 PMYeah, the Star Wars strategy supposedly used by Pres. Reagan to bankrupt Soviet Russia, now can be used against the US. The US needs to spend about ten times what Russia or China spend in order to achieve the same result (if that) and what is more, it is borrowed money.GorillaBalls Iwanasay 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 09:27 AMJoetex America is obsolete already.Dachaguy 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 03:13 AMBalance? The US has no interest at all in balance. The US focus is domination. It's what the Project for a New American Century was all about.liana sammartino Dachaguy 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 09:05 AMand that domination in this century will evaporate....Isiah Steele Dachaguy 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 08:00 AMExcept, China and Russia and the rest of the real free world has their own plans for the future without the US!!!!shadow1369 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 05:55 AMUs regime calls its own relentless aggression 'assertive policy', and accuses anybody who resists their global tyranny a 'threat to peace'. Nothing new.GorillaBalls 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 05:37 AMUSA has been saying the same thing and has been spending the most money on its military but the reality is it has never won a war with a major military beyond own shore.Joetex GorillaBalls 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 07:04 AMAll wars the US has fought have been beyond its own Shores including WWI and WWII, which by the way were victorious.GreenPizza804 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 05:03 AM"Our actions in this decade will shape the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century." they think Russia and China don't have any plan to this ?Joetex GreenPizza804 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 06:56 AMIt's to late Trumps Trillion Dollar Plan in 2018 went to Mostly Navy and Space Force. And Already is more Advanced than China and Russia Combined.shadow1369 GreenPizza804 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 06:02 AMIn the Project for a New American Century, the US version of Mein Kampf, the warmongers preached 'full spectrum dominance'. They remind me of the last days of the nazis, deploying non existant armies to fend off the fast approaching allied powers. Any pretence of US global hegemony was destroyed in Syria.wawya 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 05:36 AMThe USA is the greatest threat to all countries yet masquerades as a friend to many. Make no mistake, it is an ally only when it suits. China has asperations on having a blue water navy but is a fair way off. Russia, apart from its SSN & SSBN boats is very much a green water navy. The Americans are kidding themselves.Mickey Mic 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 05:30 AMLet's not forget, the central banks can't operate with the current market status, hence, the delay in Nancy's relief tactics. War is imminent for the survival of banking cartels, Trump denied the banks wars, so cheat Trump out of office was is the highest demand for the Federal Reserve banking system. They needed a compromised President to bend to their will, Joe was picked for the Job due to his corrupt career and dysfunctional mentality . Bernie was cheated (No charges) Trump has been surrounded by disloyal shape-shifting swamp monsters, his proof of voter Fraud is meaningless in the land of oil & vinegar. Biden was illegally installed to launch wars & secure the final stages of the Wuhan virus (Forced Vaccinations). Let's face it, Biden's choices for Cabinet positions line directly with Hillary Clinton's friends, he is not in charge to make any choices on his own. He is supplying an empty shell to fill the oval office for the shadow Gov. The majority of US leadership thinks they'll be safe inside Cheyenne Mountain to protect their own sacred seed from destruction. PS: From the counterfeit Supreme Court, to the Masonic lodges better known as the "House of senators & Congressman"...Lurks a perpetual centrifugal motion to consume their greedy desolation.Galaxy31 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 03:32 AMAs US looses global dominance, the more desperate it becomes. This time though, it doesn't look it will work, but unfortunately because of this desperation, it may end up tragically for all of us human beings.GorillaBalls Galaxy31 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 05:27 AM"The US Navy will adopt a more 'assertive' approach to China and Russia, according to the country's new maritime strategy, which says that actions taken in the next decade will determine power dynamics for the rest of the century." Making big talk about the future with 20th century and OBSOLETE aircraft carries that can be quickly sent to the bottom with a few comparatively much cheaper hypersonic carrier killer missiles those tubs are DEFENCELESS against.straightasarrow69 Galaxy31 18 December, 2020 18 Dec, 2020 05:15 AMAmerica spends more on their military than the next 10 nations combined. More engineers graduate in China every year than exist in the whole of America. America believes it needs to manufacture enemies to prop up its main export, death and destruction. This further explains why some American politicians have stated, "if an Israel did not exist we would have to invent one." Birds of a feather. Time to diversify Americas economy. China, Russia, and America are brothers.
Nov 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
One Too Many , Nov 25 2020 6:24 utc | 93
This is nothing new, the war machine keeps going and going. I actually found an individual that has the same outlook on stopping the behavior of the United States as I do. International lawyer Christopher Black in this interview had the following to say.
A Biden Administration Will Be Dominated by More U.S. AggressionQuestion: What in your view needs to change in order to make U.S. foreign conduct abide by international law and therefore enhance the prospects for world peace?
Christopher Black: It will require a revolution in the United States to do that, an overthrow of the economic powers that control the machinery of the state, but there is no prospect of that happening. There is really no effective opposition to these policies in the U.S. The peace movement is weak and fragmented, dominated by the "cruise missile liberals". The voices of reason have no power, no real influence among the masses of the people which are dominated by a sophisticated propaganda machine known as the "media". Censorship is increasing and the few critical voices that exist are being silenced.
It will take, in my view, a military defeat of the United States in order to bring about the conditions necessary for the required changes. And, perhaps that will happen, as China has stated time and again, that if Washington decides to take direct control of their island of Taiwan and the Americans interfere or if they are attacked in the South China Sea, they will defeat the U.S. But such a war would have world consequences and would cause realignments of power not only in the USA, if we all survive it.
Line Islands , Nov 25 2020 11:05 utc | 103William Gruff , Nov 25 2020 11:59 utc | 104
Biden is a tent revival for the aptly named "cruise missile liberals" and some of the more shadowy neo-conservative forces in retreat and determined to bring democracy building home after their colonial expeditions extinguished it at home, hastening the rise of America's own Saddam in Trump. Biden's own instincts may be decisive, however, and he was against war in Libya while also in favor of splitting Iraq. The dementia rumors are nonsense; Biden is a canny and often mendacious operator, and while I think Trump is a fascist and quite possibly a Russian mafia sub-boss, Biden may well be the restoration of more homegrown, American mafia rule. An argument that Giuliani has made in so many words, standing as he does on the Russian side and yelling into the shifting parapolitical winds.Bemildred , Nov 25 2020 13:29 utc | 111
Line Islands @102
It's not really that complicated for China. They have no interest in or need to strike the American mainland. That would only be necessary if they were seeking global hegemony like the US, which they are not. Their strategic nuclear capabilities are strictly deterrence. All China has to do is survive the coming conflict arising from the Thucydides Trap that the US and China are caught in with minimal damage to their industrial capacity, infrastructure, and population.
That I specified "survive" and not "win" is not a mistake. The default outcome if nothing is done is that China ascends to uncontested sole global economic superpower status. That is not necessarily their intention but rather the natural outcome of China continuing the development of their domestic human capital and quality of life for 1.4 billion people. China doesn't have to take the fight to the US to end up on top, and the US has no choice but to somehow turn back the economic clock in China to keep its position as global imperial hegemon. Color revolution attempts, trade war, and bioweapon attacks have all failed the empire miserably, so all the US has left is to go kinetic.
The "US aircraft carrier force projection model" is effectively nullified by China, but those assets are still protected by America's delusional reality exclusion zone: "Destroying our carriers is unthinkable! No one would ever dare do that!" . That defense will prove inadequate against China's variety of "carrier killer" missiles.
As for America's stealth aircraft, China's defenses will likely be a surprise to many in the American empire. Furthermore, America's only stealth aircraft with sufficient range to reach China's mainland on anything other than a one way suicide mission would be the B-2 bomber, of which America only has 21. Those 21 will not last long in a kinetic conflict. Quite a few will likely simply be destroyed on the runway in Diego Garcia while the survivors will get to find out how well China's nifty new quantum radar works. The F-22 and F-35 would require refueling to get from carrier stand-off distance to the mainland and refueling again to get back, with America's aerial tankers needing to loiter within range of China's air defenses... not a good battle plan for the empire. Those stealth aircraft will not shift the advantage in the empire's favor, and attrition will be much higher than expected among them.
It must be repeated that China doesn't need to destroy the United States. They are not playing the board game "Risk" after all. China just needs to defeat the American empire's military force projection capabilities in their own neighborhood, and China already has that capacity right now. Every day that elapses shifts the advantage further into China's favor, so the empire needs to act while they still have the ability to do so. Trump's unwillingness to do more than bark loudly and his resistance to going kinetic is why the imperial elites had to fraud the elections so openly to get a more compliant figurehead into office ASAP. That the empire couldn't wait another four years means that we will see "interesting times" (yeah, even more interesting than the preceding twelve months!) real soon now.oldhippie , Nov 25 2020 13:34 utc | 112
"A cornered dog will bite, even if it is obvious that it cannot win."
So will I, so what?
"It was never China's nor Iran's intention to "corner" the empire. That is simply the situation that America finds itself in now that its economy is in "late capitalism" decline. It is really not even anyone's fault, not even Trump or Reagan or any of the other usual suspects."
I agree, but again, so what? I'm not concerned with who is morally correct, I'm mainly concerned with whether there is going to be a big war and what happens if there is, that's not a moral question. I've been waiting around 40 years to watch our collapse, and I still think there is enough that is/was good here to be worth hoping for a soft landing. That's probably better for the rest of the planet too, but it's arguable.
Neither Iran of China is cornered, they are well-prepared, well-supported by "partners", and on their home turf. WE are not ready. We are vunerable. But we are not cornered either, nobody is going to come over here and interfere while we fight among ourselves.
Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 25 2020 13:10 utc | 109William Gruff , Nov 25 2020 13:45 utc | 114
What scares me about Blinken and Sullivan is the career trajectory. Both had completely unearned and unreasonable success every step of their lives. There is never any explanation for this manner of success but family connections. Neither has done anything of note other than to occupy positions of power.
Sullivan is all of 43 years old, has been a mover and shaker since his twenties. Any who have never read Halberstam's Best and Brightest might look at that now. We are in for a shit show. Biden is not going to do anything but take his meds and take a lot of naps. Already he is not to be seen. The crew named so far will steamroller Kamala, she is no more than a figurehead.
Likely she won't even stay in the room when it gets serious. Best possible outcome is that kids who have never done anything but suck up won't know what to do when they are left in charge with no adult supervision. Or there will be shadowy figures in background who steady the rudder.
More likely is war.Piotr Berman , Nov 25 2020 14:31 utc | 116
Yes, it is not a moral question, it is an economic one. Wars have never been about morality.
That said, China has for a number of years now been preparing for a minimally damaging escape from the Thucydides Trap, and by "minimally damaging" I mean for the US as well. As I said above the Chinese are not at all interested in hurting the US.
The plan is to "spring" the Thucydides Trap in the South China Sea and hopefully confine most of the damage to that area. If successful then the empire gets its soft landing (albeit with significant amounts of military materiel and personnel sacrificed) and humanity moves beyond the Trap.
I have my fingers crossed that the plan works.
@ PB 75
visible costs of vassaldom . . costs of American presence....decreasing the national security. . .participating in sanctions
Yes, plus a primary reason . . .Cost of buying US military junk like F-35. Foreign military sales is a mainstay of the US economy.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 25 2020 3:43 utc | 83
When you add the numbers, "military junk" has notable prestige -- with matching prices, but the total loot of American companies is probably many times larger. For example, Trump waged a series of trade wars to perpetuate negligible taxation of "technology giants" like Google or Amazon. "Intellectual property" was a stumbling block in the trade war with China, with dire consequences for soy growing farmers in USA (and a boon to their colleagues in South America). Then there is pharma. It seems that the really big companies are comfortable being in relative shadow behind arms makers, and discourse on security threats and needs --because Russian use trolls to interfere with elections, we (all countries that cherish what is good and precious) need new generations of nukes, planes, ships and toilet seats. However illogical, it is more noble sounding than preventing the likes of Apple from more than nominal taxation.
Nov 25, 2020 | thegrayzone.com
Since the 1990s, Flournoy and Blinken have steadily risen through the ranks of the military-industrial complex, shuffling back and forth between the Pentagon and hawkish think-tanks funded by the U.S. government, weapons companies, and oil giants.
Under Bill Clinton, Flournoy was the principal author of the 1996 Quadrinellial Defense Review, the document that outlined the U.S. military's doctrine of permanent war – what it called "full spectrum dominance."
Flournoy called for "unilateral use of military power" to ensure "uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources."
... During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Biden declared, "In my judgment, President Bush is right to be concerned about Saddam Hussein's relentless pursuit of weapons of mass destruction"
As Iraq was plunged into chaos and bloodshed, Flournoy was among the authors of a paper titled "Progressive Internationalism" that called for a "smarter and better" style of permanent war. The paper chastised the anti-war left and stated that "Democrats will maintain the world's most capable and technologically advanced military, and we will not flinch from using it to defend our interests anywhere in the world."
... In 2005, Flournoy signed onto a letter from the neoconservative think tank Project for a New American Century, asking Congress to "increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps (by) at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years."
Nov 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Top Biden Advisors Flournoy & Blinken Promise More Secretive 'Permanent War' Policy - Zero Hedge
Authored by Dan Cohen via TheGrayZone.com,
Throughout his campaign, Joe Biden railed against Donald Trump's 'America First' foreign policy, claiming it weakened the United States and left the world in disarray. "Donald Trump's brand of America First has too often led to America alone," Biden proclaimed.
He pledged to reverse this decline and recover the damage Trump did to America's reputation. While Donald Trump called for making America Great Again, Biden seeks to Make the American Empire Great Again .
Joe Biden: "Tonight, the whole world is watching America. And I believe at our best, America is a beacon for the globe. We will lead not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example."
Among the president-elect's pledges is to end the so-called forever wars – the decades-long imperial projects in Afghanistan and Iraq that began under the Bush administration.
"It's long past time we end the forever wars which have cost us untold blood and treasure," Biden has said.
Yet Biden – a fervent supporter of those wars – will delegate that duty to the most neoconservative elements of the Democratic Party and ideologues of permanent war .
Michele Flournoy and Tony Blinken sit atop Biden's thousands-strong foreign policy brain trust and have played central roles in every U.S. war dating back to the Bill Clinton administration.
During the Trump era, they've cashed in through WestExec Advisors – a corporate consulting firm that has become home for Obama administration officials awaiting a return to government.
Flournoy is Biden's leading pick for Secretary of Defense and Blinken is expected to be the president's National Security Advisor.
Biden's foxes guard the henhouse
Since the 1990s, Flournoy and Blinken have steadily risen through the ranks of the military-industrial complex, shuffling back and forth between the Pentagon and hawkish think-tanks funded by the U.S. government, weapons companies, and oil giants.
Under Bill Clinton, Flournoy was the principal author of the 1996 Quadrinellial Defense Review, the document that outlined the U.S. military's doctrine of permanent war – what it called "full spectrum dominance."
Flournoy called for "unilateral use of military power" to ensure "uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources."
This video report was originally published at Behind The Headlines . Support the independent journalism initiative here .
As Bush administration officials lied to the world about Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD's, Flournoy remarked that "In some cases, preemptive strikes against an adversary's [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities may be the best or only option we have to avert a catastrophic attack against the United States."
Tony Blinken was a top advisor to then-Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Joe Biden, who played a key role in shoring up support among the Democrat-controlled Senate for Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq.
During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Biden declared, "In my judgment, President Bush is right to be concerned about Saddam Hussein's relentless pursuit of weapons of mass destruction."
As Iraq was plunged into chaos and bloodshed, Flournoy was among the authors of a paper titled "Progressive Internationalism" that called for a "smarter and better" style of permanent war . The paper chastised the anti-war left and stated that "Democrats will maintain the world's most capable and technologically advanced military, and we will not flinch from using it to defend our interests anywhere in the world."
With Bush winning a second term, Flournoy advocated for more troop deployments from the sidelines.
In 2005, Flournoy signed onto a letter from the neoconservative think tank Project for a New American Century, asking Congress to "increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps (by) at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years."
In 2007, she leveraged her Pentagon experience and contacts to found what would become one of the premier Washington think tanks advocating endless war across the globe: the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). CNAS is funded by the U.S. government, arms manufacturers, oil giants, Silicon Valley tech giants, billionaire-funded foundations, and big banks.
Flournoy joined the Obama administration and was appointed as under secretary of defense for policy, the position considered the "brains" of the Pentagon. She was keenly aware that the public was wary of more quagmires. In the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, she crafted a new concept of warfare that would expand the permanent war state while giving the appearance of a drawdown.
Flournoy wrote that "unmanned systems hold great promise" – a reference to the CIA's drone assassination program. This was the Obama-era military doctrine of hybrid war. It called for the U.S. to be able to simultaneously wage war on numerous fronts through secret warfare, clandestine weapons transfers to proxies, drone strikes, and cyber-attacks – all buttressed with propaganda campaigns targeting the American public through the internet and corporate news media.
Architects of America's Hybrid wars
Flournoy continued to champion the endless wars that began in the Bush-era and was a key architect of Obama's disastrous troop surge in Afghanistan. As U.S. soldiers returned in body bags and insurgent attacks and suicide bombings increased some 65% from 2009 and 2010, she deceived the Senate Armed Services Committee, claiming that the U.S. was beginning to turn the tide against the Taliban: "We are beginning to regain the initiative and the insurgency is beginning to lose momentum."
Even with her lie that the U.S. and Afghan government were starting to beat the Taliban back, Flournoy assured the senate that the U.S. would have to remain in Afghanistan long into the future: "We are not leaving any time soon even though the nature and the complexion of the commitment may change over time."
Ten years later – as the Afghan death toll passed 150,000 – Flournoy continued to argue against a U.S. withdrawal: "I would certainly not advocate a US or NATO departure short of a political settlement being in place."
That's the person Joe Biden has tasked with ending the forever war in Afghanistan. But in Biden's own words, he'll "bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan" implying some number of American troops will remain, and the forever war will be just that. Michele Flournoy explained that even if a political settlement were reached, the U.S. would maintain a presence.
Michele Flournoy: "If we are fortunate enough to see a political settlement reached, it doesn't mean that the US role or the international community is over. Afghanistan without outside investment is not a society that is going to survive and thrive. In no case are we going to be able to wash our hands of Afghanistan and walk away nor should we want to. This is something where we're going to have to continue to be engaged, just the form of engagement may change."
In 2011, the Obama-era doctrine of smart and sophisticated warfare was unveiled in the NATO regime-change war on Libya.
Moammar Gaddafi – the former adversary who sought warm relations with the U.S. and had given up his nuclear weapons program – was deposed and sodomized with a bayonet.
Flournoy, Hillary Clinton's State Department, and corporate media were in lockstep as they waged an elaborate propaganda campaign to deceive the U.S. public that Gadaffi's soldiers were on a Viagra-fueled rape and murder spree that demanded a U.S. intervention.
Fox News: "Susan Rice reportedly told a security council meeting that Libyan troops are being given viagra and are engaging in sexual violence."
MSNBC jumped on the propaganda bandwagon, claiming: "New reports emerge that the LIbyan dictator gave soldiers viagra-type pills to rape women who are opposed to the government."
So did CNN.
As the Libyan ambassador to the US alleged "raping, killing, mass graves," ICC Chief Prosecutor Manuel Ocampo claimed: "It's like a machete. Viagra is a tool of massive rapes."
All of this was based on a report from Al Jazeera – the media outlet owned by the Qatari monarchy that was arming extremist militias in Libya to overthrow the government.
Yet an investigation by the United Nations called the rape claims "hysteria." Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch found no credible evidence of even a single rape.
Even after Libya was descended into strife and the deception of Gadaffi's forces committing rape was debunked, Michele Flournoy stood by her support for the war: "I supported the intervention in Libya on humanitarian grounds. I think we were right to do it."
Tony Blinken, then Obama's deputy national security advisor, also pushed for regime change in Libya. He became Obama's point man on Syria, pushed to arm the so-called "moderate rebels" that fought alongside al-Qaeda and ISIS, and designed the red line strategy to trigger a full-on U.S. intervention. Syria, he told the public, wasn't anything like the other wars the U.S. had waging for more than a decade.
Tony Blinken: "We are doing this in a very different way than in the past. We're not sending in hundreds of thousands of American troops. We're not spending trillions of American dollars. We're being smart about this. This is a sustainable way to get at the terrorists and it's also a more effective way."
Blinken added: "This is not open-ended, this is not boots on the ground, this is not Iraq, it's not Afghanistan, it's not even Libya. The more people understand that, the more they'll understand the need for us to take this limited but effective action ."
Despite Blinken's promises that it would be a short affair, the war on Syria is now in its ninth year. An estimated half a million people have been killed as a result and the country is facing famine.
Largely thanks to the policy of using "wheat to apply pressure" – a recommendation of Flournoy and Blinken's CNAS think tank.
When the Trump administration launched airstrikes on Syria based on mere accusations of a chemical attack, Tony Blinken praised the bombing, claiming Assad had used the weapon of mass destruction sarin. Yet there was no evidence for this claim, something even then-secretary of Defense James Mattis admitted: "So I can not tell you that we had evidence even though we had a lot of media and social media indicators that either chlorine or sarin were used ."
While jihadist mercenaries armed with U..S-supplied weapons took over large swaths of Syria, Tony Blinken played a central role in a coup d'etat in Ukraine that saw a pro-Russia government overthrown in a U.S.-orchestrated color revolution with neo-fascist elements agitating on the ground.
At the time, he was ambivalent about sending lethal weapons to Ukraine, instead opting for economic pressure.
Tony Blinken: "We're working, as I said, to make sure that there's a cost exacted of Russia and indeed that it feels the pressure. That's what we're working on. And when it comes to military assistance, we're looking at it. The facts are these: Even if assistance were to go to Ukraine that would be very unlikely to change Russia's calculus or prevent an invasion."
Since then, fascist militias have been incorporated into Ukraine's armed forces. And Tony Blinken urged Trump to send them deadly weapons – something Obama had declined to do.
But Trump obliged.
The Third Offset
While the U.S. fueled wars in Syria and Ukraine, the Pentagon announced a major shift called the Third Offset strategy – a reference to the cold war era strategies the U.S. used to maintain its military supremacy over the Soviet Union.NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST
ZEROHEDGE DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX
Receive a daily recap featuring a curated list of must-read stories.
The Third Offset strategy shifted the focus from counterinsurgency and the war on terror to great power competition against China and Russia. It called for a technological revolution in warfighting capabilities, development of futuristic and autonomous weapons, swarms of undersea and airborne drones, hypersonic weapons, cyber warfare, machine-enhanced soldiers, and artificial intelligence making unimaginably complex battlefield decisions at speeds incomprehensible to the human mind. All of this would be predicated on the Pentagon deepening its relationship with Silicon Valley giants that it birthed decades before: Google and Facebook.
The author of the Third Offset, former undersecretary of defense Robert Work, is a partner of Flournoy and Blinken's at WestExec Advisors. And Flournoy has been a leading proponent of this dangerous new escalation .
In June, Flournoy published a lengthy commentary laying out her strategy called " Sharpening the U.S. Military's Edge: Critical Steps for the Next Administration ."
She warned that the United States is losing its military technological advantage and reversing that must be the Pentagon's priority. Without it, Flournoy warned that the U.S. might not be able to defeat China in Asia: "That technological investment is still very important for the United States to be able to offset what will be quantitative advantages and home theater advantages for a country like China if we ever had to deal with a conflict in Asia, in their backyard."
While Flournoy has called for ramping up U.S. military presence and exercises with allied forces in the region, she went so far as to call for the U.S. to increase its destructive capabilities so much that it could launch a blitzkrieg style-attack that would wipe out the entire Chinese navy and all civilian merchant ships in the South China Sea . Not only a blatant war crime but a direct attack on a nuclear power that would spell the third world war.
At the same time, Biden has announced he'll take an even more aggressive and confrontational stance against Russia , a position Flournoy shares: "We need to invest to ensure that we maintain the military edge that we will need in certain critical areas like cyber and electronic warfare and precision strike, to again underwrite deterrence, to make sure Vladimir Putin does not miscalculate and think that he can cross a border into Europe or cross a border and threaten us militarily."
As for ending the forever wars, Tony Blinken says not so fast: "Large scale, open-ended deployment of large standing US forces in conflict zones with no clear strategy should end and will end under his watch . But we also need to distinguish between, for example, these endless wars with the large scale open ended deployment of US forces with, for example, discreet, small-scale sustainable operations, maybe led by special forces, to support local actors In ending the endless wars I think we have to be careful to not paint with too broad a brush stroke."
The end of forever wars?
So Biden will end the forever wars, but not really end them. Secret wars that the public doesn't even know the U.S. is involved in – those are here to stay.
In fact, leaving teams of special forces in place throughout the Middle East is part and parcel of the Pentagon's shift away from counterinsurgency and towards great power competition.
The 2018 National Defense Strategy explains that, "Long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia are the principal priorities" and the U.S. will "consolidate gains in Iraq and Afghanistan while moving to a more resource-sustainable approach."
As for the catastrophic war on Yemen, Biden has said he'll end U.S. support; but in 2019, Michele Flournoy argued against ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia .
Biden pledged he will rejoin the Iran deal as a starting point for new negotiations. However, Trump's withdrawal from the deal discredited the Iranian reformists who seek engagement with the west and empowered the principlists who see the JCPOA as a deal with the devil.
In Latin America, Biden will revive the so-called anti-corruption campaigns that were used as a cover to oust the popular social democrat Brazilian president Lula da Silva.
His Venezuela policy appears little different from Trump's – sanctions and regime change.
In Central America, Biden has presided over a four billion dollar package to support corrupt right-wing governments and neoliberal privatization projects, fueling destabilization and sending vulnerable masses fleeing north to the United States.
Behind their rhetoric, Biden, Flournoy, and Blinken will seek nothing less than global supremacy , escalating a new and even more dangerous arms race that risks the destruction of humanity. That's what Joe Biden calls "decency" and "normalcy."
naughty.boy , 14 hours agoDistant_Star , 14 hours ago
deep state will bankrupt the USA with forever wars.
Yes. As a bonus neither of these Deep State wretches has even seen a shot fired in anger. They are too "important" to be at risk.
Nov 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Don Bacon , Nov 17 2020 22:23 utc | 66
Applying any logic to the "threats" against the US "national security" AKA world hegemony becomes much simpler with recognizing two simple facts:
1. The US security state, with its huge military forces and techno-industrial base, and no diplomatic need nor capability, REQUIRES (fake) "security threats" in order to exist.
2. Those appointed "threats" are currently, probably not changing soon, in some order of "threat-size" . . .
China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Venezuela, & African "terrorists" -- did I miss anyone?
Nov 18, 2020 | www.unz.com
Franz , says: November 12, 2020 at 10:54 pm GMT • 21.0 hours ago@endthefedendthefed , says: November 12, 2020 at 11:08 pm GMT • 20.7 hours ago
Eisenhower is always lauded for his MIC warning. Frankly he ticks me off. Thanks for the warning AFTER you were in some position to mitigate.
Ike's a mystery. Why did he NOT question Harry Truman's commitments to NATO, the UN, and all that rubbish? Ike was a WWII guy. He knew Americans hated the UN in 1953 as much as they hated the League of Nations after WWI. But he let it all slide and get bigger.
His farewell address was just flapdoodle; it wasn't really dredged up till the 70s. Eisenhower spent eight years spreading tripwires and mines and then said "Watch out." Thanks buddy.@Bragadocious
Well, agree on your points however, on the other side of the ledger, he never understood the stupidity of the Korean war (that he could have ended) and majorly up-ramped CIA activities in all manner of regime change (bay of pigs anyone?). Almost a direct path to our foreign policy now (and now domestic policy)
Nov 17, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Exactly a week after Esper was unceremoniously dismissed, the Pentagon issued a notice to commanders to prepare to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan to 2,500, and to reduce the number of troops in Iraq to 2,500 by January 15.
Despite the dark rumors, Esper and his associates weren't fired because they failed to assist Trump in a domestic military takeover, or because they were insufficiently loyal and didn't grovel enough before the person of Donald Trump. The real reason for their dismissal is simple: Esper didn't think U.S. troops should be removed from Afghanistan by Christmas. Trump disagreed.
The commander in chief has "the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views" are aligned with his own, as former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said. This hardly represents a coup.
disgustoo • 22 minutes agoM Orban disgustoo • 15 minutes ago
"The commander in chief has "the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views" are aligned with his own, as former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said. This hardly represents a coup."
It's a "coup", alright. A coup against the deep state. Long overdue, but better late than never. President Trump giving The Swamp the middle finger one last time. And flushing out warmonger Biden, daring him to show his true colors & re-escalate again. Checkmate.Thuto November 16, 2020 at 6:18 am
Then why did he hire these people the first place?
Now there is only two months left out of 48?PlutoniumKun November 16, 2020 at 7:33 am
It used to be that "it took a village to raise a child", and where I'm from at least this was meant in a very literal sense: it took not only parents but other elders in the community to impart the accumulated wisdom that instills pro-social, community-building values into children, ensuring that it wasn't the sins, but rather the virtues of the elders that were visited upon the children, even unto the seventh generation. The "village" has now largely replaced parents and community elders with a dizzying, eclectic mix of social media influencers, tv personalities, pseudo-thought leaders and an education system that's been captured by our elites to instill their own preferred version of values into our children.
The analogue with the "horizon of understanding" is that for most individuals, defining what it represents has been outsourced to a dizzying mix of experts who are tasked with creating and maintaining a national value system. In a world paralyzed by partisanship, each side of the ideological divide has its own (bought and paid for) triangulated opinion of experts to shape what people on each side come to believe is real. As the chances of creating a harmonious, pro-social horizon of understanding are sacrificed at the altar of partisanship and polarization, the disorientation and discomfort felt by most people as we navigate the unfolding crises of our times is only going to increase.Reply ↓ >Thuto November 16, 2020 at 8:54 am
Thanks, you express this very eloquently.
It seems these days that we are simultaneously bombarded with information and opinions, while also being herded into our ideological corners by unseen algorithms. I honestly don't know what the long term consequences of this will be, but its hard to see good outcomes.Reply ↓ >Eustachedesaintpierre November 16, 2020 at 9:43 am
Going forward, I suspect the unseen algorithms are going to be the most malign influence in widening the divide, a sort of social herding at scale. On the subject of opinions, most people, for better or worse, still defer to the opinions of experts on important matters, so you can imagine what happens when expert opinion is drawn not from "mere" PMC hired guns but from the upper, upper crust of the oligarchy, even the most independent thinkers are bound to subject their deeply held perceptions/beliefs to a review, if for nothing else but to get in early on a nascent bull market and profit from it.
To take an example, the early adopter set for bitcoin was for a long time made up of hackers, criminals and other fringe players who dabbled out of curiosity. The professional money management industry on the other hand took a dim view of the whole crypto thing, disparaging it at every opportunity and making sure portfolio allocations to it were extremely scarce at the best of times to non-existent every other time. Then came covid, and along with that activist central banks printing unprecedented amounts of money to shore up collapsing economies. With fiat currencies being devalued as a result, the previously skeptical titans of fund management started talking up bitcoin as a store of value comparable to gold, first Paul Tudor Jones, then Stan Druckenmiller, followed most recently by Bill Miller. Granted there are still holdouts like Ray Dalio and Peter Schiff who haven't hopped on to the bitcoin bandwagon but, along with the guys at Microstrategy also becoming fervent evangelists, I suspect the pronouncements of these titans alone are enough to take bitcoin mainstream as an asset class, volatility be damned. I'm not a crypto bull by any stretch but the power of expert opinion raining down from the very top of the class hierarchy to move the herd further down will remain undiminished for a while still, and if said opinion is programmed into an algorithm, heaven help us all.Reply ↓ >hunkerdown November 16, 2020 at 10:29 am
Reminds me of the old proverb " If it ain't broke don't fix it " while I believe that at some point in time someone decided to come up with a money making child rearing manual which started a flood of variations on that theme resulting in constant tinkering, which in my job would be the equivalent of overworking clay.
Only part of the story of course. /section >
Consider the structure of the term "common sense", which is just shared opinion. If there is no common sense, there will be no common action.
The problem with coming together is that the ruling class divides and rules us as a normal procedure of creating a class system. Nobody in the ruling class has a problem with this. Their purpose in life is to reproduce the system of mass slavery and adapt it to present conditions and they, being among the elect, are fine with this./section >The Rev Kev November 16, 2020 at 9:26 am
'This is endlessly amazing: Brazil, a huge country, has nationwide municipal elections today. Voting is mandatory. *All* votes will be counted & released by tonight.'
Ah, I see the problem here. The difference is that Brazil is a Third World nation that is kept that way by morons such as Bolsanaro. America, on the other hand, is being turned into a Third World nation because the elite is seeing a profit in doing so.
Nov 16, 2020 | www.rt.comGet short URL
Daniel Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is author of the recently-released No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using "Humanitarian" Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests. You might have noticed something curious following Biden's apparent election win – liberal politicians and media are sounding the alarm that Trump may use his remaining months in office to draw down our troops from Afghanistan.
For example, the New York Times ran a piece on November 12 claiming that " both in Kabul and Washington, officials with knowledge of security briefings said there was fear that President Trump might try to accelerate an all-out troop withdrawal in his final days in office " before the more "responsible" Biden can take over and try to stop or at least slow this. It is clear now that it is the liberal establishment, and the Democratic Party, which is more wedded to war than their counterparts across the aisle, and that should be disturbing to people hoping for progressive change with the incoming Administration.
First of all, we must start with this discussion with the undisputed fact that our leaders do not know, and have not known for some time, what the US' goals and strategy in Afghanistan even are. One would be forgiven for not knowing, or for forgetting this fact because the incontrovertible evidence of it – the so-called " Afghanistan Papers " – received scant and only momentary attention when they were exposed last year by the Washington Post.ALSO ON RT.COM George Galloway: Kiss of death – The winner of the most coveted Henry Kissinger endorsement is... Joe Biden
As these documents, consisting of interviews with hundreds of insiders responsible for prosecuting the war show, the American public was intentionally lied to about the alleged " progress " of this war, even as our leaders were unsure what " progress " meant.
As the Washington Post noted, the US government never even decided who it was really fighting there: " Was al-Qaeda the enemy, or the Taliban? Was Pakistan a friend or an adversary? What about Islamic State and the bewildering array of foreign jihadists, let alone the warlords on the CIA's payroll? According to the documents, the US government never settled on an answer ." Almost to a person, everyone involved in this morass agreed that the billions of dollars spent, and thousands of lives lost, have been in vain. It has all been a colossal waste.
Now, however, we are being told to panic that Trump may end this disastrous conflict. For example, the quite liberal and almost blatantly pro-Biden news outlet, National Public Radio (NPR) ran segments all last week about female soccer teams in Afghanistan. The message of these segments was clear – these soccer teams are (allegedly) proof of women's advances in Afghanistan as a result of the US' intervention since 2001, and these advances are in jeopardy if Trump ends this intervention.
Such manipulative stories of course obscure the real fact that the US has been undermining women's rights in Afghanistan since it began intervening there in 1979, and Afghanistan still ranks at the very bottom of all countries for women's rights. But there is no doubt that such stories will warm the hearts of many Biden supporters to continue war there.ALSO ON RT.COM The US military is NOT a feminist organization: It can't protect women's rights abroad as it can't protect its own female soldiers
Meanwhile, it is not only Afghanistan which is the focus of the liberal enthusiasm for war. Thus, as the Grayzone has reported , Dana Stroul, the Democratic co-chair of the Congressionally-appointed Syria Study Group, recently outlined the plans for even deeper US intervention in Syria – an intervention which Trump has at least paid lip service to ending.
Specifically, Stroul emphasized that " one-third of Syrian territory was owned via the US military, with its local partner the Syrian Democratic Forces, " that this territory happened to be the richest in Syria in terms of oil and agriculture, and that the US would intensify its intervention in and against Syria to keep its control of this territory and its resources. Of course, taking over other nations' resources is a violation of international law, including the Geneva Conventions prohibition against "plunder," but that seems to be of no concern.
The liberal media is also elated by the prospect of a Biden White House being more aggressive in its foreign policy towards both Russia and China.
As CNBC explains , " Now there is likely to be a change in the air when it comes to U.S.-Russia relations. At the very least, analysts told CNBC before the result that they expected a Biden win to increase tensions between Washington and Moscow, and to raise the probability of new sanctions on Russia...Experts from risk consultancy Teneo Intelligence said they expected more cooperation between Biden and Europe on global issues such as 'countering China, Russia' ."
While one might think that increased tensions with two major nuclear powers would not be a welcome development, years of the false Russiagate narrative have groomed liberals for such tensions.ALSO ON RT.COM Trump's Pentagon shuffle suggests either no more wars or just one with Iran
Incredibly, Trump has been portrayed as being soft on Russia, even as he backed out of a major anti-proliferation treaty (The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty) which had been signed with the Kremlin back in 1987, and even as he sent the largest contingent of US troops (20,000) in a quarter of a century to train with European soldiers on the Russian border. I must note here that the converse – Russia's sending tens of thousands of troops to the border with the US – is simply inconceivable and would indeed be seen in Washington as an occasion for war. I, for one, am quite alarmed to think of what a Biden policy of "getting tougher" with Russia would look like, and what kind of catastrophe it could bring about.
Regretfully, I now live in a country in which liberals outflanking conservatives in terms of their tolerance and even eagerness for aggression and war, especially when that aggression and war is being led by officials who, as I'm sure we will see in the new Biden Administration, happen to be women or people of color. For the first time recently, I have seen the concept of "intersectional imperialism" being used to describe this situation, and I believe this to be a very real phenomenon; to be but another means of making war that much easier to swallow for broad swaths of the American public.
The irony, of course, is that the bombs dropped by the US in war, no matter who happens to be in charge of the US government at the time, disproportionately fall upon women and children of a darker skin hue, and they maim and kill just as much as those dropped by old white male Republicans. Sadly, few seem to understand or care about this.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
benalls 31 minutes ago 16 Nov, 2020 10:27 AMIt's not the "left" or "right", republicans or democrats, but a new American movement,,,, CBM,,, wich usually means 'silent but deadly' but in this case it stands for "CEO's Bonus Matters" . The movement congressional members from Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing vowed to support. Its time for us to grab our shields, helmets, and frozen water bottles and travel to a new neighborhood to loot and burn. Israel has given Harris and JOJO their instructions.
razzims 49 minutes ago 16 Nov, 2020 10:10 AMsame ol empire of chaos and their eternal war. no matter which party wins electionHypoxiaMasks 1 hour ago 16 Nov, 2020 09:42 AMOther than the Bush and lil Bush, every war from the beginning of the 20th century was started with a Democrat president. Tell me again how the Republicans are the party of warMarkG1964 5 minutes ago 16 Nov, 2020 10:54 AMThe democrats and republicans are two wings on the same bird.
Nov 15, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
"What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal," Jeffrey said.
" ... even as he praises the president's support of what he describes as a successful "realpolitik" approach to the region, he acknowledges that his team routinely misled senior leaders about troop levels in Syria.
"We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there," Jeffrey said in an interview. The actual number of troops in northeast Syria is "a lot more than" the roughly two hundred troops Trump initially agreed to leave there in 2019. Defense One
"We?" Who are "We?"
State Department people? Well, certainly some of those were involved.
But ... IMO it would not have been possible to deceive or mislead the WH and specifically the Commander in Chief without the active cooperation of CENTCOM, the JCS and OSD.
If they had not been participating in the lying, it would have been obvious in any number of interactions with President Trump that the president's understanding of troop numbers in Syria was not correct and that he was being deceived by "we." (whoever that was). That revelation evidently did not happen. The NSC staff should have detected the lack of truth in reported numbers. That it did not tells me that at least some of the NSC staff were disloyal to Trump. Obvious? Yes, but that is worth re-stating.
James Jeffrey is quite proud of his achievement in maintaining a "realpolik" stalemate in Syria, one that stymies both Russia and the Syrian government.
IMO opinion he is revealed by his own words as a treacherous back stabber. "Un hombre sin honor." pl
Polish Janitor , 14 November 2020 at 10:55 AMThe Twisted Genius , 14 November 2020 at 11:10 AM
This is exactly the result of Trump's lack of interest in fulfilling his original promise of ending the "forever wars" in the middle east. This is exactly the result of putting opelny-Democrat Jared Kushner (a lifelong member of Chabad-Lubavich network) and his ilk in charge of the middle east geopolitics.
It also clearly proves that the State Dep. is a monsterous autonomous entity with its own permanent objectives and agendas, independent of the WH. No matter what Trump wanted to achieve in the ME, the so-called Blob (or as Col. Lang here has coined as the "BORG") do what they will. You have to also remember that back in '17, career diplomats and high-ranking State Dep. officials sounded the alarm that Rex Tillerson was down-sizing the Department so much and that it was contrary to American interests abroad etc...fast forward to today, it would not have mattered how much down-sizing Tillerson actually managed to do, they (people like Jeffries) were still able to pursue their own agenda and undermine Trump's original promise of ending the forever wars in the middle east.
The liberal elites managed to 'allegedly' manipulate the election against a sitting president in favor of an highly unappealing candidate in Joe Biden. In all honesty, does anyone think the Blob/Borg would NOT undermine the president's agenda and follow their own permanent objectives aboard?Fred , 14 November 2020 at 11:32 AM
Trump should be furious about this. He should be firing everyone involved in the deception. Those involved don't belong in ANY administration. Was convincing Trump that he was getting the Syrian oil part of this despicable con? As you mentioned last night, this deception is probably also going on in Afghanistan. This is a clear sign of a totally dysfunctional nation security apparatus... Trump's national security apparatus. Could Trump find no one he could trust to carry out his orders? Or did he just not even care? He certainly wasn't up to the task.
However, our troop level in Syria has been widely and openly reported to be above the 200 level since Trump's initial announcement of a total pull out in December 2018. I thought it was odd when shortly after that it was announced that more troops were being sent in to facilitate the withdrawal of the 2,000 plus troops already there. We did reduce the level somewhat, but then we brought in mech infantry with their Bradleys to secure the oil fields and later more to counter the Russian patrols in northeast Syria. And isn't counting whatever we have in Tanf.JM Gavin , 14 November 2020 at 11:45 AM
"He should be firing everyone involved in the deception"
He just fired Esper. "Trump's national security apparatus." You mean America's natonal security apparatus, the one that gave us LTC Vindman and that crew of Ambassadors, and the 'whistlebolower' Chief Justice Robert's wouldn't let any senator name nor ask questions about during the impeachment. You remember all that don't you? I'm sure the same cast of characters Biden would bring back if he succeeds in the rigged election would never do that to him.Deap , 14 November 2020 at 11:53 AM
COL(R) Mark Mitchell stated the following recently, regarding the duties and responsibilities of the SECDEF in response to POTUS directives. The comments were in regard to Acting SECDEF Miller (a longtime friend and colleague of Mitchell), but apply to any Cabinet or sub-Cabinet post:
"He [POTUS] may make decisions that other people disagree with. They have two options: they can do what he directs them to do, or after they've offered their advice, if they find it illegal, immoral, unethical, unadvisable, they can step down," retired Col. Mark Mitchell, who most recently served in the Pentagon as the principal deputy assistant defense secretary for special operations/low-intensity conflict.
Mitchell added that he resented the implication at the defense secretary should be expected to stand up to the president, or in his way, as the duly elected commander in chief.
"You either carry out your lawful orders or you resign," he said. "We don't get the option to 'stand up to him.' "(End of quote)
Unfortunately, President Trump made many poor personnel decisions, and selected people who believed they had the duty and right to work against the President from within the Administration. This has driven me nuts for the last four years, as I have watched senior civilian and uniformed leaders actively undermining the Commander-in-Chief. They weren't subtle about it. For whatever reason, they mostly got away with it.
To be clear, I am not writing this as a Trump supporter. As a career military professional, I have a duty to support the Commander-in-Chief, and obey lawful orders from the Commander-in-Chief.
It is very easy to play shell games with the BOG caps in the war zones.
JMGj , 14 November 2020 at 12:33 PM
Looking forward to a reprise of Trump's former starring role in The Apprentice, and finally uttering yet again his immortal words: You're Fired!
The final days of Trump's first term are going to be awesome. Banish the Borg. BAMN. Put Biden's fingerprints on any re-hiring.
Typically a new CEO will ask for everyone's resignation, and select and cull according to new needs and new directions. Something Trump should have done, but he too was the apprentice in this office when his term began.
Nothing to stop Trump from doing this now in reverse, and finally cleaning out the dross that was dedicated to his administration's destruction. Better late than never. Our country deserves nothing less. These insider traitors deserve to have their termination for cause permanently be part in their career resumes.Robert G Spenser , 14 November 2020 at 01:29 PM
It appears that POTUS Trump once his re-election is affirmed, urgently needs to fire a large percentage of top-level ranks at the Pentagon, fire the CENTCOM CC and his staff, fire the JCS, close down the NSC until it's thoroughly bleached, and charge all of them under the UCMJ. Bust them down to slick-sleeves and show them the door. How many back-stabbing Vindman types remain within the NSC? They need to be fired and prosecuted under the UCMJ as well.JM Gavin , 14 November 2020 at 02:34 PM
As a citizen I am having great difficulty not concluding that the US is showing all the signs of decline like the late Roman Republic.
James Jeffrey along with the rest of the herd that have run one agitprop disinformation scheme after another since the 2016 election are like the roman senators that had the intent to save the Republic but fatally weakened it by killing Caesar at its very center, in the Senate.
Biden's people are openly calling for even more internet censorship and continuing to rush out inherently dangerous mRNA vaccines without proper testing - and may force us to take it. Groups are starting to create a database of Trump supporters to enable censoring them where they work and live - what is this other than terrorism against half the voting population? If just five percent of the 70M that voted for Trump moves together in resistance then the new regime herd will be holding a tiger by is tail and with the election showing the people are split right down the middle I fail to see how we can avoid even much worse chaos the next four years. The American Republic is disintegrating while the herd is having a romp and thinks it is winning while they are its assassins.
I am sick at heart of this and fear for the future of my children whose standard of living opportunities are in free-fall.Fredw , 14 November 2020 at 04:06 PM
Robert G Spenser,
As the saying goes:
Good times create soft men.
Soft men create hard times.
Hard times create hard men.
Hard men create good times.
Rinse, wash, repeat until your civilization starts to outsource the hard men.
JMGDeap , 14 November 2020 at 04:54 PM
We are shocked, SHOCKED! that military bureaucrats are acting in the same ways that they always have. Come on now. The job of president is to get all these people to work in concert to an extent adequate for getting things to come out mostly in our favor. None of this is unique to Trump. Nearly every president in my lifetime has had to learn to deal with these aspects of the military. Jimmy Carter trusted them to plan a rescue mission. They used navy pilots for a mission over the desert! With no extra to enable adaptation to events! Ronald Reagan sent a battleship to Lebanon and then found out the brass wouldn't take the risk of actually using it for anything. Not to mention the superbly uncoordinated near simultaneous invasion of Grenada. John Kennedy accepted a duplicitous projection of events for the bay of pigs. Bill Clinton got caught in Somalia. George W. got sucked into a strategically unplanned invasion of Iraq. Obama was told that an 18-month escalation would resolve Afghanistan. He believed it! Boy were they shocked when he actually enforced the deadline. This is not a criticism of any of those presidents. It is normal, however bizarre that may sound. My point is that they mostly get bit once and learn not to trust the military's own estimates of what they can or should do. Then they begin to do the job more adequately. They learn to pay attention to goals and to manage their resources. Trump does not seem capable of this kind of learning. The last months of an administration are not the time to suddenly discover the nature of the organizations you are leading. And in any case, there is no time left for learning how to get actual results.Deap , 14 November 2020 at 04:57 PM
JFK never should have unionized the government workforce.
Pits existential self-interests against patriotic national interest, should these interests become in conflict. FDR warned against doing this. More attention needs to be paid to this fundamental national turning point.
What ills were cured by this act (EO) and has the cure become worse than the perceived disease. Must like term limits in California - the cure was 100 times worse than the original disease.
Entrenched political personalities come and go; entrenched and corrupted political systems are forever, because in the process they learned to self-perpetuate.
Much like HAL in the movie 2001.Deap , 14 November 2020 at 05:27 PM
Name your favorite EO to strike down with an counter-mand EO, before a sitting president leaves office:
1. Anchor baby citizenship triggering chain migration
2. Unionized government workforceJ , 14 November 2020 at 07:27 PM
2016: Democrat Game Plan:
1. Use Democrat's standard politics of personal destruction to attack and harass any Trump appointments; make working for the Trump administration so undesirable none dare even ask for consideration.
2. Tie up the President's time with endless personal attacks, lies and investigations, so Trump has no time as elected Chief Executive to oversee and clean up valid government operations;
3. Take advantage of Trump's exclusively private sector experience to lull Trump into thinking entrenched government BORGs are loyal government employees, who serve only to help Trump carry out his Executive Office duties;
4. Leak like crazy; make things up if necessary that ensure the Trump administration narrative appears chaotic and dysfunctional. Claim anonymous sources that undermine positive functioning within Trump administration. Make everyone suspicious of everyone else.
5. Obliterate any recognition for the remarkable Trump administration accomplishments that occurred, regardless of all of the above.
6. Pout relentlessly because regardless of the above, the President and the GOP Senate appointed over 200 new federal judge and 3 new SCOTUS members.
7. In full public view, tear up the SOTU address listing remarkable administration accomplishments mouthing - these are all lies -- laying down the gauntlet for all out war.
8. Gin up pandemic hysteria to fill in any and all loopholes not yet covered by all of the above.
Democrat skullduggery may have effectively destroyed an temporal administration, but Trump Judiciary appointments are the equivalent of a very welcomed forever.
President Trump, you are missed already. But I suspect in short order it is you, who will not miss the office. You are enshrined forever - #45 as President of the United States of America. History will treat you far kinder than your current fellow citizens.
You broke up the Democrat plantation. You exposed the dark underbelly of the body politic. Mission accomplished. There is no going back.james , 14 November 2020 at 08:21 PM
DHS head Chad Wolf is another anti-Trump in sheep's clothing that Trump needs to get rid of ASAP.
https://nypost.com/2020/11/13/dhs-boss-chad-wolf-defies-trump-order-to-fire-cyber-chief-chris-krebs/Yeah, Right , 15 November 2020 at 12:24 AM
this sounds like the definition of a traitor to me - jeffery.... on the other hand one could say he is working for wall st and the mil complex and has done a good job... which is it??turcopolier , 15 November 2020 at 12:26 AM
I don't understand this. Trump is the Commander in Chief, at any time he could have asked a straight-up question: How. Many. Troops. Do. We. Still. Have. In. Syria?
I find it astonishing that the military leadership would tell a lie to their Commander in Chief when the question itself leaves no wriggle-room.
Heck, Trump could has asked for a list of every single one of those brave 200 boys, and even if it included Name, Rank, and Serial Number that would still fit on a single letter-sized printout.
I can't understand how Jeffrey's and his band of "we's" could get away with this unless Trump wasn't paying any attention at all.Mike C , 15 November 2020 at 12:33 AM
Yes. He trusted people as I would never have done.
Questions for the committee:
What legal recourse if any is there against Jeffery or his fellow travelers?
How might Trump "put a kink in the hose" to hobble a potential Biden admin from putting us back into these quagmires?
I'm not at all surprised to see MSM sniping now at Col. Macgregor.
Nov 13, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Donald Trump was much troubled during his 2016 and 2020 campaigns by so-called conservatives who rallied behind the #NeverTrump banner, presumably in opposition to his stated intention to end or at least diminish America’s role in wars in the Middle East and Asia. Those individuals are generally described as neoconservatives but the label is itself somewhat misleading and they might more properly be described as liberal warmongers as they are closer to the Democrats than the Republicans on most social issues and are now warming up even more as the new Joe Biden Administration prepares to take office.
To be sure, some neocons stuck with the Republicans, to include the highly controversial Elliott Abrams, who initially opposed Trump but is now the point man for dealing with both Venezuela and Iran. Abrams’ conversion reportedly took place when he realized that the new president genuinely embraced unrelenting hostility towards Iran as exemplified by the ending of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. John Bolton was also a neocon in the White House fold, though he is now a frenemy having been fired by the president and written a book.
Even though the NeverTrumper neocons did not succeed in blocking Donald Trump in 2016, they have been maintaining relevancy by slowly drifting back towards the Democratic Party, which is where they originated back in the 1970s in the office of the Senator from Boeing Henry “Scoop” Jackson. A number of them started their political careers there, to include leading neocon Richard Perle.
It would not be overstating the case to suggest that the neoconservative movement has now been born again, though the enemy is now the unreliable Trumpean-dominated Republican Party rather than Saddam Hussein or Ayatollah Khomeini.
The transition has also been aided by a more aggressive shift among the Democrats themselves, with Russiagate and other “foreign interference” being blamed for the party’s failure in 2016. Given that mutual intense hostility to Trump, the doors to previously shunned liberal media outlets have now opened wide to the stream of foreign policy “experts” who want to “restore a sense of the heroic” to U.S. national security policy. Eliot A. Cohen and David Frum are favored contributors to the Atlantic while Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss were together at the New York Times prior to Weiss’s recent resignation.
Jennifer Rubin, who wrote in 2016 that “It is time for some moral straight talk: Trump is evil incarnate,” is a frequent columnist for The Washington Post while both she and William Kristol appear regularly on MSNBC.
The unifying principle that ties many of the mostly Jewish neocons together is, of course, unconditional defense of Israel and everything it does, which leads them to support a policy of American global military dominance which they presume will inter alia serve as a security umbrella for the Jewish state. In the post-9/11 world, the neocon media’s leading publication The Weekly Standard virtually invented the concept of “Islamofascism” to justify endless war in the Middle East, a development that has killed millions of Muslims, destroyed at least three nations, and cost the U.S. taxpayer more than $5 trillion. The Israel connection has also resulted in neocon support for an aggressive policy against Russia due to its involvement in Syria and has led to repeated calls for the U.S. to attack Iran and destroy Hezbollah in Lebanon. In Eastern Europe, neocon ideologues have aggressively sought “democracy promotion,” which, not coincidentally, has also been a major Democratic Party foreign policy objective.
The neocons are involved in a number of foundations, the most prominent of which is the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), that are funded by Jewish billionaires. FDD is headed by Canadian Mark Dubowitz and it is reported that the group takes direction coming from officials in the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Other major neocon incubators are the American Enterprise Institute, which currently is the home of Paul Wolfowitz, and the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at John Hopkins University. The neocon opposition has been sniping against Trump over the past four years but has been biding its time and building new alliances, waiting for what it has perceived to be an inevitable regime change in Washington.
That change has now occurred and the surge of neocons to take up senior positions in the defense, intelligence and foreign policy agencies will soon take place. In my notes on the neocon revival, I have dubbed the brave new world that the neocons hope to create in Washington as the “Kaganate of Nulandia” after two of the more prominent neocon aspirants, Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland.
Robert was one of the first neocons to get on the NeverTrump band wagon back in 2016 when he endorsed Hillary Clinton for president and spoke at a Washington fundraiser for her, complaining about the “isolationist” tendency in the Republican Party exemplified by Trump. His wife Victoria Nuland is perhaps better known. She was the driving force behind efforts to destabilize the Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych, an admittedly corrupt autocrat, nevertheless became Prime Minister after a free election. Nuland, who was the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department, provided open support to the Maidan Square demonstrators opposed to Yanukovych’s government, to include media friendly appearances passing out cookies on the square to encourage the protesters.
A Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton protégé, Nuland openly sought regime change for Ukraine by brazenly supporting government opponents in spite of the fact that Washington and Kiev had ostensibly friendly relations. Her efforts were backed by a $5 billion budget, but she is perhaps most famous for her foul language when referring to the potential European role in managing the unrest that she and the National Endowment for Democracy had helped create. The replacement of the government in Kiev was only the prelude to a sharp break and escalating conflict with Moscow over Russia’s attempts to protect its own interests in Ukraine, most particularly in Crimea.
And, to be sure, beyond regime change in places like Ukraine, President Barack Obama was no slouch when it came to starting actual shooting wars in places like Libya and Syria while also killing people, including American citizens, using drones. Biden appears poised to inherit many former Obama White House senior officials, who would consider the eager-to-please neoconservatives a comfortable fit as fellow foot soldiers in the new administration. Foreign policy hawks expected to have senior positions in the Biden Administration include Antony Blinken, Nicholas Burns, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, Samantha Power and, most important of all the hawkish Michele Flournoy, who has been cited as a possible secretary of defense. And don’t count Hillary Clinton out. Biden is reportedly getting his briefings on the Middle East from Dan Shapiro, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, who now lives in the Jewish state and is reportedly working for an Israeli government supported think tank, the Institute for National Security Studies.
Nowhere in Biden’s possible foreign policy circle does one find anyone who is resistant to the idea of worldwide interventionism in support of claimed humanitarian objectives, even if it would lead to a new cold war with major competitor powers like Russia and China. In fact, Biden himself appears to embrace an extremely bellicose view on a proper relationship with both Moscow and Beijing “claiming that he is defending democracy against its enemies.” His language is unrelenting, so much so that it is Donald Trump who could plausibly be described as the peace candidate in the recently completed election, having said at the Republican National Convention in August “Joe Biden spent his entire career outsourcing their dreams and the dreams of American workers, offshoring their jobs, opening their borders and sending their sons and daughters to fight in endless foreign wars, wars that never ended.”
Polish Janitor , 13 November 2020 at 11:34 AMfakebot , 13 November 2020 at 11:43 AM
It should be noted that the return of "neocons" does not mean the return of people like Wolfowitz, Ladeen, Feith, Kristol who are more "straussian" than "liberal/internationalist", but those like Nuland, Rice, Sam Powell, Petraeus, Flournoy, heck even Hilary Clinton as UN Ambassador who are CFR-type liberal interventionist than pure military hawks such as Bolton or Mike Flynn.
These liberal internationalists, as opposed to straussian neocons, will intervene in collaboration with EU/NATO/QUAD (i.e. multilaterally) in the name upholding human rights and toppling authoritarianism, rather than for oil, WMDs, or similar concrete objectives. In very simple terms, the new Biden administration's foreign policy will be none other than the return to "endless wars" for nation-building purposes first and last.
Mark K Logan , 13 November 2020 at 11:57 AM
The name Kagan is the Russianized version of the name Cohen. He was going to be McCain's NSA had he been elected. They pulled a stunt with the Bush admin to make Obama look weak by pushing Georgia into war with Russia in 2008. Sakaasvili, the president of Georgia, was literally eating his own tie:
A lot of the neocons are Russian Jews who grew up in households that were Bolshevik communists. They're idea of spreading democracy goes back to Trotsky who tried to spread communism through the Soviet Union. Their hatred toward Russia dates back to their ancestors feudal days under the Tsars and the pogroms they suffered and the ice pick Trotsky got to the head.
I don't think they have that much influence. They pushed a lot of nonsense in the late 70/early 80s about how the Taliban were George Washingtons and here we are today, they're worst than the Comanche. The last time I saw Richard Perle make a TV appearance, he was crying like a baby. Robert Novak, the prince of darkness, was a Ron Paul supporter. The only ones really kicking around are Bill Kristol and Jennifer Rubin, but Kristol was almost alone when he was talking about putting 50,000 boots on the ground in Syria. Rubin is a harpie who only got crazier and crazier. Kagan had his foot in the door with Hillary only because of his wife. Those two might get back in with Biden on Ukraine, but Biden would do well to keep them at a distance.Fred , 13 November 2020 at 12:36 PM
The lone bright spot is Biden's stated intention of restoring the JCPOA. And, I guess, the pending defenestration of Pompeo The Great.
I suspect the condition of the US economy and the massive deficits will assist in discouraging rash actions elsewhere. Have to wait and see.JM Gavin , 13 November 2020 at 01:00 PM
Obama's deep state lied, people died: https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2020/11/outgoing-syria-envoy-admits-hiding-us-troop-numbers-praises-trumps-mideast-record/170012/
It's great when career professionals sabotage the elected president's foreign policy.The Beaver , 13 November 2020 at 02:49 PM
I've never quite figured out the "neocon" ideology, beyond the fact that neocons seem devoted to the sort of status quo present in Washington, D.C. during the three administrations prior to Trump. Military adventurism, nation-building, and interventionist foreign policy, all based on nebulous concepts which are applied unevenly around the world.
It seems now that there is a new breed of neocons, unified by opposition to Trump's messaging, but not much else. Odd to find people like Samantha Power, John Bolton, Jim Mattis, and Paul Wolfowitz marching together in perfect step.BrianC , 13 November 2020 at 03:08 PM
A good perspective by Philip Weiss on the same subject. Eliot A Cohen must be communicating a lot with the Kagan brothers , Dennis Ross and Perle to see who can be parachuted either to the WH or Foggy Bottom.
https://mondoweiss.net/2020/10/neoconservatives-are-flocking-to-biden-and-lets-forget-about-the-iran-deal/Mark K Logan , 13 November 2020 at 03:23 PM
@JM GavinI've never quite figured out the "neocon" ideology
The revolutionary spirit (see E. Michael Jones' work). From communism to neoconservatism it's ultimately an attack on the Beatitudes and Christ's Sermon on the Mount. "The works of mercy are the opposite of the works of war" -- Servant of God Dorothy DayEEngineer , 13 November 2020 at 03:57 PM
I hold the Cold Warriors like Scoop a species distinct from those of the post-USSR era. The current version started at the end of the cold war. We felt like kings of the world after Gulf War 1 and the shoe seemed to fit.
The HW Bush administration pondered how best to use this power for good. I've read some things which report there was a debate within the administration on whether to clean up Yugoslavia or Somalia first. They got Ron to "do the honors" for the invasion of Somalia at Oxford: About 20 minutes in. https://www.c-span.org/video/?35586-1/arising-ashes-world-order
That was played as part of the pep-talk on the Juneau off the coast of Somalia. Stirring stuff.
In some small way I never stopped sipping that Kool Aid. It's hard to stand by and watch unspeakable evil go down when you have the power to stop it...or think you do. Time will tell if the Neocons are capable of perceiving the limits of force. Certainly had some hard lessons in the last few decades.Dan , 13 November 2020 at 04:35 PM
Hogs lining up for a spot at the trough? The Neocon movement seems to have morphed into nothing more than a club for bullies trying to one up each other.jerseycityjoan , 13 November 2020 at 04:52 PM
I think its generally shocking that Trump or the republicans didn't make a bigger issue of Biden's history of supporting disastrous intervention, especially his Iraq War vote. Maybe they felt like its not a winning issue, that they would lose as many votes as they gain by appearing more isolationist. But overall, Trump favoring diplomacy over cruise missiles should have been a bigger point in his favor in the election.turcopolier , 13 November 2020 at 05:40 PM
It is distressing to read that we will have people in the government who are looking for a fight. That is especially true in view of China's aggression in recent years and the responses we will have to make to that. I think we will have more than enough to do to handle China. What do the neocons want to do about China?
Here is an article about China that really startled me and made me realize how much of a threat is was becoming. The Air Force chief of staff talks about the challenges of countries trying to compete militarily with us in ways that have not occurred for awhile. Here are two quotes that really got me:
"Tomorrow's Airmen are more likely to fight in highly contested environments, and must be prepared to fight through combat attrition rates and risks to the nation that are more akin to the World War II era than the uncontested environments to which we have since become accustomed," Brown writes."
"Wargames and modeling have repeatedly shown that if the Air Force fails to adapt, there will be mission failure, Brown warns. Rules-based international order may "disintegrate and our national interests will be significantly challenged," according to the memo."
The article doesn't say we will have another arms race but that is an obvious response to China's competition with us. I thought all that was done and gone. I do not want to resume it. I don't want another period of foreign entanglements, period. We still haven't paid for the War Against Terrorism. I look into the future and all I see is us racking up bills that we have no ability to pay. And then there is the human cost of all this, I don't want to even think about that.JM Gavin , 13 November 2020 at 05:54 PM
"I thought all that was done and gone. I do not want to resume it." Childish. "Only the dead have seen the end of war."JM Gavin , 13 November 2020 at 05:59 PM
Snouts in the trough accounts for a certain amount of neocons, I'm sure. There is, however, a unifying vision beyond that which puzzles me, given the very different political orientations of various neocons. Neocons are found in academia and the media as well. Those types are less dependent on taxpayer dollars in exchange for their views (they'll get whatever tax money gets pushed their way in grants, etc regardless).
I find Polish Janitor's "straussian" and "liberal/internationalist" flavors of neocon intriguing, as I hadn't considered that before.
JMGJM Gavin , 13 November 2020 at 06:10 PM
COL Lang's quote from Plato reminds me of another (from Cormac McCarthy): "It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge. War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way."
Neocons don't really prefer war, so much as they prefer overseas "engagements" that may look like war and smell like war. All that's missing in neocon military operations is a defined end state.
JMGDeap , 13 November 2020 at 06:53 PM
Mark K. Logan,
I concur with your thoughts about standing by as evil occurs. We just have a habit of jumping into complex situations we don't understand, and making things worse. I suspect you feel the same way.
The military misadventures during my career (Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria) were marked by our own black and white thinking. The more successful adventures (Colombia, Nepal) were marked by our appreciation (to a certain extent) of the complex nature of the environments we were getting involved in...and the fact that we weren't involved in nation-building in the latter two locales. There were viable governments in place, and we weren't trying to replace them.
JMGTV , 13 November 2020 at 07:03 PM
Here is another Biden clip that should have been exploited too - way back when - when the media was a little more trusted, but no less pompous. However, Biden The Plagerizer had it coming.
Now tell me America is not the Land of Opportunity, when one can continuously shoot themselves in the foot and then rise from the dead yet again, and again: https://rumble.com/vb3c09-resurfaced-video-of-joe-biden-should-destroy-him.html?mref=23gga&mrefc=2
Though I am warming more and more to Trump Media becoming the real soul of America. Plus someone, in time. will need to pick up Rush Limbaugh's empire. America needs a counter-weight to fake news more than it needs the keys to the White House, with all its entangling webs, palace intrigues, chains and pitfalls.
Godspeed President Trump. If someone with as few talents s Biden can rise like Lazarus, just think what you can do with your little finger. No wonder the Democrats want Trump destroyed; not just defeated in a re-election. We have your back, Mr President.Deap , 13 November 2020 at 07:11 PM
Iran celebrates "Death to America" as a national day.
So let's give them a path to nuclear weapons.Fred , 13 November 2020 at 07:14 PM
Ex-CIA analyst, Mich Rep. Elissa Slotkin refuses to back Pelosi for Speaker - anyone know her? https://www.newsmax.com/politics/elissa-slotkin-nancy-pelosi-democrat-house/2020/11/13/id/996905/ She wants more mid-West, and less Calif and NY, as the new face of the Democrat Party.jerseycityjoan , 13 November 2020 at 07:50 PM
"It's hard to stand by and watch unspeakable evil go down when you have the power to stop it...."
I hear Trump is evil/Hitler/worse. I wonder if anyone who thinks that is true has the power to rig an election, or thinks they do?Serge , 13 November 2020 at 07:57 PM
You are right of course.
Are the people of America up for another arms race and a more or less cold war with China? I think the Chinese will give us a lot more trouble than the Soviets ever did.
And yet we allow their students to come here and learn all we know and their elites to bring their dirty money here and we give them green cards and citizenship and protect the money they took from the Chinese people. Not so smart on our part.
I am very concerned about all of this.
What is the next theater of war that Biden's new friends will involve us in? I noticed lots of Cold War era conflicts are heating up lately, Ethiopia Morocco Armenia being recent examples. IS in Syria/Iraq is still castrated due to the continued mass internment of their population base in the dozens of camps, but they have established thriving franchises in Africa and their other provinces continue to smolder.
Nov 10, 2020 | www.unz.com
Realist , says: November 10, 2020 at 5:15 pm GMT • 4.1 hours ago
Third, on the international front, we can expect even more hysterical Russia bashing (the Dems all hate Russia with a passion, especially since they have brainwashed themselves for four years that "Putin" had "attacked" the US elections). But there is really nothing the US can do to Russia, it is way too late for that. So I would expect even more hot air than from the Trump Administration, and probably not much more action, although that is by no means certain, since a braindead nominal President like Biden would not have Trump's intelligence to understand that a war against Russia, China or Iran would end in a disaster: Dems always start wars to try to convince the public that they are "tough" (Dukakis in his M-1 tank).
The Dems don't hate Russia it is used as a bogeyman to re direct the populace anget at the neoliberal social system .
Russia, China, Iran and all the rest of the world probably can't believe their good fortune the US is destroying itself.
Biden will not be in control of the US, or any part of it he will be in the corner pissing his pants. The Deep State will be calling the shots.
Nov 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Down South , Nov 6 2020 19:22 utc | 117What is patently clear is how bitterly polarized and divisive US domestic politics have become. This is due to the historic failing of the two-party system which has, over decades, left whole swathes of the population, in particular the majority working class, alienated from the political class. There is irreparable distrust and distortion among the American populace. To the point where it would seem impossible for any nominal winner of the election to be able to command a mandate.https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/11/06/american-election-is-not-a-reset-for-better-global-relations/
A tried and trusted mechanism for galvanizing is to "unite" the people by rallying them around the flag against some designated foreign enemy. Given the increasing unwieldy, fractious nature of American society, it is all the more imperative for the US ruling class to impose some level of coherence in order to restore the essential authority of governing power. With this paramount need to shore up a sense of authority, it can therefore be expected that American foreign policy will become more aggressive and militaristic in the next four years.
Nov 06, 2020 | original.antiwar.com
"Let's bring decency and integrity back to the White House." I can't count the number of times I have heard and read this phrase uttered by U.S. expats here in Paris, France. As one of many American expats living here, of course I share in the desire for an end to a Donald Trump presidency. But at what cost? And will a Biden presidency – which promises a return to "normalcy" – really merit the sigh of relief that so many think it will? Below I summarize some of the most troubling information I have uncovered about some of the most likely foreign policy picks for key positions in a Biden cabinet.
Susan Rice for Secretary of State
Susan Rice, who was also reportedly being considered for the role of Biden's Vice President, served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations and as National Security Advisor, both under the Obama administration.
While Benghazi has been the focus of much criticism of Rice, she has received virtually no scrutiny for her backing of the invasion of Iraq and claiming that there were WMDs there. Some of her statements:
"I think he [then Secretary of State Colin Powell] has proved that Iraq has these weapons and is hiding them, and I don't think many informed people doubted that." (NPR, Feb. 6, 2003)
"It's clear that Iraq poses a major threat. It's clear that its weapons of mass destruction need to be dealt with forcefully, and that's the path we're on. I think the question becomes whether we can keep the diplomatic balls in the air and not drop any, even as we move forward, as we must, on the military side." (NPR, Dec. 20, 2002)
"I think the United States government has been clear since the first Bush administration about the threat that Iraq and Saddam Hussein poses. The United States policy has been regime change for many, many years, going well back into the Clinton administration. So it's a question of timing and tactics. We do not necessarily need a further Council resolution before we can enforce this and previous resolutions." (NPR, Nov. 11, 2002; requests for audio of Rice's statements on NPR were declined by the publicly funded network.)
She has also been criticized extensively for her record on the African continent, which judging by the following quote at the beginning of the 1994 Rwandan genocide seems to have been to adopt a "laissez faire" attitude : "If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?"
Susan Rice's past rhetoric also includes choice generous words for African dictators . One great example is former prime minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, a man who ordered security services to open fire on protesters during its controversial 2005 election, has a track record of imprisoning journalists , used food aid as a political tool and stole land in south Ethiopia. In her speech at his funeral, Susan Rice described him as "brilliant" and a "close friend ".
Although Rice has often been portrayed as someone who is anti-Israel , her mild criticisms pale in comparison to her staunch record and discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
In a speech given at the AIPAC Synagogue Initiative Lunch back in 2012, Rice boasted about vetoing a UN resolution that would deem Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land as illegal, and further characterized the Goldstone Report as "flawed" and "insisted on Israel's right to defend itself and maintained that Israel's democratic institutions could credibly investigate any possible abuses." Her position has changed little since then, as recently as 2016, she proclaimed that "Israel's security isn't a Democratic interest or a Republican interest -- it's an enduring American interest."
Tony Blinken for National Security Adviser
Tony Blinken is also an old member of the Obama administration, having served first as VP Biden's National Security Advisor from 2009 to 2013, Deputy National Security Advisor from 2013 to 2015 and then as United States Deputy Secretary of State from 2015 to 2017.
Blinken had immense influence over Biden in his role as Deputy National Security Advisor, helping formulate Biden's approach and support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"For Biden ", he argued , "and for a number of others who voted for the resolution, it was a vote for tough diplomacy." He added "It is more likely that diplomacy will succeed, if the other side knows military action is possible."
The two of them were responsible for delivering on Obama's campaign promise to get American troops out of Iraq, a process so oversimplified and poorly handled that it led to even more chaos than the initial occupation and insurgency.
Blinken seems to be of the view that it is up to the US, and only the US, to take charge of world affairs : "On leadership, whether we like it or not, the world just doesn't organize itself. And until this [Trump] administration, the US had played a lead role in doing a lot of that organizing, helping to write the rules, to shape the norms and animate the institutions that govern relations among nations. When we're not engaged, when we don't lead, then one or two things is likely to happen. Either some other country tries to take our place – but probably not in a way that advances our interests or values – or no one does. And then you get chaos or a vacuum filled by bad things before it's filled by good things. Either way, that's bad for us."
Blinken also appears to be steering Biden's pro-Israel agenda, recently stating that Biden "would not tie military assistance to Israel to any political decisions that it makes, period, full stop," which includes an all out rejection of BDS , the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Movement against Israel's occupation of Palestine.
Michèle Flournoy for Secretary of Defense
Michele Flournoy was Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from 2009 to 2012 in the Obama administration under Secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta.
Flournoy, in writing the Quadrennial Defense Review during her time as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy under President Clinton, has paved the way for the U.S.'s endless and costly wars which prevent us from investing in life saving and necessary programs like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. It has effectively granted the US permission to no longer be bound by the UN Charter's prohibition against the threat or use of military force. It declared that, "when the interests at stake are vital, we should do whatever it takes to defend them, including, when necessary, the unilateral use of military power."
While working at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a "Top Defense and National Security Think Tank" based in Washington D.C., in June 2002, as the Bush administration was threatening aggression towards Iraq, she declared , that the United States would "need to strike preemptively before a crisis erupts to destroy an adversary's weapons stockpile" before it "could erect defenses to protect those weapons, or simply disperse them." She continued along this path even in 2009, after the Bush administration, in a speech for the CSIS : "The second key challenge I want to highlight is the proliferation – continued proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, as these also pose increasing threats to our security. We have to respond to states such as Iran, North Korea, who are seeking to develop nuclear weapons technologies, and in a globalized world there is also an increased risk that non-state actors will find ways to obtain these materials or weapons."
It is extremely important to note that Flournoy and Blinken co-founded the strategic consulting firm, WestExec Advisors, where the two use their large database of governmental, military, venture capitalists and corporate leader contacts to help companies win big Pentagon contracts. One such client being Jigsaw, a technology incubator created by Google that describes itself on its website as "a unit within Google that forecasts and confronts emerging threats, creating future-defining research and technology to keep our world safer." Their partnership on the AI initiative entitled Project Maven led to a rebellion by Google workers who opposed their technology being used by military and police operations.
Furthermore, Flournoy and Blinken, in their jobs at WestExec Advisors, co-chaired the biannual meeting of the liberal organization Foreign Policy for America. Over 50 representatives of national-security groups were in attendance. Most of the attendees supported "ask(ing) Congress to halt U.S. military involvement in the (Yemen) conflict." Flournoy did not. She said that the weapons should be sold under certain conditions and that Saudi Arabia needed these advanced patriot missiles to defend itself.
If a return to "normalcy" means having the same old politicians that are responsible for endless wars, that work for the corporate elite, that lack the courage to implement real structural change required for major issues such as healthcare and the environment, then a call for "normalcy" is nothing more than a call to return to the same deprived conditions that led to our current crisis. Such a return with amplified conditions and circumstances, could set the stage for the return of an administration with dangers that could possibly even exceed those posed by the current one in terms of launching new wars.
Mariamne Everett is an intern at the Institute for Public Accuracy currently living in France.
Nov 02, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Neocon Eliot Cohen says a Trump reelection would amount to a moral collapse. He clearly hasn't learned a thing. Eliot Cohen, professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, speaks during a discussion hosted by the Hudson Institute titled "Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump" in Washington, USA on February 21, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
One of the more troubling features of America's current political culture is its inability to cashier politicians, policymakers, military leaders, and other establishment figures who have been proven not only wrong but wildly wrong. Those who led the nation into the unmitigated disaster that was the Iraq War, for example, should have been quietly ushered off the nation's public stage and, if not prosecuted, at least stigmatized for the horrors that they inflicted upon the Iraqi people and our brave American troops. Members of Congress who supported the war should have been defeated, public policy "intellectuals" who argued for it should have been whisked off to private life, and generals who promised that victory was "around the corner" should have been retired. There must be public accountability in the res publica .
But rather than being stigmatized, these establishment figures have been feted by the establishment institutions that promoted their disastrous policies. Iraq hawk John McCain assumed the chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Committee years after it was apparent that the war was a fiasco. Paul Wolfowitz, another Iraq War architect, became president of the World Bank. Many American military leaders who urged us into Iraq, and then urged us to stay there for many long years, were given book deals, lobbying contracts, and think tank appointments. Even today, the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs is providing prime real estate to the intellectual godfather of the Iraq War, Eliot A. Cohen.
Cohen not only argued that the invasion of Iraq would be effortless, a mere mopping up after the "cakewalk" that was the first Gulf War, he also went "all in" on the presence of WMDs and the Baghdadian origins of the 9/11 attacks. He wrote boldly in the Wall Street Journal in late 2001 that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would lead to a "far, far better life for the Iraqi people." In short, he was not only wrong, he was wildly wrong.
Yet here he is again, in October of 2020, with the lead article in Foreign Affairs, arguing with the same clichés he employed to lead us into Iraq, this time to attack Trump. If reelected, Cohen says, Trump will destroy America's "moral purpose on the international stage." With the Trump presidency, he declares, "the shining city on a hill has grown dim." Trump has made it clear that he has "no intention of engaging in projects to expand liberty." And of course, the unending string of clichés would not be complete without multiple references to "isolationism" and a "world akin to the chaotic 1920s and 1930s," i.e. the Nazis will have a huge renaissance if we reelect Trump.
This is nothing short of astonishing. That these hackneyed banalities, which were used to launch a war that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents in the Middle East, could be resurrected and published by one of the leading journals on American foreign policy simply boggles the mind.
Yet if one is to critique Cohen, one finds oneself in the unenviable position of defending Trump. With this Hobson's choice, one can only keep in mind Burke's admonition that "circumstances give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing color and discriminating effect." In other words, when critiquing Trump's foreign policy, one is obliged to ask: compared to what?
me title=00:13 / 00:59
Trump's foreign policy is one of profound strategic incoherence yet instinctual political acumen. What many foreign policy realists and restrainers cannot seem to understand is that Trump's policy is full of contradictions yet very much aligned with the views of his voters. Populism is always full of contradictions.
For example, there is clear evidence that, in 2016, Trump carried key Midwestern states because people in working-class counties were sick and tired of seeing casualties return home from our endless wars in the Middle East. Politically, Trump's desire to bring the troops home makes great sense. But to the chagrin of libertarians, so does his desire to spend big money on the military. We probably can't afford it, and the military-industrial complex is the primary beneficiary of profligate military spending -- yet Trump's base loves fighter planes and aircraft carriers, so they are enthusiastic about robust American power.
Keep going down the list. Are barbs directed at "Euroweenies" who freeload in NATO popular? You bet they are. Is belligerence toward China, which hollowed out America's Midwestern industrial base, popular? Check. Is Trump's unwise and unremitting hostility towards the mullahs in Iran popular? Since those are the guys who took American hostages in 1979, yes, his base chooses Trump over the mullahs. None of these foreign policy positions are driven by strategic thought, but they are driven by an uncanny political sense.
If one believes that the U.S. needs to adopt a more restrained and coherent foreign policy, then Trump's record is certainly a mixed bag. His political reticence to avoid new wars has been the most attractive feature and his occasional bombastic and militaristic threats has been the least attractive feature.
But in politics, one can only choose the options that are available, and what one gets with Eliot Cohen's foreign policy is both politically unpopular and strategically disastrous. We know, for example, what Cohen means when he says the United States should engage in "projects to expand liberty." He means we need to act in Syria in 2020 as we did in Iraq in 2003: another regime change quagmire with boots on the ground. America would become again, in Robespierre's words, a nation of "armed missionaries."
The most ominous theme of the Cohen essay, however, reflects the sentiment now so common -- and so dangerous -- in the national security establishment: a Trump reelection would be illegitimate. This would signal, Cohen says, that our American republic is "fundamentally flawed" and that the United States had "undergone some kind of moral collapse."
Cohen's position reflects the establishment's absolute refusal to come to terms with their 2016 loss. There is no self-reflection, no sense that, with terrible errors such as the Iraq War and the Wall Street bailouts, our elites may have themselves unleashed this Trumpian populism. While the Framers of the American Constitution certainly feared populism, the one thing they may have feared more is an intemperate, arrogant, and unaccountable elite.
William S. Smith is a senior research fellow and managing director of the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at The Catholic University of America. His recent book Democracy and Imperialism is from the University of Michigan Press.
Nov 03, 2020 | original.antiwar.com
Election Day: One Thing's for Sure, an Interventionist Will Win
by Dave DeCamp Posted on November 03, 2020
The 2020 presidential election is here. Americans are turning out in record numbers to vote, with pre-election voting surpassing two-thirds of the number of all ballots cast in 2016 . The country is divided, and the two major-party candidates are presented as starkly different options. But one thing Donald Trump and Joe Biden have in common is their admiration for the US empire, and both candidates have plans to keep the war machine chugging along.
Comparing the foreign policy of a second Trump term to a new Biden administration is tough. There are certain areas where Trump is marginally better, and there are areas where a Biden administration could be better.
Afghanistan is one place where Trump seems superior to Biden. Although Trump dropped a record number of bombs on Afghanistan in 2018 and 2019 , the US-Taliban peace deal signed in February paved the way for a complete US withdrawal by Spring 2021. The timing of the withdrawal means Trump could reverse the plan after being elected for a second term, but he seems committed to ending this one war. Biden, on the other hand, said in an interview with Stars and Stripes in September that he cannot promise a full withdrawal from Afghanistan and that he favors keeping a small troop presence in the country.
Biden said the same for Syria and Iraq in the Stripes interview, two other countries Trump has said he would like to get out of. Regarding Syria, Trump failed miserably to follow through on a withdrawal and decided to stay in the country to "secure" the oil . Besides the criminality of occupying a sovereign country to steal its resources, the small US occupation force risks confrontation with Russia. With Syrian President Bashar al-Assad being a favorite enemy of the Democratic establishment, it's possible the number of US troops in the Syria could increase under a Biden administration.
In Iraq, the US recently announced its plan to draw down troops from 5,200 to 3,000 . Trump says he wants a full withdrawal from the country , where US troops are no longer welcome since the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Iraq's parliament voted unanimously to expel US troops after Trump's enormous provocation towards Iran that brought the region to the brink of a major new war. Trump's Iran policy clashes with his desire to withdraw from Iraq. It's likely the Iran hawks driving the "maximum pressure" campaign would not want to give up bases in Iraq, which could serve as a launchpad for attacks against Iran.
Iran is one area where Biden could be much better than Trump. The "maximum pressure" campaign against the Islamic Republic has been disastrous and shows no sign of waning. Biden has said he would work with Iran to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal , a foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration.
Recent comments from Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) suggest Biden will face pressure from both Republicans and Democrats to try to make a tougher deal with Iran. Menendez said Biden should seek an agreement that further restricts Iran's nuclear and military capabilities, something Tehran would never agree to before sanctions relief. Biden will also face pressure from Israel to be tough on Iran.
Some believe Biden is the most pro-Israel presidential nominee ever from either side of the aisle. President Trump has arguably been the most pro-Israel president of all time, recognizing Jerusalem as the country's capital, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, changing US policy to no longer consider Jewish settlements in the West Bank illegal, and the so-called "Vision for Peace" that would essentially formalize apartheid rule over Palestinians.
Biden says he opposes Israeli annexation of the West Bank, but there's no reason to believe he would reverse any of Trump's policies, like moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, something Biden said he would not change . As far annexation, the Israelis have decided to hold off on annexing portions of the West Bank allocated to them in Trump's plan and are going back to the slower, more politically palatable form of annexation, through settlements , something Biden would probably not interfere with.
Perhaps the worst stain on the Trump administration is the war in Yemen. President Trump chose to continue this genocidal war in April 2019, when he vetoed a war powers resolution passed by Congress that called for an end to US military involvement in Yemen. The president did it again in July 2019, when he vetoed three separate resolutions that would have banned US arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Experts agree , if the US cuts off support for the Saudis in Yemen, the war would quickly come to an end.
Joe Biden has repeatedly said he would end US support for the war in Yemen. "Under a Biden-Harris administration, we will reassess our relationship with the Kingdom, end US support for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen, and make sure America does not check its values at the door to sell arms or buy oil," the former vice president said in a statement on the anniversary of Jamal Khashosggi's death.
President Trump also significantly escalated the war against al-Qaeda in Yemen and carried out more ground and air operations in the country than the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama combined. Trump also broke records in Somalia. The first seven months of 2020 saw more US airstrikes on the African country than under Bush and Obama combined. With virtually no opposition in Washington to the drone war against al-Shabab in Somalia, the Biden administration would likely continue the campaign.
There's no telling which candidate would be worse on Russia and China. Despite every liberal news outlet saying otherwise, President Trump has been extremely hawkish on Russia . One area where Biden outshines Trump with respect to Moscow is arms control treaties. The Trump administration has withdrawn from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty , which banned medium-range missiles, and the Open Skies Treaty , which allowed unarmed aerial surveillance between its signatories.
The New START is the last nuclear arms control treaty between the US and Russia and will expire in February 2021. Russia has repeatedly offered to extend the agreement for five years with no preconditions, but the Trump administration is demanding more and seems to be intentionally sabotaging the vital treaty . If the New START expires, there will be no constraint on the US and Russia's nuclear arsenal for the first time in decades, setting up a new nuclear arms race, something the Trump administration seems prepared for . Biden's policy plan says he will pursue the extension of New START and use it as a foundation for new arms control treaties. Despite being better on arms control, Biden would still be a Russia hawk. In an interview with 60 Minutes in October , Biden identified Russia as the greatest national security threat to the US and said China is Washington's greatest competitor.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration's hawkish China policies have been thrown into hyper-drive. The US has increased its military presence in the Indo-Pacific, frequently sending warships into the South China Sea and flying spy planes near China's coast . Although they got bogged down in the Middle East, the Obama administration started the "pivot to Asia," and a Biden administration would likely continue boosting the US military presence in the region.
One of the Trump administration's most embarrassing failures is its Venezuela policy, which Trump appointed washed up neocon Elliot Abrams to run. Since January 2019, the US has recognized Juan Guaido as the president of Venezuela, despite Nicolas Maduro still holding power in Caracas. Guaido's coup attempts were utter failures , and the crippling economic sanctions on the country have done nothing but made the civilian population suffer . Democrats criticize Trump for his Venezuela policy, not for the harm it does to the people, but because it failed to depose Maduro .
Another disgraceful thing about the Trump administration is the attempt to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for exposing US war crimes. On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump praised WikiLeaks for exposing corruption in the DNC. After Assange was arrested in the UK, Trump said he knew "nothing" about WikiLeaks .
The British judge presiding over Assange's extradition case is expected to make a decision in January 2021. This author has little faith that Joe Biden would drop the charges against Assange since he has previously likened the WikiLeaks founder to a "hi-tech terrorist." It's clear Biden does not consider Assange to be a journalist.
Unfortunately, the issues listed above are far down on the list of priorities for Americans today. Throughout the pandemic, the civil unrest, and the antics surrounding the election, the drones have continued to buzz, the bombs continued to fall, and the sanctions continued to strangle economies. While these crimes committed by the empire are just background noise to the subjects living within the 50 states, they are absolutely everything to the people affected.
It's tough to blame Americans for their lack of awareness of their country's murderous foreign policy. The corporate press ignores the atrocities going on overseas and amplifies the skirmishes on the streets of the US between people with opposing political views. It's easy to keep people unaware of the mass-murder funded by their tax dollars on the other side of the world while they are fighting with each other.
The lack of concern over US foreign policy was put on stark display by the two presidential debates. The two men auditioning to control the military of the largest empire in the history of the world didn't even have to tell the voters what they plan to do with it. The best the candidates could muster up was some tough talk on Russia and China, and Biden criticized one of the few good things Trump did in his term – meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.
For these reasons, it is more important than ever for independent media outlets like Antiwar.com to continue to shine a light on the crimes of the empire, even when so few care. We can guarantee that no matter who wins on Tuesday, we will cover their foreign policy critically. And if by some freak chance Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgensen wins, we will not rest until she fulfills her plan to withdraw US troops from every foreign country.
While our staff might celebrate Trump's declarations to bring the troops home and is hopeful Biden would end the war in Yemen, we are under no illusions. The major-party options this year are this: An incumbent president who campaigned on ending "endless war" but has only escalated them or a lifelong politician who led the charge in the Senate to give George W Bush his invasion of Iraq and now lies about it . Antiwar.com needs your help to cover the interventionist foreign policy of whichever candidate wins on Tuesday. Consider making a donation today , and spread the word. Tell your friends and family about us and help make Washington's imperialist wars part of the national conversation.
Dave DeCamp is the assistant news editor of Antiwar.com and is based in Richmond, VA. Follow him on Twitter @decampdave .Facebook Twitter WhatsApp Reddit LinkedIn Tumblr Email Print
Oct 24, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Norm Singleton via The Mises Institute,
Overspending on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program does not make America any safer. The president's military spending increase is based on the false premise that more spending equals more security. More spending may even make America less safe by spending us into bankruptcy.
The F-35 program is expected to cost well over $1 trillion when it is fully operational and deployed. That massive investment will serve to enrich government contractors while giving interventionist politicians an offensive weapon of war. This program was created as a "too big to fail" scheme where once the government starts the process of making these fighter jets, they will have spent so much money that they can't back away. The F-35 program is a bad deal for the taxpayer while promoting a policy that will make these same taxpayers less safe.
It appears that the massive amount put into the program has purchased a lemon of a jet. The program has been troubled from day one and is currently experiencing some padding of the contract. On September 11, 2020, Bloomberg reported, "the Pentagon's five-year budget plan for the F-35 falls short by as much as $10 billion, the military's independent cost analysis unit has concluded, a new indication that the complex fighter jet may be too costly to operate and maintain." The plan for the F-35 for the next five years was an estimated "$78 billion for research and development, jet procurement, operations and maintenance and military construction dedicated to the F-35 built by Lockheed Martin Corp." This $10 billion mistake is going to fall on the shoulders of an already overtaxed taxpayer.
One big problem with this massive spending on one defense program is that it gives interventionist politicians the tools of war that they desire. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program contains a number of versions of a stealth fighter jet that can engage other aircraft and conduct military strikes. The goal is to use these aircraft as the primary fighter jets for the air force, navy, and marines. These can be used as offensive weapons in the hands of politicians who desire to engage in the endless war policies that have left the United States vulnerable to attack. This is a very expensive program that will not provide $1 trillion in security for American citizens.
Typical with government defense contracting, there have been numerous problems that have shifted significant increased cost onto the Pentagon. Defense News reported recently that the contractor was trying to stick the taxpayer with the cost of spare parts for the F-35. According to Bloomberg , the taxpayer received more bad news: "the F-35's total 'life cycle' cost is estimated at $1.727 trillion in current dollars." That is an insane amount of taxpayer cash and "$1.266 trillion is for operations and support of the advanced plane that's a flying supercomputer." When pressed by Bloomberg , a Pentagon spokesman bragged that a Pentagon "cost analysis office projects that the average procurement cost for an F-35, including its engines, is dropping from a planned $109 million to $101.3 million in 2012 dollars." Only in Washington would a bureaucrat brag about ripping off American citizens by just under $8 million less as a deal for the taxpayer.
While some support this flawed program no matter how much it costs and actually advocate spending more taxpayer cash on it, Americans want that $1.7 trillion spent at home and not on a transnational defense spending program to defend other nations.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is not worthy of a massive investment by the taxpayer when it does not make America safer while also being a poorly negotiated government contract that has stuck the taxpayer with a massive bill.
Oct 25, 2020 | valdaiclub.com
Genuine democracy and civil society cannot be "imported." I have said so many times. They cannot be a product of the activities of foreign "well-wishers," even if they "want the best for us." In theory, this is probably possible. But, frankly, I have not yet seen such a thing and do not believe much in it. We see how such imported democracy models function. They are nothing more than a shell or a front with nothing behind them, even a semblance of sovereignty. People in the countries where such schemes have been implemented were never asked for their opinion, and their respective leaders are mere vassals. As is known, the overlord decides everything for the vassal. To reiterate, only the citizens of a particular country can determine their public interest.
We, in Russia, went through a fairly long period where foreign funds were very much the main source for creating and financing non-governmental organisations. Of course, not all of them pursued self-serving or bad goals, or wanted to destabilise the situation in our country, interfere in our domestic affairs, or influence Russia's domestic and, sometimes, foreign policy in their own interests. Of course not.
There were sincere enthusiasts among independent civic organisations (they do exist), to whom we are undoubtedly grateful. But even so, they mostly remained strangers and ultimately reflected the views and interests of their foreign trustees rather than the Russian citizens. In a word, they were a tool with all the ensuing consequences.
A strong, free and independent civil society is nationally oriented and sovereign by definition. It grows from the depth of people's lives and can take different forms and directions. But it is a cultural phenomenon, a tradition of a particular country, not the product of some abstract "transnational mind" with other people's interests behind it.
Oct 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
gm , Oct 22 2020 19:00 utc | 9
@Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22 2020 18:19 utc | 6
Re: "...Thus, six years ago, in 2014, we spoke about this issue when we discussed the theme The World Order: New Rules or a Game Without Rules. So, what is happening now? Regrettably, the game without rules is becoming increasingly horrifying and sometimes seems to be a fait accompli."
Putin said this virtually in the same breath directly after his previous paragraph you excerpted where he speaks of the serious ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
What that says to me is that he is hinting with his trademark subtlety that he thinks the CV pandemic may not be a naturally arising event. In other words, a plandemic.
karlof1 , Oct 22 2020 19:12 utc | 12
Yes, that's the ongoing rhetorical battle between the Collectivist nations who uphold the sanctity of International Law and the Neoliberal Nations controlled by Financial Parasites that can't survive under a functional International Law System. That distinction is constantly becoming clearer particularly to those residing within the Neoliberal nations as they watch their lives being destroyed. IMO, we're on the cusp of entering the most critical decade of this century which will determine humanity's condition when 2101 is reached.
Oct 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Mister Delicious , 7 hours agoebear , 6 hours ago
- The euphemisms
- Hostility to Putin's Russia is largely a Jewish phenomenon
- The media
- A de facto violation of free speech
- Shutting down an honest examination of Russian history
- The best alt-media journalists are neutered
- Much of what is written about Russian relations and history becomes meaningless and deceptive
- A lesson in relevance from the Alt-Right
- Malice towards none
- The problem extends to all areas of public life
- We need serious scholarship and analysis
- Low expectations from the existing alt-media
- A call for articles and support
- https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/hating-russia-is-a-full-time-job/John Hansen , 7 hours ago
Has any nation on Earth suffered more destruction and loss of life in the 20th century? And yet, there they still are.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btff8DmOg1ktheallseeinggod , 7 hours ago
I'd have more hope for Russia if the Russian ruling class weren't so obsessed with the West and didn't send their children to Western (woke) schools, etc.Normal , 5 hours ago
They're not doing that well, but they're not repeating many of the west's mistakes.Helg Saracen , 6 hours ago
Now the West has rules only for poor people.Nayel , 5 hours ago
Advice to Americans (for the sake of experiment): prohibit lobbying in US and the right of citizens with dual citizenship to hold public office in US. I assure - you will be surprised how quickly Russians go from non-kosher to kosher for Americans and how American politicians, the media will convince Americans of this at every intersection. :) Ha ha haArising 2.0 , 1 hour ago
If the [Vichy] Left in America weren't so determined to project their own Bolshevik leanings on to a possible great ally that their ideology now fears, Russia would be just that: a great ally that could help America shake the Bolsheviks that have infiltrated the American government and plan the same program their Soviet forefathers once held over Russia...ThePinkHole , 39 minutes ago
Western zionist controlled propaganda reminds me of Mohamed Ali- he used to talk up the ******** so much before a fight that when the time came to fight the opponent was usually traumatised or confused. Until Ali met with Joe Frazier (Russia) who didn't fall for all the pre-fight BS.foxenburg , 3 hours ago
Time for a pop quiz! Name the two countries below:
Country A - competency, attention to first principles, planning based on reality, consistency of purpose, and unity of execution.
Country B - incompetency, interfering in everything everywhere, planning based on hubris and sloppy assumptions, confusion, and disunity.
(Source: Adapted from Patrick Armstrong)Money-Liberty , 6 hours ago
This one is always good for a laugh....the Daily Telegraph's Con Coughlin explaining in 2015 how Putin will fail in Syria...
We have all this talk of the 'Ruskies' when in fact it is not the ordinary Russian people but rather a geopolitical power struggle. The ordinary US citizen or European just wants to maintain their liberty and be able to profit from their endeavours. The rich and powerful globalists who hide behind their military are the ones that play these games. I am no friend of Putin but equally I am no friend of our own political establishment that have been captured by Wall Street. I care about Main Street and as the US dollar loses its privilege there will be real pain to share amongst our economies. The last thing we need is for the elites of the Western alliance to profit with cold/hot wars on the backs of ourselves.
Having been behind the iron curtain as a young Merchant Navy Officer I found ordinary citizens fine and even organized football matches with the local communist parties. People have the same desires and aspirations and whether rich or poor we should respect each others cultures and territories. http://www.money-liberty.com/gallery/Predictions-2021.pdf
Oct 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
rotorhead1871 , 5 hours agoSnaffew , 7 hours ago
..they have always been the reason for the industrial-military complex....but now, who needs them.....we got china to point the finger at. so having 2 useful idiot countries...will keep the weapons boys going for quite some time....
...he boogeyman has never been Russia, it resides right here in the US under the guise of government, military, mainstream media, propaganda and sanctions, sanctions, sanctions against anyone that rightfully takes our slice of entitled pie because they built a far better and far cheaper mousetrap.
Oh the horrors of claiming to be a democracy and a capitalist nation when you just can't seem to play by the rules. **** America---we have let the elites take us down the road to ruins. We are as much at fault as they are for believing their nonsensical bs the whole while all the evidence was smoking right in front of our face. Who's more stupid...them or us? I'd tell everyone to take a good long look in the mirror if you are looking for an answer to that question---
Oct 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgkiwiklown , Oct 22 2020 9:05 utc | 7
The Russians ( Putin / Lavrov) say ever so politely that the US is not agreement-capable.
I add that the US ( politicians, Wall Streeters, MSM, think tanks ) are:
- not truth-capable;
- not ethics-capable;
- not shame-capable;
- not honour-capable.
What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul? He turns into a ghoul without a soul, says I, a devil without human-ness! How dare they call us deplorables when they are the despicables?
Oct 21, 2020 | www.huffpost.com
On March 20, 2018, President Donald Trump sat beside Saudi crown prince Muhammed bin Salman at the White House and lifted a giant map that said Saudi weapons purchases would support jobs in "key" states -- including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and Ohio, all of which were crucial to Trump's 2016 election victory .
"Saudi Arabia has been a very great friend and a big purchaser of equipment but if you look, in terms of dollars, $3 billion, $533 million, $525 million -- that's peanuts for you. You should have increased it," Trump said to the prince, who was (and still is) overseeing a military campaign in Yemen that has deployed U.S. weaponry to commit scores of alleged war crimes.
Trump has used his job as commander-in-chief to be America's arms-dealer-in-chief in a way no other president has since Dwight Eisenhower, as he prepared to leave the presidency, warned in early 1961 of the military-industrial complex's political influence. Trump's posture makes sense personally ― this is a man who regularly fantasizes about violence, usually toward foreigners ― and he and his advisers see it as politically useful, too. The president has repeatedly appeared at weapons production facilities in swing states, promoted the head of Lockheed Martin using White House resources, appointed defense industry employees to top government jobs in an unprecedented way and expanded the Pentagon's budget to near-historic highs ― a guarantee of future income for companies like Lockheed and Boeing.
Trump is "on steroids in terms of promoting arms sales for his own political benefit," said William Hartung, a scholar at the Center for International Policy who has tracked the defense industry for decades. "It's a targeted strategy to get benefits from workers in key states."
In courting the billion-dollar industry, Trump has trampled on moral considerations about how buyers like the Saudis misuse American weapons, ethical concerns about conflicts of interest and even part of his own political message, the deceptive claim that he is a peace candidate. He justifies his policy by citing job growth, but data from Hartung , a prominent analyst, shows he exaggerates the impact. And Trump has made clear that a major motivation for his defense strategy is the possible electoral benefit it could have.
Next month's election will show if the bargain was worth it. As of now, it looks like Trump's bet didn't pay off ― for him, at least. Campaign contribution records, analysts in swing states and polls suggest arms dealers have given the president no significant political boost. The defense contractors, meanwhile, are expected to continue getting richer, as they have in a dramatic way under Trump.
Playing Corporate Favorites
Trump has thrice chosen the person who decides how the Defense Department spends its gigantic budget. Each time, he has tapped someone from a business that wants those Pentagon dollars. Mark Esper, the current defense secretary, worked for Raytheon; his predecessor, Pat Shanahan, for Boeing; and Trump's first appointee, Jim Mattis, for General Dynamics, which reappointed him to its board soon after he left the administration.
Of the senior officials serving under Esper, almost half have connections to military contractors, per the Project on Government Oversight. The administration is now rapidly trying to fill more Pentagon jobs under the guidance of a former Trump campaign worker, Foreign Policy magazine recently revealed ― prioritizing political reasons and loyalty to Trump in choosing people who could help craft policy even under a Joe Biden presidency.
Such personnel choices are hugely important for defense companies' profit margins and risk creating corruption or the impression of it. Watchdog groups argue Trump's handling of the hiring process is more evidence that lawmakers and future presidents must institute rules to limit the reach of military contractors and other special interests.
"Given the hundreds of conflicts of interest flouting the rule of law in the Trump administration , certainly these issues have gotten that much more attention and are that much more salient now than they were four years ago," said Aaron Scherb, the director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, a nonpartisan good-government group.
The theoretical dangers of Trump's approach became a reality last year, when a former employee for the weapons producer Raytheon used his job at the State Department to advocate for a rare emergency declaration allowing the Saudis and their partner the United Arab Emirates to buy $8 billion in arms ― including $2 billion in Raytheon products ― despite congressional objections. As other department employees warned that Saudi Arabia was defying U.S. pressure to behave less brutally in Yemen, former lobbyist Charles Faulkner led a unit that urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to give the kingdom more weapons. Pompeo pushed out Faulkner soon afterward, and earlier this year, the State Department's inspector general criticized the process behind the emergency declaration for the arms.
Even Trump administration officials not clearly connected to the defense industry have shown an interest in moves that benefit it. In 2017, White House economic advisor Peter Navarro pressured Republican lawmakers to permit exports to Saudi Arabia and Jared Kushner, the president's counselor and son-in-law, personally spoke with Lockheed Martin's chief to iron out a sale to the kingdom, The New York Times found.Subscribe to the Politics email. From Washington to the campaign trail, get the latest politics news.
When Congress gave the Pentagon $1 billion to develop medical supplies as part of this year's coronavirus relief package, most of the money went to defense contractors for projects like jet engine parts instead, a Washington Post investigation showed .
"It's a very close relationship and there's no kind of sense that they're supposed to be regulating these people," Hartung said. "It's more like they're allies, standing shoulder to shoulder."
In June 2019, Lockheed Martin announced that it would close a facility that manufactures helicopters in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and employs more than 450 people. Days later, Trump tweeted that he had asked the company's then-chief executive, Marillyn Hewson, to keep the plant open. And by July 10, Lockheed said it would do so ― attributing the decision to Trump.
The president has frequently claimed credit for jobs in the defense industry, highlighting the impact on manufacturing in swing states rather than employees like Washington lobbyists, whose numbers have also grown as he has expanded the Pentagon's budget. Lockheed has helped him in his messaging: In one instance in Wisconsin, Hewson announced she was adding at least 45 new positions at a plant directly after Trump spoke there, saying his tax cuts for corporations made that possible.
Trump is pursuing a strategy that the arms industry uses to insulate itself from political criticism. "They've reached their tentacles into every state and many congressional districts," Scherb of Common Cause said. That makes it hard for elected officials to question their operations or Pentagon spending generally without looking like they are harming their local economy.
Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat who represents Coatesville, welcomed Lockheed's change of course, though she warned, "This decision is a temporary reprieve. I am concerned that Lockheed Martin and [its subsidiary] Sikorsky are playing politics with the livelihoods of people in my community."
The political benefit for Trump, though, remains in question, given that as president he has a broad set of responsibilities and is judged in different ways.
"Do I think it's important to keep jobs? Absolutely," said Marcel Groen, a former Pennsylvania Democratic party chair. "And I think we need to thank the congresswoman and thank the president for it. But it doesn't change my views and I don't think it changes most people's in terms of the state of the nation."
With polls showing that Trump's disastrous response to the health pandemic dominates voters' thoughts and Biden sustaining a lead in surveys of most swing states , his argument on defense industry jobs seems like a minor factor in this election.
Hartung of the Center for International Policy drew a parallel to President George H.W. Bush, who during his 1992 reelection campaign promoted plans for Taiwan and Saudi Arabia to purchase fighter jets produced in Missouri and Texas. Bush announced the decisions at events at the General Dynamics facility in Fort Worth, Texas, and the McDonnell Douglas plant in St. Louis that made the planes. That November, as Bill Clinton defeated him, he lost Missouri by the highest margin of any Republican in almost 30 years and won Texas by a slimmer margin than had become the norm for a GOP presidential candidate.
Checking The Receipts
The defense industry can't control whether voters buy Trump's arguments about his relationship with it. But it could, if it wanted to, try to help him politically in a more direct way: by donating to his reelection campaign and allied efforts.
Yet arms manufacturers aren't reciprocating Trump's affection. A HuffPost review of Federal Election Commission records showed that top figures and groups at major industry organizations like the National Defense Industrial Association and the Aerospace Industries Association and at Lockheed, Trump's favorite defense firm, are donating this cycle much as they normally do: giving to both sides of the political aisle, with a slight preference to the party currently wielding the most power, which for now is Republicans. (The few notable exceptions include the chairman of the NDIA's board, Arnold Punaro, who has given more than $58,000 to Trump and others in the GOP.)
Data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that's the case for contributions from the next three biggest groups of defense industry donors after Lockheed's employees.
One smaller defense company, AshBritt Environmental, did donate $500,000 to a political action committee supporting Trump ― prompting a complaint from the Campaign Legal Center, which noted that businesses that take federal dollars are not allowed to make campaign contributions. Its founder told ProPublica he meant to make a personal donation.
For weapons producers, backing both parties makes sense. The military budget will have increased 29% under Trump by the end of the current fiscal year, per the White House Office of Management and Budget. Biden has said he doesn't see cuts as "inevitable" if he is elected, and his circle of advisers includes many from the national security world who have worked closely with ― and in many cases worked for ― the defense industry.
And arms manufacturers are "busy pursuing their own interests" in other ways, like trying to get a piece of additional government stimulus legislation, Hartung said ― an effort that's underway as the Pentagon's inspector general investigates how defense contractors got so much of the first coronavirus relief package.
Meanwhile, defense contractors continue to have an outsize effect on the way policies are designed in Washington through less political means. A recent report from the Center for International Policy found that such companies have given at least $1 billion to the nation's most influential think tanks since 2014 ― potentially spending taxpayer money to influence public opinion. They have also found less obvious ways to maintain support from powerful people, like running the databases that many congressional offices use to connect with constituents, Scherb of Common Cause said.
"This goes into a much bigger systemic issue about big money in politics and the role of corporations versus the role of Americans," Scherb said.
Given its reach, the defense industry has little reason to appear overtly partisan. Instead, it's projecting confidence despite the generally dreary state of the global economy: Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun has said he expects similar approaches from either winner of the election, arguing even greater Democratic control and the rise of less conventional lawmakers isn't a huge concern.
In short, whoever is in the White House, arms dealers tend to do just fine.
Oct 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Richard Steven Hack , Oct 17 2020 23:20 utc | 76New report shows more than $1B from war industry and govt. going to top 50 think tanksEsper's speech demonstrates a confluence of policies, ideas, and funds that permeate through the system, and are by no means unique to a single service, think tank, or contractor.
First, Esper consistently situated his future expansion plans in a need to adapt to "an era of great power competition." CNAS is one of the think tanks leading the charge in highlighting the threat from Beijing.
They also received at least $8,946,000 from 2014-2019 from the U.S. government and defense contractors, including over $7 million from defense contractors like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Huntington Ingalls, General Dynamics, and Boeing who would stand to make billions if the 500-ship fleet were enacted.
It's all about the money. Foreign and domestic policy is always all about the money, either directly or indirectly. Of course, the ultimate goal is power - or more precisely, the ultimate goal is relief of the fear of death, which drives every single human's every action, and only power can do that, and in this world only money can give you power (or so the chimpanzees believe.)
Oct 03, 2020 | www.rt.com
foxenburg 9 September, 2020 9 Sep, 2020 01:48 AMAn interviewer should test this man's integrity with a simple question, such as.. "When you retire, will promise to live off your generous pension....like Eisenhower in his rocking chair....and not go to work for an arms manufacturer or think tank or any other paid position?"Rocky_Fjord 9 September, 2020 9 Sep, 2020 05:18 AMJohn boy McCain just went into apoplexy in hell.
Oct 01, 2020 | www.thenation.com
I first reached out to Stephen Cohen because I was losing my mind.
In the spring of 2014, a war broke out in my homeland of Ukraine. It was a horrific war in a bitterly divided nation, which turned eastern Ukraine into a bombed-out wasteland. But that's not how it was portrayed in America. Because millions of eastern Ukrainians were against the US-backed government, their opinions were inconvenient for the West. Washington needed a clean story about Ukraine fighting the Kremlin; as a result, US media avoided reporting about the "wrong" half of the country. Twenty-plus million people were written out of the narrative, as if they never existed.
I tried to explain to American friends what was happening, but quickly realized that ultimately, even friends believe what they read in the newspapers, and the newspapers were pushing the Washington line. Except for Steve Cohen. Steve was the only major figure in America who insisted on remembering the Russian-speaking Ukrainians who, like my family members, distrusted and hated the new Kiev government. He spoke of neo-Nazi paramilitiaries who fought for the US-backed government committing war crimes against civilians in eastern Ukraine. He spoke the truth, regardless of how unwieldy it was.
And so I e-mailed him, asking for guidance as I began my own writing career. Of course, there were many who clamored for Steve's time, but I had an advantage over others. Steve and I were both night owls, real night owls, the kind who have afternoon tea at three am. It was then, when the east coast was sleeping, that he became my mentor and friend.
There's a lot to say about Steve. He was extraordinarily kind, never forgetting that in geopolitics, the ones who have the most to lose aren't strategists but everyday individuals impacted by policy. He was a consummate teacher, insisting on giving mentees the skills to navigate the world, a real proponent of the Teach a man to fish philosophy. He had facets and stories and memories; he lived life with empathy and gusto.
But one thing Steve taught me is to stick to my strengths, and truth be told, there are others who can describe his life better than I. I'll stick to what I learned during our conversations at three in the morning, which is that, above all else, Stephen F. Cohen was a man of faith.
Steve's insistence on speaking the truth about Ukraine and US-Russia relations drew all sorts of attention. America was hurtling toward a new cold war with Russia, and Steve well, from the perspective of Washington's foreign policy establishment, Steve was fucking up the narrative. Steve talked about inconvenient things, things like US-backed war criminals and America's own meddling in Russian affairs; in the process, he himself had become inconvenient.
After all, this wasn't some random blogger. This was one of America's foremost Russia experts, a tenured professor at Princeton and New York University, someone who didn't just write about history but had dinner with it, had briefed US presidents, and was friends with legends like Mikhail Gorbachev. Steve had clout earned from decades of brilliant work; by 2014, he was using that clout to throw a wrench in the think tank world.
The DC apparatchiks couldn't discredit Steve's credentials or track record -- he'd predicted events in Ukraine and elsewhere years before they occurred. They couldn't intimidate him -- he'd faced far worse threats, like the KGB. Instead, they set out to turn him into an America-hating, Putin-loving pariah.
This went beyond an ad hominem campaign. It was something far colder, more sustained, something that ironically the Soviets did to dissidents: a relentless crusade to render the target untouchable, a leper without a platform. The barrage of articles and diatribes hurled at Steve in the national press painted him as not just a dissenter but a supporter of dictators and murderers. It was a vicious, prolonged assault carried out by think tank toadies, the kind of people who win races by kneecapping the competition.
I'd often talk with Steve after a new hatchet job or smear on national television. Of course, the attacks were hurtful -- the only way to not be affected was to not care, and Steve cared. But I also noticed he was remarkably free of bitterness. Every time I thought he'd snap, he'd return the next day to write, discuss, keep fighting.
It took me a couple of years to understand that what kept Steve going was faith in his beloved institutions. He believed in academia, in scholarship, in discourse, debate, and civility. He believed in the capacity of everyday people to explore and engage with their world, he believed in Russia, and he always believed in America. He believed in these things far more than he believed in the power of today's warmongers.
Steve liked movies and would often end a lecture with a movie reference to drive home the thesis. When I think of him, I think of the ending of The Shawshank Redemption , the line about Andy Dufresne crawling through filth and coming out clean on the other side. Steve didn't live in a movie; I can't claim he emerged unscathed. What he did was come through without bitterness or cynicism. He refused to turn away from the ugliness, but he didn't allow it to blind him to beauty. He walked with grace. And he lost neither his convictions nor his faith.
Lev Golinkin Lev Golinkin is the author of A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka, Amazon's Debut of the Month, a Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers program selection, and winner of the Premio Salerno Libro d'Europa. Golinkin, a graduate of Boston College, came to the US as a child refugee from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov (now called Kharkiv) in 1990. His writing on the Ukraine crisis, Russia, the far right, and immigrant and refugee identity has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, The Boston Globe, Politico Europe, and Time (online), among other venues; he has been interviewed by MSNBC, NPR, ABC Radio, WSJ Live and HuffPost Live.
Pierre Guerlain says: October 1, 2020 at 12:42 pmValera Bochkarev says to Lance Haley: October 1, 2020 at 11:09 am
In 1967 Noam Chomsky wrote an article in the NY Review entitled "the Responsibility of Intellectuals" the first sentence ran like this: "IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies.". Stephen Cohen did precisely that when all the parrots and pundits were lined up against him. He was a Mensch. History will bear him the historian out.Michael Batinski says: September 30, 2020 at 5:48 pm
Hmm, who's the apologist here ?
If the Ukraine is SO sovereign how is it I did not see any outrage in your diatribe against 'Toria, Pyatt and the rest orchestrating the Maidan putsch or the $5Billion US spent on softening up the ukraine for the regime change ?
I believe in numbers, as in the number of military bases any given country has surrounding the ones it wants to subvert, in the amount of money allocated to vilify and eventually bring down the "unwanted" regimes and the quantity and 'quality' of sanctions imposed against those regimes; and the sum of all of the above perpetrated against humanity in the past 75 or so years.
Your vapid drivel, Mr Haley, evaporates almost without a trace once seen with those parameters in mind.
Numbers don't lie.Tim Ashby says: September 30, 2020 at 2:37 pm
Let me add from the perspective of an American historian who taught for forty years in a midwestern university. From the start I depended on William Appleman Williams to keep perspective and to counter prevailing interpretive trends.
Always I was skeptical of prevailing scholarly interpretive trends on the Soviet experience that were echoed by colleagues claiming expertise on the subject. Cohen provided the foundation for my skepticism and invigorated my lectures on American foreign policy.
I will always be thankful.
The smothering agitprop in America trumps even Goebbels and co. with its beautifully dressed overton window and first-amendment-free-press bullshit.
Once Cohen plied his knowledge against the hysterical narrative that culminated in 4 years of frothing neo-McCarthyism (by the freakin' "left," no less), we were no longer gonna see him on the PBS newshour any more likely than we would and will see chris hedges, chomsky, or margaret kimberly.
Let's face it, we were lucky to win the editorial fight to even give him space in the Nation.
His book War With Russia? was an oasis of counter-narrative when I picked it up. Losing voices like his is immeasurable as we hurtle toward total war with Russia and/or China, both of whom are finally, naturally, and perfectly predictably beginning to draw a line in the sand.
Oct 01, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Getting Rid Of The Myth Of 'Isolationism'
'Isolationism' is not real, and never has been. It is an insult thrown at realists by the architects of senseless wars. (By Mike Focus/Shutterstock)
SEPTEMBER 30, 2020|
12:01 AMDANIEL LARISON
No one claims to be an isolationist, but foreign policy analysts keep imagining and fearing a "resurgence" of isolationism around every corner. This fear was on display in a recent Atlantic article by Charles Kupchan, who tries to rehabilitate the label in order to oppose the substance of a policy of nonintervention and non-entanglement. Kupchan allows that a policy of avoiding entangling alliances and staying out of European wars was important for the growth and prosperity of the United States, but then rehearses the same old and misleading story about the terrible "isolationist" interwar years that we have heard countless times before. This misrepresents the history of that period and compromises our ability to rethink our foreign policy today.
Kupchan's article is not just an exercise in beating a dead horse, since he fears that the same thing that happened between the world wars is happening again: "If the 19th century was isolationism's finest hour, the interwar era was surely its darkest and most deluded. The conditions that led to this misguided run for cover are making a comeback." Kupchan wants to borrow a little from the people he calls "isolationists" so that the U.S. will remain thoroughly ensnared in most of its global commitments.
At the same time that he warns that "U.S. statecraft has become divorced from popular will," he seems to want to keep it this way by rejecting what he calls the "isolationist temptation." If "a majority of the country favors either America First or global disengagement," as he says, the goal seems to be to ignore what the majority wants in favor of making a few tweaks to the same old strategy of U.S. primacy. Those tweaks aren't going to lessen popular support for a reduced U.S. role in the world, and they will likely make the public even more disillusioned with the remaining costs and demands of U.S. "leadership."
The key thing to remember in all this is that the U.S. has never been isolationist in its foreign relations. The thing that Kupchan calls America's "default setting" is not real. Isolationism is the pejorative term that expansionists and interventionists have used over the last century to ridicule and dismiss opposition to unnecessary wars. Isolationism as U.S. policy in the 1920s and 1930s is a myth , and the myth is deployed whenever there has been a serious challenge to the status quo in post-1945 U.S. foreign policy. Bear Braumoeller summed it up very well in his article , "The Myth of American Isolationism," this way: "the characterization of America as isolationist in the interwar period is simply wrong." We can't learn from the past if we insist on distorting it. As William Appleman Williams put it in The Tragedy of American Diplomacy , "It not only deforms the history of the decade from 1919 to 1930, but it also twists the story of American entry into World War II and warps the record of the cold war." Williams also remarked in a note that the use of the term isolationist "has thus crippled American thought about foreign policy for 50 years." Today we can say that it has done so for a century.
Our government eschewed permanent alliances for most of its history, and it refrained from taking sides in the European Great Power conflicts of the nineteenth century, but it never sought to cut itself from the world and could not have done that even if it had wished to do so. The U.S. was a commercial republic from the start, and it cultivated economic and diplomatic ties with as many states as possible. You can call the steady expansion of the U.S. across North America and into the Pacific and Caribbean "isolationism," but that just shows how misleading and inaccurate the label has always been.
Post-WWI America was a rising power and increasingly involved in the affairs of the world. Its economic and diplomatic engagement with the world increased during these years. If it wasn't involved in the way that later internationalists would have liked, that didn't make the U.S. isolationist. Braumoeller makes this point explicitly: "America was not isolationist in affairs relating to international security in Europe for the bulk of the period: in fact, it was perhaps more internationalist than it had ever been." The U.S. was behaving as a great power, but one that strove to maintain its neutrality. That was neither deluded nor disastrous, and we need to stop pretending that it was if we are ever going to be able to make the needed changes to our foreign policy today.
me title=00:13 / 00:59 00:00 Next Video × Next Video J.d. Vance Remarks On A New Direction For Pro-worker, Pro-family Conservatism, Tac Gala, 5-2019 Cancel Autoplay is paused
Kupchan acknowledges that there has to be an "adjustment" after the last several decades of overreach, but he casts this as a way of preventing more significant retrenchment: "The paramount question is whether that adjustment takes the form of a judicious pullback or a more dangerous retreat." No one objects to the desire for a responsible reduction in U.S. commitments, but one person's "judicious pullback" will often be denounced as a "dangerous retreat" by others. Just consider how many times we have been warned about a U.S. "retreat" from the Middle East over the last 11 years. Even now, the U.S. is still taking part in multiple wars across the region, and the "retreat" we have been told has happened several times never seems to take place. Warning about the perils of an "isolationist comeback" hardly makes it more likely that these withdrawals will ever happen.
He recommends that "judicious retrenchment should entail shedding U.S. entanglements in the periphery, not in the strategic heartlands of Europe and Asia." Certainly, any reduction in unnecessary U.S. commitments is welcome, but a thorough rethinking of U.S. foreign policy has to include every region. Kupchan is right to criticize slapdash, incompetent withdrawals, but one gets the impression that he thinks there shouldn't be any withdrawals except from the Middle East. He cites "Russian and Chinese threats" as the main reasons not to pull back at all in Europe or Asia, but this seems like an uncritical endorsement of the status quo.
It is in East Asia where the U.S. might be fighting a war against a major, nuclear-armed power in the future, and it is also there where the U.S. has some of the wealthiest and most capable allies. If the U.S. can't reduce its exposure to the risk of a major war where that risk is the greatest and its allies are strongest, when will it ever be able to do that? Reducing the U.S. military presence in East Asia will make it easier to manage U.S.-Chinese tensions, and it will give allies an additional incentive to assume more responsibility for their own security.
The U.S. has far more security commitments than it can afford and far more than can possibly be justified by our own security interests. That includes, but is not limited to, our overcommitment to the Middle East. Our foreign entanglements have been allowed to grow and spread to such an extent over the last seventy-five years that modest pruning won't be good enough to put U.S. foreign policy on a sound footing that will have reliable public support. There needs to be a much more comprehensive review of all U.S. commitments to determine which ones are truly necessary for our security and which ones are not. Ruling out the bulk of those commitments as untouchable in advance is a mistake.
There is broad public support for constructive international engagement, but there is remarkably little backing for preserving U.S. hegemony in its current form. In order to have a more sustainable foreign policy, the U.S. needs to scale back its ambitions in most parts of the world, and it needs to shift more of the security burdens for different regions to the countries that have the most at stake. That should be done deliberately and carefully, but it does need to happen if we are to realign our foreign policy with protecting the vital interests of the United States. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter .
Gaius Gracchus • 19 hours agoRoom_237 • 13 hours ago
Richard Hofsteder is largely responsible for this falsehood, like he is for making "populist" a by-word, as Thomas Frank points out in his new book.
I prefer the term "non-interventionist" or Washingtonian, myself. I continue to be stuck by the amazing wisdom of Washington's Farewell Address (largely written by Hamilton). It really should be our guide to this day.bournite Room_237 • 11 hours ago
The US had an active and fairly successful foreign policy in the 1920s. What hurt our foreign policy activities was the Great Depression.Disqus10021 bournite • 9 hours ago
Try a seance and tell this Augusto Cesar Sandino. Two American brothers who owned a gold mine in his country had another brother at the State Department. That's how FP was "successful." https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...RAF • 12 hours ago • edited
Europe would have been better off if the US had stayed out of WWI and let major belligerents fight it out until they reached a cease fire on their own. The US entry into the war, tipped the scales in favor of Britain and France and resulted in a very harsh peace treaty being imposed on Germany in 1919. Four years later, Germany's currency collapsed, wiping out the savings of millions of average Germans. The Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930 made economic conditions for people in central Europe very bad and conrtibuted to the rising popularity of the Nazi party in Germany.rayray RAF • 4 hours ago
The world is so much smaller today than it was when this country was formed and organized by the Founding Fathers. (Mothers were not allowed)
The idea of international associations and cooperation is required with today's world. When some country like China sneezes, the whole world needs a face mask!
The Age of Daniel Boone is dead. America must be fully engaged in world matters. That does not mean going into every country with our military. America needs to continue to give some leadership in world affairs. It would be suicidal to close the windows to the rest of the world.bournite • 12 hours ago
I agree. The world is interconnected, engagement is a necessity. The problem with the US FP at this point is to see every issue as an opportunity to throw around our military weight and call it "engagement". Being fully engaged in the world is a state department issue - smart and educated diplomats working the lines of communication and cooperation with every nation to build a reputation for US leadership, to foment peace, and to build prosperity. Obviously, under Trump and Pompeo this is a waste of breath.
Worth noting, a friend of mine, ex-CIA, has made an absolute fortune off of our military preoccupations. And even he said (perhaps exaggerating) that you could get rid of 90% of the traditional military with little or no loss in actual national security. Most of it is, as he said, corporate welfare and window dressing.
(Of course he then said you should spend what you've saved entirely on cyber-security)kouroi • 9 hours ago
Using the 'I' Word for War and Profit
Column by Tim Hartnett, posted on April 03, 2013
in War and Peace
Column by Tim Hartnett.
Exclusive to STR
For about a century now, Humpty-Dumpty has been the go-to man for fans of elaborate American foreign adventures. Unwelcome inquiries are put down with a one word incantation that blesses and immunizes government-funded schemes that are always cash cows for somebody. "Isolationist" means exactly what its users mean it to mean--no more and no less. Every entry on the first page of my online search for the word "isolationism" provided the same definition: "The national policy of abstaining from political or economic relations with other countries." Nobody on the furthest fringes of the political spectrum who gets ink or air time comes close calling for a plan fitting that description.
The word remains in healthy circulation despite the total absence of public figures advocating anything of the kind. Its real linguistic purpose is to obstruct examination of extra-territorial programs that don't work and often do considerable harm.
Most of us first learned of the dreaded I-beast in grade school study of WWI. Back in that good old day, the authorities had sense enough to put these naysayers in prisons after allowing hostile crowds to have at 'em for an hour or so. If the folks at The Weekly Standard, the Heritage Foundation, AEI, Fox News et al get their way, hoosegow entrepreneurs will be back in that market before too long. How could anyone oppose US entry into The Great War, anyway? It's what catapulted us to the top of the economic heap. We are probably only one good war away from reclaiming that title.
The first people to stoke lynch mobs with the "I" word claimed we were fighting a war "to make the world safe for democracy." The Irish, Indians, Algerians, Pacific Islanders, Russian peasants, Filipinos, the Congolese and millions of other Africans were not educated well enough to accept this as readily as freedom-loving Americans did. Without guys like J.P. Morgan, J.D. Rockefeller, Charles Schwab and others who hired PR men to keep the country thinking right thoughts, foreigners are often easily misled. Isolationists are as rare on Wall Street as atheists are in foxholes.
To understand the perfidious way that isolationism works, try and visualize a typical slice of American policy from say 1968. Some experts and officers in a room at the Pentagon decide a spot on the map could use a good bombing, and the order is relayed via satellite to South Vietnam. At five they leave work to fight rush hour traffic and get home in time for a smoke with Walter Cronkite. Some Navy fliers get dispatched, and once the napalm is fixed to the jets, they're airborne. Thirty-five minutes later, the right patch below them, it's bombs away and a U-turn. An undernourished five year old girl foolishly lives nearby and an eight ounce blob of gel burning at 1,800 degrees lands on her back. She is immediately screaming and burns for six minutes until an adult manages to put the incinerating child out.
Meanwhile, the flyboys are on terra firma again with beers, joints, Steppenwolf on the turntable and much lamenting of St. Louis' undeserved defeat at the hands of Detroit. The little girl's screaming still pierces the tropical air. The engineers and the chemists who designed the people-melting device are on the other side of the world asleep in their suburban beds. And the tiny thing can't stop screaming. The next day at Harvard, William Kristol is expounding on communism, the domino theory, social responsibility, moral courage and careful reading. And the 32 lb. waif is still going through an endless agony that no man of oxen strength should ever have to endure in a lifetime. Isolating on these kinds of details misses the "big picture," I've been told. Only communists, terrorists and other abominable -ists focus on this kind of inhumane minutiae.
Forty years later, John McCain was wittily singing the lyrics "bomb Iran" while doubtless a child was on fire somewhere that US ordnance had exploded. The one certain outcome of such events is a profit for weapons manufacturers. Isolationists are oddly skeptical of the many benefits anti-isolationists find in all-purpose bombing campaigns. What's always clear is that people who speak publicly about their love for humanitarian bombing expect to be paid for it.
There are a lot of things that "isolationists" just don't know, and it must be for this ignorance they are so despised by both mainstream media and Wall Street's favorite politicians. They don't know why we have 50,000 soldiers in Germany or another 30,000 in Japan. Why we paid to keep an incorrigible thug like Mubarak in business for 30 years. Why we need missiles in Eastern Europe. Why we helped every bloodthirsty, misanthropic power monger in Central America. Why we needed to help Turkey get Ocalan. Why South Ossetia's nationalistic prerogatives are our business. Why foreign governments should be pressured by our diplomats on Wall Street's behalf. Why our government takes some kind of stand in every foreign war, election, national event or internal matter of almost any kind. How we can indict one country for human rights violations while buddying up to worse offenders like Saudi Arabia regularly. Why our foreign initiatives proceed based on fantastic ideologies in contempt of facts. These are just a few of the quandaries that afflict the minds of people who aren't buying the divine right of American altruist aristocracy to fine tune the rest of the world. They aren't exactly keen on the hyper-interventionist tendencies that keep so many beltway bandits in the chips, either.
What they also don't know is why the elite media, the experts and elected officials, if they truly understand these things, can't be called upon to explain any of them to the rest of us satisfactorily. On March 20, Dana Milbank called Rand Paul an "isolationist" in his column without any explanation. In the future, he might want to right click on Microsoft Word and choose the Look up option before deploying the term.
After American involvement in Vietnam ended, many proponents of the action claimed the death toll there would have been even worse without our presence. Others go so far as to maintain that fighting in such conflicts protects US citizens' privileges, like freedom of speech, here at home. They expect us all to believe that "Isolationists," by any definition, wouldn't get away with spouting their un-American propaganda in public places, or on television if any were allowed there, but for a policy that napalms little girls.
While people smeared with the I-word persistently point out that they are merely against policies that are misguided, immoral and often murderous, their detractors insist that what they really oppose is America. In the "big picture" mindset of the interventionist, you can't have one without the other.
Beat them over the head with a stick, that might do it.
As for the entanglements in east Asia, none of the countries under direct US vassalage have major disputes with China and do not need US protection. And it is likely that without the US Korea would be on a path to reunification. The US is trying to beat everyone in line to show who's the boss... So it seems, this K guy, like all his ilk are presenting things in a very Manichean way: either primacy or "isolationism". There is so much in between these two...
Sep 29, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
ET AL September 27, 2020 at 9:17 amMARK CHAPMAN September 27, 2020 at 12:19 pm
Neuters via Antiwar.com : Putin Calls For Mutual Ban on Election Meddling With US
US intel agencies claim Russia, China, and Iran are meddling in 2020 election
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the US and Russia should sign an agreement promising not to meddle in each other's elections. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-usa-putin/putin-says-russia-and-u-s-should-agree-not-to-meddle-in-each-others-elections-idUSKCN26G1LJ
Putin proposed, "exchanging guarantees of non-interference in each other's internal affairs, including electoral processes, including using information and communication technologies and high-tech methods."..
That is some excellently timed next level trolling from Pootie-McPoot-Face.
Of course the USA will never agree to such a proposal, because (a) it does not regard its meddling as 'interference' but as the bringing of the gift of freedom, (b) it stands on its absolute right of judgment as to what is a situation that requires more democracy and what is not, and (c) it probably knows at some level that Russia did not meddle in the US elections, and that it would therefore in that case be constraining its own behavior in exchange for nothing.
But then, when refused – I imagine the US will try to extract something from the offer, such as "A-HA!! So you ADMIT to meddling in our elections!! – Russia can obviously claim, "Well, we tried."
Sep 28, 2020 | peterturchin.com
Shaun Bartone February 27, 2017 at 3:47 pm
I wonder if any of the commentators here have considered that the [neoliberal] cabal now in power in the US (not elsewhere) are not in power to "take power" except for a temporary period. They don't want to run the federal government, they want to destroy it, except for the police state and the military.
They want to eliminate the EPA, vacate the State Dept and many other Depts, except for a few high-placed cronies, wipe all financial, labour, consumer and environmental regulations off the books; eliminate or reduce to a bare minimum federal health insurance, medicaid, medicare and Social Security, crush public education, privatize everything they can sell, and so on. They are not in power to "govern" but to destroy government. This is all being done with a fairly unified agenda: to free "the market" from any restrictions whatsoever, so that they -- global elites -- can make as much money as possible. It's a cabal of global corporations, militarists, Christian sovereign white supremacists, fossil fuel giants and bankers , and I think there's a high degree of cooperation for the agenda. The revolution is the cabal run by Trump/Bannon who are more extreme and ideological than any previous faction, who have no tolerance for compromise. They have an apocalyptic vision of grinding it all down to a bare minimum police state.
Sep 28, 2020 | www.amazon.com
In the United States, a great deal of study and energy goes into promoting respect for democracy, not just to keep it alive here but also to spread it around the world. It embraces the will of the majority, whether or not its main beneficiaries have more resources than other citizens do, as shown by the election of President Obama, who promised hope and change for the suffering majority, but did not sit long in office before being subjected to an economic vote of no-confidence.
Those who claim we run a plutocracy (government for the rich by the rich) -- or that we're victims of a conspiracy contrived by a shadow government -- are right while being wrong.
Our government is beyond the reach of ordinary American citizens in terms of economic power. However, the creation of a system to keep the majority of the populace at the losing end of a structure which neither promised nor delivered a state of financial equality was a predictable extension of the economic system the U.S. government was formed to protect.
... .... ...
Forty years of Cold War and the ultimate realization that abuse of the communist system and a hierarchy of privilege proved that system to be vulnerable to selfishness -- in common with the triumphant capitalist countries.
Because any desired outcome can be written into an equation to exclude unwanted facts or inputs by holding some things constant while applying chosen variables that may not hold true under every historical circumstance, it's considered "falsifiable" and therefore "scientific." But only if it appeals to the right people and justifies a given political need will it become sacrosanct (until the next round of "progress").
.... .... ...Abusive Self- Interest
In 1764, twenty- five years before the embrace of Madame Guillotine (when heads rolled literally to put the fear of the mob into politics), contempt for the filth and poverty in which the French commoners lived while the nobility gorged on luxury goods showed how arrogant they were, not just in confidence that their offices of entitlement were beyond reproach and unassailable, but that mockery and insult in the face of deliberate deprivation would be borne with obedience and humility.
It certainly affected Smith's outlook, since he wrote The Wealth of Nations with a focus on self- interest rather than moral sentiments. And while this may be purely pragmatic, based on what
he witnessed, he also wrote about the potential for self- interest to become abusive, both in collusion with individuals and when combined with the power of government. Business interests could form cabals (groups of conspirators, plotting public harm) or monopolies (organizations with exclusive market control) to fix prices at their highest levels. A true laissez- faire economy would provide every incentive to conspire against consumers and attempt to influence budgets and legislation.
Smith's assertion that self- interest leads producers to favor domestic industry must also be understood in the context of the period. While it's true that the Enlightenment was a movement of rational philosophy radically opposed to secrecy, it's important to understand that this had to be done respectfully , insofar as all arguments were intended to impress the monarchy under circumstances where the king believed himself God- appointed and infallible, no matter his past or present policies, and matters were handled with delicacy. Yet, Smith's arguments are clear enough (and certainly courageous enough) to be understood in laymen's terms.
In an era when the very industry he's observing has been fostered by tariffs, monopolies, labor controls, and materials extracted from colonies, he did his best to balance observation with what he thought was best for society. It's not his fault we pick and choose our recipes for what we do and don't believe or where we think Smith might have gone had he been alive today.
The New Double Standard
The only practical way to resolve the contradiction between the existing beneficiaries of state favoritism in this period and Smith's aversion to it is to observe that the means to prevent competition and interference with the transition from one mode of commerce to another that enhances the strength of the favored or provides a new means to grow their wealth is to close the door of government intervention behind them and burn any bridges to it.
In psychological terms, the practice of "negative attribution" is to assume that identical behavior is justifiable for oneself but not another. It may not be inconsistent with a system of economics founded on self- interest, but it naturally begs a justification as to why it rules out everyone else's self- interest. The beauty of this system is that it will always have the same answer.
You may have guessed it.
Progress.Reallocation of Assets
It was always understood that capitalism produces winners and losers. The art of economizing is to gain maximum benefit for minimum expenditure, which generally translates to asset consolidation and does not necessarily mean there is minimum sacrifice. There's an opportunity cost for everything, whether it's human, financial, environmental, or material. But the most important tenet of free market capitalism is that asset redistribution requires the U. S. government to go to DEFCON 1, unless assets are being reallocated for "higher productivity," in which case the entire universe is saved from the indefensible sin of lost opportunity.
Private property is sacred -- up until an individual decides he can make more productive use of it and appeals to the courts for seizure under eminent domain or until the government decides it will increase national growth if owned by some other person or entity. In like manner, corporations can suffer hostile takeovers, just as deregulation facilitates predatory market behavior and cutthroat competition promotes an efficiency orientation that means fewer jobs and lower incomes, which result in private losses.
In the varying range of causes underlying the loss of assets, the common threat is progress -- the "civilized" justification for depriving some other person or entity of their right to own property, presumably earned by the sweat of their brow, except their sweat doesn't have the same champion as someone who can wring more profit from it. The official explanation is that the government manages the "scarcity" of resources to benefit the world. This is also how we justify war, aggression, and genocide, though we don't always admit to that unless we mean to avoid it.
Perfectly Rational Genocide
History cooperates with the definition of Enlightenment if we imagine that thoughtfulness has something to do with genocide. In the context of American heritage, it has meant that when someone stands in the way of progress, his or her resources are "reallocated" to serve the pursuit of maximum profit, with or without consent. The war against Native Americans was one in which Americans either sought and participated in annihilation efforts or believed this end was inevitable. In the age of rational thought, meditation on the issue could lead from gratitude for the help early settlers received from Native Americans to the observation they didn't enclose their land and had no concept of private property,
to the conviction they were unmotivated by profit and therefore irreconcilable savages. But it takes more than rational thought to mobilize one society to exterminate another.
The belief in manifest destiny -- that God put the settlers in America for preordained and glorious purposes which gave them a right to everything -- turned out to be just the ticket for a free people opposed to persecution and the tyranny of church and state.
Lest the irony elude you, economic freedom requires divorcing the state from religion, but God can be used to whip up the masses, distribute "It's Them or Us" cards, and send people out to die on behalf of intellectuals and investors who've rationalized their chosenness.CHAPTER TWO: INSTILLING THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE
Selfishness may be exalted as the root and branch of capitalism, but it doesn't make you look good to the party on the receiving end or those whose sympathy he earns. For that, you need a government prepared to do four things, which each have separate dictums based on study, theorization, and experience.
Coercion: Force is illegitimate only if you can't sell it. Persuasion: How do I market thee? Let me count the ways. Bargaining: If you won't scratch my back, then how about a piece of the pie? Indoctrination: Because I said so. (And paid for the semantics.)
Predatory capitalism is the control and expropriation of land, labor, and natural resources by a foreign government via coercion, persuasion, bargaining, and indoctrination.
At the coercive stage, we can expect military and/ or police intervention to repress the subject populace. The persuasive stage will be marked by clientelism, in which a small percentage of the populace will be rewarded for loyalty, often serving as the capitalists' administrators, tax collectors, and enforcers. At the bargaining stage, efforts will be made to include the populace, or a certain percentage of it, in the country's ruling system, and this is usually marked by steps toward democratic (or, more often, autocratic) governance.
At the fourth stage, the populace is educated by capitalists, such that they continue to maintain a relationship of dependency.
The Predatory Debt Link
In many cases, post- colonial states were forced to assume the debts of their colonizers. And where they did not, they were encouraged to become in debt to the West via loans that were issued through international institutions to ensure they did not fall prey to communism or pursue other economic policies that were inimical to the West. Debt is the tie that binds nation states to the geostrategic and economic interests of the West.
As such, the Cold War era was a time of easy credit, luring postcolonial states to undertake the construction of useless monoliths and monuments, and to even expropriate such loans through corruption and despotism, thereby making these independent rulers as predatory as colonizers. While some countries were wiser than others and did use the funds for infrastructural improvements, these were also things that benefited the West and particularly Western contractors. In his controversial work Confessions of an Economic Hit Man , John Perkins reveals that he was a consultant for an American firm (MAIN), whose job was to ensure that states became indebted beyond their means so they would remain loyal to their creditors, buying them votes within United Nations organizations, among other things.
Predatory capitalists demand export- orientations as the means to generate foreign currency with which to pay back debt. In the process, the state must privatize and drastically slash or eliminate any domestic subsidies which are aimed at helping native industry compete in the marketplace. Domestic consumption and imports must be radically contained, as shown by the exchange rate policies recommended by the IMF. The costs of obtaining domestic capital will be pushed beyond the reach of most native producers, while wages must be depressed to an absolute bare minimum. In short, the country's land, labor, and natural resources must be sold at bargain basement prices in order to make these goods competitive, in what one author has called "a spiraling race to the bottom," as countries producing predominantly the same goods engage in cutthroat competition whose benefactor is the West.
Under these circumstances, foreign investment is encouraged, but this, too, represents a loaded situation for countries that open their markets to financial liberalization. Since, in most cases, the
IMF does not allow restrictions on the conditions of capital inflows, it means that financial investors can literally dictate their terms. And since no country is invulnerable to attacks on its currency, which governments must try to keep at a favorable exchange rate, it means financial marauders can force any country to try to prop up its currency using vital reserves of foreign exchange which might have been used to pay their debt.
When such is the case, the IMF comes to the rescue with a socalled "bailout fund," that allows foreign investors to withdraw their funds intact, while the government reels from the effects of an IMF- imposed austerity plan, often resulting in severe recession the offshoot of which is bankruptcies by the thousands and plummeting employment.
In countries that experienced IMF bailouts due to attacks on their currencies, the effect was to reset the market so the only economic survivors were those who remained export- oriented and were strong enough to withstand the upheaval. This means they remained internationally competitive, which translates to low earnings of foreign exchange. At the same time that the country is being bled from the bottom up through mass unemployment, extremely low wages, and the "spiraling race to the bottom," it is in an even more unfavorable position concerning the payment of debt. The position is that debt slavery ensues, as much an engine of extraction as any colonial regime ever managed.
The Role of Indoctrination
The fact that it is sovereign governments overseeing the work of debt repression has much to do with education, which is the final phase of predatory capitalism, concluding in indoctrination. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the lesson to the world was that socialism can't work, nor were there any remaining options for countries that pursued "the third way" other than capitalism. This produced a virulent strain of neoliberalism in which most people were, and are, being educated. The most high- ranking of civil servants have either been educated in the West or directly influenced by its thinking. And this status of acceptance and adherence finally constitutes indoctrination. The system is now self- sustaining, upheld by domestic agents.
While predatory capitalism can proceed along a smooth continuum from coercion to persuasion to bargaining to formal indoctrination, the West can regress to any of these steps at any point in
time, given the perceived need to interfere with varying degrees of force in order to protect its interests.
Democracy is about having the power and flexibility to graft our system of government and predatory capitalism onto any target country, regardless of relative strength or conflicting ideologies. An entire productive industry has grown up using the tools of coercion, persuasion, bargaining, and formal indoctrination to maximize their impact in the arena of U. S. politics. Its actors know how to jerk the right strings, push the right buttons, and veer from a soft sell to a hard sell when resistance dictates war, whether it's with planes overhead and tanks on the ground or with massive capital flight that panics the whole world.
When the U. S. political economy goes into warp overdrive, its job proves far more valuable than anything ever made in the strict material sense because there's never been more at stake in terms of what it's trying to gain. It's the American idea machine made up of corporations, lobbyists, think tanks, foundations, universities, and consultants in every known discipline devoted to mass consumerism, and what they sell is illusory opportunity dressed in American principles. They embrace political candidates who'll play by elitist rules to preserve the fiction of choice, and, in this way, they maintain legitimacy, no matter what kind of "reallocation" is on the economic agenda.
The issue is not whether we'll question it, but who we'll applaud for administering it.
In the Information Age, perception management is king.
Sep 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit , Sep 20 2020 16:45 utc | 8
How the west lost
What I liked most about this article was the highlighting of impossible-to-counter narratives, the hypocrisy of Western democracy promotion (even as Western governments fellate domestic and foreign economic elites), and the denigration of nationalism from 1990-2016.
Sadly, the author does a disservice in suggesting that such manipulations are past. Instead, the Western power-elite has done what it does best: co-opt a 'winning' narrative (nationalism) and double-down.
- Ignores the fact that the US Deep State, caretakers of the Empire, hasn't accepted defeat. Since 2014 they have been actively trying to reverse what they see as a major set-back (not defeat).
Via economic sanctions, trade wars, propaganda, and military tensions the Empire is waging a hybrid war against what it calls the "revisionist" efforts of Russia and China.
- Plays into the propaganda narrative of Trump as populist.
- Fails to see the 1990's 'economic shock therapy' as a deliberate attempt to push Russia into total capitulation. This, darker view, was confirmed obliquely by Kissinger in his interview with ft in which he stated that no one could foresee the ability of Russia to absorb pain.
Sep 19, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org
Stephen F Cohen, the renowned American scholar on Russia and leading authority on US-Russian relations, has died of lung cancer at the age of 81.
As one of the precious few western voices of sanity on the subject of Russia while everyone else has been frantically flushing their brains down the toilet, this is a real loss. I myself have cited Cohen's expert analysis many times in my own work, and his perspective has played a formative role in my understanding of what's really going on with the monolithic cross-partisan manufacturing of consent for increased western aggressions against Moscow.
In a world that is increasingly confusing and awash with propaganda, Cohen's death is a blow to humanity's desperate quest for clarity and understanding.
I don't know how long Cohen had cancer. I don't know how long he was aware that he might not have much time left on this earth. What I do know is he spent much of his energy in his final years urgently trying to warn the world about the rapidly escalating danger of nuclear war, which in our strange new reality he saw as in many ways completely unprecedented.
The last of the many books Cohen authored was 2019's War with Russia? , detailing his ideas on how the complex multi-front nature of the post-2016 cold war escalations against Moscow combines with Russiagate and other factors to make it in some ways more dangerous even than the most dangerous point of the previous cold war.
"You know it's easy to joke about this, except that we're at maybe the most dangerous moment in US-Russian relations in my lifetime, and maybe ever," Cohen told The Young Turks in 2017. "And the reason is that we're in a new cold war, by whatever name. We have three cold war fronts that are fraught with the possibility of hot war, in the Baltic region where NATO is carrying out an unprecedented military buildup on Russia's border, in Ukraine where there is a civil and proxy war between Russia and the west, and of course in Syria, where Russian aircraft and American warplanes are flying in the same territory. Anything could happen."
Cohen repeatedly points to the most likely cause of a future nuclear war: not one that is planned but one which erupts in tense, complex situations where "anything could happen" in the chaos and confusion as a result of misfire, miscommunication or technical malfunction, as nearly happened many times during the last cold war.
"I think this is the most dangerous moment in American-Russian relations, at least since the Cuban missile crisis," Cohen told Democracy Now in 2017. "And arguably, it's more dangerous, because it's more complex. Therefore, we -- and then, meanwhile, we have in Washington these -- and, in my judgment, factless accusations that Trump has somehow been compromised by the Kremlin. So, at this worst moment in American-Russian relations, we have an American president who's being politically crippled by the worst imaginable -- it's unprecedented. Let's stop and think. No American president has ever been accused, essentially, of treason. This is what we're talking about here, or that his associates have committed treason."
"Imagine, for example, John Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis," Cohen added. "Imagine if Kennedy had been accused of being a secret Soviet Kremlin agent. He would have been crippled. And the only way he could have proved he wasn't was to have launched a war against the Soviet Union. And at that time, the option was nuclear war."
"A recurring theme of my recently published book War with Russia? is that the new Cold War is more dangerous, more fraught with hot war, than the one we survived," Cohen wrote last year . "Histories of the 40-year US-Soviet Cold War tell us that both sides came to understand their mutual responsibility for the conflict, a recognition that created political space for the constant peace-keeping negotiations, including nuclear arms control agreements, often known as détente. But as I also chronicle in the book, today's American Cold Warriors blame only Russia, specifically 'Putin's Russia,' leaving no room or incentive for rethinking any US policy toward post-Soviet Russia since 1991."
"Finally, there continues to be no effective, organized American opposition to the new Cold War," Cohen added. "This too is a major theme of my book and another reason why this Cold War is more dangerous than was its predecessor. In the 1970s and 1980s, advocates of détente were well-organized, well-funded, and well-represented, from grassroots politics and universities to think tanks, mainstream media, Congress, the State Department, and even the White House. Today there is no such opposition anywhere."
"A major factor is, of course, 'Russiagate'," Cohen continued. "As evidenced in the sources I cite above, much of the extreme American Cold War advocacy we witness today is a mindless response to President Trump's pledge to find ways to 'cooperate with Russia' and to the still-unproven allegations generated by it. Certainly, the Democratic Party is not an opposition party in regard to the new Cold War."
"Détente with Russia has always been a fiercely opposed, crisis-ridden policy pursuit, but one manifestly in the interests of the United States and the world," Cohen wrote in another essay last year. "No American president can achieve it without substantial bipartisan support at home, which Trump manifestly lacks. What kind of catastrophe will it take -- in Ukraine, the Baltic region, Syria, or somewhere on Russia's electric grid -- to shock US Democrats and others out of what has been called, not unreasonably, their Trump Derangement Syndrome, particularly in the realm of American national security? Meanwhile, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has recently reset its Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight."
And now Stephen Cohen is dead, and that clock is inching ever closer to midnight. The Russiagate psyop that he predicted would pressure Trump to advance dangerous cold war escalations with no opposition from the supposed opposition party has indeed done exactly that with nary a peep of criticism from either partisan faction of the political/media class. Cohen has for years been correctly predicting this chilling scenario which now threatens the life of every organism on earth, even while his own life was nearing its end.
And now the complex cold war escalations he kept urgently warning us about have become even more complex with the addition of nuclear-armed China to the multiple fronts the US-centralized empire has been plate-spinning its brinkmanship upon, and it is clear from the ramping up of anti-China propaganda since last year that we are being prepped for those aggressions to continue to increase.
We should heed the dire warnings that Cohen spent his last breaths issuing. We should demand a walk-back of these insane imperialist aggressions which benefit nobody and call for détente with Russia and China. We should begin creating an opposition to this world-threatening flirtation with armageddon before it is too late. Every life on this planet may well depend on our doing so.
Stephen Cohen is dead, and we are marching toward the death of everything. God help us all.
novictim , 55 minutes agoPerilouseTimes , 48 minutes ago
People are just now starting to realize that possible alternate path. But the Demoncrats in the USA must first be put down, politically euthanized, along with their neocon never-Trump Republican partners. And that cleaning up is on the way. Trump's second term will be the advancement of the USA-Russia initiative that is so long overdue.awesomepic4u , 1 hour ago
Putin won't let western billionaires rape Russia's enormous natural resources and on top of that Putin is against child molesters, that is what this Russia bashing is all about.Clint Liquor , 44 minutes ago
Sad to hear this.
What a good man. It is a real shame that we dont have others to stand up to this crazy pr that is going on right now. Making peace with the world at this point is important. We dont need or want another war and i am sure that both Europe and Russia dont want it on their turf but it seems we keep sticking our finger in their eye. If there is another war it will be the last war. As Einstein said, after the 3rd World War we will be using sticks and stones to fight it.thunderchief , 41 minutes ago
Cohen truly was an island of reason in a sea of insanity. Ironic that those panicked over climate change are unconcerned about the increasing threat of Nuclear War.Eastern Whale , 55 minutes ago
One of the very few level headed people on Russia.
All thats left are anti Russia-phobic nut jobs.
Send in the clowns.
Stephen Cohen isn't around to call them what they are anymore.fucking truth , 3 minutes ago
cooperate with Russia
Has the US ever cooperated with anyone?Mustafa Kemal , 49 minutes ago
That is the crux. All or nothing.Normal , 1 hour ago
Ive read several of his books. They are essential, imo, if you want to understand modern russian history.evoila , 19 minutes ago
The bankers created the new CCP cold war.thebigunit , 17 minutes ago
Max Boot is an effing idiot. Tucker wiped him clean too. It was an insult to Stephen to even put them on the same panel.
Gary Sick is the equivalent to Stephen, except for Iran. He too is of an era of competence which is and will be missed as their voices are drowned out by neocon warmongersBoogity , 9 minutes ago
I heard Stephen Cohen a number of time in John Bachelor's podcasts.
He seemed very lucid and made a lot of sense.
He made it very clear that he thought the Democrat's "Trump - Russia collusion schtick" was a bunch of crap.
He didn't sound like a leftie, but I'm sure he never told me the stuff he discussed with his wife who was editor of the left wing "The Nation" magazine.
Cohen was a traditional old school anti-war Liberal. They're essentially extinct now with the exception of a few such as Tulsi Gabbard and Dennis Kucinich who have both been ostracized from the Democrat Party and the political system.
Sep 18, 2020 | original.antiwar.com
September 14, 2001: The Day America Became Israel
by Maj. Danny Sjursen, USA (ret.) Posted on September 18, 2020
This article is dedicated to the memory of an activist, inspiration, and recent friend: Kevin Zeese. Its scope, sweep, and ambition are meant to match that of Kevin's outsized influence. At that, it must inevitably fail – and its shortfalls are mine alone. That said, the piece's attempt at a holistic critique of 19 years worth of war and cultural militarization would, I hope, earn an approving nod from Kevin – if only at the attempt. He will be missed by so many; I count myself lucky to have gotten to know him. – Danny Sjursen
The rubble was still smoldering at Ground Zero when the U.S. House of Representatives voted to essentially transform itself into the Israeli Knesset , or parliament. It was 19 years ago, 11:17pm Washington D.C. time on September 14, 2001 when the People's Chamber approved House Joint Resolution 64, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) "against those responsible for the recent attacks." Naturally, that was before the precise identities, and full scope, of "those responsible" were yet known – so the resolution's rubber-stamp was obscenely open-ended by necessity, but also by design.
The Senate had passed their own version by roll call vote about 12 hours earlier. The combined congressional tally was 518 to one. Only Representative Barbara Lee of California cast a dissenting vote , and even delivered a brief, prescient speech on the House floor. It's almost hard to watch and listen all these years later as her voice cracks with emotion amidst all that truth-telling :
I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States. This is a very complex and complicated matter
However difficult this vote may be, some of us must urge the use of restraint. Our country is in a state of mourning. Some of us must say, let's step back for a moment and think through the implications of our actions today, so that this does not spiral out of control
Now I have agonized over this vote. But I came to grips with opposing this resolution during the very painful, yet very beautiful memorial service. As a member of the clergy so eloquently said, "As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore."
For her lone stance – itself courageous, even had she not since been vindicated – Rep. Lee suffered insults and death threats so intense that she needed around-the-clock bodyguards for a time. It's hard to be right in a room full of the wrong – especially angry, scared, and jingoistic ones. Yet the tragedy is America has become many of the things we purport to deplore: the US now boasts a one-trick-pony foreign policy and a militarized society to boot.
Endless imperial interventions and perennial policing at home and abroad, counterproductive military adventurism, governance by permanent "emergency" fiat, and an ever more martial-society? We've seen this movie before; in fact it's still playing – in Israel. Without implying that Israel, as an entity, is somehow "evil," theirs was simply not a path the US need or ought to have gone down.
"A Republic, If You Can Keep It"
In the nearly two decades since its passing, the AUMF has been cited at least 41 times in some 17 countries and on the high seas . The specified nations-states included Afghanistan, Cuba (Guantanamo Bay), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Turkey, Niger, Cameroon, and the broader African "Sahel Region" – which presumably also covers the unnamed, but real, US troop presence in Nigeria, Chad and Mali. That's a lot of unnecessary digressions – missions that haven't, and couldn't, have been won. All of that aggression abroad predictably boomeranged back home , in the guise of freedoms constrained, privacy surveilled, plus cops and culture militarized.
Inevitably, just a few days ago, every publication, big and small, carried obligatory and ubiquitous 9/11 commemoration pieces. Far fewer will even note the AUMF anniversary. Yet it was the US government's response – not the attacks themselves – which most altered American strategy and society. For in dutifully deciding on immediate military retaliation, a "global war," even, on a tactic ("terror") and a concept ("evil") at that, this republic fell prey to the Founders' great obsession . Unable to agree on much else, they shared fears that the nascent American experiment would suffer Rome's " ancestral curse " of ambition – and its subsequent path to empire. Hence, Benjamin Franklin's supposed retort to a crowd question upon exiting the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, on just what they'd just framed: "A republic, if you can keep it!"
Yet perhaps a modern allegory is the more appropriate one: by signing on to an endless cycle of tit-for-tat terror retaliation on 9/14, We the People's representatives chose the Israeli path. Here was a state forged by the sword that it's consequently lived by ever since, and may well die by – though the cause of death, no doubt, would likely be self-inflicted. The first statutory step towards Washington transforming into Tel Aviv was that AUMF sanction 19 years ago tonight.
No doubt, some militarist fantasies came far closer on the heels of the September 11th suicide strikes: According to notes taken by aides, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld waited a whole five hours after Flight 77 impacted his Pentagon to instruct subordinates to gather the "best info fast. Judge whether good enough to hit [Saddam Hussein] at same time Not only [Osama Bin Laden]." As for the responsive strike plans, "Go massive," the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."
Nonetheless, it was Congress' dutiful AUMF-acquiescence that made America's Israeli-metamorphosis official. The endgame that ain't even ended yet has been dreadful. It's almost impossible to fathom, in retrospect, but remember that as of September 14, 2001, 7,052 American troops and, very conservatively, at least 800,000 foreigners (335,000 of them civilians) hadn't yet – and need not have – died in the ensuing AUMF-sanctioned worldwide wars.
Now, US forces didn't directly kill all of them, but that's about 112 September 11ths-worth of dead civilians by the very lowest estimates – perishing in wars of (American) choice. That's worth reckoning with; and needn't imply a dismissive attitude to our 9/11 fallen. I, for one, certainly take that date rather seriously.
There are more than a dozen t-shirts hanging in my closet right now that are each emblazoned with the phrase "Annual Marty Egan 5K Memorial Run/Walk." This event is held back in the old neighborhood, honoring a very close family friend – a New York City fire captain killed in the towers' collapse. As my Uncle Steve's best bud, he was in and out of my grandparents' seemingly communal Midland Beach, Staten Island bungalow – before Hurricane Sandy washed many of them away – throughout my childhood. When I was a teenager, just before leaving for West Point, Marty would tease me for being "too skinny for a soldier" in the local YMCA weight-room and broke-balls about my vague fear of heights as I shakily climbed a ladder in Steve's backyard just weeks before I left for cadet basic training. Always delivered with a smile, of course.
Marty was doing some in-service training on September 11th, and didn't have to head towards the flames, but he hopped on a passing truck and rode to his death anyway. I doubt anyone who knew him would've expected anything less. Mercifully, Marty's body was one of the first – and at the time, only – recovered , just two days after Congress chose war in his, and 2,976 others' name. He was found wearing borrowed gear from engine company he'd jumped in with.
I was a freshman cadet at West Point when I heard all of this news – left feeling so very distant from home, family, neighborhood, though I was just a 90 minute drive north. Frankly, I couldn't wait to get in the fights that followed. It's no excuse, really: but I was at that moment exactly 18 years and 41 days old. And indeed, I'd spend the next 18 training, prepping, and fighting the wars I then wanted – and, ( Apocalypse Now- style ) "for my sins" – "they gave me."
Anyway, Marty's family – and more so his memory – along with the general 9/11 fallout back home, have swirled in and out of my life ever since. In the immediate term, after the attacks my mother turned into a sort of wake&funeral-hopper, attending literally dozens over that first year. As soon as Marty had a headstone in Moravian Cemetery – where my Uncle Steve once dug graves – I draped a pair of my new dog tags over it on a weekend trip home. It was probably a silly and indulgent gesture, but it felt profound at the time. Then, soon enough, the local street signs started changing to honor fallen first responders – including the intersection outside my church, renamed "Martin J. Egan Jr. Corner." (Marty used to joke , after all, that he'd graduated from UCLA – that is, the University, corner of Lincoln Avenue, in the neighborhood.)
Five years later, while I was fighting a war in a country (Iraq) that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, Marty's mother Pat still worked at the post office from which my own mom shipped me countless care packages. They'd chat; have a few nostalgic laughs; then Pat would wish me well and pass on her regards. When some of my soldiers started getting killed, I remember my mother telling me it was sometimes hard to look Pat in the eye on the post office trips – perhaps she feared an impending kinship of lost sons. But it didn't go that way.
So, suffice it to say, I don't take the 9/11 attacks, or the victims, lightly. That doesn't mean the US responses, and their results, were felicitous or forgivable. They might even dishonor the dead. I don't pretend to precisely know, or speak for, the Egan family's feelings. Still, my own sense is that few among the lost or their loved ones left behind would've imagined or desired their deaths be used to justify all of the madness, futility, and liberties-suppression blowback that's ensued.
Nevertheless, my nineteen Septembers 11th have been experienced in oft-discomfiting ways, and my assessment of the annual commemorations, rather quickly began to change. By the tenth anniversary, a Reuters reporter spent a couple of days on the base I commanded in Afghanistan. At the time the outpost sported a flag gifted by my uncle, which had previously flown above a New York Fire Department house. I suppose headquarters sent the journalist my way because I was the only combat officer from New York City – but the brass got more than they'd bargained for. By then, amidst my second futile war "surge," and three more of the lives and several more of the limbs of my soldiers lost on this deployment, I wasn't feeling particularly sentimental. Besides, I'd already turned – ethically and intellectually – against what seemed to me demonstrably hopeless and counterproductive military exercises.
Much to the chagrin of my career-climbing lieutenant colonel, I waxed a bit (un)poetic on the war I was then fighting – "against farm boys with guns," I not-so-subtly styled it – and my hometown's late suffering that ostensibly justified it. "When I see this place, I don't see the towers," I said, sitting inside my sandbagged operations center near the Taliban's very birthplace in Kandahar province. Then added: "My family sees it more than I do. They see it dead-on, direct. I'm a professional soldier. It's not about writing the firehouse number on the bullet. I'm not one for gimmicks." It was coarse and a bit petulant, sure, but what I meant – what I felt – was that these wars, even this " good " Afghan one (per President Obama), no longer, and may never have, had much to do with 9/11, Marty, or all the other dead.
The global war on terrorism (GWOT, as it was once fashionable to say) was but a reflex for a sick society pre-disposed to violence, symptomatic of a militarist system led by a government absent other ideas or inclinations. Still, I flew that FDNY flag – even skeptical soldiers can be a paradoxical lot.
Origin Myths: Big Lies and Long Cons
Although the final approved AUMF declared that "such acts [as terrorism] continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States," that wasn't then, and isn't now, even true . The toppled towers, pummeled Pentagon, and flying suicide machines of 9/11 were no doubt an absolute horror; and such visions understandably clouded collective judgment. Still, more sober statistics demonstrate, and sensible strategy demands, the prudence of perspective.
From 1995 to 2016, a total of 3,277 Americans have been killed in terrorist acts on US soil. If we subtract the 9/11 anomaly, that's just 300 domestic deaths – or 14 per year. Which raises the impolite question: why don't policymakers talk about terrorism the same way they do shark attacks or lightning strikes? The latter, incidentally, kill an average of 49 Americans annually. Odd, then, that the US hasn't expended $6.4 trillion, or more than 15,000 soldier and contractor lives , responding to bolts from the blue. Nor has it kicked off or catalyzed global wars that have directly killed – by that conservative estimate – 335,000 civilians.
See, that's the thing: for Americans, like the Israelis, some lives matter more than others. We can just about calculate the macabre life-value ratios in each society. Take Israel's 2014 onslaught on the Gaza Strip. In its fifty-day onslaught of Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) killed 2,131 Palestinians – of whom 1,473 were identified as civilians, including 501 children. As for the wildly inaccurate and desperate Hamas rocket strikes that the IDF "edge" ostensibly "protected" against: those killed a whopping four civilians. To review: apparently one Israeli non-combatant is worth 368 Palestinian versions. Now, seeing as everything – including death-dealing is "bigger in Texas" – consider the macro American application. To wit, 3,277 US civilians versus 335,000 foreign innocents equals a cool 102-to-1 quotient of the macabre.
Such formulas become banal realities when one believes the big lies undergirding the entire enterprise. Here, Israel and America share origin myths that frame the long con of forever wars. That is, that acts of terror with stateless origins are best responded to with reflexive and aggressive military force. In my first ever published article – timed for Independence Day 2014 – I argued that America's post-9/11 "original sin" was framing its response as a war in the first place. As a result, I – then a serving US Army captain – concluded, "In place of sound strategy, we've been handed our own set of martyrs: more than 6,500 dead soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines." More than 500 American troopers have died since, along with who knows how many foreign civilians. It's staggering how rare such discussions remain in mainstream discourse.
Within that mainstream, often the conjoined Israeli-American twins even share the same cruelty cheerleaders. Take the man that author Belen Fernandez not inaccurately dubs "Harvard Law School's resident psychopath:" Alan Dershowitz. During Israel's brutal 2006 assault on Lebanon, this armchair-murderer took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal with a column titled " Arithmetic of Pain ."
Dershowitz argued for a collective "reassessment of the laws of war" in light of increasingly blurred distinctions between combatants and civilians. Thus, offering official "scholarly" sanction for the which-lives-matter calculus, he unveiled the concept of a "continuum of 'civilianality." Consider some of his cold and callous language:
Near the most civilian end of this continuum are the pure innocents – babies, hostages at the more combatant end are civilians who willingly harbor terrorists, provide material resources and serve as human shields; in the middle are those who support the terrorists politically, or spiritually.
Got that? Leaving aside Dershowitz's absurd assumption that there are loads of Palestinians just itching to volunteer as "human shields," it's clear that when conflicts are thus framed – all manner of cruelties become permissible.
In Israel, it begins with stated policies of internationally- prohibited collective punishment. For example, during the 2006 Lebanon War that killed exponentially more innocent Lebanese than Israelis, the IDF chief of staff's announced intent was to deliver "a clear message to both greater Beirut and Lebanon that they've swallowed a cancer [Hezbollah] and have to vomit it up, because if they don't their country will pay a very high price." It ends with Tel Aviv's imposition of an abusive calorie-calculus on Palestinians.
In 2008, Israeli authorities actually drew up a document computing the minimum caloric intake necessary for Gaza's residents to suffer (until they yield), but avoid outright starvation. Two years earlier, that wonderful wordsmith Dov Weisglass, senior advisor to then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, explained that Israeli policy was designed "to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger."
Lest that sound beyond the pale for we Americans, recall that it was the first female secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, who ten years earlier said of 500,000 Iraqi children's deaths under crippling U.S. sanctions: "we think, the price is worth it." Furthermore, it's unclear how the Trump administration's current sanctions- clampdown on Syrians unlucky enough to live in President Bashar al Assad-controlled territory is altogether different from the "Palestinian diet."
After all, even one of the Middle East Institute's resident regime-change-enthusiasts, Charles Lister, recently admitted that America's criminally-euphemized "Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act" may induce a "famine." In other words, according to two humanitarian experts writing on the national security website War on the Rocks , "hurting the very civilians it aims to protect while largely failing to affect the Syrian government itself."
It is, and has long been, thus: Israeli prime ministers and American presidents, Bibi and The Donald, Tel Aviv and Washington – are peas in a punishing pod.
Emergencies as Existences
In both Israel and America, frightened populations finagled by their uber-hawkish governments acquiesce to militarized states of "emergencies" as a way of life. In seemingly no time at all, the latest U.S. threshold got so low that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo matter-of-factly declared one to override a congressional-freeze and permit the $8.1 billion sale of munitions to Gulf Arab militaries. When some frustrated lawmakers asked the State Department's inspector general to investigate, the resultant report found that the agency failed to limit [Yemeni] civilian deaths from the sales – most bombed by the Saudi's subsequent arsenal of largesse. (As for the inspector general himself? He was " bullied ," then fired, by Machiavelli Mike).
Per the standard, Israel is the more surface-overt partner. As the IDF-veteran author Haim Bresheeth-Zabner writes in his new book , An Army Like No Other: How the Israel Defense Forces Made a Nation , Israel is the "only country in which Emergency Regulations have been in force for every minute of its existence."
Perhaps more worryingly, such emergency existences boomerang back to militarized Minneapolis and Jerusalem streets alike. It's worth nothing that just five days after the killing of George Floyd, an Israeli police officer gunned down an unarmed, autistic, Palestinian man on his way to a school for the disabled. Even the 19-year-old killer's 21-year-old commander (instructive, that) admitted the cornered victim wasn't a threat. But here's the rub: when the scared and confused Palestinian man ran from approaching police at 6 a.m. , initial officers instinctually reported a potential "terrorist" on the loose.
Talk about global terror coming home to roost on local streets. And why not here in the States? It wasn't but two months back that President Trump labeled peaceful demonstrators in D.C., and nationwide protesters tearing down Confederate statues, as "terrorists." That's more than a tad troubling, since, as noted, almost anything is permissible against terrorists, thus tagged.
In other words, the Israeli-American, post-9/11 (or -9/14) militarized connections go beyond the cosmetic and past sloganeering. Then again, the latter can be instructive. In the wake of the latest Jerusalem police shooting, protesters in Israel's Occupied Territories held up placards declaring solidarity with Black Lives Matter (BLM). One read: "Palestinians support the black intifada." Yet the roots of shared systemic injustices run far deeper.
Though it remains impolitic to say so here in the US, both "BLM and the Palestinian rights movement are [by their own accounts] fighting settler-colonial states and structures of domination and supremacy that value, respectively, white and Jewish lives over black and Palestinian ones." They're hardly wrong. All-but-official apartheid reigns in Occupied Palestine, and a de-facto two-tier system favoring Jewish citizens, prevails within Israel itself. Similarly, the US grapples with chattel slavery's legacy, lingering effects institutional Jim Crow-apartheid, and its persistent system of gross, if unofficial, socio-economic racial disparity.
Though there are hopeful rumblings in post-Floyd America, neither society has much grappled with the immediacy and intransigency of their established and routine devaluation of (internal and external) Arab and African lives. Instead, in another gross similarity, Israelis and Americans prefer to laud any ruling elites who even pretend towards mildly reformist rhetoric (rather than action) as brave peacemakers.
In fact, two have won the Nobel Peace Prize. In America, there was the untested Obama: he the king of drones and free-press-suppression – whose main qualification for the award was not being named George W. Bush. In Israel, the prize went to late Prime Minister Shimon Peres. According to Bresheeth-Zabner, Peres was the "mind behind the military-industrial complex" in Israel, and also architect of the infamous 1996 massacre of 106 people sheltering at a United Nations compound in South Lebanon. In such societies as ours and Israel's, and amidst interminable wars, too often politeness passes for principle.
Predictably, social and cultural rot – and strategic delusions – first manifest in a nation's military. Neither Israel's nor America's has a particularly impressive record of late. The IDF won a few important wars in its first 25 years of existence, then came back from a near catastrophic defeat to prevail in the 1973 Yom Kippur War; but since then, it's at best muddled through near-permanent lower-intensity conflicts after invading Southern Lebanon in 1978. In fact, its 22-year continuous counter-guerilla campaign there – against Palestinian resistance groups and then Lebanese Hezbollah – slowly bled the IDF dry in a quagmire often called " Israel's Vietnam ." It was, in fact, proportionally more deadly for its troops than America's Southeast Asian debacle – and ended (in 2000) with an embarrassing unilateral withdrawal.
Additionally, Tel Aviv's perma-military-occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip hasn't just flagrantly violated International law and several UN resolutions – but blown up in the IDF's face. Ever since vast numbers of exasperated and largely abandoned (by Arab armies) Palestinians rose up in the 1987 Intifada – initially peaceful protests – and largely due to the IDF's counterproductively vicious suppression, Israel has been trapped in endless imperial policing and low-to-mid-level counterinsurgency.
None of its major named military operations in the West Bank and/or Gaza Strip – Operations Defensive Shield (2002), Days of Penitence (2004), Summer Rains (2006), Cast Lead (2008-09), Pillar of Defense (2012), Protective Edge (2014), among others – has defeated or removed Hamas, nor have they halted the launch of inaccurate but persistent Katyusha rockets.
In fact, the wildly disproportionate toll on Palestinian civilians in each and every operation, and the intransigence of Israel's ironclad occupation has only earned Tel Aviv increased international condemnation and fresh generations of resistors to combat. The IDF counts minor tactical successes and suffers broader strategic failure. As even a fairly sympathetic Rand report on the Gaza operations noted, "Israel's grand strategy became 'mowing the grass' – accepting its inability to permanently solve the problem and instead repeatedly targeting leadership of Palestinian militant organizations to keep violence manageable."
The American experience has grown increasingly similar over the last three-quarters of a century. Unless one counts modern trumped-up Banana Wars like those in Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989), or the lopsided 100-hour First Persian Gulf ground campaign (1991), the US military, too, hasn't won a meaningful victory since 1945. Korea (1950-53) was a grinding and costly draw; Vietnam (1965-72) a quixotic quagmire; Lebanon (1982-84) an unnecessary and muddled mess ; Somalia (1992-94) a mission-creeping fiasco; Bosnia/Kosovo (1992-) an over-hyped and unsatisfying diversion. Yet matters deteriorated considerably, and the Israeli-parallels grew considerably, after Congress chose endless war on September 14, 2001.
America's longest ever war, in Afghanistan, started as a seeming slam dunk but has turned out to be an intractable operational defeat. That lost cause has been a dead war walking for over a decade. Operations Iraqi Freedom (2003-11) and Inherent Resolve (2014-) may prove, respectively, America's most counterproductive and aimless missions ever. Operation Odyssey Dawn, the 2011 air campaign in pursuit of Libyan regime change, was a debacle – the entire region still grapples with its detritus of jihadi profusion, refugee dispersion, and ongoing proxy war.
US support for the Saudi-led terror war on Yemen hasn't made an iota of strategic sense, but has left America criminally complicit in immense civilian-suffering. Despite the hype, the relatively young US Africa Command (AFRICOM) was never really "about Africans," and its dozen years worth of far-flung campaigns have only further militarized a long-suffering continent and generated more terrorists. Like Israel's post-1973 operations, America's post-2001 combat missions have simply been needless, hopeless, and counterproductive.
Consider a few other regrettable U.S.-Israeli military connections over these last two decades:
- Both have set their loudly proclaimed principles aside and made devil's bargains with the venal Saudis (many of whom really do hate our values), as well as with the cynical military coup-artists in Egypt.
- Both have increasingly engaged in " wars of choice " and grown reliant on the snake oil of "magical" air power to [not] win them. In fact, during the 2006 war there, the IDF's first-ever air force officer to serve as chief of staff declared his intent to use such sky power to "turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years." How's that for the head of a force that still styles itself "the most moral army in the world." It's hard to see much moral difference between that and America's ever-secretive drone program (perhaps 14,000 total strikes) and the US government's constant and purposeful underreporting of the thousands of civilians they've killed.
- Both vaunted militaries broke their supposedly unbreakable backs in ill-advised invasions built on false pretenses. The Israeli historian Martin van Creveld has famously called Israel's 1982 Lebanon War – and the quagmire that resulted – his country's "greatest folly." The mainstream US national security analyst Tom Ricks – hardly a dove himself – went a step further: the 2003 "American military adventure in Iraq" was nothing short of a Fiasco .
- Both armies have seen their conventional war competence and ethical standards measurably deteriorate amidst lengthy militarized-policing campaigns. As van Creveld said of the IDF during the 1982 Lebanon invasion (after it enabled the vicious massacre of Palestinian refugees by Christian militiamen: it was reduced from the superb fighting force of a "small but brave people" into a "high-tech, but soft, bloated, strife-ridden, responsibility-shy and dishonest army."
The wear and tear from the South Lebanon occupation and from decades of beating up on downtrodden and trapped Palestinians damaged Israel's vaunted military. According to an after-action review, these operations"weakened the IDF's operational capabilities." Thus, when Israel's nose was more than a bit bloodied in the 2006 war with Hezbollah, IDF analysts and retired officers were quick – and not exactly incorrect – to blame the decaying effect of endless low-intensity warfare.
At the time, two general staff members, Major Generals Yishai Bar and Yiftach Ron-Tal, "warned that as a result of the preoccupation with missions in the territories, the IDF had lost its maneuverability and capability to fight in mountainous terrain." Van Creveld added that: "Among the commanders, the great majority can barely remember when they trained for and engaged in anything more dangerous than police-type operations."
Similar voices have sounded the alarm about the post-9/11 American military. Perhaps the loudest has been my fellow West Point History faculty alum, retired Colonel Gian Gentile. This former tank battalion commander and Iraq War vet described "America's deadly embrace of counterinsurgency" as a Wrong Turn . Specifically, he's argued that "counterinsurgency has perverted [the way of] American war," pushed the "defense establishment into fanciful thinking," and thus "atrophying [its] core fighting competencies."
Instructively, Gentile cited "The Israeli Defense Forces' recent  experience in Lebanon There were many reasons for its failure, but one of them, is that its army had done almost nothing but [counterinsurgency] in the Palestinian territories, and its ability to fight against a strident enemy had atrophied." Maybe more salient was Gentile's other rejoinder that, historically, "nation-building operations conducted at gunpoint don't turn out well" and tend to be as (or more) bloody and brutal as other wars.
- Finally, and related to Gentile's last point, both militaries fell prey to the brutality and cruelty so common in prolonged counterinsurgency and counter-guerilla combat. Consider the resurrected utility of that infamous adage of absurdity mouthed by a US Army major in Vietnam: "it became necessary to destroy the town to save it." He supposedly meant the February 1968 decision to bomb and shell the city of Ben Tre in the Mekong Delta, regardless of the risk to civilians therein.
Fast forward a decade, and B?n Tre's ghost was born again in the matter-of-fact admission of the IDF's then chief of staff, General Mordecai Gur. Asked if, during its 1978 invasion of South Lebanon, Israel had bombed civilians "without discrimination," he fired back : "Since when has the population of South Lebanon been so sacred? They know very well what the terrorists were doing. . . . I had four villages in South Lebanon bombarded without discrimination." When pressed to confirm that he believed "the civilian population should be punished," Gur's retort was "And how!" Should it surprise us then, that 33 years later the concept was rebooted to flatten presumably (though this has been contested) booby-trapped villages in my old stomping grounds of Kandahar, Afghanistan?
In sum, Israel and America are senseless strategy-simpatico. It's a demonstrably disastrous two-way relationship. Our main exports have been guns – $142.3 billion worth since 1949 (significantly more than any other recipient) – and twin umbrellas of air defense and bottomless diplomatic top-cover for Israel's abuses. As to the top-cover export, it's not for nothing that after the U.S. House rubber-stamped – by a vote of 410-8 – a 2006 resolution (written by the Israel Lobby) justifying IDF attacks on Lebanese civilians, the "maverick" Republican Patrick Buchanan labeled the legislative body as " our Knesset ."
Naturally, Tel Aviv responds in kind by shipping America a how-to-guide for societal militarization, a built-in foreign policy script to their benefit, and the unending ire of most people in the Greater Middle East. It's a timeless and treasured trade – but it benefits neither party in the long run.
"Armies With Countries"
It was once said that Frederick the Great's 18th century Prussia, was "not a country with an army, but an army with a country." Israel has long been thus. It's probably still truer of them than us. The Israelis do, after all, have an immersive system of military conscription – whereas Americans leave the fighting, killing, and dying to a microscopic and unrepresentative Praetorian Guard of professionals. Nevertheless, since 9/11 – or, more accurately, 9/14/2001 – US politics, society, and culture have wildly militarized. To say the least, the outcomes have been unsatisfying: American troops haven't "won" a significant war 75 years. Now, the US has set appearances aside once and for all and " jumped the shark " towards the gimmick of full-throated imperialism.
There are, of course, real differences in scale and substance between America and Israel. The latter is the size of Massachusetts, with the population of New York City. Its "Defense Force" requires most of its of-age population to wage its offensive wars and perennial policing of illegally occupied Palestinians. Israeli society is more plainly " prussianized ." Yet in broader and bigger – if less blatant – ways, so is the post-AUMF United States. America-the-exceptional leads the world in legalized gunrunning and overseas military basing . Rather than the globe's self-styled " Arsenal of Democracy ," the US has become little more than the arsenal of arsenals. So, given the sway of the behemoth military-industrial-complex and recent Israelification of its political culture, perhaps it's more accurate to say America is a defense industry with a country – and not the other way around.
As for 17 year-old me, I didn't think I'd signed up for the Israeli Defense Force on that sunny West Point morning of July 2, 2001. And, for the first two months and 12 days of my military career – maybe I hadn't. I sure did serve in its farcical facsimile, though: fighting its wars for an ensuing 17 more years.
Yet everyone who entered the US military after September 14, 2001 signed up for just that. Which is a true tragedy.
This originally appeared at Popular Resistance .
Danny Sjursen is a retired US Army officer and contributing editor at Antiwar.com His work has appeared in the NY Times, LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, Popular Resistance, and Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge . His forthcoming book, Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War is now available for pre-order . Sjursen was recently selected as a 2019-20 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Fellow . Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet . Visit his professional website for contact info, to schedule speeches or media appearances, and access to his past work.
Copyright 2020 Danny Sjursen
Sep 18, 2020 | www.rt.com
By Caitlin Johnstone , an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz ...Amid all the pedantic squabbling over when it is and is not legal under US law for a journalist to expose evidence of US war crimes, we must never lose sight of the fact that (A) it should always be legal to expose war crimes, (B) it should always be illegal for governments to hide evidence of their war crimes, (C) war crimes should always be punished, (D) people who start criminal wars should always be punished, (E) governments should not be permitted to have a level of secrecy that allows them to start criminal wars, and (F) power and secrecy should always have an inverse relationship to one another.
The Assange case needs to be fought tooth and claw, but we must keep in mind that it is so very, very many clicks back from where we need to be as a civilization. In an ideal situation, governments should be too afraid of the public to keep secrets from them; instead, here we are begging the most powerful government in the world to please not imprison a journalist because he arguably did not break the rules that that government made for itself.
Do you see how far that point is from where we need to be?
It's important to remember this. It's important to remember that the amount of evil deeds power structures will commit is directly proportional to the amount of information they are permitted to hide from the public. We will not have a healthy world until power and secrecy have an inverse relationship to each other: privacy for rank-and-file individuals, and transparency for governments and their officials.
"But what about military secrets?" one might object. Yes, what about military secrets? What about the fact that virtually all military violence perpetrated by the world's largest power structures is initiated based on lies ? What about the utterly indisputable fact that the more secrecy we allow the war machine, the more wars it deceives the public into allowing it to initiate?
In a healthy world, the most powerful government on Earth wouldn't be trying to squint at its own laws in such a way that permits the prosecution of a journalist for telling the truth.
In a healthy world, the most powerful government on Earth wouldn't prosecute anyone for telling the truth at all.
In a healthy world, governments would prosecute their own war crimes, instead of those who expose them.
In a healthy world, governments wouldn't commit war crimes at all.
In a healthy world, governments wouldn't start wars at all.
In a healthy world, governments would see truth as something to be desired and actively sought, not something to be repressed and punished.
In a healthy world, governments wouldn't keep secrets from the public, and wouldn't have any cause to want to.
In a healthy world, if governments existed at all, they would exist solely as tools for the people to serve themselves, with full transparency and accountability to those people.
We are obviously a very, very far cry from the kind of healthy world we would all like to one day find ourselves in. But we should always keep in mind what a healthy world will look like, and hold it as our true north for the direction that we are pushing in.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
By Caitlin Johnstone , an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Reality007 3 hours ago 18 Sep, 2020 10:07 AMUnfortunately, no criminals that have committed or covered up war crimes, decades ago to present, will ever be indicted. They are all above the law while all innocents that revealed the truths must pay highly. We can only pray and hope for the best for Julian Assange.Fred Dozer Reality007 1 hour ago 18 Sep, 2020 12:16 PMI see nothing wrong with robbing banks in criminal controlled countries. These governments, murder, cheat, lie, & steal.T. Agee Kaye 2 hours ago 18 Sep, 2020 11:10 AMThe right of a people to know what their government is doing, and the potential consequences of those actions on the people, nation, and society, is inalienable. The exposure of war crimes and any corruption is not illegal and cannot be made illegal. The trial of Assange is not about the legality of Assange's actions. It is a display of the influence that criminal interests have over the government and judiciary. It is an attempt to create legitimacy by creating precedent. Murder has plenty of precedent. It will never be legitimate.Jewel Gyn 3 hours ago 18 Sep, 2020 10:21 AMAgreed but having said that, we are not living in a perfect world. Bully with big fists exist and the lesser countries just stood by frustrated and sucking their thumbs, silent lest they be targeted for voicing out. And you can see clearly why US is walking away from any form of organised voice eg UN.Odinsson 2 hours ago 18 Sep, 2020 10:51 AMWhat we need in the case of Julian Assange is factual reporting. While the motivation to prosecute Assange is most likely political, there would be no ability to prosecute him were it not for his active support of PFC Manning's hacking of a DOD information system. It is not unlawful to publish classified information which was provided to you, so long as you are not involved in the criminal acts leading to the exfiltration of the data. Had Assange not aided PFC Manning by looking up hash codes in spreadsheets of known password to hash code translations then the grand jury would not have indicted him. FWIW, it is my opinion that the statute of limitations expired long ago and this should be grounds for dismissal of all charges against him.jholf 1 hour ago 18 Sep, 2020 12:04 PMThese world leaders, claim to be Christians, ... their God 'commands', "Thou shalt not kill." Yet, for more than 6 decades, that is exactly what each of these Christian Commanders in Chief, have done for no reason, other than to fill the pockets of the elite. A man is known by his deeds, Assange gave us truth, while these world leaders gave us war and destructi
Sep 09, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The international order is no longer bipolar, despite the elites' insistence otherwise. Fortunately there is hope for change.
Despite its many failings and high human, social, and economic costs, American foreign policy since the end of the Second World War has shown a remarkable degree of continuity and inflexibility. This rather curious phenomenon is not limited to America alone. The North Atlantic foreign policy establishment from Washington D.C. to London, which some have aptly dubbed the "blob," has doggedly championed the grand strategic framework of "primacy" and armed hegemony, often coated with more docile language such as "global leadership," "American indispensability," and "strengthening the Western alliance."
In America, this unfortunate status quo in support of primacy persists even in the Trumpian Age and within debates around the eccentric and unconventional presidency of Donald Trump. In fact, despite all the talk of political polarization in the United States, it appears that when it comes to naming new threats and enemies to "contain," "deter," and deem "existential," bipartisan consensus is found swiftly and quite readily.
On the Left, and in the wake of President Trump's election, the Democratic establishment began fixating its wrath on Russia–adopting a confrontational stance toward Moscow and fueling fears of a renewed Cold War. On the Right, the realigning GOP has increasingly, if at times inconsistently, singled out China as the greatest threat to U.S. national security, a hostile attitude further exacerbated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alarmingly, Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, has recently joined the hawkish bandwagon toward China, even attempting to outflank Trump on this issue and attacking the president's China policy as too weak and accommodating of China's rise.
In a recent speech delivered in Europe, the U.S. defense secretary and former corporate lobbyist for Raytheon, Mark Esper, unified these two faces of the Janus that embodies the North Atlantic foreign policy establishment. Esper referred to both China and Russia as disruptive forces working to unravel the international order, which "we have created together," and called on the international community to preserve that order by countering both powers. As it stands, we are on the path to a series of cold wars throughout this century, if not a hot conflict between rival great powers that could spiral into World War III. Despite increased calls for realism and restraint in foreign policy, primacy is alive and well.
Indeed, the dominant tendency among many foreign policy observers is to overprivilege the threat of rising superpowers and to insist on strong containment measures to limit the spheres of influence of the so-called revisionist powers. Such an approach, coupled with the prospect of ascendant powers actively resisting and confronting the United States as the ruling global hegemon, has one eminent International Relations scholar warning of the Thucydides Trap.
There are others, however, who insist that the structural shifts undermining the liberal international order mark the end of U.S. hegemony and its "unipolar moment." In realist terms, what Secretary Esper really means to protect, they would argue, is a conception of "rules-based" global order that was a structural by-product of the Second World War and the ensuing Cold War and whose very rules and institutions were underwritten by U.S. hegemony. This would be an exercise in folly -- not corresponding to the reality of systemic change and the return of great power competition and civilizational contestation.
What's more, the sanctimony of this "liberal" hegemonic order and the logic of democratic peace were both presumably vindicated by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its totalitarian system, a black swan event that for many had heralded the "end of history" and promised the advent of the American century. A great deal of lives, capital, resources, and goodwill were sacrificed by America and her allies toward that crusade for liberty and universality, which was only the most recent iteration of a radically utopian element in American political thought going back to Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. Alas, as it had eluded earlier generations of idealists, that century never truly arrived, and neither did the empire of liberty and prosperity that it loftily aimed to establish.
Today, the emerging reality of a multipolar world and alternate worldviews championed by the different cultural blocs led by China and Russia appears to have finally burst the bubble of American Triumphalism, proving that the ideas behind it are "not simply obsolete but absurd." This failure should have been expected since the very project the idealists had espoused was built on a pathological "savior complex" and a false truism that reflected the West's own absolutist and distorted sense of ideological and moral superiority. Samuel Huntington might have been right all along to cast doubt on the long-term salience of using ideology and doctrinal universalism as the dividing principle for international relations. His call to focus, instead, on civilizational distinction, the permanent power of culture on human action, and the need to find common ground rings especially true today. Indeed, fostering a spirit of coexistence and open dialogue among the world's great civilizational complexes is a fundamental tenet of a cultural realism.
And yet, despite such permanent shifts in the global order away from universalist dichotomies and global hegemony and toward culturalism and multi-polarity, there exists a profound disjunction between the structural realities of the international system and the often business-as-usual attitude of the North Atlantic foreign policy elites. How could one explain the astonishing levels of rigidity and continuity on the part of the "blob" and the military-industrial-congressional complex regularly pushing for more adventurism and interventionism abroad? Why would the bipartisan primacist establishment, which their allies in the mainstream media endeavor still to mask, justify such illiberal acts of aggression and attempts at empire by weaponizing the moralistic language of human rights, individual liberty, and democracy in a world increasingly awakened to arbitrary ideological framing?
There are, of course, systemic reasons behind the power and perpetuation of the blob and the endurance of primacy. The vast economic incentives of war and its instruments, institutional routinization and intransigence, stupefaction and groupthink of government bureaucracy, and the significant influence of lobbying efforts by foreign governments and other vested interest groups could each partly explain the remarkable continuity of the North Atlantic foreign policy establishment. The endless stream of funding from the defense industry, neoliberal and neoconservative foundations, as well as the government itself keeps the "blob" alive, while the general penchant for bipartisanship around preserving the status quo allows it to thrive. What is more, elite schools produce highly analytic yet narrowly focused and conventional minds that are tamed to be agreeable so as to not undermine elite consensus. This conveyor belt feeds the "blob," supplying it with the army of specialists, experts, and wonks it requires to function as a mind melding hive, while in practice safeguarding employment for the career bureaucrats for decades to come.
There is, however, a more significant psychosociological reason for the blob's remarkable persistence. When it comes to foreign policy, Western policymakers today suffer from a Manichean worldview, a caustic mindset crystalized during a decades-running Cold War with the Soviet Union. The world might have changed fundamentally with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the bipolar structure of the international system might have ended irreversibly, but the personnel -- the Baby Boomer Generation elites conducting foreign policy in the North Atlantic -- did not leave office or retire with the collapse of the USSR. They largely remain in power to this day.
Every generation is forged through a formative crisis, its experiences seen through the prism that all-encompassing ordeal. For the incumbent elites, that generational crisis was the Cold War and the omnipresent threat of nuclear annihilation. The dualistic paradigm of the international system during the U.S.-Soviet rivalry bred an entire generation to see the world through a black-and-white binary. It should come as no surprise that this era elevated the idealist strain of thought and the crusading, neo-Jacobin impulse of U.S. foreign policy (personified by Thomas Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson) to new, ever-expanding heights. Idealism prizes a nemesis and thus revels in a bipolar order.
Frozen in this Cold War mindset, the Atlanticist blob has internalized the bipolar moment that followed the Second World War, treating it as a permanent fixture and the normal state of the international system. In fact, the bipolar and unipolar periods we have undergone over the past 75 years are nothing but aberrations and historical anomalies. In truth, the reality of the international system tends toward multi-polarity -- and at long last it appears that the system is self-correcting. The North Atlantic establishment came of age during that time of exception, forming its (liberal) identity through the process of "alterity" and in a nemetic opposition to communism.
Not surprisingly then, the North Atlantic elites continue to seek adversaries to demonize and "monsters to destroy" in order to justify their moral universalism and presumed ideological superiority, doing so under the garb of a totalizing and absolutist idea of exceptionalism. After all, a nemetic zeitgeist during which ideology reigned supreme and realism was routinely discounted was tailor-made for dogmatic absolutism and moral universalism. In such a zero-sum strategic environment, it was only natural to demand totality and frame the ongoing geopolitical struggle in terms of an existential opposition over Good and Evil that would quite literally split the world in two.
Today, that same kind of Manichean thinking continues to handicap paradigmatic change in foreign policy. A false consciousness, it underpins and promotes belief in the double myths of indispensability and absolute exceptionality, suggesting that the North Atlantic bloc holds a certain monopoly on all that is good and true. It is not by chance that such pathological renderings of "exceptionalism" and "leadership" have been wielded as convenient rationale and intellectual placeholders for the ideology of empire across the North Atlantic. This sense of ingrained moral self-righteousness, coupled with an attitude that celebrates activism, utopianism, and interventionism in foreign policy, has created and reinforced a culture of strategic overextension and imperial overreach.
It is this very culture -- personified and dominated by the Baby Boomers and the blob they birthed -- that has made hawkishness ubiquitous, avoids any real reckoning as to the limits of power, and habitually belittles calls for restraint and moderation as isolationism. In truth, however, what has been the exceptional part in the delusion of absolute exceptionalism is Pax Americana, liberal hegemony, and the hubris that animates them having gone uncontested and unchecked for so long. That confrontation could begin in earnest by directly challenging the Boomer blob itself -- and by propagating a counter-elite offering a starkly different worldview.
Achieving such a genuine paradigm shift demands a generational sea-change, to retire the old blob and make a better one in its place. It is about time for the old establishment to forgo its reign, allowing a new younger cohort from among the Millennial and post-Millennial generations to advance into leadership roles. The Millennials, especially, are now the largest generation of eligible voters (overtaking the Baby Boomers) as well as the first generation not habituated by the Cold War; in fact, many of them grew up during the "unipolar moment" of American hegemony. Hence, their generational identity is not built around a dualistic alterity. Free from obsessive fixation on ideological supremacy, most among them reject total global dominance as both unattainable and undesirable.
Instead, their worldview is shaped by an entirely different set of experiences and disappointments. Their generational crisis was brought on by a series of catastrophic interventions and endless wars around the world -- chief among them the debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq and the toppling of Libya's Gaddafi -- punctuated by repeated onslaughts of financial recessions and domestic strife. The atmosphere of uncertainty, instability, and general chaos has bred discontent, turning many Millennials into pragmatic realists who are disenchanted with the system, critical of the pontificating establishment, and naturally skeptical of lofty ideals and utopian doctrines.
In short, this is not an absolutist and complacent generation of idealists, but one steeped in realism and a certain perspectivism that has internalized the inherent relativity of both power and truth. Most witnessed the dangers of overreach, hubris, and a moralized foreign policy, so they are actively self-reflective, circumspect, and restrained. As a generation, they appear to be less the moralist and the global activist and more prudent, level-headed, and temperamentally conservative -- developing a keen appreciation for realpolitik, sovereignty, and national interest. Their preference for a non-ideological approach in foreign policy suggests that once in power, they will be less antagonistic and more tolerant of rival powers and accepting of pluralism in the international system. That openness to civilizational distinction and global cultural pluralism also implies that future Millennial statesmen will subscribe to a more humble, less grandiose, and narrower definition of interest that focuses on securing core objectives -- i.e., preserving national security and recognizing spheres of influence.
Reforming and rehabilitating the U.S. foreign policy establishment will require more than policy prescriptions and comprehensive reports: it needs generational change. To transform and finally "rein in" North Atlantic foreign policy, our task today must be to facilitate and expedite this shift. Once that occurs, the incoming Millennials should be better positioned to discard the deep-seated and routinized ideology of empire, supplanting it with a greater emphasis on partnership that is driven by mutual interests and a general commitment to sharing the globe with the world's other great cultures.
This new approach calls for America to lead by the power of its example, exhibiting the benefits of liberty and a constitutional republic at home, without forcibly imposing those values abroad. Such an outlook means abandoning the coercive regime change agendas and the corrosive projects of nation-building and democracy promotion. In this new multipolar world, America would be an able, dynamic, and equal participant in ensuring sustainable peace side-by-side the world's other great powers, acting as "a normal country in a normal time." Reflecting the spirit of republican governance authentically is far more pertinent now and salutary for the future of the North Atlantic peoples than is promulgating the utopian image of a shining city on a hill.
Arta Moeini is research director at the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy and a postdoc fellow at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship. Dr. Moeini's latest project advances a theory of cultural realism as a cornerstone to a new understanding of foreign policy.
The Institute for Peace and Diplomacy will be co-sponsoring "The Future of Grand Strategy in the Post-COVID World," with TAC, tonight at 6 p.m. ET. Register for free here .
Sep 16, 2020 | www.rt.com
... ... ...
It is Trump's tortured relationship with the military that stands out the most, especially as told through the eyes of former Secretary of Defense Jim 'Mad Dog' Mattis, a retired marine general. It is clear that Bob Woodward spent hours speaking with Mattis -- the insights, emotions and internal voice captured in the book show a level of intimacy that could only be reached through in-depth interviews, and Woodward has a well-earned reputation for getting people to speak to him.
The book makes it clear that Mattis viewed Trump as a threat to the US' standing as the defender of a rules-based order -- built on the back of decades-old alliances -- that had been in place since the end of the Second World War.
It also makes it clear that Mattis and the military officers he oversaw placed defending this order above implementing the will of the American people, as expressed through the free and fair election that elevated Donald Trump to the position of commander-in-chief. In short, Mattis and his coterie of generals knew best, and when the president dared issue an order or instruction that conflicted with their vision of how the world should work, they would do their best to undermine this order, all the while confirming to the president that it was being followed.
This trend was on display in Woodward's telling of Trump's efforts to forge better relations with North Korea. At every turn, Mattis and his military commanders sought to isolate the president from the reality on the ground, briefing him only on what they thought he needed to know, and keeping him in the dark about what was really going on.
In a telling passage, Woodward takes us into the mind of Jim Mattis as he contemplates the horrors of a nuclear war with North Korea, and the responsibility he believed he shouldered when it came to making the hard decision as to whether nuclear weapons should be used or not. Constitutionally, the decision was the president's alone to make, something Mattis begrudgingly acknowledges. But in Mattis' world, he, as secretary of defense, would be the one who influenced that decision.
Mattis, along with the other general officers described by Woodward, is clearly gripped with what can only be described as the 'Military Messiah Syndrome'.
What defines this 'syndrome' is perhaps best captured in the words of Emma Sky, the female peace activist-turned adviser to General Ray Odierno, the one-time commander of US forces in Iraq. In a frank give-and-take captured by Ms. Sky in her book 'The Unravelling', Odierno spoke of the value he placed on the military's willingness to defend "freedom" anywhere in the world. " There is, " he said, " no one who understands more the importance of liberty and freedom in all its forms than those who travel the world to defend it ."
Ms. Sky responded in typically direct fashion: " One day, I will have you admit that the [Iraq] war was a bad idea, that the administration was led by a radical neocon program, that the US's standing in the world has gone down greatly, and that we are far less safe than we were before 9/11. "
Odierno would have nothing of it. " It will never happen while I'm the commander of soldiers in Iraq ."
" To lead soldiers in battle ," Ms. Sky noted, " a commander had to believe in the cause. " Left unsaid was the obvious: even if the cause was morally and intellectually unsound.
his, more than anything, is the most dangerous thing about the 'Military Messiah Syndrome' as captured by Bob Woodward -- the fact that the military is trapped in an inherited reality divorced from the present, driven by precepts which have nothing to with what is, but rather by what the military commanders believe should be. The unyielding notion that the US military is a force for good becomes little more than meaningless drivel when juxtaposed with the reality that the mission being executed is inherently wrong.
The 'Military Messiah Syndrome' lends itself to dishonesty and, worse, to self-delusion. It is one thing to lie; it is another altogether to believe the lie as truth.No single general had the courage to tell Trump allegations against Syria were a hoax
The cruise missile attack on Syria in early April 2017 stands out as a case in point. The attack was ordered in response to allegations that Syria had dropped a bomb containing the sarin nerve agent on a town -- Khan Shaykhun -- that was controlled by Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic militants.
Trump was led to believe that the 59 cruise missiles launched against Shayrat Airbase -- where the Su-22 aircraft alleged to have dropped the bombs were based -- destroyed Syria's capability to carry out a similar attack in the future. When shown post-strike imagery in which the runways were clearly untouched, Trump was outraged, lashing out at Secretary of Defense Mattis in a conference call. " I can't believe you didn't destroy the runway !", Woodward reports the president shouting.
" Mr. President ," Mattis responds in the text, " they would rebuild the runway in 24 hours, and it would have little effect on their ability to deploy weapons. We destroyed the capability to deploy weapons " for months, Mattis said.
" That was the mission the president had approved, " Woodward writes, clearly channeling Mattis, " and they had succeeded ."
The problem with this passage is that it is a lie. There is no doubt that Bob Woodward has the audio tape of Jim Mattis saying these things. But none of it is true. Mattis knew it when he spoke to Woodward, and Woodward knew it when he wrote the book.
There was no confirmed use of chemical weapons by Syria at Khan Shaykhun. Indeed, the forensic evidence available about the attack points to the incident being a false flag effort -- a successful one, it turns out -- on the part of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamists to provoke a US military strike against Syria. No targets related to either the production, storage or handling of chemical weapons were hit by the US cruise missiles, if for no other reason than no such targets could exist if Syria did not possess and/or use a chemical weapon against Khan Shaykhun.
Moreover, the US failed to produce a narrative of causality which provided some underlying logic to the targets that were struck at Khan Shaykhun -- "Here is where the chemical weapons were stored, here is where the chemical weapons were filled, here is where the chemical weapons were loaded onto the aircraft." Instead, 59 cruise missiles struck empty aircraft hangars, destroying derelict aircraft, and killing at least four Syrian soldiers and up to nine civilians.
The next morning, the same Su-22 aircraft that were alleged to have bombed Khan Shaykhun were once again taking off from Shayrat Air Base -- less than 24 hours after the US cruise missiles struck that facility. President Trump had every reason to be outraged by the results.
But the President should have been outraged by the processes behind the attack, where military commanders, fully afflicted by 'Military Messiah Syndrome', offered up solutions that solved nothing for problems that did not exist. Not a single general (or admiral) had the courage to tell the president that the allegations against Syria were a hoax, and that a military response was not only not needed, but would be singularly counterproductive.
But that's not how generals and admirals -- or colonels and lieutenant colonels -- are wired. That kind of introspective honesty cannot happen while they are in command.
Bob Woodward knows this truth, but he chose not to give it a voice in his book, because to do so would disrupt the pre-scripted narrative that he had constructed, around which he bent and twisted the words of those he interviewed -- including the president and Jim Mattis. As such, 'Rage' is, in effect, a lie built on a lie. It is one thing for politicians and those in power to manipulate the truth to their advantage. It's something altogether different for journalists to report something as true that they know to be a lie.
On the back cover of 'Rage', the Pulitzer prize-winning historian Robert Caro is quoted from a speech he gave about Bob Woodward. " Bob Woodward ," Caro notes, " a great reporter. What is a great reporter? Someone who never stops trying to get as close to the truth as possible ."
After reading 'Rage', one cannot help but conclude the opposite -- that Bob Woodward has written a volume which pointedly ignores the truth. Instead, he gives voice to a lie of his own construct, predicated on the flawed accounts of sources inflicted with 'Military Messiah Syndrome', whose words embrace a fantasy world populated by military members fulfilling missions far removed from the common good of their fellow citizens -- and often at conflict with the stated intent and instruction of the civilian leadership they ostensibly serve. In doing so, Woodward is as complicit as the generals and former generals he quotes in misleading the American public about issues of fundamental importance.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!Scott Ritter
is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ' SCORPION KING : America's Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.' He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter
Whose side are generals on? As Joint Chiefs chairman APOLOGIZES for standing by Trump, Biden confident of military support The military is trapped in an inherited reality divorced from the present
Caitlin Johnstone: Tens of millions of people displaced by the 'War On Terror', the greatest scam ever invented Misleading the American public
Jewel Gyn 21 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 12:23 AMWhichever construct you want to believe, the fact remains that US has continued to sow instability around the world in the name of defending the liberty and freedom. Which brings to the question how the world can continue to allow a superpower to dictate what's good or bad for a sovereign country.Johan le Roux Jewel Gyn 18 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 03:42 AMThe answer you seek is not in the US's proclaimed vision of 'democracy' ot 'rescuing populations from the clutches of vile dictators.' They just say that to validate their actions which in reality is using their military as a mercenary force to secure and steal the resources of countries.Joaquin Montano 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 04:57 PMBob Woodward was enshrined as a great, heroic like journalist by the Hollywood propaganda machine, but reality is he is a US Security agent pretending to be a well informed/connected journalist. And indeed, he is well informed/connected, since he was a Naval intelligence man, part responsible of the demise of the Nixon administration when it fell out of grace with the powerful elites, and the Washington Post being well connected with the CIA, the rest is history. And as they say, once a CIA man, always a CIA man.DukeLeo Joaquin Montano 22 hours ago 16 Sep, 2020 11:36 PMThat is correct. Woodward is a Naval intelligence man. The elite in the US was not happy about Nixon's foreign policy and his detante with the Soviet Union. Watergate was invented, and Nixon had nothing to do with it. However, it brought him down, thank's to Woodward.NoJustice Joaquin Montano 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:48 PMBut he also exposed Trump's lies about Covid-19.lectrodectus 17 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 04:45 AMAnother first class article by ....Scott .. The book makes it clear that Mattis viewed Trump as a threat to the Us' standing as the defender of a " rules -based order -built on the back of decades -old alliances-that had been in place since the end of the second World War". It also makes it clear that " Mattis and the Military officials he oversaw placed defending this order above the implementing the will of the American People " These old Military Dinosaurs simply can't let go of the past, unfortunately for the American people / the World I can't see anything ever changing, it will be business as usual ie, war after War after War.Jonny247364 lectrodectus 5 minutes ago 17 Sep, 2020 09:53 PMJust because donny signs a dictact it does not equate to the will of the americian people. The americian people did not ask donny to murder Assad.neeon9 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:56 PM"a threat to the US’ standing as the defender of a rules-based order –" Who made that a thing? who voted for the US to be the policeman of the planet? and who said their "rules" are right? I sure didn't, nor did anyone I know, even my american friends don't know whose idea it was!fezzie035fezzm 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:29 PMIt's interesting to note that every president since J.F.K. has got America into a military conflict, or has turned a minor conflict into a major one. Trump is the exception. Trump inherited conflicts (Afghanistan, Syria etc) but has not started a new one, and he has spent his three years ending or winding down the conflicts he had inherited.NoJustice fezzie035fezzm 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:34 PMTrump increased military deployment to the Middle East. He increased military spending. He had a foreign general assassinated. He had missiles fired into Syria. He vetoed a bill that would limit his authority to wage war. Trump is not an exception.T. Agee Kaye 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 05:59 PMGood op ed. 'Rage is built on a lie' applies to many things.E_Kaos T. Agee Kaye 7 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 02:46 PMTrue, the beginning of a new narrative and the continuation of an old narrative.PYCb988 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 07:25 PMSomething's amiss here. Mattis was openly telling the press that there was no evidence against Assad. Just Google: Mattis Newsweek Assad.erniedouglas 12 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 09:14 AMWhat was Watergate? Even bet says there were tapes of a private relationship between Nixon and BB Rebozo.allan Kaplan 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:03 PMContinuation of a highly organized and tightly controlled disinformation campaign to do one singularly the most significant and historically one of the most illegal act of American betrayal... overthrow American elections at any and all costs to install one of the most deranged, demoralized sold out brain dead Biden and his equally brown nosing Harris only to unseat a legally and democratically elected US president according to our Constitution! Will their evil acts against America work? I doubt it! But at a price that America has never before seen. Let's sit back and watch this Rose Bowl parade of America's dirtiest of the dirty politics!E_Kaos allan Kaplan 7 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 02:49 PM"brown nosing harris", how apropos with the play on words.Bill Spence allan Kaplan 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:29 PMBoth parties and their politicians are totally corrupt. Why would anyone support one side over the other? Is that because you believe the promises and lies?custos125 17 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 04:35 AMIs there any evidence that both Mattis and Woodward knew that the allegations of a Syrian use of chemical weapons by plane were not true, a false flag? On the assumption of this use, the capacity to fly such attack and deploy such weapons was destroyed for some time. I recommend reading of Rage, it is quite interesting, even if some people will not like it and try to keep people away from the book.E_Kaos custos125 7 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 02:58 PMMy observations were: 1 - where were the bomb fragments 2 - why use rusted gas cylinders 3 - how do you attach a rusted gas cylinder to a plane 4 - were the rusted gas cylinders tossed out of a plane 5 - how did the rusted gas cylinders land so close to each other My conclusion - False Flag Incidentneeon9 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:58 PMThe is only one threat to peace in the world, and it's the US/Israeli M.I.C.. War mongering children, who actually believe, against all reason, that they are the most worthy and entitled race on earth! they are not. The US has been responsible for more misery in the world than any other state, which isn't surprising given how many Nazi's were resettled there by the Jews. They are also the only Ppl on the planet who think a nuclear war is winnable! How strange is that!NoJustice 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:22 PMSo everything is a lie because Woodward didn't mention that there was no evidence found that linked the Syrian government to the chemical attack?Strongbo50 6 minutes ago 17 Sep, 2020 09:58 PMThe left is firing up the Russian Interference narrative again, how Russia is trying to take the election. The real truth is in plain sight, The main stream media is trying to deliver Biden a win, along with google yahoo msn facebook and twitter. I say, come on Russia, if you can help stem that tide of lies please Mr Putin help. That's a joke but the media is real. And Woodward in his old age wants one more trophy on his mantle.CuttySark 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 05:41 PMTrump has become the great white whale. Seems like there are Ahab's everywhere willing to shoot their hearts upon the beast to bring it down whatever the cost. I think it was this kind of rage and attitude that got Adolf off to a good start.NoJustice CuttySark 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 05:44 PMHe's an easy target because he keeps screwing up.Gryphon_ 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:59 PMThe Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Never in my life have I seen a newspaper that lies as much as the post. Bob Woodward works for the post.
William Gruff , Sep 15 2020 19:50 utc | 47
Sep 17, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
William Gruff , Sep 15 2020 18:50 utc | 42
While I agree with the statement, I can, with a degree of certainty, say nothing was intercepted, and this is all face saving. As this article elucidates, no such iron dome, exists, or cannot be overcome.
All empire's bases remain exposed in the region. This is why the empire is high tailing it out of SW Asia. Zarif said so, himself.
Dr Rubin, the founder and first director of the Israel Missile Defence Organization, which developed the state's first national missile defence shield, wrote in the wake of the 14 September attack on Abqaiq, (the Saudi Armco oil facility) that it was: "A brilliant feat of arms. It was precise, carefully-calibrated, devastating yet bloodless -- a model of a surgical operation the incoming threats [were not] detected by the U.S. air control systems deployed in the area, nor by U.S. satellites
This had nothing to do with flaws in the air and missile defence systems; but with the fact that they were not designed to deal with ground-hugging threats. Simply put, the Iranians outfoxed the defense systems".
William Gruff , Sep 15 2020 18:50 utc | 42Katyusha rockets are normally fired in salvos of dozens. Two of them being launched against the American fortress in Baghdad is just gentle prodding.Sakineh Bagoom , Sep 15 2020 19:08 utc | 44
Another interesting point is that Katyusha rockets (BM-21 Grad) are dirt cheap. Whatever was used to intercept them was several orders of magnitude more expensive. I'm sure the Iraqi militias can keep lobbing Katyushas at the Green Zone for much longer than America can afford to try to shoot them down.Another interesting point is that Katyusha rockets (BM-21 Grad) are dirt cheap. Whatever was used to intercept them was several orders of magnitude more expensive. I'm sure the Iraqi militias can keep lobbing Katyushas at the Green Zone for much longer than America can afford to try to shoot them down.
Sep 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Every few days U.S. 'intelligence' and 'officials' produce fake claims about this or that 'hostile' country. U.S. media continue to reproduce those claims even if they bare any logic and do not make any sense.
On June 27 the New York Times and the Washington Post published fake news about alleged Russian payments to the Taliban for killing U.S. troops.
The stories ran on the outlets' front pages.
Two week later the story was shown to have no basis :
[T]hat the story was obviously bullshit did not prevent Democrats in Congress, including 'Russiagate' swindler Adam Schiff, to bluster about it and to call for immediate briefings and new sanctions on Russia .
Just a day after it was published the main accusation, that Trump was briefed on the 'intelligence' died. The Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Advisor and the CIA publicly rejected the claim. Then the rest of the story started to crumble. On June 2, just one week after it was launched, the story was declared dead .
The NYT buried the above quoted dead corpse of the original story page A-19.
Despite that the Democrats continued to use the fake story for attacks on Donald Trump.
Yesterday the commander of the U.S. forces in the Middle East drove a stake though the heart of the dead corpse of the original story:Two months after top Pentagon officials vowed to get to the bottom of whether the Russian government bribed the Taliban to kill American service members , the commander of troops in the region says a detailed review of all available intelligence has not been able to corroborate the existence of such a program.
"It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me," Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, told NBC News. McKenzie oversees U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
But as one fake news zombie finally dies others get resurrected. Politico's 'intelligence' stenographer Natasha Bertrand produced this nonsensical claim :The Iranian government is weighing an assassination attempt against the American ambassador to South Africa, U.S. intelligence reports say, according to a U.S. government official familiar with the issue and another official who has seen the intelligence.
News of the plot comes as Iran continues to seek ways to retaliate for President Donald Trump's decision to kill a powerful Iranian general earlier this year, the officials said. If carried out, it could dramatically ratchet up already serious tensions between the U.S. and Iran and create enormous pressure on Trump to strike back -- possibly in the middle of a tense election season.
U.S. officials have been aware of a general threat against the ambassador, Lana Marks, since the spring, the officials said. But the intelligence about the threat to the ambassador has become more specific in recent weeks. The Iranian Embassy in Pretoria is involved in the plot, the U.S. government official said.
Ambassador Lana Marks is known for selling overpriced handbags and for her donations to Trump's campaign. To Iran she has zero political or symbolic value. There is no way Iran would ever think about an attack on such a target. Accordingly the South African intelligence services do not believe that there is such a threat:South African Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodlo said the matter was "receiving the necessary attention" and that the State Security Agency (SSA) was "interacting with all relevant partners both in the country and abroad, to ensure that no harm will be suffered by the US Ambassador, including any other Diplomatic Officials inside the borders of our country."
However, an informed intelligence source told Daily Maverick that although the "matter has been taken seriously as we approach all such threats, specifically, there appears to be, from our perspective, no discernible threat. Least of all from the source that it purports to emanate from.
There was "no evidence or indicator", the source said, so the plot was "not likely to be real". The "associations made are not sustainable on any level but all precautions will be put in place".
The source suggested this was an instance of the "tail wagging the dog", of the Trump administration wielding a "weapon of mass distraction" to divert attention from its failures in the election campaign running up to President Donald Trump's re-election bid on November 3.
The spokesperson for the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs, Saeed Khatibzadeh, strongly denied the allegation in the Politico report which he called "hackneyed and worn-out anti-Iran propaganda".
In January the U.S. assassinated the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Soleimani led the external campaigns of the Iranian Quds Forces. He was the one who orchestrated the campaign that defeated the Islamic State. His mythic-symbolic position for Iran and the resistance in the Middle East is beyond that of any U.S. figure.
There is simply no one in the U.S. military or political hierarchy who could be seen as his equal. Iran has therefore announced that it will take other ways to revenge the assassination of Soleimani.
As an immediate response to the assassination of Soleimani Iran had launched a precise missile attack against two U.S. bases in Iraq. It has also announced that it will make sure that the U.S. military will have to leave the Middle East. That program is in full swing now as U.S. bases in Iraq are again coming under daily missile attacks :More than eight months after a barrage of rockets killed an American contractor and wounded four American service members in Kirkuk, Iraq, militia groups continue to target U.S. military bases in that country, and the frequency of those attacks has increased.
"We have had more indirect fire attacks around and against our bases the first half of this year than we did the first half of last year," Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, said. "Those attacks have been higher."
McKenzie's comments came just hours after he announced the United States would be cutting its footprint in Iraq by almost half by the end of September, with about 2,200 troops leaving the country .
Just hours agon two Katyusha rockets were fired against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone. Two British/U.S.convoys also came under attack . U.S. air defense took the missiles down but its anti-missile fire is only further disgruntling the Iraqi population.
These attacks are still limited and designed to not cause any significant casualties. But they will continue to increase over time until the last U.S. soldier is withdrawn from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other Middle East countries. That, and only that, is the punishment Iran promised as revenge for Soleimani's death.
The alleged Iranian thread against the U.S. ambassador to South Africa is just another fake news propaganda story. It is useful only for lame blustering:Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 3:04 UTC · Sep 15, 2020
According to press reports, Iran may be planning an assassination, or other attack, against the United States in retaliation for the killing of terrorist leader Soleimani, which was carried out for his planning a future attack, murdering U.S. Troops, and the death & suffering...
...caused over so many years. Any attack by Iran, in any form, against the United States will be met with an attack on Iran that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude!
The danger of such fake stories about Russia or Iran is that they might be used to justify a response in the case of a false flag attack on the alleged targets.
Should something inconvenient happen to Ambassador Lana Marks the Trump administration could use the fake story as an excuse to respond with a limited attack on Iran.
It is well known by now that U.S. President Donald Trump is lying about every time he opens his mouth. Why do U.S. journalists presume that the agencies and anonymous officials who work under him are more truthful in their utterings than the man himself is hard to understand. Why do they swallow their bullshit?
Posted by b on September 15, 2020 at 11:50 UTC | Permalink
jo6pac , Sep 15 2020 12:01 utc | 1Amerikas propaganda machine never sleeps and sadly to many people believe the BSSunny Runny Burger , Sep 15 2020 12:27 utc | 2US and European journalists are also lying constantly, that's why. Even when they make embarrassing attempts at "being unbiased" or "factual". Do they understand it? Many might not, but some do, perhaps fewer than anyone would think reasonable.Christian J. Chuba , Sep 15 2020 12:44 utc | 3
Btw a lot of these "journalists" in Europe in particular openly self-identify to "the left" or even as socialists and communists or "greens". So much for ideology as some kind of solution: entirely worthless and superficial.But CNN has and will continue to repeat the allegations as fact, so it's mission accomplished for the deep state. As another poster said on this board about manufacturing consent: "It is important to discuss the story, not its credibility, the more the discussion, the more the reaction and the more it reinforces the narrative."vk , Sep 15 2020 12:54 utc | 4
Just for laughs, I looked at the reviews of Gordon Chang's book, 'The Coming Economic Collapse of China' to see if I could figure out the reasoning and one of the reviewers said that China weakens because they lack a free press to hold their govt accountable. I had a good laugh at that one.There's an objective explanation for that.Nathan Mulcahy , Sep 15 2020 12:56 utc | 5
In the 1920s (or 30s), far-rightist Karl Popper coined the concept of systematic manipulation of "public opinion". This would become a hallmark of Western Civilization in the post-war. The public opinion theory states that the masses don't have an opinion for themselves or, if they have, it is sculpting/flexible. The dominant classes can, therefore, guide the masses like a shepherd, to its will.
Friedrich von Hayek - a colleague of Popper and father of British neoliberalism (the man behind Thatcher) - then developed on the issue, by proposing the institutionalization of public opinion. He proposed a system of three or four tiers of intellectuals which a capitalist society should have. The first tier is the capitalist class itself, who would govern the entire world anonymously, through secret meetings. These meetings would produce secret reports, whose ideas would be spread to the second tier. The second tier is the academia and the more prominent politicians and other political leaderships. The third tier is the basic education teachers, who would indoctrinate the children. The fourth tier is the MSM, whose job is to transform the ideas and opinions of the first tier into "common sense" ("public opinion").
Therefore, it's not a case where the Western journalists are being fooled. Their job was never to inform the public. When they publish a lie about, say, Iran trying to kill an American ambassador in South Africa, they are not telling a lie in their eyes: they are telling an underlying truth through one thousand lies. The objective here is to convince ("teach") the American masses it is good for the USA if Iran was invaded and destroyed (which is a truth). They are like the modern Christian God, who teach its subjects the Truth through "mysterious ways".It is an insult to the noble profession, to call what the mainstream media in the west, especially in the USA do, journalism. In my opinion what they do is propaganda and stenography on behalf of those who are in power. I am not sure who coined the term but "presstitution" is not a bad attempt at describing their profession.Gerhard , Sep 15 2020 13:07 utc | 6
Unfortunately they have been amazingly successful in brainwashing people. One current example, from numerous ones that could be cited, is the public's opinion on Julian Assange. .
While the western corporate media lie on a continuous basis - and that has the predictable effect - what is more insidious is not these acts of commissions ( meaning lies), but their acts of omission (meaning excluding or deemphasizing important contextual information) leading people to make the wrong conclusions. NPR in the US is an excellent example of such presstitution.
What I am saying is nothing new to the bar flies here. But I am extremely distressed when I see how poorly informed (propagandized, brainwashed) the vast majority of the people I know are. Let's say a decade ago, ideological polarization was the main reason why it was so difficult to have an open discussion on important issues the US. Today it has become even more difficult because, thanks to the success of the presstitutes, people also have different sets of "facts". And most alarmingly, after successfully creating a readership who believe in alternative "facts", the mainstream presstitutes are moving on to creating a logic-free narrative. Examples include Assad supposedly gassing his people when he was winning (even though that was guaranteed to produce western intervention against him). A more recent example is the Navalny affair. Sadly, very sadly, way too many people are affected.Hi, thanks, and sorry, but: why does nobody look behind the curtain?DG , Sep 15 2020 13:30 utc | 7
Why are the US promoting conflict with China, with Russia? Why are they beating Europe, maybe with the intention to destroy it? Why is a new civil war in the US promoted?
Are these random developments of history? Are laws of history behind that?
NO!! Surely not!
Normal (geopolitically interested) people would think: against China it is better to come together and unite, at least US & Europe, but eventually Russia included. For instance take the population of these three together: far less than China's.
If something is going against the common sense, then there should be a reason behind. This reason I recommend You, with due respect, to find - and to uncover the plan.
Journalism in the US is so superficial, it is a drop above the uppermost wavy comb. Not worth to pay attention to it.
The actual demand is to understand and to show the forces playing deep underwater.
And to preview where these forces are determined to strike against.
Kind regards, GerhardThey are all Judith Miller now.morongobill , Sep 15 2020 13:39 utc | 8Like the famed slogan of septic tank pumpers, the Gray Lady's masthead should read, "Your shit is our bread and butter!"ptb , Sep 15 2020 13:53 utc | 9Yep. We're into some pretty overt 1984 territory now... It's really a shame.Richard Steven Hack , Sep 15 2020 14:37 utc | 10Gareth Porter's latest on "Russian hacking"...Hoarsewhisperer , Sep 15 2020 14:52 utc | 11
Dark Web Voter Database Report Casts New Doubts on Russian Election Hack Narrative
A new report showing that US state-level voter databases were publicly available calls into question the narrative that Russian intelligence "targeted" US state election-related websites in 2016.
The problem with these sorts of accusations about "state-sponsored" hacking is they assume that because a target has some connection to a state or some political activity that it means the hackers are "nation-state". In reality, personal identification information (PII) is a commodity on the black market, along with intellectual property - and *any* hacker will target *any* such source of PII. So the mere fact that it is an election year, and that voting organizations are loaded with PII, makes them an obvious target for any and every hacker.
"Oregon's chief information security officer, Lisa Vasa, told the Washington Post in September 2017 that her team blocks 'upwards of 14 million attempts to access our network every day."'
This is the usual ridiculous claim from almost every organization. They treat every Internet packet that hits their firewall as being an "attempt to access" the network (or worse, a "breach" - which it is not.) Which is technically true, but would only be relevant if they had *no* firewall - a setup which no organization runs these days. By definition, 99.99999% of those attempts are random mass scans of a block of IP addresses by either a hacker or some malware on someone else's machine - or even a computer security researcher attempting to find out how many sites are vulnerable.Sakineh Bagoom , Sep 15 2020 14:54 utc | 12"It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me," Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, told NBC News. McKenzie oversees U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Barflies should write Gen Frank McKenzie inside the back cover of their diaries, and count the days until we hear of/from him again. I've a feeling he's crossed a line and knows precisely what he's doing and why. Imo, the Swamp has just been put on notice.Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 12:54 utc | 4juliania , Sep 15 2020 15:12 utc | 13
In the 1920s (or 30s), far-rightist Karl Popper coined the concept of "public opinion".
vk, I can't find anything regarding this coinage. Could you please provide a link.
Wiki is specially devoid of it and it goes back to 16 century.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_opinion The term public opinion was derived from the French opinion publique which was first used in 1588 by Michel de Montaigne in the second edition of his EssaysThank you, b. In this world of illusion that mainstream press provides it is forgivable that we cannot even convince members of our own families that are dear to us of the underlying truths behind what these masters of deception continue to print. Surely they only do so because livelihoods are threatened, and the public perceptions are reaching a critical point where belief in what they write, read by the diminishing numbers of faithful few, reaches a pinnacle of perception and spills chaotically down into a watershed of realization.vk , Sep 15 2020 15:13 utc | 14
I remember when we were told what happens on the top floor of the New York Times. It opened my eyes. And perhaps here also, b is providing a chink through which we may glimpse what is happening in military circles in fields of operation where facts collide with fiction:"We have had more indirect fire attacks around and against our bases the first half of this year than we did the first half of last year," Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, said. "Those attacks have been higher."
McKenzie's comments came just hours after he announced the United States would be cutting its footprint in Iraq by almost half by the end of September, with about 2,200 troops leaving the country.@ Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Sep 15 2020 14:54 utc | 12Kooshy , Sep 15 2020 15:36 utc | 18
On Hayek's "tiering", google "IHS model" ("pyramid of social change") and his book "The Intellectuals and Socialism".
On Popper's conception of "public opinion", see "The Open Society and Its Enemies" (1945). Yes, the term itself is not Popper's invention - he never claimed to have done so. But he gave it a "twist", and we can say nowadays every Western journalist's conception of "public opinion" is essentially Popper's.Why do swallow their bullshit?Sakineh Bagoom , Sep 15 2020 15:50 utc | 20
because on matters related to Iran, China and Russia, they are not independent, there is no real difference between the two camps in US, Biden' foreign policy which is endorsed and supported by NYT and WP is not that different than Trump's, if not more radical. There is no free press in US, as matter of fact, as long as this United Oligarchy of America exist there will be no free press.OK, I admit it. I read this rag, just because Paul Pillar posts there. And yes, there is an "Iran derangement" syndrome in US, where people go to sleep and dream Iran. They wake up from wet dream of bloody Iranian babies, asking, have we sanctioned Iran today? https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2020/09/14/when-it-comes-to-iran-how-many-failures-is-enough-for-pompeo/jayc , Sep 15 2020 16:01 utc | 22
As well, this fake news propaganda barrage continues in the context of determined censorship of alternative media and social media - a campaign which has been largely promoted by the liberal intelligentsia in the US, in the name of reducing "fake news." Having to live within an ever-widening swamp of utter BS is wearying and mind-numbing - also to the point, one may assume.Kooshy , Sep 15 2020 16:19 utc | 23Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Sep 15 2020 12:56 utc | 5Noirette , Sep 15 2020 16:59 utc | 31
Yes, I agree, IMO/observation, the US Government, the political parties and their supportive media are rapidly ideologically polarizing their constituencies to two hard entrenched ideological camps (which as you say has become hard shelled impenetrable). Except on one common ideological point, which almost all the population has been and is being brain washed as young as first grade, this common used term, which shield you from needing to investigate or form any other opinion is: US has always been, is and will be a "force for good" by its constitution, no matter what she has done or will do. This sentence when fully believed and carved in one' mind from childhood is very difficult to erase and crack. These two ideologically opposing camps about 70% of the population will not want to hear any fact or not, other than what they are told and believed all their life.Re. K. Popper and topic above:Biswapriya Purkayast , Sep 15 2020 17:16 utc | 33
"Unlike utopian engineering, piecemeal social engineering must be "small scale," Popper said, meaning that social reform should focus on changing one institution at a time. Also, whereas utopian engineering aims for lofty and abstract goals (for example, perfect justice, true equality, a higher kind of happiness), piecemeal social engineering seeks to address concrete social problems (for example, poverty, violence, unemployment, environmental degradation, income inequality). It does so through the creation of new social institutions or the redesign of existing ones. These new or reconfigured institutions are then tested through implementation and altered accordingly and continually in light of their effects. Institutions thus may undergo gradual improvement overtime and social ills gradually reduced. Popper compared piecemeal social engineering to physical engineering. Just as physical engineers refine machines through a series of small adjustments to existing models, social engineers gradually improve social institutions through "piecemeal tinkering." In this way, "[t]he piecemeal method permits repeated experiments and continuous readjustments" (Open Society Vol 1., 163).
Only such social experiments, Popper said, can yield reliable feedback for social planners. In contrast, as discussed above, social reform that is wide ranging, highly complex and involves multiple institutions will produce social experiments in which it is too difficult to untangle causes..."
So Top-Down with a vengeance, but softly, softly, hunting for 'good results', for what and how these are defined is left out entirely, and who exactly runs the process...? (Btw China sorta follows this approach with 'social experiments' gathering data that is analysed etc. to improve governance.)Don't forget that the only time the Amerikastani Empire's warmongering imperialist media called Trump "presidential" was when he launched missiles at Syria on false pretences in support of al Qaeda.David G , Sep 15 2020 17:16 utc | 34The statement by praetor McKenzie probably won't do much to remove the "Russian bounties" tale from the received Beltway belief structure, where it lodged immediately upon publication, any more than earlier refutations, or its inherent implausibility, did. I see the bounties regularly referred to by Dems and Dem-adjacent media as established fact.conspiracy-theorist , Sep 15 2020 18:04 utc | 37
In the same light, it's worthwhile to read the Politico article on the alleged Iranian designs on the purse princess and try to spot other fictions included as supposedly factual background, some qualified as being American assertions, but others presented as undisputed fact, such as:
- Trump's version of the almost-happened retaliation after Iran downed a U.S. drone
- that the attack that killed a U.S. "contractor" in Iraq that started last winter's U.S./Iran tit-for-tat was "by an Iranian-allied militia"
- Soleimani was responsible for the death of numerous U.S. troops
- Soleimani plotted to hire a Mexican drug cartel to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington (remember that one? a blast from the past)
This new one about the plot to get the ambassador in Pretoria may be too trivial to get sustained attention, but it will show up as background in some future Politico article or the like, joining the rest in the Beltway's version of reality, which at this point is made almost entirely of these falsehoods encrusting on each other, decade after decade, creating the phony geopolitical mindscape these people live in.
Mere factual refutation – even from otherwise establishment-approved sources – won't remove these barnacles. For instance, in February the NY Times itself published a debunking of the initial account that it was an Iran-backed Shia militia, as opposed to Salafist I.S.-affiliated forces, that killed that U.S. contractor last December. But the good (if delayed) reporting is forgotten; the lie persists. The same fate awaits McKenzie's dismissal of the Russian bounties nonsense.The thoughtful reader would at this point stop and ponder. "Fake News About Iran, Russia, China Is U.S. Journalism's Daily Bread". I agree with this statement. But not just U.S. Journalism. Minimally U.K. Journalism is on-board, if not tutoring the Yanks in the art of Journalism. And then there is Europe herself, she too has armies of Journalists and many Journals. They too mostly fake around in general.vinnieoh , Sep 15 2020 18:24 utc | 40
Now then, that leave Journalism in "Iran, Russia, China". It is fine trait to root for underdogs but Journalism in these states is also subject to a highly controlled and managed environment. It is disingenuous to ignore these facts.
Given this congregation of "fakers", worldwide, it is very reasonable to question the very "fight" that these "fakers" keep telling us is on between the "adversaries".Good to see so many being able to name the operation of the official narrative. It serves also another purpose, witnessed by one of the most consequential actions of all, the wanton abandonment of international law and accountability - the GWOT and the launching of same in Afghanistan and Iraq. That other purpose is to create cover for those, elected in our name, to avoid responsibility.karlof1 , Sep 15 2020 18:34 utc | 41
"Who knew?" asked the soulless Rumsfeld. And the refrain returned from the hollowed out halls of the Greatest Democracy On Earth (tm) - "We were misled!", "Look it says so right there in the official narrative, REMEMBER?" But the misleaders are never rounded up and never face any consequences, cause truth be told all that voted for the AUMF belong in the pokey. And the congressional class of '02-'03 would do the same thing all over again, 'cause the narrative's got their back.Despite the future grimness predicted by 1984 , the ability and effectiveness of Media Structures to openly lie and thus herd the public to embrace the preferred Narrative hasn't turned out quite the way Orwell thought it might. Former authoritarian blocs learned the hard way that it's better to tell their citizens the truth and actively engage them in governance, while the Anglo-Imperial powers have gone in the opposite direction, thus the question why? IMO, the longstanding Narrative related to the mythical Dream has greatly eroded in the face of Reality, while at the same time the Rentier Class and the Duopoly it controls needs to try and obfuscate what it's doing. And thus we've seen the rise of BigLie Media to be used for the purpose of Divide and Rule. There're numerous works detailing how and why; two of the more important are Manufacturing of Consent and J is for Junk Economics . Part of the overall process of dumbing-down populations is the deliberate destruction of the educational process, particularly in the areas of philosophy and political-economy/history, which are essentially connected as one when considering the History of Ideas or a sub-area like the Philosophy of Science.Steve , Sep 15 2020 18:59 utc | 43
Such a dumbing-down of a nation's populous can be measured, the USSR and its Warsaw Bloc being the most evident, but also The Inquisition and its affect on the advancement of science within the regions it ruled, and the inward turning of China during the Ming Dynasty which allowed for its subjugation by Western forces beginning in the 16th Century. Most recently, this is evident in China's passing the Outlaw US Empire in terms of geoeconomics and thus overall geopolitical power. An explanation for India's inability to match China's development can be found in its refusal to do away with its semi-feudal caste system and not educate its masses so they can become a similar collective dynamo as in China. At the beginning of his brief tenure, JFK noted the Knowledge Gap that existed between a USSR that was nearing its intellectual heights (although that wasn't known then) and the USA whose educational system effectively excluded @60% of students from having the opportunity to advance. There would never have been a Dot.Com economy without JFK's initiative to improve educational outcomes. There seems to be a notion within the Outlaw US Empire's elite that an well educated populace presents a danger to their rule and they can get by using AI and Robotics to further their future plans. Here I'd refer such thinkers to the lessons provided by the failure of Asimov's Galactic Empire in his Foundation series of books--particular their reliance on AI, robotics, dumbing-down the populace to the point where no one recalls how atomics functioned. The sort of balance sheet being constructed by the Fed cannot repair or replace crumbling infrastructure or train the engineers needed to perform the work.
So, what continual BigLie Media lies tell us is the continued downward spiral of the West's intellectual abilities will continue while an East that values the Truth and Discovery moves on to eclipse it, mainly because the West has stopped trying, thinking it's found a better way based on the continual amassing of Debt, which is seen as wealth on their balance sheets. Ultimately, the West thinks the one person holding all the assets as the winner of its Zero-sum Monopoly Game is a better outcome than having millions of people sharing the winnings of a Win-Win system that promotes the wellbeing of all. I can tell you now which philosophy will triumph, but you all ought to be capable of reasoning that outcome.After a sound and an in-depth analysis, b sometimes confounds me with his credulity. Take this sentence for example: "Why do U.S. journalist presume that the agencies and anonymous officials who work under him are more truthful in their uttering than the man himself is hard to understand. Why do swallow their bullshit?" Of course there is no daylight between the US, and indeed the whole Western governments, and its Press. Other than few independent blog site such as this, every media outlet is in the service of its home government or foreign sponsors. Only born-suckers take the corporate media at face value. Modern journalism is nothing but an aggressive propaganda racket.
Mark2 , Sep 15 2020 19:13 utc | 45You only have to look at who owns the media and who their close friends are, to understand why the media says what it says or lies what it lies ! It's an industry promoting the elites self-interest, creating fictioous enemy countries to feed the arms industry and create US domestic mass paranoia. The Israeli lobby groups are at the wheel of the whole dam clown car.chet380 , Sep 15 2020 19:45 utc | 46Even more admiration for coining 'Vichy Press'.uncle tungsten , Sep 15 2020 20:39 utc | 49Biden is outed in his coup machinations by Fort Russ a tale told with a bit of media spin.Josh , Sep 15 2020 20:40 utc | 50Using lies (bearing false witness) to cause murder and theft are not exactly a new phenomenon. These 'groups of individuals', which are employing these fabricated deceptions, are doing nothing less than trying to commit murder and theft.Josh , Sep 15 2020 20:41 utc | 51These acts happen to constitute real crimes, or at least attempted criminal acts, in reality.Yeah, Right , Sep 15 2020 22:07 utc | 53No doubt the two propaganda streams will merge until we will be told that the CIA now believes that Iran will attempt plausible deniability by funnelling the money through Putin, who will offer it to the Taliban by way of a bounty on the Ambassador's head.spindoctor , Sep 15 2020 23:18 utc | 56
The CIA's wet dream: the Taliban does it, Putin arranged it, but it was all Iran's fault, leading to:
A) infinite occupation of the poppy fie.... sorry, Afghanistan
B) even more sanctions on Russia
C) war with Iran
What's not to like?Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 12:54 utc | 4spindoctor , Sep 15 2020 23:25 utc | 57
In the 1920s (or 30s), far-rightist Karl Popper coined the concept of "public opinion".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystallizing_Public_Opinion published 1923.Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 12:54 utc | 4vk , Sep 16 2020 1:12 utc | 58
From the link just cited:
'"Public opinion", according to Bernays, is an amorphous group of judgments which are not well elaborated even in the head of a single average individual. He extracts a quotation from Wilfred Trotter, which states that this average man has many strong convictions whose origin he can't explain (Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War, p. 36). People's minds have "logic-proof compartments" which must be approached by means beyond the rational. (pp. 61–68).'@ Posted by: spindoctor | Sep 15 2020 23:18 utc | 56ptb , Sep 16 2020 1:35 utc | 59
Yes, I forgot to mention this very important book. If I'm not mistaken (and I may be), Popper got the term from Bernays.
Popper, von Hayek... these guys are the fathers of neoliberalism. I'm not mentioning backyard intellectuals here. They shaped the West as we know it today and, if you're a Westerner and wants to understand the civilization you live in, you have to know what they formulated.
Just to clear that off: I don't agree with Popper's (or Bernays, for that matter) conception on "public opinion". The Marxist conception of ideology is much more complete and precise scientifically.@karlof1 41uncle tungsten , Sep 16 2020 4:34 utc | 61
Speaking of education (although of science/tach, rather than critical thinking)...
Add in the migration of top-level educated individuals. In the US, an underdeveloped primary/secondary school system creates room at the university/grad level to absorb talent from the rest of the world. For many years, this was a source of competitive advantage -- imported human capital is better than home grown, because if you import, you take it away from someone else. Clever!
It was not that big a deal for the US if social mobility of native born lower and middle classes was stifled somewhat. (and I would say it still would not be a big deal if the resources of the country were not so grossly mismanaged/wasted/stolen).
But in the current century, or certainly the decade now ending, China alone can fill every US grad school science/tech program and still have people to spare for itself. Other parts of the world are right up there as well.
And then you have computers. Sometime between 2000 and 2010, computers became pretty much cheap enough that you could give one to a every kid, even in families of limited means. Provided the primary/secondary education system is there to support it, a country could develop as much tech talent as they had population. The first generation of kids whose childhood took place under this condition is now coming out of university - I would think vastly greater in numbers than any amount the US (or Euro) higher educational system can absorb. Should be a pretty serious shifting of gears in how human capital is distributed worldwide.
But none of this is about critical thinking. Few systems of organizing society actually promote that ... it tends to happen in spite of the organizing principles, rather than because of them. Nor are the most educated (regardless of country of origin) any less susceptible to the propaganda - if anything they are more so, due to the design of the message, because it is more important that they receive it. You want a book recommendation that talks about that, check out 'Disciplined Minds' by Jeff Schmidt (though perhaps with an overly pessimistic outlook -- people can recognize the reality he describes and deal with it... it is only the more naive/idealistic types who fall extra hard for the mythology and then find themselves in a conflict they can't handle). There are lots of other avenues to take too... about the psychology of self-discovery, discovery of self-vs-social-organism etc....Conspiracy-theorist #37Greg L , Sep 16 2020 6:12 utc | 62
Exactly that and yet we are constantly fed a diet from the bottom of the barrel. NYT? WAPO? They are rags. Gutter press peddling drivel. Surely there are more erudite and critical publications in this world than these USA drivel sheets. I am aware of good journalism in Switzerland and elsewhere but currently separted from a device adequate to translate and quote.
Thank you Conspiracy-theorist it I way past time we escaped the neverending story of BS + HATE.And this tidbit? Deep state is as deep state does... Trump Claims He Wanted To Assassinate Syrian President Assad, But Mattis Opposed Itvato , Sep 16 2020 7:49 utc | 63A propos fake news, John Helmer reports on the Navalny saga and was lately on the Gorilla radio podcast with Chris Cook to discuss the newest events. It's a one-hour-talk but very enjoyable listening to Helmer. You can also follow his reports on his blog Dances With Bears .vinnieoh , Sep 16 2020 12:55 utc | 64karlof1 | Sep 15 2020 18:34 utc | 41Edward , Sep 16 2020 13:05 utc | 65
Try this on for size. This is a conclusion I arrived at several decades ago, wrote about several times, but not recently.
Everything that was accomplished (albeit incompletely or moderately) through the New Deal and then the abortive Great Society absolutely spooked the oligarchy. Lifting much of the working class out of absolute wage slavery to the point where the next rung on Maslow's ladder was at least visible. And when it all culminated in the late 60's and early 70's with the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the Surface Mining act, and various labor protection measures, the wealthy owner class decided the proles had gained too much power to influence "their" captive government.
The princes and barons of industry and finance were very open about their complaints. The advance of regulation on their ability to pollute and to exploit must stop or they would take their bundles of riches and go elsewhere. It is what Saint Ronny was ALL about. And so all that got fat and filthy rich during the real American Century took their wealth where regulation and labor fairness and justice didn't exist to continue their exorbitant profit taking.
And then they imported those cheap products here to wreak what was left of our industrial base and to impress on all of us that they remain the boss, the real power. Drive down wages, destroy pensions and safety nets and put US proles back into wage slavery. Remember the 80's and 90's when Wal-Mart basically told established and storied US manufacturers "either you produce the goods we want for what our Asian suppliers can make them for, or you're finished." And that is exactly what happened. Wal-Mart was just the vanguard, it is now ubiquitous. Another aspect of this assault was forcing us proles into the stock market through our pensions and retirement funds so as to make us all sympathetic to de-regulation - so as not to hurt OUR bottom line. Many labor unions became just a sick symbiosis with the industries they "served."
Incomplete and observational, I am not erudite or lettered, but I think it is an accurate narrative.There is a curious schizophrenia where the U.S. press will treat presidential claims about foreign affairs as a sacred truth but treat claims denying adultery, such as in the Lewinski affair, as dismissible.Geoff , Sep 16 2020 13:20 utc | 66Living in the USA (Steve Miller classic) has always seemed to me about dealing with falsehood and deception. US highschool seemed like he time for me when the formidable pressure to conform became completely nonsensical, perhaps because it was so utterly cruel, but also because it seemed untruthful. You basically were required to accept modes if behavior and thought that seemed alien to human behavior, but were presented as the sine quo non of how to be. How to succeed, how to live. It seems to me that if you were attempting to retain truthfulness, this conformity was rife with logical fallacies of every sort which if you tried to deal with them, or confront them, you were ostracized or at worst outcast.Old and Grumpy , Sep 16 2020 13:31 utc | 67
In the many years since, it seems like everything else, once a person adopts untruthful behavior, it is next to impossible to change course, so you deal with all kinds of people who have doubled down on their personal deceptions. Marriages based on financial success come to mind, and are like any deception, the cause of incredible dis ease and misey.
There is a philosophical concept I came upon called parrhesia that Foucault gives a fantastic series of lectures on which can be found by searching the web, that investigates the perils implicit in telling truth to falsehood, and the many disasters and tragedies that have befallen human kind in the attempts to do so.
I've come to think that humans by nature are basically incapable of avoiding whatever it is that is "truth." Because over and over life seems to present situations that are the unswervingly the same to everyone. Youth and aging, for example, and the end result never varies, like illness, death, and dying. And everyone has their own similar story navigating the human predicaments and facing an inalterable "truth," which might be in this example, death.
My wonder as I observe life as I age, is what is the damage done to those not only who try their honest best to remain truthful, but what is the damage done to those who cannot escape an adopted untruth and refuse to let go of it. I suppose in this moment of history, you need only look at pandemic, wildfires, and conflicts to see how far human beings have digressed from an Eden. But there must be a purpose to it all? Like, trying to cling to any kind of integrity.You think international fake news is just a Trump thing? Just off the top of my head we have thins like Tonkin Bay, Kuwait babies being massacred by Iraqi troops, my personal favorite Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and a multiple of mean Assads killing their people with poison. That is just a bipartisan few. We have one political party, who serves the deep state. The deep state serves the interests of Wall Street and more importantly the Rothschild world banking system. Give the spooks a lot of credit they let us have two "choices" while controlling both. Think of it as a neo fascism kinda thing that ironically finances the anti fascists. The press is just a means to an end. Assume everything is an agenda, and read the independents for some actual thought. I may not agree with you all the time, but I do love you MoA. Thank you for all your work.ptb , Sep 16 2020 14:02 utc | 68@64 vinnieohWilliam Gruff , Sep 16 2020 14:12 utc | 69
'spooked oligarchy...reforms..culminated in ..70s'
Yep. When committed Dem's go off on Trump, it's deeply felt but kindof a ritual rant. Bring Ralph Nader into the conversation, just mention him in passing, and the response becomes live! Betrayal, danger of being shown up again!Old and Grumpy @67 has a good point. Anyone suggesting that fake news is in any way related to Trump being President are big parts of the problem for why fake news persists in the first place. Suggesting that it is because of Trump, and thus implying that the fake news will go away when Trump does, is either profoundly ignorant, or profoundly deceitful, though probably both. Trump ranting about fake news exposed the problem and forced it into the public discourse. Those rants did not create the problem.ptb , Sep 16 2020 14:36 utc | 70Re: @Geoff 66William Gruff , Sep 16 2020 15:33 utc | 71
"You basically were required to accept modes if behavior and thought that seemed alien to human behavior ... ... forced to double down"
I had short but deeply influential conversation right out of college with a recruiter/HR manager from Raytheon, of all places. He talked about exactly what you said. He spoke, in a hypothetical third person, about a mid-career guy with a mortgage and family who finds themselves questioning the defense industry. How that isn't the best place to be in, mentally. I changed my career plans that day, forever thankful for the encounter.
However, regarding people being able to avoid unpleasant realities, he was of the opinion that for most people, it is possible to do so. Even beneficial. (Except of course for the recipients of his company's products. I didn't say that but I think he figured out that I was thinking it). The issue, from the point of view of running an effective organization, is what happens if the doubters and believers start to mix? Part of his assigned task was to simply keep out people curious enough to ask too many questions. That's one of the "benefits" of really polarizing politics too.Geoff @66:J Swift , Sep 16 2020 16:12 utc | 74
"My wonder as I observe life as I age, is what is the damage done to those not only who try their honest best to remain truthful, but what is the damage done to those who cannot escape an adopted untruth and refuse to let go of it."
That's what modern pharmaceuticals are for, and why one in six Americans (officially) are prescribed them. If we include the numbers of Americans who self-medicate with alcohol and/or grey/black market pharmaceuticals, then the proportion would be a bit (quite a bit) larger. People who succeed at being truthful (mostly to themselves) are not confronted with cognitive dissonance mind-quakes; however, such individuals are confronted with experiencing the retch reflex when consuming mass media.
Is being truthful vs embracing the lies then half-dozen of one and six of the other? I find satisfactory peace of mind from being truthful and simply avoiding the primary vector of deception; the mass media. Noble individuals like our host and some of the posters here will slog through that vile cesspool of lies and fish out the little nuggets of truth that leak out. It is selfish of me to leave such dirty work to others, but at least I am not hermetically isolated on a mountain somewhere.Kooshy @ 23Noirette , Sep 16 2020 16:32 utc | 75
An interesting thought. I have long had the feeling that a large part of the obviously orchestrated drive to almost define both of the two US parties with really incredibly unimportant issues like bathroom preferences were designed to split the voters as equally as possible, so that to swing elections one had only to control the votes of a very small number of tie breakers. I still think this is likely true, but I do think you make an important point that a lot can be learned about what is truly important to the PTB by reflecting on the topics that aren't being argued over.
Compare the "two" US political parties, and you will note that while they seem to be getting ever more extreme and irreconcilable and quasi-religious in their differences, these differences are always on the periphery. Both parties are being indoctrinated with certain common beliefs they will take for granted because they are never talked about -- because these points are not allowed to be in contention. So while even something like climate change can be a big divider (no worries, there's money to be made on both sides of that issue, and means of control); but you will never hear debate about
1. America is the greatest ever!
2. America is always and unquestionably a force for good, and even it's proven bad things (kidnapping, rendition, and torture programs) are done "for the greater good."
3. Unbridled capitalism is the only way, and the privatization and unwinding of any vestiges of social programs, like education, social security, and even utilities and infrastructure, is always a good thing deserving of priority.
4. Individualism is the best, if not only, way. To be a hero you must strike alone against the bad guys/the system/the government; someone who rallies others, causes forces to be gathered and united, unionized, whatever are discouraged or ignored.
5. "Leadership" in the affairs of others around the world is American right, responsibility, and destiny. Having the largest, almost entirely offensively oriented military on earth is essential; and having it, we must use it to get our money's worth.
6. Omnipresent "intelligence" services equal safety and are absolutely required for life to be normal. I'm sure there are other examples of "universally agreed" doctrines in the US, but these are some that leap out.These crazy MSM lies Anecdote. Last Sat (Geneva, Switz.) I spoke to 20 ppl whom I know somewhat, all know I like to discuss news etc. I said, weird news this week, making no mention of Navalny. 18/20 believed Putin poisoned Navalny and brought it up spontaneously! There is something so appealing and narratively 'seductive' about spies and 'opponents' (Skripal ) and mysterious poisons used by evil doers etc. that fiction just flows smoothly into fact or whatever is 'real.'karlof1 , Sep 16 2020 17:02 utc | 78
I had to mention Assange myself to most, but there the reaction was very mixed, most thought Assange was being persecuted, or it was 'not right', and took this story seriously in one way or another - 4 ppl claimed not to know the latest news. Here, NGOs, Leftists and Others have made demands for him to be offered asylum in Switz, so he has been front page.
Besides that (I'm always interested in from-the-ground view-points, experiences, so post some myself) what is going on is monopoly consolidation:
Mega MSM in cahoots with the MIC, Big Pharma, Big Agri, Finance, and so on. Corporations joining up their positions bit by bit while also competing in some ways, bribing and owning the Pols. who are front-men and women tasked with providing a lot of drama, manufactured agitation, etc., which in turn is fodder for the MSM, etc.
Overall, the most important sector to watch is the GAFAM, 1, the reign of the middle men is close at hand (control information, both the channels and the content, and commerce up to a point.) All this leaves out energy considerations, another vital topic left aside.
1. google apple facebook amazon microsoftptb @59--jared , Sep 16 2020 17:16 utc | 79
Thanks for your reply! I've touched on the topic of human capital and its development occasionally here, positing it's the #1 asset of all nations. Those nations who neglect to develop their own human capital are bound to become deficient when it comes to basic comparative advantages with other nations, particularly as political-economy shifts from being materialistic to knowledge-based; thus Pepe Escobar agreeing wholeheartedly with my comment about India. (He added this article to his FB timeline and I posted my comment there.)
From 1999-2003, I was involved in developing distance learning platforms for the rapidly advancing ability to learn outside of a school's four walls. The other educators I worked with and myself had great hopes for the virtual classroom and what it might do to aide both teachers and students. At the time we thought this development would provide a great opportunity for the third member of the educational team--parents--to play a greater role in the process since active parental involvement was proven to generate better student outcomes. But for that to be properly implemented, equitable funding for all school districts became an even greater issue than it was already. This issue highlighted the huge problems related to financing education at a moment when BushCo Privatizers began to seriously threaten what was already in place. And that problem has only worsened, the vast disparities being very evident thanks to COVID-forced distance learning. The primary reason good teachers can't be retained is the entire system's a massive Clusterfuck. And computers aren't substitutes for even poor teachers. And parents are even more aloof from becoming involved in the process than ever before.
The dumbing-down I mention is now entering its third generation. The educational structure needs to be completely refitted nationally, but I wouldn't give that task to any of the fuckwits employed by the past three administrations--Yes, I'm arguing education needs to be a completely federal program instead of the 53 different school systems in states and territories; and yes, I'm aware of the pitfalls and potential corruption that poses, which is a microcosm of all the problems at the federal level of government. This problem is yet another very basic reason why the Duopoly and its backers need to be ousted from government and kept as far away as possible as the structure is torn down and rebuilt--The USA will never be great again until that is done.@ J Swift | Sep 16 2020 16:12 utc | 74karlof1 , Sep 16 2020 17:40 utc | 80
I suggest that the reason that the media focus on the ridiculous is to convince the public that there is nothing important happening - except where the MSM wants the participation of the public as in with anti-Russia, anti_China, anti-Socialism, etc. Good to get the public participation directed at harmless targets.
They've got to fill the papers with something. The public must be kept warm, comfortable, semi-comatose, watching cat videos...
Last thing anybody wants is the involvement of the public, they will only screw everything-up or try anyway.vinnieoh @64--robin , Sep 16 2020 17:56 utc | 81
Thanks for your reply! Your explanation sadly is correct, but it was put into motion prior to Reagan becoming POTUS. The tools used to undo the New Deal were put into place before FDR became POTUS. And FDR's unwillingness to prosecute those who attempted to overthrow his government provided that faction to infiltrate government and eventually attempt to undo the good that was done prior to WW2. When looked at closely, American society was generally quite Liberal in the positive aspects of that term and during the Depression was becoming ever more Collectivist with the war advancing that even further. At the war's end, it was paramount for the forces taking control of the nation to push the public to the right and away from its collectivist proclivities. Where we find ourselves today thus is not an accident of history but an engineered outcome. You may recall voices on the Right accusing Liberals and their organizations of engaging in Social Engineering. Those accusations were projections since it was actually forces on the Right that were maneuvering society to the Right while assiduously applying the principle of Divide and Rule to create a condition where they would be immune from political challenge, which is where we are now.
A few understand this ugly truth and how we arrived here. What's missing is scholarship that links the changes that began in the 1870s with today's situation. Yes, there're good examinations of various pieces of the overall puzzle. But it appears that only Hudson and those in his small circle have figured it out; yet, they haven't produced a complete history that encapsulates it all. And for us to have a realistic chance to undo what's been done, we need to know how it all transpired.Antonym @ 60Curmudgeon , Sep 16 2020 18:13 utc | 82
"There are big differences between Trump and Biden regarding their foreign policies: Trump is hard on Xi-China and soft on Putin Russia, while Biden is the reverse."
I don't share your view. The current administration's foreign policy is very much aligned with that of past administrations and the diplomatic circus surrounding the Skripal affair alone is evidence that nobody is soft on Russia.
What differs, however, is the presentation. Trump is criticized (not praised) for being allegedly soft on Russia and Biden criticized for being allegedly soft on China. This clever trick ensures that just about everybody is onboard the bash-China-and-Russia train.
In a violently polarized society, with red-blue antagonism reaching ridiculous heights, people tend to act exclusively in contradiction to the cult figure they hate so much.
If a Trump hater hears the criticism that the president is too soft on Russia, he will readily grab the bash-Russia stick hoping to score a few hits on Trump. The same person's reaction to a criticism on Biden will be either indifference or angry denial. In either case, he will not be opposed to the bash-Russia nor the bash-China movement.
The dem hater's reaction is similar. Indifference to the soft-on-Russia claim (ie. no opposition to the bash-Russia movement) and active support for the China-bashing.The article and subsequent discussion brings to mind Dawkins discussion of Memes and Memetics. Not those pesky internet memes. The propaganda war is fierce, and almost without exception the people here are poking and prodding perhaps without being able to put the finger on the "EZ button". This is war, baby, so one thinks the following link may be useful:J Swift , Sep 16 2020 20:34 utc | 85
Wherein: " Ideally the virus of the mind being targeted will be overwritten with a higher fidelity, fecundity, and longevity memeplex in order to assure long term sustainability. When this is not practical, it is still possible to displace a dangerous memeplex, by creating a more contagious benign meme utilizing certain packaging, replication, and propagation tricks."
The lie is irrelevant, whether true or false, it must be believable, and it must successfully replicate.karlof1 @ 80lulu , Sep 16 2020 20:58 utc | 86
You are right, the early FDR days were, in hindsight, one of the most important in setting the course of the US for the next century, and unfortunately Big Business won, taking us on a long, ugly road to the right. I agree this would be a most fascinating history book if some of those respected, genuinely knowledgeable people you often cite could collaborate on an opus.
Yes, most people do not know that the wide ranging labor laws implemented at that time were actually not meant to empower organized labor, but to limit it. Perhaps FDR thought it was the best he could do for the working class, but I tend to think it was more a case of him thinking that by outlawing general strikes, wildcat strikes, strikes in support of other unions, and setting up an NLRB with a lot of political control by business, the powers who had so recently let it be known they were ready to actively try to overthrow the government might be mollified. I think he feared the US was at the cusp of a revolution, and perhaps it was. Whether or not if would have been better had that been allowed to proceed is the big question.Anti-China activists funded by NED & Co make up all sorts of horrid stories online, which are then picked up by MSM and political NGOs to spoon feed world audiences/viewers. Viola, you have "fact-based" anti-China news!CitizenX , Sep 16 2020 21:11 utc | 87
Here is an example how an Uyghur activist in Canadian continue to her make-up-to-believe "1 million Uyghurs in concentration camp" is caught on Twitter red handed .
This is literally what these overseas Uyghur activists do all day. Putting a random caption on a video they ripped down from a medical worker's tiktok in China. And people believe it. They'd even believe if the follow up rebuttal is that this is a forced labour doctor.
Another one: There's a guy (Arslan Hidayat, Aussie Uighur) on Twitter who takes footage of ordinary people doing ordinary things, sets them in China and invents a fantastical and sinister scenario.
His twitter functions as the aggregator of fake anti-China propaganda from the past few years.Ed Bernays (Freuds Nephew)karlof1 , Sep 16 2020 21:34 utc | 88
Glad to see his name mentioned here. I've been saying for years here to watch the documentary - Century of the Self. If you want to learn about and understand America, its all here. Government, Corporations, Consumerism, Militarism, Deep State, Psychology, Individual selfishness and mental illness.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ3RzGoQC4sj Swift @85--
Thanks for your reply! JK Galbraith in his American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power lamented what you recap in your 2nd paragraph and that there was thus no power capable of offsetting Big Business although one was sorely needed. As I wrote, some very sharp minds have written about small segments of the overall movement toward totalitarianism since the 1870s, Galbraith's 1952 book being one that's still worth reading.
Sep 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
xrxs , 38 minutes ago
Sen. Chris Murphy said this the other day: "I have a real belief that democracy is unnatural. We don't run anything important in our lives by democratic vote other than our government. Democracy is so unnatural that it's illogical to think it would be permanent. It will fall apart at some point, and maybe that point isn't now, but maybe it is."
Sep 14, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
The Plot Against Libya: An Obama-Biden-Clinton Criminal Conspiracy
by Tyler Durden Fri, 09/11/2020 - 23:40 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print
Authored by Eric Draitser via Counterpunch.org,
The scorching desert sun streams through narrow slats in the tiny window. A mouse scurries across the cracked concrete floor, the scuttling of its tiny feet drowned out by the sound of distant voices speaking in Arabic. Their chatter is in a western Libyan dialect distinctive from the eastern dialect favored in Benghazi. Somewhere off in the distance, beyond the shimmering desert horizon, is Tripoli, the jewel of Africa now reduced to perpetual war.
But here, in this cell in a dank old warehouse in Bani Walid, there are no smugglers, no rapists, no thieves or murderers. There are simply Africans captured by traffickers as they made their way from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Eritrea, or other disparate parts of the continent seeking a life free of war and poverty, the rotten fruit of Anglo-American and European colonialism. The cattle brands on their faces tell a story more tragic than anything produced by Hollywood.
These are slaves: human beings bought and sold for their labor. Some are bound for construction sites while others for the fields. All face the certainty of forced servitude, a waking nightmare that has become their daily reality.
This is Libya, the real Libya. The Libya that has been constructed from the ashes of the US-NATO war that deposed Muammar Gaddafi and the government of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The Libya now fractured into warring factions, each backed by a variety of international actors whose interest in the country is anything but humanitarian.
But this Libya was built not by Donald Trump and his gang of degenerate fascist ghouls. No, it was the great humanitarian Barack Obama, along with Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Susan Rice, Samantha Power and their harmonious peace circle of liberal interventionists who wrought this devastation. With bright-eyed speeches about freedom and self-determination, the First Black President, along with his NATO comrades in France and Britain, unleashed the dogs of war on an African nation seen by much of the world as a paragon of economic and social development.
But this is no mere journalistic exercise to document just one of the innumerable crimes carried out in the name of the American people. No, this is us, the antiwar left in the United States, peering through the cracks in the imperial artifice – crumbling as it is from internal rot and political decay – to shine a light through the gloom named Trump and directly into the heart of darkness.
There are truths that must be made plain lest they be buried like so many bodies in the desert sand.The War on Libya: A Criminal Conspiracy
To understand the depth of criminality involved in the US-NATO war on Libya, we must unravel a complex story involving actors from both the US and Europe who quite literally conspired to bring about this war, while simultaneously exposing the unconstitutional, imperial presidency as embodied by Mr. Hope and Change himself.
In doing so, a picture emerges that is strikingly at odds with the dominant narrative about good intentions and bad dictators. For although Gaddafi was presented as the villain par excellence in this story told by the Empire's scribes in corporate media, it is in fact Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, former French President Nicholas Sarkozy, French philosopher-cum-neocolonial adventurist Bernard Henri-Levy, and former UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who are the real malevolent forces. It was they, not Gaddafi, who waged a blatantly illegal war on false pretenses and for their own aggrandizement. It was they, not Gaddafi, who conspired to plunge Libya into chaos and civil war from which it is yet to emerge. It was they who beat the war drums while proclaiming peace on earth and good will to men.
The US-NATO war on Libya represents perhaps one of the most egregious examples of US military aggression and lawlessness in recent memory. Of course, the US didn't act alone as a wide cast of characters played a role as the French and British were keen to involve themselves in the reassertion of control over a once lucrative African asset torn from European control by the evil Gaddafi. And this, only a few years after former UK Prime Minister and Iraq war criminal Tony Blair met with Gaddafi to usher in a new era of openness and partnership.
The story begins with Bernard Henri-Lévy, the French philosopher, journalist, and amateur foreign service officer who fancied himself an international spy. Having failed to arrive in Egypt in time to buttress his ego by capitalizing on the uprising against former dictator Hosni Mubarak, he quickly shifted his attention to Libya, where an uprising in the anti-Gaddafi hotbed of Benghazi was underway. As Le Figaro chronicled , Henri-Levy managed to talk his way into a meeting with then head of the National Transition Council (TNC) Mustapha Abdeljalil, a former Gaddafi official who became head of the anti-Gaddafi TNC. But Henri-Levy wasn't there just for an interview to be published in his French paper, he was there to help overthrow Gaddafi and, in so doing, make himself into an international star.
Henri-Levy quickly pressed his contacts and got on the phone with French President Nicholas Sarkozy to ask him, rather bluntly, if he'd agree to meet with Abdeljalil and the leadership of the TNC. Just a few days later, Henri-Levy and his colleagues arrived at the Élysée Palace with TNC leadership at their side. To the utter shock of the Libyans present, Sarkozy tells them that he plans to recognize the TNC as the legitimate government of Libya. Henri-Levy and Sarkozy have now, at least in theory, deposed the Gaddafi government.
But the little problem of Gaddafi's military victories and the very real possibility that he might emerge victorious from the conflict complicated matters as the French public had become aware of the scheme and was rightly lambasting Sarkozy. Henri-Levy, ever the opportunist, stoked the patriotic fervor by announcing that without French intervention, the tricolor flag flying over five-star hotels in Benghazi would be stained with blood. The PR campaign worked as Sarkozy quickly came around to the idea of military intervention.
However, Henri-Levy had a still more critical role to play: bringing the US military juggernaut into the plot. Henri-Levy organized the first of what would be several high-level talks between US officials from the Obama Administration and the Libyans of the TNC. Most importantly, Henri-Levy set up the meeting between Abdeljalil and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While Clinton was skeptical at the time of the meeting, it would be a matter of months before she and Joe Biden, along with the likes of Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and others would be planning the political, diplomatic, and military route to regime change in Libya.The Americans Enter the Fray
There would have been no war in Libya were it not for the US political, diplomatic, and military machine. In this sense, despite the relatively meager US military involvement, the war in Libya was an American war. That is to say, it was a war that could not have happened were it not for the active collaboration of the Obama Administration with its French and British counterparts.
As Jo Becker of the NY Times explained in 2016, Hillary Clinton met with Mahmoud Jibril, a prominent Libyan politician who would go on to become the new Prime Minister of post-Gaddafi Libya, and his associates, in order to assess the faction now garnering US support . Clinton's job, according to Becker, was "to take measure of the rebels we supported" – a fancy way of saying that Clinton attended the meeting to determine whether this group of politicians speaking on behalf of a diverse group of anti-Gaddafi voices (ranging from pro-democracy activists to outright terrorists affiliated with global terror networks) should be supported with US money and covert arms.
The answer, ultimately, was a resounding yes.
But of course, as with all America's warmongering misadventures, there was no consensus on military intervention. As Becker reported, some in the Obama Administration were skeptical of the easy victory and post-conflict political calculus. One prominent voice of dissent, at least according to Becker, was former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Himself no dove, Gates was concerned that Clinton and Biden's hawkish attitude toward Libya would ultimately lead to an Iraq-style political nightmare that would undoubtedly end with the US having created and then abandoned a failed state – exactly what happened.
It is important to note that Clinton and Biden were two of the principal voices for aggression and war. Both were supportive of the No-Fly Zone from early on, and both advocated for military intervention. Indeed, the two have been simpatico in nearly every war crime committed by the US in the last 30 years, including perhaps most egregiously in support of Bush's crime against humanity that we call the second Iraq War.
As former Clinton lackey (Deputy Director of Secretary of State Clinton's Policy Planning staff) Derek Chollet explained, "[Libya] seemed like an easy case." Chollet, a principal participant in the American conspiracy to make war on Libya who later went on to serve directly under Obama and at the National Security Council, inadvertently illustrates in stark relief the imperial arrogance of the Obama-Clinton-Biden liberal interventionist camp. In calling Libya an "easy case" he of course means that Libya was a perfect candidate for a regime change operation whose primary benefit would be to boost politically those who supported it.
Chollet, like many strategic planners at the time, saw Libya as a slam dunk opportunity to turn the demonstrations and uprisings of 2010-2011, which quickly became known as the Arab Spring, into political capital from the Democratic camp of the US ruling class. This rapidly became Clinton's position. And soon, the consensus of the entire Obama Administration.Obama's War Off the Books
One of the more pernicious myths of the US war on Libya was the notion – propagated dutifully by the defense lobbyists-cum-journalists at major corporate media outlets – that the war was a cheap little war that cost the US almost nothing. There were no American lives lost in the war itself (Benghazi is another mythology to be unraveled later), and very little cost in terms of "treasure", to use that despicable imperialist phrase.
But while the total cost of the war paled in comparison to the monumental-scale crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the means by which it was funded has cost the US far more than dollars; the war on Libya was a criminal and unconstitutional endeavor that has further laid the groundwork for the imperial presidency and unconstrained executive power. As the Washington Post reported at the time:
Noting that Obama had said the mission could be paid for with money already appropriated to the Pentagon, [former House Speaker] Boehner pressed the president on whether supplemental funding would be requested from Congress.
Unforeseen military operations that require expenditures such as those being made for the Libyan effort normally require supplemental appropriations since they are outside the core Pentagon budget. That is why funds for Afghanistan and Iraq are separate from the regular Defense Department budget. The added costs for some of the operations in Libya are minimal But the expenditures for weapons, fuel and lost equipment are something else.
Because the Obama Administration did not seek congressional appropriations to fund the war, there is very little in the way of paper trail to do a proper accounting of the costs of the war. As the cost of each bomb, fighter jet, and logistical support vehicle disappeared into the abyss of Pentagon accounting oblivion, so too did any semblance of constitutional legality. In essence, Obama helped establish a lawless presidency that not only has little respect for constitutionally mandated checks and balances, but completely ignores the rule of law. Indeed, some of the crimes that Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr are guilty of have their direct corollary in the Obama Administration's prosecution of the Libya war.
So where did the money come from and where did it go? It's anybody's guess really, unless you're one of those rubes who likes taking the Pentagon's word for it. As a Pentagon spokesperson told CNN in 2011, "The price tag for U.S. Defense Department operations in Libya as of September 30 [was] $1.1 billion. This included daily military operations, munitions, the drawdown of supplies and humanitarian assistance." However, to illustrate the downright Orwellian impossibility of discerning the truth, Vice President Joe Biden doubled that number when speaking on CNN, suggesting that "NATO alliance worked like it was designed to do, burden-sharing. In total, it cost us $2 billion, no American lives lost."
As is painfully evident, there is no clear way to know how much was spent other than to take the word of those who prosecuted the war. With no congressional oversight, and no clear documentary record, the war on Libya disappears down the memory hole, and with it the idea that there is a separation of powers, Congressional authority to make war, or a functioning Constitution.America's Dirty War in Libya
While the enduring memory of Libya for most Americans is the political theater that resulted from the attack on the US facility in Benghazi that killed several Americans, including US Ambassador Stevens, it is not nearly the most consequential. Rather, America's use of terrorist groups (and the insurgents who emerged from them) as military proxies may perhaps be the real legacy from a strategic perspective. For while the corporate media presented the narrative of spontaneous protests and uprisings to overthrow Gaddafi, it was in fact a loose network of terror groups that did the dirty work.
While much of this recent history has been buried by bad reporting, establishment mythmaking, and conspiracist muddying of the truth, it was surprisingly well reported at the time. For example, as the New York Times wrote of one of the primary US-backed forces on the ground during the war in 2011:
"The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group was formed in 1995 with the goal of ousting Colonel Qaddafi. Driven into the mountains or exile by Libyan security forces, the group's members were among the first to join the fight against Qaddafi security forces Officially the fighting group does not exist any longer, but the former members are fighting largely under the leadership of Abu Abdullah Sadik [aka Abdelhakim Belhadj]."
Even at the time, there was considerable unease among Washington's strategic planners that the Obama Adminstration's embrace of a terror group with known links to al-Qaeda could prove to be a major blunder. "American, European and Arab intelligence services acknowledge that they are worried about the influence that the former group's members might exert over Libya after Colonel Qaddafi is gone, and they are trying to assess their influence and any lingering links to Al Qaeda," the Times noted.
Of course, those in the know at the various US intelligence agencies already had a pretty good sense of who they were backing, or at least the elements likely to be involved in any US operation. Specifically, the US knew that the areas from which it was drawing anti-Gaddafi opposition forces was a hotbed of criminal and terrorist activity.
In a 2007 study entitled "Al-Qa'ida's Foreign Fighters in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records" which examined the origins of various criminal and terrorist groups active in Iraq, the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point concluded that:
"Almost 19 percent of the fighters in the Sinjar Records came from Libya alone. Furthermore, Libya contributed far more fighters per capita than any other nationality in the Sinjar Records, including Saudi Arabia The apparent surge in Libyan recruits traveling to Iraq may be linked with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group's (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qa'ida which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qa'ida on November 3, 2007 The most common cities that the fighters called home were Darnah [Derna], Libya and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with 52 and 51 fighters respectively. Darnah [Derna] with a population just over 80,000 compared to Riyadh's 4.3 million, has far and away the largest per capita number of fighters in the Sinjar records."
It was known at the time that the majority of the anti-Gaddafi forces hailed from the region including Derna, Benghazi, and Tobruk – the "Eastern Libya" so often referred to as anti-Gaddafi – and that the likelihood that al-Qaeda and other terror groups were among the ranks of the US recruits was very high. Nevertheless, they persisted.
Take the case of the February 17 Martyrs Brigade, charged by the US with guarding the CIA facility in Benghazi at which Ambassador Stevens was murdered. As the Los Angeles Times reported in 2012:
"Over the last year, while assigned by their militia to help protect the U.S. mission in Benghazi, the pair had been drilled by American security personnel in using their weapons, securing entrances, climbing walls and waging hand-to-hand combat The militiamen flatly deny supporting the assailants but acknowledge that their large, government-allied force, known as the Feb. 17 Martyrs Brigade, could include anti-American elements The Feb. 17 brigade is regarded as one of the more capable militias in eastern Libya."
But it wasn't just LIFG and al-Qaeda affiliated criminal groups entering the fray thanks to Washington rolling out the blood-stained red carpet.NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST
ZEROHEDGE DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX
Receive a daily recap featuring a curated list of must-read stories.
A longtime asset of the US, General Khalifa Hifter and his so-called Libyan National Army have been on the ground in Libya since 2011, and have emerged as one of the primary forces vying for power in post-war Libya. Hifter has a long and sordid history working for the CIA in its attempts to overthrow Gaddafi in the 1980s before being resettled conveniently near Langley, Virginia. As the New York Times reported in 1991:
The secret paramilitary operation, set in motion in the final months of the Reagan Administration, provided military aid and training to about 600 Libyan soldiers who were among those captured during border fighting between Libya and Chad in 1988 They were trained by American intelligence officials in sabotage and other guerrilla skills, officials said, at a base near Ndjamena, the Chadian capital. The plan to use the exiles fit neatly into the Reagan Administration's eagerness to topple Colonel Qaddafi.
Hifter, leader of these failed efforts, became known as the CIA's "Libya point man," having taken part in numerous regime change efforts, including the aborted attempt to overthrow Gaddafi in 1996. So, his arrival in 2011 at the height of the uprising signaled an escalation of the conflict from an armed uprising to an international operation. Whether Hifter was directly working with US intelligence or simply complimenting US efforts by continuing his decades-long personal war against Gaddafi is somewhat irrelevant. What matters is that Hifter and the Libyan National Army, like LIFG and other groups, became part of the broader destabilization effort which successfully toppled Gaddafi and created the chaotic hellscape that is modern Libya.
Such is the legacy of the US dirty war on Libya.The Past is Prologue
It is September 2020. Americans are focused on an election between an Orange Fascist criminal and an old-school right-wing Democrat war criminal. Where Donald Trump projects chaos and disorder, Biden projects stability, order, and a return to normalcy. If Trump is the virus, then surely Biden is the cure.
It is September 2020. Libya prepares to enter its eighth year of civil war. Slave markets like the one in Bani Walid are as common as youth literacy centers were in Gaddafi's Libya. Armed gangs and militias wield power even in areas nominally under government control. A warlord regroups in the East as he looks to Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates for support.
It is September 2020 and the US-NATO war on Libya has faded to a distant memory as other issues like Black Lives Matter and police murder of Black youth have captured the public imagination and discourse.
But these issues are, in fact, united by the bond of white supremacy and anti-Blackness. The Libya once known as the "Jewel of Africa," a country that provided refuge for many sub-Saharan African migrant workers while maintaining independence from the US and the former colonial powers of Europe, is no more. In its place is a failed state that now reflects the kind of vicious anti-Black racism forcefully suppressed by the Gaddafi government.
Libya as the global exemplar of the exploitation and disposability of the black body.
Squint a little and you can see President Joe Biden getting the old band back together. Hillary Clinton welcomed into the Oval Office as an influential voice, someone to give words to the demented thoughts of the living corpse serving as Commander-in-Chief. Derek Chollet and Ben Rhodes laughing together as they buy another round at their favorite DC hangout, toasting to the re-establishment of order in Washington. Barack Obama as the éminence grise behind the political resurgence of the liberal-conservative dominant structure.
But in Libya, there is no going back, no fixing the past to escape the present.
Perhaps the same might be true of the United States.AVmaster , 13 hours agofucking truth , 12 hours ago
Number of wars the boy king and his minions started: 6, that we know of: Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.
(Not withstanding the proxy wars during the "muslim spring" like in egypt)
Number of wars Trump has started: 0
This is NOT including the ongoing wars that trump inherited but has dialed back somewhat, like reduced troop presence in iraq/afghan.GreatUncle , 3 hours ago
Trump hasn't started any but he still feeds the beast, hopefully his next four will see a correction to this behaviour,one can only hope.ay_arrow 2Bollixed , 2 hours ago
Has no choice.
The economic reality is the MIC is a big part of the US domestic economy.
Shut that down and you would go into a full blown depression.
If you build bullets, missile, bombs, F35's etc. they have to be used or you have to start scrapping them.
The issue though is not the MIC as such but the lack of any moral integrity and disregard for human life by those mentioned in the article. Once the country was put into this position by them it is much more difficult to extract.
Now I think those in the article should be prosecuted for not going to Congress to declare a war and fund it correctly as this is supposed to be the check and balance of a rogue president.play_arrowDeepStateThrombosis , 3 hours ago
Regarding the MIC, many of those companies consist of manufacturing entities comprised of engineers, factory infrastructure and logistics infrastructure funded by government spending that could realistically be 'retooled' to produce things that could benefit society instead of piss money away on the tools of destruction. America is in need of a massive infrastructure overhaul from our electric grid to our transportation modes to name just two. Nothing is preventing those MIC giants from refocusing their efforts toward a better America versus the current focus they are paid to undertake. It's a matter of priorities and right now I find their priorities misplaced and vulgar.
The money is available at their current funding rates, the manpower and brain power is there, what is lacking is the will to turn the ship around and start putting humans before profits. There is no need to go into a full blown depression as with the shut down of that capacity if those entities are given a mandate to redirect their output for the good of society and create things of lasting value. In other words, take the retooling mindset that turned refrigerator factories into weapons factories like they did in WW2 and take the weapons factories and turn them into entities for the betterment of society. And then wean them off of the government teat.DaiRR , 1 hour ago
Unused funds from the Pentagon can be redirected to the Wall and other Defense protections not known to the public at this time.ay_arrowmuggeridge , 11 hours ago
DemoRats and NeoCons will try every way possible to keep the wars going.
The USA is incredibly blessed to have Donald J. Trump in the White House.play_arrow 1GreatUncle , 3 hours ago
To think Americans demonstrated in the millions to stop the Vietnam war exposed as a fraud by Daniel Ellsberg in the PENTAGON PAPERS. Obama did admit that the removal of Ghadaffy was his biggest foreign policy mistake. Clinton also in trouble over Tunisia while Secretary of State with US ambassador killed in 2012. She took responsibility but was found not to have acted improperly by US Congress. However her part in this tragedy remains an open question. Today the only Middle Eastern country still standing IRAN supported by China. Syria supported by Russia. Cold Wars never go away?
play_arrow 2scaleindependent , 10 hours ago
Cold war is an inevitable consequence of a MIC that must continually produce and expend munitions to keep its part of the economy going.
2 play_arrowmuggeridge , 10 hours ago
Final Jeopardy, genius!
What is Syria and Iran?
HIS acts against those countries ARE acts of war.CheapBastard , 7 hours ago
Regime Change as our modus operandi to serve the cause of military superiority as if pre-set by computer.
How everything became war and the military became everything by Rosa Brooks Tales of the Pentagon.
Something funny happened on the way to the forum; Broadway musical. Hail Caesar?play_arrowGreatUncle , 3 hours ago
Hey, military contractors have to put food on the table also, even if it means murdering millions of innocent people in Yugoslavia (like Clinton did) or in the middle east (like Bush and Obama did).play_arrowSoilMyselfRotten , 3 hours ago
Yep some people don't get it.
With all the military contractors now moved into peaceful protests maybe we actually need more war to keep them gainfully employed.
Get the picture?
2 play_arrowNo1uNo , 9 hours ago
HIS acts against those countries ARE acts of war
Don't forget also blockading Venezuela
sauldaddy , 11 hours ago
No Libya story is complete without mentioning David Shayler- the MI6 agent turned whistleblower who was tasked with blowing up Gaddafi in his car - but refused to do so when he was accompanied by his wife and children. (under the Tony Blair govt). -yep.
Shayler later went into a bizarre series of personas -which is understood by many as self preservation tactic - (testimony of mentally unstable is not recognised in court - so no threat).
Then there's the covert ratlines of gathering the ex-Libyan army weapons & shipping them to ISIS Syria via Turkey and White Helmets (see James Corbett) organised by HRC via Benghazi -so no rescue for US Ambassador & team (RIP) HRC prefer'd keep op covert. Carrier 50 miles off coast -HRC killed US Diplomats & support team. -Biden knew.
Also check out the courageous Dilyana Gaytandzhieva who runs armswatch .com and some SM in her name. for laypersons overview of extent of games-within-games & wheels-within-wheels in arms trade/ chem weapons "research". She's currently researching the Beirut bombings - which will be another revelation when it hits.. . . _ _ _ . . . , 13 hours ago
That awkward moment when you find out the first Black President brought slavery BACK to Africa .....Q- That awkward moment when you find out the first Black President brought slavery BACK to Africa_arrowMs No , 13 hours ago
Qaddafi kept African migrants out of the Mediterranean and away from Europe's shores.
Sarkozy couldn't allow that knowing what was in store for Europe.
He predicted what would happen to Europe were he to be deposed. He was right. Macron's (and Merkel's) policies are proof.
That and the gold dinar was his undoing.
P.S. Don't tell the leftists, but Libya was the only case of a successful socialist state. On second thought, it might be funny to see them publicly defending Qaddafi.not dead yet , 12 hours ago
That may work for a while when you pull black gold out of the ground, for a while. Oil declines and free **** armies breed faster. Then you are Saudi Arabia and we are about to see how that ends up.play_arrowNo1uNo , 9 hours ago
Libyan youth unemployment was over 30% because these spoiled kids with their families getting oil checks in the mail every month refused to do menial jobs. Qaddafi kept the black Africans out of the boats by letting them do the work the kids and other Libyans thought was beneath them. A lot of the money the Africans made they sent home which was spent in the local economies which increased jobs there. Libya also invested heavily in Africa which created lots of jobs. These actions kept the number of Africans headed to Europe a trickle. Once Qaddafi was gone so were all the jobs in Libya and the money that flowed into Africa dried up and jobs were lost. A lot of businesses the Libyans created in Africa were confiscated by the local governments and no doubt given to cronies who ran them into the ground.. . . _ _ _ . . . , 6 hours ago
Gaddafi thought wrongly that job description would save him. Also suggested trading oil for €uro's over dollar$, which blew the lid on powder keg. In the end they say it was the oil, though my thinking was DC think tanks didn't want a monied "Mexico" on south coast of Euroland - could make Europe too financially powerful & too difficult to control.play_arrowNo1uNo , 6 hours ago
I had heard about selling oil for Euros in relation to Saddam, but not to Qaddafi. Qaddafi was about the gold Dinar.
??Steverino , 13 hours ago
Yep, it's what can happen if I'm not careful when I post and try to watch a documentary at the same time.
Thanks for your vigilance.
In case anyone's interested: ex-mossad agent - 57minsplay_arrow
https://archive.org/details/victor-ostrovsky-1995quanttech , 13 hours ago
Find the Libyan gold that dissapeard.... and one likely finds the source of the overthrow....Bill300 , 12 hours ago
try the french treasury...Justapleb , 12 hours ago
Look no further than Hillary's brother. General Gage, a former Special Forces Colonel, had been hired by Hillary, et al, to assemble a merc army to secure Qaddafi's gold amidst the fog of war and transport it to Haiti to be laundered thru Hugh Rodham's little gold mine. Does anyone really think Obama sold enough books to buy a $12M seaside mansion in Massachusetts and the Washington DC home?
These people are so evil.dark pools of soros , 4 hours ago
That's certainly titillating. Do you have a source that puts these things together?
I tried some Google searches, but I already know those searches are censored so it is not an easy thing to findDaCrustyDad , 13 hours ago
you gotta get your hands dirty if you want to know whats in the soil
Imagine if some country invaded us and slaughtered about 23.5 million (apples for apples based on the 500k civilians killed out of 7,000,000)? Obama and the Clinton's should be playing basketball at Peli