Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells

Neocolonialism Bulletin, 2016

Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism

2018 2017 2016 2015 2014  2013 2011  2009 2008

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Feb 26, 2019] THE CRISIS OF NEOLIBERALISM by Julie A. Wilson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While the Tea Party was critical of status-quo neoliberalism -- especially its cosmopolitanism and embrace of globalization and diversity, which was perfectly embodied by Obama's election and presidency -- it was not exactly anti-neoliberal. Rather, it was anti-left neoliberalism-, it represented a more authoritarian, right [wing] version of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Within the context of the 2016 election, Clinton embodied the neoliberal center that could no longer hold. Inequality. Suffering. Collapsing infrastructures. Perpetual war. Anger. Disaffected consent. ..."
"... Both Sanders and Trump were embedded in the emerging left and right responses to neoliberalism's crisis. Specifically, Sanders' energetic campaign -- which was undoubtedly enabled by the rise of the Occupy movement -- proposed a decidedly more "commongood" path. Higher wages for working people. Taxes on the rich, specifically the captains of the creditocracy. ..."
"... In other words, Trump supporters may not have explicitly voted for neoliberalism, but that's what they got. In fact, as Rottenberg argues, they got a version of right neoliberalism "on steroids" -- a mix of blatant plutocracy and authoritarianism that has many concerned about the rise of U.S. fascism. ..."
"... We can't know what would have happened had Sanders run against Trump, but we can think seriously about Trump, right and left neoliberalism, and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. In other words, we can think about where and how we go from here. As I suggested in the previous chapter, if we want to construct a new world, we are going to have to abandon the entangled politics of both right and left neoliberalism; we have to reject the hegemonic frontiers of both disposability and marketized equality. After all, as political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues, what was rejected in the election of 2016 was progressive, left neoliberalism. ..."
"... While the rise of hyper-right neoliberalism is certainly nothing to celebrate, it does present an opportunity for breaking with neoliberal hegemony. We have to proceed, as Gary Younge reminds us, with the realization that people "have not rejected the chance of a better world. They have not yet been offered one."' ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Quote from the book is courtesy of Amazon preview of the book Neoliberalism (Key Ideas in Media & Cultural Studies)

In Chapter 1, we traced the rise of our neoliberal conjuncture back to the crisis of liberalism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, culminating in the Great Depression. During this period, huge transformations in capitalism proved impossible to manage with classical laissez-faire approaches. Out of this crisis, two movements emerged, both of which would eventually shape the course of the twentieth century and beyond. The first, and the one that became dominant in the aftermath of the crisis, was the conjuncture of embedded liberalism. The crisis indicated that capitalism wrecked too much damage on the lives of ordinary citizens. People (white workers and families, especially) warranted social protection from the volatilities and brutalities of capitalism. The state's public function was expanded to include the provision of a more substantive social safety net, a web of protections for people and a web of constraints on markets. The second response was the invention of neoliberalism. Deeply skeptical of the common-good principles that undergirded the emerging social welfare state, neoliberals began organizing on the ground to develop a "new" liberal govemmentality, one rooted less in laissez-faire principles and more in the generalization of competition and enterprise. They worked to envision a new society premised on a new social ontology, that is, on new truths about the state, the market, and human beings. Crucially, neoliberals also began building infrastructures and institutions for disseminating their new' knowledges and theories (i.e., the Neoliberal Thought Collective), as well as organizing politically to build mass support for new policies (i.e., working to unite anti-communists, Christian conservatives, and free marketers in common cause against the welfare state). When cracks in embedded liberalism began to surface -- which is bound to happen with any moving political equilibrium -- neoliberals were there with new stories and solutions, ready to make the world anew.

We are currently living through the crisis of neoliberalism. As I write this book, Donald Trump has recently secured the U.S. presidency, prevailing in the national election over his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Throughout the election, I couldn't help but think back to the crisis of liberalism and the two responses that emerged. Similarly, after the Great Recession of 2008, we've saw two responses emerge to challenge our unworkable status quo, which dispossesses so many people of vital resources for individual and collective life. On the one hand, we witnessed the rise of Occupy Wall Street. While many continue to critique the movement for its lack of leadership and a coherent political vision, Occupy was connected to burgeoning movements across the globe, and our current political horizons have been undoubtedly shaped by the movement's success at repositioning class and economic inequality within our political horizon. On the other hand, we saw' the rise of the Tea Party, a right-wing response to the crisis. While the Tea Party was critical of status-quo neoliberalism -- especially its cosmopolitanism and embrace of globalization and diversity, which was perfectly embodied by Obama's election and presidency -- it was not exactly anti-neoliberal. Rather, it was anti-left neoliberalism-, it represented a more authoritarian, right [wing] version of neoliberalism.

Within the context of the 2016 election, Clinton embodied the neoliberal center that could no longer hold. Inequality. Suffering. Collapsing infrastructures. Perpetual war. Anger. Disaffected consent. There were just too many fissures and fault lines in the glossy, cosmopolitan world of left neoliberalism and marketized equality. Indeed, while Clinton ran on status-quo stories of good governance and neoliberal feminism, confident that demographics and diversity would be enough to win the election, Trump effectively tapped into the unfolding conjunctural crisis by exacerbating the cracks in the system of marketized equality, channeling political anger into his celebrity brand that had been built on saying "f*** you" to the culture of left neoliberalism (corporate diversity, political correctness, etc.) In fact, much like Clinton's challenger in the Democratic primary, Benie Sanders, Trump was a crisis candidate.

Both Sanders and Trump were embedded in the emerging left and right responses to neoliberalism's crisis. Specifically, Sanders' energetic campaign -- which was undoubtedly enabled by the rise of the Occupy movement -- proposed a decidedly more "commongood" path. Higher wages for working people. Taxes on the rich, specifically the captains of the creditocracy.

Universal health care. Free higher education. Fair trade. The repeal of Citizens United. Trump offered a different response to the crisis. Like Sanders, he railed against global trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). However, Trump's victory was fueled by right neoliberalism's culture of cruelty. While Sanders tapped into and mobilized desires for a more egalitarian and democratic future, Trump's promise was nostalgic, making America "great again" -- putting the nation back on "top of the world," and implying a time when women were "in their place" as male property, and minorities and immigrants were controlled by the state.

Thus, what distinguished Trump's campaign from more traditional Republican campaigns was that it actively and explicitly pitted one group's equality (white men) against everyone else's (immigrants, women, Muslims, minorities, etc.). As Catherine Rottenberg suggests, Trump offered voters a choice between a multiracial society (where folks are increasingly disadvantaged and dispossessed) and white supremacy (where white people would be back on top). However, "[w]hat he neglected to state," Rottenberg writes,

is that neoliberalism flourishes in societies where the playing field is already stacked against various segments of society, and that it needs only a relatively small select group of capital-enhancing subjects, while everyone else is ultimately dispensable. 1

In other words, Trump supporters may not have explicitly voted for neoliberalism, but that's what they got. In fact, as Rottenberg argues, they got a version of right neoliberalism "on steroids" -- a mix of blatant plutocracy and authoritarianism that has many concerned about the rise of U.S. fascism.

We can't know what would have happened had Sanders run against Trump, but we can think seriously about Trump, right and left neoliberalism, and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. In other words, we can think about where and how we go from here. As I suggested in the previous chapter, if we want to construct a new world, we are going to have to abandon the entangled politics of both right and left neoliberalism; we have to reject the hegemonic frontiers of both disposability and marketized equality. After all, as political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues, what was rejected in the election of 2016 was progressive, left neoliberalism.

While the rise of hyper-right neoliberalism is certainly nothing to celebrate, it does present an opportunity for breaking with neoliberal hegemony. We have to proceed, as Gary Younge reminds us, with the realization that people "have not rejected the chance of a better world. They have not yet been offered one."'

Mark Fisher, the author of Capitalist Realism, put it this way:

The long, dark night of the end of history has to be grasped as an enormous opportunity. The very oppressive pervasiveness of capitalist realism means that even glimmers of alternative political and economic possibilities can have a disproportionately great effect. The tiniest event can tear a hole in the grey curtain of reaction which has marked the horizons of possibility under capitalist realism. From a situation in which nothing can happen, suddenly anything is possible again.4

I think that, for the first time in the history of U.S. capitalism, the vast majority of people might sense the lie of liberal, capitalist democracy. They feel anxious, unfree, disaffected. Fantasies of the good life have been shattered beyond repair for most people. Trump and this hopefully brief triumph of right neoliberalism will soon lay this bare for everyone to see. Now, with Trump, it is absolutely clear: the rich rule the world; we are all disposable; this is no democracy. The question becomes: How will we show up for history? Will there be new stories, ideas, visions, and fantasies to attach to? How can we productively and meaningful intervene in the crisis of neoliberalism? How can we "tear a hole in the grey curtain" and open up better worlds? How can we put what we've learned to use and begin to imagine and build a world beyond living in competition? I hope our critical journey through the neoliberal conjuncture has enabled you to begin to answer these questions.

More specifically, in recent decades, especially since the end of the Cold War, our common-good sensibilities have been channeled into neoliberal platforms for social change and privatized action, funneling our political energies into brand culture and marketized struggles for equality (e.g., charter schools, NGOs and non-profits, neoliberal antiracism and feminism). As a result, despite our collective anger and disaffected consent, we find ourselves stuck in capitalist realism with no real alternative. Like the neoliberal care of the self, we are trapped in a privatized mode of politics that relies on cruel optimism; we are attached, it seems, to politics that inspire and motivate us to action, while keeping us living in competition.

To disrupt the game, we need to construct common political horizons against neoliberal hegemony. We need to use our common stories and common reason to build common movements against precarity -- for within neoliberalism, precarity is what ultimately has the potential to thread all of our lives together. Put differently, the ultimate fault line in the neoliberal conjiuicture is the way it subjects us all to precarity and the biopolitics of disposability, thereby creating conditions of possibility for new coalitions across race, gender, citizenship, sexuality, and class. Recognizing this potential for coalition in the face of precarization is the most pressing task facing those who are yearning for a new world. The question is: How do we get there? How do we realize these coalitional potentialities and materialize common horizons?

HOW WE GET THERE

Ultimately, mapping the neoliberal conjuncture through everyday life in enterprise culture has not only provided some direction in terms of what we need; it has also cultivated concrete and practical intellectual resources for political interv ention and social interconnection -- a critical toolbox for living in common. More specifically, this book has sought to provide resources for thinking and acting against the four Ds: resources for engaging in counter-conduct, modes of living that refuse, on one hand, to conduct one's life according to the norm of enterprise, and on the other, to relate to others through the norm of competition. Indeed, we need new ways of relating, interacting, and living as friends, lovers, workers, vulnerable bodies, and democratic people if we are to write new stories, invent new govemmentalities, and build coalitions for new worlds.

Against Disimagination: Educated Hope and Affirmative Speculation

We need to stop turning inward, retreating into ourselves, and taking personal responsibility for our lives (a task which is ultimately impossible). Enough with the disimagination machine! Let's start looking outward, not inward -- to the broader structures that undergird our lives. Of course, we need to take care of ourselves; we must survive. But I firmly believe that we can do this in ways both big and small, that transform neoliberal culture and its status-quo stories.

Here's the thing I tell my students all the time. You cannot escape neoliberalism. It is the air we breathe, the water in which we swim. No job, practice of social activism, program of self-care, or relationship will be totally free from neoliberal impingements and logics. There is no pure "outside" to get to or work from -- that's just the nature of the neoliberalism's totalizing cultural power. But let's not forget that neoliberalism's totalizing cultural power is also a source of weakness. Potential for resistance is everywhere, scattered throughout our everyday lives in enterprise culture. Our critical toolbox can help us identify these potentialities and navigate and engage our conjuncture in ways that tear open up those new worlds we desire.

In other words, our critical perspective can help us move through the world with what Henry Giroux calls educated hope. Educated hope means holding in tension the material realities of power and the contingency of history. This orientation of educated hope knows very well what we're up against. However, in the face of seemingly totalizing power, it also knows that neoliberalism can never become total because the future is open. Educated hope is what allows us to see the fault lines, fissures, and potentialities of the present and emboldens us to think and work from that sliver of social space where we do have political agency and freedom to construct a new world. Educated hope is what undoes the power of capitalist realism. It enables affirmative speculation (such as discussed in Chapter 5), which does not try to hold the future to neoliberal horizons (that's cruel optimism!), but instead to affirm our commonalities and the potentialities for the new worlds they signal. Affirmative speculation demands a different sort of risk calculation and management. It senses how little we have to lose and how much we have to gain from knocking the hustle of our lives.

Against De-democratization: Organizing and Collective Coverning

We can think of educated hope and affirmative speculation as practices of what Wendy Brown calls "bare democracy" -- the basic idea that ordinary' people like you and me should govern our lives in common, that we should critique and try to change our world, especially the exploitative and oppressive structures of power that maintain social hierarchies and diminish lives. Neoliberal culture works to stomp out capacities for bare democracy by transforming democratic desires and feelings into meritocratic desires and feelings. In neoliberal culture, utopian sensibilities are directed away from the promise of collective utopian sensibilities are directed away from the promise of collective governing to competing for equality.

We have to get back that democractic feeling! As Jeremy Gilbert taught us, disaffected consent is a post-democratic orientation. We don't like our world, but we don't think we can do anything about it. So, how do we get back that democratic feeling? How do we transform our disaffected consent into something new? As I suggested in the last chapter, we organize. Organizing is simply about people coming together around a common horizon and working collectively to materialize it. In this way, organizing is based on the idea of radical democracy, not liberal democracy. While the latter is based on formal and abstract rights guaranteed by the state, radical democracy insists that people should directly make the decisions that impact their lives, security, and well-being. Radical democracy is a practice of collective governing: it is about us hashing out, together in communities, what matters, and working in common to build a world based on these new sensibilities.

The work of organizing is messy, often unsatisfying, and sometimes even scary. Organizing based on affirmative speculation and coalition-building, furthermore, will have to be experimental and uncertain. As Lauren Berlant suggests, it means "embracing the discomfort of affective experience in a truly open social life that no

one has ever experienced." Organizing through and for the common "requires more adaptable infrastructures. Keep forcing the existing infrastructures to do what they don't know how to do. Make new ways to be local together, where local doesn't require a physical neighborhood." 5 What Berlant is saying is that the work of bare democracy requires unlearning, and detaching from, our current stories and infrastructures in order to see and make things work differently. Organizing for a new world is not easy -- and there are no guarantees -- but it is the only way out of capitalist realism.

Against Disposability: Radical Equality

Getting back democratic feeling will at once require and help us lo move beyond the biopolitics of disposability and entrenched systems of inequality. On one hand, organizing will never be enough if it is not animated by bare democracy, a sensibility that each of us is equally important when it comes to the project of determining our lives in common. Our bodies, our hurts, our dreams, and our desires matter regardless of our race, gender, sexuality, or citizenship, and regardless of how r much capital (economic, social, or cultural) we have. Simply put, in a radical democracy, no one is disposable. This bare-democratic sense of equality must be foundational to organizing and coalition-building. Otherwise, we will always and inevitably fall back into a world of inequality.

On the other hand, organizing and collective governing will deepen and enhance our sensibilities and capacities for radical equality. In this context, the kind of self-enclosed individualism that empowers and underwrites the biopolitics of disposability melts away, as we realize the interconnectedness of our lives and just how amazing it feels to

fail, we affirm our capacities for freedom, political intervention, social interconnection, and collective social doing.

Against Dispossession: Shared Security and Common Wealth

Thinking and acting against the biopolitics of disposability goes hand-in-hand with thinking and acting against dispossession. Ultimately, when we really understand and feel ourselves in relationships of interconnection with others, we want for them as we want for ourselves. Our lives and sensibilities of what is good and just are rooted in radical equality, not possessive or self-appreciating individualism. Because we desire social security and protection, we also know others desire and deserve the same.

However, to really think and act against dispossession means not only advocating for shared security and social protection, but also for a new society that is built on the egalitarian production and distribution of social wealth that we all produce. In this sense, we can take Marx's critique of capitalism -- that wealth is produced collectively but appropriated individually -- to heart. Capitalism was built on the idea that one class -- the owners of the means of production -- could exploit and profit from the collective labors of everyone else (those who do not own and thus have to work), albeit in very different ways depending on race, gender, or citizenship. This meant that, for workers of all stripes, their lives existed not for themselves, but for others (the appropriating class), and that regardless of what we own as consumers, we are not really free or equal in that bare-democratic sense of the word.

If we want to be really free, we need to construct new material and affective social infrastructures for our common wealth. In these new infrastructures, wealth must not be reduced to economic value; it must be rooted in social value. Here, the production of wealth does not exist as a separate sphere from the reproduction of our lives. In other words, new infrastructures, based on the idea of common wealth, will not be set up to exploit our labor, dispossess our communities, or to divide our lives. Rather, they will work to provide collective social resources and care so that we may all be free to pursue happiness, create beautiful and/or useful things, and to realize our potential within a social world of living in common. Crucially, to create the conditions for these new, democratic forms of freedom rooted in radical equality, we need to find ways to refuse and exit the financial networks of Empire and the dispossessions of creditocracy, building new systems that invite everyone to participate in the ongoing production of new worlds and the sharing of the wealth that we produce in common.

It's not up to me to tell you exactly where to look, but I assure you that potentialities for these new worlds are everywhere around you.

[Feb 04, 2019] Trump s Revised and Rereleased Foreign Policy: The World Policeman is Back

Highly recommended!
This article from 2017 looks like it was written yesterday. Trump betrayal of his elctorate on multiple levels, essentially on all key poin of his election program mkes him "Republican Obama".
What is interesting about Trump foreign policy is his version of neoliberal "gangster capitalism" on foreign arena: might is right principle applied like universal opener. Previous administrations tried to put a lipstick on the pig. Trump does not even bother.
In terms of foreign policy, and even during the transition before Trump's inauguration, there were other, more disturbing signs of where Trump would be heading soon. When Fidel Castro died on November 25, 2016, Trump seemed jubilant as if he had somehow been vindicated, and took the opportunity to slander Castro as a "brutal dictator" who "oppressed his own people" and turned Cuba into a "totalitarian island".
Notable quotes:
"... However, when he delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 2017, Trump appeared to reaffirm his campaign themes of anti-interventionism. In particular he seemed to turn the government's back on a long-standing policy of cultural imperialism , stating: "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone". In addition he said his government would "seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world," and he understood the importance of national sovereignty when he added, "it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first". ..."
"... Yet when it came to Russia, Trump could have instantly removed sanctions that were imposed by Obama in his last weeks in office -- an irresponsible and dangerous act by Obama, where foreign policy was used as a partisan tool in the service of shoring up a crummy conspiracy theory about "Russian hacking" in order to deny the Democrats any culpability in their much deserved defeat. ..."
"... The entire conflict with Russia that has developed in recent years, on the US side, was totally unnecessary, illogical, and quite preventable. ..."
"... Just two weeks after violating his promise to end the US role as the world's policeman and his vow to extricate the US from wars for regime change, Trump sold out again. "I love WikiLeaks -- " -- this is what Trump exclaimed in a speech on October 10, 2016. Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks is thus truly astounding. ..."
"... AP: If I could fit a couple of more topics. Jeff Sessions, your attorney general, is taking a tougher line suddenly on Julian Assange, saying that arresting him is a priority. You were supportive of what WikiLeaks was doing during the campaign with the release of the Clinton emails. Do you think that arresting Assange is a priority for the United States? ..."
"... AP: But that didn't mean that you supported what Assange is doing? ..."
"... AP: Can I just ask you, though -- do you believe it is a priority for the United States, or it should be a priority, to arrest Julian Assange? ..."
"... While there is no denying the extensive data about the severe impacts of NAFTA on select states and industries in the US, witnessed by the closure of tens of thousands of factories and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, there is little support for the claim that Canada and Mexico, as wholes, have instead fared well and that the US as a whole has been the loser thanks to them. ..."
"... Since NAFTA was implemented, migration from Mexico to the US skyrocketed dramatically. US agricultural industries sent millions of Mexican farmers into food poverty, and ultimately drove them away from agriculture ..."
"... As for per capita GDP, so treasured by economists, NAFTA had no positive impact on Mexico -- in fact, per capita GDP is nearly a flat line for the entire period since 1994. Finally, Trump does not mention that in terms of the number of actual protectionist measures that have been implemented, the US leads the world . ..."
"... To put Trump's position on NAFTA in bold relief, it is not that he is decidedly against free trade. In fact, he often claims he supports free trade, as long as it is "fair". However, his notion of fairness is very lopsided -- a trade agreement is fair only when the US reaps the greater share of benefits. ..."
"... As argued in the previous section, if Trump is to be the newfound champion of this imperialism -- empire's prodigal son -- then what an abysmally poor choice he is ..."
"... On the one hand, he helped to unleash US anti-interventionism (usually called "isolationism" not to call it anti-imperialism, which would then admit to imperialism which is still denied by most of the dominant elites). On the other hand, in trying to now contain such popular sentiment, he loses credibility -- after having lost credibility with the groups his campaign displaced. ..."
"... As for Trump's domestic opposition, what should be most pertinent are issues of conflict of interest and nepotism . Here members of Trump's base are more on target yet again, when they reject the presence of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in the White House ("we didn't elect Ivanka or Jared"), than are those distracted by identity politics. ..."
"... As Trump leverages the presidency to upgrade the Trump family to the transnational capitalist class, and reinforces the power of US imperialism which that class has purchased, conflict of interest and nepotism will be the main political signposts of the transformation of the Trump presidency, but they could also be the targets for a refined strategy of opposition. ..."
Aug 09, 2017 | zeroanthropology.net

Trump could have kept quiet, and lost nothing. Instead what he was attacking -- and the irony was missed on his fervently right wing supporters -- was someone who was a leader in the anti-globalist movement, from long before it was ever called that. Fidel Castro was a radical pioneer of independence, self-reliance, and self-determination.

Castro turned Cuba from an American-owned sugar plantation and brothel, a lurid backwater in the Caribbean, into a serious international actor opposed to globalizing capitalism. There was no sign of any acknowledgment of this by Trump, who instead chose to parrot the same people who would vilify him using similar terms (evil, authoritarian, etc.). Of course, Trump respects only corporate executives and billionaires, not what he would see as some rag-tag Third World revolutionary. Here Trump's supporters generally failed, using Castro's death as an opportunity for tribal partisanship, another opportunity to attack "weak liberals" like Obama who made minor overtures to Cuba (too little, too late).

Their distrust of "the establishment" was nowhere to be found this time: their ignorance of Cuba and their resort to stock clichés and slogans had all been furnished to them by the same establishment they otherwise claimed to oppose.

Just to be clear, the above is not meant to indicate any reversal on Trump's part regarding Cuba. He has been consistently anti-communist, and fairly consistent in his denunciations of Fidel Castro. What is significant is that -- far from overcoming the left-right divide -- Trump shores up the barriers, even at the cost of denouncing others who have a proven track record of fighting against neoliberal globalization and US interventionism. In these regards, Trump has no track record. Even among his rivals in the Republican primaries, senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul had more of an anti-interventionist track record.

However, when he delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 2017, Trump appeared to reaffirm his campaign themes of anti-interventionism. In particular he seemed to turn the government's back on a long-standing policy of cultural imperialism , stating: "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone". In addition he said his government would "seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world," and he understood the importance of national sovereignty when he added, "it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first".

Russia

Yet when it came to Russia, Trump could have instantly removed sanctions that were imposed by Obama in his last weeks in office -- an irresponsible and dangerous act by Obama, where foreign policy was used as a partisan tool in the service of shoring up a crummy conspiracy theory about "Russian hacking" in order to deny the Democrats any culpability in their much deserved defeat.

Instead, Trump continued the sanctions, as if out of meek deference to Obama's policy, one founded on lies and antagonism toward Trump himself. Rather than repair the foul attempt to sabotage the US-Russian relationship in preparation for his presidency, Trump simply abided and thus became an accomplice. To be clear, Trump has done precisely nothing to dampen the near mass hysteria that has been manufactured in the US about alleged -- indeed imaginary -- "Russian intervention".

His comments, both during the electoral campaign and even early into his presidency, about wanting good relations with Russia, have been replaced by Trump's admissions that US relations with Russia are at a low point (Putin agreed: "I would say the level of trust [between Russia and the US] is at a workable level, especially in the military dimension, but it hasn't improved. On the contrary, it has degraded " and his spokesman called the relations " deplorable ".)

Rather than use the power of his office to calm fears, to build better ties with Russia, and to make meeting with Vladimir Putin a top priority, Trump has again done nothing , except escalating tensions. The entire conflict with Russia that has developed in recent years, on the US side, was totally unnecessary, illogical, and quite preventable. Russia had actively facilitated the US' war in Afghanistan for over a decade, and was a consistent collaborator on numerous levels. It is up to thinking American officials to honestly explain what motivated them to tilt relations with Russia, because it is certainly not Russia's doing. The only explanation that makes any sense is that the US leadership grew concerned that Russia was no longer teetering on the edge of total socio-economic breakdown, as it was under the neoliberal Boris Yeltsin, but has instead resurfaced as a major actor in international affairs, and one that champions anti-neoliberal objectives of enhanced state sovereignty and self-determination.

WikiLeaks

Just two weeks after violating his promise to end the US role as the world's policeman and his vow to extricate the US from wars for regime change, Trump sold out again. "I love WikiLeaks -- " -- this is what Trump exclaimed in a speech on October 10, 2016. Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks is thus truly astounding.

After finding so much use for WikiLeaks' publication of the Podesta emails, which became incorporated into his campaign speeches, and which fuelled the writing and speaking of journalists and bloggers sympathetic to Trump -- he was now effectively declaring WikiLeaks to be both an enemy and a likely target of US government action, in even more blunt terms than we heard during the past eight years under Obama. This is not mere continuity with the past, but a dramatic escalation. Rather than praise Julian Assange for his work, call for an end to the illegal impediments to his seeking asylum, swear off any US calls for extraditing and prosecuting Assange, and perhaps meeting with him in person, Trump has done all of the opposite. Instead we learn that Trump's administration may file arrest charges against Assange . Mike Pompeo , chosen by Trump to head the CIA, who had himself cited WikiLeaks as a reliable source of proof about how the Democratic National Committee had rigged its campaign, now declared WikiLeaks to be a " non-state hostile intelligence service ," along with vicious personal slander against Assange.

Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks was one that he defended in terms that were not just a deceptive rewriting of history, but one that was also fearful -- "I don't support or unsupport" WikiLeaks, was what Trump was now saying in his dash for the nearest exit. The backtracking is so obvious in this interview Trump gave to the AP , that his shoes must have left skid marks on the floor:

AP: If I could fit a couple of more topics. Jeff Sessions, your attorney general, is taking a tougher line suddenly on Julian Assange, saying that arresting him is a priority. You were supportive of what WikiLeaks was doing during the campaign with the release of the Clinton emails. Do you think that arresting Assange is a priority for the United States?

TRUMP: When Wikileaks came out never heard of Wikileaks, never heard of it. When Wikileaks came out, all I was just saying is, "Well, look at all this information here, this is pretty good stuff." You know, they tried to hack the Republican, the RNC, but we had good defenses. They didn't have defenses, which is pretty bad management. But we had good defenses, they tried to hack both of them. They weren't able to get through to Republicans. No, I found it very interesting when I read this stuff and I said, "Wow." It was just a figure of speech. I said, "Well, look at this. It's good reading."

AP: But that didn't mean that you supported what Assange is doing?

TRUMP: No, I don't support or unsupport. It was just information .

AP: Can I just ask you, though -- do you believe it is a priority for the United States, or it should be a priority, to arrest Julian Assange?

TRUMP: I am not involved in that decision, but if Jeff Sessions wants to do it, it's OK with me. I didn't know about that decision, but if they want to do it, it's OK with me.

First, Trump invents the fictitious claim that WikiLeaks was responsible for hacking the DNC, and that WikiLeaks also tried to hack the Republicans. Second, he pretends to be an innocent bystander, a spectator, in his own administration -- whatever others decide, is "OK" with him, not that he knows about their decisions, but it's all up to others. He has no power, all of a sudden.

Again, what Trump is displaying in this episode is his ultimate attachment to his class, with all of its anxieties and its contempt for rebellious, marginal upstarts. Trump shuns any sort of "loyalty" to WikiLeaks (not that they ever had a working relationship) or any form of gratitude, because then that would imply a debt and therefore a transfer of value -- whereas Trump's core ethics are those of expedience and greed (he admits that much). This move has come with a cost , with members of Trump's support base openly denouncing the betrayal. 6

NAFTA

On NAFTA , Trump claims he has not changed his position -- yet, from openly denouncing the free trade agreement and promising to terminate it, he now vows only to seek modifications and amendments, which means supporting NAFTA. He appeared to be awfully quick to obey the diplomatic pressure of Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and Mexico's President, Enrique Peña Nieto. Trump's entire position on NAFTA now comes into question.

While there is no denying the extensive data about the severe impacts of NAFTA on select states and industries in the US, witnessed by the closure of tens of thousands of factories and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, there is little support for the claim that Canada and Mexico, as wholes, have instead fared well and that the US as a whole has been the loser thanks to them.

This really deserves to be treated at length, separately from this article. However, for now, let's keep in mind that when Trump complains about Canadian softwood lumber and dairy exports to the US, his argument about NAFTA is without merit. Neither commodity is part of the NAFTA agreement.

Moreover, where dairy is concerned, the problem is US overproduction. Wisconsin alone has more dairy cows than all of Canada . There is a net surplus , in the US' favour, with respect to US dairy exports to Canada. Overall, the US has a net surplus in the trade in goods and services with Canada. Regarding Mexico, the irony of Trump's denunciations of imaginary Mexican victories is that he weakens his own criticisms of immigration.

Since NAFTA was implemented, migration from Mexico to the US skyrocketed dramatically. US agricultural industries sent millions of Mexican farmers into food poverty, and ultimately drove them away from agriculture.

As for per capita GDP, so treasured by economists, NAFTA had no positive impact on Mexico -- in fact, per capita GDP is nearly a flat line for the entire period since 1994. Finally, Trump does not mention that in terms of the number of actual protectionist measures that have been implemented, the US leads the world .

To put Trump's position on NAFTA in bold relief, it is not that he is decidedly against free trade. In fact, he often claims he supports free trade, as long as it is "fair". However, his notion of fairness is very lopsided -- a trade agreement is fair only when the US reaps the greater share of benefits.

His arguments with respect to Canada are akin to those of a looter or raider. He wants to block lumber imports from Canada, at the same time as he wants to break the Canadian dairy market wide open to absorb US excess production. That approach is at the core of what defined the US as a "new empire" in the 1800s. In addition, while Trump was quick to tear up the TPP, he has said nothing about TISA and TTIP.

Mexico

Trump's argument with Mexico is also disturbing for what it implies. It would seem that any evidence of production in Mexico causes Trump concern. Mexico should not only keep its people -- however many are displaced by US imports -- but it should also be as dependent as possible on the US for everything except oil. Since Trump has consistently declared his antagonism to OPEC, ideally Mexico's oil would be sold for a few dollars per barrel.

China

Trump's turn on China almost provoked laughter from his many domestic critics. Absurdly, what figures prominently in most renditions of the story of Trump's change on China (including his own), is a big piece of chocolate cake. The missile strike on Syria was, according to Wilbur Ross, the " after-dinner entertainment ". Here, Trump's loud condemnations of China on trade issues were suddenly quelled -- and it is not because chocolate has magical properties. Instead it seems Trump has been willing to settle on selling out citizens' interests , and particularly those who voted for him, in return for China's assistance on North Korea. Let's be clear: countering and dominating North Korea is an established favourite among neoconservatives. Trump's priority here is fully "neocon," and the submergence of trade issues in favour of militaristic preferences is the one case where neoconservatives might be distinguished from the otherwise identical neoliberals.

North Korea

Where North Korea is concerned, Trump chose to manufacture a " crisis ". North Korea has actually done nothing to warrant a sudden outbreak of panic over it being supposedly aggressive and threatening. North Korea is no more aggressive than any person defending their survival can be called belligerent. The constant series of US military exercises in South Korea, or near North Korean waters, is instead a deliberate provocation to a state whose existence the US nearly extinguished. Even last year the US Air Force publicly boasted of having "nearly destroyed" North Korea -- language one would have expected from the Luftwaffe in WWII. The US continues to maintain roughly 60,000 troops on the border between North and South Korea, and continues to refuse to formally declare an end to the Korean War and sign a peace treaty . Trump then announced he was sending an "armada" to the Korean peninsula, and boasted of how "very powerful" it was. This was in addition to the US deploying the THAAD missile system in South Korea. Several of his messages in Twitter were written using highly provocative and threatening language. When asked if he would start a war, Trump glibly replied: " I don't know. I mean, we'll see ". On another occasion Trump stated, "There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely". When the world's leading military superpower declares its intention to destroy you, then there is nothing you can do in your defense which anyone could justly label as "over the top". Otherwise, once again Trump posed as a parental figure, the world's chief babysitter -- picture Trump, surrounded by children taking part in the "Easter egg roll" at the White House, being asked about North Korea and responding "they gotta behave". Trump would presume to teach manners to North Korea, using the only tools of instruction that seem to be the first and last resort of US foreign policy (and the "defense" industry): bombs.

Syria

Attacking Syria , on purportedly humanitarian grounds, is for many (including vocal supporters) one of the most glaring contradictions of Trump's campaign statements about not embroiling the US in failed wars of regime change and world policing. During the campaign, he was in favour of Russia's collaboration with Syria in the fight against ISIS. For years he had condemned Obama for involving the US in Syria, and consistently opposed military intervention there. All that was consigned to the archive of positions Trump declared to now be worthless. That there had been a change in Trump's position is not a matter of dispute -- Trump made the point himself :

"I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don't have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way, I don't change. Well, I do change and I am flexible, and I'm proud of that flexibility. And I will tell you, that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me -- big impact. That was a horrible, horrible thing. And I've been watching it and seeing it, and it doesn't get any worse than that. And I have that flexibility, and it's very, very possible -- and I will tell you, it's already happened that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much. And if you look back over the last few weeks, there were other attacks using gas. You're now talking about a whole different level".

Bending to the will of the prevailing Cold War and neo-McCarthyist atmosphere in the US, rife with anti-Russian conspiracy theories, Trump found an easy opportunity to score points with the hostile media, ever so mindful as he is about approval ratings, polls, and media coverage. Some explain Trump's reversals as arising from his pursuit of public adulation -- and while the media play the key role in purveying celebrity status, they are also a stiff bastion of imperialist culture. Given his many years as a the host of a popular TV show, and as the owner of the Miss Universe Pageant, there is some logical merit to the argument. But I think even more is at work, as explained in paragraphs above. According to Eric Trump it was at the urging of Ivanka that Donald Trump decided to strike a humanitarian-militarist pose. He would play the part of the Victorian parent, only he would use missiles to teach unruly children lessons about violence. Using language typically used against him by the mainstream media, Trump now felt entitled to pontificate that Assad is "evil," an " animal ," who would have to go . When did he supposedly come to this realization? Did Assad become evil at the same time Trump was inaugurated? Why would Trump have kept so silent about "evil" on the campaign trail? Trump of course is wrong: it's not that the world changed and he changed with it; rather, he invented a new fiction to suit his masked intentions. Trump's supposed opponents and critics, like the Soros-funded organizer of the women's march Linda Sarsour, showed her approval of even more drastic action by endorsing messages by what sounded like a stern school mistress who thought that 59 cruise missiles were just a mere "slap on the wrist". Virtually every neocon who is publicly active applauded Trump, as did most senior Democrats. The loudest opposition , however, came from Trump's own base , with a number of articles featuring criticism from Trump's supporters , and one conservative publication calling him outright a " weakling and a political ingrate ".

Members of the Trump administration have played various word games with the public on intervention in Syria. From unnamed officials saying the missile strike was a "one off," to named officials promising more if there were any other suspected chemical attacks (or use of barrel bombs -- and this while the US dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb in existence on Afghanistan); some said that regime change was not the goal, and then others made it clear that was the ultimate goal ; and then Trump saying, "Our policy is the same, it hasn't changed. We're not going into Syria " -- even though Trump himself greatly increased the number of US troops he deployed to Syria , illegally, in an escalation of the least protested invasion in recent history. Now we should know enough not to count this as mere ambiguity, but as deliberate obfuscation that offers momentary (thinly veiled) cover for a renewal of neocon policy .

We can draw an outline of Trump's liberal imperialism when it comes to Syria, which is likely to be applied elsewhere. First, Trump's interventionist policy regarding Syria is one that continues to treat that country as if it were terra nullius , a mere playground for superpower politics. Second, Trump is clearly continuing with the neoconservative agenda and its hit list of states to be terminated by US military action, as famously confirmed by Gen. Wesley Clark. Even Trump's strategy for justifying the attack on Syria echoed the two prior Bush presidential administrations -- selling war with the infamous "incubator babies" myth and the myth of "weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs). In many ways, Trump's presidency is thus shaping up to be either the seventh term of the George H.W. Bush regime, or the fifth straight term of the George W. Bush regime. Third, Trump is taking ownership of an extremely dangerous conflict, with costs that could surpass anything witnessed by the war on Iraq (which also continues). Fourth, by highlighting the importance of photographs in allegedly changing his mind, Trump has placed a high market value on propaganda featuring dead babies. His actions in Syria will now create an effective demand for the pornographic trade in pictures of atrocities. These are matters of great importance to the transnational capitalist class, which demands full global penetrability, diminished state power (unless in the service of this class' goals), a uniformity of expectations and conformity in behaviour, and an emphasis on individual civil liberties which are the basis for defending private property and consumerism.

Venezuela

It is very disturbing to see how Venezuela is being framed as ripe for US intervention, in ways that distinctly echo the lead up to the US war on Libya. Just as disturbing is that Trump's Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has a clear conflict of interest regarding Venezuela, from his recent role as CEO of Exxon and its conflict with the government of Venezuela over its nationalization of oil. Tillerson is, by any definition, a clear-cut member of the transnational capitalist class. The Twitter account of the State Department has a battery of messages sternly lecturing Venezuela about the treatment of protesters, while also pontificating on the Venezuelan Constitution as if the US State Department had become a global supreme court. What is impressive is the seamless continuity in the nature of the messages on Venezuela from that account, as if no change of government happened between Obama's time and Trump's. Nikki Haley, Trump's neocon ambassador to the UN, issued a statement that read like it had been written by her predecessors, Samantha Power and Susan Rice, a statement which in itself is an unacceptable intervention in Venezuelan internal affairs. For Trump's part, from just days before the election, to a couple of weeks after his inauguration, he has sent explicit messages of support for anti-government forces in Venezuela. In February, Trump imposed sanctions on Venezuela's Vice President. After Syria and North Korea, Venezuela is seeming the likely focus of US interventionism under Trump.

NATO

Rounding out the picture, at least for now (this was just the first hundred days of Trump's presidency), was Trump's outstanding reversal on NATO -- in fact, once again he stated the reversal himself, and without explanation either: " I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete ". This came just days after the US missile strike against Syria, and just as Ivanka Trump was about to represent his government at a meeting of globalist women, the W20 . NATO has served as the transnational military alliance at the service of the transnational capitalist class, and particularly the military and political members of the TCC. 7

Saving Neoliberalism?

Has Trump saved neoliberal capitalism from its ongoing demise? Has he sustained popular faith in liberal political ideals? Are we still in the dying days of liberalism ? If there had been a centrally coordinated plan to plant an operative among the ranks of populist conservatives and independents, to channel their support for nationalism into support for the persona of the plant, and to then have that plant steer a course straight back to shoring up neoliberal globalism -- then we might have had a wonderful story of a masterful conspiracy, the biggest heist in the history of elections anywhere. A truly "rigged system" could be expected to behave that way. Was Trump designated to take the fall in a rigged game, only his huge ego got in the way when he realized he could realistically win the election and he decided to really tilt hard against his partner, Hillary Clinton? It could be the basis for a novel, or a Hollywood political comedy. I have no way of knowing if it could be true.

Framed within the terms of what we do know, there was relief by the ousted group of political elites and the liberal globalist media at the sight of Trump's reversals, and a sense that their vision had been vindicated. However, if they are hoping that the likes of Trump will serve as a reliable flag bearer, then theirs is a misguided wishful thinking. If someone so demonized and ridiculed, tarnished as an evil thug and racist fascist, the subject of mass demonstrations in the US and abroad, is the latest champion of (neo)liberalism, then we are certainly witnessing its dying days.

Is Trump Beneficial for Anti-Imperialism?

Once one is informed enough and thus prepared to understand that anti-imperialism is not the exclusive preserve of the left (a left which anyway has mostly shunned it over the last two decades), that it did not originate with the left , and that it has a long and distinguished history in the US itself , then we can move toward some interesting realizations. The facts, borne out by surveys and my own online immersion among pro-Trump social media users, is that one of the significant reasons why Trump won is due to the growth in popularity of basic anti-imperialist principles (even if not recognized under that name): for example, no more world policing, no transnational militarization, no more interventions abroad, no more regime change, no war, and no globalism. Nationalists in Europe, as in Russia, have also pushed forward a basic anti-imperialist vision. Whereas in Latin America anti-imperialism is largely still leftist, in Europe and North America the left-right divide has become blurred, but the crucial thing is that at least now we can speak of anti-imperialism gaining strength in these three major continents. Resistance against globalization has been the primary objective, along with strengthening national sovereignty, protecting local cultural identity, and opposing free trade and transnational capital. Unfortunately, some anti-imperialist writers (on the left in fact) have tended to restrict their field of vision to military matters primarily, while almost completely neglecting the economic and cultural, and especially domestic dimensions of imperialism. (I am grossly generalizing of course, but I think it is largely accurate.) Where structures such as NAFTA are concerned, many of these same leftist anti-imperialists, few as they are, have had virtually nothing to say. It could be that they have yet to fully recognize that the transnational capitalist class has, gradually over the last seven decades, essentially purchased the power of US imperialism. Therefore the TCC's imperialism includes NAFTA, just as it includes open borders, neoliberal identity politics, and drone strikes. They are all different parts of the same whole.

As argued in the previous section, if Trump is to be the newfound champion of this imperialism -- empire's prodigal son -- then what an abysmally poor choice he is. 8

On the one hand, he helped to unleash US anti-interventionism (usually called "isolationism" not to call it anti-imperialism, which would then admit to imperialism which is still denied by most of the dominant elites). On the other hand, in trying to now contain such popular sentiment, he loses credibility -- after having lost credibility with the groups his campaign displaced. In addition to that, given that his candidacy aggravated internal divisions in the US, which have not subsided with his assumption of office, these domestic social and cultural conflicts cause a serious deficit of legitimacy, a loss of political capital. A declining economy will also deprive him of capital in the strict sense. Moreover, given the kind of persona the media have crafted, the daily caricaturing of Trump will significantly spur anti-Americanism around the world. If suddenly even Canadian academics are talking about boycotting the US, then the worm has truly turned. Trump can only rely on "hard power" (military violence), because "soft power" is almost out of the question now that Trump has been constructed as a barbarian. Incompetent and/or undermined governance will also render Trump a deficient upholder of the status quo. The fact that nationalist movements around the world are not centrally coordinated, and their fortunes are not pinned to those of Trump, establishes a well-defined limit to his influence. Trump's antagonism toward various countries -- as wholes -- has already helped to stir up a deep sediment of anti-Americanism. If Americanism is at the heart of Trump's nationalist globalism, then it is doing all the things that are needed to induce a major heart attack.

As for Trump's domestic opposition, what should be most pertinent are issues of conflict of interest and nepotism . Here members of Trump's base are more on target yet again, when they reject the presence of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in the White House ("we didn't elect Ivanka or Jared"), than are those distracted by identity politics.

As Trump leverages the presidency to upgrade the Trump family to the transnational capitalist class, and reinforces the power of US imperialism which that class has purchased, conflict of interest and nepotism will be the main political signposts of the transformation of the Trump presidency, but they could also be the targets for a refined strategy of opposition.

[Aug 28, 2018] A Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Here is an except from "A Colony in a Nation" by Chris Hayes that she recently discussed (Chris Hayes is also the author of Twilight of the Elites ) ..."
"... ...we have built a colony in a nation, not in the classic Marxist sense but in the deep sense we can appreciate as a former colony ourselves: A territory that isn't actually free. A place controlled from outside rather than within. A place where the mechanisms of representation don't work enough to give citizens a sense of ownership over their own government. A place where the law is a tool of control rather than a foundation for prosperity. ..."
"... A Colony in a Nation is not primarily a history lesson, though it does provide a serious, empathetic look at the problems facing the Colony, as well as at the police officers tasked with making rapid decisions in a gun-rich environment. ..."
"... Elsewhere, Hayes examines his own experiences with the law, such as an incident when he was almost caught accidentally smuggling "about thirty dollars' worth of marijuana stuffed into my eyeglass case" into the 2000 Republican National Convention. Hayes got away without so much as a slap on the wrist, protected by luck, circumstances and privilege. ..."
Mar 23, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
"Listening to this show by MSNB is so disguising that I lost any respect for it. "

I actually jumped the gun. That's does not mean that it should not be viewed. There are some positive aspects of MSNBC http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show

Here is an except from "A Colony in a Nation" by Chris Hayes that she recently discussed (Chris Hayes is also the author of Twilight of the Elites )

...we have built a colony in a nation, not in the classic Marxist sense but in the deep sense we can appreciate as a former colony ourselves: A territory that isn't actually free. A place controlled from outside rather than within. A place where the mechanisms of representation don't work enough to give citizens a sense of ownership over their own government. A place where the law is a tool of control rather than a foundation for prosperity.

... ... ...

A Colony in a Nation is not primarily a history lesson, though it does provide a serious, empathetic look at the problems facing the Colony, as well as at the police officers tasked with making rapid decisions in a gun-rich environment.

Hayes takes us through his less-than-successful experience putting himself in the latter's shoes by trying out an unusual training tool, a virtually reality simulator: "We're only one scene in, and already the self-righteous liberal pundit has drawn his weapon on an unarmed man holding a cinder block."

Elsewhere, Hayes examines his own experiences with the law, such as an incident when he was almost caught accidentally smuggling "about thirty dollars' worth of marijuana stuffed into my eyeglass case" into the 2000 Republican National Convention. Hayes got away without so much as a slap on the wrist, protected by luck, circumstances and privilege.

For black men living in the Colony, encounters with the police are much more fraught. Racial profiling and minor infractions can lead to "being swept into the vortex of a penal system that captures more than half the black men his age in his neighborhood... an adulthood marked by prison, probation, and dismal job prospects...."

[Jul 24, 2018] How think tanks sell war...

Notable quotes:
"... The idea behind offset agreements is simple: When a country buys weapons from a firm overseas, it pumps a large amount of money out of its economy, instead of investing in its own defense industry or in other domestic projects. So to make large weapons deals more attractive, arms companies offer programs to "offset" that effect. As part of a weapons package, they often sign an agreement to invest in the country's economy, either in defense or civilian sectors. ..."
"... According to an email from Clarke, the UAE accepted unpaid offset obligations as cash payments to a large financial firm called Tawazun Holding. Tawazun sent the $20 million to a UAE think tank called the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research . ECSSR then began sending that money to the Middle East Institute, a prestigious D.C. think tank that has a history of promoting arms sales to Gulf dictatorships. ... ..."
"... So essentially, in a roundabout way, the UAE took money from international firms that was meant for economic development and funneled it to a supportive think tank in the United States. ..."
Aug 18, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Weapons Money Intended for Economic Development Being Secretly Diverted to Lobbying Alex Emmons Aug 18, 2017 undefined

The United Arab Emirates created a "slush fund" using money meant for domestic economic development projects and funneled it to a high-profile think tank in the United States, emails obtained by The Intercept show.

Last week, The Intercept reported that the UAE gave a $20 million grant to the Middle East Institute, flooding a well-regarded D.C. think tank with a monetary grant larger than its annual budget . According to an email from Richard Clarke, MEI's chairman of the board, the UAE got the money from offset investments -- development investments by international companies that are made as part of trade agreements.

The idea behind offset agreements is simple: When a country buys weapons from a firm overseas, it pumps a large amount of money out of its economy, instead of investing in its own defense industry or in other domestic projects. So to make large weapons deals more attractive, arms companies offer programs to "offset" that effect. As part of a weapons package, they often sign an agreement to invest in the country's economy, either in defense or civilian sectors.

Offsets provide a way to sell weapons at inflated prices, when companies offer juicier offset packages. Critics say the lack of transparency in how offset investments are carried out leaves a window open for a form of legalized corruption. The emails lift a veil on what has long been an obscure element of the arms trade.

According to an email from Clarke, the UAE accepted unpaid offset obligations as cash payments to a large financial firm called Tawazun Holding. Tawazun sent the $20 million to a UAE think tank called the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research . ECSSR then began sending that money to the Middle East Institute, a prestigious D.C. think tank that has a history of promoting arms sales to Gulf dictatorships. ...

So essentially, in a roundabout way, the UAE took money from international firms that was meant for economic development and funneled it to a supportive think tank in the United States.

Fair use excerpt. Full article here .

[Apr 02, 2018] Russophobia Anti-Russian Lobby and American Foreign Policy by A. Tsygankov

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I wanted to investigate whether the growing volume of criticism toward Russia, sometimes by people who could hardly claim to be knowledgeable about the country, concealed a political agenda. ..."
"... I discovered evidence of Russophobia shared by different circles within the American political class and promoted through programs and conferences at various think tanks, congressional testimonies, activities of NGOs, and the media. Russophobia is not merely a critique of Russia, but a critique beyond any sense of proportion, waged with the purpose of undermining the nation's political reputation. ..."
"... To these individuals, Russophobia is merely a means to pressure the Kremlin into submitting to the United States in the execution of its grand plans to control the world's most precious resources and geostrategic sites. In the meantime, Russia has grown increasingly resentful, and the war in the Caucasus in August 2008 has demonstrated that Russia is prepared to act unilaterally to stop what it views as US unilateralism in the former Soviet region. ..."
"... Anti-American attitudes are strongly present in Russian media and cultural products, as a response to the US policies of nuclear, energy, and military supremacy in the world. Extreme hegemonic policies tend to provoke an extreme response, and Russian nationalist movements and often commentators react harshly to what they view as unilateral encroachment on Russia's political system and foreign policy interests. Russia's reactions to these policies by the United States are highly negative and frequently inadequate, but hardly more extreme than the American hegemonic and imperial discourse. ..."
"... The central objective of the Lobby has been to preserve and strengthen America's power in the post-Cold War world through imperial or hegemonic policies. The Lobby has viewed Russia with its formidable nuclear power, energy reserves, and important geostrategic location as a major obstacle in achieving this objective. Even during the 1990s, when Russia looked more like a failing state3 than one capable of projecting power, some members of the American political class were worried about the future revival of the Eurasian giant as a revisionist power. In their percep- tion, it was essential to keep Russia in a state of military and economic weakness-not so much out of emotional hatred for the Russian people and their culture, but to preserve American security and promote its val- ues across the world. To many within the Lobby, Russophobia became a useful device for exerting pressures on Russia and controlling its policies. Although to some the idea of undermining and, possibly, dismembering Russia was personal, to others it was a necessity of power dictated by the realities of international politics. ..."
"... According to this dominant vision, there was simply no place in this "New American Century" for power competitors, and America was destined eventually to assume control over potentially threatening military capabilities and energy reserves of others. As the two founders of the Project for the New' American Century (PNAC), William Kristol and Robert Kagan, asserted when referring to the large military forces of Russia and China, "American statesmen today ought to recognize that their charge is not to await the arrival of the next great threat, but rather to shape the international environment to prevent such a threat from arising in the first place."4 ..."
"... Russia was either to agree to assist the United States in preserving its world-power status or be forced to agree. It had to either follow the U.S. interpretation of world affairs and develop a political and economic system sufficiently open to American influences or live as a pariah state, smeared by accusations of pernicious behavior, and in constant fear for its survival in the America-centered world. As far as the U.S. hegemonic elites were concerned, no other choice was available. ..."
"... This hegemonic mood was largely consistent with mainstream ideas within the American establishment immediately following the end of the Cold War. For example, 1989 saw the unification of Germany and the further meltdown of the Soviet Union, which some characterized as "the best period of U.S. foreign policy ever."5 President Jimmy Carter's former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski envisioned the upcoming victory of the West by celebrating the Soviet Union's "grand failure."6 ..."
"... Charles Krauthammer, went as far as to proclaim the arrival of the United States' "unipolar moment," a period in which only one super- power, the United States, would stand above the rest of the world in its military, economic, and ideological capacity ..."
"... The mid-1990s saw the emergence of post-Soviet Russophobia. The Lobby's ideology was not principally new, as it still contained the three central myths of Sovietophobia left over from the Cold War era: Russia is inherently imperialist, autocratic, and anti-Western. This ideology now had to be modified to the new conditions and promoted politically, which required a tightening of the Lobby's unity, winning new allies within the establishment, and gaining public support.15 ..."
"... During the period of 2003-2008, Vice President Richard Dick Cheney formed a cohesive and bipartisan group of Russia critics, who pushed for a more confrontational approach with the Kremlin. ..."
"... Cheney could not tolerate opposition to what he saw as a critical step in establishing worldwide US hegemony. He was also harboring the idea of controlling Russia's energy reserves.91 ..."
"... In Russia, however, the Cold War story has been mainly about sovereignty and independence, rather than Western-style liberalism. To many Russians it is a story of freedom from colonization by the West and of preserving important attributes of sovereign statehood. ..."
"... In a world where neocolonialism and cultural imperialism are potent forces, the idea of freedom as independence continues to have strong international appeal and remains a powerful alternative to the notion of liberal democracy. ..."
"... The West's unwillingness to recognize the importance of this legitimizing myth in the role of communist ideology has served as a key reason for the Cold War.5 Like their Western counterparts, the Soviets were debating over methods but not the larger assumptions that defined their struggle. ..."
"... Yet another analyst wrote "at the Cold War's end, the United States was given one of the great opportunities of history: to embrace Russia, the largest nation on earth, as partner, friend, ally. Our mutual interests meshed almost perfectly. There was no ideological, territorial, his- toric or economic quarrel between us, once communist ideology was interred. We blew it. We moved NATO onto Russia's front porch, ignored her valid interests and concerns, and, with our 'indispensable-nation' arrogance, treated her as a defeated power, as France treated Weimar Germany after Versailles."114 ..."
Jun 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com

It was during the spring of 2006 that I began this project. I wanted to investigate whether the growing volume of criticism toward Russia, sometimes by people who could hardly claim to be knowledgeable about the country, concealed a political agenda.

As I researched the subject, I discovered evidence of Russophobia shared by different circles within the American political class and promoted through programs and conferences at various think tanks, congressional testimonies, activities of NGOs, and the media. Russophobia is not merely a critique of Russia, but a critique beyond any sense of proportion, waged with the purpose of undermining the nation's political reputation.

... ... ....

Although a critical analysis of Russia and its political system is entirely legitimate, the issue is the balance of such analysis. Russia's role in the world is growing, yet many U.S. politicians feel that Russia doesn't matter in the global arena. Preoccupied with international issues, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, they find it difficult to accept that they now have to nego- tiate and coordinate their international policies with a nation that only yesterday seemed so weak, introspective, and dependent on the West. To these individuals, Russophobia is merely a means to pressure the Kremlin into submitting to the United States in the execution of its grand plans to control the world's most precious resources and geostrategic sites. In the meantime, Russia has grown increasingly resentful, and the war in the Caucasus in August 2008 has demonstrated that Russia is prepared to act unilaterally to stop what it views as US unilateralism in the former Soviet region.

And some in Moscow are tempted to provoke a much greater confrontation with Western states. The attitude of ignorance and self-righteousness toward Russia tells us volumes about the United States' lack of preparation for the twenty-first century's central challenges that include political instability, weapons proliferation, and energy insecurity. Despite the dislike of Russia by a considerable number of American elites, this attitude is far from universally shared. Many Americans understand that Russia has gone a long way from communism and that the overwhelming support for Putin's policies at home cannot be adequately explained by high oil prices and the Kremlin's manipulation of the public-despite the frequent assertions of Russophobic observers.

Balanced analysts are also aware that many Russian problems are typical difficulties that nations encounter with state-building, and should not be presented as indicative of Russia's "inherent drive" to autocracy or empire. As the United States and Russia move further to the twenty-first century, it will be increasingly important to redefine the relationship between the two nations in a mutually enriching way.

Political and cultural phobias are, of course, not limited to those of an anti-Russian nature. For instance, Russia has its share of America-phobia -- a phenomenon that I have partly researched in my book Whose World Order (Notre Dame, 2004) and in several articles. Anti-American attitudes are strongly present in Russian media and cultural products, as a response to the US policies of nuclear, energy, and military supremacy in the world. Extreme hegemonic policies tend to provoke an extreme response, and Russian nationalist movements and often commentators react harshly to what they view as unilateral encroachment on Russia's political system and foreign policy interests. Russia's reactions to these policies by the United States are highly negative and frequently inadequate, but hardly more extreme than the American hegemonic and imperial discourse.

The Anti-Russian Lobby

When the facile optimism was disappointed, Western euphoria faded, and Russophobia returned ... The new Russophobia was expressed not by the governments, but in the statements of out-of-office politicians, the publications of academic experts, the sensational writings of jour- nalists, and the products of the entertainment industry. (Rodric Braithwaite, Across the Moscow River, 2002)1

....

Russophobia is not a myth, not an invention of the Red-Brovvns, but a real phenomenon of political thought in the main political think tanks in the West . .. [T]he Yeltsin-Kozyrev's pro-U.S. "giveaway game" was approved across the ocean. There is reason to say that the period in ques- tion left the West with the illusion that Russia's role was to serve Washington's interests and that it would remain such in the future. (Sergei Mikoyati, International Affairs /October 2006j)2

This chapter formulates a theory of Russophobia and the anti-Russian lobby's influence on the U.S. Russia policy. 1 discuss the Lobby's objec- tives, its tactics to achieve them, the history of its formation and rise to prominence, and the conditions that preserved its influence in the after- math of 9/11.1 argue that Russophobia has been important to American hegemonic elites in pressuring Russia for economic and political conces- sions in the post-Cold War era.

1. Goals and Means

Objectives

The central objective of the Lobby has been to preserve and strengthen America's power in the post-Cold War world through imperial or hegemonic policies. The Lobby has viewed Russia with its formidable nuclear power, energy reserves, and important geostrategic location as a major obstacle in achieving this objective. Even during the 1990s, when Russia looked more like a failing state3 than one capable of projecting power, some members of the American political class were worried about the future revival of the Eurasian giant as a revisionist power. In their percep- tion, it was essential to keep Russia in a state of military and economic weakness-not so much out of emotional hatred for the Russian people and their culture, but to preserve American security and promote its val- ues across the world. To many within the Lobby, Russophobia became a useful device for exerting pressures on Russia and controlling its policies. Although to some the idea of undermining and, possibly, dismembering Russia was personal, to others it was a necessity of power dictated by the realities of international politics.

According to this dominant vision, there was simply no place in this "New American Century" for power competitors, and America was destined eventually to assume control over potentially threatening military capabilities and energy reserves of others. As the two founders of the Project for the New' American Century (PNAC), William Kristol and Robert Kagan, asserted when referring to the large military forces of Russia and China, "American statesmen today ought to recognize that their charge is not to await the arrival of the next great threat, but rather to shape the international environment to prevent such a threat from arising in the first place."4

Russia was either to agree to assist the United States in preserving its world-power status or be forced to agree. It had to either follow the U.S. interpretation of world affairs and develop a political and economic system sufficiently open to American influences or live as a pariah state, smeared by accusations of pernicious behavior, and in constant fear for its survival in the America-centered world. As far as the U.S. hegemonic elites were concerned, no other choice was available.

This hegemonic mood was largely consistent with mainstream ideas within the American establishment immediately following the end of the Cold War. For example, 1989 saw the unification of Germany and the further meltdown of the Soviet Union, which some characterized as "the best period of U.S. foreign policy ever."5 President Jimmy Carter's former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski envisioned the upcoming victory of the West by celebrating the Soviet Union's "grand failure."6

In his view, the Soviet "totalitarian" state was incapable of reform. Communism's decline was therefore irreversible and inevitable. It would have made the system's "practice and its dogma largely irrelevant to the human conditions," and communism would be remembered as the twentieth century's "political and intellectual aberration."7 Other com- mentators argued the case for a global spread of Western values. In 1990 Francis Fukuyama first formulated his triumphalist "end of history" thesis, arguing a global ascendancy of the Western-style market democracy.®

... ... ...

Marc Plattner declared the emergence of a "world with one dominant principle of legitimacy, democracy."9 When the Soviet system had indeed disintegrated, the leading establishment journal Foreign Affairs pronounced that "the Soviet system collapsed because of what it was, or more exactly, because of what it was not. The West 'won' because of what the democracies were-because they were free, prosperous and successful, because they did justice, or convincingly tried to do so."10 Still others, such as Charles Krauthammer, went as far as to proclaim the arrival of the United States' "unipolar moment," a period in which only one super- power, the United States, would stand above the rest of the world in its military, economic, and ideological capacity.11

In this context of U.S. triumphalism, at least some Russophobes expected Russia to follow the American agenda. Still, they were worried that Russia may still have surprises to offer and would recover as an enemy.12

Soon after the Soviet disintegration, Russia indeed surprised many, although not quite in the sense of presenting a power challenge to the United States. Rather, the surprise was the unexpectedly high degree of corruption, social and economic decay, and the rapid disappointment of pro-Western reforms inside Russia. By late 1992, the domestic economic situation was much worsened, as the failure of Western-style shock ther- apy reform put most of the population on the verge of poverty. Russia was preoccupied not with the projection of power but with survival, as poverty, crime, and corruption degraded it from the status of the indus- trialized country it once was. In the meantime, the economy was largely controlled by and divided among former high-ranking party and state officials and their associates. The so-called oligarchs, or a group of extremely wealthy individuals, played the role of the new post-Soviet nomenklatura; they influenced many key decisions of the state and suc- cessfully blocked the development of small- and medium-sized business in the country.13 Under these conditions, the Russophobes warned that the conditions in Russia may soon be ripe for the rise of an anti-Western nationalist regime and that Russia was not fit for any partnership with the United States.14

The mid-1990s saw the emergence of post-Soviet Russophobia. The Lobby's ideology was not principally new, as it still contained the three central myths of Sovietophobia left over from the Cold War era: Russia is inherently imperialist, autocratic, and anti-Western. This ideology now had to be modified to the new conditions and promoted politically, which required a tightening of the Lobby's unity, winning new allies within the establishment, and gaining public support.15

... ... ...

The impact of structural and institutional factors is further reinforced by policy factors, such as the divide within the policy community and the lack of presidential leadership. Not infrequently, politicians tend to defend their personal and corporate interests, and lobbying makes a difference in the absence of firm policy commitments.

Experts recognize that the community of Russia watchers is split and that the split, which goes all the way to the White House, has been responsible for the absence of a coherent policy toward the country. During the period of 2003-2008, Vice President Richard Dick Cheney formed a cohesive and bipartisan group of Russia critics, who pushed for a more confrontational approach with the Kremlin. The brain behind the invasion of Iraq, Cheney could not tolerate opposition to what he saw as a critical step in establishing worldwide US hegemony. He was also harboring the idea of controlling Russia's energy reserves.91

Since November 2004, when the administration launched a review of its policy on Russia,92 Cheney became a critically important voice in whom the Lobby found its advocate. Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and, until November 2004, Colin Powell opposed the vice president's approach, arguing for a softer and more accommodating style in relations with Moscow.

President Bush generally sided with Rice and Powell, but he proved unable to form a consistent Russia policy. Because of America's involvement in the Middle East, Bush failed to provide the leadership committed to devising mutually acceptable rules in relations with Russia that could have prevented the deterioration in their relationship. Since the end of 2003, he also became doubtful about the direction of Russia's domestic transformation.93 As a result, the promising post-9/11 cooperation never materialized. The new cold war and the American Sense of History

It's time we start thinking of Vladimir Putin's Russia as an enemy of the United States. (Bret Stephens, "Russia: The Enemy," The Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2006)

If today's reality of Russian politics continues ... then there is the real risk that Russia's leadership will be seen, externally and internally, as illegitimate. (John Edwards and Jack Kemp, "We Need to Be Tough with Russia," International Herald Tribune, July 12, 2006)

On Iran, Kosovo, U.S. missile defense, Iraq, the Caucasus and Caspian basin, Ukraine-the list goes on-Russia puts itself in conflict with the U.S. and its allies . . . here are worse models than the united Western stand that won the Cold War the first time around.

("Putin Institutionalized," The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2007) In order to derail the U.S.-Russia partnership, the Lobby has sought to revive the image of Russias as an enemy of the United States. The Russophobic groups have exploited important differences between the two countries' historical self-perceptions, presenting those differences as incompatible.

1. Contested History

Two versions of history

The story of the Cold War as told from the U.S. perspective is about American ideas of Western-style democracy as rescued from the Soviet threat of totalitarian communism. Although scholars and politicians disagreed over the methods of responding to the Soviet threat, they rarely questioned their underlying assumptions about history and freedom.' It therefore should not come as surprise that many in the United States have interpreted the end of the Cold War as a victory of the Western freedom narrative. Celebrating the Soviet Union's "grand failure"-as Zbigniew Brzezinski put it2-the American discourse assumed that from now on there would be little resistance to freedom's worldwide progression. When Francis Fukuyama offered his bold summary of these optimistic feelings and asserted in a famous passage that "what we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War... but the end of history as such,"3 he meant to convey the disappearance of an alternative to the familiar idea of free- dom, or "the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."4

In Russia, however, the Cold War story has been mainly about sovereignty and independence, rather than Western-style liberalism. To many Russians it is a story of freedom from colonization by the West and of preserving important attributes of sovereign statehood.

In a world where neocolonialism and cultural imperialism are potent forces, the idea of freedom as independence continues to have strong international appeal and remains a powerful alternative to the notion of liberal democracy. Russians formulated the narrative of independence centuries ago, as they successfully withstood external invasions from Napoleon to Hitler. The defeat of the Nazi regime was important to the Soviets because it legitimized their claims to continue with the tradition of freedom as independence.

The West's unwillingness to recognize the importance of this legitimizing myth in the role of communist ideology has served as a key reason for the Cold War.5 Like their Western counterparts, the Soviets were debating over methods but not the larger assumptions that defined their struggle.

This helps to understand why Russians could never agree with the Western interpretation of the end of the Cold War. What they find missing from the U.S. narrative is the tribute to Russia's ability to defend its freedom from expansionist ambitions of larger powers. The Cold War too is viewed by many Russians as a necessarily defensive response to the West's policies, and it is important that even while occupying Eastern Europe, the Soviets never celebrated the occupation, emphasizing instead the war vic- tory.6 The Russians officially admitted "moral responsibility" and apolo- gized for the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia.7 They may be prepared to fully recognize the postwar occupation of Eastern Europe, but only in the context of the two sides' responsibility for the Cold War. Russians also find it offensive that Western VE Day celebrations ignore the crucial contribution of Soviet troops, even though none of the Allies, as one historian put it, "paid dearer than the Soviet Union for the victory. Forty Private Ivans fell in battle to every Private Ryan."8 Victory over Nazi Germany constitutes, as another Russian wrote, "the only undisputable foundation of the national myth."9

If the two sides are to build foundations for a future partnership, the two historical narratives must be bridged. First, it is important to recognize the difficulty of negotiating a common meaning of freedom and accept that the idea of freedom may vary greatly across nations. The urge for freedom may be universal, but its social content is a specific product of national his- tories and local circumstances. For instance, the American vision of democracy initially downplayed the role of elections and emphasized selection by merit or meritocracy. Under the influence of the Great Depression, the notion of democracy incorporated a strong egalitarian and poverty-fighting component, and it was not until the Cold War- and not without its influence-that democracy has become associated with elections and pluralistic institutions.10 Second, it is essential to acknowledge the two nations' mutual respon- sibility for the misunderstanding that has resulted in the Cold War. A historically sensitive account will recognize that both sides were thinking in terms of expanding a territorial space to protect their visions of security. While the Soviets wanted to create a buffer zone to prevent a future attack from Germany, the Americans believed in reconstructing the European continent in accordance with their ideas of security and democracy. A mutual mistrust of the two countries' leaders exacerbated the situation, making it ever more difficult to prevent a full-fledged political confronta- tion. Western leaders had reason to be suspicious of Stalin, who, in his turn, was driven by the perception of the West's greed and by betrayals from the dubious Treaty of Versailles to the appeasement of Hitler in Munich. Arrangements for the post-World War II world made by Britain, the USSR, and the United States proved insufficient to address these deep-seated suspicions.

In addition, most Eastern European states created as a result of the Versailles Treaty were neither free nor democratic and collaborated with Nazi Germany in its racist and expansionist policies. The European post-World War 1 security system was not working properly, and it was only a matter of time before it would have to be transformed.

Third, if an agreeable historical account is to emerge, it would have to accept that the end of the Cold War was a product of mutually beneficial a second Cold War, "it also does not want the reversal of the U.S. geopolitical gains that it made in the decade or so after the end of the Cold War."112 Another expert asked, "What possible explanation is there for the fact that today-at a moment when both the U.S. and Russia face the common enemy of Islamist terrorism-hard-liners within the Bush administration, and especially in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, are arguing for a new tough line against Moscow along the lines of a scaled-down Cold War?"113

Yet another analyst wrote "at the Cold War's end, the United States was given one of the great opportunities of history: to embrace Russia, the largest nation on earth, as partner, friend, ally. Our mutual interests meshed almost perfectly. There was no ideological, territorial, his- toric or economic quarrel between us, once communist ideology was interred. We blew it. We moved NATO onto Russia's front porch, ignored her valid interests and concerns, and, with our 'indispensable-nation' arrogance, treated her as a defeated power, as France treated Weimar Germany after Versailles."114

[Dec 31, 2017] Looks like Trump foreign policy is unsane and overextend the USA military capabilities

Dec 31, 2017 | www.unz.com

Ludwig Watzal , Website December 31, 2017 at 5:46 am GMT

There are hardly any rational actors left in the Trump administration.

Rex Tillerson is a joke and should have long done these bunch of crazies. Russia and China should join forces and should tell Trump and his Ziocon backers what is at stake if they attack Syria or Iran.

Nikki Haley is the mouthpiece of the Zionist regime and tried to make Colin Powell. If the US-Zionist and the Saudi regime attack Iran, at least the Zionist regime and the decadent Saudi one will be doomed. The US should adjust itself to more coffins from the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Just recently I watched an interview with Security adviser McMasters on BBC, and I could not believe the nonsense this guy was saying about Iran, Hezbollah et cetera. He is very dangerous. Such a policy advice is not rational but insane.

[Dec 31, 2017] How America Spreads Global Chaos by Nicolas J.S. Davies

Highly recommended!
Essentially CIA dictates the US foreign policy. The tail is wagging the dog. The current Russophobia hysteria mean additional billions for CIA and FBI. As simple as that.
The article contain some important observation about self-sustaining nature of the US militarism. It is able to create new threats and new insurgencies almost at will via CIA activities.
The key problem is that wars are highly profitable for important part of the ruling elite, especially representing finance and military industrial complex. Also now part of the US ruling elite now consists of "colonial administrators" which are directly interested in maintaining and expanding the US empire. This is trap from which nation might not be able to escape.
Notable quotes:
"... The U.S. government may pretend to respect a "rules-based" global order, but the only rule Washington seems to follow is "might makes right" -- and the CIA has long served as a chief instigator and enforcer, writes Nicolas J.S. Davies. ..."
"... Once the CIA went to work in Vietnam to undermine the 1954 Geneva Accords and the planned reunification of North and South through a free and fair election in 1956, the die was cast. ..."
"... No U.S. president could extricate the U.S. from Vietnam without exposing the limits of what U.S. military force could achieve, betraying widely held national myths and the powerful interests that sustained and profited from them. ..."
"... The critical "lesson of Vietnam" was summed up by Richard Barnet in his 1972 book Roots of War . "At the very moment that the number one nation has perfected the science of killing," Barnet wrote, "It has become an impractical means of political domination." ..."
"... Even the senior officer corps of the U.S. military saw it that way, since many of them had survived the horrors of Vietnam as junior officers. The CIA could still wreak havoc in Latin America and elsewhere, but the full destructive force of the U.S. military was not unleashed again until the invasion of Panama in 1989 and the First Gulf War in 1991. ..."
"... Half a century after Vietnam, we have tragically come full circle. With the CIA's politicized intelligence running wild in Washington and its covert operations spreading violence and chaos across every continent, President Trump faces the same pressures to maintain his own and his country's credibility as Johnson and Nixon did. ..."
"... Trump is facing these questions, not just in one country, Vietnam, but in dozens of countries across the world, and the interests perpetuating and fueling this cycle of crisis and war have only become more entrenched over time, as President Eisenhower warned that they would, despite the end of the Cold War and, until now, the lack of any actual military threat to the United States. ..."
"... U.S. Air Force Colonel Fletcher Prouty was the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1955 to 1964, managing the global military support system for the CIA in Vietnam and around the world. Fletcher Prouty's book, The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World , was suppressed when it was first published in 1973. Thousands of copies disappeared from bookstores and libraries, and a mysterious Army Colonel bought the entire shipment of 3,500 copies the publisher sent to Australia. But Prouty's book was republished in 2011, and it is a timely account of the role of the CIA in U.S. policy. ..."
"... The main purpose of the CIA, as Prouty saw it, is to create such pretexts for war. ..."
"... The CIA is a hybrid of an intelligence service that gathers and analyzes foreign intelligence and a clandestine service that conducts covert operations. Both functions are essential to creating pretexts for war, and that is what they have done for 70 years. ..."
"... Prouty described how the CIA infiltrated the U.S. military, the State Department, the National Security Council and other government institutions, covertly placing its officers in critical positions to ensure that its plans are approved and that it has access to whatever forces, weapons, equipment, ammunition and other resources it needs to carry them out. ..."
"... Many retired intelligence officers, such as Ray McGovern and the members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), saw the merging of clandestine operations with intelligence analysis in one agency as corrupting the objective analysis they tried to provide to policymakers. They formed VIPS in 2003 in response to the fabrication of politicized intelligence that provided false pretexts for the U.S. to invade and destroy Iraq. ..."
"... But Fletcher Prouty was even more disturbed by the way that the CIA uses clandestine operations to trigger coups, wars and chaos. The civil and proxy war in Syria is a perfect example of what Prouty meant ..."
"... The role of U.S. "counterterrorism" operations in fueling armed resistance and terrorism, and the absence of any plan to reduce the asymmetric violence unleashed by the "global war on terror," would be no surprise to Fletcher Prouty. As he explained, such clandestine operations always take on a life of their own that is unrelated, and often counter-productive, to any rational U.S. policy objective. ..."
"... This is a textbook CIA operation on the same model as Vietnam in the late 1950s and early 60s. The CIA uses U.S. special forces and training missions to launch covert and proxy military operations that drive local populations into armed resistance groups, and then uses the presence of those armed resistance groups to justify ever-escalating U.S. military involvement. This is Vietnam redux on a continental scale. ..."
"... China is already too big and powerful for the U.S. to apply what is known as the Ledeen doctrine named for neoconservative theorist and intelligence operative Michael Ledeen who suggested that every 10 years or so, the United States "pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show we mean business." ..."
"... As long as the CIA and the U.S. military keep plunging the scapegoats for our failed policies into economic crisis, violence and chaos, the United States and the United Kingdom can remain the safe havens of the world's wealth, islands of privilege and excess amidst the storms they unleash on others. ..."
"... But if that is the only "significant national objective" driving these policies, it is surely about time for the 99 percent of Americans who reap no benefit from these murderous schemes to stop the CIA and its allies before they completely wreck the already damaged and fragile world in which we all must live, Americans and foreigners alike. ..."
"... Douglas Valentine has probably studied the CIA in more depth than any other American journalist, beginning with his book on The Phoenix Program in Vietnam. He has written a new book titled The CIA as Organized Crime : How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, in which he brings Fletcher Prouty's analysis right up to the present day, describing the CIA's role in our current wars and the many ways it infiltrates, manipulates and controls U.S. policy. ..."
"... In Venezuela, the CIA and the right-wing opposition are following the same strategy that President Nixon ordered the CIA to inflict on Chile, to "make the economy scream" in preparation for the 1973 coup. ..."
"... The U.S. willingness to scrap the Agreed Framework in 2003, the breakdown of the Six Party Talks in 2009 and the U.S. refusal to acknowledge that its own military actions and threats create legitimate defense concerns for North Korea have driven the North Koreans into a corner from which they see a credible nuclear deterrent as their only chance to avoid mass destruction. ..."
"... Obama's charm offensive invigorated old and new military alliances with the U.K., France and the Arab monarchies, and he quietly ran up the most expensive military budge t of any president since World War Two. ..."
"... Throughout history, serial aggression has nearly always provoked increasingly united opposition, as peace-loving countries and people have reluctantly summoned the courage to stand up to an aggressor. France under Napoleon and Hitler's Germany also regarded themselves as exceptional, and in their own ways they were. But in the end, their belief in their exceptionalism led them on to defeat and destruction. ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

The U.S. government may pretend to respect a "rules-based" global order, but the only rule Washington seems to follow is "might makes right" -- and the CIA has long served as a chief instigator and enforcer, writes Nicolas J.S. Davies.

As the recent PBS documentary on the American War in Vietnam acknowledged, few American officials ever believed that the United States could win the war, neither those advising Johnson as he committed hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, nor those advising Nixon as he escalated a brutal aerial bombardment that had already killed millions of people.

As conversations tape-recorded in the White House reveal, and as other writers have documented, the reasons for wading into the Big Muddy, as Pete Seeger satirized it , and then pushing on regardless, all came down to "credibility": the domestic political credibility of the politicians involved and America's international credibility as a military power.

Once the CIA went to work in Vietnam to undermine the 1954 Geneva Accords and the planned reunification of North and South through a free and fair election in 1956, the die was cast. The CIA's support for the repressive Diem regime and its successors ensured an ever-escalating war, as the South rose in rebellion, supported by the North. No U.S. president could extricate the U.S. from Vietnam without exposing the limits of what U.S. military force could achieve, betraying widely held national myths and the powerful interests that sustained and profited from them.

The critical "lesson of Vietnam" was summed up by Richard Barnet in his 1972 book Roots of War . "At the very moment that the number one nation has perfected the science of killing," Barnet wrote, "It has become an impractical means of political domination."

Even the senior officer corps of the U.S. military saw it that way, since many of them had survived the horrors of Vietnam as junior officers. The CIA could still wreak havoc in Latin America and elsewhere, but the full destructive force of the U.S. military was not unleashed again until the invasion of Panama in 1989 and the First Gulf War in 1991.

Half a century after Vietnam, we have tragically come full circle. With the CIA's politicized intelligence running wild in Washington and its covert operations spreading violence and chaos across every continent, President Trump faces the same pressures to maintain his own and his country's credibility as Johnson and Nixon did. His predictable response has been to escalate ongoing wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and West Africa, and to threaten new ones against North Korea, Iran and Venezuela.

Trump is facing these questions, not just in one country, Vietnam, but in dozens of countries across the world, and the interests perpetuating and fueling this cycle of crisis and war have only become more entrenched over time, as President Eisenhower warned that they would, despite the end of the Cold War and, until now, the lack of any actual military threat to the United States.

Ironically but predictably, the U.S.'s aggressive and illegal war policy has finally provoked a real military threat to the U.S., albeit one that has emerged only in response to U.S. war plans. As I explained in a recent article , North Korea's discovery in 2016 of a U.S. plan to assassinate its president, Kim Jong Un, and launch a Second Korean War has triggered a crash program to develop long-range ballistic missiles that could give North Korea a viable nuclear deterrent and prevent a U.S. attack. But the North Koreans will not feel safe from attack until their leaders and ours are sure that their missiles can deliver a nuclear strike against the U.S. mainland.

The CIA's Pretexts for War

U.S. Air Force Colonel Fletcher Prouty was the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1955 to 1964, managing the global military support system for the CIA in Vietnam and around the world. Fletcher Prouty's book, The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World , was suppressed when it was first published in 1973. Thousands of copies disappeared from bookstores and libraries, and a mysterious Army Colonel bought the entire shipment of 3,500 copies the publisher sent to Australia. But Prouty's book was republished in 2011, and it is a timely account of the role of the CIA in U.S. policy.

Prouty surprisingly described the role of the CIA as a response by powerful people and interests to the abolition of the U.S. Department of War and the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947. Once the role of the U.S. military was redefined as one of defense, in line with the United Nations Charter's prohibition against the threat or use of military force in 1945 and similar moves by other military powers, it would require some kind of crisis or threat to justify using military force in the future, both legally and politically. The main purpose of the CIA, as Prouty saw it, is to create such pretexts for war.

The CIA is a hybrid of an intelligence service that gathers and analyzes foreign intelligence and a clandestine service that conducts covert operations. Both functions are essential to creating pretexts for war, and that is what they have done for 70 years.

Prouty described how the CIA infiltrated the U.S. military, the State Department, the National Security Council and other government institutions, covertly placing its officers in critical positions to ensure that its plans are approved and that it has access to whatever forces, weapons, equipment, ammunition and other resources it needs to carry them out.

Many retired intelligence officers, such as Ray McGovern and the members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), saw the merging of clandestine operations with intelligence analysis in one agency as corrupting the objective analysis they tried to provide to policymakers. They formed VIPS in 2003 in response to the fabrication of politicized intelligence that provided false pretexts for the U.S. to invade and destroy Iraq.

CIA in Syria and Africa

But Fletcher Prouty was even more disturbed by the way that the CIA uses clandestine operations to trigger coups, wars and chaos. The civil and proxy war in Syria is a perfect example of what Prouty meant. In late 2011, after destroying Libya and aiding in the torture-murder of Muammar Gaddafi, the CIA and its allies began flying fighters and weapons from Libya to Turkey and infiltrating them into Syria. Then, working with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Croatia and other allies, this operation poured thousands of tons of weapons across Syria's borders to ignite and fuel a full-scale civil war.

Once these covert operations were under way, they ran wild until they had unleashed a savage Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria (Jabhat al-Nusra, now rebranded as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), spawned the even more savage "Islamic State," triggered the heaviest and probably the deadliest U.S. bombing campaign since Vietnam and drawn Russia, Iran, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Hezbollah, Kurdish militias and almost every state or armed group in the Middle East into the chaos of Syria's civil war.

Meanwhile, as Al Qaeda and Islamic State have expanded their operations across Africa, the U.N. has published a report titled Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment , based on 500 interviews with African militants. This study has found that the kind of special operations and training missions the CIA and AFRICOM are conducting and supporting in Africa are in fact the critical "tipping point" that drives Africans to join militant groups like Al Qaeda, Al-Shabab and Boko Haram.

The report found that government action, such as the killing or detention of friends or family, was the "tipping point" that drove 71 percent of African militants interviewed to join armed groups, and that this was a more important factor than religious ideology.

The conclusions of Journey to Extremism in Africa confirm the findings of other similar studies. The Center for Civilians in Conflict interviewed 250 civilians who joined armed groups in Bosnia, Somalia, Gaza and Libya for its 2015 study, The People's Perspectives : Civilian Involvement in Armed Conflict . The study found that the most common motivation for civilians to join armed groups was simply to protect themselves or their families.

The role of U.S. "counterterrorism" operations in fueling armed resistance and terrorism, and the absence of any plan to reduce the asymmetric violence unleashed by the "global war on terror," would be no surprise to Fletcher Prouty. As he explained, such clandestine operations always take on a life of their own that is unrelated, and often counter-productive, to any rational U.S. policy objective.

"The more intimate one becomes with this activity," Prouty wrote, "The more one begins to realize that such operations are rarely, if ever, initiated from an intent to become involved in pursuit of some national objective in the first place."

The U.S. justifies the deployment of 6,000 U.S. special forces and military trainers to 53 of the 54 countries in Africa as a response to terrorism. But the U.N.'s Journey to Extremism in Africa study makes it clear that the U.S. militarization of Africa is in fact the "tipping point" that is driving Africans across the continent to join armed resistance groups in the first place.

This is a textbook CIA operation on the same model as Vietnam in the late 1950s and early 60s. The CIA uses U.S. special forces and training missions to launch covert and proxy military operations that drive local populations into armed resistance groups, and then uses the presence of those armed resistance groups to justify ever-escalating U.S. military involvement. This is Vietnam redux on a continental scale.

Taking on China

What seems to really be driving the CIA's militarization of U.S. policy in Africa is China's growing influence on the continent. As Steve Bannon put it in an interview with the Economist in August, "Let's go screw up One Belt One Road."

China is already too big and powerful for the U.S. to apply what is known as the Ledeen doctrine named for neoconservative theorist and intelligence operative Michael Ledeen who suggested that every 10 years or so, the United States "pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show we mean business."

China is too powerful and armed with nuclear weapons. So, in this case, the CIA's job would be to spread violence and chaos to disrupt Chinese trade and investment, and to make African governments increasingly dependent on U.S. military aid to fight the militant groups spawned and endlessly regenerated by U.S.-led "counterterrorism" operations.

Neither Ledeen nor Bannon pretend that such policies are designed to build more prosperous or viable societies in the Middle East or Africa, let alone to benefit their people. They both know very well what Richard Barnet already understood 45 years ago, that America's unprecedented investment in weapons, war and CIA covert operations are only good for one thing: to kill people and destroy infrastructure, reducing cities to rubble, societies to chaos and the desperate survivors to poverty and displacement.

As long as the CIA and the U.S. military keep plunging the scapegoats for our failed policies into economic crisis, violence and chaos, the United States and the United Kingdom can remain the safe havens of the world's wealth, islands of privilege and excess amidst the storms they unleash on others.

But if that is the only "significant national objective" driving these policies, it is surely about time for the 99 percent of Americans who reap no benefit from these murderous schemes to stop the CIA and its allies before they completely wreck the already damaged and fragile world in which we all must live, Americans and foreigners alike.

Douglas Valentine has probably studied the CIA in more depth than any other American journalist, beginning with his book on The Phoenix Program in Vietnam. He has written a new book titled The CIA as Organized Crime : How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, in which he brings Fletcher Prouty's analysis right up to the present day, describing the CIA's role in our current wars and the many ways it infiltrates, manipulates and controls U.S. policy.

The Three Scapegoats

In Trump's speech to the U.N. General Assembly, he named North Korea, Iran and Venezuela as his prime targets for destabilization, economic warfare and, ultimately, the overthrow of their governments, whether by coup d'etat or the mass destruction of their civilian population and infrastructure. But Trump's choice of scapegoats for America's failures was obviously not based on a rational reassessment of foreign policy priorities by the new administration. It was only a tired rehashing of the CIA's unfinished business with two-thirds of Bush's "axis of evil" and Bush White House official Elliott Abrams' failed 2002 coup in Caracas, now laced with explicit and illegal threats of aggression.

How Trump and the CIA plan to sacrifice their three scapegoats for America's failures remains to be seen. This is not 2001, when the world stood silent at the U.S. bombardment and invasion of Afghanistan after September 11th. It is more like 2003, when the U.S. destruction of Iraq split the Atlantic alliance and alienated most of the world. It is certainly not 2011, after Obama's global charm offensive had rebuilt U.S. alliances and provided cover for French President Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Cameron, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Arab royals to destroy Libya, once ranked by the U.N. as the most developed country in Africa , now mired in intractable chaos.

In 2017, a U.S. attack on any one of Trump's scapegoats would isolate the United States from many of its allies and undermine its standing in the world in far-reaching ways that might be more permanent and harder to repair than the invasion and destruction of Iraq.

In Venezuela, the CIA and the right-wing opposition are following the same strategy that President Nixon ordered the CIA to inflict on Chile, to "make the economy scream" in preparation for the 1973 coup. But the solid victory of Venezuela's ruling Socialist Party in recent nationwide gubernatorial elections, despite a long and deep economic crisis, reveals little public support for the CIA's puppets in Venezuela.

The CIA has successfully discredited the Venezuelan government through economic warfare, increasingly violent right-wing street protests and a global propaganda campaign. But the CIA has stupidly hitched its wagon to an extreme right-wing, upper-class opposition that has no credibility with most of the Venezuelan public, who still turn out for the Socialists at the polls. A CIA coup or U.S. military intervention would meet fierce public resistance and damage U.S. relations all over Latin America.

Boxing In North Korea

A U.S. aerial bombardment or "preemptive strike" on North Korea could quickly escalate into a war between the U.S. and China, which has reiterated its commitment to North Korea's defense if North Korea is attacked. We do not know exactly what was in the U.S. war plan discovered by North Korea, so neither can we know how North Korea and China could respond if the U.S. pressed ahead with it.

Most analysts have long concluded that any U.S. attack on North Korea would be met with a North Korean artillery and missile barrage that would inflict unacceptable civilian casualties on Seoul, a metropolitan area of 26 million people, three times the population of New York City. Seoul is only 35 miles from the frontier with North Korea, placing it within range of a huge array of North Korean weapons. What was already a no-win calculus is now compounded by the possibility that North Korea could respond with nuclear weapons, turning any prospect of a U.S. attack into an even worse nightmare.

U.S. mismanagement of its relations with North Korea should be an object lesson for its relations with Iran, graphically demonstrating the advantages of diplomacy, talks and agreements over threats of war. Under the Agreed Framework signed in 1994, North Korea stopped work on two much larger nuclear reactors than the small experimental one operating at Yongbyong since 1986, which only produces 6 kg of plutonium per year, enough for one nuclear bomb.

The lesson of Bush's Iraq invasion in 2003 after Saddam Hussein had complied with demands that he destroy Iraq's stockpiles of chemical weapons and shut down a nascent nuclear program was not lost on North Korea. Not only did the invasion lay waste to large sections of Iraq with hundreds of thousands of dead but Hussein himself was hunted down and condemned to death by hanging.

Still, after North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006, even its small experimental reactor was shut down as a result of the "Six Party Talks" in 2007, all the fuel rods were removed and placed under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the cooling tower of the reactor was demolished in 2008.

But then, as relations deteriorated, North Korea conducted a second nuclear weapon test and again began reprocessing spent fuel rods to recover plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.

North Korea has now conducted six nuclear weapons tests. The explosions in the first five tests increased gradually up to 15-25 kilotons, about the yield of the bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but estimates for the yield of the 2017 test range from 110 to 250 kilotons , comparable to a small hydrogen bomb.

The even greater danger in a new war in Korea is that the U.S. could unleash part of its arsenal of 4,000 more powerful weapons (100 to 1,200 kilotons), which could kill millions of people and devastate and poison the region, or even the world, for years to come.

The U.S. willingness to scrap the Agreed Framework in 2003, the breakdown of the Six Party Talks in 2009 and the U.S. refusal to acknowledge that its own military actions and threats create legitimate defense concerns for North Korea have driven the North Koreans into a corner from which they see a credible nuclear deterrent as their only chance to avoid mass destruction.

China has proposed a reasonable framework for diplomacy to address the concerns of both sides, but the U.S. insists on maintaining its propaganda narratives that all the fault lies with North Korea and that it has some kind of "military solution" to the crisis.

This may be the most dangerous idea we have heard from U.S. policymakers since the end of the Cold War, but it is the logical culmination of a systematic normalization of deviant and illegal U.S. war-making that has already cost millions of lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. As historian Gabriel Kolko wrote in Century of War in 1994, "options and decisions that are intrinsically dangerous and irrational become not merely plausible but the only form of reasoning about war and diplomacy that is possible in official circles."

Demonizing Iran

The idea that Iran has ever had a nuclear weapons program is seriously contested by the IAEA, which has examined every allegation presented by the CIA and other Western "intelligence" agencies as well as Israel. Former IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei revealed many details of this wild goose chase in his 2011 memoir, Age of Deception : Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times .

When the CIA and its partners reluctantly acknowledged the IAEA's conclusions in a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), ElBaradei issued a press release confirming that, "the agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran."

Since 2007, the IAEA has resolved all its outstanding concerns with Iran. It has verified that dual-use technologies that Iran imported before 2003 were in fact used for other purposes, and it has exposed the mysterious "laptop documents" that appeared to show Iranian plans for a nuclear weapon as forgeries. Gareth Porter thoroughly explored all these questions and allegations and the history of mistrust that fueled them in his 2014 book, Manufactured Crisis : the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare , which I highly recommend.

But, in the parallel Bizarro world of U.S. politics, hopelessly poisoned by the CIA's endless disinformation campaigns, Hillary Clinton could repeatedly take false credit for disarming Iran during her presidential campaign, and neither Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump nor any corporate media interviewer dared to challenge her claims.

"When President Obama took office, Iran was racing toward a nuclear bomb," Clinton fantasized in a prominent foreign policy speech on June 2, 2016, claiming that her brutal sanctions policy "brought Iran to the table."

In fact, as Trita Parsi documented in his 2012 book, A Single Roll of the Dice : Obama's Diplomacy With Iran , the Iranians were ready, not just to "come to the table," but to sign a comprehensive agreement based on a U.S. proposal brokered by Turkey and Brazil in 2010. But, in a classic case of "tail wags dog," the U.S. then rejected its own proposal because it would have undercut support for tighter sanctions in the U.N. Security Council. In other words, Clinton's sanctions policy did not "bring Iran to the table", but prevented the U.S. from coming to the table itself.

As a senior State Department official told Trita Parsi, the real problem with U.S. diplomacy with Iran when Clinton was at the State Department was that the U.S. would not take "Yes" for an answer. Trump's ham-fisted decertification of Iran's compliance with the JCPOA is right out of Clinton's playbook, and it demonstrates that the CIA is still determined to use Iran as a scapegoat for America's failures in the Middle East.

The spurious claim that Iran is the world's greatest sponsor of terrorism is another CIA canard reinforced by endless repetition. It is true that Iran supports and supplies weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas, which are both listed as terrorist organizations by the U.S. government. But they are mainly defensive resistance groups that defend Lebanon and Gaza respectively against invasions and attacks by Israel.

Shifting attention away from Al Qaeda, Islamic State, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and other groups that actually commit terrorist crimes around the world might just seem like a case of the CIA "taking its eyes off the ball," if it wasn't so transparently timed to frame Iran with new accusations now that the manufactured crisis of the nuclear scare has run its course.

What the Future Holds

Barack Obama's most consequential international achievement may have been the triumph of symbolism over substance behind which he expanded and escalated the so-called "war on terror," with a vast expansion of covert operations and proxy wars that eventually triggered the heaviest U.S. aerial bombardments since Vietnam in Iraq and Syria.

Obama's charm offensive invigorated old and new military alliances with the U.K., France and the Arab monarchies, and he quietly ran up the most expensive military budget of any president since World War Two.

But Obama's expansion of the "war on terror" under cover of his deceptive global public relations campaign created many more problems than it solved, and Trump and his advisers are woefully ill-equipped to solve any of them. Trump's expressed desire to place America first and to resist foreign entanglements is hopelessly at odds with his aggressive, bullying approach to every foreign policy problem.

If the U.S. could threaten and fight its way to a resolution of any of its international problems, it would have done so already. That is exactly what it has been trying to do since the 1990s, behind both the swagger and bluster of Bush and Trump and the deceptive charm of Clinton and Obama: a "good cop – bad cop" routine that should no longer fool anyone anywhere.

But as Lyndon Johnson found as he waded deeper and deeper into the Big Muddy in Vietnam, lying to the public about unwinnable wars does not make them any more winnable. It just gets more people killed and makes it harder and harder to ever tell the public the truth.

In unwinnable wars based on lies, the "credibility" problem only gets more complicated, as new lies require new scapegoats and convoluted narratives to explain away graveyards filled by old lies. Obama's cynical global charm offensive bought the "war on terror" another eight years, but that only allowed the CIA to drag the U.S. into more trouble and spread its chaos to more places around the world.

Meanwhile, Russian President Putin is winning hearts and minds in capitals around the world by calling for a recommitment to the rule of international law , which prohibits the threat or use of military force except in self-defense. Every new U.S. threat or act of aggression will only make Putin's case more persuasive, not least to important U.S. allies like South Korea, Germany and other members of the European Union, whose complicity in U.S. aggression has until now helped to give it a false veneer of political legitimacy.

Throughout history, serial aggression has nearly always provoked increasingly united opposition, as peace-loving countries and people have reluctantly summoned the courage to stand up to an aggressor. France under Napoleon and Hitler's Germany also regarded themselves as exceptional, and in their own ways they were. But in the end, their belief in their exceptionalism led them on to defeat and destruction.

Americans had better hope that we are not so exceptional, and that the world will find a diplomatic rather than a military "solution" to its American problem. Our chances of survival would improve a great deal if American officials and politicians would finally start to act like something other than putty in the hands of the CIA

Nicolas J. S. Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq . He also wrote the chapters on "Obama at War" in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama's First Term as a Progressive Leader .

[Dec 31, 2017] Is [neo]Liberalism a Dying Faith by Pat Buchanan

Highly recommended!
Nationalism really represent a growing threat to neoliberalism. It is clear the the rise of nationalism was caused by the triumph of neoliberalism all over the globe. As neoliberal ideology collapsed in 2008, thing became really interesting now. Looks like 1920th-1940th will be replayed on a new level with the USA neoliberal empire under stress from new challengers instead of British empire.
Rumor about the death of neoliberalism are slightly exaggerated ;-). This social system still has a lot of staying power. you need some external shock like the need of cheap oil (defined as sustainable price of oil over $100 per barrel) to shake it again. Of some financial crisis similar to the crisis of 2008. Currently there is still no alternative social order that can replace it. Collapse of the USSR discredited both socialism even of different flavors then was practiced in the USSR. National socialism would be a step back from neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... The retreat of [neo]liberalism is very visible in Asia. All Southeast Asian states have turned their backs on liberal democracy, especially Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar in the last decade. This NYT article notes that liberalism has essentially died in Japan, and that all political contests are now between what the west would consider conservatives: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/15/opinion/liberalism-japan-election.html ..."
"... What is today called "Liberalism" and "Conservatism" both are simply corrupted labels applied to the same top-down corporate-fascistic elite rule that I think Mr. Buchanan once referred to as "two wings of the same bird of prey." ..."
"... Nobody at the top cares about 'diversity.' They care about the easy profits that come from ever cheaper labor. 'Diversity' is not suicide but rather murder: instigated by a small number of very powerful people who have decided that the long-term health of their nations and civilization is less important than short-term profits and power. ..."
"... Hillary and Obama are to the right of the President that Buchanan served in his White House. Richard Nixon was to the Left of both Hillary and Obama. I can't even imagine Hillary accepting and signing into law a 'Clean Water Act' or enacting Price Controls to fight inflation. No way. Heck would freeze over before Hillary would do something so against her Banker Backers. ..."
"... It's sure that financial (neo)liberalism was in a growth phase prior to year 2000 (under Greenspan, the "Maestro") with a general belief that the economy could be "fine tuned" with risk eliminated using sophisticated financial instruments, monetary policy etc. ..."
"... If [neo] Liberalism is a package, then two heavy financial blows that shook the whole foundation were the collapse of the dot.com bubble (2000) and the mortgage bubble (2008). ..."
"... And, other (self-serving) neoliberal stories are now seen as false. For example, that the US is an "advanced post-industrial service economy", that out-sourcing would "free up Americans for higher skilled/higher wage employment" or that "the US would always gain from tariff free trade". ..."
"... The basic divide is surely Nationalism (America First) vs. Globalism (Neo-Liberalism), as shown by the last US Presidential election. ..."
"... Neoliberalism, of which the Clintons are acolytes, supports Free Trade and Open Borders. Although it claims to support World Government, in actual fact it supports corporatism. This is explicit in the TPPA Trump vetoed. Under the corporate state, the state controls the corporations, as Don Benito did in Italy. Under corporatism, the corporations tell the state what to do, as has been the case in America since at least the Clinton Presidency. ..."
"... But I recall that Pat B also said neoconservatism was on its way out a few years after Iraq war II and yet it's stronger than ever and its adherents are firmly ensconced in the joint chiefs of staff, the pentagon, Congress and the White House. It's also spawned a close cousin in liberal interventionism. ..."
Oct 01, 2002 | www.unz.com

Asked to name the defining attributes of the America we wish to become, many liberals would answer that we must realize our manifest destiny since 1776, by becoming more equal, more diverse and more democratic -- and the model for mankind's future.

Equality, diversity, democracy -- this is the holy trinity of the post-Christian secular state at whose altars Liberal Man worships.

But the congregation worshiping these gods is shrinking. And even Europe seems to be rejecting what America has on offer.

In a retreat from diversity, Catalonia just voted to separate from Spain. The Basque and Galician peoples of Spain are following the Catalan secession crisis with great interest.

The right-wing People's Party and far-right Freedom Party just swept 60 percent of Austria's vote, delivering the nation to 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, whose anti-immigrant platform was plagiarized from the Freedom Party. Summarized it is: Austria for the Austrians!

Lombardy, whose capital is Milan, and Veneto will vote Sunday for greater autonomy from Rome.

South Tyrol (Alto Adige), severed from Austria and ceded to Italy at Versailles, written off by Hitler to appease Mussolini after his Anschluss, is astir anew with secessionism. Even the Sicilians are talking of separation.

By Sunday, the Czech Republic may have a new leader, billionaire Andrej Babis. Writes The Washington Post, Babis "makes a sport of attacking the European Union and says NATO's mission is outdated."

Platform Promise: Keep the Muslim masses out of the motherland.

To ethnonationalists, their countrymen are not equal to all others, but superior in rights. Many may nod at Thomas Jefferson's line that "All men are created equal," but they no more practice that in their own nations than did Jefferson in his

... ... ...

European peoples and parties are today using democratic means to achieve "illiberal" ends. And it is hard to see what halts the drift away from liberal democracy toward the restrictive right. For in virtually every nation, there is a major party in opposition, or a party in power, that holds deeply nationalist views.

European elites may denounce these new parties as "illiberal" or fascist, but it is becoming apparent that it may be liberalism itself that belongs to yesterday. For more and more Europeans see the invasion of the continent along the routes whence the invaders came centuries ago, not as a manageable problem but an existential crisis.

To many Europeans, it portends an irreversible alteration in the character of the countries their grandchildren will inherit, and possibly an end to their civilization. And they are not going to be deterred from voting their fears by being called names that long ago lost their toxicity from overuse.

And as Europeans decline to celebrate the racial, ethnic, creedal and cultural diversity extolled by American elites, they also seem to reject the idea that foreigners should be treated equally in nations created for their own kind.

Europeans seem to admire more, and model their nations more, along the lines of the less diverse America of the Eisenhower era, than on the polyglot America of 2017.

And Europe seems to be moving toward immigration polices more like the McCarran-Walter Act of 1950 than the open borders bill that Sen. Edward Kennedy shepherded through the Senate in 1965.

Kennedy promised that the racial and ethnic composition of the America of the 1960s would not be overturned, and he questioned the morality and motives of any who implied that it would.

Jason Liu , October 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm GMT
Yes. Fuck yes.

Liberalism is the naivete of 18th century elites, no different than today. Modernity as you know it is unsustainable, mostly because equality isn't real, identity has value for most humans, pluralism is by definition fractious, and deep down most people wish to follow a wise strongman leader who represents their interests first and not a vague set of universalist values.

Blind devotion to liberal democracy is another one of those times when white people take an abstract concept to weird extremes. It is short-sighted and autistically narrow minded. Just because you have an oppressive king doesn't mean everyone should be equals. Just because there was slavery/genocide doesn't mean diversity is good.

The retreat of [neo]liberalism is very visible in Asia. All Southeast Asian states have turned their backs on liberal democracy, especially Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar in the last decade. This NYT article notes that liberalism has essentially died in Japan, and that all political contests are now between what the west would consider conservatives: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/15/opinion/liberalism-japan-election.html

Good riddance. The idea that egalitarianism is more advanced than hierarchy has always been false, and flies against the long arc of history. Time for nationalists around the world to smash liberal democracy and build a new modernity based on actual humanism, with respect to hierarchies and the primacy of majorities instead of guilt and pathological compassion dressed up as political ideology.

TG , October 20, 2017 at 1:10 pm GMT
"Liberalism" is not dying. "Liberalism" is dead, and has been since at least 1970.

What is today called "Liberalism" and "Conservatism" both are simply corrupted labels applied to the same top-down corporate-fascistic elite rule that I think Mr. Buchanan once referred to as "two wings of the same bird of prey."

Nobody at the top cares about 'diversity.' They care about the easy profits that come from ever cheaper labor. 'Diversity' is not suicide but rather murder: instigated by a small number of very powerful people who have decided that the long-term health of their nations and civilization is less important than short-term profits and power.

Paul's Ghost , October 20, 2017 at 6:08 pm GMT
Its been dead for nearly 20 years now. Liberalism has long been the Monty Python parrot nailed to its perch. At this point, the term is mainly kept alive in right-wing attacks by people who lack the imagination to change their habitual targets for so long.

To my eye, the last 'liberal' politician died in a susupicious plane crash in 2000 as the Bush Republicans were taking the White House by their famous 5-4 vote/coup and also needed to claim control of the Senate. So, the last authentic 'liberal' Senator, Paul Wellstone of MN was killed in a suspicious plane crash that was never properly explained.

Hillary and Obama are to the right of the President that Buchanan served in his White House. Richard Nixon was to the Left of both Hillary and Obama. I can't even imagine Hillary accepting and signing into law a 'Clean Water Act' or enacting Price Controls to fight inflation. No way. Heck would freeze over before Hillary would do something so against her Banker Backers.

And, at the root, that is the key. The 'Liberals' that the right now rails against are strongly backed and supported by the Wall Street Banks and other corporate leaders. The 'Liberals' have pushed for a government Of the Bankers, By the Bankers and For the Bankers. The 'Liberals' now are in favor of Endless Unconstitutional War around the world.

Which can only mean that the term 'Liberal' has been so completely morphed away from its original meanings to be completely worthless.

The last true Liberal in American politics was Paul Wellstone. And even by the time he died for his sins, he was calling himself a "progressive" because after the Clintons and the Gores had so distorted the term Liberal it was meaningless. Or it had come to mean a society ruled by bankers, a society at constant war and throwing money constantly at a gigantic war machine, a society of censorship where the government needed to control all music lyrics, the same corrupt government where money could by anything from a night in the Lincoln Bedroom to a Presidential Pardon or any other government favor.

Thus, 'Liberals' were a dead movement even by 2000, when the people who actually believed in the American People over the profits of bankers were calling themselves Progressives in disgust at the misuse of the term Liberal. And now, Obama and Hillary have trashed and distorted even the term Progressive into bombing the world 365 days a year and still constantly throwing money at the military machine and the problems it invents.

So, Liberalism is so long dead that if you exumed the grave you'd only find dust. And Pat must be getting senile and just throwing back out the same lines he once wrote as a speechwriter for the last Great Lefty President Richard Nixon.

Miro23 , October 20, 2017 at 6:17 pm GMT

Is Liberalism a Dying Faith?

Another question is whether this is wishful thinking from Pat or some kind of reality.

I think that he's right, that Liberalism is a dying faith, and it's interesting to check the decline.

It's sure that financial (neo)liberalism was in a growth phase prior to year 2000 (under Greenspan, the "Maestro") with a general belief that the economy could be "fine tuned" with risk eliminated using sophisticated financial instruments, monetary policy etc.

If [neo] Liberalism is a package, then two heavy financial blows that shook the whole foundation were the collapse of the dot.com bubble (2000) and the mortgage bubble (2008).

And, other (self-serving) neoliberal stories are now seen as false. For example, that the US is an "advanced post-industrial service economy", that out-sourcing would "free up Americans for higher skilled/higher wage employment" or that "the US would always gain from tariff free trade".

In fact, the borderless global "world is flat" dogma is now seen as enabling a rootless hyper-rich global elite to draw on a sea of globalized serf labour with little or no identity, while their media and SWJ activists operate a scorched earth defense against any sign of opposition.

The basic divide is surely Nationalism (America First) vs. Globalism (Neo-Liberalism), as shown by the last US Presidential election.

reiner Tor , October 20, 2017 at 6:39 pm GMT
@Randal

A useful analogy might be Viktor Orbán. He started out as a leader of a liberal party, Fidesz, but then over time started moving to the right. It is often speculated that he started it for cynical reasons, like seeing how the right was divided and that there was essentially a vacuum there for a strong conservative party, but there's little doubt he totally internalized it. There's also little doubt (and at the time he and a lot of his fellow party leaders talked about it a lot) that as he (they) started a family and having children, they started to realize how conservatism kinda made more sense than liberalism.

With Kurz, there's the possibility for this path. However, he'd need to start a family soon for that to happen. At that age Orbán was already married with children

Verymuchalive , October 20, 2017 at 10:10 pm GMT
@Paul's Ghost

Liberalism ( large L) is indeed long dead.

Neoliberalism, of which the Clintons are acolytes, supports Free Trade and Open Borders. Although it claims to support World Government, in actual fact it supports corporatism. This is explicit in the TPPA Trump vetoed. Under the corporate state, the state controls the corporations, as Don Benito did in Italy. Under corporatism, the corporations tell the state what to do, as has been the case in America since at least the Clinton Presidency.

Richard Nixon was a capitalist, not a corporatist. He was a supporter of proper competition laws, unlike any President since Clinton. Socially, he was interventionist, though this may have been to lessen criticism of his Vietnam policies. Anyway, his bussing and desegregation policies were a long-term failure.

Price Control was quickly dropped, as it was in other Western countries. Long term Price Control, as in present day Venezuela, is economically disastrous.

KenH , October 21, 2017 at 1:51 pm GMT
Let's hope liberalism is a dying faith and that is passes from the Western world. If not it will destroy the West, so if it doesn't die a natural death then we must euthanize it. For the evidence is in and it has begat feminism, anti-white racism, demographic winter, mass third world immigration and everything else that ails the West and has made it the sick and dying man of the world.

But I recall that Pat B also said neoconservatism was on its way out a few years after Iraq war II and yet it's stronger than ever and its adherents are firmly ensconced in the joint chiefs of staff, the pentagon, Congress and the White House. It's also spawned a close cousin in liberal interventionism.

What Pat refers to as "liberalism" is now left wing totalitarianism and anti-white hatred and it's fanatically trying to remain relevant by lashing out and blacklisting, deplatforming, demonetizing, and physically assaulting all of its enemies on the right who are gaining strength much to their chagrin. They resort to these methods because they can't win an honest debate and in a true free marketplace of ideas they lose.

[Dec 31, 2017] How America Spreads Global Chaos by Nicolas J.S. Davies

Highly recommended!
Essentially CIA dictates the US foreign policy. The tail is wagging the dog. The current Russophobia hysteria mean additional billions for CIA and FBI. As simple as that.
The article contain some important observation about self-sustaining nature of the US militarism. It is able to create new threats and new insurgencies almost at will via CIA activities.
The key problem is that wars are highly profitable for important part of the ruling elite, especially representing finance and military industrial complex. Also now part of the US ruling elite now consists of "colonial administrators" which are directly interested in maintaining and expanding the US empire. This is trap from which nation might not be able to escape.
Notable quotes:
"... The U.S. government may pretend to respect a "rules-based" global order, but the only rule Washington seems to follow is "might makes right" -- and the CIA has long served as a chief instigator and enforcer, writes Nicolas J.S. Davies. ..."
"... Once the CIA went to work in Vietnam to undermine the 1954 Geneva Accords and the planned reunification of North and South through a free and fair election in 1956, the die was cast. ..."
"... No U.S. president could extricate the U.S. from Vietnam without exposing the limits of what U.S. military force could achieve, betraying widely held national myths and the powerful interests that sustained and profited from them. ..."
"... The critical "lesson of Vietnam" was summed up by Richard Barnet in his 1972 book Roots of War . "At the very moment that the number one nation has perfected the science of killing," Barnet wrote, "It has become an impractical means of political domination." ..."
"... Even the senior officer corps of the U.S. military saw it that way, since many of them had survived the horrors of Vietnam as junior officers. The CIA could still wreak havoc in Latin America and elsewhere, but the full destructive force of the U.S. military was not unleashed again until the invasion of Panama in 1989 and the First Gulf War in 1991. ..."
"... Half a century after Vietnam, we have tragically come full circle. With the CIA's politicized intelligence running wild in Washington and its covert operations spreading violence and chaos across every continent, President Trump faces the same pressures to maintain his own and his country's credibility as Johnson and Nixon did. ..."
"... Trump is facing these questions, not just in one country, Vietnam, but in dozens of countries across the world, and the interests perpetuating and fueling this cycle of crisis and war have only become more entrenched over time, as President Eisenhower warned that they would, despite the end of the Cold War and, until now, the lack of any actual military threat to the United States. ..."
"... U.S. Air Force Colonel Fletcher Prouty was the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1955 to 1964, managing the global military support system for the CIA in Vietnam and around the world. Fletcher Prouty's book, The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World , was suppressed when it was first published in 1973. Thousands of copies disappeared from bookstores and libraries, and a mysterious Army Colonel bought the entire shipment of 3,500 copies the publisher sent to Australia. But Prouty's book was republished in 2011, and it is a timely account of the role of the CIA in U.S. policy. ..."
"... The main purpose of the CIA, as Prouty saw it, is to create such pretexts for war. ..."
"... The CIA is a hybrid of an intelligence service that gathers and analyzes foreign intelligence and a clandestine service that conducts covert operations. Both functions are essential to creating pretexts for war, and that is what they have done for 70 years. ..."
"... Prouty described how the CIA infiltrated the U.S. military, the State Department, the National Security Council and other government institutions, covertly placing its officers in critical positions to ensure that its plans are approved and that it has access to whatever forces, weapons, equipment, ammunition and other resources it needs to carry them out. ..."
"... Many retired intelligence officers, such as Ray McGovern and the members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), saw the merging of clandestine operations with intelligence analysis in one agency as corrupting the objective analysis they tried to provide to policymakers. They formed VIPS in 2003 in response to the fabrication of politicized intelligence that provided false pretexts for the U.S. to invade and destroy Iraq. ..."
"... But Fletcher Prouty was even more disturbed by the way that the CIA uses clandestine operations to trigger coups, wars and chaos. The civil and proxy war in Syria is a perfect example of what Prouty meant ..."
"... The role of U.S. "counterterrorism" operations in fueling armed resistance and terrorism, and the absence of any plan to reduce the asymmetric violence unleashed by the "global war on terror," would be no surprise to Fletcher Prouty. As he explained, such clandestine operations always take on a life of their own that is unrelated, and often counter-productive, to any rational U.S. policy objective. ..."
"... This is a textbook CIA operation on the same model as Vietnam in the late 1950s and early 60s. The CIA uses U.S. special forces and training missions to launch covert and proxy military operations that drive local populations into armed resistance groups, and then uses the presence of those armed resistance groups to justify ever-escalating U.S. military involvement. This is Vietnam redux on a continental scale. ..."
"... China is already too big and powerful for the U.S. to apply what is known as the Ledeen doctrine named for neoconservative theorist and intelligence operative Michael Ledeen who suggested that every 10 years or so, the United States "pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show we mean business." ..."
"... As long as the CIA and the U.S. military keep plunging the scapegoats for our failed policies into economic crisis, violence and chaos, the United States and the United Kingdom can remain the safe havens of the world's wealth, islands of privilege and excess amidst the storms they unleash on others. ..."
"... But if that is the only "significant national objective" driving these policies, it is surely about time for the 99 percent of Americans who reap no benefit from these murderous schemes to stop the CIA and its allies before they completely wreck the already damaged and fragile world in which we all must live, Americans and foreigners alike. ..."
"... Douglas Valentine has probably studied the CIA in more depth than any other American journalist, beginning with his book on The Phoenix Program in Vietnam. He has written a new book titled The CIA as Organized Crime : How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, in which he brings Fletcher Prouty's analysis right up to the present day, describing the CIA's role in our current wars and the many ways it infiltrates, manipulates and controls U.S. policy. ..."
"... In Venezuela, the CIA and the right-wing opposition are following the same strategy that President Nixon ordered the CIA to inflict on Chile, to "make the economy scream" in preparation for the 1973 coup. ..."
"... The U.S. willingness to scrap the Agreed Framework in 2003, the breakdown of the Six Party Talks in 2009 and the U.S. refusal to acknowledge that its own military actions and threats create legitimate defense concerns for North Korea have driven the North Koreans into a corner from which they see a credible nuclear deterrent as their only chance to avoid mass destruction. ..."
"... Obama's charm offensive invigorated old and new military alliances with the U.K., France and the Arab monarchies, and he quietly ran up the most expensive military budge t of any president since World War Two. ..."
"... Throughout history, serial aggression has nearly always provoked increasingly united opposition, as peace-loving countries and people have reluctantly summoned the courage to stand up to an aggressor. France under Napoleon and Hitler's Germany also regarded themselves as exceptional, and in their own ways they were. But in the end, their belief in their exceptionalism led them on to defeat and destruction. ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

The U.S. government may pretend to respect a "rules-based" global order, but the only rule Washington seems to follow is "might makes right" -- and the CIA has long served as a chief instigator and enforcer, writes Nicolas J.S. Davies.

As the recent PBS documentary on the American War in Vietnam acknowledged, few American officials ever believed that the United States could win the war, neither those advising Johnson as he committed hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, nor those advising Nixon as he escalated a brutal aerial bombardment that had already killed millions of people.

As conversations tape-recorded in the White House reveal, and as other writers have documented, the reasons for wading into the Big Muddy, as Pete Seeger satirized it , and then pushing on regardless, all came down to "credibility": the domestic political credibility of the politicians involved and America's international credibility as a military power.

Once the CIA went to work in Vietnam to undermine the 1954 Geneva Accords and the planned reunification of North and South through a free and fair election in 1956, the die was cast. The CIA's support for the repressive Diem regime and its successors ensured an ever-escalating war, as the South rose in rebellion, supported by the North. No U.S. president could extricate the U.S. from Vietnam without exposing the limits of what U.S. military force could achieve, betraying widely held national myths and the powerful interests that sustained and profited from them.

The critical "lesson of Vietnam" was summed up by Richard Barnet in his 1972 book Roots of War . "At the very moment that the number one nation has perfected the science of killing," Barnet wrote, "It has become an impractical means of political domination."

Even the senior officer corps of the U.S. military saw it that way, since many of them had survived the horrors of Vietnam as junior officers. The CIA could still wreak havoc in Latin America and elsewhere, but the full destructive force of the U.S. military was not unleashed again until the invasion of Panama in 1989 and the First Gulf War in 1991.

Half a century after Vietnam, we have tragically come full circle. With the CIA's politicized intelligence running wild in Washington and its covert operations spreading violence and chaos across every continent, President Trump faces the same pressures to maintain his own and his country's credibility as Johnson and Nixon did. His predictable response has been to escalate ongoing wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and West Africa, and to threaten new ones against North Korea, Iran and Venezuela.

Trump is facing these questions, not just in one country, Vietnam, but in dozens of countries across the world, and the interests perpetuating and fueling this cycle of crisis and war have only become more entrenched over time, as President Eisenhower warned that they would, despite the end of the Cold War and, until now, the lack of any actual military threat to the United States.

Ironically but predictably, the U.S.'s aggressive and illegal war policy has finally provoked a real military threat to the U.S., albeit one that has emerged only in response to U.S. war plans. As I explained in a recent article , North Korea's discovery in 2016 of a U.S. plan to assassinate its president, Kim Jong Un, and launch a Second Korean War has triggered a crash program to develop long-range ballistic missiles that could give North Korea a viable nuclear deterrent and prevent a U.S. attack. But the North Koreans will not feel safe from attack until their leaders and ours are sure that their missiles can deliver a nuclear strike against the U.S. mainland.

The CIA's Pretexts for War

U.S. Air Force Colonel Fletcher Prouty was the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1955 to 1964, managing the global military support system for the CIA in Vietnam and around the world. Fletcher Prouty's book, The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World , was suppressed when it was first published in 1973. Thousands of copies disappeared from bookstores and libraries, and a mysterious Army Colonel bought the entire shipment of 3,500 copies the publisher sent to Australia. But Prouty's book was republished in 2011, and it is a timely account of the role of the CIA in U.S. policy.

Prouty surprisingly described the role of the CIA as a response by powerful people and interests to the abolition of the U.S. Department of War and the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947. Once the role of the U.S. military was redefined as one of defense, in line with the United Nations Charter's prohibition against the threat or use of military force in 1945 and similar moves by other military powers, it would require some kind of crisis or threat to justify using military force in the future, both legally and politically. The main purpose of the CIA, as Prouty saw it, is to create such pretexts for war.

The CIA is a hybrid of an intelligence service that gathers and analyzes foreign intelligence and a clandestine service that conducts covert operations. Both functions are essential to creating pretexts for war, and that is what they have done for 70 years.

Prouty described how the CIA infiltrated the U.S. military, the State Department, the National Security Council and other government institutions, covertly placing its officers in critical positions to ensure that its plans are approved and that it has access to whatever forces, weapons, equipment, ammunition and other resources it needs to carry them out.

Many retired intelligence officers, such as Ray McGovern and the members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), saw the merging of clandestine operations with intelligence analysis in one agency as corrupting the objective analysis they tried to provide to policymakers. They formed VIPS in 2003 in response to the fabrication of politicized intelligence that provided false pretexts for the U.S. to invade and destroy Iraq.

CIA in Syria and Africa

But Fletcher Prouty was even more disturbed by the way that the CIA uses clandestine operations to trigger coups, wars and chaos. The civil and proxy war in Syria is a perfect example of what Prouty meant. In late 2011, after destroying Libya and aiding in the torture-murder of Muammar Gaddafi, the CIA and its allies began flying fighters and weapons from Libya to Turkey and infiltrating them into Syria. Then, working with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Croatia and other allies, this operation poured thousands of tons of weapons across Syria's borders to ignite and fuel a full-scale civil war.

Once these covert operations were under way, they ran wild until they had unleashed a savage Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria (Jabhat al-Nusra, now rebranded as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), spawned the even more savage "Islamic State," triggered the heaviest and probably the deadliest U.S. bombing campaign since Vietnam and drawn Russia, Iran, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Hezbollah, Kurdish militias and almost every state or armed group in the Middle East into the chaos of Syria's civil war.

Meanwhile, as Al Qaeda and Islamic State have expanded their operations across Africa, the U.N. has published a report titled Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment , based on 500 interviews with African militants. This study has found that the kind of special operations and training missions the CIA and AFRICOM are conducting and supporting in Africa are in fact the critical "tipping point" that drives Africans to join militant groups like Al Qaeda, Al-Shabab and Boko Haram.

The report found that government action, such as the killing or detention of friends or family, was the "tipping point" that drove 71 percent of African militants interviewed to join armed groups, and that this was a more important factor than religious ideology.

The conclusions of Journey to Extremism in Africa confirm the findings of other similar studies. The Center for Civilians in Conflict interviewed 250 civilians who joined armed groups in Bosnia, Somalia, Gaza and Libya for its 2015 study, The People's Perspectives : Civilian Involvement in Armed Conflict . The study found that the most common motivation for civilians to join armed groups was simply to protect themselves or their families.

The role of U.S. "counterterrorism" operations in fueling armed resistance and terrorism, and the absence of any plan to reduce the asymmetric violence unleashed by the "global war on terror," would be no surprise to Fletcher Prouty. As he explained, such clandestine operations always take on a life of their own that is unrelated, and often counter-productive, to any rational U.S. policy objective.

"The more intimate one becomes with this activity," Prouty wrote, "The more one begins to realize that such operations are rarely, if ever, initiated from an intent to become involved in pursuit of some national objective in the first place."

The U.S. justifies the deployment of 6,000 U.S. special forces and military trainers to 53 of the 54 countries in Africa as a response to terrorism. But the U.N.'s Journey to Extremism in Africa study makes it clear that the U.S. militarization of Africa is in fact the "tipping point" that is driving Africans across the continent to join armed resistance groups in the first place.

This is a textbook CIA operation on the same model as Vietnam in the late 1950s and early 60s. The CIA uses U.S. special forces and training missions to launch covert and proxy military operations that drive local populations into armed resistance groups, and then uses the presence of those armed resistance groups to justify ever-escalating U.S. military involvement. This is Vietnam redux on a continental scale.

Taking on China

What seems to really be driving the CIA's militarization of U.S. policy in Africa is China's growing influence on the continent. As Steve Bannon put it in an interview with the Economist in August, "Let's go screw up One Belt One Road."

China is already too big and powerful for the U.S. to apply what is known as the Ledeen doctrine named for neoconservative theorist and intelligence operative Michael Ledeen who suggested that every 10 years or so, the United States "pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show we mean business."

China is too powerful and armed with nuclear weapons. So, in this case, the CIA's job would be to spread violence and chaos to disrupt Chinese trade and investment, and to make African governments increasingly dependent on U.S. military aid to fight the militant groups spawned and endlessly regenerated by U.S.-led "counterterrorism" operations.

Neither Ledeen nor Bannon pretend that such policies are designed to build more prosperous or viable societies in the Middle East or Africa, let alone to benefit their people. They both know very well what Richard Barnet already understood 45 years ago, that America's unprecedented investment in weapons, war and CIA covert operations are only good for one thing: to kill people and destroy infrastructure, reducing cities to rubble, societies to chaos and the desperate survivors to poverty and displacement.

As long as the CIA and the U.S. military keep plunging the scapegoats for our failed policies into economic crisis, violence and chaos, the United States and the United Kingdom can remain the safe havens of the world's wealth, islands of privilege and excess amidst the storms they unleash on others.

But if that is the only "significant national objective" driving these policies, it is surely about time for the 99 percent of Americans who reap no benefit from these murderous schemes to stop the CIA and its allies before they completely wreck the already damaged and fragile world in which we all must live, Americans and foreigners alike.

Douglas Valentine has probably studied the CIA in more depth than any other American journalist, beginning with his book on The Phoenix Program in Vietnam. He has written a new book titled The CIA as Organized Crime : How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, in which he brings Fletcher Prouty's analysis right up to the present day, describing the CIA's role in our current wars and the many ways it infiltrates, manipulates and controls U.S. policy.

The Three Scapegoats

In Trump's speech to the U.N. General Assembly, he named North Korea, Iran and Venezuela as his prime targets for destabilization, economic warfare and, ultimately, the overthrow of their governments, whether by coup d'etat or the mass destruction of their civilian population and infrastructure. But Trump's choice of scapegoats for America's failures was obviously not based on a rational reassessment of foreign policy priorities by the new administration. It was only a tired rehashing of the CIA's unfinished business with two-thirds of Bush's "axis of evil" and Bush White House official Elliott Abrams' failed 2002 coup in Caracas, now laced with explicit and illegal threats of aggression.

How Trump and the CIA plan to sacrifice their three scapegoats for America's failures remains to be seen. This is not 2001, when the world stood silent at the U.S. bombardment and invasion of Afghanistan after September 11th. It is more like 2003, when the U.S. destruction of Iraq split the Atlantic alliance and alienated most of the world. It is certainly not 2011, after Obama's global charm offensive had rebuilt U.S. alliances and provided cover for French President Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Cameron, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Arab royals to destroy Libya, once ranked by the U.N. as the most developed country in Africa , now mired in intractable chaos.

In 2017, a U.S. attack on any one of Trump's scapegoats would isolate the United States from many of its allies and undermine its standing in the world in far-reaching ways that might be more permanent and harder to repair than the invasion and destruction of Iraq.

In Venezuela, the CIA and the right-wing opposition are following the same strategy that President Nixon ordered the CIA to inflict on Chile, to "make the economy scream" in preparation for the 1973 coup. But the solid victory of Venezuela's ruling Socialist Party in recent nationwide gubernatorial elections, despite a long and deep economic crisis, reveals little public support for the CIA's puppets in Venezuela.

The CIA has successfully discredited the Venezuelan government through economic warfare, increasingly violent right-wing street protests and a global propaganda campaign. But the CIA has stupidly hitched its wagon to an extreme right-wing, upper-class opposition that has no credibility with most of the Venezuelan public, who still turn out for the Socialists at the polls. A CIA coup or U.S. military intervention would meet fierce public resistance and damage U.S. relations all over Latin America.

Boxing In North Korea

A U.S. aerial bombardment or "preemptive strike" on North Korea could quickly escalate into a war between the U.S. and China, which has reiterated its commitment to North Korea's defense if North Korea is attacked. We do not know exactly what was in the U.S. war plan discovered by North Korea, so neither can we know how North Korea and China could respond if the U.S. pressed ahead with it.

Most analysts have long concluded that any U.S. attack on North Korea would be met with a North Korean artillery and missile barrage that would inflict unacceptable civilian casualties on Seoul, a metropolitan area of 26 million people, three times the population of New York City. Seoul is only 35 miles from the frontier with North Korea, placing it within range of a huge array of North Korean weapons. What was already a no-win calculus is now compounded by the possibility that North Korea could respond with nuclear weapons, turning any prospect of a U.S. attack into an even worse nightmare.

U.S. mismanagement of its relations with North Korea should be an object lesson for its relations with Iran, graphically demonstrating the advantages of diplomacy, talks and agreements over threats of war. Under the Agreed Framework signed in 1994, North Korea stopped work on two much larger nuclear reactors than the small experimental one operating at Yongbyong since 1986, which only produces 6 kg of plutonium per year, enough for one nuclear bomb.

The lesson of Bush's Iraq invasion in 2003 after Saddam Hussein had complied with demands that he destroy Iraq's stockpiles of chemical weapons and shut down a nascent nuclear program was not lost on North Korea. Not only did the invasion lay waste to large sections of Iraq with hundreds of thousands of dead but Hussein himself was hunted down and condemned to death by hanging.

Still, after North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006, even its small experimental reactor was shut down as a result of the "Six Party Talks" in 2007, all the fuel rods were removed and placed under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the cooling tower of the reactor was demolished in 2008.

But then, as relations deteriorated, North Korea conducted a second nuclear weapon test and again began reprocessing spent fuel rods to recover plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.

North Korea has now conducted six nuclear weapons tests. The explosions in the first five tests increased gradually up to 15-25 kilotons, about the yield of the bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but estimates for the yield of the 2017 test range from 110 to 250 kilotons , comparable to a small hydrogen bomb.

The even greater danger in a new war in Korea is that the U.S. could unleash part of its arsenal of 4,000 more powerful weapons (100 to 1,200 kilotons), which could kill millions of people and devastate and poison the region, or even the world, for years to come.

The U.S. willingness to scrap the Agreed Framework in 2003, the breakdown of the Six Party Talks in 2009 and the U.S. refusal to acknowledge that its own military actions and threats create legitimate defense concerns for North Korea have driven the North Koreans into a corner from which they see a credible nuclear deterrent as their only chance to avoid mass destruction.

China has proposed a reasonable framework for diplomacy to address the concerns of both sides, but the U.S. insists on maintaining its propaganda narratives that all the fault lies with North Korea and that it has some kind of "military solution" to the crisis.

This may be the most dangerous idea we have heard from U.S. policymakers since the end of the Cold War, but it is the logical culmination of a systematic normalization of deviant and illegal U.S. war-making that has already cost millions of lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. As historian Gabriel Kolko wrote in Century of War in 1994, "options and decisions that are intrinsically dangerous and irrational become not merely plausible but the only form of reasoning about war and diplomacy that is possible in official circles."

Demonizing Iran

The idea that Iran has ever had a nuclear weapons program is seriously contested by the IAEA, which has examined every allegation presented by the CIA and other Western "intelligence" agencies as well as Israel. Former IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei revealed many details of this wild goose chase in his 2011 memoir, Age of Deception : Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times .

When the CIA and its partners reluctantly acknowledged the IAEA's conclusions in a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), ElBaradei issued a press release confirming that, "the agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran."

Since 2007, the IAEA has resolved all its outstanding concerns with Iran. It has verified that dual-use technologies that Iran imported before 2003 were in fact used for other purposes, and it has exposed the mysterious "laptop documents" that appeared to show Iranian plans for a nuclear weapon as forgeries. Gareth Porter thoroughly explored all these questions and allegations and the history of mistrust that fueled them in his 2014 book, Manufactured Crisis : the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare , which I highly recommend.

But, in the parallel Bizarro world of U.S. politics, hopelessly poisoned by the CIA's endless disinformation campaigns, Hillary Clinton could repeatedly take false credit for disarming Iran during her presidential campaign, and neither Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump nor any corporate media interviewer dared to challenge her claims.

"When President Obama took office, Iran was racing toward a nuclear bomb," Clinton fantasized in a prominent foreign policy speech on June 2, 2016, claiming that her brutal sanctions policy "brought Iran to the table."

In fact, as Trita Parsi documented in his 2012 book, A Single Roll of the Dice : Obama's Diplomacy With Iran , the Iranians were ready, not just to "come to the table," but to sign a comprehensive agreement based on a U.S. proposal brokered by Turkey and Brazil in 2010. But, in a classic case of "tail wags dog," the U.S. then rejected its own proposal because it would have undercut support for tighter sanctions in the U.N. Security Council. In other words, Clinton's sanctions policy did not "bring Iran to the table", but prevented the U.S. from coming to the table itself.

As a senior State Department official told Trita Parsi, the real problem with U.S. diplomacy with Iran when Clinton was at the State Department was that the U.S. would not take "Yes" for an answer. Trump's ham-fisted decertification of Iran's compliance with the JCPOA is right out of Clinton's playbook, and it demonstrates that the CIA is still determined to use Iran as a scapegoat for America's failures in the Middle East.

The spurious claim that Iran is the world's greatest sponsor of terrorism is another CIA canard reinforced by endless repetition. It is true that Iran supports and supplies weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas, which are both listed as terrorist organizations by the U.S. government. But they are mainly defensive resistance groups that defend Lebanon and Gaza respectively against invasions and attacks by Israel.

Shifting attention away from Al Qaeda, Islamic State, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and other groups that actually commit terrorist crimes around the world might just seem like a case of the CIA "taking its eyes off the ball," if it wasn't so transparently timed to frame Iran with new accusations now that the manufactured crisis of the nuclear scare has run its course.

What the Future Holds

Barack Obama's most consequential international achievement may have been the triumph of symbolism over substance behind which he expanded and escalated the so-called "war on terror," with a vast expansion of covert operations and proxy wars that eventually triggered the heaviest U.S. aerial bombardments since Vietnam in Iraq and Syria.

Obama's charm offensive invigorated old and new military alliances with the U.K., France and the Arab monarchies, and he quietly ran up the most expensive military budget of any president since World War Two.

But Obama's expansion of the "war on terror" under cover of his deceptive global public relations campaign created many more problems than it solved, and Trump and his advisers are woefully ill-equipped to solve any of them. Trump's expressed desire to place America first and to resist foreign entanglements is hopelessly at odds with his aggressive, bullying approach to every foreign policy problem.

If the U.S. could threaten and fight its way to a resolution of any of its international problems, it would have done so already. That is exactly what it has been trying to do since the 1990s, behind both the swagger and bluster of Bush and Trump and the deceptive charm of Clinton and Obama: a "good cop – bad cop" routine that should no longer fool anyone anywhere.

But as Lyndon Johnson found as he waded deeper and deeper into the Big Muddy in Vietnam, lying to the public about unwinnable wars does not make them any more winnable. It just gets more people killed and makes it harder and harder to ever tell the public the truth.

In unwinnable wars based on lies, the "credibility" problem only gets more complicated, as new lies require new scapegoats and convoluted narratives to explain away graveyards filled by old lies. Obama's cynical global charm offensive bought the "war on terror" another eight years, but that only allowed the CIA to drag the U.S. into more trouble and spread its chaos to more places around the world.

Meanwhile, Russian President Putin is winning hearts and minds in capitals around the world by calling for a recommitment to the rule of international law , which prohibits the threat or use of military force except in self-defense. Every new U.S. threat or act of aggression will only make Putin's case more persuasive, not least to important U.S. allies like South Korea, Germany and other members of the European Union, whose complicity in U.S. aggression has until now helped to give it a false veneer of political legitimacy.

Throughout history, serial aggression has nearly always provoked increasingly united opposition, as peace-loving countries and people have reluctantly summoned the courage to stand up to an aggressor. France under Napoleon and Hitler's Germany also regarded themselves as exceptional, and in their own ways they were. But in the end, their belief in their exceptionalism led them on to defeat and destruction.

Americans had better hope that we are not so exceptional, and that the world will find a diplomatic rather than a military "solution" to its American problem. Our chances of survival would improve a great deal if American officials and politicians would finally start to act like something other than putty in the hands of the CIA

Nicolas J. S. Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq . He also wrote the chapters on "Obama at War" in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama's First Term as a Progressive Leader .

[Dec 31, 2017] Is [neo]Liberalism a Dying Faith by Pat Buchanan

Highly recommended!
Nationalism really represent a growing threat to neoliberalism. It is clear the the rise of nationalism was caused by the triumph of neoliberalism all over the globe. As neoliberal ideology collapsed in 2008, thing became really interesting now. Looks like 1920th-1940th will be replayed on a new level with the USA neoliberal empire under stress from new challengers instead of British empire.
Rumor about the death of neoliberalism are slightly exaggerated ;-). This social system still has a lot of staying power. you need some external shock like the need of cheap oil (defined as sustainable price of oil over $100 per barrel) to shake it again. Of some financial crisis similar to the crisis of 2008. Currently there is still no alternative social order that can replace it. Collapse of the USSR discredited both socialism even of different flavors then was practiced in the USSR. National socialism would be a step back from neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... The retreat of [neo]liberalism is very visible in Asia. All Southeast Asian states have turned their backs on liberal democracy, especially Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar in the last decade. This NYT article notes that liberalism has essentially died in Japan, and that all political contests are now between what the west would consider conservatives: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/15/opinion/liberalism-japan-election.html ..."
"... What is today called "Liberalism" and "Conservatism" both are simply corrupted labels applied to the same top-down corporate-fascistic elite rule that I think Mr. Buchanan once referred to as "two wings of the same bird of prey." ..."
"... Nobody at the top cares about 'diversity.' They care about the easy profits that come from ever cheaper labor. 'Diversity' is not suicide but rather murder: instigated by a small number of very powerful people who have decided that the long-term health of their nations and civilization is less important than short-term profits and power. ..."
"... Hillary and Obama are to the right of the President that Buchanan served in his White House. Richard Nixon was to the Left of both Hillary and Obama. I can't even imagine Hillary accepting and signing into law a 'Clean Water Act' or enacting Price Controls to fight inflation. No way. Heck would freeze over before Hillary would do something so against her Banker Backers. ..."
"... It's sure that financial (neo)liberalism was in a growth phase prior to year 2000 (under Greenspan, the "Maestro") with a general belief that the economy could be "fine tuned" with risk eliminated using sophisticated financial instruments, monetary policy etc. ..."
"... If [neo] Liberalism is a package, then two heavy financial blows that shook the whole foundation were the collapse of the dot.com bubble (2000) and the mortgage bubble (2008). ..."
"... And, other (self-serving) neoliberal stories are now seen as false. For example, that the US is an "advanced post-industrial service economy", that out-sourcing would "free up Americans for higher skilled/higher wage employment" or that "the US would always gain from tariff free trade". ..."
"... The basic divide is surely Nationalism (America First) vs. Globalism (Neo-Liberalism), as shown by the last US Presidential election. ..."
"... Neoliberalism, of which the Clintons are acolytes, supports Free Trade and Open Borders. Although it claims to support World Government, in actual fact it supports corporatism. This is explicit in the TPPA Trump vetoed. Under the corporate state, the state controls the corporations, as Don Benito did in Italy. Under corporatism, the corporations tell the state what to do, as has been the case in America since at least the Clinton Presidency. ..."
"... But I recall that Pat B also said neoconservatism was on its way out a few years after Iraq war II and yet it's stronger than ever and its adherents are firmly ensconced in the joint chiefs of staff, the pentagon, Congress and the White House. It's also spawned a close cousin in liberal interventionism. ..."
Oct 01, 2002 | www.unz.com

Asked to name the defining attributes of the America we wish to become, many liberals would answer that we must realize our manifest destiny since 1776, by becoming more equal, more diverse and more democratic -- and the model for mankind's future.

Equality, diversity, democracy -- this is the holy trinity of the post-Christian secular state at whose altars Liberal Man worships.

But the congregation worshiping these gods is shrinking. And even Europe seems to be rejecting what America has on offer.

In a retreat from diversity, Catalonia just voted to separate from Spain. The Basque and Galician peoples of Spain are following the Catalan secession crisis with great interest.

The right-wing People's Party and far-right Freedom Party just swept 60 percent of Austria's vote, delivering the nation to 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, whose anti-immigrant platform was plagiarized from the Freedom Party. Summarized it is: Austria for the Austrians!

Lombardy, whose capital is Milan, and Veneto will vote Sunday for greater autonomy from Rome.

South Tyrol (Alto Adige), severed from Austria and ceded to Italy at Versailles, written off by Hitler to appease Mussolini after his Anschluss, is astir anew with secessionism. Even the Sicilians are talking of separation.

By Sunday, the Czech Republic may have a new leader, billionaire Andrej Babis. Writes The Washington Post, Babis "makes a sport of attacking the European Union and says NATO's mission is outdated."

Platform Promise: Keep the Muslim masses out of the motherland.

To ethnonationalists, their countrymen are not equal to all others, but superior in rights. Many may nod at Thomas Jefferson's line that "All men are created equal," but they no more practice that in their own nations than did Jefferson in his

... ... ...

European peoples and parties are today using democratic means to achieve "illiberal" ends. And it is hard to see what halts the drift away from liberal democracy toward the restrictive right. For in virtually every nation, there is a major party in opposition, or a party in power, that holds deeply nationalist views.

European elites may denounce these new parties as "illiberal" or fascist, but it is becoming apparent that it may be liberalism itself that belongs to yesterday. For more and more Europeans see the invasion of the continent along the routes whence the invaders came centuries ago, not as a manageable problem but an existential crisis.

To many Europeans, it portends an irreversible alteration in the character of the countries their grandchildren will inherit, and possibly an end to their civilization. And they are not going to be deterred from voting their fears by being called names that long ago lost their toxicity from overuse.

And as Europeans decline to celebrate the racial, ethnic, creedal and cultural diversity extolled by American elites, they also seem to reject the idea that foreigners should be treated equally in nations created for their own kind.

Europeans seem to admire more, and model their nations more, along the lines of the less diverse America of the Eisenhower era, than on the polyglot America of 2017.

And Europe seems to be moving toward immigration polices more like the McCarran-Walter Act of 1950 than the open borders bill that Sen. Edward Kennedy shepherded through the Senate in 1965.

Kennedy promised that the racial and ethnic composition of the America of the 1960s would not be overturned, and he questioned the morality and motives of any who implied that it would.

Jason Liu , October 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm GMT
Yes. Fuck yes.

Liberalism is the naivete of 18th century elites, no different than today. Modernity as you know it is unsustainable, mostly because equality isn't real, identity has value for most humans, pluralism is by definition fractious, and deep down most people wish to follow a wise strongman leader who represents their interests first and not a vague set of universalist values.

Blind devotion to liberal democracy is another one of those times when white people take an abstract concept to weird extremes. It is short-sighted and autistically narrow minded. Just because you have an oppressive king doesn't mean everyone should be equals. Just because there was slavery/genocide doesn't mean diversity is good.

The retreat of [neo]liberalism is very visible in Asia. All Southeast Asian states have turned their backs on liberal democracy, especially Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar in the last decade. This NYT article notes that liberalism has essentially died in Japan, and that all political contests are now between what the west would consider conservatives: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/15/opinion/liberalism-japan-election.html

Good riddance. The idea that egalitarianism is more advanced than hierarchy has always been false, and flies against the long arc of history. Time for nationalists around the world to smash liberal democracy and build a new modernity based on actual humanism, with respect to hierarchies and the primacy of majorities instead of guilt and pathological compassion dressed up as political ideology.

TG , October 20, 2017 at 1:10 pm GMT
"Liberalism" is not dying. "Liberalism" is dead, and has been since at least 1970.

What is today called "Liberalism" and "Conservatism" both are simply corrupted labels applied to the same top-down corporate-fascistic elite rule that I think Mr. Buchanan once referred to as "two wings of the same bird of prey."

Nobody at the top cares about 'diversity.' They care about the easy profits that come from ever cheaper labor. 'Diversity' is not suicide but rather murder: instigated by a small number of very powerful people who have decided that the long-term health of their nations and civilization is less important than short-term profits and power.

Paul's Ghost , October 20, 2017 at 6:08 pm GMT
Its been dead for nearly 20 years now. Liberalism has long been the Monty Python parrot nailed to its perch. At this point, the term is mainly kept alive in right-wing attacks by people who lack the imagination to change their habitual targets for so long.

To my eye, the last 'liberal' politician died in a susupicious plane crash in 2000 as the Bush Republicans were taking the White House by their famous 5-4 vote/coup and also needed to claim control of the Senate. So, the last authentic 'liberal' Senator, Paul Wellstone of MN was killed in a suspicious plane crash that was never properly explained.

Hillary and Obama are to the right of the President that Buchanan served in his White House. Richard Nixon was to the Left of both Hillary and Obama. I can't even imagine Hillary accepting and signing into law a 'Clean Water Act' or enacting Price Controls to fight inflation. No way. Heck would freeze over before Hillary would do something so against her Banker Backers.

And, at the root, that is the key. The 'Liberals' that the right now rails against are strongly backed and supported by the Wall Street Banks and other corporate leaders. The 'Liberals' have pushed for a government Of the Bankers, By the Bankers and For the Bankers. The 'Liberals' now are in favor of Endless Unconstitutional War around the world.

Which can only mean that the term 'Liberal' has been so completely morphed away from its original meanings to be completely worthless.

The last true Liberal in American politics was Paul Wellstone. And even by the time he died for his sins, he was calling himself a "progressive" because after the Clintons and the Gores had so distorted the term Liberal it was meaningless. Or it had come to mean a society ruled by bankers, a society at constant war and throwing money constantly at a gigantic war machine, a society of censorship where the government needed to control all music lyrics, the same corrupt government where money could by anything from a night in the Lincoln Bedroom to a Presidential Pardon or any other government favor.

Thus, 'Liberals' were a dead movement even by 2000, when the people who actually believed in the American People over the profits of bankers were calling themselves Progressives in disgust at the misuse of the term Liberal. And now, Obama and Hillary have trashed and distorted even the term Progressive into bombing the world 365 days a year and still constantly throwing money at the military machine and the problems it invents.

So, Liberalism is so long dead that if you exumed the grave you'd only find dust. And Pat must be getting senile and just throwing back out the same lines he once wrote as a speechwriter for the last Great Lefty President Richard Nixon.

Miro23 , October 20, 2017 at 6:17 pm GMT

Is Liberalism a Dying Faith?

Another question is whether this is wishful thinking from Pat or some kind of reality.

I think that he's right, that Liberalism is a dying faith, and it's interesting to check the decline.

It's sure that financial (neo)liberalism was in a growth phase prior to year 2000 (under Greenspan, the "Maestro") with a general belief that the economy could be "fine tuned" with risk eliminated using sophisticated financial instruments, monetary policy etc.

If [neo] Liberalism is a package, then two heavy financial blows that shook the whole foundation were the collapse of the dot.com bubble (2000) and the mortgage bubble (2008).

And, other (self-serving) neoliberal stories are now seen as false. For example, that the US is an "advanced post-industrial service economy", that out-sourcing would "free up Americans for higher skilled/higher wage employment" or that "the US would always gain from tariff free trade".

In fact, the borderless global "world is flat" dogma is now seen as enabling a rootless hyper-rich global elite to draw on a sea of globalized serf labour with little or no identity, while their media and SWJ activists operate a scorched earth defense against any sign of opposition.

The basic divide is surely Nationalism (America First) vs. Globalism (Neo-Liberalism), as shown by the last US Presidential election.

reiner Tor , October 20, 2017 at 6:39 pm GMT
@Randal

A useful analogy might be Viktor Orbán. He started out as a leader of a liberal party, Fidesz, but then over time started moving to the right. It is often speculated that he started it for cynical reasons, like seeing how the right was divided and that there was essentially a vacuum there for a strong conservative party, but there's little doubt he totally internalized it. There's also little doubt (and at the time he and a lot of his fellow party leaders talked about it a lot) that as he (they) started a family and having children, they started to realize how conservatism kinda made more sense than liberalism.

With Kurz, there's the possibility for this path. However, he'd need to start a family soon for that to happen. At that age Orbán was already married with children

Verymuchalive , October 20, 2017 at 10:10 pm GMT
@Paul's Ghost

Liberalism ( large L) is indeed long dead.

Neoliberalism, of which the Clintons are acolytes, supports Free Trade and Open Borders. Although it claims to support World Government, in actual fact it supports corporatism. This is explicit in the TPPA Trump vetoed. Under the corporate state, the state controls the corporations, as Don Benito did in Italy. Under corporatism, the corporations tell the state what to do, as has been the case in America since at least the Clinton Presidency.

Richard Nixon was a capitalist, not a corporatist. He was a supporter of proper competition laws, unlike any President since Clinton. Socially, he was interventionist, though this may have been to lessen criticism of his Vietnam policies. Anyway, his bussing and desegregation policies were a long-term failure.

Price Control was quickly dropped, as it was in other Western countries. Long term Price Control, as in present day Venezuela, is economically disastrous.

KenH , October 21, 2017 at 1:51 pm GMT
Let's hope liberalism is a dying faith and that is passes from the Western world. If not it will destroy the West, so if it doesn't die a natural death then we must euthanize it. For the evidence is in and it has begat feminism, anti-white racism, demographic winter, mass third world immigration and everything else that ails the West and has made it the sick and dying man of the world.

But I recall that Pat B also said neoconservatism was on its way out a few years after Iraq war II and yet it's stronger than ever and its adherents are firmly ensconced in the joint chiefs of staff, the pentagon, Congress and the White House. It's also spawned a close cousin in liberal interventionism.

What Pat refers to as "liberalism" is now left wing totalitarianism and anti-white hatred and it's fanatically trying to remain relevant by lashing out and blacklisting, deplatforming, demonetizing, and physically assaulting all of its enemies on the right who are gaining strength much to their chagrin. They resort to these methods because they can't win an honest debate and in a true free marketplace of ideas they lose.

[Dec 30, 2017] The Gas Fight Between Ukraine and Russia is Finally Settled - Who Really Won

The key here is whether Russia will stop transit of gas via Ukraine or not.
Notable quotes:
"... A more far-reaching result from the Stockholm proceedings was the intention to void the traditional (Gazprom) formula for gas prices which is based on a linkage to the price of oil. Instead, the price of gas will be tied directly to the spot gas market such as the European hub. ..."
"... In traditional Gazprom contracts, the price of gas depends on the price of oil, and only up to 15% of the price is a spot gas component. For decades, this contractual linkage of the price of gas to oil was largely accepted as being open and fair. ..."
"... the Stockholm arbitration declared that Naftogaz must honor their contract, and buy from Gazprom 5 billion cubic meters of gas annually. As it turns out the "take or pay" clause remains in force, but the volume has been significantly reduced. ..."
"... The irony is that while this is a loss of face for Kiev politically, economically it benefits the Ukrainian consumer. To date, Ukraine's purchases of "reverse gas" from Europe has been far more expensive than that which was contracted reliably over the years by Gazprom. ..."
Dec 30, 2017 | russia-insider.com

After 2014, Ukraine claimed that it was being overcharged, and therefore Naftogaz refused to pay Gazprom their contracted price for gas. Instead, it paid unilaterally a different amount that it subjectively considered "fair."

Gazprom, in keeping with mutually contracted terms and conditions, could only issue an invoice for the resulting underpayment, and after Naftogaz still refused to pay (a debt of approx. $2 billion), made any further deliveries of gas contingent on prepayment.

The arbitration additionally upheld Gazprom's position and denied Naftogaz any right to a refund for gas priced between May 2011 and April 2014 or collect any of the claimed "overcharged gas" totaling approximately $14 billion for that period. In sum, the price Kiev claimed was "inflated" was judged as in Stockholm as baseless.

Therefore, the question of who is accountable and responsible for settling debt has been clarified in Stockholm. Naftogaz must pay Gazprom $2 billion plus a fine calculated at 0.03% per day for each day this debt remains unpaid. This fine has already reached $3 million since the court decision on December 22nd, and if it not paid can reach an annualized figure of $216 million and still keep growing daily.

Like any political and economic story, there is quite a bit that does not make the flashy headlines, but plays a role in contributing to the noise surrounding an issue. Naftogaz takes satisfaction in that the settlement allowed that the gas price for the second quarter of 2014 was to be reduced from $485 to $352 per 1000 cubic meters, or 27%, thereby "saving" Ukraine about $ 1.8 billion for 2014-2015. The price of $485 was in fact fixed for that one quarter, and it was higher than the market price. The reason was that the March referendum and subsequent reunification of Crimea within the Russian Federation happened then. Up until that time, Russia had given Ukraine a discount of $100 per one thousand cubic meters of gas as payment for renting the Crimean base for the Black Sea fleet. The Kharkov treaty with Ukraine which dealt with the naval base was therefore canceled, as Crimea was once again Russia. Without this discount, the price increased by that same discounted $100 in the contracted quarterly price fix.

Key is Stockholm's recognition that the Russian gas price for Ukraine in 2011-2014 was fair, which is much more important than the price fixed in that second quarter in question. It is worth noting in the next third quarter of 2014 Gazprom was prepared to provide Ukraine with a market price for gas again. However, as we all know today, since June 2014 Naftogaz has refused to buy gas from Russia for political reasons and calling it an "aggressor nation."

A more far-reaching result from the Stockholm proceedings was the intention to void the traditional (Gazprom) formula for gas prices which is based on a linkage to the price of oil. Instead, the price of gas will be tied directly to the spot gas market such as the European hub. Should this occur, then the future gas price for Ukraine will be linked to the cost of fuel in the European hub. This would be a major departure from the traditional pricing Gazprom has used for decades, and might set a precedent for other buyers of Russian gas, who might also want to change their price formulation. In traditional Gazprom contracts, the price of gas depends on the price of oil, and only up to 15% of the price is a spot gas component. For decades, this contractual linkage of the price of gas to oil was largely accepted as being open and fair.

Since 2014, Ukraine has been buying reverse gas from Europe at such European spot hub prices, and it has so far been more expensive than the traditional Gazprom contract. It is also worth noting that spot prices are far more volatile, are seasonally demand-affected, and as winter is a peak consumption season the prices can and do increase dramatically.

Why did Gazprom take their initial large claims to court knowing beforehand that it would be impossible to get the tens of billions of dollars from Naftogaz or Ukraine without ruining both through default? The first reason is that a "take or pay" clause was a key and mutually agreed covenant of the contractual relationship, not a point to be discarded unilaterally by any single party. The second reason was as a response to Naftogaz multi-billion lawsuit on the transit of gas from Russia through Ukraine to Europe. The Ukrainian side believes that Gazprom should pay them extra for not sending 110 billion cubic meters of gas through pipelines annually across Ukraine. In the transit contract, there is no obligation for any such volumes to be transited through Ukraine's pipelines.

To sum up this drama, the Stockholm arbitration declared that Naftogaz must honor their contract, and buy from Gazprom 5 billion cubic meters of gas annually. As it turns out the "take or pay" clause remains in force, but the volume has been significantly reduced. How this volume of 5 billion cubic meters was arrived at remains a mystery, but one which will surely become clear over time. The political spin, however, will be interesting to observe since Ukraine must now buy (and pay for) this Russian gas. How will Kiev explain now having to buy Russian gas when since 2014 it stridently proclaimed it shall never buy fuel from "that aggressor nation."

The irony is that while this is a loss of face for Kiev politically, economically it benefits the Ukrainian consumer. To date, Ukraine's purchases of "reverse gas" from Europe has been far more expensive than that which was contracted reliably over the years by Gazprom. Now Kiev will have to find the funds to pay for Gazprom's gas, settle their debt and ever-growing fines, plus meet the rest of their energy needs by purchasing expensive reverse gas from Europe. It will take spin that is a lot more imaginative from Kiev to package this settlement into a believable political victory, and very creative accounting to get the money to pay for it.

[Dec 30, 2017] The Gas Fight Between Ukraine and Russia is Finally Settled - Who Really Won

The key here is whether Russia will stop transit of gas via Ukraine or not.
Notable quotes:
"... A more far-reaching result from the Stockholm proceedings was the intention to void the traditional (Gazprom) formula for gas prices which is based on a linkage to the price of oil. Instead, the price of gas will be tied directly to the spot gas market such as the European hub. ..."
"... In traditional Gazprom contracts, the price of gas depends on the price of oil, and only up to 15% of the price is a spot gas component. For decades, this contractual linkage of the price of gas to oil was largely accepted as being open and fair. ..."
"... the Stockholm arbitration declared that Naftogaz must honor their contract, and buy from Gazprom 5 billion cubic meters of gas annually. As it turns out the "take or pay" clause remains in force, but the volume has been significantly reduced. ..."
"... The irony is that while this is a loss of face for Kiev politically, economically it benefits the Ukrainian consumer. To date, Ukraine's purchases of "reverse gas" from Europe has been far more expensive than that which was contracted reliably over the years by Gazprom. ..."
Dec 30, 2017 | russia-insider.com

After 2014, Ukraine claimed that it was being overcharged, and therefore Naftogaz refused to pay Gazprom their contracted price for gas. Instead, it paid unilaterally a different amount that it subjectively considered "fair."

Gazprom, in keeping with mutually contracted terms and conditions, could only issue an invoice for the resulting underpayment, and after Naftogaz still refused to pay (a debt of approx. $2 billion), made any further deliveries of gas contingent on prepayment.

The arbitration additionally upheld Gazprom's position and denied Naftogaz any right to a refund for gas priced between May 2011 and April 2014 or collect any of the claimed "overcharged gas" totaling approximately $14 billion for that period. In sum, the price Kiev claimed was "inflated" was judged as in Stockholm as baseless.

Therefore, the question of who is accountable and responsible for settling debt has been clarified in Stockholm. Naftogaz must pay Gazprom $2 billion plus a fine calculated at 0.03% per day for each day this debt remains unpaid. This fine has already reached $3 million since the court decision on December 22nd, and if it not paid can reach an annualized figure of $216 million and still keep growing daily.

Like any political and economic story, there is quite a bit that does not make the flashy headlines, but plays a role in contributing to the noise surrounding an issue. Naftogaz takes satisfaction in that the settlement allowed that the gas price for the second quarter of 2014 was to be reduced from $485 to $352 per 1000 cubic meters, or 27%, thereby "saving" Ukraine about $ 1.8 billion for 2014-2015. The price of $485 was in fact fixed for that one quarter, and it was higher than the market price. The reason was that the March referendum and subsequent reunification of Crimea within the Russian Federation happened then. Up until that time, Russia had given Ukraine a discount of $100 per one thousand cubic meters of gas as payment for renting the Crimean base for the Black Sea fleet. The Kharkov treaty with Ukraine which dealt with the naval base was therefore canceled, as Crimea was once again Russia. Without this discount, the price increased by that same discounted $100 in the contracted quarterly price fix.

Key is Stockholm's recognition that the Russian gas price for Ukraine in 2011-2014 was fair, which is much more important than the price fixed in that second quarter in question. It is worth noting in the next third quarter of 2014 Gazprom was prepared to provide Ukraine with a market price for gas again. However, as we all know today, since June 2014 Naftogaz has refused to buy gas from Russia for political reasons and calling it an "aggressor nation."

A more far-reaching result from the Stockholm proceedings was the intention to void the traditional (Gazprom) formula for gas prices which is based on a linkage to the price of oil. Instead, the price of gas will be tied directly to the spot gas market such as the European hub. Should this occur, then the future gas price for Ukraine will be linked to the cost of fuel in the European hub. This would be a major departure from the traditional pricing Gazprom has used for decades, and might set a precedent for other buyers of Russian gas, who might also want to change their price formulation. In traditional Gazprom contracts, the price of gas depends on the price of oil, and only up to 15% of the price is a spot gas component. For decades, this contractual linkage of the price of gas to oil was largely accepted as being open and fair.

Since 2014, Ukraine has been buying reverse gas from Europe at such European spot hub prices, and it has so far been more expensive than the traditional Gazprom contract. It is also worth noting that spot prices are far more volatile, are seasonally demand-affected, and as winter is a peak consumption season the prices can and do increase dramatically.

Why did Gazprom take their initial large claims to court knowing beforehand that it would be impossible to get the tens of billions of dollars from Naftogaz or Ukraine without ruining both through default? The first reason is that a "take or pay" clause was a key and mutually agreed covenant of the contractual relationship, not a point to be discarded unilaterally by any single party. The second reason was as a response to Naftogaz multi-billion lawsuit on the transit of gas from Russia through Ukraine to Europe. The Ukrainian side believes that Gazprom should pay them extra for not sending 110 billion cubic meters of gas through pipelines annually across Ukraine. In the transit contract, there is no obligation for any such volumes to be transited through Ukraine's pipelines.

To sum up this drama, the Stockholm arbitration declared that Naftogaz must honor their contract, and buy from Gazprom 5 billion cubic meters of gas annually. As it turns out the "take or pay" clause remains in force, but the volume has been significantly reduced. How this volume of 5 billion cubic meters was arrived at remains a mystery, but one which will surely become clear over time. The political spin, however, will be interesting to observe since Ukraine must now buy (and pay for) this Russian gas. How will Kiev explain now having to buy Russian gas when since 2014 it stridently proclaimed it shall never buy fuel from "that aggressor nation."

The irony is that while this is a loss of face for Kiev politically, economically it benefits the Ukrainian consumer. To date, Ukraine's purchases of "reverse gas" from Europe has been far more expensive than that which was contracted reliably over the years by Gazprom. Now Kiev will have to find the funds to pay for Gazprom's gas, settle their debt and ever-growing fines, plus meet the rest of their energy needs by purchasing expensive reverse gas from Europe. It will take spin that is a lot more imaginative from Kiev to package this settlement into a believable political victory, and very creative accounting to get the money to pay for it.

[Dec 30, 2017] The recent blather in the "Conservative" Commentariat that Haley is looking like Presidential material. God help us all

Dec 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

The Alarmist , December 29, 2017 at 2:32 pm GMT

"Nikki Haley -- there is the real imbecile!"

And yet there is recent blather in the "Conservative" Commentariat that Haley is looking like Presidential material. God help us all.

[Dec 30, 2017] Nikki Haley The Bold Scold of the Trump Administration by Doug Bandow

This reincarnation of Madeleine "Not so bright" Albright is capable mostly of imperial bulling. But times changed...
Notable quotes:
"... While you are here For the last 15 years, our magazine has endeavored to be your refuge from the nasty partisan politics and Washington echo chamber with thoughtful, smart conservatism, fresh and challenging writing, and authors who, above all, bravely hew to our most basic tenets: Ideas over ideology, principles over party. Please consider a tax-deductible, year-end contribution so that TAC can make an even bigger difference in 2018! ..."
"... for reasons unknown (other than perhaps her Indian heritage), Donald Trump tapped her to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. There, she has performed to perfection, offering a model of the hubris and lack of awareness that consistently characterize U.S. foreign policy. ..."
"... What makes Americ a different from other nations when it comes to foreign policy is the certainty that it is the right -- indeed, the duty -- of Americans to run the world. That means telling everyone everywhere what they should do, not just internationally, but in their own nations, too. ..."
"... U.S. officials believe they know how other societies should organize their governments, who foreign peoples should elect, what economic policies other nations should implement, and what social practices foreigners should encourage and suppress ..."
"... . On Fox News (where else?) she declared: "We have the right to do whatever we want in terms of where we put our embassies." As for foreign criticism: "We don't need other countries telling us what's right and wrong." ..."
"... What could be more obvious? Other governments have no right to make decisions about their own countries, and need to be told what's right and wrong by Washington on any and every subject, day or night, in sunshine, rain, or snow. But another element of American exceptionalism is the fact that the U.S. is exempt from the rules it applies to other nations. Washington gets to lecture, but no one gets to tell Americans what they should do. ..."
"... The sad irony is that the U.S. would have greater credibility if it better practiced what it preached, and didn't attempt social engineering abroad that's routinely failed at home. Especially nice would be a bit more humility and self-awareness by Washington's representatives. But Nikki Haley seems determined to continue as a disciple of the Madeleine Albright school of all-knowing, all-seeing, all-saying diplomacy. As such, she's unlikely to fool anyone other than herself. ..."
Dec 27, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Carrying on the tradition of hubris and hypocrisy of every other modern U.N. ambassador. While you are here For the last 15 years, our magazine has endeavored to be your refuge from the nasty partisan politics and Washington echo chamber with thoughtful, smart conservatism, fresh and challenging writing, and authors who, above all, bravely hew to our most basic tenets: Ideas over ideology, principles over party. Please consider a tax-deductible, year-end contribution so that TAC can make an even bigger difference in 2018!

As governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley didn't have much need to worry about foreign policy. Yet for reasons unknown (other than perhaps her Indian heritage), Donald Trump tapped her to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. There, she has performed to perfection, offering a model of the hubris and lack of awareness that consistently characterize U.S. foreign policy.

What makes Americ a different from other nations when it comes to foreign policy is the certainty that it is the right -- indeed, the duty -- of Americans to run the world. That means telling everyone everywhere what they should do, not just internationally, but in their own nations, too.

U.S. officials believe they know how other societies should organize their governments, who foreign peoples should elect, what economic policies other nations should implement, and what social practices foreigners should encourage and suppress .

There is precedent for Washington as all-seeing and all-knowing. A sparrow cannot "fall to the ground apart from the will of" God, Jesus explained. So, too, it appears, is such an event impossible in America's view apart from U.S. approval.

Washington officials rarely are so blunt, but their rhetoric is routinely suffused with arrogance. The concept of American exceptionalism is one example. The country's founding was unique and the U.S. has played an extraordinary role in international affairs, but that does not sanctify policies that have often been brutal, selfish, incompetent, perverse, and immoral. Sometimes America's actions share all of those characteristics simultaneously -- such as aiding the royal Saudi dictatorship as it slaughters civilians in Yemen in an attempt to restore a puppet regime there.

In recent history, Madeleine Albright, both as UN ambassador and secretary of state under Bill Clinton, perhaps came closest to personifying the clueless American diplomat. As Washington made a hash of the Balkans and Middle East, she explained that "we stand tall. We see further than other countries in the future." The U.S., of course, was "the indispensable nation." Which presumably is why she felt entitled to announce that "we think the price is worth it" when asked about the reported deaths of a half million Iraqi children as a result of sanctions against Baghdad.

And, of course, there was her extraordinary exchange with Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when she asked, "What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?" Presumably she had no family members at risk as she planned to wage global crusades with other people's lives.

Albright has large shoes to fill but Haley appears to be well on her way. In a position that theoretically emphasizes diplomacy, the former South Carolina governor has been cheerleading for war with North Korea. Never mind that a nuke or two landing on Seoul or Tokyo would wipe out millions of people. No doubt she will cheerfully put a positive spin on disaster if the administration decides it's time for Armageddon in Northeast Asia.

Haley has also brilliantly played the sycophantic spokeswoman for the Saudi royals. Riyadh's intervention in the unending Yemeni civil war has killed thousands of civilians, imposed a starvation blockade, and led famine and cholera to sweep through what was already one of the poorest nations on earth. All of this has been done with U.S. support: supplying munitions, refueling aircraft, and aiding with targeting.

But when the Yemenis returned fire with a missile, Haley summoned her best sanctimonious demeanor and denounced Iran for allegedly making this outrageous, shocking attack possible. Apparently the Saudi sense of entitlement goes so far as to believe that Saudi Arabia's victims aren't even supposed to shoot back.

Yet Haley's finest hubristic moment may have come after the president's decision to move America's embassy to Jerusalem. Israel treats that city as its capital, of course. But Jerusalem is the holiest land for Jews and Christians, third holiest for Muslims, and the most emotional point of dispute between Israelis and Palestinians. Indeed, since conquering East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, the Israeli government has been working assiduously to squeeze Palestinians out of the city.

Congress's approval in 1995 of legislation mandating that the State Department move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was politics at its most cynical. Members in the Republican-controlled Congress postured as great friends of Israel while adding a waiver that they expected presidents to always employ. Everyone did so until Donald Trump. At least his decision ostentatiously puts the lie to the claim that Washington can play honest broker in promoting a Middle East peace. No sentient Palestinian could have believed so, but the president finally made it official.

That Haley kept a straight face while explaining how Washington could upset the status quo, outrage Palestinians, undercut Arab allies, and anger Muslims, yet still bring peace, harmony, and calm to the Middle East was to be expected. "We can see the peace process really come together," she declared without a hint of irony.

But her finest moment -- almost Churchillian in significance -- was when she responded to criticism of the president's decision, including by the other 14 members of the UN Security Council . On Fox News (where else?) she declared: "We have the right to do whatever we want in terms of where we put our embassies." As for foreign criticism: "We don't need other countries telling us what's right and wrong."

Of course.

What could be more obvious? Other governments have no right to make decisions about their own countries, and need to be told what's right and wrong by Washington on any and every subject, day or night, in sunshine, rain, or snow. But another element of American exceptionalism is the fact that the U.S. is exempt from the rules it applies to other nations. Washington gets to lecture, but no one gets to tell Americans what they should do.

The sad irony is that the U.S. would have greater credibility if it better practiced what it preached, and didn't attempt social engineering abroad that's routinely failed at home. Especially nice would be a bit more humility and self-awareness by Washington's representatives. But Nikki Haley seems determined to continue as a disciple of the Madeleine Albright school of all-knowing, all-seeing, all-saying diplomacy. As such, she's unlikely to fool anyone other than herself.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire.

All of us at TAC wish you a Merry Christmas holiday and the best wishes for 2018. Our 501(c)(3) depends on your generosity to make the biggest impact possible. Please consider your tax deductible donation to our magazine, here .* Thank you!

*Contribute $250 or more before December 31 and receive an autographed copy of Robert Merry's brand new book, President McKinley: Architect of a New Century!

[Dec 30, 2017] Iran - Regime Change Agents Hijack Economic Protests

Notable quotes:
"... Videos published by the terrorist group Mujahedin-e Khalq [MEK], 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , also show mostly small protests despite the MEK's claim of Tens of thousands of people chant "death to dictator" . The MEK, or its "civilian" organization National Council of Resistance of Iran , seem to be most involved in the current protests. Its website is currently filled with the protest issue with a total of ten reports and its head figure issued a supportive statement: ..."
"... This very early engagement of the MEK -its first report was published yesterday at 10:26 am- is extremely suspicious. In 2012 it was reported that Israel had used the MEK terrorist organization to assassinate nuclear scientists in Iran: ..."
Dec 30, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Yesterday and today saw some small protests in Iran. They are probably the first stage of a large "regime change" operation run by the U.S. and Israel with the help of Iranian terrorist group.

Earlier this month the White House and the Zionist prepared for a new assault on Iran:

A delegation led by Israel's National Security Adviser met with senior American officials in the White House earlier this month for a joint discussion on strategy to counter Iran's aggression in the Middle East, a senior U.S. official confirmed to Haaretz.

Another report about the meeting quotes Israeli officials on the result:

"[T]he U.S. and Israel see eye to eye the different developments in the region and especially those that are connected to Iran. We reached at understandings regarding the strategy and the policy needed to counter Iran. Our understandings deal with the overall strategy but also with concrete goals, way of action and the means which need to be used to get obtain those goals. "

This is probably a result of the above meeting:

Hundreds took to the streets of Iran's second largest city of Mashad on Thursday to protest over high prices, shouting slogans against the government.

Videos posted on social media showed demonstrators in Mashad in northwest Iran, one of the holiest places in Shia Islam, chanting "death to (President Hassan) Rouhani" and "death to the dictator".

The semi-official ILNA news agency and social media reported demonstrations in other cities in Razavi Khorasan Province, including Neyshabour and Kashmar.

A video of that protest in Mashad showed some 50 people chanting slogans with more bystander just milling around.

Protests against the (neo-)liberal economic policies of the Rohani government in Iran are justified. Official unemployment in Iran is above 12% and there is hardly any economic growth. The people in the streets are not the only ones who are dissatisfied with this:

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has repeatedly criticized the government's economic record, said on Wednesday that the nation was struggling with "high prices, inflation and recession", and asked officials to resolve the problems with determination.

On Thursday and today the slogans of some protesters turned the call for economic relief into a call for regime change.

My hunch is that the usual suspects are behind these protests. Note that these started in several cities at the same time. This was not some spontaneous local uproar in one city but had some form of coordination.

Then there is this:

Carl Bildt‏ @carlbildt - 9:38 PM - 28 Dec 2017 from Rome, Lazio

Reports of signals of international satellite TV networks jammed in large cities of Iran. Would be sign of regime fear of today's protests spreading.

A search in various languages finds exactly zero such "reports". Carl Bildt is a former Swedish prime minister. He was recruited in 1973 as a CIA informant and has since grown into a full blown U.S. asset. He was involved in the Ukraine coup and tried to personally profit from it.

The only response to Bildt's tweet was from one Riyad Swed‏ - @SwedRiyad who posted several videos of protests with one of them showing burning police cars.

I am not sure the video is genuine. The account has some unusual attributes (active since September 2016, 655 tweets but only 32 followers?).

Just yesterday one lecture at the CCC "hacker" congress was about the British GHCQ Secret Service and its sock-puppet accounts on Twitter and Facebook. These are used for acquiring human intelligence and for running "regime change" operations. Page 14-18 of the slides (11:20 min) cite from obtained GCHQ papers which lists Iran as one of the targets. The speaker specifically notes a GCHQ account "@2009Iranfree" which was used in generating the protests in Iran after the reelection of then President Ahmedinejad.

Today, Friday and the weekly day off in Iran, several more protest took place in other cities. A Reuters report from today:

About 300 demonstrators gathered in Kermanshah after what Fars called a "call by the anti-revolution" and shouted "Political prisoners should be freed" and "Freedom or death", while destroying some public property. Fars did not name any opposition groups.
...
Footage, which could not be verified, showed protests in other cities including Sari and Rasht in the north, Qom south of Tehran, and Hamadan in the west.

Mohsen Nasj Hamadani, deputy security chief in Tehran province, said about 50 people had rallied in a Tehran square and most left after being asked by police, but a few who refused were "temporarily detained", the ILNA news agency reported.

Some of these protests have genuine economic reasons but get hijacked by other interests:

In the central city of Isfahan, a resident said protesters joined a rally held by factory workers demanding back wages.

"The slogans quickly changed from the economy to those against (President Hassan) Rouhani and the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei)," the resident said by telephone.
...
Purely political protests are rare in Iran [...] but demonstrations are often held by workers over layoffs or non-payment of salaries and people who hold deposits in non-regulated, bankrupt financial institutions.
...
Alamolhoda, the representative of Ayatollah Khamenei in northeastern Mashhad, said a few people had taken advantage of Thursday's protests against rising prices to chant slogans against Iran's role in regional conflicts.
...
"Some people had came to express their demands, but suddenly, in a crowd of hundreds, a small group that did not exceed 50 shouted deviant and horrendous slogans such as 'Let go of Palestine', 'Not Gaza, not Lebanon, I'd give my life (only) for Iran'," Alamolhoda said.

Two videos posted by BBC Persian and others I have seen show only small active protest groups with a dozen or so people while many more are just standing by or film the people who are chanting slogans.

Videos published by the terrorist group Mujahedin-e Khalq [MEK], 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , also show mostly small protests despite the MEK's claim of Tens of thousands of people chant "death to dictator" . The MEK, or its "civilian" organization National Council of Resistance of Iran , seem to be most involved in the current protests. Its website is currently filled with the protest issue with a total of ten reports and its head figure issued a supportive statement:

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, saluted the heroic people of Kermanshah and other cities who rose up today chanting "death or freedom", "death to Rouhani", "death to the dictator", and "political prisoners must be freed", and protested against high prices, poverty and corruption.

She said, "Yesterday Mashhad, today Kermanshah, and tomorrow throughout Iran; this uprising has tolled the death knell for the overthrow of the totally corrupt dictatorship of the mullahs, and is the rise of democracy, justice and popular sovereignty.

This very early engagement of the MEK -its first report was published yesterday at 10:26 am- is extremely suspicious. In 2012 it was reported that Israel had used the MEK terrorist organization to assassinate nuclear scientists in Iran:

psychohistorian , Dec 29, 2017 2:56:15 PM | 1

Thanks for the Iran analysis b

I saw the reports of unrest in Iran and know that the pot is being stirred externally.

Trump needs his war to be a real US president, Netanyahoo needs cover for his crimes and SA needs cover for its war crimes.

The carousel keeps spinning faster and faster. How many will die when it crashes? Sad.....and hard to watch

james , Dec 29, 2017 3:19:45 PM | 2
thanks for this b... i agree with your 3rd to last paragraph and the line in the 2nd to last one "Mossad and the MEK are not shy of killing random people." it seems these paid stooges - carl bildt and etc, are quite happy to try another regime change/ green revolution on iran.. everything has been headed in this direction for some time.. usa/israel saber rattling towards iran 24/7, financial sanctions and etc. etc. it never stops.. these neo-con regime change artists get extremely tiring and predictable..

[Dec 29, 2017] Will War Cancel Trump's Triumphs by Pat Buchanan

Dec 29, 2017 | www.unz.com

But it is in the realm of foreign policy where the real perils seem to lie. President Trump has been persuaded by his national security team to send Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, for use against the tanks and armor of pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Should Petro Poroshenko's Kiev regime reignite the war in his breakaway provinces bordering Russia, Vladimir Putin is less likely to let him crush the rebels than to intervene with superior forces and rout the Ukrainian army.

Trump's choice then? Accept defeat and humiliation for our "ally" -- or escalate and widen the conflict with Russia.

Putin's interest in the Donbass, a part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union for centuries, is obvious.

What, exactly, is ours -- to justify a showdown with Moscow?

In this city there is also a powerful propaganda push to have this country tear up the nuclear deal John Kerry negotiated with Iran, and confront the Iranians in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Persian Gulf.

... ... ...

The Korean War finished Truman. Vietnam finished LBJ. Reagan said putting Marines into Lebanon was his worst mistake. Iraq cost Bush II both houses of Congress and his party the presidency in 2008.

Should Trump become a war president, he'll likely become a one-term president.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."

[Dec 29, 2017] The remarkable thing is to see the complete disappearance of the anti-war left

Dec 28, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Christian Chuba , 26 December 2017 at 07:23 PM
A comment on Trump's national security doctrine, I read it as 'U.S. uber alles'.

The remarkable thing is to see the complete disappearance of the anti-war left. On CNN, their reaction was, Trump is talking the talk but not walking the walk. They were miffed that he had a polite phone conversation with Putin. It's not enough to send weapons to Ukraine, call the Russians and Chinese revisionist powers, have aggressive air patrols near Crimea, maintain sanctions in perpetuity, have a massive increase in Defense spending, and expand NATO, you have to be rude to Putin on every possible occasion, perhaps even allow a terrorist attack.

Some see this as a big fake out to satisfy the Neocons, he's got me eating grass too (picture Defensive End missing a Running Back in a football game). I guess we just have to wait to see what the next 3yrs bring.

BTW this link shows the flight pattern of US surveillance aircraft as they take off from Bulgaria and files along the coast of Sevastopol http://russia-insider.com/en/us-keeps-loitering-coast-russian-naval-base-sevastopol-russia-adds-second-s-400-air-defense-battery

EEngineer , 26 December 2017 at 01:30 PM

All signs that the citizens of the imperial court have poisoned themselves with their own propaganda. Apparently they've collectively forgotten that it all started out as a con for the rubes. An exceedingly dangerous condition.

I was surprised neither China or Russia vetoed the recent UN sanctions on North Korea. I can see how the SCO countries would want to play for time, but I wonder if throwing NK to the wolves makes war more likely rather than less so. I could see Iran interpreting it as being on deck (next, a baseball term), and the Neocons as a green light.

And so few seem to care... It's almost as if they've been conditioned to want war.

I was dragged to the latest Star Wars movie this weekend. Explosion porn... For a story ostensibly about sacrifice and honor, it had so many silly comic book jokes I was almost surprised it didn't have a laugh track.

Lyttenburgh , 26 December 2017 at 06:16 PM
On the new National Security Doctrine – excellent! The US does not mince words and states clearly, that both China and Russia are "resurgent" and "revisionist powers", who "threaten the world order". The US dominated unipolar world order that's it. Which, again, is true.

If Obama/Clinton had their way, Russia will be listed among the "threats to the national security" such as ISIL, Ebola and DPRK. Well – who remembers about Ebola's outbreak and ISIL is losing its memeticness by hour. The esteemed members of the establishment (the legislative branch) also would have liked to see Russia among such "top priority national security threats" as Iran and DPRK.

Instead we, Russia, are in China's company. Not bad, not bad at all. Cuz the US can't negotiate with Iran, North Korea and ISIL without losing a face. With China – now, here a sort of détente is possible.

[Dec 28, 2017] The CIA as Organized Crime How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... By illuminating CIA programs and systems of surveillance, control, and assassination utilized against the civilian population of South Vietnam, we are presented with parallels with operations and practices at work today in America's seemingly perpetual war against terror. ..."
"... Through the policies of covert infiltration and manipulations, illegal alliances, and "brute force" interventions that wreak havoc on designated enemy states, destroy progress and infrastructure under the claim of liberation, degrade the standards of living for people in the perceived hostile nations, "...America's ruling elite empowers itself while claiming it has ensured the safety and prestige of the American people. Sometimes it is even able to convince the public that its criminal actions are 'humanitarian' and designed to liberate the people in nations it destroys." ..."
"... Want to know why the DEA is losing the war on drugs, how torture has become policy? Want to know why the government no longer represents your interests? Look no further. ..."
Nov 27, 2016 | www.amazon.com
Alan Dale on November 27, 2016

5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Addition to an Essential Body of Work

Of the extraordinarily valuable and informative works for which Mr. Valentine is responsible, his latest, CIA As Organized Crime, may prove to be the best choice as an introduction to the dark realm of America's hidden corruptions and their consequences at home and around the world. This new volume begins with the unlikely but irrevocable framework by which Mr. Valentine's path led to unprecedented access to key Agency personnel whose witting participation is summarized by the chapter title: "How William Colby Gave Me the Keys to the CIA Kingdom."

By illuminating CIA programs and systems of surveillance, control, and assassination utilized against the civilian population of South Vietnam, we are presented with parallels with operations and practices at work today in America's seemingly perpetual war against terror.

Through the policies of covert infiltration and manipulations, illegal alliances, and "brute force" interventions that wreak havoc on designated enemy states, destroy progress and infrastructure under the claim of liberation, degrade the standards of living for people in the perceived hostile nations, "...America's ruling elite empowers itself while claiming it has ensured the safety and prestige of the American people. Sometimes it is even able to convince the public that its criminal actions are 'humanitarian' and designed to liberate the people in nations it destroys."

Mr. Valentine has presented us with a major body of work which includes: The Strength of the Wolf; The Strength of the Pack; The Pheonix Program, to which we may now add The CIA as Organized Crime, and for which we are profoundly indebted.

felixnola on December 6, 2016

5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth About the CIA and What is Instore For You

If you want the inside scoop on the CIA and it's criminal past; this is the book. Additionally, why the Phoenix Program is pertinent for our own times. This book connects the dots.

If you have been wondering why Homeland Security has fusion centers; why the USA Anti-Patriot Act, NDAA and Rex 84 have been passed by Congress; you will get your answer here.

A book every intelligent American needs to read and place in a prominent place in their library. Oh, and don't forget after you read it; spread the word !!! (this book is based upon actual face to face interviews and documents)

Jay Trout on January 2, 2017

5.0 out of 5 stars A crucial tool to understanding present reality. An absolute must read.

Run, don't walk, and get yourself a copy of this book. The author has been warning us for decades about the clear and present danger that is the CIA I was unaware of Valentine's work for most of those years, perhaps because our media outlets (even the "anti-establishment" ones like Democracy Now and The Intercept) have been compromised. Valentine's work has been suppressed since his ground-breaking book on the Phoenix Program.

Not that I didn't know anything about the sordid history. I knew about MK-Ultra, some of the agency's drug running and empire-building exploits. This work goes much deeper and paints a much bigger picture. The extent of the agency's influence is much greater than I had imagined.

This is not another history book about dirty tricks. It is not just about our insane foreign policy and empire building. The cancer of corruption, of outright crime, has metastasized into every agency of the government right here in the US itself. Those dirty tricks and crimes have become domestic policy- in fusion centers and Homeland Security, in the militarization of local police and in Congress, from Wall Street to Main Street. Border Patrol, the DEA, Justice and State have all been compromised.

Want to know why the DEA is losing the war on drugs, how torture has become policy? Want to know why the government no longer represents your interests? Look no further.

The problem is now. We are the new targets.

Read it and weep, but for God's sake, please read it.
A highly informative and comprehensive book, and a scathing, fearless indictment of government corruption.
I cannot overstate it's importance.

Andrew E. Belshaw on December 6, 2016

Disguising Obama's Dirty War Chapter 22

I just picked up this book and have not read it yet--but I am writing this to CORRECT THE RECORD regarding very basic information. There are 446 PAGES (not 286, as listed above). 160 Pages is a big difference--obviously, QUALITY is more important than quantity--but I do feel the listing needs be corrected.

The "Inside Look" feature is also cutting off the last 9 chapters of the book, which are as follows:

PART IV: MANUFACTURING COMPLICITY: SHAPING THE AMERICAN WORLDVIEW

John C. Landon on January 2, 2017

Expose of the CIA mafia

This is a devastating and must-read study of the social and political calamity created by the CIA over the last sixty years. The portrait shows the criminal character of the agency and finally of the government it is said to serve. The portrait is a double shock because it shows not just a sordid corruption but a malevolent 'dark side' mafia-style corruption of american civilization and government. That the CIA controls the drug trade is not the least of the stunning revelations of this history.

[Dec 28, 2017] Napalm An American Biography

Dec 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

131

Harry , Dec 27, 2017 7:25:26 PM | 130

@james #120

Robert M. Neer

Napalm An American Biography

Grieved , Dec 27, 2017 7:32:42 PM | 131
@120 james

It actually appears to be from "Napalm: an American Biography" by Robert M. Neer, 2013. The book is divided into 3 sections: Hero, Soldier, Pariah - hence the seeming title of Soldier at the top of the page.

A Google search on "correspondent Cutforth" (including the quotation marks) returns a slightly differently typeset book but with the same copy as b's image. The image itself is also returned under Images for that search. So it's definitely the Napalm book.

Try scrolling through this to find your page:
https://books.google.com/books?id=BbKvLs2TZKAC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

rjj , Dec 27, 2017 8:03:20 PM | 135
JAMES @ 120 and 122


Robert Neer, Napalm, page 100

[Dec 28, 2017] Our well informed, and, on top of it all, UN ambassador

Dec 28, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Kooshy 26 December 2017 at 12:54 PM

Colonel, FYI, our well informed, and, on top of it all, UN ambassador Nikki the bookkeeper, is hoping for a newly independent island nation of "Binomo" rising from bottom of South China Sea, and delivered by Santa to her huge Christmas tree in Guatemala.
https://www.rt.com/news/414086-prank-nikki-haley-russia-place/

[Dec 27, 2017] Putin may be in more trouble than we know

Was not Navalny a failed McFaul project ? And figure of past, of the failed "white color revolution" of 2011-2012.
Dec 27, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com

Opinion A column or article in the Opinions section (in print, this is known as the Editorial Pages). December 26 at 6:54 PM

VLADIMIR PUTIN boasts of popularity ratings that Western leaders, Donald Trump included, can only dream of -- 85 percent and above since Russia's invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Yet Mr. Putin remains unwilling to test those numbers against real competition. On Monday, the state election commission banned his most popular opponent, Alexei Navalny, from running in the presidential election scheduled for March 18 -- meaning that Mr. Putin will face no serious opposition to obtaining another six-year term.

Mr. Navalny, who has attracted a broad following across Russia by campaigning against corruption, was proscribed on the basis of trumped-up fraud charges that the European Court of Human Rights ruled invalid . His real offenses were helping to lead opposition to Mr. Putin's last reelection, in 2012; producing videos documenting Kremlin criminality, such as the more than $1 billion in property amassed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev; and bringing out tens of thousands of followers in cities across Russia this year to denounce the regime.

Mr. Navalny was credited with 27 percent of the vote when he ran for mayor of Moscow in 2013, and his presentation of his case against Mr. Medvedev had been viewed 25.7 million times on YouTube as of Tuesday. Still, the conventional political wisdom in Moscow holds that Mr. Putin could easily best Mr. Navalny in the presidential election, bolstering both his international and domestic credibility.

He nevertheless prefers to stage a Potemkin vote in which his only challengers will be two perennial candidates, one Communist and one ultra-nationalist, and Ksenia Sobchak , a 36-year-old celebrity who has called the election "a high-budget show." Mr. Navalny has now called for a boycott, which means that the Kremlin's reported goal of a 70 percent turnout may be impossible to reach, barring fraud. In one recent poll, only 58 percent said they would vote.

... ... ...

[Dec 27, 2017] The remarkable thing is to see the complete disappearance of the anti-war left.

Dec 27, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Christian Chuba , 26 December 2017 at 10:36 AM

A comment on Trump's national security doctrine, I read it as 'U.S. uber alles'.

The remarkable thing is to see the complete disappearance of the anti-war left. On CNN, their reaction was, Trump is talking the talk but not walking the walk. They were miffed that he had a polite phone conversation with Putin. It's not enough to send weapons to Ukraine, call the Russians and Chinese revisionist powers, have aggressive air patrols near Crimea, maintain sanctions in perpetuity, have a massive increase in Defense spending, and expand NATO, you have to be rude to Putin on every possible occasion, perhaps even allow a terrorist attack.

Some see this as a big fake out to satisfy the Neocons, he's got me eating grass too (picture Defensive End missing a Running Back in a football game). I guess we just have to wait to see what the next 3yrs bring.

BTW this link shows the flight pattern of U.S. surveillance aircraft as they take off from Bulgaria and fliesl along the coast of Sevastopol http://russia-insider.com/en/us-keeps-loitering-coast-russian-naval-base-sevastopol-russia-adds-second-s-400-air-defense-battery

Lyttenburgh , 26 December 2017 at 06:16 PM
On the new National Security Doctrine – excellent! The US does not mince words and states clearly, that both China and Russia are "resurgent" and "revisionist powers", who "threaten the world order". The US dominated unipolar world order that's it. Which, again, is true.

If Obama/Clinton had their way, Russia will be listed among the "threats to the national security" such as ISIL, Ebola and DPRK. Well – who remembers about Ebola's outbreak and ISIL is losing its memeticness by hour. The esteemed members of the establishment (the legislative branch) also would have liked to see Russia among such "top priority national security threats" as Iran and DPRK.

Instead we, Russia, are in China's company. Not bad, not bad at all. Cuz the US can't negotiate with Iran, North Korea and ISIL without losing a face. With China – now, here a sort of détente is possible.

D , 26 December 2017 at 07:23 PM
@EE

"Apparently they've collectively forgotten that it all started out as a con for the rubes."

Exactly. And that condition seems to appertain to the formation of most domestic and foreign policies emanating from Washington these day. That's what you get in a country where folks like to gorge themselves on the swill of cable news and talk radio.

[Dec 27, 2017] Wayne Masden - Five Eyes and Color Revolutions

Just a reminder...
Notable quotes:
"... taking control of cell phone and social media networks used for socio-political uprisings. ..."
May 26, 2015 | Strategic Culture Foundation
A recent release of Edward Snowden-provided classified PowerPoint presentation from the National Security Agency (NSA) provides a rather detailed description of how the FIVE EYES signals intelligence alliance of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand has conspired with the promoters of social media-based revolutions, such as the "Arab Spring", to bring about the collapse of democratically-elected or otherwise stable governments. However, the PowerPoint slides were partially redacted in key areas by the dubious censors of First Look Media, financed by e-Bay founder and multi-billionaire Pierre Omidyar.

The PowerPoint slides illustrate how, in November 2011, the NSA; Canada's Communications Security Establishment (CSE), now Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), the Defense Signals Directorate (DSD) of Australia, now the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD); New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB); and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) developed a method for not only monitoring but taking control of cell phone and social media networks used for socio-political uprisings.

The program, known as "Synergizing Network Analysis Tradecraft", was developed by the FIVE EYES's Network Tradecraft Advancement Team or "NTAT".

... ... ...

The slides show that among the countries where mobile application servers were targeted by the FIVE EYES were France, Cuba, Senegal, Morocco, Switzerland, Bahamas, and Russia. The information targeted by the Western signals intelligence partners included "geolocation and network ownership information for each IP address" that consisted of "network owner name, carrier name, ASN (advanced service network), continent, country, region, city, latitude and longitude, and any other related details". Not of interest to FIVE EYES were such applications as Google, mobile banking, and iTunes.

[Dec 27, 2017] Coup detat: A Practical Handbook by Edward N. Luttwak

Notable quotes:
"... Luttwak identifies conditions that make countries vulnerable to a coup, and he outlines the necessary stages of planning, from recruitment of coconspirators to postcoup promises of progress and stability. But much more broadly, his investigation of coups-updated for the twenty-first century-uncovers important truths about the nature of political power. ..."
"... I found the book fascinating in its presentation of analytic tools for assessing the potential for successful a coup based on the concentration of power in ethnic groups and in the organization of a country's security agencies. In many cases these agencies are structured more to deal with internal threats to the regime from each other rather than external enemies! ..."
Apr 11, 2016 | www.amazon.com
Harvard University Press ISBN 9780674737266, Publication: April 2016 304 pages 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches Coup d'État astonished readers when it first appeared in 1968 because it showed, step by step, how governments could be overthrown. Translated into sixteen languages, it has inspired anti-coup precautions by regimes around the world.

In addition to these detailed instructions, Edward Luttwak 's revised handbook offers an altogether new way of looking at political power-one that considers, for example, the vulnerability to coups of even the most stable democracies in the event of prolonged economic distress.

The world has changed dramatically in the past half century, but not the essence of the coup d'état. It still requires the secret recruitment of military officers who command the loyalty of units well placed to seize important headquarters and key hubs in the capital city. The support of the armed forces as a whole is needed only in the aftermath, to avoid countercoups. And mass support is largely irrelevant, although passive acceptance is essential. To ensure it, violence must be kept to a minimum. The ideal coup is swift and bloodless. Very violent coups rarely succeed, and if they trigger a bloody civil war they fail utterly.

Luttwak identifies conditions that make countries vulnerable to a coup, and he outlines the necessary stages of planning, from recruitment of coconspirators to postcoup promises of progress and stability. But much more broadly, his investigation of coups-updated for the twenty-first century-uncovers important truths about the nature of political power.

Related Links 5.0 out of 5 stars

Phoenix Without Ashes on December 14, 2016

Takeovers for Smart Dummies

This is a new version of an earlier 1968 edition of the same book, with updated examples. I had always imagined that coups were confined to 3rd world banana republics, but was surprised to find that Lutwak's definition of a coup, successful or not, included both France and Italy, and that coups, as opposed to revolutions, were the more common method of seizing power.

I found the book fascinating in its presentation of analytic tools for assessing the potential for successful a coup based on the concentration of power in ethnic groups and in the organization of a country's security agencies. In many cases these agencies are structured more to deal with internal threats to the regime from each other rather than external enemies!

Most of the book was very well written, but Chapter 7, "The Execution of the Coup D'Etat" which painted a hypothetical scenario of how a coup could take place seemed fictional and didn't play well with the actual case studies covered in the rest of the book. Appendix C was a useful list of 20th century coups organized by region and country.

Previously I'd read Luttwak's "Strategy" and "Strategy of the Byzantine Empire." Both were immensely enjoyable. The author's style and depth is always both interesting and engaging. It was a good read that I think that other political junkies might enjoy.

Robert Mosher on April 9, 2011
A Tour de Force Effort

Coup d'etat, A Practical Handbook, Edward Luttwak, The Penguin Press, London, ©1968 Edward Luttwak

I first read this work at university shortly after it was published and have kept it near ever since. Edward Luttwak has in fact written a "handbook" that in five chapters offers clear and concise insights into the theory and the mechanics of the transfer of political power via the use or threatened use of armed force. In this surprisingly compact volume, he discusses what is a coup d'etat, when is it possible, and how to plan and execute a coup d'etat. Furthermore, he links this analysis to the historical record, repeatedly citing real world examples that were the basis for his work. Finally, he provides some 20 pages of appendices that provide much of the historical record and analytical background to the book's main theses. I had an opportunity to test Mr. Luttwak's work in December 1979.

I was then on duty as an intelligence watch officer at the Department of State in Washington as Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan.

Although the Soviet Union claimed that its forces had been invited in by the regime in Kabul, the arrival and movement of those forces in Kabul made it soon evident that their actions, which meticulously followed Luttwak's script, were intended to give them full and unimpeded sole control of Kabul and Afghanistan.

This small volume represents a valuable contribution to the political scientist's understanding of how armed political changes work and to the historian's understanding of how such changes have taken place over the years - this book is highly recommended and may be one of the most valuable single volumes in your library.

[Dec 27, 2017] Bannon Puts Jared Through the Grinder - POLITICO Magazine

Notable quotes:
"... Informing Vanity Fair that Kushner's hunt for political smut led him to over-fraternize with the Russians might not be the best way for Bannon to throw special counsel Robert S. Mueller III off the collusion scent. ..."
"... Sherman's piece reveals the cognitive split that evolved between Bannon and others, specifically Trump, on how to handle the mess that had been created. "Goldman Sachs teaches one thing: don't invent shit. Take something that works and make it better," Bannon told Sherman. He said he consulted with Bill Clinton's former lawyer Lanny Davis about how the Clintons responded to Ken Starr's probe. "We were so disciplined. You guys don't have that," Bannon recalls Davis advising him. "That always haunted me when he said that," Bannon told Sherman. Bannon said the investigation was an attempt by the establishment to undo the election, but he took it seriously and warned Trump he was in danger of being impeached. ..."
"... There's even more hot Bannon on Kushner action. Bannon tells of an Oval Office meeting he attended with Trump, Kushner and Kushner's wife Ivanka Trump in which he called Ivanka "the queen of leaks." "You're a fucking liar!" Ivanka allegedly responded. Hard to know how to score this round, but shattering the public image of Ivanka as poised princess must have been satisfying for a guy who called Javanka "the Democrats." ..."
"... Although "people close to Kushner, who decline to be named" told the Times they don't think the Mueller investigation exposes him to legal jeopardy, the young prince isn't taking chances. The Washington Post reports that his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, has been shopping for a "crisis public relations firm" over the past two weeks. (Senator Robert Menendez, the recent beneficiary of a deadlocked corruption trial, is another Lowell client.) ..."
"... Why hire super flacks now? Does Kushner sense disaster? Another Bannon offensive? The Flynn plea bargain exposed him -- according to the press -- as the "very senior member" of the Trump transition team described in court documents who told former national security adviser Michael Flynn to lobby the Russian ambassador about a U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements. Maybe he's just buying reputation insurance. Or maybe he's taken to heart Chris Christie's scathing comments. Christie was squeezed out of the Trump transition early on, some say by Kushner who is said to hold a grudge against Christie who, when he was federal prosecutor, put Kushner's father in jail . This week Christie said that Kushner "deserves the scrutiny" he's been getting. It was almost as if Christie and Bannon were operating a twin-handled grinder, cranking out an extra helping of Kushner's tainted reputation. ..."
"... President Putin and President Trump occupied the same page about the scandal this week in what was either a matter of collusion or of great minds thinking alike. Speaking at a four-hour media event in Moscow, Putin blamed the scandal on the U.S. "deep state" and said, "This is all made up by people who oppose Trump to make his work look illegitimate." According to CNN , Trump took the opportunity this week to call the Russia investigation "bullshit" in private. In public, he told reporters, "There's absolutely no collusion. I didn't make a phone call to Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. Everybody knows it." ..."
Dec 27, 2017 | www.politico.com

Former Trump chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon milled his former Oval Office colleague Jared Kushner into a bloody chunk of battle sausage this week and smeared him across the shiny pages of Vanity Fair . You've got to read Bannon's quote three or four times to fully savor the tang of its malice and cruelty. After scorning the Russia collusion theories as fiction, Bannon acknowledged the grisly reality that the Russia investigation poses for his former boss. And he blamed it all on Kushner, for having created the appearance that Putin had helped Trump. Dropping Kushner head first into the grinder, Bannon turned the crank.

"[Kushner was] taking meetings with Russians to get additional stuff. This tells you everything about Jared," Bannon told the magazine's Gabriel Sherman. "They were looking for the picture of Hillary Clinton taking the bag of cash from Putin. That's his maturity level."

Informing Vanity Fair that Kushner's hunt for political smut led him to over-fraternize with the Russians might not be the best way for Bannon to throw special counsel Robert S. Mueller III off the collusion scent. So what was the big man in the Barbour coat up to?

That Bannon and Kushner skirmished during their time together in the White House has been long established. Kushner advocated the sacking FBI Director James B. Comey, for example, and Bannon opposed it. He later told 60 Minutes that the firing was maybe the worst mistake in "modern political history" because it precipitated the hiring of the special counsel and had thereby expanded the investigation.

Sherman's piece reveals the cognitive split that evolved between Bannon and others, specifically Trump, on how to handle the mess that had been created. "Goldman Sachs teaches one thing: don't invent shit. Take something that works and make it better," Bannon told Sherman. He said he consulted with Bill Clinton's former lawyer Lanny Davis about how the Clintons responded to Ken Starr's probe. "We were so disciplined. You guys don't have that," Bannon recalls Davis advising him. "That always haunted me when he said that," Bannon told Sherman. Bannon said the investigation was an attempt by the establishment to undo the election, but he took it seriously and warned Trump he was in danger of being impeached.

Bannon's gripe against Kushner in Vanity Fair continues: He claims that Donald Trump's disparaging tweets about Attorney General Jeff Sessions were designed to provide "cover" for Kushner by steering negative media attention toward Sessions and away from Kushner as he was scheduled to testify before a Senate committee.

There's even more hot Bannon on Kushner action. Bannon tells of an Oval Office meeting he attended with Trump, Kushner and Kushner's wife Ivanka Trump in which he called Ivanka "the queen of leaks." "You're a fucking liar!" Ivanka allegedly responded. Hard to know how to score this round, but shattering the public image of Ivanka as poised princess must have been satisfying for a guy who called Javanka "the Democrats."

Getting mauled by Steve Bannon might not be the worst thing to happen to the president's son-in-law this week. He and Ivanka were sued by a private attorney for failing to disclose assets from 30 investment funds on their federal financial disclosure forms. Perhaps more ominous for Kushner, and according to the New York Times , federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank records about Kushner's family's real estate business. "There is no indication that the subpoena is related to the investigation being conducted by Robert S. Mueller III," the Times allowed. Yeah, but wouldn't you want to be there when Mueller's team invites Bannon in to talk to him about the Vanity Fair article, and they ask him, "What did you mean about Jared taking meetings with Russians to get additional stuff? Like, what stuff?"

Although "people close to Kushner, who decline to be named" told the Times they don't think the Mueller investigation exposes him to legal jeopardy, the young prince isn't taking chances. The Washington Post reports that his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, has been shopping for a "crisis public relations firm" over the past two weeks. (Senator Robert Menendez, the recent beneficiary of a deadlocked corruption trial, is another Lowell client.)

Why hire super flacks now? Does Kushner sense disaster? Another Bannon offensive? The Flynn plea bargain exposed him -- according to the press -- as the "very senior member" of the Trump transition team described in court documents who told former national security adviser Michael Flynn to lobby the Russian ambassador about a U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements. Maybe he's just buying reputation insurance. Or maybe he's taken to heart Chris Christie's scathing comments. Christie was squeezed out of the Trump transition early on, some say by Kushner who is said to hold a grudge against Christie who, when he was federal prosecutor, put Kushner's father in jail . This week Christie said that Kushner "deserves the scrutiny" he's been getting. It was almost as if Christie and Bannon were operating a twin-handled grinder, cranking out an extra helping of Kushner's tainted reputation.

President Putin and President Trump occupied the same page about the scandal this week in what was either a matter of collusion or of great minds thinking alike. Speaking at a four-hour media event in Moscow, Putin blamed the scandal on the U.S. "deep state" and said, "This is all made up by people who oppose Trump to make his work look illegitimate." According to CNN , Trump took the opportunity this week to call the Russia investigation "bullshit" in private. In public, he told reporters, "There's absolutely no collusion. I didn't make a phone call to Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. Everybody knows it."

Everybody, perhaps, except former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Appearing on CNN , Clapper used direct language to bind former KGB officer Putin to Trump tighter than a girdle to a paunch. "[Putin] knows how to handle an asset, and that's what he's doing with the president," Clapper said. "I think some of that experience and instincts of Putin has come into play here in his managing of a pretty important account for him, if I could use that term, with our president."

Writing in Newsweek , Jeff Stein collected other tell-tale signs of Trump's cooptation: He refused to take Russian meddling in the election seriously. He responds favorably to Putin's praise and seems to crave more. He dismisses worries about his circle's connections to Kremlin agents before the election and during the transition -- and he tried to call off the Flynn investigation.

It's enough to make you wonder why Bannon thinks Kushner is the enemy, not Trump.

******

If you've read this far, you're probably disappointed that more didn't happen in the Trump Tower scandal this week. Sue me in small claims court via email to Shafer.Politico@gmail.com . My email alerts never believed in collusion, my Twitter feed is set to cut a plea deal with Mueller, and my RSS feed has several crisis PR firms on retainer.

[Dec 26, 2017] Are sanctions pushing Russians to rally around the flag Not exactly

Notable quotes:
"... There is an ongoing conflict between Russia and the West concerning EU and NATO expansion into the former USSR. Russia's resisting this expansion, and the West is trying to bully Russia into accepting it. ..."
"... The Atlantic Alliance's support for the 2014 Maidan revolution in Ukraine was all about pulling that country into the EU and NATO. The West's involvement in this revolt amounted to an aggressive move by the West against Russia. In return, Russia annexed Crimea, and triggered an anti-Ukrainian revolt in Donbass. ..."
"... The West's response to this was to impose economic sanctions on Russia, in an effort to destroy that country's economy. The goal was to force Russia to submit to the West's mandate, and to permanently forgo its vital national interests in Ukraine ..."
"... Sanctions are there because Russia. is an ally of Syria , and Israel wants Syria destroyed. The sanctions are a means to punish Russia for being Syria's friend, and also to remove Russian influence from that area of the world. Their base at Tarterus. ..."
"... For all it is worth , currently the Russians have more of a legitimate justification to attack the USA and Israel , than Japan did when they attacked Pearl Harbor, because of sanctions slapped on them since they would not leave China, and then moved into Vietnam after being allowed to by Vichy France. ..."
"... Quite obvious sanctions are not hurting Russia as they were Japan otherwise it would be a nasty scene right now. But still not advisable to poke that bear further. ..."
Dec 26, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com

AMR56 6/18/2017 10:52 AM EDT

There is an ongoing conflict between Russia and the West concerning EU and NATO expansion into the former USSR. Russia's resisting this expansion, and the West is trying to bully Russia into accepting it.

The Atlantic Alliance's support for the 2014 Maidan revolution in Ukraine was all about pulling that country into the EU and NATO. The West's involvement in this revolt amounted to an aggressive move by the West against Russia. In return, Russia annexed Crimea, and triggered an anti-Ukrainian revolt in Donbass.

The West's response to this was to impose economic sanctions on Russia, in an effort to destroy that country's economy. The goal was to force Russia to submit to the West's mandate, and to permanently forgo its vital national interests in Ukraine.

The first round of sanctions has obviously failed to have its effect. That's why the US Senate is now attempting a new, harsher round of sanctions in an effort to force Russia to submit to the West's mandate. ... more See More Like Share

MyFreeAdvice 6/16/2017 9:08 AM EDT
The new sanctions on Russia is all about giving an advantage to US LNG producers. First shipment of LNG to Poland from US, ever, was done just last week. It is all a game for the benefit of the big business while emotionally victimizing the common person in the US.
Alex Bes 6/16/2017 7:31 AM EDT [Edited]
Timoty Frai made a lot of research and did a lot of conclusions. Unfortunately he did not understand the only fact: we Russians has a little bit different mentality. Sanctions could not make us gave up if we believe that we are on a right side )))

For example: Imagine if someone say to you: "If you will not let me hurt your baby I will reject you as a customer!" Will you let him hurt your baby??? Most of the Russians won't!

Christopher Perrien 6/15/2017 9:06 AM EDT [Edited]
Sanctions are there because Russia. is an ally of Syria , and Israel wants Syria destroyed. The sanctions are a means to punish Russia for being Syria's friend, and also to remove Russian influence from that area of the world. Their base at Tarterus.

For all it is worth , currently the Russians have more of a legitimate justification to attack the USA and Israel , than Japan did when they attacked Pearl Harbor, because of sanctions slapped on them since they would not leave China, and then moved into Vietnam after being allowed to by Vichy France.

Quite obvious sanctions are not hurting Russia as they were Japan otherwise it would be a nasty scene right now. But still not advisable to poke that bear further.

Manuel Angst 6/15/2017 9:49 AM EDT
"... punish Russia for being Syria's friend"

Propping up the biggest butcher of Syrian people is hardly "being Syria's friend".

... more See More Like Nedlog and Manuel Angst 2

Revealer 6/15/2017 6:42 PM EDT
Must I remind you that many thousands of Americans living in both Southern and Northern states of American considered Abraham Lincoln a butcher of American people and a tyrant doing the U.S. civil war. In fact he outraged so many who thought of him that way he was assassinated because of a belief that he was a tyrant and a butcher of American people. Many people at the time remembered Gen. Sherman's military march through the South that burned everything in sight and believe it or not killed many civilians. Be careful who you call a butcher. ... more See More Like
Don Brook 6/15/2017 8:47 AM EDT
Putin's disciple Trump may well decide to invade some small country as a way of shoring up his own declining approval. ... more See More Like Share
Tebteb27 6/15/2017 8:54 AM EDT
You are a type locality example of the slow digression into destructive ignorance that we currently face as a nation. God help us. ... more See More Like
Ed Chen 6/15/2017 9:10 AM EDT
That is the best vision of how the leftist (the same word "liberal") propaganda screw the minds of the people like Don Brook, to bring this nation to a dangerous situation of clash with each other over nothing, but the pain could be great. Are sanctions pushing Russians to 'rally around the flag'? Not exactly. - The Washington Post
Bob Twou 6/15/2017 8:37 AM EDT
The sanctions have strengthen Russia's domestic economy and has turn the corner
despite low energy prices. Sanctions are never an effective tool for international relations, look at Cuba. lol
Russian are an educated people, they are not stupid which the Establishment media wants us to believe. Time to talk, isn't that what diplomacy is all about? ... more See More Like Share Erugo 1
altR 6/15/2017 8:58 AM EDT
You are also correct, sanctions are the biggest waste of time. They are only for the political elite to fake resolve

[Dec 26, 2017] The role of intelligence agencies and NGOs in color revolution is to make a palace coup (of their sponsorship) look like a social revolution; to help fill the streets with fearless (and well paid) demonstrators and then institute a regime change installing their puppets projecting on them authenticity of popular democracy and revolutionary fervor

Color revolutions are false flag operations of regime change based on deception, fueling the resentment and delegitimization+ of the elected government and fake promises to population.
Notable quotes:
"... color revolutions are psychosocial operations of deception. ..."
"... It's a fact that Western governments (especially the US government) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) spend millions of dollars to co-opt and "channel" local populations of targeted countries against their own political leadership. ..."
"... Empty democracy slogans and flashy colors aside, we argue that color revolutions are good old-fashioned regime change operations: destabilization without the tanks. ..."
"... History shows that, to much of the power elite, humanity is seen as a collection of nerve endings to be pushed and pulled one way or the other, sometimes made to tremble in fear, sometimes made to salivate like Pavlov's dogs. ..."
"... to help deconstruct the deception ..."
"... A color revolution is only an instrument of foreign policy--only a tool -- the ultimate object being the geopolitical advantages gained by powerful financiers and the brain trust they employ ..."
Dec 26, 2017 | colorrevolutionsandgeopolitics.blogspot.com

Color revolutions are, without a doubt, one of the main features of global political developments today. Should the casual reader immediately wonder what a "color revolution" is, keep reading, our view here is unique, but we most certainly have some answers.

Let us first begin with the Wikipedia definition. That website introduces the concept by stating the following:

" Color revolution(s) is a term used by the media to describe related [political] movements that developed in several societies in the CIS (former USSR) and Balkan states during the early 2000s. Some observers have called the events a revolutionary wave .

"Participants in the color revolutions have mostly used nonviolent resistance , also called civil resistance . Such methods as demonstrations, strikes and interventions havebeen [used to] protest against governments seen as corrupt and/or authoritarian, and to advocate democracy; and they have also created strong pressure for change. These movements all adopted a specific color or flower as their symbol. The color revolutions are notable for the important role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and particularly student activists in organizing creative non-violent resistance.

"These movements have been successful in Serbia (especially the Bulldozer Revolution of 2000), in Georgia's Rose Revolution (2003), in Ukraine's Orange Revolution (2004), in Lebanon's Cedar Revolution and (though more violent than the previous ones) in Kyrgyzstan's Tulip Revolution (2005), in Kuwait's Blue Revolution (2005), in Iraq's Purple Revolution (2005), and in Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution (1989), but failed in Iran's Green Revolution (2009–2010) . Each time massive street protests followed disputed elections or request of fair elections and led to the resignation or overthrow of leaders considered by their opponents to be authoritarian ."

What the Wikipedia article fails to mention is the massive foreign funding, and at least any notion that color revolutions are psychosocial operations of deception.

It's a fact that Western governments (especially the US government) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) spend millions of dollars to co-opt and "channel" local populations of targeted countries against their own political leadership.

Empty democracy slogans and flashy colors aside, we argue that color revolutions are good old-fashioned regime change operations: destabilization without the tanks.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_9E75GWFDMec/SjXWwi-wPnI/AAAAAAAAAmc/Jlt2fAVGcgQ/s400/IranProtestor.jpg

The secret ingredient is a sophisticated science used to manipulate emotions and circumvent critical thinking. History shows that, to much of the power elite, humanity is seen as a collection of nerve endings to be pushed and pulled one way or the other, sometimes made to tremble in fear, sometimes made to salivate like Pavlov's dogs. These days the manipulation is so pervasive, so subtle, so effective, that even critical individuals at times must necessarily fail to recognize how often -- or in what context -- they have fallen prey.

Of course fear is the most obvious emotion played upon to effect massive social change. One need only to reflect upon the last ten years, since 9/11, to know that fear is a primary instrument used to initiate and justify dangerous shifts in public policy.

But as humanity has been physiologically equipped with a range of emotions, and is not merely arrested and controlled by fear alone, a strata of behavioral and political science also found it useful to master the flip-side of the emotional spectrum, and by that we mean desire, and all that drives groups of individuals to act, even in the face of fear, in pursuit of something worthwhile.

Many are the professions that utilize this type of understanding, including (but not limited to) marketing, advertising, public relations, politics and law-making, radio, television, journalism and news, film, music, general business and salesmanship; each of them selling, branding, promoting, entertaining, sloganeering, framing, explaining, creating friends and enemies, arguing likes and dislikes, setting the boundaries of good and evil: in many cases using their talents to circumvent their audiences' intellect, the real target being emotional, oftentimes even subconscious.

http://bmpr.com/chip_martin/blogs/images/chip_martin/Skyyad5.jpg (Legs for educational purposes only)

Looking beneath the facade of the color revolutionary movement we also find a desire-based behavioral structure, in particular one that has been built upon historical lessons offered by social movements and periods of political upheaval.

It then makes sense that the personnel of such operations include perception managers, PR firms, pollsters and opinion-makers in the social media. Through the operational infrastructure, these entities work in close coordination with intelligence agents, local and foreign activists, strategists and tacticians, tax-exempt foundations, governmental agencies, and a host of non- governmental organizations.

Collectively, their job is to make a palace coup (of their sponsorship) seem like a social revolution; to help fill the streets with fearless demonstrators advocating on behalf of a government of their choosing, which then legitimizes the sham governments with the authenticity of popular democracy and revolutionary fervor.

Because the operatives perform much of their craft in the open, their effectiveness is heavily predicated upon their ability to veil the influence backing them, and the long-term intentions guiding their work.

Their effectiveness is predicated on their ability to deceive, targeting both local populations and foreign audiences with highly-misleading interpretations of the underlying causes provoking these events.

And this is where we come in: to help deconstruct the deception .

But we will not just cover color revolutions here, as color revolutions are bound up in the larger geopolitical universe. A color revolution is only an instrument of foreign policy--only a tool -- the ultimate object being the geopolitical advantages gained by powerful financiers and the brain trust they employ . It follows that understanding geopolitical context (and motive) is necessary to understanding the purpose of the color revolution.

Toward that end, we will discuss and analyze relationships of global power in great detail. We will highlight specific institutions of power; identify what their power rests upon; draw attention to the individuals that finance and direct their activities; speculate upon some of their motives; and get to know the broad range of tools they use to achieve them, tools which include the color revolution.

As in-depth studies into the color revolution are far too rare, and as the issue itself is far too obscure, we hope to draw more attention to it; to spark discussion and even debate.

It is an issue that takes time and patience. And it is for those that are willing to provide this time and patience that we offer this site.

"Never utter these words: 'I do not know this, therefore it is false.' One must study to know; know to understand; understand to judge." --Apothegm of Narada

[Dec 26, 2017] National Security Searches for a Strategy by Philip Giraldi

Trump is now 100% pure neocon. What a metamorphose is less a year from inauguration...
Notable quotes:
"... It says, with extreme hyperbole, that "China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence. At the same time, the dictatorships of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to destabilize regions, threaten Americans and our allies, and brutalize their own people." ..."
"... A somewhat more detailed account of what Moscow is up to is also contained in the written report, stating that "Russia is using subversive measures to weaken the credibility of America's commitment to Europe, undermine transatlantic unity, and weaken European institutions and governments. With its invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, Russia demonstrated its willingness to violate the sovereignty of states in the region. Russia continues to intimidate its neighbors with threatening behavior, such as nuclear posturing and the forward deployment of offensive capabilities." ..."
"... Nearly every detail in the indictment of Russia can be challenged. Most notably, if anyone is forward deploying offensive capabilities in Eastern Europe or invading other countries it is the United States, a trend that continues under Donald Trump. Just this past week, Trump approved the sale of offensive weapons to Ukraine, which has already drawn a warning from Moscow and will make any dialogue with Russia unlikely. ..."
"... And, of course, there is the usual softball for Israel claiming that "For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region's problems." It is a conclusion that must make the unspeakable Benjamin Netanyahu smile. One might observe that as Israel has attacked all of its neighbors since it was founded, holding its governments blameless is a formulation that others in the region might well dispute. ..."
"... So the Donald Trump National Security Strategy will be more of the same, a combination of the worst ideas to emerge from his two predecessors with little in the way of mitigation. Trump might balk at going toe-to-toe with North Korea because they have the actual capability to strike back and might think they have nothing to lose if they are about to be incinerated, something no bully likes to see, but Iran is certainly in the cross hairs and you best believe they have taken notice and will be preparing. Vladimir Putin too can sit back and wonder how Trump could possibly have gotten everything so ass-backwards when he had so much latitude to get at least some things right. The National Security Strategy will deliver little in the way of security but it will provide an answer to why most of the world has come to hate the United States. ..."
Dec 26, 2017 | www.unz.com

If one takes Trump at his word, the U.S. will use force worldwide to make sure that only Washington can dominate regionally, a frightening thought as it goes beyond even the wildest pretensions of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. And equally ridiculous are the potential consequences of such bullying – the White House clearly believes that it will make other nations respect us and follow our leadership whereas quite the reverse is likely to be true.

On the very limited bright side, Trump did have good things to say about the benefits derived from intelligence sharing with Russia and he also spoke about both Moscow and Beijing as "rivals" and "adversaries" instead of enemies. That was very refreshing to hear but unfortunately the printed document did not say the same thing.

The NSS report provided considerably more detail than did the speech but it also was full of generalizations and all too often relied on Washington group think to frame its options. The beginning is somewhat terrifying for one of my inclinations on foreign policy:

"An America that is safe, prosperous, and free at home is an America with the strength, confidence, and will to lead abroad. It is an America that can preserve peace, uphold liberty, and create enduring advantages for the American people. Putting America first is the duty of our government and the foundation for U.S. leadership in the world. A strong America is in the vital interests of not only the American people, but also those around the world who want to partner with the United States in pursuit of shared interests, values, and aspirations."

One has to ask what this "lead" and "leadership" and "partner" nonsense actually represents, particularly in light of the fact that damn near the entire world just repudiated Trump's decision to move the American Embassy in Israel as well as the nearly global rejection of his response to climate change? And Washington's alleged need to lead has brought nothing but grief to the American people starting in Korea and continuing with Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and numerous lesser stops along the way in places like Somalia, Panama and Syria. The false narrative of the threat coming from "foreigners" has actually done nothing to make Americans safer while also diminishing constitutional liberties and doing serious damage to the economy.

The printed report is much more brutal than was Trump about the dangers facing America and it is also much more carefree in the "facts" that it chooses to present. It says, with extreme hyperbole, that "China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence. At the same time, the dictatorships of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to destabilize regions, threaten Americans and our allies, and brutalize their own people."

A somewhat more detailed account of what Moscow is up to is also contained in the written report, stating that "Russia is using subversive measures to weaken the credibility of America's commitment to Europe, undermine transatlantic unity, and weaken European institutions and governments. With its invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, Russia demonstrated its willingness to violate the sovereignty of states in the region. Russia continues to intimidate its neighbors with threatening behavior, such as nuclear posturing and the forward deployment of offensive capabilities."

Nearly every detail in the indictment of Russia can be challenged. Most notably, if anyone is forward deploying offensive capabilities in Eastern Europe or invading other countries it is the United States, a trend that continues under Donald Trump. Just this past week, Trump approved the sale of offensive weapons to Ukraine, which has already drawn a warning from Moscow and will make any dialogue with Russia unlikely.

And, of course, there is the usual softball for Israel claiming that "For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region's problems." It is a conclusion that must make the unspeakable Benjamin Netanyahu smile. One might observe that as Israel has attacked all of its neighbors since it was founded, holding its governments blameless is a formulation that others in the region might well dispute.

So the Donald Trump National Security Strategy will be more of the same, a combination of the worst ideas to emerge from his two predecessors with little in the way of mitigation. Trump might balk at going toe-to-toe with North Korea because they have the actual capability to strike back and might think they have nothing to lose if they are about to be incinerated, something no bully likes to see, but Iran is certainly in the cross hairs and you best believe they have taken notice and will be preparing. Vladimir Putin too can sit back and wonder how Trump could possibly have gotten everything so ass-backwards when he had so much latitude to get at least some things right. The National Security Strategy will deliver little in the way of security but it will provide an answer to why most of the world has come to hate the United States.

[Dec 25, 2017] As American Statecraft Crumbles into Dangerous Incoherence, Where is the Senate By Andrew Bacevich Common Dreams

Notable quotes:
"... Contrast that with our situation today. Donald Trump came to office almost entirely ignorant of statecraft. Rather than a considered worldview, he offers slogans and sound bites. As Trump approaches the first anniversary of his inauguration, we can say this about U.S. foreign policy: It has ceased to exist. ..."
"... Any policy worthy of the name requires principles. Trump has none. So U.S. behavior on the world stage today consists of little more than random and often contradictory impulses. For recent examples, consider the inflammatory rhetoric directed at North Korea, stealth increases in U.S. troop contingents in Syria and Afghanistan, the inauguration of a U.S. bombing campaign in Somalia and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In each instance, the president acted without making the slightest pretense of consulting anyone outside a small circle of White House advisors. None of these decisions, to put it mildly, will Make America Great Again. ..."
"... Given the chance, any president will treat statecraft as his personal fiefdom. History shows that even a small number of senators with sufficient gumption and wit can frustrate such ambitions. This is what La Follette and Norris, Borah and Wheeler, and Fulbright did in their time. That among their successors today there appear to be none willing or able to take up their mantle is a sad testament to the state of American politics. ..."
"... is the author of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History ..."
"... which has just been published by Random House. ..."
"... He is also editor of the book, The Short American Century ..."
"... Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (American Empire Project) ; Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War , The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War , The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (American Empire Project) , ..."
"... The Long War: A New History of U.S. National Security Policy Since World War II . ..."
Dec 25, 2017 | www.commondreams.org

The USA foreign policy remain unchanged. It is a neocon foreign policy. Trump just does not matter. He just added a spicy flavor of reckless adventurism to it.

How senators of both parties have made themselves complicit in the unfolding folly of Trump's foreign policy by Andrew Bacevich Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, smiles as he takes an elevator after meeting with President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans on Nov. 28 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press) Where is J. William Fulbright when we need him? Or if not Fulbright, perhaps Robert M. La Follette or George W. Norris. Personally, I'd even settle for William Borah or Burton K. Wheeler.

During the 20th century, each of these now largely forgotten barons of the U.S. Senate served the nation with distinction. Their chief contribution? On matters related to war and peace, they declined to kowtow to whoever happened to occupy the office of commander in chief. On issues involving the safety and security of the American people, they challenged presidents, insisting that the Congress should play a central role in formulating basic policy. With the floor of the Senate as their bully pulpit, they questioned, provoked and thereby captured public attention.

"The Senate's duty is clear -- to spell out the implications of Trump's mishandling of U.S. foreign policy before the damage becomes irreversible."

A century ago, La Follette of Wisconsin and Norris of Nebraska, both progressive Republicans, spoke eloquently and at length in opposition to President Woodrow Wilson's insistence that the United States should go to war with Germany. Following the World War I armistice, Borah, a Republican from Idaho, emerged as an uncompromising critic of the Versailles Treaty that Wilson negotiated in Paris. During the late 1930s, having concluded that U.S. participation in that earlier European war had been a huge error, Borah and Wheeler, a Democrat from Montana, sought to prevent President Franklin D. Roosevelt from repeating Wilson's mistakes. Three decades later, Fulbright, a Democrat from Arkansas and the influential chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, became a thorn in Lyndon B. Johnson's side as a sharp critic of the Vietnam War.

In opposing presidents whom they saw as too eager to wage war or too certain that they alone understood the prerequisites of peace, these senators were not necessarily correct in their judgments. Yet by drawing widespread public attention to foreign policy issues of first-order importance, they obliged their adversaries in the White House to make their case to the American people.

Whatever the issue -- sending Americans to fight on the Western Front, joining the League of Nations, rescuing Great Britain from Hitler or defending South Vietnam -- the back and forth between presidents and prominent Senate critics provided a means of vetting assumptions, assessing potential risks and debating possible consequences. In each instance, American citizens gained a clearer picture of what their president was intent on doing and why. The president became accountable.

Contrast that with our situation today. Donald Trump came to office almost entirely ignorant of statecraft. Rather than a considered worldview, he offers slogans and sound bites. As Trump approaches the first anniversary of his inauguration, we can say this about U.S. foreign policy: It has ceased to exist.

Any policy worthy of the name requires principles. Trump has none. So U.S. behavior on the world stage today consists of little more than random and often contradictory impulses. For recent examples, consider the inflammatory rhetoric directed at North Korea, stealth increases in U.S. troop contingents in Syria and Afghanistan, the inauguration of a U.S. bombing campaign in Somalia and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In each instance, the president acted without making the slightest pretense of consulting anyone outside a small circle of White House advisors. None of these decisions, to put it mildly, will Make America Great Again.

As American statecraft succumbs to incoherence, where is the Senate? Somewhere between missing in action and too preoccupied with partisan and parochial considerations to take notice. As a body, the Senate has done nothing to restrain Trump or to enlighten the American people regarding the erratic course on which the president has embarked. Occasional complaints registered by a handful of senators, such as the ailing John McCain, amount to little more than catcalls from the bleachers. In effect, senators of both parties have made themselves complicit in the unfolding folly.

The duty of the Senate is clear -- to spell out the implications of Trump's mishandling of U.S. foreign policy before the damage that he is inflicting becomes irreversible.

Given the chance, any president will treat statecraft as his personal fiefdom. History shows that even a small number of senators with sufficient gumption and wit can frustrate such ambitions. This is what La Follette and Norris, Borah and Wheeler, and Fulbright did in their time. That among their successors today there appear to be none willing or able to take up their mantle is a sad testament to the state of American politics. © Los Angeles Times Andrew Bacevich Andrew J. Bacevich , a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, is the author of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History , which has just been published by Random House. He is also editor of the book, The Short American Century (Harvard Univ. Press) , and author of several others, including: Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (American Empire Project) ; Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War , The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War , The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (American Empire Project) , and The Long War: A New History of U.S. National Security Policy Since World War II . Share This Article

[Dec 25, 2017] The Israel-gate Side of Russia-gate Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... In this case, what Flynn and Kushner were doing was going directly against US foreign policy, because Obama wanted the resolution to pass; He just didn't want to vote for it because that would cross the Israel lobby in the United States. The US finally ended up abstaining on the resolution and it passed 14-0. ..."
"... But before that happened, Flynn went to the Russians and to Egypt, both members of the Security Council, and tried to get the resolution delayed. But all of Israel's machinations to derail this resolution failed and that is what Mueller was investigating, the intervention and disruption of American foreign policy by private citizens who had no official role. ..."
"... While I think Bibi is an idiot, I also think the Logan Act is overinvoked, overstated, probably of dubious legal value and also of dubious constitutional value. ..."
"... In short, especially because Trump had been elected, though not yet inaugurated, I think he is not at all guilty of a Logan Act violation. This is nothing close to Spiro Agnew calling Anna Chenault from the airplane in August 1968. ..."
"... Probably true, although evidence of extreme collusion with Israel eliminates any case against Russia, with whom we have far more reasons for amity. Bringing out the Israel collusion greatly improves public understanding of political corruption. Perhaps it will awaken some to the Agnew-Chennault betrayal of the people of the US. ..."
"... It's ironic that Russia-gate is turning out to be Israel's effort to distract attention from its complete control over the Democratic party in 2016. From Israeli billionaires behind the scenes to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz at the helm. ..."
"... "Whether we like it or not, the former and current administration view Russia is as an enemy state." So that is how it works, the White House says it is an enemy state and therefore it is. The so called declaration is the hammer used for trying to make contact with Russia a criminal offense. We are not at war with Russia although we see our leaders doing their best to provoke Russia into one. ..."
"... The Israel connection disclosed by the malpracticer hack Mueller in the recent Flynn-flam just made Trump bullet-proof (so to speak). ..."
"... So Mueller caught Kushner and Flynn red-handed, sabotaging the Obama administration? What of it? He can't use that evidence, because it would inculpate the Zionist neocons that are orchestrating his farcical, Stalinist witchhunt. And Mueller, being an efficient terminator bot, knows that his target is Russia, not Israel. ..."
"... So Mueller will just have to continue swamp-fishing for potential perjurers ahem witnesses, for the upcoming show trials (to further inflame public opinion against Russia and Russia sympathizers). And continue he will, because (as we all know from Schwarzenegger's flicks), the only way to stop the terminator is to terminate him/it first. ..."
"... Trump and Kushner have nothing to worry about, even if a smoking gun is found that proves their collusion with Israel. That's because the entire political and media establishment will simply ignore the Israeli connection. ..."
"... Journalists and politicians will even continue to present Mike Flynn's contacts as evidence of collusion with Russia. They'll keep on repeating that "Flynn lied about his phone call to the Russian ambassador". But there will be no mention of the fact that the purpose of this contact was to support Israel and not any alleged Russian interference. ..."
"... I think you have it right Brendan. The MSM, Intelligence Community, and Mueller would never go down any path that popularized undue Israeli influence on US foreign policy. "Nothing to see here folks, move along." ..."
"... The Nice Zionists responsible for the thefts and murders for the past 69 years along with the "Jewish Community" in the rest of the world will resolve the matter so as to be fair to both parties. This is mind-boggling fantasy. ..."
"... FFS, Netanyahu aired a political commercial in Florida for Romney saying vote for this guy (against Obama)! I mean, it doesn't get any more overtly manipulative than that. Period. End of story. ..."
"... God, I hate to go all "Israel controls the media" but there it is. Not even a discussion. Just a fact. ..."
"... I also have to point out that he "fist pumped" Hillary Clinton at Mohammed Ali's eulogy. If he's as astute as he purports to be, he has to know that Hillary would have invaded Syria and killed a few hundred thousand more Syrians for the simple act of defiantly preserving their country. By almost any read of Ali's history, he would have been adamantly ("killing brown people") against that. But there was Silverstein using the platform to promote, arguably, perpetual war. ..."
"... Yeah I found a couple of Silverstein's statements to be closer to neocon propaganda than reality: "Because this is Israel and because we have a conflicted relationship with the Israel lobby . . ." "Instead of going directly to the Obama administration, with which they had terrible relations, they went to Trump instead." My impression was that the whole "terrible relationship between Obama and Netanyahu" was manufactured by the Israel lobby to bully Obama. However these are small blips within an otherwise solid critique of the Israel lobby's influence. ..."
Dec 25, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

The Israel-gate Side of Russia-gate December 23, 2017

While unproven claims of Russian meddling in U.S. politics have whipped Official Washington into a frenzy, much less attention has been paid to real evidence of Israeli interference in U.S. politics, as Dennis J Bernstein describes.

By Dennis J Bernstein

In investigating Russia's alleged meddling in U.S. politics, special prosecutor Robert Mueller uncovered evidence that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pressured the Trump transition team to undermine President Obama's plans to permit the United Nations to censure Israel over its illegal settlement building on the Palestinian West Bank, a discovery referenced in the plea deal with President Trump's first National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the United Nations General Assembly (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

At Netanyahu's behest, Flynn and President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner reportedly took the lead in the lobbying to derail the U.N. resolution, which Flynn discussed in a phone call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (in which the Russian diplomat rebuffed Flynn's appeal to block the resolution).

I spoke on Dec, 18 with independent journalist and blogger Richard Silverstein, who writes on national security and other issues for a number of blogs at Tikun Olam .

Dennis Bernstein: A part of Michael Flynn's plea had to do with some actions he took before coming to power regarding Israel and the United Nations. Please explain.

Richard Silverstein:

The Obama administration was negotiating in the [UN] Security Council just before he left office about a resolution that would condemn Israeli settlements. Obviously, the Israeli government did not want this resolution to be passed. Instead of going directly to the Obama administration, with which they had terrible relations, they went to Trump instead. They approached Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner became involved in this. While they were in the transition and before having any official capacity, they negotiated with various members of the Security Council to try to quash the settlement resolution.

One of the issues here which is little known is the Logan Act, which was passed at the foundation of our republic and was designed to prevent private citizens from usurping the foreign policy prerogatives of the executive. It criminalized any private citizen who attempted to negotiate with an enemy country over any foreign policy issue.

In this case, what Flynn and Kushner were doing was going directly against US foreign policy, because Obama wanted the resolution to pass; He just didn't want to vote for it because that would cross the Israel lobby in the United States. The US finally ended up abstaining on the resolution and it passed 14-0.

But before that happened, Flynn went to the Russians and to Egypt, both members of the Security Council, and tried to get the resolution delayed. But all of Israel's machinations to derail this resolution failed and that is what Mueller was investigating, the intervention and disruption of American foreign policy by private citizens who had no official role.

This speaks to the power of the Israel lobby and of Israel itself to disrupt our foreign policy. Very few people have ever been charged with committing an illegal act by advocating on behalf of Israel. That is one of the reasons why this is such an important development. Until now, the lobby has really ruled supreme on the issue of Israel and Palestine in US foreign policy. Now it is possible that a private citizen will actually be made to pay a price for that.

This is an important development because the lobby till now has run roughshod over our foreign policy in this area and this may act as a restraining order against blatant disruption of US foreign policy by people like this.

Bernstein: So this information is a part of Michael Flynn's plea. Anyone studying this would learn something about Michael Flynn and it would be part of the prosecution's investigation.

Silverstein:

That's absolutely right. One thing to note here is that it is reporters who have raised the issue of the Logan Act, not Mueller or Flynn's people or anyone in the Trump administration. But I do think that Logan is a very important part of this plea deal, even if it is not mentioned explicitly.

Bernstein: If the special prosecutor had smoking-gun information that the Trump administration colluded with Russia, in the way they colluded with Israel before coming to power, this would be a huge revelation. But it is definitely collusion when it comes to Israel.

Silverstein: Absolutely. If this were Russia, it would be on the front page of every major newspaper in the United States and the leading story on the TV news. Because this is Israel and because we have a conflicted relationship with the Israel lobby and they have so much influence on US policy concerning Israel, it has managed to stay on the back burner. Only two or three media outlets besides mine have raised this issue of Logan and collusion. Kushner and Flynn may be the first American citizens charged under the Logan Act for interfering on behalf of Israel in our foreign policy. This is a huge issue and it has hardly been raised at all.

Bernstein: As you know, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC has made a career out of investigating the Russia-gate charges. She says that she has read all this material carefully, so she must have read about Flynn and Israel, but I haven't heard her on this issue at all.

Silverstein:

Even progressive journalists, who you'd think would be going after this with a vengeance, are frightened off by the fact the lobby really bites back. So, aside from outlets like the Intercept and the Electronic Intifada, there is a lot of hesitation about going after the Israel lobby. People are afraid because they know that there is a high price to be paid. It goes from being purely journalism to being a personal and political vendetta when they get you in their sights. In fact, one of the reasons I feel my blog is so important is that what I do is challenge Israeli policy and Israeli intervention in places where it doesn't belong.

Bernstein: Jared Kushner is the point man for the Trump administration on Israel. He has talked about having a "vision for peace." Do you think it is a problem that this is someone with a long, close relationship with the prime minister of Israel and, in fact, runs a foundation that invests in the building of illegal Israeli settlements? Might this be problematic?

Silverstein:

It is quite nefarious, actually. When Jared Kushner was a teenager, Netanyahu used to stay at the Kushner family home when he visited the United States. This relationship with one of the most extreme right political figures in Israel goes back decades. And it is not just Kushner himself, but all the administration personnel dealing with these so-called peace negotiations, including Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, the ambassador. These are all orthodox Jews who tend to have very nationalist views when it comes to Israel. They all support settlements financially through foundations. These are not honest brokers.

We could talk at length about the history of US personnel who have been negotiators for Middle East peace. All of them have been favorable to Israel and answerable to the Israel lobby, including Dennis Ross and Makovsky, who served in the last administration. These people are dyed-in-the-wool ultra-nationalist supporters of [Israeli] settlements. They have no business playing any role in negotiating a peace deal.

My prediction all along has been that these peace negotiations will come to naught, even though they seem to have bought the cooperation of Saudi Arabia, which is something new in the process. The Palestinians can never accept a deal that has been negotiated by Kushner and company because it will be far too favorable to Israel and it will totally neglect the interests of the Palestinians.

Bernstein: It has been revealed that Kushner supports the building of settlements in the West Bank. Most people don't understand the politics of what is going on there, but it appears to be part of an ethnic cleansing.

Silverstein:

The settlements have always been a violation of international law, ever since Israel conquered the West Bank in 1967. The Geneva Conventions direct an occupying power to withdraw from territory that was not its own. In 1967 Israel invaded Arab states and conquered the West Bank and Gaza but this has never been recognized or accepted by any nation until now.

The fact that Kushner and his family are intimately involved in supporting settlements–as are David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt–is completely outrageous. No member of any previous US administration would have been allowed to participate with these kinds of financial investments in support of settlements. Of course, Trump doesn't understand the concept of conflict of interest because he is heavily involved in such conflicts himself. But no party in the Middle East except Israel is going to consider the US an honest broker and acceptable as a mediator.

When they announce this deal next January, no one in the Arab World is going to accept it, with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia because they have other fish to fry in terms of Iran. The next three years are going to be interesting, supposing Trump lasts out his term. My prediction is that the peace plan will fail and that it will lead to greater violence in the Middle East. It will not simply lead to a vacuum, it will lead to a deterioration in conditions there.

Bernstein: The Trump transition team was actually approached directly by the Israeli government to try to intercede at the United Nations.

Silverstein:

I'm assuming it was Netanyahu who went directly to Kushner and Trump. Now, we haven't yet found out that Trump directly knew about this but it is very hard to believe that Trump didn't endorse this. Now that we know that Mueller has access to all of the emails of the transition team, there is little doubt that they have been able to find their smoking gun. Flynn's plea meant that they basically had him dead to rights. It remains to be seen what will happen with Kushner but I would think that this would play some role in either the prosecution of Kushner or some plea deal.

Bernstein: The other big story, of course, is the decision by the Trump administration to move the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. Was there any pre-election collusion in that regard and what are the implications?

Silverstein:

Well, it's a terrible decision which goes against forty to fifty years of US foreign policy. It also breaches all international understanding. All of our allies in the European Union and elsewhere are aghast at this development. There is now a campaign in the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution condemning the announcement, which we will veto, but the next step will be to go to the General Assembly, where such a resolution will pass easily.

The question is how much anger, violence and disruption this is going to cause around the world, especially in the Arab and Muslim world. This is a slow-burning fuse. It is not going to explode right now. The issue of Jerusalem is so vital that this is not something that is simply going to go away. This is going to be a festering sore in the Muslim world and among Palestinians. We have already seen attacks on Israeli soldiers and citizens and there will be many more.

As to collusion in all of this, since Trump always said during the campaign that this was what he was going to do, it might be difficult to treat this in the same way as the UN resolution. The UN resolution was never on anybody's radar and nobody knew the role that Trump was playing behind the scenes with that–as opposed to Trump saying right from the get-go that Jerusalem was going to be recognized as the capital of Jerusalem.

By doing that, they have completely abrogated any Palestinian interest in Jerusalem. This is a catastrophic decision that really excludes the United States from being an honest broker here and shows our true colors in terms of how pro-Israel we are.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of "Flashpoints" on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom . You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net .

Drew Hunkins , December 23, 2017 at 5:37 pm

As most regular readers of CN already know, some dynamite books on the inordinate amount of influence pro-Israel zealots have on Washington:

1.) 'The Host and the Parasite' by Greg Felton
2.) 'Power of Israel in the United States' by James Petras
3.) 'They Dare to Speak Out' by Paul Findley
4.) 'The Israel Lobby' by Mearsheimer and Walt
5.) 'Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of U.S. Power' by James Petras

I suggest that anyone relatively knew to this neglected topic peruse a few of the aforementioned titles. An inevitable backlash by the citizens of the United States is eventually forthcoming against the Zionist Power Configuration. It's crucial that this impending backlash remain democratic, non-violent, eschews anti-Semitism, and travels in a progressive in direction.

Annie , December 23, 2017 at 5:47 pm

Which one would you suggest? I already read "The Israel Lobby."

Sam F , December 23, 2017 at 8:38 pm

Findley and Mearsheimer are certainly worthwhile. I will look for Petras.

Larry Larsen , December 24, 2017 at 6:38 pm

If you haven't already read them, the end/footnotes in "The Israel Lobby" are more illuminating.

SocraticGadfly , December 23, 2017 at 6:10 pm

That influence is also shown, of course, by the fact that Obama waited until the midnight hours of his tenure and after the 2016 election to even start working on this resolution.

SocraticGadfly , December 23, 2017 at 6:05 pm

While I think Bibi is an idiot, I also think the Logan Act is overinvoked, overstated, probably of dubious legal value and also of dubious constitutional value.

In short, especially because Trump had been elected, though not yet inaugurated, I think he is not at all guilty of a Logan Act violation. This is nothing close to Spiro Agnew calling Anna Chenault from the airplane in August 1968.

Sam F , December 23, 2017 at 8:41 pm

Probably true, although evidence of extreme collusion with Israel eliminates any case against Russia, with whom we have far more reasons for amity. Bringing out the Israel collusion greatly improves public understanding of political corruption. Perhaps it will awaken some to the Agnew-Chennault betrayal of the people of the US.

JWalters , December 24, 2017 at 3:32 am

It's ironic that Russia-gate is turning out to be Israel's effort to distract attention from its complete control over the Democratic party in 2016. From Israeli billionaires behind the scenes to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz at the helm.

The leaked emails showed the corruption plainly, and based on the ACTUAL evidence (recorded download time), most likely came from a highly disgruntled insider. The picture was starting to spill into public view. I'd estimate the real huge worry was that if this stuff came out, it could bring out other Israeli secrets, like their involvement in 9/11. That would mean actual jail time. Might be hard to buy your way out of that no matter how much money you have.

Annie , December 23, 2017 at 10:48 pm

The Logan act states that anyone who negotiates with an enemy of the US, and Israel is not defined as an enemy.

Annie , December 23, 2017 at 6:59 pm

The Logan act would not apply here, although I wish it would. I don't think anyone has been convicted based on this act, and they were part of a transition team not to mention the Logan act clearly states a private citizen who attempts to negotiate with an enemy state, and that certainly doesn't apply to Israel. In this administration their bias is so blatant that they can install Kushner as an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestine peace process while his family has a close relationship with Netanyahu, and he runs a foundation that invests in the building of illegal settlements which goes against the Geneva conventions. Hopefully Trump's blatant siding with Israel will receive a lot of backlash as did his plan to make Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

I also found that so called progressive internet sites don't cover this the way they should.

Al Pinto , December 24, 2017 at 9:16 am

@Annie

"The Logan act would not apply here, although I wish it would."

You and me both .

From the point of starting to read this article, it has been in my mind that the Logan act would not apply here. After reading most of the comments, it became clear that not many people viewed this as such. Yes, Joe Tedesky did as well

The UN is the "clearing house" for international politics, where countries freely contact each other's for getting support for their cause behind the scene. The support sought after could be voting for or against the resolution on hand. At times, as Israel did, countries reach out to perceived enemies as well, if they could not secure sufficient support for their cause. This is the normal activity of the UN diplomacy.

Knowing that the outgoing administration would not support its cause, Israel reached out to the incoming administration to delay the vote on the UN resolution. I fail to see anything wrong with Israel's action even in this case; Israel is not an enemy state to the US. As such, there has been no violation of any acts by the incoming administration, even if they tried to secure veto vote for Israel. I do not like it, but no action by Mueller in this case is correct.

People, just like the article in itself, implying that the Logan Act applies in this case are just plain wrong. Not just wrong, but their anti-Israel bias is in plain view.

Whether we like it or not, the former and current administration view Russia is as an enemy state. Even then, Russia contacting the incoming administration is not a violation of the Logan Act. That is just normal diplomacy in the background between countries. What would be a violation is that the contacted official acted on the behalf of Russia and tried to influence the outgoing administration's decision. That is what the Mueller investigation tries to prove hopelessly

Herman , December 24, 2017 at 10:54 am

"Whether we like it or not, the former and current administration view Russia is as an enemy state." So that is how it works, the White House says it is an enemy state and therefore it is. The so called declaration is the hammer used for trying to make contact with Russia a criminal offense. We are not at war with Russia although we see our leaders doing their best to provoke Russia into one.

Annie , December 24, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Thanks for your reply. When I read the article and it referenced the Logan Act, which I am familiar with in that I've read about it before, I was surprised that Bernstein and Silverstein even brought it up because it so obviously does not apply in this case, since Israel is not considered an enemy state. Many have even referenced it as flimsy when it comes to convictions against those in Trump's transition team who had contacts with Russia. No one has ever been convicted under the Logan Act.

Larry Larsen , December 24, 2017 at 6:41 pm

The Logan Act either should apply equally, or not apply at all. This "Russia-gate" hype seems to apply it selectively.

mrtmbrnmn , December 23, 2017 at 7:36 pm

You guys are blinded by the light. The Israel connection disclosed by the malpracticer hack Mueller in the recent Flynn-flam just made Trump bullet-proof (so to speak).

There is no doubt that Trump is Bibi's and the Saudi's ventriloquist dummy and Jared has been an Israel agent of influence since he was 12.

But half the Dementedcrat Sore Loser Brigade will withdraw from the field of battle (not to mention most of the GOP living dead too) if publically and noisily tying Israel to Trump's tail becomes the only route to his removal. Which it would have to be, as there is no there there regarding the yearlong trumped-up PutinPutinPutin waterboarding of Trump.

Immediately (if not sooner) the mighty (pro-Israel) Donor Bank of Singer (Paul), Saban (Haim), Sachs (Goldman) & Adelson (Sheldon), would change their passwords and leave these politicians/beggars with empty begging bowls. End of $ordid $tory.

alley cat , December 23, 2017 at 7:45 pm

So Mueller caught Kushner and Flynn red-handed, sabotaging the Obama administration? What of it? He can't use that evidence, because it would inculpate the Zionist neocons that are orchestrating his farcical, Stalinist witchhunt. And Mueller, being an efficient terminator bot, knows that his target is Russia, not Israel.

Mueller can use that evidence of sabotage and/or obstruction of justice to try to coerce false confessions from Kushner and Flynn. But what are the chances of that, barring short stayovers for them at some CIA black site?

So Mueller will just have to continue swamp-fishing for potential perjurers ahem witnesses, for the upcoming show trials (to further inflame public opinion against Russia and Russia sympathizers). And continue he will, because (as we all know from Schwarzenegger's flicks), the only way to stop the terminator is to terminate him/it first.

Leslie F. , December 23, 2017 at 8:28 pm

He used it, along with other info, to turn flip Flynn and possibly can use it the same way again Kusher. Not all evidence has end up in court to be useful.

JWalters , December 23, 2017 at 8:40 pm

This is an extremely important story, excellently reported. All the main "facts" Americans think they know about Israel are, amazingly, flat-out lies.

1. Israel was NOT victimized by powerful Arab armies. Israel overpowered and victimized a defenseless, civilian Arab population. Military analysts knew the Arab armies were in poor shape and would not be able to resist the zionist army.

2. Muslim "citizens" of Israel do NOT have all the same rights as Jews.

3. Israelis are NOT under threat from the indigineous Palestinians, but Palestinians are under constant threats of theft and death from the Israelis.

4. Israel does NOT share America's most fundamental values, which rest on the principle of equal human rights for all.

Maintaining such a blanket of major lies for decades requires immense power. And this power would have to be exercised "under the radar" to be effective. That requires even more power. Both Congress and the press have to be controlled. How much power does it take to turn "Progressive Rachel" into "Tel Aviv Rachel"? To turn "It Takes a Village" Hillary into "Slaughter a Village" Hillary? It takes immense power AND ruthlessness.

War profiteers have exactly this combination of immense war profits and the ruthlessness to victimize millions of people.
"War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror"
http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

Vast war profits easily afford to buy the mainstream media. And controlling campaign contributions for members of Congress is amazingly cheap in the big picture. Such a squalid sale of souls.

And when simple bribery is not enough, they ruin a person's life through blackmail or false character assassination. And if those don't work they use death threats, including to family members, and finally murder. Their ruthlessness is unrestrained. John Perkins has described these tactics in "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man".

For readers who haven't seen it, here is an excellent riff on the absurdly overwhelming evidence for Israel's influence compared to that of Russia, at a highly professional news and analysis website run by Jewish anti-Zionists.
"Let's talk about Russian influence"
http://mondoweiss.net/2016/08/about-russian-influence/

mike k , December 23, 2017 at 8:44 pm

Hitler and Mussolini, Trump and Netanyahoo – matches made in Hell. These characters are so obviously, blatantly evil that it is deeply disturbing that people fail to see that, and instead go to great lengths to find some complicated flaws in these monsters.

mike k , December 23, 2017 at 8:49 pm

Keep it simple folks. No need for complex analyses. Just remember that these characters as simply as evil as it gets, and proceed from there. These asinine shows that portray mobsters as complex human beings are dangerously deluding. If you want to be victimized by these types, this kind of overthinking is just the way to go.

Sam F , December 23, 2017 at 9:00 pm

There is a modern theory of fiction that insists upon the portrayal of inconsistency in characters, both among the good guys and the bad guys. It is useful to show how those who do wrongs have made specific kinds of errors that make them abnormal, and that those who do right are not perfect but nonetheless did the right thing. Instead it is used by commercial writers to argue that the good are really bad, and the bad are really good, which is of course the philosophy of oligarchy-controlled mass publishers.

Sam F , December 23, 2017 at 8:54 pm

A very important article by Dennis Bernstein, and it is very appropriate that non-zionist Jews are active against the extreme zionist corruption of our federal government. I am sure that they are reviled by the zionists for interfering with the false denunciations of racism against the opponents of zionism. Indeed critics face a very nearly totalitarian power of zionism, which in league with MIC/WallSt opportunism has displaced democracy altogether in the US.

backwardsevolution , December 23, 2017 at 9:18 pm

A nice little set-up by the Obama administration. Perhaps it was entrapment? Who set it up? Flynn and Kushner should have known better to fall for it. So at the end of his Presidency, Obama suddenly gets balls and wants to slap down Israel? Yeah, right.

Nice to have leverage over people, though, isn't it? If you're lucky and play your cards right, you might even be lucky enough to land an impeachment.

Of course, I'm just being cynical. No one would want to overturn democracy, would they?

Certainly people like Comey, Brenner, Clinton, Clapper, Mueller, Rosenstein wouldn't want that, would they?

Joe Tedesky , December 23, 2017 at 10:33 pm

I just can't see any special prosecutor investigating Israel-Gate. Between what the Zionist donors donate to these creepy politicians, too what goods they have on these same mischievous politicians, I just can't see any investigation into Israel's collusion with the Trump Administration going anywhere. Netanyahu isn't Putin, and Russia isn't Israel. Plus, Israel is considered a U.S. ally, while Russia is being marked as a Washington rival. Sorry, this news regarding Israel isn't going to be ranted on about for the next 18 months, like the MSM has done with Russia, because our dear old Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, or so they tell us. So, don't get your hopes up.

JWalters , December 24, 2017 at 3:33 am

It's true the Israelis have America's politicians by the ears and the balls. But as this story gets better known, politicians will start getting questions at their town meetings. Increasingly the politicians will gag on what Israel is force-feeding them, until finally they reach a critical mass of vomit in Congress.

Joe Tedesky , December 24, 2017 at 11:12 am

I hope you are right JWalters. Although relying on a Zionist controlled MSM doesn't give hope for the news getting out properly. Again I hope you are right JWalters. Joe

Jeff Blankfort , December 24, 2017 at 12:18 am

Actually, Netanyahu was so desperate to have the resolution pulled and not voted on that he reached out to any country that might help him after the foreign minister of New Zealand, one of its co-sponsors refused to pull the plug after a testy phone exchange with the Israeli PM ending up threatening an Israeli boycott oturnef the KIwis.

He then turned to his buddy, Vladimir Putin, who owed him a favor for having Israel's UN delegate absent himself for the UNGA vote on sanctioning Russia after its annexation of Crimea.

Putin then called Russia's UN Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, since deceased, and asked him to get the other UNSC ambassadors to postpone the vote until Trump took over the White House but the other ambassadors weren't buying it. Given Russia's historic public position regarding the settlements, Churkin had no choice to vote Yes with the others.

This story was reported in detail in the Israeli press but blacked out in the US which, due to Zionist influence on the media, does not want the American public to know about the close ties between Putin and Netanyahu which has led to the Israeli PM making five state visits there in the last year and a half.

Had Clinton won the White House we can assume that there would have been no US veto. That Netanyahu apparently knew in advance that the US planned to veto the resolution was, I suspect, leaked to the Israelis by US delegate Samantha Power, who was clearly unhappy at having to abstain.

Abe , December 24, 2017 at 12:39 am

The Israeli Prime Minister made five state visits to Russia in the last year and a half to make sure the Russians don't accidentally on purpose blast Israeli warplanes from the sky over Syria (like they oughtta). Putin tries not to snicker when Netanyahu bloviates ad nauseum about the purported "threat" posed by Iran.

argos , December 24, 2017 at 7:00 am

He thinks Putin is a RATS ASS like the yankee government

JWalters , December 24, 2017 at 3:34 am

"This story was reported in detail in the Israeli press but blacked out in the US"

We've just had a whole cluster of big stories involving Israel that have all been essentially blacked out in the US press. e.g.
"Dionne and Shields ignore the Adelson in the room"
http://mondoweiss.net/2017/12/jerusalem-israels-capital

This is not due to chance. There is no doubt that the US mainstream media is wholly controlled by the Israelis.

alley cat , December 24, 2017 at 4:49 am

"He [Netanyahu] then turned to his buddy, Vladimir Putin "

Jeff, that characterization of Putin and Netanyahu's relationship makes no sense, since the Russians have consistently opposed Zionism and Putin has been no exception, having spoiled Zionist plans for the destruction of Syria.

"Had Clinton won the White House we can assume that there would have been no US veto."

Not sure where you're going with that, since the US vote was up to Obama, who wanted to get some payback for all of Bibi's efforts to sabotage Obama's treaty with Iran.

For the record, Zionism has had no more rabid supporter than the Dragon Lady. If we're going to make assumptions, we could start by assuming that if she had won the White House we'd all be dead by now, thanks to her obsession (at the instigation of her Zionist/neocon sponsors) with declaring no-fly zones in Syria.

Brendan , December 24, 2017 at 6:18 am

Trump and Kushner have nothing to worry about, even if a smoking gun is found that proves their collusion with Israel. That's because the entire political and media establishment will simply ignore the Israeli connection.

Journalists and politicians will even continue to present Mike Flynn's contacts as evidence of collusion with Russia. They'll keep on repeating that "Flynn lied about his phone call to the Russian ambassador". But there will be no mention of the fact that the purpose of this contact was to support Israel and not any alleged Russian interference.

Skip Scott , December 24, 2017 at 7:59 am

I think you have it right Brendan. The MSM, Intelligence Community, and Mueller would never go down any path that popularized undue Israeli influence on US foreign policy. "Nothing to see here folks, move along."

argos , December 24, 2017 at 6:57 am

The zionist will stop at nothing to control the middle east with American taxpayers money/military equiptment its a win win for the zionist they control America lock stock and barrel a pity though it is a great country to be led by a jewish entity.

Herman , December 24, 2017 at 10:47 am

What will Israel-Palestine look like twenty years from now? Will it remain an apartheid regime, a regime without any Palestinians, or something different. The Trump decision, which the world rejects, brings the issue of "final" settlement to the fore. In a way we can go back to the thirties and the British Mandate. Jewish were fleeing Europe, many coming to Palestine. The British, on behalf of the Zionists, were delaying declaring Palestine a state with control of its own affairs. Seeing the mass immigration and chafing at British foot dragging, the Arabs rebelled, What happened then was that the British, responding to numerous pressures notably war with Germany, acted by granting independence and granting Palestine control of its borders.

With American pressure and the mass exodus of Jews from Europe, Jews defied the British resulting in Jewish resistance. What followed then was a UN plan to divide the land with a Jerusalem an international city administered by the UN. The Arabs rebelled and lost much of what the UN plan provided and Jerusalem as an international city was scrapped.

Will there be a second serious attempt to settle the issue of the land and the status of Jerusalem? Will there be a serious move toward a single state? How will the matter of Jerusalem be resolved. The two state solution has always been a fantasy and acquiescence of Palestinians to engage in this charade exposes their leaders to charges of posturing for perks. Imagined options could go on and on but will there be serious options placed before the world community or will the boots on the ground Israeli policies continue?

As I have commented before, it will most probably be the Jewish community in Israel and the world that shapes the future and if the matter is to be resolved that is fair to both parties, it will be they that starts the ball rolling.

Zachary Smith , December 24, 2017 at 1:34 pm

As I have commented before, it will most probably be the Jewish community in Israel and the world that shapes the future and if the matter is to be resolved that is fair to both parties, it will be they that starts the ball rolling.

The Nice Zionists responsible for the thefts and murders for the past 69 years along with the "Jewish Community" in the rest of the world will resolve the matter so as to be fair to both parties. This is mind-boggling fantasy.

Larry Larsen , December 24, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Truly mind-boggling. Ahistorical, and as you say, fantasy.

Larry Larsen , December 24, 2017 at 5:48 pm

FFS, Netanyahu aired a political commercial in Florida for Romney saying vote for this guy (against Obama)! I mean, it doesn't get any more overtly manipulative than that. Period. End of story.

$50K of Facebook ads about puppies pales in comparison to that blatant, prima facia, public manipulation. God, I hate to go all "Israel controls the media" but there it is. Not even a discussion. Just a fact.

Larry Larsen , December 24, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Just for the record, Richard Silverstein blocked me on Twitter because I pointed out that he slammed someone who was suggesting that the Assad government was fighting for its (Syria's) life by fighting terrorists. Actually, more specifically, because of that he read my "Free Palestine" bio on Twitter and called me a Hamas supporter (no Hamas mentioned) and a "moron" for some seeming contradiction.

I also have to point out that he "fist pumped" Hillary Clinton at Mohammed Ali's eulogy. If he's as astute as he purports to be, he has to know that Hillary would have invaded Syria and killed a few hundred thousand more Syrians for the simple act of defiantly preserving their country. By almost any read of Ali's history, he would have been adamantly ("killing brown people") against that. But there was Silverstein using the platform to promote, arguably, perpetual war.

Silverstein is probably not a good (ie. consistent) arbiter of Israeli impact on US politics. Just sayin'.

I wish it were otherwise.

Taras 77 , December 24, 2017 at 6:35 pm

https://www.therussophile.org/virus-found-inside-dnc-server-is-linked-to-a-company-based-in-pakistan.html/

This may be a tad ot but it relates to the alleged hacking of the DNC, the role debbie wasserman schultz plays in the spy ring (awan bros) in house of rep servers: I have long suspected that mossad has their fingers in this entire mess. FWIW

Good site, BTW.

Zachary Smith , December 24, 2017 at 7:35 pm

I can't recall why I removed the Tikun Olam site from my bookmarks – it happened quite a while back. Generally I do that when I feel the blogger crossed some kind of personal red line. Something Mr. Silverstein wrote put him over that line with me.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/us/06leak.html?hp

In the course of a search I found that at the neocon NYT. Mr. Silverstein claims several things I find unbelievable, and from that alone I wonder about his ultimate motives. I may be excessively touchy about this, but that's how it is.

Larry Larsen , December 24, 2017 at 8:51 pm

Yeah Zachary, "wondering about ultimate motives" is probably a good way to put it/his views. He's obviously conflicted, if not deferential in some aspects of Israeli policy. He really was a hero of mine, but now I just don't get whether what he says is masking something or a true belief. He says some good stuff, but, but, but .

P. Michael Garber , December 24, 2017 at 11:54 pm

Yeah I found a couple of Silverstein's statements to be closer to neocon propaganda than reality: "Because this is Israel and because we have a conflicted relationship with the Israel lobby . . ." "Instead of going directly to the Obama administration, with which they had terrible relations, they went to Trump instead." My impression was that the whole "terrible relationship between Obama and Netanyahu" was manufactured by the Israel lobby to bully Obama. However these are small blips within an otherwise solid critique of the Israel lobby's influence.

[Dec 25, 2017] Ukraine loses gas dispute to Russia; ordered to pay $2 billion to Gazprom by by Alexander Mercouris

Notable quotes:
"... By contrast the reduction in the gas price Naftogaz refers to from $485/tcm to $352 tcm which Naftogaz makes much of in its statement appears to apply only to gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom in the second quarter of 2014 and still sets the price of gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom higher than was demanded by Ukraine during this period. ..."
"... Ukraine recently borrowed $3 billion on the international financial markets at very high interest almost certainly in order to pay the $3 billion the High Court in London has ordered it to pay Russia. Whilst the $2 billion is technically a debt owed by Naftogaz not Ukraine and its non-payment would does not place Ukraine in a state of sovereign default, Gazprom is in a position to enforce the debt against Naftogaz's assets (including gas it buys) in the European Economic Area. It is difficult to see how Naftogaz and Ukraine can avoid payment of this debt. ..."
"... Has Ukraine actually gained anything from its long running gas dispute with Russia? ..."
Dec 25, 2017 | theduran.com

On Friday 21st December 2017 the Stockholm Arbitration Court made a ruling in the legal dispute between Ukraine's state owned gas monopoly Naftogaz and Russia's largely state owned gas monopoly Gazprom.

In the hours after the decision – which like all decisions of the Stockholm Arbitration Court – is not published, Naftogaz claimed victory in a short statement. However over the course of the hours which followed Gazprom provided details of the decision which suggests that the truth is the diametric opposite.

The Duran recommends using WP Engine >>

Here is how the Financial Times reports the competing claims

Both Ukraine's Naftogaz and Russia's Gazprom both on Friday claimed victory as a Stockholm arbitration tribunal issued the final award ruling in the first of two cases in a three-year legal battle between the state-controlled energy companies, where total claims stand at some $80bn.

An emailed statement from the Ukrainian company was titled:

"Naftogaz wins the gas sales arbitration case against Gazprom on all issues in dispute."

Start your own website here >>

The Stockholm arbitration tribunal -- in its final award ruling in a dispute over gas supplies from prior years -- had, according to Naftogaz, struck down Gazprom's claim to receive $56bn for gas contracted but not supplied through controversial "take-or-pay" clauses. They were included in a supply contract Ukraine signed in 2009 after Gazprom dented supplies to the EU by cutting all flow amid a price dispute -- including transit through the country's vast pipeline systems. In a tweet Ukraine's foreign minister

Pavlo Klimkin wrote: "The victory of Naftogaz in the Stockholm arbitration: It's not a knockout, but three knockdowns with obvious advantage."

But later Gazprom countered that arbitors "acknowledged the main points of the contract were in effect and upheld the majority of Gazprom's demands for payment for gas supplies", worth over $2bn. A Naftogaz official responded that the company never refused to pay for gas supplied, but challenged price and conditions.

Given the tribunal does not make its decisions public, doubt loomed over which side was the ultimate winner. Anticipation also grew over the second and final tribunal award expected early next year over disputes both have concerning past gas transit obligations.

Friday's final Stockholm arbitration ruling follows a preliminary decision from last May after which both sides were given time to settle monetary claims outside of the tribunal but failed to reach agreement.

Here is the full Naftogaz statement:

"Today, the Tribunal at the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce has completely rejected Gazprom take-or-pay claims to Naftogaz amounting to USD 56 billion for 2009-2017.

Gazprom said that in a separate decision on May 31 of this year, the tribunal denied Naftogaz's application to review prices from May 2011 to April 2014, ordered it to pay $14bn for gas supplies during that period, and said that the take-or-pay conditions applied for the duration of the contract. Gazprom claimed that Naftogaz would have to pay it $2.18bn plus interest of 0.03 per cent for every day the payments were late, and then pay for 5bn cm of gas annually starting next year.

When the different sides give opposite accounts of the same decision it obviously becomes difficult to say what the real decision actually is. However Gazprom says that the court upheld (1) the main provisions of the contract; (2) the contract's take-or-pay provisions, these being a particularly contentious issue in the contract; and (3) that Naftogaz has been ordered to pay Gazprom $2 billion, presumably immediately, with interest for every day the amount is unpaid.

By contrast the reduction in the gas price Naftogaz refers to from $485/tcm to $352 tcm which Naftogaz makes much of in its statement appears to apply only to gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom in the second quarter of 2014 and still sets the price of gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom higher than was demanded by Ukraine during this period.

The key point here is that Russia agreed to reduce the price of gas supplied to Ukraine by an agreement Russia's President Putin reached with Ukraine's President Yanukovich in December 2013. After the Maidan coup the new Ukrainian government went back on the agreement causing the Russians to demand payment of the original price. However over the course of 2014, as energy prices began first to slide and then crashed, and as it became clear that Ukraine was simply not paying for its gas, Russia again reduced the price of the gas Ukraine had to pay.

What seems to have happened is that the Stockholm Arbitration Court decided to smooth out the price of gas payable by Ukraine throughout 2014, which is the sort of thing arbitration tribunals are regularly known to do, whilst leaving the essentials of the contract unchanged.

If so then this is not a victory by Ukraine but a clearcut defeat, which Naftogaz and the Ukrainian government have tried to spin into a victory by citing the reduction in the gas price in the second quarter of 2014 and the reduction in future gas import volumes, neither of which were contentious issues. By contrast it is clear that Ukraine and Naftogaz must pay the full contractual price and abide by the contract's take-or-pay provisions for the whole of the period of the contract prior to the second quarter of 2014.

What this means in terms of hard cash is that Ukraine must now pay Russia a further $2 billion on top of the $3 billion it was recently ordered to pay by the High Court in London. Just as it is holding back on paying the $3 billion it was ordered to pay by the High Court until the appeal process in London is finished, so it will try to hold off paying the $2 billion it has just been ordered to pay to Gazprom until the final decision of the Stockholm Arbitration Court (thus the brave talk of Naftogaz's claims of "up to $16 billion transit contract arbitration against Gazprom") but thereafter payment of the $2 billion will fall due. I say this because the claim Gazprom owes Naftogaz "up to" $16 billion in transit fees looks like it has been plucked out of the air.

What this means is that over the course of 2018 Ukraine will have to pay Russia $5 billion ($3 billion awarded by the High Court in London and $2 billion awarded by the Stockholm Arbitration Court). Since the $2 billion awarded by the Stockholm Arbitration Court is technically an arbitration award, Gazprom will need to convert it into a court Judgment before it can enforce it, but that is merely a formality. At that point this debt will become not merely due but legally enforceable as well.

Ukraine recently borrowed $3 billion on the international financial markets at very high interest almost certainly in order to pay the $3 billion the High Court in London has ordered it to pay Russia. Whilst the $2 billion is technically a debt owed by Naftogaz not Ukraine and its non-payment would does not place Ukraine in a state of sovereign default, Gazprom is in a position to enforce the debt against Naftogaz's assets (including gas it buys) in the European Economic Area. It is difficult to see how Naftogaz and Ukraine can avoid payment of this debt.

Has Ukraine actually gained anything from its long running gas dispute with Russia?

Naftogaz brags that Ukraine has saved up to $75 billion because it is no longer buying gas from Russia. However this begs the question of whether the gas Ukraine is now importing from Europe really is significantly cheaper than the gas Ukraine was buying from Russia? This is debatable and with energy prices rising it is likely to become even less likely over time.

[Dec 24, 2017] The never-ending crisis of Zionism by Philip Weiss

Notable quotes:
"... The Crisis of Zionism ..."
"... Thanks to Allison Deger. ..."
Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

After a video came out this week of two young Palestinian women slapping Israeli soldiers in the occupied village of Nabi Saleh, the Israeli leftwing group Peace Now tweeted that the soldiers were "heroes" for not responding violently, and issued a statement commending the soldiers for "demonstrating moral fortitude in the face of an attempted stunt to blacken Israel's image."

The day those women slapped the soldiers, their 14-year-old cousin was shot in the face by Israeli soldiers, blood pouring from his head "like a fountain," and he had to undergo a lengthy operation.

Peace Now didn't say anything about that. Both young women were later arrested. The 16-year-old, Ahed Tamimi, faces a possibly lengthy sentence so that Israel can maintain its honor. Peace Now has not issued a statement about that.

I find this so dispiriting it is hard to put one word after another. But people should know: this is the world Zionism made. In which a leftwing organization cares about Jewish soldiers maintaining their honor and purity of arms; and has nothing to say about human rights violations against an occupied, subject people.

This is a story about Jewish identity being rooted in trauma; and how long will it take us to overcome that trauma?

The Palestinian experience today is a lot like the Jewish experience of pogroms 100 years ago and more in eastern Europe. As Jews were beaten and killed by marauding gangs with the blessing of the state -- American Jews were not silent. Jews acted. Our leaders went to the White House. Important Jewish organizations were formed. The most powerful Jew in the world, the banker Jacob Schiff, supported the Russian revolution because he so hated the czar. The most brilliant Jew in the world, Franz Kafka came out of his office in Prague to see Jews being beaten and he went to Zionist meetings.

Today millions of Palestinians under occupation are being humiliated, deprived of freedom, their children given no chance to dream of a better life and the leftwing Zionist organization says a 16-year-old Palestinian woman whose cousin was maimed and who slapped a soldier in the courtyard of her house is carrying out a stunt.

Peace Now urges separation: "the occupation corrodes Israel and its image, and will continue until Israel extricates itself from the Palestinians."

Jewish separation from Palestinians is a delusion. It is like whites separating from blacks in the U.S. Israel is 20 percent non-Jewish; and it rules territories containing 5 million Palestinians; and though the world has resolved to "extricate" the Jews from the Arabs for 70 years now, the communities are intertwined more than ever, as Israeli Jews flood the West Bank and build more and more Jewish-only colonies.

These Jewish colonies and their military escort have inflicted endless trauma on the subject population. Ahed Tamimi is plainly traumatized; she has been subject to violence again and again in her short life.

Two years ago Ahed Tamimi famously tried to protect her brother from an Israeli soldier.

Two years later she is a young woman put in jail for slapping Israeli soldiers in her village.

And Peace Now cries out about the Israeli soldiers:

The occupation is destroying Israel!

And Americans for Peace Now, the strongest liberal Zionist group, retweets the statement.

The occupation surely is destroying Israel spiritually. But who is it actually destroying, Palestinians. Liberal and leftwing American Jews have known this forever. Seven years ago video of a Palestinian boy running after his father as Israeli police dragged the father away for allegedly stealing water from Jewish colonists inside occupied territory gained international attention, and then too Israel said the footage was staged– and Peter Beinart wrote a book partially inspired by that moment, The Crisis of Zionism . And nothing changes. The Jews stay in crisis, and the Palestinian children get older– and more traumatized.

The only question is why Jews do not act? Why, given this endless evidence of persecution, haven't Beinart and Peace Now come out for something stronger to break the occupation? Does Palestinian human wreckage count for anything?

These liberals mock the idea of bearing witness. Americans for Peace Now is still on the board of AIPAC. It could quit tomorrow and send a message. It doesn't. And I understand calls for partition. Nationalism is a dangerous force. But partition efforts have crumbled for 70 years, and the last 25 years of earnest effort have been a miserable failure. It is not enough to call for partition.

Palestinians like Ahed Tamimi have called on Americans to support boycott of Israel, the tool that has been used on countless occasions in our progressive history to stirring effect– lately over transgender access to bathrooms in North Carolina. But Jewish Voice for Peace is the only large Jewish group to support boycott, and JVP is renegade; a leader of the official Jewish community, Jeffrey Goldberg, smears JVP for having a "homicidal impulse" for Israel; and he gets away with it.

Because at some deep level older Jews are committed to the idea of a Jewish state as some historical compensation for the greatest trauma of the last century, the Holocaust. That's an understandable desire, to gain some amendment from the world's powers for the horrors of the last century.

But it comes down ultimately to a matter of selfishness in the formation of identity. How safe are we today in the west? Safe, and empowered. On what terms are we safe? Democratic principles of equality for all persons. Even Bannon and Trump's indulgence of anti-Semites has done nothing to curb our powers.

That is the modern Jewish condition; but we cannot acknowledge it, let alone the Palestinians' condition. No, we are traumatized; so we insist that a girl living right now in an occupied village with no future is somehow on an equal footing with a heavily-armed occupying soldier, who is there to keep her family from going to its spring and who when his three years is up and he's done his one year decompensation smoking dope in India will go to the Technion and then participate in a tech startup while his little brother replaces him in armor.

This is so dispiriting it can't be expressed in words. Every young American Jew who goes home for the new year needs to talk to their parents about the persecution of Ahed Tamimi. It is only happening with American Jews' blessing.

Thanks to Allison Deger. (Republished from MondoWeiss by permission of author or representative)

RealAmerican , December 23, 2017 at 10:17 pm GMT

This is the kind of article that exemplifies the traditional, gentle, and progressive spirit of Judaism as I understood it at one time. Is it not delusional to believe that tiny Israel will forever be able to dominate the Middle East which is inhabited by over 300 million Arabs, mostly young. Add to that Persian Iran, Israel's arch-enemy of 70 millions, and the remainder one billion Muslims in North Africa and Asia.

Americans at present do not give a damn about Palestinians and Muslims, but there is no guaranty that they would not regard Israel in the same fashion at some point in the future.

So, yes, young American Jews should talk to their parents about the persecution of Ahed Tamimi, and the murder and maiming of thousands of children like her at the hands of heavily armed occupying Israeli soldiers.

Miliia18 , December 23, 2017 at 11:44 pm GMT
One Israeli state that includes the West Bank Allow the Palestinians to become citizens. What's more likely is a fake Palestinian authority, beatings, expulsions, land theft, military detention, and eventual full ethnic cleansing. A large percentage of American Jews are as bigoted toward Palestinians as any southern cracker was toward blacks in the 1950′s.

Most Jews are only concerned with Jewish suffering. No one else matters. If you don't believe me count the number of Hollywood movies that concern Palestinian suffering under Jewish occupation in the West Bank.

ZERO

anony-mouse , December 24, 2017 at 1:56 am GMT
Er,