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[Dec 29, 2019] Iran arrests more than 100 Christians in growing crackdown on ...

Dec 29, 2019 | telegraph.co.uk

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/10/iran-arrests-100-christians-growing-crackdown-minority/

Dec 10, 2018 Iran has arrested more than 100 Christians in the last week, charities report, amid a growing crackdown by the Islamic Republic. play_arrow play_arrow 3 Reply Report CTG_Sweden 19 minutes ago ( Edited ) remove Share link Copy But so far they haven´t been kicked out of Iran, like a considerable portion of the Palestinian Christians in Palestine/Israel back in 1947-48. 30 % of the Palestinians who were driven out from Israel were Christians. Nor have they been starved to death like the Christians who owned farmland in Russia/Ukraine in the 1920s and 30s when Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and Stalin´s "brother in law" Kaganovych ruled over Russian/Ukrainian farmers. But I agree that Europe still is a better place for Christians than Iran. But does a person like Barbara Lerner-Spectre want to keep it that way? Well, I´m not so sure about that. CTG_Sweden 17 minutes ago remove Share link Copy

falconflight:

"christians, and btw Yazidies have been destroyed in those two nations."

My comments:

... by ISIS and Al-Qaeda which indirectly were supported by the West which also wished to topple Assad. Israel even treated wounded ISIS fighters in Golan (which they had conquered from Syria in 1967). TeraByte 1 hour ago remove Share link Copy Israel is too arrogant to be able to recognize the current altered terror balance in ME, even when this is confirmed by their own military analysts. The country will experience a very hard awakening, if attacking neighbour nations. How is it possible these Choosenites swearing God chose them to reign over other people and their Holy Talmud telling "the Universe was created for the fulfillment of the destiny of the Jewish people" now simultaneously can claim they have a cool rational of their real position on real time. These lunatics´ religious arguments simply do not add up.

[Dec 28, 2019] An American Oligarch's Dirty Tale Of Corruption by William Engdahl

Notable quotes:
"... Splitting Naftogaz into separate companies could allow Soros to take control of one of the new branches and essentially privatize its profits. He already suggested that he indirectly brought in US consulting company, McKinsey, to advise Naftogaz on the privatization " big bang ." ..."
"... The totality of what is revealed in the three hacked documents show that Soros is effectively the puppet-master pulling most of the strings in Kiev. Soros Foundation's Ukraine branch, International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) has been involved in Ukraine since 1989. His IRF doled out more than $100 million to Ukrainian NGOs two years before the fall of the Soviet Union, creating the preconditions for Ukraine's independence from Russia in 1991. Soros also admitted to financing the 2013-2014 Maidan Square protests that brought the current government into power. ..."
"... Soros' foundations were also deeply involved in the 2004 Orange Revolution that brought the corrupt but pro-NATO Viktor Yushchenko into power with his American wife who had been in the US State Department ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by William Engdahl via LewRockwell.com,

Rarely does the world get a true look inside the corrupt world of Western oligarchs and the brazen manipulations they use to enhance their fortunes at the expense of the public good.

The following comes from correspondence of the Hungarian-born billionaire, now naturalized American speculator, George Soros. The hacker group CyberBerkut has published online letters allegedly written by Soros that reveal him not only as puppet master of the US-backed Ukraine regime .

They also reveal his machinations with the US Government and the officials of the European Union in a scheme where, if he succeeds, he could win billions in the plunder of Ukraine assets. All, of course, would be at the expense of Ukrainian citizens and of EU taxpayers.

What the three hacked documents reveal is a degree of behind-the-scene manipulation of the most minute details of the Kiev regime by the New York billionaire.

In the longest memo, dated March 15, 2015 and marked "Confidential" Soros outlines a detailed map of actions for the Ukraine regime. Titled, "A short and medium term comprehensive strategy for the new Ukraine," the memo from Soros calls for steps to "restore the fighting capacity of Ukraine without violating the Minsk agreement." To do the restoring, Soros blithely notes that "General Wesley Clark, Polish General Skrzypczak and a few specialists under the auspices of the Atlantic Council [emphasis added -- f.w.e.] will advise President Poroshenko how to restore the fighting capacity of Ukraine without violating the Minsk agreement ."

Soros also calls for supplying lethal arms to Ukraine and secretly training Ukrainian army personnel in Romania to avoid direct NATO presence in Ukraine . The Atlantic Council is a leading Washington pro-NATO think tank .

Notably, Wesley Clark is also a business associate of Soros in BNK Petroleum which does business in Poland.

Clark, some might recall, was the mentally-unstable NATO General in charge of the 1999 bombing of Serbia who ordered NATO soldiers to fire on Russian soldiers guarding the Pristina International Airport. The Russians were there as a part of an agreed joint NATO–Russia peacekeeping operation supposed to police Kosovo. The British Commander, General Mike Jackson refused Clark, retorting, "I'm not going to start the Third World War for you ." Now Clark apparently decided to come out of retirement for the chance to go at Russia directly.

Naked asset grab

In his March 2015 memo Soros further writes that Ukrainian President Poroshenko's "first priority must be to regain control of financial markets," which he assures Poroshenko that Soros would be ready to assist in: "I am ready to call Jack Lew of the US Treasury to sound him out about the swap agreement."

He also calls on the EU to give Ukraine an annual aid sum of €11 billion via a special EU borrowing facility. Soros proposes in effect using the EU's "AAA" top credit rating to provide a risk insurance for investment into Ukraine.

Whose risk would the EU insure?

Soros details, "I am prepared to invest up to €1 billion in Ukrainian businesses. This is likely to attract the interest of the investment community. As stated above, Ukraine must become an attractive investment destination."

Not to leave any doubt, Soros continues, "The investments will be for-profit but I will pledge to contribute the profits to my foundations. This should allay suspicions that I am advocating policies in search of personal gain. "

For anyone familiar with the history of the Soros Open Society Foundations in Eastern Europe and around the world since the late 1980's, will know that his supposedly philanthropic "democracy-building" projects in Poland, Russia, or Ukraine in the 1990's allowed Soros the businessman to literally plunder the former communist countries using Harvard University's "shock therapy" messiah, and Soros associate, Jeffrey Sachs, to convince the post-Soviet governments to privatize and open to a "free market" at once, rather than gradually.

The example of Soros in Liberia is instructive for understanding the seemingly seamless interplay between Soros the shrewd businessman and Soros the philanthropist. In West Africa George Soros backed a former Open Society employee of his, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, giving her international publicity and through his influence, even arranging a Nobel Peace Prize for her in 2011, insuring her election as president. Before her presidency she had been well-indoctrinated into the Western free market game, studying economics at Harvard and working for the US-controlled World Bank in Washington and the Rockefeller Citibank in Nairobi. Before becoming Liberia's President, she worked for Soros directly as chair of his Open Society Initiative for West Africa ( OSIWA ).

Once in office, President Sirleaf opened the doors for Soros to take over major Liberian gold and base metals assets along with his partner, Nathaniel Rothschild. One of her first acts as President was to also invite the Pentagon's new Africa Command, AFRICOM, into Liberia whose purpose as a Liberian investigation revealed, was to "protect George Soros and Rothschild mining operations in West Africa rather than champion stability and human rights ."

Naftogaz the target

The Soros memo makes clear he has his eyes on the Ukrainian state gas and energy monopoly, Naftogaz. He writes, "The centerpiece of economic reforms will be the reorganization of Naftogaz and the introduction of market pricing for all forms of energy, replacing hidden subsidies "

In an earlier letter Soros wrote in December 2014 to both President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, Soros openly called for his Shock Therapy:

"I want to appeal to you to unite behind the reformers in your government and give your wholehearted support to a radical, 'big bang' type of approach. That is to say, administrative controls would be removed and the economy would move to market prices rapidly rather than gradually Naftogaz needs to be reorganized with a big bang replacing the hidden subsidies "

Splitting Naftogaz into separate companies could allow Soros to take control of one of the new branches and essentially privatize its profits. He already suggested that he indirectly brought in US consulting company, McKinsey, to advise Naftogaz on the privatization " big bang ."

The Puppet-Master?

The totality of what is revealed in the three hacked documents show that Soros is effectively the puppet-master pulling most of the strings in Kiev. Soros Foundation's Ukraine branch, International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) has been involved in Ukraine since 1989. His IRF doled out more than $100 million to Ukrainian NGOs two years before the fall of the Soviet Union, creating the preconditions for Ukraine's independence from Russia in 1991. Soros also admitted to financing the 2013-2014 Maidan Square protests that brought the current government into power.

Soros' foundations were also deeply involved in the 2004 Orange Revolution that brought the corrupt but pro-NATO Viktor Yushchenko into power with his American wife who had been in the US State Department . In 2004 just weeks after Soros' International Renaissance Foundation had succeeded in getting Viktor Yushchenko as President of Ukraine, Michael McFaul wrote an OpEd for the Washington Post. McFaul, a specialist in organizing color revolutions, who later became US Ambassador to Russia, revealed:

Did Americans meddle in the internal affairs of Ukraine? Yes. The American agents of influence would prefer different language to describe their activities -- democratic assistance, democracy promotion, civil society support, etc. -- but their work, however labeled, seeks to influence political change in Ukraine. The U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Endowment for Democracy and a few other foundations sponsored certain U.S. organizations, including Freedom House, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the Solidarity Center, the Eurasia Foundation, Internews and several others to provide small grants and technical assistance to Ukrainian civil society. The European Union, individual European countries and the Soros-funded International Renaissance Foundation did the same .

Soros shapes 'New Ukraine'

Today the CyberBerkut hacked papers show that Soros' IRF money is behind creation of a National Reform Council, a body organized by presidential decree from Poroshenko which allows the Ukrainian president to push bills through Ukraine's legislature. Soros writes,

"The framework for bringing the various branches of government together has also emerged. The National Reform Council (NRC) brings together the presidential administration, the cabinet of ministers, the Rada and its committees and civil society. The International Renaissance Foundation which is the Ukrainian branch of the Soros Foundations was the sole financial supporter of the NRC until now "

Soros' NRC in effect is the vehicle to allow the President to override parliamentary debate to push through "reforms," with the declared first priority being privatization of Naftogaz and raising gas prices drastically to Ukrainian industry and households, something the bankrupt country can hardly afford .

In his letter to Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk, Soros hints that he played a key role in selection of three key non-Ukrainian ministers -- Natalia Jaresko, an American ex- State Department official as Finance Minister; Aivras Abromavicius of Lithuania as Economics Minister, and a health minister from Georgia. Soros in his December 2014 letter, referring to his proposal for a "big bank" privatization of Naftogaz and price rise, states,

"You are fortunate to have appointed three 'new Ukrainian' ministers and several natives (sic) who are committed to this approach ."

Elsewhere Soros speaks about de facto creating the impression within the EU that the current government of Yatsenyuk is finally cleaning out the notorious corruption that has dominated every Kiev regime since 1991. Creating that temporary reform illusion, he remarks, will convince the EU to cough up the €11 billion annual investment insurance fund. His March 2015 paper says that, "It is essential for the government to produce a visible demonstration (sic) during the next three months in order to change the widely prevailing image of Ukraine as an utterly corrupt country." That he states will open the EU to make the €11 billion insurance guarantee investment fund .

While saying that it is important to show Ukraine as a country that is not corrupt, Soros reveals he has little concern when transparency and proper procedures block his agenda. Talking about his proposals to reform Ukraine's constitution to enable privatizations and other Soros-friendly moves, he complains,

"The process has been slowed down by the insistence of the newly elected Rada on proper procedures and total transparency ."

Soros suggests that he intends to create this "visible demonstration" through his initiatives, such as using the Soros-funded National Reform Council, a body organized by presidential decree which allows the Ukrainian president to push bills through Ukraine's legislature.

George Soros is also using his new European Council on Foreign Relations think-tank to lobby his Ukraine strategy, with his council members such as Alexander Graf Lambsdorff or Joschka Fischer or Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, not to mention former ECB head, Jean-Claude Trichet no doubt laying a subtle role.

George Soros, now 84, was born in Hungary as a Jew, George Sorosz. Soros once boasted in a TV interview that he posed during the war as a gentile with forged papers, assisting the Horthy government to seize property of other Hungarian Jews who were being shipped to the Nazi death camps. Soros told the TV moderator, "There was no sense that I shouldn't be there, because that was–well, actually, in a funny way, it's just like in markets–that if I weren't there–of course, I wasn't doing it, but somebody else would."

This is the same morality apparently behind Soros' activities in Ukraine today. It seems again to matter not to him that the Ukrainian government he helped bring to power in February 2014 US coup d'etat is riddled with explicit anti-semites and self-proclaimed neo-Nazis from the Svoboda Party and Pravy Sektor. George Soros is clearly a devotee of "public-private-partnership." Only here the public gets fleeced to enrich private investors like Mr. Soros and friends. Cynically, Soros signs his Ukraine strategy memo, "George Soros–A self-appointed advocate of the new Ukraine, March 12, 2015."


youshallnotkill , 1 minute ago link

Funny how the Soros Open Society Foundations is still operational while the Trump Foundation was closed by court order because it among other things stole from veterans, and Trump was fined $2M for his foundation's maleficence.

Kendle C , 1 hour ago link

I believe the author is wrong about his original name. Wasn't it Gyorgi Schwarz?

Lore , 1 hour ago link

This is amazing -- should be the feature article for the coming week.

Just when you think things couldn't get more corrupt, something like this surfaces, and we're shown new depths of evil.

This guy Soros seems like the devil incarnate.

SummerSausage , 1 hour ago link

And now we learn that our own State Department was filling Soros coffers with our taxpayer money to use against us and destroy our republic.

Whenever Democrats scream about cuts in foreign aid, know that they are squealing because their "cut" of the laundered funds is in jeopardy and they have to answer to Soros for the rest.

Lord Raglan , 3 hours ago link

He's contributed a lot of money to the Dem Party to be so insulated from not only prosecution but from criticism. If and when he gets criticized in a publication or article, he screams "Anti-Semitism!" He's become good at making everything a win-win for himself. Preaches socialism out of one side of his mouth to "virtue signal" to the world and then loots the objects thereof out of the other side of his mouth for the benefit of his alleged foundations. Why we can't prosecute him for interfering in our elections with his stolen money is something hard to understand.

CatInTheHat , 5 hours ago link

Ukraine is *** infested. I would like to know Soros ties to Igor Kolomoisky.

"Once in office, President Sirleaf opened the doors for Soros to take over major Liberian gold and base metals assets along with his partner, Nathaniel Rothschild. One of her first acts as President was to also invite the Pentagon's new Africa Command, AFRICOM, into Liberia whose purpose as a Liberian investigation revealed, was to "protect George Soros and Rothschild mining operations in West Africa rather than champion stability and human rights ."

Wherever there are wealthy *** Zionist fascist oligarch sociopaths there is trouble...

Both parties support this ****.

[Dec 24, 2019] Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" applied to how neoliberals run prisons

Dec 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

flora , December 23, 2019 at 1:44 pm

The second link is interesting for making Unions look inhuman and part of the problem. Let's roll this story back about 3 years.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/datablog/2016/nov/18/fewer-prison-officers-and-more-assaults-how-uk-prison-staffing-has-changed

So, cut funding for prisons; cut necessary levels, to insure safety, prison guard staffing; watch as prison violence escalates; then print a story where the Union leader, trying to protect his remaining too small workforce from the rising violence, sounds like an inhuman bad guy in the story. Neolibs gotta love that angle.

I'm seeing the same thing in my US state over the past several years. The politicians' answer is not to increase staffing of unionized prison guards or spend more on safety for state prisons, but to outsource prisoner housing to the private sector. Neolibs love that angle.

flora , December 23, 2019 at 1:50 pm

Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" applied to govt funded and run prisons.

[Dec 23, 2019] When Will the Afghan War Architects Be Held Accountable by Daniel R. DePetris

Notable quotes:
"... Some, such as General David Petraeus , seem to sincerely believe that the U.S. was on the right track and could have made progress if only those pesky civilians in the Beltway hadn't pulled the rug out from under them by announcing a premature withdrawal. ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

When Will the Afghan War Architects Be Held Accountable?

Even after the release of the Afghanistan Papers, our elites are still determined to escape without blame. CERNOBBIO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06: Chairman of the KKR Global Institute David Howell Petraeus attends the Ambrosetti International Economic Forum 2019 "Lo scenario dell'Economia e della Finanza" on September 6, 2019 in Cernobbio, Italy. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

Almost two weeks after the Washington Post 's Craig Whitlock published his six-part series on the trials, tribulations, and blunders of Washington's 19-year-long social science experiment in Afghanistan, those involved in the war effort are desperately pointing fingers as to who is to blame. An alternative narrative has emerged among this crop of elite policymakers, military officers, and advisers that while American policy in Afghanistan has been horrible, the people responsible for it really did believe it would all work out in the end. Call it the "we were stupid" defense.

There were no lies or myths propagated by senior U.S. officials, we are told, just honest assessments that later proved to be wrong. Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, who has advised U.S. commanders on Afghanistan war policy, wrote that "no, there has not been a campaign of disinformation, intentional or subliminal." Former defense secretary Jim Mattis, who led CENTCOM during part of the war effort, called the Post 's reporting "not really news" and was mystified that the unpublished interviews from the U.S. special inspector general were generating such shock. Others have faulted the Post for publishing the material to begin with, claiming that public disclosure would scare future witnesses from cooperating and threaten other fact-finding inquiries (the fact that the newspaper was legally permitted to publish the transcripts after winning a court case against the government is apparently irrelevant in the minds of those making this argument).

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

All of these claims and counter-claims should be seen for what they truly are: the flailings of a policymaking class so arrogant and unaccountable that it can't see straight. That they're blaming the outrage engendered by the Afghanistan Papers on anything other than themselves is Exhibit A that our narcissistic policy elite is cocooned in their own reality.

Analysts have been pouring over the Afghanistan interview transcripts for over a week in order to determine how the war went wrong. Some of the main lessons learned have long been evident. The decision to impose a top-down democratic political order on a country that operated on a system of patronage and tribal systems from the bottom-up was bound to be problematic. Throwing tens of billions of dollars of reconstruction assistance into a nation that had no experience managing that kind of money -- or spending it properly -- helped fuel the very nationwide corruption Washington would come to regret. Paying off warlords to fight the Taliban and keep order while pressuring those very same warlords into following the rules was contradictory. The mistakes go on and on and on: as Lieutenant General Douglas Lute said, "We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking."

One of the most salient findings about this ghastly two-decade-long misadventure surfaced after the Afghanistan Papers were released: the commentariat will stop at nothing to absolve themselves of the slightest responsibility for the disaster they supported. The outright refusal of the pundit class to own up to its errors is as disturbing as it is infuriating. And even when they do acknowledge that errors were committed, they tend to minimize their own role in those mistakes, explaining them away as unfortunate consequences of fixed withdrawal deadlines, inter-agency tussling, Afghanistan's poor foundational state, or the inability of the Afghans to capitalize on the opportunities Washington provided them. Some, such as General David Petraeus , seem to sincerely believe that the U.S. was on the right track and could have made progress if only those pesky civilians in the Beltway hadn't pulled the rug out from under them by announcing a premature withdrawal.

It's always somebody else's fault.

Whether out of arrogance, ego, or fear of not being taken seriously in Washington's foreign policy discussions, the architects of the war refuse to admit even the most obvious mistakes. Instead they duck and weave like a quarterback escaping a full-on defensive rush, attempting yet again to fool the American public.

But the public has nothing to apologize for. It is those who are making excuses who have exercised disastrous judgment on Afghanistan. And they owe the country an apology.

Daniel R. DePetris is a columnist for the Washington Examiner and a contributor to The American Conservative.

[Dec 21, 2019] Bill Clinton began humanitarian wars but it was Bush II and Obama who turned resource wars into routine practice and the USA into malignant overlords who decided when it is time to take it all.

Notable quotes:
"... oligarchic greed; a military dedicated to protecting the wealth of oligarchs; and, wars over resources. Granted Bill Clinton began the current charade about 'humanitarian wars' but it was Bush II and Obama who turned our focus into resource wars and the hegemons (Malignant Overlords) who decided it was time to take it all. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

rg the lg | Oct 22, 2016 8:25:27 PM | 33

http://empireexposed.blogspot.com/

Long ago (1968) after returning from Vietnam with a bullet hole in my leg (my 90 wonder, post-ROTC officer shot me when he panicked) I wondered off to a down-at-the-heel cow college. There I took a class and C Wright Mills 'The Power Elite' was required reading.

I had just finished 'War is a fraud' and read an article by Paul Ehrlich an then 'The Population Bomb' shortly thereafter. The three books created an interesting fusion in my mind:

  1. More or less after the year 2000 the world would be plagued by resource wars;
  2. The primary role of the military is to enforce what capitalists want; and
  3. Behind the alleged scenes of our form of government hovered oligarchs who would demand more and more.

I recently found a paper I had written long ago. It wasn't very well written, but even then the handwriting was on the wall: oligarchic greed; a military dedicated to protecting the wealth of oligarchs; and, wars over resources. Granted Bill Clinton began the current charade about 'humanitarian wars' but it was Bush II and Obama who turned our focus into resource wars and the hegemons (Malignant Overlords) who decided it was time to take it all.

I guess the point of all of this is (except for the details) Ehrlich, Mills and Butler warned us. As did Huxley and Orwell ... we were just too damned dumb (or distracted) to see it.

Maybe with the Queen of Chaos, the above will result in either annihilation or in a severe reduction in the numbers of people ... (hopefully including all of the oligarchic class) and the chance to start over?

Nah ... we'll just fuck it up again ... as a species we refuse to learn. Sigh ...

[Dec 21, 2019] War is a force that gives us meaning

Notable quotes:
"... Yes. "War is a force that gives us meaning," as Chris Hedges wrote. It provides (false) meaning and purpose. It's an amazingly powerful force, which is one reason why only Congress should declare war. And the last time that happened in the USA was December of 1941. ..."
Dec 02, 2019 | bracingviews.com

Doug Barr December 1, 2019 at 7:24 PM

I just read your article in TD. In my opinion you buried the reason for never ending wars. You mention exceptionalism. I call that concept preeminence. With it is one of the few ways we try to fill the void, or as you said in fewer words, try to give meaning to life. There can be no doubt our lives are becoming increasingly meaningless so we double down and double down again with what we know despite the self-destruction. https://thelastwhy.ca/poems/2015/6/25/life-a-reaction-to-the-void

Like Like

wjastore December 1, 2019 at 7:46 PM
Yes. "War is a force that gives us meaning," as Chris Hedges wrote. It provides (false) meaning and purpose. It's an amazingly powerful force, which is one reason why only Congress should declare war. And the last time that happened in the USA was December of 1941.

Like Like

greglaxer December 2, 2019 at 12:13 AM
Doug Barr–It appears to me you are trying to blur some lines, or perhaps you are confused about, what one might call general human psychology and the official policies of a specific government, that of the USA. [As a student of Anthropology, I point out that though our primate ancestors are prone to outbursts of violence, there is no evidence that making war, especially in the contemporary phase of human society, fulfills an innate "need."] Yes, the US seeks to be "pre-eminent"–or to be blunter, DOMINANT–over the rest of the globe. Where "exceptionalism"–which I have designated the American Disease–enters the picture is the attempt to justify military aggression by suggesting (some are less subtle and openly assert) that the US somehow has been granted a "right" to do this by "a higher power." (Apparently God Himself revealed to George W. Bush that he was born to be "a war president" and the genius Rick Perry asserted recently that Donald Trump was put in the presidency by direct Divine action.) A "right" to send assassin drones anywhere, anytime, to target anyone who's been designated a Bad Guy. This is absurd, if not insane, on the face of it. (In olden times, Rudyard Kipling called it "the white man's burden" to bring civilization to less "enlightened" peoples.) If there was an international court that had some teeth, the US would be vigorously swatted down, ordered to cease and desist. But one of the greatest tragedies of our time is that there is no power on Earth that could stand up to this Monster (as John Kay and his band Steppenwolf rightly identified the US 50 years ago) even if it could find the backbone to make the attempt.

[Dec 21, 2019] Why can't the US learn from its foreign policy failures?

Because they are not foreign policy failure. All of them were huge wins for MIC, which controls the USA foreign policy
Sep 23, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , September 22, 2019 at 05:05 PM

Why can't the US learn from its foreign policy failures?
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2019/09/22/why-can-learn-from-its-foreign-policy-failures/QSyAglf85iK9XuGT1RKK1J/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

H.D.S. Greenway - September 22

After more than 17 years of the United States pouring blood and treasure into the effort to build an Afghan army and government, why is it that the Kabul government continues to lose ground against the Taliban? Further, why were we unsuccessful creating an Iraqi army that could stand on its own against the Islamic State?

Before that, of course, came Vietnam.

Nor was that the start of the failure of American-backed armies. I was a teenager in 1949 when Chiang Kai-shek's American-backed Nationalist army lost to the Communist forces of Mao Zedong in China. The American secretary of state, Dean Acheson, having conducted a study on why our side lost, declared: "The Nationalist armies did not have to be defeated; they disintegrated. History has proved again and again that a regime without faith in itself, and an army without morale, cannot survive the test of battle."

Forty-four years ago, the American-trained and American-supplied army of South Vietnam simply melted away before the less-well-equipped but better-motivated army of North Vietnam. In 1975, I watched South Vietnamese soldiers taking off their uniforms and running away in their underwear as the North Vietnamese closed in on Saigon.

Five years ago, the world watched another American-trained and American-equipped Iraqi army bolt and run when the better motivated Islamic State forces overran Mosul in Northern Iraq.

Why, over and over again, does the side America has backed in these civil wars end up defeated? Four threads connect these lost wars of the last 70 years: corruption, patriotic nationalism, a misplaced belief in American exceptionalism, and self-deception.

I saw corruption on a grand scale in Saigon. Generals and government officials were funneling America's tax dollars into bank accounts abroad, fielding ghost armies in which there were fewer soldiers on the ground than on the official payrolls. In Baghdad during the American occupation, I learned that billions of American taxpayer dollars were bleeding out to the Persian Gulf and Jordan, causing a laundered money real estate boom in the Jordanian capital. In Afghanistan I learned that Afghan officers and soldiers routinely robbed the villages they were sent to protect. Corruption sapped the people's belief in their US-backed government in all four wars. Soldiers saw no reason to die for corrupt officials.

A second thread is that our side always appeared to be fighting on the side of foreigners, while the Communists in China and Vietnam, as well as the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, always had a better grip on patriotic nationalism and resistance to foreigners. The anti-colonial struggle was more important than the threat of Communism in most of the post-World War II world, and the Islamist insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan knew how to exploit the traditional resistance to foreign rule. The Taliban could appeal to patriotism while trying to expel the infidel forces of the United States, just as their fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers had resisted the Russians and the British before that in the name of jihad.

A third thread is a curiously American trait of willfully ignoring other people's history and cultures. I remember asking an American officer in Vietnam if he had read anything of the French experience in Vietnam. His answer: "No, why should I? They lost, didn't they?" Robert McNamara, defense secretary and an architect of our Vietnam War, said in later life that Americans had never understood the Vietnamese. There were plenty of people who could have helped him understand, but he wasn't interested. We were Americans -- exceptional, and therefore not susceptible to the same forces that thwarted other efforts.

I met Americans in the Green Zone in Baghdad who knew nothing about the great schism between Sunnis and Shia Muslims that was tearing the country apart. American-style democracy was the answer to all ills, they felt. In Afghanistan I met Americans who thought purple ink on the fingers of Afghans who had voted was the answer to a thousand years of tribal and ethnic rivalries.

The fourth thread is self-deception. In Saigon, in Baghdad, and in Kabul I attended briefings in which progress was always being made, the trend lines were always favorable, and we were always winning wars we were actually losing. Wishful thinking is no substitute for reality. Americans can train and assist the armies of those whom we want to support in the civil wars of others, but we cannot supply the motivation and morale that is necessary to survive the test of battle.

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , September 22, 2019 at 05:09 PM
Related:

The 'forever war' that began on 9/11
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2019/09/10/the-forever-war-that-began/ONoP7zmI9uaxiBD3clIkDL/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Stephen Kinzer - September 10

As we observe another anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack that shattered American life 18 years ago, its full impact is still unfolding. Those who planned it succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. The airborne assaults that took nearly 3,000 lives on that day may now be seen as the most diabolically successful terror attack in history. That attack not only wreaked carnage at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in rural Pennsylvania. It wound up dragging the United States into an endless state of war that has drained our treasury, poisoned our politics, created waves of new terrorism, and made us the enemy of millions around the world.

The apparent chief perpetrator of the 9/11 attack, Osama bin Laden, presumably cackled with joy when he heard news of his success on that stunning day. He lived for another 10 years, long enough to cackle with even greater glee at Washington's self-defeating response to the attack. Using the 9/11 attack as a pretext, the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. Bin Laden died knowing that he had lured us into the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history.

It is a truism that our lives are shaped not by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens to us. The same applies to nations. Devastating as the death toll was on Sept. 11, 2001, it turned out to be only a taste of what was to come. The United States has been at war ever since. Thousands of Americans have died. So have hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Middle East and beyond. This nearly two-decade-long spasm of attacking, bombing, and occupying countries has decisively shaped the United States and its image in the world. Every day that our "forever war" continues is a triumph for bin Laden. So is every wounded veteran who returns home, every newly minted terrorist infuriated by an American attack, every citizen of the world who recoils at what US forces are being sent to do. We did not simply fall into bin Laden's trap, we raced in at full speed. Even now, we show little will to extricate ourselves.

America's determination to strike back with devastating force after 9/11 was understandable given our shared sense of ravaged innocence. We might have launched a concentrated strike against the gang of several hundred criminals whose leaders attacked the United States, and then come home. Instead we have used the 9/11 attack to justify wars and military deployments around the world.

On Sept. 14, 2001, Congress passed an "authorization for the use of military force" against the perpetrators of that week's attack and against their "associated forces." Three presidents have used that authorization to deploy troops across the Middle East and in countries from Kenya to Georgia to the Philippines. Every call for US withdrawal from Afghanistan or Iraq or Syria is met by warnings that ending wars could produce "another 9/11." This has become the paralyzing mantra that prevents us from halting the hydra-headed military campaign we have been waging for 18 years. We also use it to justify atrocities at prisons like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Bin Laden has succeeded even in colonizing our minds.

Soon after passing its highly elastic authorization for military action against "associated forces," Congress approved another, even more sweeping law: the Patriot Act. It gave the government broad new power to monitor people and businesses, and has become a foundation stone of our emerging "surveillance state." The 9/11 attack led us to distort not only our approach to the world, but also the balance between freedom and security at home.

Another pernicious aftereffect of the terror attack has been the deepening of our national us-against-them narrative. This began with President George W. Bush's assertion that every country in the world had to be "either with us or against us." Crusader rhetoric posits the United States as the indispensable guardian of civilization, entitled to act as it chooses in order to fend off a threatening tide of barbarism. Now this approach has leaked back into the United States. Racist attacks that tear at our social fabric are the domestic reflection of foreign policies that see the rest of the world as a hostile "other" bent on destroying our way of life.

Last month it was announced that the five surviving alleged plotters of the 9/11 attack will finally be brought to trial in 2021. If they are aware of what is happening in the world, they will arrive in court with a deep sense of satisfaction. Their great triumph was not the attack. It was the damage the United States has since inflicted upon itself.

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , September 22, 2019 at 05:28 PM
Acheson is parroting Napoleon: "In war the moral is to the material as 3 is to 1."

He is wrong in the matter of "faith", unless the Chiang's army lost faith in Chiang's moral poverty, what he stood for.

A better quote about Chiang losing is written by George C. Marshall, who went over and came back sure Chiang was done for.

He said: "The US would not be dragged through the mud by those reactionaries". Meaning Chiang was not the moral power in China.

Same for Vietnam US puppets were not and had no moral power/authority.

In Afghanistan same!

Iraq is split in moral authority, the areas populated by Shi'a are okay as long as the central government does not pander to the Sunni 1/3 (Baathists were suppressing Shi'a).

I do not agree with quoting Acheson when there is plenty of professional soldier writings that say it more clearly.

After Korea the professional soldiers were no longer expressive when it cme to propping thugs, with no moral power in their own borders (granted many of the borders surround fictional counties).

US has stood with thugs for most of its quagmire experience.......

This week US is looking for a way to start a new quagmire with Iran for royal murderers' sharing their oil company!

[Dec 21, 2019] The Israel Lobby's Hidden Hand in the Theft of Iraqi and Syrian Oil by Agha Hussain and Whitney Webb

Notable quotes:
"... One key, yet often overlooked, player behind the push to prevent a full U.S. troop withdrawal in Syria in order to "keep the oil" was current U.S. ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield ..."
"... Over the course of his long diplomatic career, Satterfield has been known to the U.S. government as an Israeli intelligence asset embedded in the U.S. State Department. Indeed, Satterfield was named as a major player in what is now known as the AIPAC espionage scandal, also known as the Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal, although he was oddly never charged for his role after the intervention of his superiors at the State Department in the George W. Bush administration. ..."
"... WINEP's close association with AIPAC, which has spied on the U.S. on behalf of Israel several times in the past with no consequence, combined with Jeffrey's long-time acquaintance with key U.S. figures in Iraq, such as McGurk, provided an ideal opening for Israel in Iraq. Following the implementation of Jeffrey's plan, Israeli imports of KRG oil constituted 77 percent of Israel's total oil imports during the KRG's occupation of Kirkuk. ..."
"... the role played by the U.S. Israel lobby in this capacity, particularly in terms of orchestrating oil sale agreements for Israel's benefit, is hardly exclusive to Iraq and can accurately be described as a repeated pattern of behavior. ..."
Dec 18, 2019 | astutenews.com
The outsized role of U.S. Israel lobby operatives in abetting the theft of Syrian and Iraqi oil reveals how this powerful lobby also facilitates more covert aspects of U.S.-Israeli cooperation and the implementation of policies that favor Israel.

Kirkuk, Iraq -- "We want to bring our soldiers home. But we did leave soldiers because we're keeping the oil," President Trump stated on November 3, before adding, "I like oil. We're keeping the oil."

Though he had promised a withdrawal of U.S. troops from their illegal occupation of Syria, Trump shocked many with his blunt admission that troops were being left behind to prevent Syrian oil resources from being developed by the Syrian government and, instead, kept in the hands of whomever the U.S. deemed fit to control them, in this case, the U.S.-backed Kurdish-majority militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Though Trump himself received all of the credit -- and the scorn -- for this controversial new policy, what has been left out of the media coverage is the fact that key players in the U.S.' pro-Israel lobby played a major role in its creation with the purpose of selling Syrian oil to the state of Israel. While recent developments in the Syrian conflict may have hindered such a plan from becoming reality, it nonetheless offers a telling example of the covert role often played by the U.S.' pro-Israel lobby in shaping key elements of U.S. foreign policy and closed-door deals with major regional implications.

Indeed, the Israel lobby-led effort to have the U.S. facilitate the sale of Syrian oil to Israel is not an isolated incident given that, just a few years ago, other individuals connected to the same pro-Israel lobby groups and Zionist neoconservatives manipulated both U.S. policy and Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in order to allow Iraqi oil to be sold to Israel without the approval of the Iraqi government. These designs, not unlike those that continue to unfold in Syria, were in service to longstanding neoconservative and Zionist efforts to balkanize Iraq by strengthening the KRG and weakening Baghdad.

After the occupation of Iraq's Nineveh Governorate by ISIS (June 2014-October 2015), the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) took advantage of the Iraqi military's retreat and, amidst the chaos, illegally seized Kirkuk on June 12. Their claim to the city was supported by both the U.S. and Israel and, later, the U.S.-led coalition targeting ISIS. This gave the KRG control, not only of Iraq's export pipeline to Turkey's Ceyhan port, but also to Iraq's largest oil fields.

Israel imported massive amounts of oil from the Kurds during this period, all without the consent of Baghdad. Israel was also the largest customer of oil sold by ISIS, who used Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk to sell oil in areas of Iraq and Syria under its control. To do this in ISIS-controlled territories of Iraq, the oil was sent first to the Kurdish city of Zakho near the Turkey border and then into Turkey, deceptively labeled as oil that originated from Iraqi Kurdistan. ISIS did nothing to impede the KRG's own oil exports even though they easily could have given that the Kirkuk-Ceyhan export pipeline passed through areas that ISIS had occupied for years.

In retrospect, and following revelations from Wikileaks and new information regarding the background of relevant actors, it has been revealed that much of the covert maneuvering behind the scenes that enabled this scenario intimately involved the United States' powerful pro-Israel lobby. Now, with a similar scenario unfolding in Syria, efforts by the U.S.' Israel lobby to manipulate U.S. foreign policy in order to shift the flow of hydrocarbons for Israel's benefit can instead be seen as a pattern of behavior, not an isolated incident.

"Keep the oil" for Israel

After recent shifts in the Trump administration in its Syria policy, U.S. troops have controversially been kept in Syria to " keep the oil ," with U.S. military officials subsequently claiming that doing so was "a subset of the counter-ISIS mission." However, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper later claimed that another factor behind U.S. insistence on guarding Syrian oil fields was to prevent the extraction and subsequent sale of Syrian oil by either the Syrian government or Russia.

One key, yet often overlooked, player behind the push to prevent a full U.S. troop withdrawal in Syria in order to "keep the oil" was current U.S. ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield. Satterfield was previously the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, where he yielded great influence over U.S. policy in both Iraq and Syria and worked closely with Brett McGurk, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran and later special presidential envoy for the U.S.-led "anti-ISIS" coalition.

Over the course of his long diplomatic career, Satterfield has been known to the U.S. government as an Israeli intelligence asset embedded in the U.S. State Department. Indeed, Satterfield was named as a major player in what is now known as the AIPAC espionage scandal, also known as the Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal, although he was oddly never charged for his role after the intervention of his superiors at the State Department in the George W. Bush administration.

David Satterfield, left, arrives in Baghdad with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, and Joey Hood, May 7, 2019. Mandel Ngan | AP

In 2005, federal prosecutors cited a U.S. government official as having illegally passed classified information to Steve Rosen, then working for AIPAC, who then passed that information to the Israeli government. That classified information included intelligence on Iran and the nature of U.S.-Israeli intelligence sharing. Subsequent media reports from the New York Times and other outlets revealed that this government official was none other than David Satterfield, who was then serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs.

Charges against Rosen, as well as his co-conspirator and fellow AIPAC employee Keith Weissman, were dropped in 2009 and no charges were levied against Satterfield after State Department officials shockingly claimed that Satterfield had "acted within his authority" in leaking classified information to an individual working to advance the interests of a foreign government. Richard Armitage, a neoconservative ally with a long history of ties to CIA covert operations in the Middle East and elsewhere, has since claimed that he was one of Satterfield's main defenders in conversations with the FBI during this time when he was serving as Deputy Secretary of State.

The other government official named in the indictment, former Pentagon official Lawrence Franklin, was not so lucky and was charged under the Espionage Act in 2006. Satterfield, instead of being censured for his role in leaking sensitive information to a foreign government, was subsequently promoted in 2006 to serve as the Coordinator for Iraq and Senior Adviser to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In addition to his history of leaking classified information to AIPAC, Satterfield also has a longstanding relationship with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a controversial spin-off of AIPAC also known by its acronym WINEP. WINEP's website has long listed Satterfield as one of its experts and Satterfield has spoken at several WINEP events and policy forums, including several after his involvement with the AIPAC espionage scandal became public knowledge. However, despite his longstanding and controversial ties to the U.S. pro-Israel lobby, Satterfield's current relationship with some elements of that lobby, such as the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), is complicated at best.

While Satterfield's role in yet another reversal of a promised withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria has largely escaped media scrutiny, another individual with deep ties to the Israel lobby and Syrian "rebel" groups has also been ignored by the media, despite his outsized role in taking advantage of this new U.S. policy for Israel's benefit.

US Israel Lobby secures deal with Kurds

Earlier this year, well before Trump's new Syria policy of "keeping the oil" had officially taken shape, another individual with deep ties to the U.S. Israel lobby secured a lucrative agreement with U.S.-backed Kurdish groups in Syria. An official document issued earlier this year by the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the political arm of the Kurdish majority and U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a New Jersey-based company, founded and run by U.S.-Israeli dual citizen Mordechai "Motti" Kahana, was given control of the oil in territory held by the SDC.

Per the document, the SDC formally accepted the offer from Kahana's company -- Global Development Corporation (GDC) -- to represent SDC in all matters pertaining to the sale of oil extracted in territory it controls and also grants GDC "the right to explore and develop oil that is located in areas we govern."

The SDC's formal acceptance of Global Development Corporation's offer to develop Syrian oil fields. Source | Al-Akhbar

The document also states that the amount of oil then being produced in SDC-controlled areas was 125,000 barrels per day and that they anticipated that this would increase to 400,000 barrels per day and that this oil is considered a foreign asset under the control of the United States by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

After the document was made public by the Lebanese outlet Al-Akhbar , the SDC claimed that it was a forgery, even though Kahana had separately confirmed its contents and shared the letter itself to the Los Angeles Times as recently as a few weeks ago. Kahana previously attempted to distance himself from the effort and told the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom in July that he had made the offer to the SDC as means to prevent the "Assad regime" of Syria from obtaining revenue from the sale of Syrian oil.

The Kurds currently hold 11 oil wells in an area controlled by the [Syrian] Democratic Forces. The overwhelming majority of Syrian oil is in that area. I don't want this oil reaching Iran, or the Assad regime."

At the time, Kahana also stated that "the moment the Trump administration gives its approval, we can begin to export this oil at fair prices."

Given that Kahana has openly confirmed that he is representing the SDC's oil business shortly after Trump's adoption of the controversial "keep the oil policy," it seems plausible that Kahana has now received the approval needed for his company to export the oil on behalf of the SDC. Several media reports have speculated that, if Kahana's efforts go forward unimpeded, the Syrian oil will be sold to Israel.

However, considering Turkey's aversion to engaging in any activities that may benefit the PKK-SDF – there are considerable obstacles to Kahana's plans. While the SDF -- along with assistance from U.S. troops -- still controls several oil fields in Syria, experts assert that they can only realistically sell the oil to the Syrian government. Not even the Iraqi Kurds are a candidate, considering Baghdad's firm control over the Iraq-Syria border and the KRG's weakened state after its failed independence bid in late 2017.

Regardless, Kahana's involvement in this affair is significant for a few reasons. First, Kahana has been a key player in the promotion and funding of radical groups in Syria and has even been caught hiring so-called "rebels" to kidnap Syrian Jews and take them to Israel against their will. It was Kahana, for instance, who financed and orchestrated the now infamous trip of the late Senator John McCain to Syria, where he met with Syrian "rebels" including Khalid al-Hamad – a "moderate" rebel who gained notoriety after a video of him eating the heart of a Syrian Army soldier went viral online . McCain had also admitted meeting with ISIS members, though it is unclear if he did so on this trip or another trip to Syria.

In addition, Kahana was also the mastermind behind the "Caesar" controversy, whereby a Syrian using the pseudonym "Caesar" was brought to the U.S. by Kahana and went on to make claims regarding torture and other crimes allegedly committed by the Assad-led government Syria, claims which were later discredited by independent analysts. He was also very involved in Israel's failed efforts to establish a "safe zone" in Southern Syria as a means of covertly expanding Israel's territory from the occupied Golan Heights and into Quneitra.

Notably, Kahana has deep ties -- not just to efforts to overthrow the Syrian government -- but also to U.S. Israel lobby, including the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) where Satterfield is as an expert. For instance, Kahana was a key player in a 2013 symposium organized by WINEP along with Syrian opposition groups intimately involved in the arming of so-called "rebels." One of the other participants in the symposium alongside Kahana was Mouaz Moustafa, director of the "Syrian Emergency Task Force" who assisted Kahana in bringing McCain to Syria in 2013. Moustafa was listed as a WINEP expert on the organization's website but was later mysteriously deleted.

Kahana is also intimately involved with the Israeli American Council (IAC), a pro-Israel lobby organization, as a team member of its national conference. IAC was co-founded and is chaired by Adam Milstein , a multimillionaire and convicted felon who is also on the boards of AIPAC, StandWithUs, Birthright and other prominent pro-Israel lobby organizations. One of IAC's top donors is Sheldon Adelson, who is also the top donor to President Trump as well as the entire Republican Party.

Though the machinations of both Kahana and Satterfield to guide U.S. policy in order to manipulate the flow of Syria's hydrocarbons for Israel's benefit may seem shocking to some, this same tactic of pro-Israel lobbyists using the Kurds to illegally sell a country's oil to Israel was developed a few years prior, not in Syria, but Iraq. Notably, the individuals responsible for that policy in Iraq shared connections to several of the same pro-Israel lobby organizations as both Satterfield and Kahana, suggesting that their recent efforts in Syria are not an isolated event, but a pattern.

War against ISIS is a war for oil

In an email dated June 15, 2014, James Franklin Jeffrey (former Ambassador to Iraq and Turkey and current U.S. Special Representative for Syria) revealed to Stephen Hadley, a former George Bush administration advisor then working at the government-funded United States Institute of Peace, his intent to advise the KRG in order to sustain Kirkuk's oil production. The plan, as Jeffery described it, was to supply both the Kurdistan province with oil and allow the export of oil via Kirkuk-Ceyhan to Israel, robbing Iraq of its oil and strengthening the country's Kurdish region along with its regional government's bid for autonomy.

Jeffrey, whose hawkish views on Iran and Syria are well-known , mentioned that Brett McGurk, the U.S.' main negotiator between Baghdad and the KRG, was acting as his liaison with the KRG. McGurk, who had served in various capacities in Iraq under both Bush and Obama, was then also serving Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran. A year later, he would be made the special presidential envoy for the U.S.-led "anti-ISIS" coalition and, as previously mentioned, worked closely with David Satterfield.

James Jeffrey, left, meets with Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani, April 8, 2011, at an airport in Irbil, Iraq. Chip Somodevilla | AP

Jeffrey was then a private citizen not currently employed by the government and was used as a non-governmental channel in the pursuit of the plans described in the leaked emails published by WikiLeaks. Jeffrey's behind-the-scenes activities with regards to the KRG's oil exports were done clandestinely, largely because he was then employed by a prominent arm of the U.S.' pro-Israel lobby.

At the time of the email, Jeffrey was serving as a distinguished fellow (2013-2018) at WINEP. As previously mentioned, WINEP is a pro-Israel foreign policy think-tank that espouses neoconservative views and was created in 1985 by researchers that had hastily left AIPAC to escape investigations against the organization that were related to some of its members conducting espionage on behalf of Israel. AIPAC, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, is the largest registered Israel lobbyist organization in the US (albeit registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act would be more suitable), and, in addition to the 1985 incident that led to WINEP's creation, has had members indicted for espionage against the U.S. on Israel's behalf.

WINEP's launch was funded by former President of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, Barbara Weinberg, who is its founding president and constant Chairman Emerita. Nicknamed 'Barbi', she is the wife of the late Lawrence Weinberg who was President of AIPAC from 1976-81 and who JJ Goldberg, author of the 1997 book Jewish Power, referred to as one of a select few individuals who essentially dominated AIPAC regardless of its elected leadership. Co-founder alongside Weinberg was Martin Indyk. Indyk, U.S. Ambassador to Israel (1995-97) and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (1997-99), led the AIPAC research time that formed WINEP to escape the aforementioned investigations.

WINEP has historically received funding from donors who donate to causes of special interest for Zionism and Israel. Among its trustees are extremely prominent names in political Zionism and funders of other Israel Lobby organizations, such as Charles and Edgar Bronfman and the Chernicks . Its membership remains dominated by individuals who have spent their careers promoting Israeli interests in the U.S.

WINEP has become more well-known, and arguably more controversial, in recent years after its research director famously called for false-flag attacks to trigger a U.S. war with Iran in 2012, statements well-aligned with longstanding attempts by the Israel Lobby to bring about such a war.

A worthy partner in crime

Stephen Hadley, another private citizen who Jeffrey evidently considered as a partner in his covert dealings discussed in the emails, also has his own past of involvement with Israel-specific intrigues and meddling.

During the G.W. Bush administration, Hadley tagged along with neoconservatives in their numerous creations of fake intelligence and efforts to incriminate Iraq for possessing chemical and nuclear weapons. Hadley was one of the promoters from within the U.S. government of the false claim that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi officials in Prague.

Hadley also worked with then-Chief of Staff to the Vice President, Lewis Libby -- a neoconservative and former lawyer for the Mossad-agent and billionaire Marc Rich -- to discredit a CIA investigation into claims of Iraq purchasing yellowcake uranium from Niger. That claim famously appeared in Bush's State of the Union address in 2002.

What this particular claim had in common with the 'Iraq meets Atta in Prague' disinformation, and other famous lies against Iraq fabricated and circulated by the dense neocon network, was its source: Israel and pro-Israel partisans.

The distribution network of these now long-debunked claims was none other than the neoconservatives who act a veritable Israeli fifth column that has long sought to promote Israeli foreign policy objectives as being in the interest of the United States. In this, Hadley played his part by helping to ensure that the United States was railroaded into a war that had long been promoted by both Israeli and American neoconservatives, particularly Richard Perle -- an advisor to WINEP -- who had been promoting regime change in Iraq for Israel's explicit benefit for decades.

In short, for covert intrigues to serve Israel that would likely be met with protest if pitched to the government for implementation as policy, Hadley's resume was impressive.

Israeli interests pursued through covert channels

Given his employment at WINEP during this time, Jeffrey's intent to advise the KRG to sustain Kirkuk's oil production despite the seizure of the Baiji oil refinery by ISIS is somewhat suspect, especially since it required that 100,000 barrels per day pass through ISIS-controlled territory unimpeded.

Jeffrey's email from June 14, therefore, demonstrated that he had foreknowledge that ISIS would not disturb the KRG as long as the Kurds redirected oil that was intended originally for Baiji to the Kirkuk-Ceyhan export pipeline, facilitating its export and later sale to Israel.

Notably, up until its liberation in mid-2015 by the Iraqi government and aligned Shia paramilitaries, ISIS kept the refinery running and, only upon their retreat, destroyed the facility.

In July 2014, the KRG began confidently supplying Kurdish areas with Kirkuk's oil per the plan laid out by Jeffrey in the aforementioned email. Baghdad soon became aware of the arrangement and lashed out at Israel and Turkey, whose banks were used by the KRG to receive the oil revenue from Israel.

One would normally expect ISIS to be opposed to such collusion given that the KRG, while a beneficiary of the ISIS-Baghdad conflict, was not an ally of ISIS. Thus, a foreign power with strategic ties to ISIS used its close ties to the KRG and assurances that it was on-board for the oil trade, to deliver a credible guarantee that ISIS would 'cooperate' and that a boom in production and exports was in the cards.

This foreign power -- acting as a guarantor for the ISIS-KRG understanding vis-a-vis the illegal oil economy, represented by Jeffrey and clearly not on good terms with Iraq's government -- was quite clearly Israel.

Israel established considerable financial support as well as the provision of armaments to other extremist terrorist groups active near the border between the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Southern Syria when war first broke out in Syria in 2011. At least four of these extremist groups were led by individuals with direct ties to Israeli intelligence . These same groups, sometimes promoted as 'moderates' by some media, were actively fighting Syria's government – an enemy of Israel and ally of Iran – before ISIS existed and eagerly partnered with ISIS when it expanded its campaign into Syria.

Furthermore, Israeli officials have publicly admitted maintaining regular communication with ISIS cells in Southern Syria and have publicly expressed their desire that ISIS not be defeated in the country. In Libya, Israeli Mossad operatives have been found embedded within ISIS , suggesting that Israel has covert but definite ties with the group outside of Syria as well.

Israel has also long promoted the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan, with Israel having provided Iraq's Kurds with weapons, training and teams of Mossad advisers as far back as the 1960s . More recently, Israel was the only state to support the KRG independence referendum in September 2017 despite its futility, hinting at the regard Israel holds for the KRG. Iraq's government subsequently militarily defeated the KRG's push for statehood and reclaimed Kirkuk's oil fields with assistance from the Shia paramilitaries which were responsible for defeating ISIS in the area.

A 2014 map shows the areas under ISIS and Kurdish control at the time. Source | Telegraph

This arrangement orchestrated by Jeffrey, served the long-time neoconservative-Israeli agenda of empowering the Kurds, selling Iraqi oil to Israel and weakening Iraq's Baghdad-based government.

WINEP's close association with AIPAC, which has spied on the U.S. on behalf of Israel several times in the past with no consequence, combined with Jeffrey's long-time acquaintance with key U.S. figures in Iraq, such as McGurk, provided an ideal opening for Israel in Iraq. Following the implementation of Jeffrey's plan, Israeli imports of KRG oil constituted 77 percent of Israel's total oil imports during the KRG's occupation of Kirkuk.

The WINEP connection to the KRG-Israel oil deal demonstrates the key role played by the U.S. pro-Israel Lobby, not only in terms of sustaining U.S. financial aid to Israel and ratcheting up tensions with Israel's adversaries but also in facilitating the more covert aspects of U.S.-Israeli cooperation and the implementation of policies that favor Israel.

Yet the role played by the U.S. Israel lobby in this capacity, particularly in terms of orchestrating oil sale agreements for Israel's benefit, is hardly exclusive to Iraq and can accurately be described as a repeated pattern of behavior.


By Agha Hussain and Whitney Webb
Source: MintPress News

[Dec 21, 2019] Trump is stealing Syria's oil for the Saudis caucus99percent

Dec 21, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

caucus99percent free-range politics, organic community

Trump is stealing Syria's oil for the Saudis

gjohnsit on Fri, 12/20/2019 - 4:28pm President Trump recently said the quiet part out loud .

"We may have to fight for the oil. It's O.K.," he said. "Maybe somebody else wants the oil, in which case they have a hell of a fight. But there's massive amounts of oil." The United States, he added, should be able to take some of Syria's oil. "What I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with an ExxonMobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly," he said. The goal would be to "spread out the wealth."

At the very least this amounts to pillaging, but then respect for the law isn't on Trump agenda.


Trump is "protecting" Syria's oil in the exact same way that the mob "protects" a small businessman from arson.
Not kind of the same way. EXACTLY the same way.

Trump comment US intends to keep the oil in Syria. Guard with US armored forces. Bring in US oil companies to modernize the field. WHAT ARE WE BECOMING.... PIRATES? If ISIS is defeated we lack Congressional authority to stay. The oil belongs to Syria. https://t.co/Leko5s1hXF

-- Barry R McCaffrey (@mccaffreyr3) October 28, 2019

So what "great companies" would be willing "to go in there" and "spread out the wealth?"
That company turned out to be ARAMCO .

Sources have disclosed that the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, commonly referred to as Aramco, has sent a delegation of experts to discuss investment opportunities in the oil fields and wells in the Eastern Syrian city of Deir Ez-Zor.

According to the oppositionist news site Deir Ezzor 24, Aramco "started implementing practical steps in this field, where a group of the company arrived in an official mission to al-Omar oil field in the eastern Deir Ezzor countryside."

There is no legal means to do this. This is the outright theft of resources.
And it keeps getting worse.

It is believed that the investments will be made through contracts signed between Aramco and the US government , whose armed forces have steadily been increasing their military presence in terms of manpower and equipment around the oil fields.

That is trafficking in the sale of stolen property, but it gets even worse than that.

The Kurdish Syrian Defence Forces (formerly known as the YPG) currently control most of the country's oil fields and have shifted towards an alliance with the Syrian government after losing American protection in the north-east of the country in the wake of Trump's "withdrawal" and ensuing Turkish offensive dubbed "Operation Peace Spring" to clear the area of Kurdish militias

So we can't even pretend to be doing this for the benefit of the local population, our regional allies, or any other justification except naked theft.
Trump should be in jail for this.

"I think in this case we are not talking about an operation associated with a huge share of risk, but, on the contrary, about a well-thought-out operation."
- Professor RSUH Grigory Kosach

The Pentagon is enthusiastically cooperating in this blatant violation of international law.
US troops have returned to six out of 16 bases in Syria that had been previously abandoned during the October withdrawal.
What's more, our military is settling in for the long haul.

Barely two months after US President Donald Trump's demagogic announcement that he was pulling US troops out of northeastern Syria to fulfill his campaign promise to bring a halt to Washington's "endless wars," the senior civilian and uniformed Pentagon chiefs told a House panel Wednesday that there is no foreseeable end to the American presence there.
...
Esper went even further, insisting that US military forces had to remain in Syria not so much to counter any existing military force, but rather an "ideology".

"I think the defeat, if you will, will be hard because it's an ideology," Esper told the House panel after repeated questions regarding US strategy in Syria. "It's hard to foresee anytime soon we would stamp it out," he added.

Everyone that somehow finds a way to defend Trump based on his so-called aversion to foreign wars needs to take a good, hard look at this. Because THIS is 100% Trump's doing.

gjohnsit on Fri, 12/20/2019 - 4:44pm
Back in May this happened

4 people killed

US-led forces have blown up three oil tankers in Syria as the United States increases its pressure on Syria by thwarting the oil trade between the PKK/YPG and the Assad regime, according to local sources quoted by several media sources.

The YPG are our Kurdish allies that the warmongers were so concerned about just a few months ago. We "care" about them, right up until they want to sell oil to the Assad regime. Then they deserve death.
That's OUR oil.

CB on Fri, 12/20/2019 - 6:54pm
I don't think Trump really knows WTF he is doing.

I think the powerful foreign policy cabal in Washington have him by the balls and give them a squeeze when he gets off point.

One day he is pulling out. The next day he says he staying in to "protect" the oil fields. The third day he sends US forces back in so he can sell the oil so that the Syrians don't "steal" it.

What's going to happen on the fourth day when a half dozen American soldiers get eviscerated by a roadside bomb while on patrol?

edg on Fri, 12/20/2019 - 9:04pm
Rumsfeld was right.

War can pay for itself if you steal enough oil. We'll turn a good ROI on our Syria adventure before you know it.

snoopydawg on Fri, 12/20/2019 - 9:30pm
Doing illegal wars is an impeachable offense

but just like congress won't make him withdraw troops from Yemen and stop supporting the Saudis, they are in complete agreement with him doing that.

Israel bought Syria's oil from ISIS all during Obama's tenure as he watched them take it out through Turkey.

But it's Russian aggression that is causing all the problems in the Middle East right? And Iran's too. Why we can't make deals for resources instead of spending gawd only knows how much money. But then the defense companies wouldn't get all of our money now would they? We pay for the defense companies CEOs large bonuses and salaries. Great gig!

[Dec 21, 2019] Extortion (noun) The practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats

May 05, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Realist , April 30, 2019 at 14:20

Regarding your last sentence: this is the great truth that Washington's world hegemonists would have you forget. Taking into account the untapped vast resources of Canada and Alaska and its expansive offshore economic zones extending deep into the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean, the North American anglosphere could be entirely self-sufficient and do quite nicely on its own for hundreds of years to come, it just wouldn't be the sole tyrannical state presumably ruling the entire planet.

Why, it might even entertain the idea of actually cooperating with other regional powers like Russia, China, the EU, India, Iran, Turkey, the Middle East, greater central Asia, Latin America and even Africa to everyone's benefit, rather than bullying them all because god ordained us to be the boss of all humans.

America's major malfunction is its lack of historical roots compared to the other societies mentioned. All those places had thousands of years to refine their sundry cultures and international relationships, certainly through trial and error and many horrible setbacks, most notably wars, famines, pestilence, genocide and human bondage which people did not have the foresight to nip in the bud. They learned by their mistakes and some, like the great world wars, were doozies.

The United States, and some of its closest homologues like Canada, Australia, Brazil and Argentina, were thrown together very rapidly as part of developing colonial empires. It was created through the brute actions of a handful of megalomaniacal oligarchs of their day. What worked to suppress vast tracts of aboriginal homelands, often through genocide and virtual extinction of the native populations, was so effective that it was institutionalized in the form of slavery and reckless exploitation of the local environment. These "great leaders," "pioneers" and "founding fathers" were not about to give up a set of principles -- no matter how sick and immoral -- which they knew to "work" and accrued to them great power and riches. They preferred to label it "American exceptionalism" and force it upon the whole rest of the world, including long established regional powers -- cultures going back to antiquity -- and not just conveniently sketched "burdens of the white man."

No, ancient cultures like China, India, Persia and so forth could obviously be improved for all concerned merely by allowing a handful of Western Europeans to own all their property and run all their affairs. That grand plan fell apart for most of the European powers in the aftermath of World War Two, but Washington has held tough and never given up its designs of micromanaging and exploiting the whole planet. It too is soon to learn its lesson and lose its empire. Either that or it will take the world down in flames as it tries to cling to all that it never really owned or deserved. The most tragic (or maybe just amusing) part is that Washington still had most of the world believing its bullshit about exceptionalism and indispensability until it decided it had to emulate every tyrannical empire that ever collapsed before it.

Realist , April 30, 2019 at 02:08

"exทtorทtion /ik?st๔rSH(?)n/ noun The practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats."

"Racketeering refers to crimes committed through extortion or coercion. A racketeer attempts to obtain money or property from another person, usually through intimidation or force. The term is typically associated with organized crime."

I see. So, American foreign policy, as applied to both its alleged enemies and presumed allies, essentially amounts to an exercise in organised crime. So much for due process, free trade, peaceful co-existence, magical rainbows and other such hypocritical platitudes dispensed for domestic consumption in place of the heavy-handed threats routinely delivered to Washington's targets.

That's quite in keeping with the employment of war crimes as standard "tactics, techniques and procedures" on the battlefield which was recently admitted to us by Senator Jim Molan on the "60 Minutes" news show facsimile and discussed in one of yesterday's forums on this blog.

Afghanistan was promised a carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs as incentive to bend to our will (and that of Unocal which, unlike Nordstream, was a pipeline Washington wanted built). Iraq was promised and delivered "shock and awe" after a secretary of state had declared the mass starvation of that country's children as well worth the effort. They still can't find all the pieces left of the Libyan state. Syria was told it would be stiffed on any American contribution to its rebuilding for the effrontery of actually beating back the American-recruited, trained and financed ISIS terrorist brigades. Now it's being deliberately starved of both its energy and food requirements by American embargoes on its own resources! North Korea was promised utter annihilation by Yankee nukes before Kim's summit with our great leader unless it submitted totally to his will, or more likely that of Pompous Pompeo, the man who pulls his strings. Venezuela is treated to cyber-hacked power outages and shortages of food, medicines, its own gold bullion, income from its own international petroleum sales and, probably because someone in Washington thinks it's funny, even toilet paper. All they have to do to get relief is kick out the president they elected and replace him with Washington's chosen puppet! Yep, freedom and democracy blah, blah, blah. And don't even ask what the kids in Yemen got for Christmas from Uncle Sam this year. (He probably stole their socks.) A real American patriot will laughingly take Iran to task for ever believing in the first place that Washington could be negotiated with in good faith. All they had to do was ask the Native Americans (or the Russians) how the Yanks keep their word and honor their treaties. It was their own fault they were taken for suckers.

[Dec 21, 2019] America will always pick and choose the leaders it props up and tears down. It never was and never will be for humanitarian reasons -- that is a clever veil.

Notable quotes:
"... Why have we supported Nguema, Karimov, and Kagame but not the ones who are thorns in our sides? The reasons are obvious. It's not the lives of their citizens - it's power for the elite class. We intervene abroad because we want to further the interest of the wealthy. ..."
"... America will always pick and choose the leaders it props up and tears down. It never was and never will be for humanitarian reasons -- that is a clever veil. We denounce ethnic cleansing and then fund it. We call for free elections and then support Pinochet, Stroessner, and Videla. ..."
"... Opposing war is a noble and courageous act, and there will always be smears. Opposing war isn't supporting dictators; it's opposing death and destruction in the service of the wealthy. Never believe what they tell you about why they're sending your kids to die. Never. ..."
Apr 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Idealistic Realist , Apr 27, 2019 1:24:45 PM | link

Best analysis by a candidate for POTUS ever:

American foreign policy is not a failure. To comfort themselves, observers often say that our leaders -- presidents, advisors, generals -- don't know what they're doing. They do know. Their agenda just isn't what we like to imagine it is.

To quote Michael Parenti: "US policy is not filled with contradictions and inconsistencies. It has performed brilliantly and steadily in the service of those who own most of the world and who want to own all of it."

The vision of our leaders as bunglers, while more accurate than the image of them as valiant public servants, is less accurate and more rose-tinted than the closest approximation of the truth, which is that they are servants of their class interest. That is why we go to war.

Those who buy the elite class's foreign policy BS, about the Emmanuel Goldsteins they conjure up every three years, are fools. Obviously Hussein and Milošević were bad; but "government bad" does not mean we must invade. Wars occur for economic, not humanitarian, reasons.

  • Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the president of Equatorial Guinea, is a kleptocrat, murderer, and alleged cannibal. This is him and his wife with Barack and Michelle Obama.
  • Islam Karimov, the president of Uzbekistan, was said to have boiled political prisoners to death, massacred hundreds of prisoners, and made torture an institution. This is him with John Kerry.
  • Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, has been involved in the assassination of political opponents, perpetrated obvious election fraud, and had his term extended until 2034. This is him with Barack and Michelle Obama.

Why have we supported Nguema, Karimov, and Kagame but not the ones who are thorns in our sides? The reasons are obvious. It's not the lives of their citizens - it's power for the elite class. We intervene abroad because we want to further the interest of the wealthy.

America will always pick and choose the leaders it props up and tears down. It never was and never will be for humanitarian reasons -- that is a clever veil. We denounce ethnic cleansing and then fund it. We call for free elections and then support Pinochet, Stroessner, and Videla.

Opposing war is a noble and courageous act, and there will always be smears. Opposing war isn't supporting dictators; it's opposing death and destruction in the service of the wealthy. Never believe what they tell you about why they're sending your kids to die. Never.

Mike Gravel

[Dec 21, 2019] Lessons of the past: all changed in 1999 with the war in Kosovo. For the first time I witnessed shocking images of civilian targets being bombed, TV stations, trains, bridges. The NATO spokesman boasted of hundreds of Serbian tanks being destroyed. There was something new and disturbing about his manner, language and tone, something I'd not encountered from coverage of previous conflicts. For the first time I found myself not believing one word of the narrative

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Every US military action and ultimatum to a foreign state has been aggressively pushed by the losing Democrats and particularly 'liberal' mainstream media, any dissent met with smears, censorship or worse. I would argue that today similarities with events leading up to previous global conflicts are too striking and numerous to ignore. ..."
"... Israel and its US relationship – I think Syria is where global conflict is still likely to start. As Syria has been winning, the involvement of Turkey and Saudi Arabia appears to receding. More recently Israel have taken their place and is relentless and unyielding and has its own wider, destructive plans for the Middle East. Israeli influence in the US is now so great that the US has more or less ceded its foreign policy in the Middle East to Israel. In 1914 Austro-Hungary pursued a series of impossible demands against Serbia managing to drag its close and more powerful ally Germany (led by someone equally as obstinate and militaristic as the US leadership) into World War I. Incidentally, some readers may have noticed the similarity between the 1914 diktats and modern-day US bullying towards Venezuala and other states – and perhaps most striking, by Saudi Arabia in its dispute with Qatar not long ago ..."
"... Ideology, paranoia and unstable leaders – history tells us that ideology, paranoia and power are not a good mix and this is in abundance in western elites and media. These establishments are rabidly hostile to Iran and Russia. ..."
"... Media deception and propaganda – The media have been responsible for getting us to where we are today. Without them, the public would have woken up long ago. Much of the deception has been about the presentation of the narrative and the leaders. And it's been a campaign of distraction on our news where the daily genocide in Yemen gives way to sensationalised non-events and celebrity trivia. ..."
"... Appeasement – because of its relative weakness and not wanting a war, Russia has to some extent appeased Western and Israeli aggression in Syria and beyond. To be fair, given the aggression it faces I don't think Russia has had much choice than playing for time. However at some point soon, with the West pushing more and more, something will have to give. Likewise, in the 1930s a militarily unprepared UK and France appeased Germany's expansion. The more they backed off the more Germany pushed until war was the only way. ..."
"... False flags – for those watching events in Syria know that the majority of the 'chemical attacks' have been carried out by Western supported opposition. The timing and nature of these suggest co-ordination at the highest levels. Intelligence Services of the UK and other agencies are believed to co-ordinate these fabrications to provoke a western response aimed at the Syrian Army. On more than one occasion these incidents have nearly escalated to a direct conflict with Russia showing the dangerous game being played by those involved and those pushing the false narrative in the media ..."
Apr 23, 2019 | off-guardian.org

As a history student years ago I remember our teacher explaining how past events are linked to what happens in the future. He told us human behaviour always dictates that events will repeat in a similar way as before. I remember we studied 20th century history and discussed World War I and the links to World War II. At this time, we were in the middle of the Cold War and in unchartered waters and I couldn't really link past events to what was likely to happen next. Back then I guess like many I considered US presidents more as statesman. They talked tough on the Soviet Union but they talked peace too. So, the threat to humanity was very different then to now. Dangerous but perhaps a stable kind of dangerous. After the break up of the Soviet Union we then went through a phase of disorderly change in the world. In the early 1990s the war in the Former Yugoslavia erupted and spread from republic to republic. Up until the mid-to-late nineties I didn't necessarily sense that NATO and the West were the new threat to humanity. While there was a clear bias to events in Yugoslavia there was still some even-handedness or fairness. Or so I thought. This all changed in 1999 with the war in Kosovo. For the first time I witnessed shocking images of civilian targets being bombed, TV stations, trains, bridges and so on. But my wake-up call was the daily NATO briefings on the war. The NATO spokesman boasted of hundreds of Serbian tanks being destroyed. There was something new and disturbing about his manner, language and tone, something I'd not encountered from coverage of previous conflicts. For the first time I found myself not believing one word of the narrative.

When the peace agreement was reached, out of 300 Serbian tanks which had entered Kosovo at the start of the conflict, over 285 were counted going back into Serbia proper which was confirmation he had been lying .

From this conflict onwards I started to see clear parallels with events of the past and some striking similarities with the lead up to previous world wars. This all hit home when observing events in Syria and more recently Venezuala. But looking around seeing people absorbed in their phones you wouldn't think the world is on the brink of war. For most of us with little time to watch world events there are distractions which have obscured the picture historians and geopolitical experts see more clearly.

Recent and current western leaders haven't been short people in military uniform shouting. That would be far too obvious. It's still military conflict and mass murder but in smart suits with liberal sound-bites and high-fives. Then the uncool, uncouth conservative Trump came along and muddied the waters.

Briefly it seemed there might be hope that these wars would stop. But there can be little doubt he's been put under pressure to comply with the regime change culture embedded in the Deep State. Today, through their incendiary language we see US leaders morphing into the open style dictators of the past. The only thing missing are the military uniforms and hats.

Every US military action and ultimatum to a foreign state has been aggressively pushed by the losing Democrats and particularly 'liberal' mainstream media, any dissent met with smears, censorship or worse. I would argue that today similarities with events leading up to previous global conflicts are too striking and numerous to ignore.

Let's look at some of these:

1) Military build up, alliances and proxy wars – for all the chaos and mass murder pursued by the Obama Administration he did achieve limited successes in signing agreements with Iran and Cuba. But rather than reverse the endless wars as promised Trump cancels the agreements leaving the grand sum of zilch foreign policy achievements. NATO has been around for 70 years, but in the last 20 or so has become obsessed with military build up. Nowadays it has hundreds of bases around the world but keeps destablising non-aligned states, partly to isolate Russia and China. And Syria sums up the dangers of the regime change model used today. With over a dozen states involved in the proxy war there is a still high risk of conflict breaking out between US and Russia. The motives for military build up are many. First there are powerful people in the arms industry and media who benefit financially from perpetual war. The US while powerful in military terms are a declining power which will continue, new powers emerging. The only return on their money they can see is through military build up. Also there are many in government, intelligence services and media who can see that if the current order continues to crumble they are likely to be prosecuted for various crimes. All this explains the threatening language and the doubling-down on those who challenge them. In 1914, Europe had two backward thinking military alliance blocks and Sarajevo showed how one event could trigger an unstoppable escalation dragging in many states. And empires such as Austro-Hungary were crumbling from within as they are now. So a similar mentality prevails today where the powerful in these empires under threat favour conflict to peace. For these individuals it's a last throw of the dice and a gamble with all our lives.

2) Israel and its US relationship – I think Syria is where global conflict is still likely to start. As Syria has been winning, the involvement of Turkey and Saudi Arabia appears to receding. More recently Israel have taken their place and is relentless and unyielding and has its own wider, destructive plans for the Middle East. Israeli influence in the US is now so great that the US has more or less ceded its foreign policy in the Middle East to Israel. In 1914 Austro-Hungary pursued a series of impossible demands against Serbia managing to drag its close and more powerful ally Germany (led by someone equally as obstinate and militaristic as the US leadership) into World War I. Incidentally, some readers may have noticed the similarity between the 1914 diktats and modern-day US bullying towards Venezuala and other states – and perhaps most striking, by Saudi Arabia in its dispute with Qatar not long ago .

3) Ideology, paranoia and unstable leaders – history tells us that ideology, paranoia and power are not a good mix and this is in abundance in western elites and media. These establishments are rabidly hostile to Iran and Russia. In addition we face a situation of highly unpredictable, ideological regional leaders in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Most worrying of all, the language, threats and actions of Trump, Pompeo and Bolton suggests there are psychopathic tendencies in play. Behind this is a Deep State and Democrat Party pushing even harder for conflict. The level of paranoia is discouraging any notion of peace. 30 years ago Russia and US would sit down at a summit and reach a consensus. Today a US leader or diplomat seen talking to a Russian official is accused of collusion. When there are limited channels to talk in a crisis, you know we are in trouble. In Germany in the 1930s, ideology, propaganda and creating enemies were key in getting the population on side for war. The leaders within the Nazi clique, Hitler, Goring and Himmler look disturbingly similar to the Trump, Pompeo, Bolton line up.

4) Media deception and propaganda – The media have been responsible for getting us to where we are today. Without them, the public would have woken up long ago. Much of the deception has been about the presentation of the narrative and the leaders. And it's been a campaign of distraction on our news where the daily genocide in Yemen gives way to sensationalised non-events and celebrity trivia. The terms and words; regime change, mass murder and terrorist have all been substituted by the media with 'humanitarian intervention', 'limited airstrikes' and 'moderate rebels' to fool a distracted public that the victims of the aggression are the bad guys. Western funded 'fact checking' sites such as Bellingcat have appeared pushing the misdirections to a surreal new level. Obama was portayed in the media as a cool guy and a little 'soft' on foreign policy. This despite the carnage in Libya, Syria and his drones. Sentiments of equal rights and diversity fill the home affairs sections in the liberal press, while callous indifference and ethno-centrism towards the Middle East and Russia dominate foreign affairs pages. In the press generally, BREXIT, non-existent anti-Semitism and nonsense about the 'ISIS bride' continues unabated. This media circus seeks to distract from important matters, using these topics to create pointless divisions, causing hostility towards Muslims and Jews in the process. The majority of a distracted public have still not twigged largely because the propaganda is more subtle nowadays and presented under a false humanitarian cloak. A small but vocal group of experts and journalists challenging these narratives are regularly smeared as Putin or Assad "apologists" . UK journalists are regularly caught out lying and some long standing hoaxes such as Russiagate exposed. Following this and Iraq WMDs more people are starting to see a pattern here. Yet each time the media in the belief they've bamboozled enough move on to the next big lie. This a sign of a controlled media which has reached the point of being unaccountable and untouchable, deeply embedded within the establishment apparatus. In the lead up to World War II the Nazis ran an effective media propaganda campaign which indoctrinated the population. The media in Germany also reached the point their blindingly obvious lies were rarely questioned. The classic tactic was to blame others for the problems in Germany and the world and project their crimes on to their victims. There are some differences as things have evolved. The Nazis created the media and state apparatus to pursue war. Nowadays this is the opposite way around. Instead the state apparatus is already in place so whoever is leader whether they describe themself as liberal or conservative, is merely a figurehead required to continue the same pro-war policies. Put a fresh-looking president in a shiny suit and intoduce him to the Queen and you wouldn't think he's the biggest mass murderer since Hitler. Although there are some differences in the propaganda techniques, all the signs are that today's media are on a similar war-footing as Germany's was just prior to the outbreak of World War II.

5) Appeasement – because of its relative weakness and not wanting a war, Russia has to some extent appeased Western and Israeli aggression in Syria and beyond. To be fair, given the aggression it faces I don't think Russia has had much choice than playing for time. However at some point soon, with the West pushing more and more, something will have to give. Likewise, in the 1930s a militarily unprepared UK and France appeased Germany's expansion. The more they backed off the more Germany pushed until war was the only way.

6) False flags – for those watching events in Syria know that the majority of the 'chemical attacks' have been carried out by Western supported opposition. The timing and nature of these suggest co-ordination at the highest levels. Intelligence Services of the UK and other agencies are believed to co-ordinate these fabrications to provoke a western response aimed at the Syrian Army. On more than one occasion these incidents have nearly escalated to a direct conflict with Russia showing the dangerous game being played by those involved and those pushing the false narrative in the media. The next flashpoint in Syria is Idlib, where it's highly likely a new chemical fabrication will be attempted this Spring. In the 1930s the Nazis were believed to use false flags with increasing frequency to discredit and close down internal opposition. Summary – We now live in a society where exposing warmongering is a more serious crime than committing it. Prisons hold many people who have bravely exposed war crimes – yet most criminals continue to walk free and hold positions of power. And when the media is pushing for Julian Assange to be extradicted you know this is beyond simple envy of a man who has almost single-handedly done the job they've collectively failed to do. They are equally complicit in warmongering hence why they see Assange and others as a threat. For those not fooled by the smart suits, liberal platitudes and media distraction techniques, the parallels with Germany in the 1930s in particular are now fairly obvious. The blundering military alliances of 1914 and the pure evil of 1939 – with the ignorance, indifference and narcissism described above make for a destructive mix. Unless something changes soon our days on this planet are likely be numbered. Depressing but one encouraging thing is that the indisputable truth is now in plain sight for anyone with internet access to see and false narratives have collapsed before. It's still conceivable that something may create a whole chain of events which sweep these dangerous parasites from power. So anything can happen. In the meantime we should keep positive and continue to spread the message.

Kevin Smith is a British citizen living and working in London. He researches and writes down his thoughts on the foreign wars promoted by Western governments and media. In the highly controlled and dumbed down UK media environment, he's keen on exploring ways of discouraging ideology and tribalism in favour of free thinking.

comite espartaco says Apr, 24, 2019

2- 'Israel and its US relationship'. The 'hands off' policy of the Western powers, guarantees that Syria cannot even be a trigger to any 'global conflict', supposing that a 'global conflict' was on the cards, especially when Russia is just a crumbling shadow of the USSR and China a giant with feet of clay, heavily dependent on Western oligarchic goodwill, to maintain its economy and its technological progress.

In 1914, the Serbian crisis was just trigger of WWI and not a true cause. It is not even clear if it was Germany that dragged Austria-Hungary into the war or Russia. Although there was a possibility (only a possibility), that a swift and 'illegal' attack by Austria-Hungary (without an ultimatum), would have localised and contained the conflict.

There is no similarity whatsoever between the 1914 'diktats' and modern US policy, as the US is the sole Superpower and its acts are not opposed by a balancing and corresponding alliance. Save in the Chinese colony of North Korea, where the US is restrained by a tacit alliance of the North Eastern Asiatic powers: China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, that oppose any military action and so promote and protect North Korean bullying. Qatar, on the other hand, is one of the most radical supporters of the Syrian opposition and terrorist groups around the muslim world, even more than Saudi Arabia and there are powerful reasons for the confrontation of the Gulf rivals.

olavleivar says Apr, 24, 2019
You should go back in Time and STUDY what really happened .. that means going back to the Creation of the socalled British Empire ..the Bank of England , the British East Indian Company , the Opium Wars and the Opium Trafficing , the Boer Wars for Gold and Diamonds , the US Civil War and its aftermath , the manipulations of Gold and Silver by socalled british Financial Interests , The US Spanish Wars , the Japanese Russian War , the failed Coup against Czar Russia 1905 , the Young Turk Coup against the Ottoman Empire 1908, the Armenian Genocide , the Creation of the Federal Reserve 1913 , the Multitude of Assinations and other Terror Attacks in the period from 1900 and upwards , WHO were the perpetraders ? , , WW 1 and its originators , the Bolshevik Coup 1917 , the Treaty of Versailles and the Actors in that Treaty ,the Plunder of Germany , the dissolution of Austria Hungary , the Bolshevik Coup attempts all over Europe , and then the run up to WW 2 , the Actions of Poland agianst Germans and Czechs .. Hitler , Musolini and finally WW 2 .the post war period , the Nuernberg Trials , the Holocaust Mythology , the Creation of Israel , Gladio , the Fall of the Sovjet Empire and the Warshav Pact , the Wars in the Middle East , the endless Terror Actions , the murder of Kennedy and a mass of False Flag Terrorist Attacks since then , the destruction of the Balkans and the Middle east THERE IS PLENTY of EXCELLENT LITERATURE and ANALYSIS on all subjects .
comite espartaco says Apr, 23, 2019
1- Military buildup, alliances and proxy wars.

It was your Obama that 'persecuted' Mr Assange !!!

Syria demonstrates that there has NOT been a Western strategy for regime change (specially after the 'defeats' in Iraq and Afghanistan), let alone a proxy war, but, on the contrary, an effort to keep the tyranny of Assad in power, in a weaker state, to avoid any strong, 'revolutionary' rival near Israel. Russia has been given a free hand in Syria, otherwise, if the West had properly armed the resistance groups, it would have been a catastrophe for the Russian forces, like it was in Afghanistan during the Soviet intervention.

Trump's policy of 'equal' (proportional) contributions for all members of NATO and other allies, gives the lie to the US military return 'argument' and should be understood as part of his war on unfair competition by other powers.

The 'military' and diplomatic alliances of 1914 were FORWARD thinking, so much so that they 'repeated' themselves during WWII, with slight changes. But it is very doubtful that the Empires, like the Austro-Hungarian o the Russian ones, would have 'crumbled' without the outbreak of WWI. They were never under threat, as their military power during the war showed. Only a World War of cataclysmic character could destroy them. A war, triggered, but not created, by the 'conflict seeking mentality' of the powerful in the small countries of the Balkans.

Shardlake says Apr, 23, 2019
Generally attributed to Senator Hiram Warren Johnson in 1918 that 'when war comes the first casualty is truth' is as much a truism now as it was then.

I'm more inclined to support hauptmanngurski's proposition that the members of the armed forces, from both sides, who return from conflicts with life-changing injuries or even in flag-draped caskets defended only the freedom of multinational enterprises and conglomerates to make and continue to make vast profits for the privileged few at the population's expense.

As Kevin Smith makes abundantly clear we are all subject to the downright lies and truth-stretching from our government aided and abetted by a compliant main stream media as exemplified in the Skripal poisoning affair, which goes far beyond the counting of Serbian tanks supposedly destroyed during the Balkans conflict. The Skripals' are now God knows where either as willing participants or as detainees and our government shows no signs of clarifying the matter, so who would believe what it put out anyway in view of its track record of misinformation ? The nation doesn't know what to believe.

Sadly, I believe this has always been the way of things and I cannot even speculate on how long it will be before this nation will realise it is being deliberately mis-led.

[Dec 21, 2019] A Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony 1990 2016 by David North

New book by David North A Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony 1990–2016
Notable quotes:
"... "Landler informs his readers that Obama "went for a walk among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery before giving the order to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan." He recalls a passage from Obama's 2009 speech accepting the Nobel Prize, in which the president wearily lamented that humanity needed to reconcile "two seemingly irreconcilable truths -- that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly." ..."
"... Typical American philosophy... "War is peace!"... ..."
Jul 11, 2016 | www.wsws.org

We publish here the preface to A Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony, 1990-2016 by David North. The book will be published on August 10, and is available for preorder today at Mehring Books in both softcover and hardcover .

***

"In the period of crisis the hegemony of the United States will operate more completely, more openly, and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom."

-- Leon Trotsky, 1928

"U.S. capitalism is up against the same problems that pushed Germany in 1914 on the path of war. The world is divided? It must be redivided. For Germany it was a question of 'organizing Europe.' The United States must 'organize' the world. History is bringing mankind face to face with the volcanic eruption of American imperialism."

-- Leon Trotsky, 1934

This volume consists of political reports, public lectures, party statements, essays, and polemics that document the response of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) to the quarter century of US-led wars that began in 1990–91. The analyses of events presented here, although written as they were unfolding, stand the test of time. The International Committee does not possess a crystal ball. But its work is informed by a Marxist understanding of the contradictions of American and world imperialism. Moreover, the Marxist method of analysis examines events not as a sequence of isolated episodes, but as moments in the unfolding of a broader historical process. This historically oriented approach serves as a safeguard against an impressionistic response to the latest political developments. It recognizes that the essential cause of an event is rarely apparent at the moment of its occurrence.

Much of what passes for analysis in the bourgeois press consists of nothing more than equating an impressionistic description of a given event with its deeper cause. This sort of political analysis legitimizes US wars as necessary responses to one or another personification of evil, such as Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the "warlord" Farah Aideed in Somalia, Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia, Osama bin Laden of Al Qaeda, the Mullah Omar in Afghanistan, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya; and, most recently, Bashar al Assad in Syria, Kim Jong Un in Korea, and Vladimir Putin in Russia. New names are continually added to the United States' infinitely expandable list of monsters requiring destruction.

The material in this volume is the record of a very different and far more substantial approach to the examination of the foreign policy of the United States.

First, and most important, the International Committee interpreted the collapse of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989–90, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, as an existential crisis of the entire global nation-state system, as it emerged from the ashes of World War II. Second, the ICFI anticipated that the breakdown of the established postwar equilibrium would lead rapidly to a resurgence of imperialist militarism. As far back as August 1990 -- twenty-six years ago -- it was able to foresee the long-term implications of the Bush administration's war against Iraq:

It marks the beginning of a new imperialist redivision of the world. The end of the postwar era means the end of the postcolonial era. As it proclaims the "failure of socialism," the imperialist bourgeoisie, in deeds if not yet in words, proclaims the failure of independence. The deepening crisis confronting all the major imperialist powers compels them to secure control over strategic resources and markets. Former colonies, which had achieved a degree of political independence, must be resubjugated. In its brutal assault against Iraq, imperialism is giving notice that it intends to restore the type of unrestrained domination of the backward countries that existed prior to World War II. [ 1 ]

This historically grounded analysis provided the essential framework for an understanding, not only of the 1990–91 Gulf War, but also of the wars that were launched later in the decade, as well as the post-9/11 "War on Terror."

In a recently published front-page article, the New York Times called attention to a significant milestone in the presidency of Barack Obama: "He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president." But with several months remaining in his term in office, he is on target to set yet another record. The Times wrote:

If the United States remains in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria until the end of Mr. Obama's term -- a near-certainty given the president's recent announcement that he will send 250 additional Special Operations forces to Syria -- he will leave behind an improbable legacy as the only president in American history to serve two complete terms with the nation at war. [ 2 ]

On the way to setting his record, Mr. Obama has overseen lethal military actions in a total of seven countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. The number of countries is growing, as the United States escalates its military operations in Africa. The efforts to suppress the Boko Haram insurgency involve a buildup of US forces in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.

Without any sense of irony, Mark Landler, author of the Times article, notes Obama's status as a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2009. He portrays the president as "trying to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate. . . ." Obama "has wrestled with this immutable reality [of war] from his first year in the White House . . ."

Landler informs his readers that Obama "went for a walk among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery before giving the order to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan." He recalls a passage from Obama's 2009 speech accepting the Nobel Prize, in which the president wearily lamented that humanity needed to reconcile "two seemingly irreconcilable truths -- that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly."

During the Obama years, folly has clearly held the upper hand. But there is nothing that Landler's hero can do. Obama has found his wars "maddeningly hard to end."

The Times ' portrayal of Obama lacks the essential element required by genuine tragedy: the identification of objective forces, beyond his control, that frustrated and overwhelmed the lofty ideals and humanitarian aspirations of the president. If Mr. Landler wants his readers to shed a tear for this peace-loving man who, upon becoming president, made drone killings his personal specialty, and turned into something akin to a moral monster, the Times correspondent should have attempted to identify the historical circumstances that determined Obama's "tragic" fate.

But this is a challenge the Times avoids. It fails to relate Obama's war-making record to the entire course of American foreign policy over the past quarter century. Even before Obama entered office in 2009, the United States had been at war on an almost continuous basis since the first US-Iraq War of 1990–91.

The pretext for the Gulf War was Iraq's annexation of Kuwait in August 1990. But the violent US reaction to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's dispute with the emir of Kuwait was determined by broader global conditions and considerations. The historical context of the US military operation was the imminent dissolution of the Soviet Union, which was finally carried out in December 1991. The first President Bush declared the beginning of a "New World Order." [ 3 ] What Bush meant by this phrase was that the United States was now free to restructure the world in the interests of the American capitalist class, unencumbered by either the reality of the countervailing military power of the Soviet Union or the specter of socialist revolution. The dissolution of the USSR, hailed by Francis Fukuyama as the "End of History," signified for the strategists of American imperialism the end of military restraint.

It is one of the great ironies of history that the definitive emergence of the United States as the dominant imperialist power, amid the catastrophe of World War I, coincided with the outbreak of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which culminated in the establishment of the first socialist workers state in history, under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party. On April 3, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson delivered his war message to the US Congress and led the United States into the global imperialist conflict. Two weeks later, V.I. Lenin returned to Russia, which was in the throes of revolution, and reoriented the Bolshevik Party toward the fight to overthrow the bourgeois Provisional Government.

Lenin and his principal political ally, Leon Trotsky, insisted that the struggle for socialism was indissolubly linked to the struggle against war. As the historian R. Craig Nation has argued:

For Lenin there was no doubt that the revolution was the result of a crisis of imperialism and that the dilemmas which it posed could only be resolved on the international level. The campaign for proletarian hegemony in Russia, the fight against the war, and the international struggle against imperialism were now one and the same. [ 4 ]

Just as the United States was striving to establish its position as the arbiter of the world's destiny, it faced a challenge, in the form of the Bolshevik Revolution, not only to the authority of American imperialism, but also to the economic, political, and even moral legitimacy of the entire capitalist world order. "The rhetoric and actions of the Bolsheviks," historian Melvyn P. Leffler has written, "ignited fear, revulsion and uncertainty in Washington." [ 5 ]

Another perceptive historian of US foreign policy explained:

The great majority of American leaders were so deeply concerned with the Bolshevik Revolution because they were so uneasy about what President Wilson called the "general feeling of revolt" against the existing order, and about the increasing intensity of that dissatisfaction. The Bolshevik Revolution became in their minds the symbol of all the revolutions that grew out of that discontent. And that is perhaps the crucial insight into the tragedy of American diplomacy. [ 6 ]

In a desperate effort to destroy the new revolutionary regime, Wilson sent an expeditionary force to Russia in 1918, in support of counterrevolutionary forces in the brutal civil war. The intervention was an ignominious failure.

It was not until 1933 that the United States finally granted diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union. The diplomatic rapprochement was facilitated in part by the fact that the Soviet regime, now under Stalin's bureaucratic dictatorship, was in the process of repudiating the revolutionary internationalism that had inspired the Bolsheviks in 1917. It was abandoning the perspective of world revolution in favor of alliances with imperialist states on the basis of "collective security." Unable to secure such an alliance with Britain and France, Stalin signed the notorious Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler in August 1939. Following Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, and the entry of the United States into World War II in December 1941, the exigencies of the struggle against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan required that the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt forge a military alliance with the Soviet Union. But once Germany and Japan were defeated, relations between the United States and the Soviet Union rapidly deteriorated. The Truman administration, opposing the extension of Soviet influence into Eastern Europe, and frightened by the growth of Communist parties in Western Europe, launched the Marshall Plan in 1948 and triggered the onset of the Cold War.

The Kremlin regime pursued nationalistic policies, based on the Stalinist program of "socialism in one country," and betrayed working class and anti-imperialist movements all over the world. But the very existence of a regime that arose out of a socialist revolution had a politically radicalizing impact throughout the world. William Appleman Williams was certainly correct in his view that "American leaders were for many, many years more afraid of the implicit and indirect challenge of the revolution than they were of the actual power of the Soviet Union." [ 7 ]

In the decades that followed World War II, the United States was unable to ignore the existence of the Soviet Union. To the extent that the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, which was established in 1949, provided limited political and material support to anti-imperialist movements in the "Third World," they denied the US ruling class a free hand in the pursuit of its own interests. These limitations were demonstrated -- to cite the most notable examples -- by the US defeats in Korea and Vietnam, the compromise settlement of the Cuban missile crisis, and the acceptance of Soviet domination of the Baltic region and Eastern Europe.

The existence of the Soviet Union and an anticapitalist regime in China deprived the United States of the possibility of unrestricted access to and exploitation of the human labor, raw materials, and potential markets of a large portion of the globe, especially the Eurasian land mass. It compelled the United States to compromise, to a greater degree than it would have preferred, in negotiations over economic and strategic issues with its major allies in Europe and Asia, as well as with smaller countries that exploited the tactical opportunities provided by the US-Soviet Cold War.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, combined with the restoration of capitalism in China following the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 1989, was seen by the American ruling class as an opportunity to repudiate the compromises of the post-World War II era, and to carry out a restructuring of global geopolitics, with the aim of establishing the hegemony of the United States.

There was no small element of self-delusion in the grandiose American response to the breakup of the Soviet Union. The bombastic claims that the United States had won the Cold War were based far more on myth than reality. In fact, the sudden dissolution of the Soviet Union took the entire Washington foreign policy establishment by surprise. In February 1987, the Council on Foreign Relations published an assessment of US-Soviet relations, authored by two of its most eminent Sovietologists, Strobe Talbott and Michael Mandelbaum. Analyzing the discussions between Reagan and Gorbachev at meetings in Geneva and Reykjavik in 1986, the two experts concluded:

No matter how Gorbachev comes to define perestroika in practice and no matter how he modifies the official definition of security, the Soviet Union will resist pressure for change, whether it comes from without or within, from the top or the bottom. The fundamental conditions of Soviet-American relations are therefore likely to persist. This, in turn, means that the ritual of Soviet-American summitry is likely to have a long run. . . . [ 8 ]

The "long run," Talbott and Mandelbaum predicted, would continue not only during the reign of "Gorbachev's successor," but also his "successor's successor." No substantial changes in relations between the United States and the Soviet Union were to be expected. The two prophets from the Council on Foreign Relations concluded:

Whoever they are, and whatever changes have occurred in the meantime, the American and Soviet leaders of the next century will be wrestling with the same great issue -- how to manage their rivalry so as to avoid nuclear catastrophe -- that has engaged the energies, in the latter half of the 1980s, of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. [ 9 ]

In contrast to the Washington experts, who foresaw nothing, the International Committee recognized that the Gorbachev regime marked a climactic stage in the crisis of Stalinism. "The crisis of Gorbachev," it declared in a statement dated March 23, 1987, "has emerged as every section of world Stalinism confronts economic convulsions and upheavals by the masses. In every case -- from Beijing to Belgrade -- the response of the Stalinist bureaucrats has been to turn ever more openly toward capitalist restorationism." [ 10 ]

The Cold War victory narrative encouraged, within the ruling elite, a disastrous overestimation of the power and potential of American capitalism. The drive for hegemony assumed the ability of the US to contain the economic and political centrifugal forces unleashed by the operation of global capitalism. Even at the height of its power, such an immense project was well beyond the capacities of the United States. But amid the euphoria generated by the end of the Soviet Union, the ruling class chose to ignore the deep-rooted and protracted crisis of American society. An objective observer, examining the conditions of both the United States and the Soviet Union between 1960 and 1990, might well have wondered which regime was in greater crisis. During the three decades that preceded the dissolution of the USSR, the United States exhibited high levels of political, social, and economic instability.

Consider the fate of the presidential administrations in power during those three decades: (1) The Kennedy administration ended tragically in November 1963 with a political assassination, in the midst of escalating social tensions and international crises; (2) Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy's successor, was unable to seek reelection in 1968, as a result of urban riots and mass opposition to the US invasion of Vietnam; (3) Richard Nixon was compelled to resign from office in August 1974, after the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee voted for his impeachment on charges related to his criminal subversion of the Constitution; (4) Gerald Ford, who became president upon Nixon's resignation, was defeated in the November 1976 election amid popular revulsion over Nixon's crimes and the US military debacle in Vietnam; (5) Jimmy Carter's one term in office was dominated by an inflationary crisis that sent the federal prime interest rate to 20 percent, a bitter three month national coal miners strike, and the aftershocks generated by the Iranian Revolution; and (6) Ronald Reagan's years in office, despite all the ballyhoo about "morning in America," were characterized by recession, bitter social tension, and a series of foreign policy disasters in the Middle East and Central America. The exposure of an illegal scheme to finance paramilitary operations in Nicaragua (the Iran-Contra crisis) brought Reagan to the very brink of impeachment. His administration was saved by the leadership of the Democratic Party, which had no desire to remove from office a president who was politically weakened and already exhibiting signs of dementia.

The one persistent factor that confronted all these administrations, from Kennedy to Reagan, was the erosion in the global economic position of the United States. The unquestioned dominance of American finance and industry at the end of World War II provided the economic underpinnings of the Bretton Woods system of dollar-gold convertibility that formed the basis of global capitalist growth and stability. By the late 1950s, the system was coming under increasing strain. It was during the Kennedy administration that unfavorable tendencies in the US balance of trade first began to arouse significant concern. On August 15, 1971, Nixon suddenly ended the Bretton Woods system of fixed international exchange rates, pegged to a US dollar convertible at the rate of $35 per ounce of gold. During the 1970s and 1980s, the decline in the exchange rate of the dollar mirrored the deterioration of the American economy.

The belligerent response of the United States to the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union reflected the weakness, not the strength, of American capitalism. The overwhelming support within the ruling elite for a highly aggressive foreign policy arose from the delusion that the United States could reverse the protracted erosion of its global economic position through the deployment of its immense military power.

The Defense Planning Guidance, drafted by the Department of Defense in February 1992, unambiguously asserted the hegemonic ambitions of US imperialism:

There are other potential nations or coalitions that could, in the further future, develop strategic aims and a defense posture of region-wide or global domination. Our strategy must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor. [ 11 ]

The 1990s saw a persistent use of US military power, most notably in the first Gulf War, followed by its campaign to break up Yugoslavia. The brutal restructuring of the Balkan states, which provoked a fratricidal civil war, culminated in the US-led 1999 bombing campaign to compel Serbia to accept the secession of the province of Kosovo. Other major military operations during that decade included the intervention in Somalia, which ended in disaster, the military occupation of Haiti, the bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan, and repeated bombing attacks on Iraq.

The events of September 11, 2001 provided the opportunity to launch the "War on Terror," a propaganda slogan that provided an all-purpose justification for military operations throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and, with increasing frequency, Africa. They furnished the Bush administration with a pretext to institutionalize war as a legitimate and normal instrument of American foreign policy.

The administration of the second President Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001. In speeches that followed 9/11, Bush used the phrase "wars of the twenty-first century." In this case, the normally inarticulate president spoke with precision. The "War on Terror" was, from the beginning, conceived as an unending series of military operations all over the globe. One war would necessarily lead to another. Afghanistan proved to be a dress rehearsal for the invasion of Iraq.

The military strategy of the United States was revised in line with the new doctrine of "preventive warfare," adopted by the US in 2002. This doctrine, which violated existing international law, decreed that the United States could attack any country in the world judged to pose a potential threat -- not only of a military, but also of an economic character -- to American interests.

In a verbal sleight of hand, the Bush administration justified the invasion of Iraq as a preemptive war, undertaken in response to the imminent threat posed by the country's "weapons of mass destruction" to the national security of the United States. Of course, the threat was as non-existent as were Saddam Hussein's WMDs. In any event, the Bush administration rendered the distinction between preemptive and preventive war meaningless, by asserting the right of the United States to attack any country, regardless of the existence or non-existence of an imminent threat to American national security. Whatever the terminology employed for propaganda purposes by American presidents, the United States adheres to the illegal doctrine of preventive war.

The scope of military operations continuously widened. New wars were started while the old ones continued. The cynical invocation of human rights was used to wage war against Libya and overthrow the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The same hypocritical pretext was employed to organize a proxy war in Syria. The consequences of these crimes, in terms of human lives and suffering, are incalculable.

The last quarter century of US-instigated wars must be studied as a chain of interconnected events. The strategic logic of the US drive for global hegemony extends beyond the neocolonial operations in the Middle East and Africa. The ongoing regional wars are component elements of the rapidly escalating confrontation of the United States with Russia and China.

It is through the prism of America's efforts to assert control of the strategically critical Eurasian landmass, that the essential significance of the events of 1990–91 is being revealed. But this latest stage in the ongoing struggle for world hegemony, which lies at the heart of the conflict with Russia and China, is bringing to the forefront latent and potentially explosive tensions between the United States and its present-day imperialist allies, including -- to name the most significant potential adversary -- Germany. The two world wars of the twentieth century were not the product of misunderstandings. The past is prologue. As the International Committee foresaw in 1990–91, the American bid for global hegemony has rekindled interimperialist rivalries simmering beneath the surface of world politics. Within Europe, dissatisfaction with the US role as the final arbiter of world affairs is being openly voiced. In a provocative essay, published in Foreign Affairs , the journal of the authoritative US Council on Foreign Relations, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has bluntly challenged Washington's presumption of US global dominance:

As the United States reeled from the effects of the Iraq war and the EU struggled through a series of crises, Germany held its ground. . . .

Today both the United States and Europe are struggling to provide global leadership. The 2003 invasion of Iraq damaged the United States' standing in the world. After the ouster of Saddam Hussein, sectarian violence ripped Iraq apart, and U.S. power in the region began to weaken. Not only did the George W. Bush administration fail to reorder the region through force, but the political, economic, and soft-power costs of this adventure undermined the United States' overall position. The illusion of a unipolar world faded. [ 12 ]

In a rebuke to the United States, Steinmeier writes: "Our historical experience has destroyed any belief in national exceptionalism -- for any nation." [ 13 ]

The journalists and academics, who work within the framework of the official narrative of the defense of human rights and the "War on Terror," cannot explain the progression of conflicts, from the 1990–91 Gulf War, to the current expansion of NATO eight hundred miles eastward, and the American "pivot to Asia." On a regular basis, the United States and its allies stage war games in Eastern Europe, in close proximity to the borders of Russia, and in strategically critical waters off the coast of China. It is not difficult to conceive of a situation in which events -- either as a result of deliberate calculation or of reckless miscalculation -- erupt into a clash between nuclear-armed powers. In 2014, as the centenary of World War I approached, a growing number of scholarly papers called attention to the similarities between the conditions that precipitated the disaster of August 1914 and present-day tensions.

One parallel between today and 1914 is the growing sense among political and military strategists that war between the United States and China and/or Russia may be inevitable. As this fatalistic premise increasingly informs the judgments and actions of the key decision makers at the highest level of the state, it becomes a dynamic factor that makes the actual outbreak of war more likely. A specialist in international geopolitics has recently written:

Once war is assumed to be unavoidable, the calculations of leaders and militaries change. The question is no longer whether there will or should be a war, but when the war can be fought most advantageously. Even those neither eager for nor optimistic about war may opt to fight when operating in the framework of inevitability. [ 14 ]

Not since the end of World War II has there existed so great a danger of world war. The danger is heightened by the fact that the level of popular awareness of the threat remains very limited. What percentage of the American population, one must ask, realizes that President Barack Obama has formally committed the United States to go to war in defense of Estonia, in the event of a conflict between the small Baltic country and Russia? The media has politely refrained from asking the president to state how many human beings would die in the event of a nuclear war between the United States and either Russia or China, or both at the same time.

On the eve of World War II, Leon Trotsky warned that a catastrophe threatened the entire culture of mankind. He was proven correct. Within less than a decade, the Second World War claimed the lives of more than fifty million people. The alarm must once again be sounded. The working class and youth within the United States and throughout the world must be told the truth.

The progressive development of a globally integrated world economy is incompatible with capitalism and the nation-state system. If war is to be stopped and a global catastrophe averted, a new and powerful mass international movement, based on a socialist program, and strategically guided by the principles of revolutionary class struggle, must be built. In opposition to imperialist geopolitics, in which national states fight brutally for regional and global dominance, the International Committee counterposes the strategy of world socialist revolution. As Trotsky advised, we "follow not the war map but the map of the class struggle. . . ." [ 15 ]

In the weeks prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, there were mass protests against the war policies of the United States and its allies. Millions took to the streets. But after the war began, public opposition virtually disappeared. The absence of popular protest did not signify support for the war. Rather, it reflected the repudiation, by the old middle-class protest movement, of its former Vietnam-era opposition to imperialism.

There are mounting signs of political radicalization among significant sections of the working class and youth. It is only a matter of time before this radicalization gives rise to conscious opposition to war. It is the aim of this volume to impart to the new antiwar movement a revolutionary socialist and internationalist perspective and program.

... ... ...

solerso • 2 years ago
The quotes from Trotsky are glaring. These and others were used to argue against socialism in the post war decades, but all that was needed was time and the working of the forces of capitalism itself. History never ended, it is right on schedule
Steve Naidamast • 2 years ago
"Landler informs his readers that Obama "went for a walk among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery before giving the order to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan." He recalls a passage from Obama's 2009 speech accepting the Nobel Prize, in which the president wearily lamented that humanity needed to reconcile "two seemingly irreconcilable truths -- that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly."

Typical American philosophy... "War is peace!"...

peatstack • 3 years ago
VI lenin crushed the Krondstadt rebellion that was the true 'soviet union' model and instituted a hard right revolutionary regime of ruthless dictatorial control from smolny, not a workers state. The US borgeouis (and french and english) intervened to keep russia in the war and 160 german divisions from leaving the eastern front. The threat of a workers state was not the concern of the victors. The failure of revolutionary russia to represent what this article is propping it up to be (some kind of genuine workers state) leaves me deeply suspect about the other conclusions he's bent history to. Anyone who's read "2 years in russia" by emma goldman, and "the victors dilemma" - john silverlight and any number of books on the russian civil war, it is clear that the intervention was for military tactical reasons and that the nascient state was in no ways a workers state but a totalitarian military dictatorship. Emma Goldman's disillusionment is not her falling out of love with her ideals, but her coming to terms with the reality vs the PR of Russia. Which is why this website (Wsws) advertised a book repudiating the rejection of socialism with the faiure of the soviet union as a false narrative a year or few ago.
fds peatstack • 3 years ago
The historical memoir is clear, diaries, memos, news articles, and the Western soldier revolts, time to smash the revolution. Kronstadt was a tragedy, but the regime was under threat. history is messy.
OL peatstack • 3 years ago
On Kronstadt : https://www.marxists.org/ar... I never found an attempt at refuting these that was more than hot air.

I can imagine that the leadership of imperialist countries was underestimating the bolsheviks in 1917, but once the Russian revolution had given enough confidence to the German masses to make the war stop one year later, once the French black sea fleet had rebelled in 1919, etc... they were all very conscious of the risks (potential risks, not immediate threats).

iv_int OL • 3 years ago
The evidence in favour of what Trotsky wrote about Kronstadt is simply overwhelming. A cmd above gave some basic evidence. Trotsky was absolutely right and absolutely honest on what he wrote later on ("hue and cry over Kronstadt")
Larka • 3 years ago
The working class has been the victim of betrayal after betrayal by pseudo-left forces in the 20th century, which led to two catastrophic world wars and all the other conflicts that have created needless bloodshed around the world. The great task will be, when the new mass working class anti-war movement arises, to give the working class the political knowledge it needs to not fall for the traps that dissipated anti-war movements in the past. It must be made clear to the workers of the world that for us, it's do or die time - literally, as the obscene levels of social inequality and the prospect of nuclear confrontation prove.
Carolyn Zaremba Larka • 3 years ago
I understand this very well, having seen what happened to what I thought at the time was a powerful antiwar movement in the 1960s against the war in Vietnam. I was quite politically naive at the time and became so disillusioned with politics in general and what I then thought to be the "left" in particular, that I went off politics completely and started reading Ayn Rand.

After being turned off by Rand's misanthropy and hatred of the working class (even though I admired her atheism), I became more or less apolitical until 1998, when I first read the World Socialist Web Site and found what I had been looking for.

Robert Seaborne Carolyn Zaremba • 3 years ago
thank you Carolyn Zaremba,

for this affirming comment. Me too, having all but given up on politics and following a last ditch search of the web I was rewarded with a political program and party that was more than compatible with my world view and personal values. Something I had not thought possible, thank you ICFI/SEP.

FireintheHead • 3 years ago
There are times when even we as Marxists find ourselves scouring the past for a word that befits the character and luminosity of a moment in human understanding. In this respect David North has given new meaning to the word 'Biblical'.

As a word, its essence is transcendent. For whoever defines an epoch in the clearest and most profoundest way as this, is elevated to the realms of Greatness.

As the bourgeoisie now scrabbles, in fights, and drowns in the last dregs of its alchemy, a Phoenix arises out of their chaos lest the bourgeoisie commits all to the Fires of Hell ....

Most excellent words comrade David ...a most excellent call to class struggle .

Eric • 3 years ago
This is a remarkably panoramic account, grounded in both history and economics, of the unfolding of U.S. militarism and imperialist warfare over the past 30 or so years. It is without peer in anything else I have seen in terms of showing that events and tendencies - which we may have been separately aware of - were in fact part of a historical continuum growing out of economic developments and the perceived interests of the U.S. ruling class.
iv_int • 3 years ago
Always interesting to read cmd. North. ''First, and most important, the International Committee interpreted the collapse of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989–90, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, as an existential crisis of the entire global nation-state system, as it emerged from the ashes of World War II. Second, the ICFI anticipated that the breakdown of the established postwar equilibrium would lead rapidly to a resurgence of imperialist militarism''. This is great but we also have German militarism on the rise and we should not underestimate. The working class must be prepared for economic and even actual wars in Europe and elsewhere. The redivision of markets and resources is evident with Germany and China on the table.

[Dec 21, 2019] Please consider looking at the Wikileaks video linked below? It illustrates a barbaric type of war crime-free unaccountability to "international law," including a lawless US military Rules of Engagement modus operandi

Mar 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

ChuckOrloski says:

March 12, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT • 200 Words @AnonFromTN Superfluously impossible, AnonfromTN said: "It is simple, really. The US needs a law prohibiting anyone with dual citizenship to hold public office."

Hi AnonfromTN.

Hard to comprehend how you persist to deny how the "US law" is Zionized. (Zigh) Israeli "dual citizenship and holding "Homeland" public office is an irretractable endowment lawlessly given to US Jews by ruling international Jewry.

They barged into our Constitution like a cancer and feast upon The Bill of Rights.

What's worse now is how livin' the "American dream" has reversed, and at present, President t-Rump demands huge increases in war funding.
No one gets informed that future wars converge with Israel's will.

Please consider looking at the Wikileaks video linked below? It illustrates a barbaric type of war crime-free & unaccountability to "international law," including a lawless US military Rules of Engagement modus operandi, which governed the serial killing activity of an Apache attack chopper crew in the Baghdad sky. Look close at the posed threat!

Tell me AnonfromTN? As you likely know, Bradley Chelsea Manning is, and under "Homeland" law, in-the-klink for exposing the war crimes to America. Is their one (1) US Congressman raising objection to the imprisonment? Fyi, you can look at the brave writing of Kathy Kelly on the Manning case, and which appears at Counterpunch.org.

AnonFromTN , says: March 12, 2019 at 6:01 pm GMT

@ChuckOrloski I can only agree. The patient (the US political system) is too far gone to hope for recovery. As comment #69 rightly points out, our political system is based on bribery. Lobbyism and donations to political campaigns and PACs are perfectly legal in the US, while all of these should be criminal offenses punished by jail time, like in most countries. Naturally, desperate Empires losing their dominant position resort to any war crimes imaginable, and severely punish those who expose these crimes.

I can add only one thing: you are right that greedy Jews are evil, but greedy people of any nationality are just as evil as greedy Jews. Not all greedy globalists and MIC thieves are Jews, but they are all scum. I watch with dismay the US Empire heading to its crash. Lemmings running to the cliff are about as rational as our degenerate elites. Israel influence is toxic, but that's not the only poison the Empire will die from.

[Dec 21, 2019] Syria Accuses US Of Stealing Over 40 Tons Of Its Gold by Eric Zuesse

Mar 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Fri, 03/08/2019 - 23:55 240 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Syrian National News Agency headlined on February 26th, "Gold deal between United States and Daesh" (Daesh is ISIS) and reported that,

Information from local sources said that US army helicopters have already transported the gold bullions under cover of darkness on Sunday [February 24th], before transporting them to the United States.

The sources said that tens of tons that Daesh had been keeping in their last hotbed in al-Baghouz area in Deir Ezzor countryside have been handed to the Americans, adding up to other tons of gold that Americans have found in other hideouts for Daesh, making the total amount of gold taken by the Americans to the US around 50 tons, leaving only scraps for the SDF [Kurdish] militias that serve them [the US operation].

Recently, sources said that the area where Daesh leaders and members have barricaded themselves in, contains around 40 tons of gold and tens of millions of dollars.

Allegedly, "US occupation forces in the Syrian al-Jazeera area made a deal with Daesh terrorists, by which Washington gets tens of tons of gold that the terror organization had stolen, in exchange for providing safe passage for the terrorists and their leaders from the areas in Deir Ezzor where they are located."

ISIS was financing its operations largely by the theft of oil from the oil wells in the Deir Ezzor area, Syria's oil-producing region, and they transported and sold this stolen oil via their allied forces, through Turkey, which was one of those US allies trying to overthrow Syria's secular Government and install a Sunni fundamentalist regime that would be ruled from Riyadh (i.e., controlled by the Saud family) . This gold is the property of the Syrian Government, which owns all that oil and the oil wells, which ISIS had captured (stolen), and then sold. Thus, this gold is from sale of that stolen black-market oil, which was Syria's property.

The US Government claims to be anti-ISIS, but actually didn't even once bomb ISIS in Syria until Russia started bombing ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2015, and the US had actually been secretly arming ISIS there so as to help ISIS and especially Al Qaeda (and the US was strongly protecting Al Qaeda in Syria ) to overthrow Syria's secular and non-sectarian Government. Thus, whereas Russia started bombing ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2015, America (having become embarrassed) started bombing ISIS in Syria on 16 November 2015 . The US Government's excuse was "This is our first strike against tanker trucks, and to minimize risks to civilians, we conducted a leaflet drop prior to the strike." They pretended it was out of compassion -- not in order to extend for as long as possible ISIS's success in taking over territory in Syria. (And, under Trump, on the night of 2 March 2019, the US rained down upon ISIS in northeast Syria the excruciating and internationally banned white phosphorous to burn ISIS and its hostages alive, which Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had routinely done to burn alive the residents in Donetsk and other parts of eastern former Ukraine where voters had voted more than 90% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama's coup in Ukraine had replaced . It was a way to eliminate some of the most-undesired voters -- people who must never again be voting in a Ukrainian national election, not even if that region subsequently does become conquered by the post-coup, US-imposed, regime. The land there is wanted; its residents certainly are not wanted by the Obama-imposed regime.) America's line was: Russia just isn't as 'compassionate' as America. Zero Hedge aptly headlined "'Get Out Of Your Trucks And Run Away': US Gives ISIS 45 Minute Warning On Oil Tanker Strikes" . Nobody exceeds the United States Government in sheer hypocrisy.

The US Government evidently thinks that the public are fools, idiots. America's allies seem to be constantly amazed at how successful that approach turns out to be.

Indeed, on 28 November 2012, Syria News headlined "Emir of Qatar & Prime Minister of Turkey Steal Syrian Oil Machinery in Broad Daylight" and presented video allegedly showing it (but unfortunately providing no authentication of the date and locale of that video).

Jihadists were recruited from throughout the world to fight against Syria's secular Government. Whereas ISIS was funded mainly by black-market sales of oil from conquered areas, the Al-Qaeda-led groups were mainly funded by the Sauds and other Arab royal families and their retinues, the rest of their aristocracy. On 13 December 2013, BBC headlined "Guide to the Syrian rebels" and opened "There are believed to be as many as 1,000 armed opposition groups in Syria, commanding an estimated 100,000 fighters." Except in the Kurdish areas in Syria's northeast, almost all of those fighters were being led by Al Qaeda's Syrian Branch, al-Nusra. Britain's Center on Religion & Politics headlined on 21 December 2015, "Ideology and Objectives of the Syrian Rebellion" and reported: "If ISIS is defeated, there are at least 65,000 fighters belonging to other Salafi-jihadi groups ready to take its place." Almost all of those 65,000 were trained and are led by Syria's Al Qaeda (Nusra), which was protected by the US

In September 2016 a UK official "FINAL REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE ON COMBATING TERRORIST AND FOREIGN FIGHTER TRAVEL" asserted that, "Over 25,000 foreign fighters have traveled to the battlefield to enlist with Islamist terrorist groups, including at least 4,500 Westerners. More than 250 individuals from the United States have also joined." Even just 25,000 (that official lowest estimate) was a sizable US proxy-army of religious fanatics to overthrow Syria's Government.

On 26 November 2015, the first of Russia's videos of Russia's bombing ISIS oil trucks headed into Turkey was bannered at a US military website "Russia Airstrike on ISIS Oil Tankers" , and exactly a month later, on 26 December 2015, Britain's Daily Express headlined "WATCH: Russian fighter jets smash ISIS oil tankers after spotting 12,000 at Turkish border" . This article, reporting around twelve thousand ISIS oil-tanker trucks heading into Turkey, opened: "The latest video, released by the Russian defence ministry, shows the tankers bunched together as they make their way along the road. They are then blasted by the fighter jet." The US military had nothing comparable to offer to its 'news'-media. Britain's Financial Times headlined on 14 October 2015, "Isis Inc: how oil fuels the jihadi terrorists" . Only America's allies were involved in this commerce with ISIS -- no nation that supported Syria's Government was participating in this black market of stolen Syrian goods. So, it's now clear that a lot of that stolen oil was sold for gold as Syria's enemy-nations' means of buying that oil from ISIS. They'd purchase it from ISIS, but not from Syria's Government, the actual owner.

On 30 November 2015 Israel's business-news daily Globes News Service bannered "Israel has become the main buyer for oil from ISIS controlled territory, report" , and reported:

An estimated 20,000-40,000 barrels of oil are produced daily in ISIS controlled territory generating $1-1.5 million daily profit for the terrorist organization. The oil is extracted from Dir A-Zur in Syria and two fields in Iraq and transported to the Kurdish city of Zakhu in a triangle of land near the borders of Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Israeli and Turkish mediators come to the city and when prices are agreed, the oil is smuggled to the Turkish city of Silop marked as originating from Kurdish regions of Iraq and sold for $15-18 per barrel (WTI and Brent Crude currently sell for $41 and $45 per barrel) to the Israeli mediator, a man in his 50s with dual Greek-Israeli citizenship known as Dr. Farid. He transports the oil via several Turkish ports and then onto other ports, with Israel among the main destinations.

After all, Israel too wants to overthrow Syria's secular, non-sectarian Government, which would be replaced by rulers selected by the Saud family , who are the US Government's main international ally .

On 9 November 2014, when Turkey was still a crucial US ally trying to overthrow Syria's secular Government (and this was before the failed 15 July 2016 US-backed coup-attempt to overthrow and replace Turkey's Government so as to impose an outright US stooge), Turkey was perhaps ISIS's most crucial international backer . Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's leader, had received no diploma beyond k-12, and all of that schooling was in Sunni schools and based on the Quran . (He pretended, however, to have a university diploma.) On 15 July 2015, AWD News headlined "Turkish President's daughter heads a covert medical corps to help ISIS injured members" . On 2 December 2015, a Russian news-site headlined "Defense Ministry: Erdogan and his family are involved in the illegal supply of oil" ; so, the Erdogan family itself was religiously committed to ISIS's fighters against Syria, and they were key to the success of the US operation against Syrians -- theft from Syrians. The great investigative journalist Christof Lehmann, who was personally acquainted with many of the leading political figures in Africa and the Middle East, headlined on 22 June 2014, "US Embassy in Ankara Headquarter for ISIS War on Iraq – Hariri Insider" , and he reported that the NATO-front the Atlantic Council had held a meeting in Turkey during 22-23 of November 2013 at which high officials of the US and allied governments agreed that they were going to take over Syria's oil, and that they even were threatening Iraq's Government for its not complying with their demands to cooperate on overthrowing Syria's Government. So, behind the scenes, this conquest of Syria was the clear aim by the US and all of its allies.

The US had done the same thing when it took over Ukraine by a brutal coup in February 2014 : It grabbed the gold. Iskra News in Russian reported, on 7 March 2014 , that "At 2 a.m. this morning ... an unmarked transport plane was on the runway at Borosipol Airport" near Kiev in the west, and that, "According to airport staff, before the plane came to the airport, four trucks and two Volkswagen minibuses arrived, all the truck license plates missing." This was as translated by Michel Chossudovsky at Global Research headlining on 14 March, "Ukraine's Gold Reserves Secretly Flown Out and Confiscated by the New York Federal Reserve?" in which he noted that, when asked, "A spokesman for the New York Fed said simply, 'Any inquiry regarding gold accounts should be directed to the account holder.'" The load was said to be "more than 40 heavy boxes." Chossudovsky noted that, "The National Bank of Ukraine (Central Bank) estimated Ukraine's gold reserves in February to be worth $1.8 billion dollars." It was allegedly 36 tons. The US, according to Victoria Nuland ( Obama's detail-person overseeing the coup ) had invested around $5 billion in the coup. Was her installed Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk cleaning out the nation's gold reserves in order to strip the nation so that the nation's steep indebtedness for Russian gas would never be repaid to Russia's oligarchs? Or was he doing it as a payoff for Nuland's having installed him? Or both? In any case: Russia was being squeezed by this fascist Ukrainian-American ploy.

On 14 November 2014, a Russian youtube headlined "In Ukraine, there is no more gold and currency reserves" and reported that there is "virtually no gold. There is a small amount of gold bars, but it's just 1%" of before the coup. Four days later, bannered "Ukraine Admits Its Gold Is Gone: 'There Is Almost No Gold Left In The Central Bank Vault'" . From actually 42.3 tons just before the coup, it was now far less than one ton.

The Syria operation was about oil, gold, and guns. However, most of America's support was to Al-Qaeda-led jihadists, not to ISIS-jihadists. As the great independent investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva reported on 2 July 2017 :

"In December of last year while reporting on the battle of Aleppo as a correspondent for Bulgarian media I found and filmed 9 underground warehouses full of heavy weapons with Bulgaria as their country of origin. They were used by Al Nusra Front (Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria designated as a terrorist organization by the UN)."

The US had acquired weapons from around the world, and shipped them (and Gaytandzhieva's report even displayed the transit-documents) through a network of its embassies, into Syria, for Nusra-led forces inside Syria. Almost certainly, the US Government's central command center for the entire arms-smuggling operation was the world's largest embassy, which is America's embassy in Baghdad.

Furthermore, On 8 March 2013, Richard Spenser of Britain's Telegraph reported that Croatia's Jutarnji List newspaper had reported that "3,000 tons of weapons dating back to the former Yugoslavia have been sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb airport to the rebels, largely via Jordan since November. The airlift of dated but effective Yugoslav-made weapons meets key concerns of the West, and especially Turkey and the United States, who want the rebels to be better armed to drive out the Assad regime."

Also, a September 2014 study by Conflict Armaments Research (CAR), titled "Islamic State Weapons in Iraq and Syria" , reported that not only east-European, but even US-made, weapons were being "captured from Islamic State forces" by Kurds who were working for the Americans, and that this was very puzzling and disturbing to those Kurds, who were risking their lives to fight against those jihadists.

In December 2017, CAR headlined "Weapons of the Islamic State" and reported that "this materiel was rapidly captured by IS forces, only to be deployed by the group against international coalition forces." The assumption made there was that the transfer of weapons to ISIS was all unintentional.

That report ignored contrary evidence, which I summed up on 2 September 2017 headlining "Russian TV Reports US Secretly Backing ISIS in Syria" , and reporting there also from the Turkish Government an admission that the US was working with Turkey to funnel surviving members of Iraq's ISIS into the Deir Ezzor part of Syria to help defeat Syria's Government in that crucial oil-producing region. Moreover, at least one member of the 'rebels' that the US was training at Al Tanf on Syria's Jordanian border had quit because his American trainers were secretly diverting some of their weapons to ISIS. Furthermore: why hadn't the US bombed Syrian ISIS before Russia entered the Syrian war on 30 September 2015? America talked lots about its supposed effort against ISIS, but why did US wait till 16 November 2015 before taking action, "'Get Out Of Your Trucks And Run Away': US Gives ISIS 45 Minute Warning On Oil Tanker Strikes" ?

So, regardless of whether the US Government uses jihadists as its proxy-forces, or uses fascists as its proxy-forces, it grabs the gold -- and grabs the oil, and takes whatever else it can.

This is today's form of imperialism.

Grab what you can, and run. And call it 'fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption'. And the imperial regime's allies watch in amazement, as they take their respective cuts of the loot. That's the deal, and they call it 'fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption around the world'. That's the way it works. International gangland. That's the reality, while most of the public think it's instead really "fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption around the world." For example, as RT reported on Sunday , March 3rd, about John Bolton's effort at regime-change in Venezuela, Bolton said: "I'd like to see as broad a coalition as we can put together to replace Maduro, to replace the whole corrupt regime,' Bolton told CNN's Jake Tapper." Trump's regime wants to bring clean and democratic government to the poor Venezuelans, just like Bush's did to the Iraqis, and Obama's did to the Libyans and to the Syrians and to the Ukrainians. And Trump, who pretends to oppose Obama's regime-change policies, alternately expands them and shrinks them. Though he's slightly different from Obama on domestic policies, he never, as the US President, condemns any of his predecessors' many coups and invasions, all of which were disasters for everybody except America's and allies' billionaires. They're all in on the take.

The American public were suckered into destroying Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, Syria in 2011-now, and so many other countries, and still haven't learned anything, other than to keep trusting the allegations of this lying and psychopathically vicious and super-aggressive Government and of its stenographic 'news'-media. When is enough finally enough ? Never? If not never, then when ? Or do most people never learn? Or maybe they don't really care. Perhaps that's the problem.

On March 4th, the Jerusalem Post bannered "IRAN AND TURKEY MEDIA PUSH CONSPIRACY THEORIES ABOUT US, ISIS: Claims pushed by Syrian regime media assert that US gave ISIS safe passage out of Baghuz in return for gold, a conspiracy picked up in Tehran and Ankara" , and simply assumed that it's false -- but provided no evidence to back their speculation up -- and they closed by asserting "The conspiracies, which are manufactured in Damascus, are disseminated to Iraq and Turkey, both of whom oppose US policy in eastern Syria." Why do people even subscribe to such 'news'-sources as that? The key facts are hidden, the speculation that's based on their own prejudices replaces whatever facts exist. Do the subscribers, to that, simply want to be deceived? Are most people that stupid?

Back on 21 December 2018, one of the US regime's top 'news'-media, the Washington Post, had headlined "Retreating ISIS army smuggled a fortune in cash and gold out of Iraq and Syria" and reported that "the Islamic State is sitting on a mountain of stolen cash and gold that its leaders stashed away to finance terrorist operations." So, it's not as if there hadn't been prior reason to believe that some day some of the gold would be found after America's defeat in Syria. Maybe they just hadn't expected this to happen quite so soon. But the regime will find ways to hoodwink its public, in the future, just as it has in the past. Unless the public wises-up (if that's even possible).

[Dec 21, 2019] The USA lost in Syria in a sense that the opposing coalition incl. Iran and Russia couldn t be faced off successfully.

Feb 26, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Noirette , Feb 25, 2019 1:03:07 PM | link

The USA 'lost' in Syria, the opposing coalition incl. Iran and Russia couldn't be faced off successfully.

Destroying Afgh., Iraq, Lybia, - all 'failures' in the sense of not garnering 'advantage' for the USA as a territory, a Federated Nation, its citizens, its trade, boosting hopeful expansion, etc. One aim rarely mentioned is keeping allies on board, e.g. Sarkozy's France, to invade Lybia. In France many say it was Sark I who did DE-ss-troy! Lybia.

The word *failure* is based on the acceptance of a stated aim reminiscent of old-style-colonialism: grab resources, exploit super-cheap labor, control the natives, mine, exploit, shunt the goods / profits to home base.

If the aim is to stop rivals breathing, blast them back to the Stone Age, the success is good but relative. (see Iraq.) Private GloboCorps (e.g. Glencore.. ) are in charge behind the curtain, many Gvmts are just stooges for them in the sense of unawoved partnerships, the one feeding into the other, in a kind of desperado death spiral.

I have always been struck by the fact that Oil Projects / Management in Iraq, even wiki gives lists that shows major movers and profiteers are not USA oil cos. / interests, but China, Malaysia, many others.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_industry_in_Iraq

So, after multiple failures in one region, time to turn closer to home, the backyard, S. America...

[Dec 21, 2019] Trump comes clean from world s policeman to thug running a global protection racket by Finian Cunningham

Highly recommended!
In any case withdrawal from Syria was a surprising and bold move on the Part of the Trump. You can criticizes Trump for not doing more but before that he bahvaves as a typical neocon, or a typical Republican presidents (which are the same things). And he started on this path just two month after inauguration bombing Syria under false pretences. So this is something
I think the reason of change is that Trump intuitively realized the voters are abandoning him in droves and the sizable faction of his voters who voted for him because of his promises to end foreign wars iether already defected or is ready to defect. So this is a move designed to keep them.
Notable quotes:
"... "America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price," Trump said. ..."
Dec 27, 2018 | www.rt.com

President Trump's big announcement to pull US troops out of Syria and Afghanistan is now emerging less as a peace move, and more a rationalization of American military power in the Middle East. In a surprise visit to US forces in Iraq this week, Trump said he had no intention of withdrawing the troops in that country, who have been there for nearly 15 years since GW Bush invaded back in 2003.

Hinting at private discussions with commanders in Iraq, Trump boasted that US forces would in the future launch attacks from there into Syria if and when needed. Presumably that rapid force deployment would apply to other countries in the region, including Afghanistan.

In other words, in typical business-style transactional thinking, Trump sees the pullout from Syria and Afghanistan as a cost-cutting exercise for US imperialism. Regarding Syria, he has bragged about Turkey being assigned, purportedly, to "finish off" terror groups. That's Trump subcontracting out US interests.

Critics and supporters of Trump are confounded. After his Syria and Afghanistan pullout call, domestic critics and NATO allies have accused him of walking from the alleged "fight against terrorism" and of ceding strategic ground to US adversaries Russia and Iran.

'We're no longer suckers of the world!' Trump says US is respected as nation AGAIN (VIDEO)

Meanwhile, Trump's supporters have viewed his decision in more benign light, cheering the president for "sticking it to" the deep state and military establishment, assuming he's delivering on electoral promises to end overseas wars.

However, neither view gets what is going on. Trump is not scaling back US military power; he is rationalizing it like a cost-benefit analysis, as perhaps only a real-estate-wheeler-dealer-turned president would appreciate. Trump is not snubbing US militarism or NATO allies, nor is he letting loose an inner peace spirit. He is as committed to projecting American military as ruthlessly and as recklessly as any other past occupant of the White House. The difference is Trump wants to do it on the cheap.

Here's what he said to reporters on Air Force One before touching down in Iraq:

"The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world. It's not fair when the burden is all on us, the United States We are spread out all over the world. We are in countries most people haven't even heard about. Frankly, it's ridiculous." He added: "We're no longer the suckers, folks."

Laughably, Trump's griping about US forces "spread all over the world" unwittingly demonstrates the insatiable, monstrous nature of American militarism. But Trump paints this vice as a virtue, which, he complains, Washington gets no thanks for from the 150-plus countries around the globe that its forces are present in.

As US troops greeted him in Iraq, the president made explicit how the new American militarism would henceforth operate.

"America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price," Trump said.

'We give them $4.5bn a year': Israel will still be 'good' after US withdrawal from Syria – Trump

This reiterates a big bugbear for this president in which he views US allies and client regimes as "not pulling their weight" in terms of military deployment. Trump has been browbeating European NATO members to cough up more on military budgets, and he has berated the Saudis and other Gulf Arab regimes to pay more for American interventions.

Notably, however, Trump has never questioned the largesse that US taxpayers fork out every year to Israel in the form of nearly $4 billion in military aid. To be sure, that money is not a gift because much of it goes back to the Pentagon from sales of fighter jets and missile systems.

The long-held notion that the US has served as the "world's policeman" is, of course, a travesty.

Since WWII, all presidents and the Washington establishment have constantly harped on, with self-righteousness, about America's mythical role as guarantor of global security.

Dozens of illegal wars on almost every continent and millions of civilian deaths attest to the real, heinous conduct of American militarism as a weapon to secure US corporate capitalism.

But with US economic power in historic decline amid a national debt now over $22 trillion, Washington can no longer afford its imperialist conduct in the traditional mode of direct US military invasions and occupations.

Perhaps, it takes a cost-cutting, raw-toothed capitalist like Trump to best understand the historic predicament, even if only superficially.

This gives away the real calculation behind his troop pullout from Syria and Afghanistan. Iraq is going to serve as a new regional hub for force projection on a demand-and-supply basis. In addition, more of the dirty work can be contracted out to Washington's clients like Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who will be buying even more US weaponry to prop the military-industrial complex.

'With almost $22 trillion of debt, the US is in no position to attack Iran'

This would explain why Trump made his hurried, unexpected visit to Iraq this week. Significantly, he said : "A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking", regarding his decision on withdrawing forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

Since his troop pullout plan announced on December 19, there has been serious pushback from senior Pentagon figures, hawkish Republicans and Democrats, and the anti-Trump media. The atmosphere is almost seditious against the president. Trump flying off to Iraq on Christmas night was reportedly his first visit to troops in an overseas combat zone since becoming president two years ago.

What Trump seemed to be doing was reassuring the Pentagon and corporate America that he is not going all soft and dovish. Not at all. He is letting them know that he is aiming for a leaner, meaner US military power, which can save money on the number of foreign bases by using rapid reaction forces out of places like Iraq, as well as by subcontracting operations out to regional clients.

Thus, Trump is not coming clean out of any supposed principle when he cuts back US forces overseas. He is merely applying his knack for screwing down costs and doing things on the cheap as a capitalist tycoon overseeing US militarism.

During past decades when American capitalism was relatively robust, US politicians and media could indulge in the fantasy of their military forces going around the world in large-scale formations to selflessly "defend freedom and democracy."

Today, US capitalism is broke. It simply can't sustain its global military empire. Enter Donald Trump with his "business solutions."

But in doing so, this president, with his cheap utilitarianism and transactional exploitative mindset, lets the cat out of the bag. As he says, the US cannot be the world's policeman. Countries are henceforth going to have to pay for "our protection."

Inadvertently, Trump is showing up US power for what it really is: a global thug running a protection racket.

It's always been the case. Except now it's in your face. Trump is no Smedley Butler, the former Marine general who in the 1930s condemned US militarism as a Mafia operation. This president is stupidly revealing the racket, while still thinking it is something virtuous.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

dnm1136

Once again, Cunningham has hit the nail on the head. Trump mistakenly conflates fear with respect. In reality, around the world, the US is feared but generally not respected.

My guess is that the same was true about Trump as a businessman, i.e., he was not respected, only feared due to his willingness to pursue his "deals" by any means that "worked" for him, legal or illegal, moral or immoral, seemingly gracious or mean-spirited.

William Smith

Complaining how the US gets no thanks for its foreign intervention. Kind of like a rapist claiming he should be thanked for "pleasuring" his victim. Precisely the same sentiment expressed by those who believe the American Indians should thank the Whites for "civilising" them.

Phoebe S,

"Washington gets no thanks for from the 150-plus countries around the globe that its forces are present in."

That might mean they don't want you there. Just saying.

ProRussiaPole

None of these wars are working out for the US strategically. All they do is sow chaos. They seem to not be gaining anything, and are just preventing others from gaining anything as well.

Ernie For -> ProRussiaPole

i am a huge Putin fan, so is big Don. Please change your source of info Jerome, Trump is one man against Billions of people and dollars in corruption. He has achieved more in the USA in 2 years than all 5 previous parasites together.

Truthbetold69

It could be a change for a better direction. Time will tell. 'If you do what you've always been doing, you'll get what you've always been getting.'

[Dec 21, 2019] The US strategy is based on two core principles: (1) Maintain – extend hegemony over whole world. (Resources, military etc etc) (2) Act as Israel's Golom

Notable quotes:
"... Erster General-Quartiermeister ..."
"... The US strategy is based on two core principles: (1) Maintain – extend hegemony over whole world. (Resources, military etc etc) (2) Act as Israel's Golom. ..."
"... Of course this (very abbreviated) view of US "strategy" is open to the criticisms that it's both dumb & evil. As if US establishment cares. Compared to cost of traditional "war" it's pretty cheap ..."
Jun 13, 2018 | www.unz.com

In truth, infinite war is a strategic abomination, an admission of professional military bankruptcy. Erster General-Quartiermeister Ludendorff might have endorsed the term, but Ludendorff was a military fanatic.

Check that. Infinite war is a strategic abomination except for arms merchants, so-called defense contractors, and the " emergency men " (and women) devoted to climbing the greasy pole of what we choose to call the national security establishment. In other words, candor obliges us to acknowledge that, in some quarters, infinite war is a pure positive, carrying with it a promise of yet more profits, promotions, and opportunities to come. War keeps the gravy train rolling. And, of course, that's part of the problem.

Who should we hold accountable for this abomination? Not the generals, in my view. If they come across as a dutiful yet unimaginative lot, remember that a lifetime of military service rarely nurtures imagination or creativity. And let us at least credit our generals with this: in their efforts to liberate or democratize or pacify or dominate the Greater Middle East they have tried every military tactic and technique imaginable. Short of nuclear annihilation, they've played just about every card in the Pentagon's deck -- without coming up with a winning hand. So they come and go at regular intervals, each new commander promising success and departing after a couple years to make way for someone else to give it a try.

... ... ...

Congressional midterm elections are just months away and another presidential election already looms. Who will be the political leader with the courage and presence of mind to declare: "Enough! Stop this madness!" Man or woman, straight or gay, black, brown, or white, that person will deserve the nation's gratitude and the support of the electorate.

Until that occurs, however, the American penchant for war will stretch on toward infinity. No doubt Saudi and Israeli leaders will cheer, Europeans who remember their Great War will scratch their heads in wonder, and the Chinese will laugh themselves silly. Meanwhile, issues of genuinely strategic importance -- climate change offers one obvious example -- will continue to be treated like an afterthought. As for the gravy train, it will roll on.


Anon [323] Disclaimer , June 7, 2018 at 9:57 pm GMT

"The United States of Amnesia."

That's actually a universal condition.

unseated , June 7, 2018 at 11:00 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

1. WW1 had total casualties (civilian and military) of around 40M. WW2 had total casualties of 60M. So yes WW2 was more deadly but "pales in comparison" is hardly justified, especially relative to population.

2. Marshal Foch, 28 June, 1919: "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for 20 years."
WW1 inevitably led to WW2.

c matt , June 8, 2018 at 1:18 pm GMT
"Enough! Stop this madness!"

The only politician with a modest national stage to have said that (and meant it) in the last 50 years was Ron Paul, who was booed and mocked as crazy. Trump made noises in that direction, but almost as soon as the last words of his oath echoed off into the brisk January afternoon, he seemed to change his tune. Whether he never meant it, or decided to avoid the JFK treatment, who knows.

No, as I believe Will Rogers said, democracy is that form of government where the people get what they want, good and hard.

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , June 8, 2018 at 2:08 pm GMT
@c matt

Yes.

I supported Ron Paul in 2012. But after his candidacy was crookedly subverted by the Establishment (cf., Trump's) I vowed never to vote again for anyone that I believe unworthy of the power wielded through the public office. I haven't voted since, and don't expect to until the Empire collapses.

Carlton Meyer , Website June 8, 2018 at 4:02 pm GMT
Kirk Douglas starred in a great film about fighting in World War I: "Paths of Glory." I highly recommend the film for its accuracy, best described in Wiki by the reaction of governments:

Controversy

On its release, the film's anti-military tone was subject to criticism and censorship.

In France, both active and retired personnel from the French military vehemently criticized the film -- and its portrayal of the French Army -- after it was released in Belgium. The French government placed enormous pressure on United Artists, (the European distributor) to not release the film in France. The film was eventually shown in France in 1975 when social attitudes had changed.[17]

In Germany, the film was withdrawn from the Berlin Film Festival to avoid straining relations with France;[18] it was not shown for two years until after its release.

In Spain, Spain's right-wing government of Francisco Franco objected to the film. It was first shown in 1986, 11 years after Franco's death.

In Switzerland, the film was censored, at the request of the Swiss Army, until 1970.[18]

At American bases in Europe, the American military banned it from being shown.[18]

Mike P , June 8, 2018 at 4:33 pm GMT

No, it's not the generals who have let us down, but the politicians to whom they supposedly report and from whom they nominally take their orders.

I'd say both. The generals have greatly assisted in stringing along the trusting public, always promising that victory is just around the corner, provided the public supports this or that final effort. Petraeus in particular willingly played his part in misleading the public about both Iraq and Afghanistan. His career would be a great case study for illuminating what is wrong with the U.S. today.

As to the apparent failure of the Afghanistan war – one must be careful to separate stated goals from real ones. What kind of "lasting success" can the U.S. possibly hope for there? If they managed to defeat the Taliban, pacify the country, install a puppet regime to govern it, and then leave, what would that achieve? The puppet regime would find itself surrounded by powers antagonistic to the U.S., and the puppets would either cooperate with them or be overthrown in no time. The U.S. are not interested in winning and leaving – they want to continue disrupting the peaceful integration of East, West, and South Asia. Afghanistan is ideally placed for this purpose, and so the U.S. are quite content with dragging out that war, as a pretext for their continued presence in the region.

TG , June 8, 2018 at 7:44 pm GMT
An interesting and thoughtful piece.

I would disagree on one point though: "Today, Washington need not even bother to propagandize the public into supporting its war. By and large, members of the public are indifferent to its very existence."

This is an error. A majority of the American public think that wasting trillions of dollars on endless pointless foreign wars is a stupid idea, and they think that we would be better off spending that money on ourselves. It's just that we don't live in a democracy, and the corporate press constantly ignores the issue. But just because the press doesn't mention something, doesn't mean that it does not exist.

So during the last presidential election Donald Trump echoed this view, why are we throwing away all this money on stupid wars when we need that money at home? For this he was attacked as a fascist and "literally Hitler" (really! It's jaw-dropping when you think about it). Despite massive propaganda attacking Trump, and a personal style that could charitably be called a jackass, Trump won the election in large part because indeed most American don't like the status quo.

After the election, Trump started to deliver on his promises – and he was quickly beaten down, his pragmatist nationalist advisors purged and replaced with defense-industry chickenhawks, and now we are back to the old status quo. The public be damned.

No, the American people are not being propagandized into supporting these wars. They are simply being ignored.

Left Gatekeeper Dispatch , June 8, 2018 at 9:10 pm GMT
When are you going to stop insulting our intelligence with this Boy's State civics crap? You're calling on political leaders to stop war, like they don't remember what CIA did to JFK, RFK, Daschle, or Leahy. Or Paul Wellstone.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/tribute-to-the-last-honorable-us-senator-the-story-of-paul-wellstones-suspected-assassination-2/5643200

Your national command structure, CIA, has impunity for universal jurisdiction crime. They can kill or torture anyone they want and get away with it. That is what put them in charge. CIA kills anybody who gets in their way. You fail to comprehend Lenin's lesson: first destroy the regime, then you can refrain from use of force. Until you're ready to take on CIA, your bold phrases are silent and odorless farts of feckless self-absorption. Sack up and imprison CIA SIS or GTFO.

James Kabala , June 9, 2018 at 11:24 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

Since Spain was smart enough to stay out of both World Wars (as was Switzerland, of course), I wonder what Franco was thinking when he banned the film. Anyway, the final scene may be the best final scene in the history of movies.

exiled off mainstreet , June 10, 2018 at 1:15 am GMT
This writer, a retired military officer whose son died in service to the yankee imperium seems to have as good a grasp as any if not a better grasp than any about the nature of the yankee system of permanent war.
smellyoilandgas , June 13, 2018 at 4:48 am GMT
@TG

While I agree the slave-American is ignored, I think the elected, salaried members of the elected government are also ignored.. The persons in charge are Pharaohs and massively powerful global in scope corporations.
Abe Lincoln, McKinnley, Kennedy discovered that fact in their fate.

Organized Zionism was copted by the London bankers and their corporations 1897, since then a string of events have emerged.. that like a Submarine, seeking a far off target, it must divert to avoid being discovered, but soon, Red October returns to its intended path. here the path is to take the oil from the Arabs.. and the people driving that submarine are extremely wealthy Pharaohs and very well known major corporations.

I suggest to quit talking about the nation states and their leaders as if either could beat their way out of a wet paper sack. instead starting talking about the corporations and Pharaohs because they are global.

Mr. Anon , June 13, 2018 at 4:49 am GMT
The yawning silence accompanying the centennial of the Great War is baffling to me. It was the pivotal event of the 20th century. It was the beginning of the unmanning, the demoralization of Western Civilization. It was the calamity that created the World we inhabit today.

I've heard nary a peep about it in the U.S. over the last four years. It's as if it were as remote in people's consciousness as the Punic Wars.

MarkinPNW , June 13, 2018 at 5:49 am GMT
The World Wars (I and II) can be seen as an increasingly desperate attempt of a fading British Empire to hold on to and maintain its power and hegemony, with the material, human, and moral cost of the wars actually accelerating the empire's demise.

Likewise, the current endless "War on Terra" can be seen as an increasingly desperate attempt of a fading American Empire to hold on to and maintain its power and hegemony, again with the material, human, and moral cost of this war actually accelerating its demise.

But in the meantime, in both examples, the Bankers and the MIC just keep reaping their profits, even at the expense of the empires they purportedly support and defend.

animalogic , June 13, 2018 at 8:14 am GMT
@Mike P

Good points Mike P.

Author says: "strategy has ceased to exist".

In a traditional sense the author is right. Strategy is the attainment of political goals, within existing constraints. (diplomatic, political, resources etc)
"Goals" traditionally means "victories". (WWI is a great example of the sometimes dubious idea of victory)
Has the US ceased to have a strategy ? No. (Their strategy is myopic & self destructive – ie it's not a "good" strategy)

The US strategy is based on two core principles: (1) Maintain – extend hegemony over whole world. (Resources, military etc etc) (2) Act as Israel's Golom. Afghanistan, at (relatively) minimal cost, US controls key land mass (& with possible future access to fantastic resources). Threaten, mess up Russian – Chinese ambitions in this area. Iraq: Israeli enemy, strategic location, resource extraction. Syria: Israeli enemy, strategic location, key location for resource transfer to markets (EU esp). Deny Russia an ally. Libya: who cares ? Gaddafi was a pain in the arse. Iran: Israeli enemy, fantastic resources, hate them regardless.

Of course this (very abbreviated) view of US "strategy" is open to the criticisms that it's both dumb & evil. As if US establishment cares. Compared to cost of traditional "war" it's pretty cheap ( which is funny, because it's such a yummy gravy train for the 1% sorry, actually, forgot the FIRST core principle of US strategy: enrich all the "right" people)

Tom Welsh , June 13, 2018 at 10:05 am GMT
'There has never been a just [war], never an honorable one–on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful–as usual–will shout for the war. The pulpit will– warily and cautiously–object–at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it." Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity.

Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers–as earlier– but do not dare to say so. And now the whole nation–pulpit and all– will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception'.

- Satan, in Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger" (1908)

annamaria , June 13, 2018 at 2:06 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

European politicians, the war on terror, and the triumph of Bankers United: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/06/12/europe-brainwashed-normalize-relations-russia/
"Europe has not had an independent existence for 75 years. European countries do not know what it means to be a sovereign state. Without Washington European politicians feel lost, so they are likely to stick with Washington .

Russian hopes to unite with the West in a war against terrorism overlook that terrorism is the West's weapon for destabilizing independent countries that do not accept a unipolar world."

The world is ripe for barter exchange. Screw the money changers.

[Dec 21, 2019] If America Wasn't America, the United States Would Be Bombing It by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Notable quotes:
"... Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media . ..."
Feb 13, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org

February 13, 2018

On January 8, 2018, former government advisor Edward Luttwak wrote an opinion piece for Foreign Policy titled "It's Time to Bomb North Korea."

Luttwak's thesis is relatively straightforward. There is a government out there that may very soon acquire nuclear-weapons capabilities, and this country cannot be trusted to responsibly handle such a stockpile. The responsibility to protect the world from a rogue nation cannot be argued with, and we understandably have a duty to ensure the future of humanity.

However, there is one rogue nation that continues to hold the world ransom with its nuclear weapons supply. It is decimating non-compliant states left, right, and center. This country must be stopped dead in its tracks before anyone turns to the issue of North Korea.

In August of 1945, this rogue nation dropped two atomic bombs on civilian targets, not military targets, completely obliterating between 135,000 and 300,000 Japanese civilians in just these two acts alone. Prior to this event, this country killed even more civilians in the infamous firebombing of Tokyo and other areas of Japan, dropping close to 500,000 cylinders of napalm and petroleum jelly on some of Japan's most densely populated areas.

Recently, historians have become more open to the possibility that dropping the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not actually necessary to end World War II. This has also been confirmed by those who actually took part in it. As the Nation explained:

Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, stated in a public address at the Washington Monument two months after the bombings that 'the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan ' Adm. William "Bull" Halsey Jr., Commander of the US Third Fleet, stated publicly in 1946 that 'the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment . It was a mistake to ever drop it . [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it
A few months' prior, this rogue country's invasion of the Japanese island of Okinawa also claimed at least one quarter of Okinawa's population. The Okinawan people have been protesting this country's military presence ever since. The most recent ongoing protest has lasted well over 5,000 days in a row.

This nation's bloodlust continued well after the end of World War II. Barely half a decade later, this country bombed North Korea into complete oblivion, destroying over 8,700 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, 600,000 homes, and eventually killing off as much as 20 percent of the country's population. As the Asia Pacific Journal has noted, the assaulting country dropped so many bombs that they eventually ran out of targets to hit, turning to bomb the irrigation systems, instead:

By the fall of 1952, there were no effective targets left for US planes to hit. Every significant town, city and industrial area in North Korea had already been bombed. In the spring of 1953, the Air Force targeted irrigation dams on the Yalu River, both to destroy the North Korean rice crop and to pressure the Chinese, who would have to supply more food aid to the North. Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans."
This was just the beginning. Having successfully destroyed the future North Korean state, this country moved on to the rest of East Asia and Indo-China, too. As Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi has explained :
We [this loose cannon of a nation] dumped 20 million gallons of toxic herbicide on Vietnam from the air, just to make the shooting easier without all those trees, an insane plan to win 'hearts and minds' that has left about a million still disabled from defects and disease – including about 100,000 children, even decades later, little kids with misshapen heads, webbed hands and fused eyelids writhing on cots, our real American legacy, well out of view, of course.
This mass murder led to the deaths of between 1.5 million and 3.8 million people, according to the Washington Post. More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than were unleashed during the entire conflict in World War II . While this was going on, this same country was also secretly bombing Laos and Cambodia, too, where there are over 80 million unexploded bombs still killing people to this day.

This country also decided to bomb Yugoslavia , Panama , and Grenada before invading Iraq in the early 1990s. Having successfully bombed Iraqi infrastructure, this country then punished Iraq's entire civilian population with brutal sanctions. At the time, the U.N. estimated that approximately 1.7 million Iraqis had died as a result, including 500,000 to 600,000 children . Some years later, a prominent medical journal attempted to absolve the cause of this infamous history by refuting the statistics involved despite the fact that, when interviewed during the sanctions-era, Bill Clinton's secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, intimated that to this rogue government, the deaths of half a million children were "worth it" as the "price" Iraq needed to pay. In other words, whether half a million children died or not was irrelevant to this bloodthirsty nation, which barely blinked while carrying out this murderous policy.

This almighty superpower then invaded Iraq again in 2003 and plunged the entire region into chaos . At the end of May 2017, the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) released a study concluding that the death toll from this violent nation's 2003 invasion of Iraq had led to over one million deaths and that at least one-third of them were caused directly by the invading force.

Not to mention this country also invaded Afghanistan prior to the invasion of Iraq (even though the militants plaguing Afghanistan were originally trained and financed by this warmongering nation). It then went on to bomb Yemen, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and the Philippines .

Libya famously had one of the highest standards of living in the region. It had state-assisted healthcare, education, transport, and affordable housing. It is now a lawless war-zone rife with extremism where slaves are openly traded like commodities amid the power vacuum created as a direct result of the 2011 invasion.

In 2017, the commander-in-chief of this violent nation took the monumental death and destruction to a new a level by removing the restrictions on delivering airstrikes, which resulted in thousands upon thousands of civilian deaths. Before that, in the first six months of 2017, this country dropped over 20,650 bombs , a monumental increase from the year that preceded it.

Despite these statistics, all of the above conquests are mere child's play to this nation. The real prize lies in some of the more defiant and more powerful states, which this country has already unleashed a containment strategy upon. This country has deployed its own troops all across the border with Russia even though it promised in the early 1990s it would do no such thing. It also has a specific policy of containing Russia's close ally, China, all the while threatening China's borders with talks of direct strikes on North Korea (again, remember it already did so in the 1950s).

This country also elected a president who not only believes it is okay to embrace this rampantly violent militarism but who openly calls other countries "shitholes" – the very same term that aptly describes the way this country has treated the rest of the world for decades on end. This same president also reportedly once asked three times in a meeting , "If we have nuclear weapons, why don't we use them?" and shortly after proposed a policy to remove the constraints protecting the world from his dangerous supply of advanced nuclear weaponry.

When it isn't directly bombing a country, it is also arming radical insurgent groups , creating instability, and directly overthrowing governments through its covert operatives on the ground.

If we have any empathy for humanity, it is clear that this country must be stopped. It cannot continue to act like this to the detriment of the rest of the planet and the safety and security of the rest of us. This country openly talks about using its nuclear weapons, has used them before, and has continued to use all manner of weapons unabated in the years since while threatening to expand the use of these weapons to other countries.

Seriously, if North Korea seems like a threat, imagine how the rest of the world feels while watching one country violently take on the rest of the planet single-handedly, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake and promising nothing less than a nuclear holocaust in the years to come.

There is only one country that has done and that continues to do the very things North Korea is being accused of doing.

Take as much time as you need for that to resonate.

Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media .

[Dec 21, 2019] A walk down memory lane

Oct 30, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Patient Observer , October 28, 2017 at 2:29 pm

A walk down memory lane:
http://theduran.com/5-discarded-anniversaries-of-western-led-aggression/
And here is the list:

1 The Korean War ends (1953
2 President Kennedy invades South Vietnam (1962)
3 The US overthrows Allende in Chile (1973)
4 The West installs Iranian dictator the Shah (1953)
5 The US-led Iraq invasion (2003)

Many honorable mentions including:
– NATO bombing of Serbia
– Libya
– Afghanistan
– Syria (support of ISIS and its predecessors and spinoffs)

The US body count is simply staggering – many millions killed, millions more wounded or poisoned (Vietnam – agent orange and other chemical agents) and tens of millions of lives forever damaged.

USA! USA! USA! (its elites that rule us of course!)

Cortes , October 29, 2017 at 6:23 pm
And no mention of

Indonesia.

Just the 1m plus deaths.

[Dec 21, 2019] Barack Obama provided the apotheosis, with seven simultaneous wars, a presidential record, including the destruction of Libya as a modern state

Notable quotes:
"... In a society often bereft of historical memory and in thrall to the propaganda of its "exceptionalism", Burns' "entirely new" Vietnam war is presented as "epic, historic work". Its lavish advertising campaign promotes its biggest backer, Bank of America, which in 1971 was burned down by students in Santa Barbara, California, as a symbol of the hated war in Vietnam. ..."
"... The cynical fabrication of "false flags" that led to the invasion of Vietnam is a matter of record – the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" in 1964, which Burns promotes as true, was just one. The lies litter a multitude of official documents, notably the Pentagon Papers ..."
"... Today, according to secret Nato documents obtained by the German newspaper, Suddeutsche Zetung, this vital treaty is likely to be abandoned as "nuclear targeting planning is increased". The German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has warned against "repeating the worst mistakes of the Cold War All the good treaties on disarmament and arms control from Gorbachev and Reagan are in acute peril. Europe is threatened again with becoming a military training ground for nuclear weapons. We must raise our voice against this." ..."
"... Barack Obama provided the apotheosis, with seven simultaneous wars, a presidential record, including the destruction of Libya as a modern state. Obama's overthrow of Ukraine's elected government has had the desired effect: the massing of American-led Nato forces on Russia's western borderland through which the Nazis invaded in 1941. ..."
Sep 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

In a society often bereft of historical memory and in thrall to the propaganda of its "exceptionalism", Burns' "entirely new" Vietnam war is presented as "epic, historic work". Its lavish advertising campaign promotes its biggest backer, Bank of America, which in 1971 was burned down by students in Santa Barbara, California, as a symbol of the hated war in Vietnam.

Burns says he is grateful to "the entire Bank of America family" which "has long supported our country's veterans". Bank of America was a corporate prop to an invasion that killed perhaps as many as four million Vietnamese and ravaged and poisoned a once bountiful land. More than 58,000 American soldiers were killed, and around the same number are estimated to have taken their own lives.

I watched the first episode in New York. It leaves you in no doubt of its intentions right from the start. The narrator says the war "was begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War misunderstandings".

The dishonesty of this statement is not surprising. The cynical fabrication of "false flags" that led to the invasion of Vietnam is a matter of record – the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" in 1964, which Burns promotes as true, was just one. The lies litter a multitude of official documents, notably the Pentagon Papers , which the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg released in 1971.

There was no good faith. The faith was rotten and cancerous. For me – as it must be for many Americans ! it is difficult to watch the film's jumble of "red peril" maps, unexplained interviewees, ineptly cut archive and maudlin American battlefield sequences.

... ... ...

The sheer energy and moral persistence of these great movements largely succeeded; by 1987 Reagan had negotiated with Mikhail Gorbachev an Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) that effectively ended the Cold War.

Today, according to secret Nato documents obtained by the German newspaper, Suddeutsche Zetung, this vital treaty is likely to be abandoned as "nuclear targeting planning is increased". The German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has warned against "repeating the worst mistakes of the Cold War All the good treaties on disarmament and arms control from Gorbachev and Reagan are in acute peril. Europe is threatened again with becoming a military training ground for nuclear weapons. We must raise our voice against this."

But not in America. The thousands who turned out for Senator Bernie Sanders' "revolution" in last year's presidential campaign are collectively mute on these dangers. That most of America's violence across the world has been perpetrated not by Republicans, or mutants like Trump, but by liberal Democrats, remains a taboo.

Barack Obama provided the apotheosis, with seven simultaneous wars, a presidential record, including the destruction of Libya as a modern state. Obama's overthrow of Ukraine's elected government has had the desired effect: the massing of American-led Nato forces on Russia's western borderland through which the Nazis invaded in 1941.

[Dec 21, 2019] Time to Terminate Washington's Defense Welfare

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While I admire America's democratic society, I hate how America brought wars and chaos to the world in guise of "freedom and liberation". ..."
"... Was it necessary to bomb civilians of Ossetia for Georgia to get rid of Russia? Was it necessary to provoke a coup d'้tat against fully legitimate and democratically elected government in Ukraine? Life isn't fair indeed : not only they will never enter in NATO (even less EU) and no one will protect them, but they can say farewell to the land they lost. People in Georgia and Ukraine are less and less gullible and Pro Russians sentiment is gaining ground btw. Ask yourself why ? ..."
"... Sphere of influence, the same reason why Cuba and Venezuela will pay for their insolence against the hegemon. The world is never a fair place. ..."
Sep 01, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

opaw , August 30, 2017 8:29 PM

While I admire America's democratic society, I hate how America brought wars and chaos to the world in guise of "freedom and liberation".

I hate how America exploit the weak. president moon should offer an olive branch to fatty Kim by sending back the thaad to America and pulling out American base and troops. he should convince fatty Kim that should he really like to proliferate his nuclear missile development as deterrence, aim it only to America and America only. there is no need for Koreans to kill fellow Koreans.

Try Harder , August 31, 2017 2:45 AM

Very good idea, after having pushed Ukraine and Georgia to a war lost in advance, lets hope US will abandon South Korea and Japan because they were helpless in demilitarizing one of the poorest countries in the world....

Try Harder Guest , August 31, 2017 4:16 PM

Was it necessary to bomb civilians of Ossetia for Georgia to get rid of Russia? Was it necessary to provoke a coup d'้tat against fully legitimate and democratically elected government in Ukraine? Life isn't fair indeed : not only they will never enter in NATO (even less EU) and no one will protect them, but they can say farewell to the land they lost. People in Georgia and Ukraine are less and less gullible and Pro Russians sentiment is gaining ground btw. Ask yourself why ?

Zsari Maxim Guest , August 31, 2017 11:50 AM

Sphere of influence, the same reason why Cuba and Venezuela will pay for their insolence against the hegemon. The world is never a fair place.

Thomas Fung , August 31, 2017 5:04 PM

In this person's opinion, the article raises a good point with regards to US defense subsidies. However, its examples are dissimilar. Japan spends approximately 1% of its GDP on defense; South Korea spends roughly 2.5% of its GDP defense.

In fact, it seems to this person that a better example of US Defense Welfare would be direct subsidies granted to the state of Israel.

[Dec 21, 2019] All The Countries America Has Invaded... In One Map

Notable quotes:
"... Using data compiled by a Geography and Native Studies professor from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, the indy100 team created an interactive map of U.S. military incursions outside its own borders from Argentina in 1890 to Syria in 2014. ..."
"... " Deployment of the military to evacuate American citizens, covert military actions by US intelligence, providing military support to an internal opposition group, providing military support in one side of a conflict, use of the army in drug enforcement actions. ..."
Aug 27, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Tyler Durden Aug 26, 2017 9:15 PM 0 SHARES US has had a military presence across the world , from almost day one of its independence. For those who have ever wanted a clearer picture of the true reach of the United States military - both historically and currently - but shied away due to the sheer volume of research required to find an answer, The Anti Media points out that a crew at the Independent just made things a whole lot simpler.

Using data compiled by a Geography and Native Studies professor from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, the indy100 team created an interactive map of U.S. military incursions outside its own borders from Argentina in 1890 to Syria in 2014.

To avoid confusion, indy100 laid out its prerequisites for what constitutes an invasion:

" Deployment of the military to evacuate American citizens, covert military actions by US intelligence, providing military support to an internal opposition group, providing military support in one side of a conflict, use of the army in drug enforcement actions.

But indy100 didn't stop there. To put all that history into context, using data from the Department of Defense (DOD), the team also put together a map to display all the countries in which nearly 200,000 active members of the U.S. military are now stationed.

For more details, click on the country:

[Dec 21, 2019] War is the health of the state, but death of empires

Notable quotes:
"... As for Washington and the proverbially bombastic, failed futurists across the Beltway, do they even know what is the end game of "investing" in two never-ending wars with no visible benefits? ..."
Aug 25, 2017 | www.unz.com

Sean , August 25, 2017 at 6:42 pm GMT

As for Washington and the proverbially bombastic, failed futurists across the Beltway, do they even know what is the end game of "investing" in two never-ending wars with no visible benefits?

You start by assuming that the absence of war is the ultimate good, but none can say what a world without war would be like, or how long it would last.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/20/wars-john-gray-conflict-peace
Has the world seen moral progress? The answer should not depend on whether one has a sunny or a morose temperament. Everyone agrees that life is better than death, health better than sickness, prosperity better than privation, freedom better than tyranny, peace better than war. All of these can be measured, and the results plotted over time. If they go up, that's progress.

For John Gray, this is a big problem. As a part of his campaign against reason, science and Enlightenment humanism, he insists that the strivings of humanity over the centuries have left us no better off. This dyspepsia was hard enough to sustain when Gray first expressed it in the teeth of obvious counterexamples such as the abolition of human sacrifice, chattel slavery and public torture-executions. But as scholars have increasingly measured human flourishing, they have found that Gray is not just wrong but howlingly, flat-earth, couldn't-be-more-wrong wrong. The numbers show that after millennia of near-universal poverty and despotism, a steadily growing proportion of humankind is surviving infancy and childbirth, going to school, voting in democracies, living free of disease, enjoying the necessities of modern life and surviving to old age.

And more people are living in peace. In the 1980s several military scholars noticed to their astonishment that the most destructive form of armed conflict – wars among great powers and developed states – had effectively ceased to exist. At the time this "long peace" could have been dismissed as a random lull, but it has held firm for an additional three decades.

In my opinion Gray, though wrong that violence is not decreasing, is onto something about the future being bleak because of the rise of meliorist assumptions, because perpetual peace will be humanity's tomb.

While many suggest a danger for our world along the lines of Brian Cox's explanation for the Fermi Paradox (ie intelligent life forms cross grainedly bring on self-annihilation through unlimited war) I take a different view.

Given that Pinker appears substantially correct that serious war (ie wars among great powers and developed states) have effectively ceased to exist, the trend is for peace and cooperation. Martin Nowak in his book The Supercoperators shows cooperation, not fighting, to be the defining human trait (and indeed the most cooperative groups won their wars in history, whereby nation states such the US are the result of not just individuals but familial tribal regional , and virtually continental groupings coming together for mutual advantage and defence .

The future is going to be global integration pursuit of economic objectives, and I think this exponential moral progress bill begat technological advances beyond imagining.. An escape from the war trap is almost complete and the Singularity becomes. The most likely culprit in the paradox is a technological black hole event horizon created by unlimited peace and progress.

Cross-grained though it may be to say that the good war hallows every cause, I think it not so bad in comparison with the alternative.

[Dec 21, 2019] The Pentagon s New Map War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Barnett's main thesis in "The Pentagon's New Map" is that the world is composed of two types of states: those that are part of an integrated and connected "Core," which embrace globalization; and states of the "Gap," which are disconnected from the effects of globalization. Barnett proclaims that globalization will move the world into an era of peace and prosperity, but can only do so with the help of an indispensable United States. He writes that America is the lynchpin to the entire process and he believes that the United States should be midwife to a new world that will one day consist of peaceful democratic states and integrated economies. Barnett is proposing no less than a new grand strategy - the historical successor to the Cold War's strategy of containment. His approach to a future world defined by America's "exportation of security" is almost religious in its fervor and messianic in its language. ..."
"... At this point in his book, Barnett also makes bold statements that America is never leaving the Gap and that we are therefore never "bringing our boys home." He believes that there is no exiting the Gap, only shrinking it. These statements have incited some of Barnett's critics to accuse him of fostering and advocating a state of perpetual war. Barnett rebuts these attacks by claiming that, "America's task is not perpetual war, nor the extension of empire. It is merely to serve as globalization's bodyguard wherever and whenever needed throughout the Gap." Barnett claims that the strategy of preemptive war is a "boundable problem," yet his earlier claim that we are never leaving the Gap and that our boys are never coming home does not square with his assertion that there will not be perpetual war. He cannot have it both ways. ..."
"... Barnett therefore undermines his own globalization-based grand strategy by pointing out in detail at least ten things that can go wrong with globalization - the foundation upon which his theory is built. ..."
"... Globalization is likely here to stay, though it may be slowed down or even stopped in some regions of the planet. ..."
"... I would strongly recommend "The Pentagon's New Map" to students who are studying U.S. foreign policy. I would also recommend it to those who are studying the Bush administration as well as the Pentagon. The ideas in the book seem to be popular with the military and many of its ideas can be seen in the current thinking and policy of the Pentagon and State Department. ..."
"... I would only caution the reader that Barnett's theories are heavily dependent upon the continued advancement of globalization, which in turn is dependent upon the continued economic ability of the U.S. to sustain military operations around the world indefinitely. Neither is guaranteed. ..."
"... "Globalization" has turned out to be nothing but the polite PR term to disguise and avoid the truth of using the more accurate name, "Global Empire" --- and there is no doubt that Barnett is more than smart enough to see that this has inexorably happened. ..."
"... Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality Over Violent/'Vichy' Rel 2.0 Empire, ..."
"... We don't MERELY have; a gun/fear problem, or a 'Fiscal Cliff', 'Sequestration', and 'Debt Limit' problem, or an expanding wars problem, or a 'drone assassinations' problem, or a vast income & wealth inequality problem, or a Wall Street 'looting' problem, or a Global Warming and environmental death-spiral problem, or a domestic tyranny NDAA FISA spying problem, or, or, or, or .... ad nauseam --- we have a hidden EMPIRE cancerous tumor which is the prime CAUSE of all these 'symptom problems'. ..."
"... "If your country is treating you like ****, and bombing abroad, look carefully --- because it may not be your country, but a Global Empire only posing as your former country." ..."
Aug 26, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Azblue on July 31, 2006

Global cop

Barnett's main thesis in "The Pentagon's New Map" is that the world is composed of two types of states: those that are part of an integrated and connected "Core," which embrace globalization; and states of the "Gap," which are disconnected from the effects of globalization. Barnett proclaims that globalization will move the world into an era of peace and prosperity, but can only do so with the help of an indispensable United States. He writes that America is the lynchpin to the entire process and he believes that the United States should be midwife to a new world that will one day consist of peaceful democratic states and integrated economies. Barnett is proposing no less than a new grand strategy - the historical successor to the Cold War's strategy of containment. His approach to a future world defined by America's "exportation of security" is almost religious in its fervor and messianic in its language.

The foundation upon which Barnett builds his binary view of the world is heavily dependant upon the continued advancement of globalization - almost exclusively so. However, advancing globalization is not pre-ordained. Barnett himself makes the case that globalization is a fragile undertaking similar to an interconnected chain in which any broken link destroys the whole. Globalization could indeed be like the biblical statue whose feet are made of clay. Globalization, and therefore the integration of the Gap, may even stop or recede - just as the globalization of the early 20th century ended abruptly with the onset of WW I and a global depression. Moreover, Barnett's contention that the United States has an exceptional duty and moral responsibility for "remaking the world in America's image" might be seen by many as misguided and perhaps even dangerous.

The divide between the `Functioning Core' and the `Non-Integrating Gap' differs from the gulf between rich and poor in a subtle yet direct way. State governments make a conscious decision to become connected vs. disconnected to advancing globalization. States and their leaders can provide the infrastructure and the opening of large global markets to their citizens in ways that individuals cannot. An example can serve to illustrate the point: You can be rich and disconnected in Nigeria or poor and disconnected in North Korea. In each case the country you live in has decided to be disconnected. Citizens in this case have a limited likelihood of staying rich and unlimited prospects of staying poor. But by becoming part of the functioning Core, the enlightened state allows all citizens a running start at becoming part of a worldwide economic system and thus provide prospects for a better future because global jobs and markets are opened up to them. A connected economy such as India's, for example, enables citizens who once had no prospects for a better life to find well-paying jobs, such as computer-related employment. Prospects for a better Indian life are directly the result of the Indian government's conscious decision to become connected to the world economy, a.k.a. embracing globalization.

After placing his theory of the Core/Gap and preemptive war strategy firmly into the church of globalization, Barnett next places his theory squarely upon the alter of rule sets. Few would argue that the world is an anarchic place and Barnett tells us that rule sets are needed to define `good' and `evil' behavior of actors in this chaotic international system. An example of such a rule set is the desire of the Core to keep WMDs out of the hands of terrorist organizations. Other examples are the promulgation of human rights and the need to stop genocide. Barnett also uses rule sets to define `system' rules that govern and shape the actions, and even the psychology, of international actors. An example that Barnett gives of a system-wide rule set is the creation of the `rule' defined by the United States during the Cold War called Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). Barnett claims that this rule set effectively ended the possibility of war for all time amongst nuclear-capable great powers. Barnett states that the U.S. now should export a brand new rule set called `preemptive war,' which aims to fight actors in the lawless Gap in order to end international terrorism for all time. Barnett makes it clear that the Core's enemy is neither a religion (Islam) nor a place (Middle East), but a condition (disconnectedness).

Next, Barnett points out that system-wide competition has moved into the economic arena and that military conflict, when it occurs, has moved away from the system-wide (Cold War), to inter-state war, ending up today with primarily state conflict vs. individuals (Core vs. bin Laden, Core vs. Kim, etc.). In other words, "we are moving progressively away from warfare against states or even blocs of states and toward a new era of warfare against individuals." Rephrased, we've moved from confrontations with evil empires, to evil states, to evil leaders. An example of this phenomenon is the fact that China dropped off the radar of many government hawks after 9/11 only to be replaced by terrorist groups and other dangerous NGOs "with global reach."

Barnett also points out that the idea of `connectivity' is central to the success of globalization. Without it, everything else fails. Connectivity is the glue that holds states together and helps prevent war between states. For example, the US is not likely to start a war with `connected' France, but America could more likely instigate a war with `disconnected' North Korea, Syria or Iran.

Barnett then examines the dangers associated with his definition of `disconnectedness.' He cleverly describes globalization as a condition defined by mutually assured dependence (MAD) and advises us that `Big Men', royal families, raw materials, theocracies and just bad luck can conspire to impede connectedness in the world. This is one of few places in his book that Barnett briefly discusses impediments to globalization - however, this short list looks at existing roadblocks to connectedness but not to future, system-wide dangers to globalization.

At this point in his book, Barnett also makes bold statements that America is never leaving the Gap and that we are therefore never "bringing our boys home." He believes that there is no exiting the Gap, only shrinking it. These statements have incited some of Barnett's critics to accuse him of fostering and advocating a state of perpetual war. Barnett rebuts these attacks by claiming that, "America's task is not perpetual war, nor the extension of empire. It is merely to serve as globalization's bodyguard wherever and whenever needed throughout the Gap." Barnett claims that the strategy of preemptive war is a "boundable problem," yet his earlier claim that we are never leaving the Gap and that our boys are never coming home does not square with his assertion that there will not be perpetual war. He cannot have it both ways.

Barnett then takes us on a pilgrimage to the Ten Commandments of globalization. Tellingly, this list is set up to be more like links in a chain than commandments. Each item in the list is connected to the next - meaning that each step is dependent upon its predecessor. If any of the links are broken or incomplete, the whole is destroyed. For example, Barnett warns us that if there is no security in the Gap, there can be no rules in the Gap. Barnett therefore undermines his own globalization-based grand strategy by pointing out in detail at least ten things that can go wrong with globalization - the foundation upon which his theory is built.

What else could kill globalization? Barnett himself tells us: "Labor, energy, money and security all need to flow as freely as possible from those places in the world where they are plentiful to those regions where they are scarce." Here he is implying that an interruption of any or all of these basic necessities can doom globalization. Barnett states clearly: "...(these are) the four massive flows I believe are essential to protect if Globalization III is going to advance." Simply put, any combination of American isolationism or closing of borders to immigration, a global energy crisis, a global financial crisis or rampant global insecurity could adversely affect "connectedness," a.k.a. globalization. These plausible future events, unnerving as they are, leave the inexorable advancement of globalization in doubt and we haven't yet explored other problems with Barnett's reliance on globalization to make the world peaceful, free and safe for democracy.

Barnett goes on to tell us that Operation Iraqi Freedom was an "overt attempt to create a "System Perturbation" centered in the Persian Gulf to trigger a Big Bang." His definition of a Big Bang in the Middle East is the democratization of the many totalitarian states in the region. He also claims that the Big Bang has targeted Iran's "sullen majority."

Barnett claims that our problem with shrinking the Gap is not our "motive or our means, but our inability to describe the enemies worth killing, the battles worth winning, and the future worth creating." Managing the global campaign to democratize the world is no easy task. Barnett admits that in a worst-case scenario we may be stuck in the "mother of all intifadas" in Iraq. Critics claim this is something that we should have planned for - that the insurgency should not have been a surprise, and that it should have been part of the "peacemaking" planning. Barnett blithely states that things will get better "...when America internationalizes the occupation." Barnett should not engage in wishful thinking here, as he also does when he predicted that Iraqis would be put in charge of their own country 18 months after the fall of Baghdad. It would be more accurate if he claimed this would happen 18 months after the cessation of hostilities. Some critics claim that Iraq is an example that we are an "empire in a hurry" (Michael Ignatieff), which then results in: 1) allocating insufficient resources to non-military aspects of the project and 2) attempting economic and political transformation in an unrealistically short time frame.

The final basic premise of Barnett's theory of the Core and the Gap is the concept of what he calls the "global transaction strategy." Barnett explains it best: "America's essential transaction with the outside world is one of our exporting security in return for the world's financing a lifestyle we could far more readily afford without all that defense spending." Barnett claims that America pays the most for global stability because we enjoy it the most. But what about the other 80 countries in the Core?

Why is America, like Atlas, bearing the weight of the world's security and stabilization on its shoulders?

Barnett claims that historical analogies are useless today and point us in the wrong direction. I disagree. James Madison cautioned us not to go abroad to seek monsters to destroy. We can learn from his simple and profound statement that there are simply too many state (and individual) monsters in today's world for the U.S. to destroy unilaterally or preemptively. We must also avoid overstretching our resources and power. Thucydides reminds us that the great democracy of Athens was brought to its knees by the ill-advised Sicilian expedition - which resulted in the destruction of everything the Athenians held dear. Do not ignore history as Barnett councils; heed it.

Globalization is likely here to stay, though it may be slowed down or even stopped in some regions of the planet. Therefore, America needs to stay engaged in the affairs of the world, but Barnett has not offered conclusive evidence that the U.S. needs to become the world's single Leviathan that must extinguish all global hot wars. Barnett also has not proved that America needs to be, as he writes, "the one willing to rush in when everyone else is running away." People like Barnett in academia and leaders in government may proclaim and ordain the U.S. to be a global Leviathan, but it is a conscious choice that should be thoroughly debated by the American people. After all, it is upon the backs of the American people that such a global Leviathan must ride. Where is the debate? The American people, upon reflection, may decide upon other courses of action.

I would strongly recommend "The Pentagon's New Map" to students who are studying U.S. foreign policy. I would also recommend it to those who are studying the Bush administration as well as the Pentagon. The ideas in the book seem to be popular with the military and many of its ideas can be seen in the current thinking and policy of the Pentagon and State Department.

It seems to be well researched - having 35 pages of notes. Many of Barnett's citations come from the Washington Post and the New York Times, which some may see as a liberal bias, but I see the sources as simply newspapers of record.

I would only caution the reader that Barnett's theories are heavily dependent upon the continued advancement of globalization, which in turn is dependent upon the continued economic ability of the U.S. to sustain military operations around the world indefinitely. Neither is guaranteed.

Alan H. Macdonald on April 1, 2013
A misused book waiting for redemption

I don't think poorly of Thomas Barnett himself. He's very bright and, I think, good hearted, BUT his well thought-out, well argued pride and joy (and positive intellectual pursuit) is being badly distorted ---- which happens to all 'tools' that Empire gets its hands on.

For those who like predictions, I would predict that Barnett will wind up going through an epiphany much like Francis Fukuyama (but a decade later) and for much the same reason, that his life's work gets misused and abused so greatly that he works to reverse and correct its misuse. Fukuyama, also brilliant, wrote "The End of History" in 1992 (which was misused by the neocons to engender war), and now he's working just as hard to reverse a misuse that he may feel some guilt of his work supporting, and is writing "The Future of History" as a force for good --- and I suspect (and hope) that Barnett will, in even less time, be counter-thinking and developing the strategy and book to reverse the misuse of his 2004 book before the Global Empire pulls down the curtain.

"Globalization" has turned out to be nothing but the polite PR term to disguise and avoid the truth of using the more accurate name, "Global Empire" --- and there is no doubt that Barnett is more than smart enough to see that this has inexorably happened.

Best luck and love to the fast expanding 'Occupy the Empire' educational and revolutionary movement against this deceitful, guileful, disguised EMPIRE, which can't so easily be identified as wearing Red Coats, Red Stars, nor funny looking Nazi helmets ---- quite yet!

Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality Over Violent/'Vichy' Rel 2.0 Empire,
Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

We don't MERELY have; a gun/fear problem, or a 'Fiscal Cliff', 'Sequestration', and 'Debt Limit' problem, or an expanding wars problem, or a 'drone assassinations' problem, or a vast income & wealth inequality problem, or a Wall Street 'looting' problem, or a Global Warming and environmental death-spiral problem, or a domestic tyranny NDAA FISA spying problem, or, or, or, or .... ad nauseam --- we have a hidden EMPIRE cancerous tumor which is the prime CAUSE of all these 'symptom problems'.

"If your country is treating you like ****, and bombing abroad, look carefully --- because it may not be your country, but a Global Empire only posing as your former country."

[Dec 21, 2019] We are all Palestinians: possible connection between neocons and Pentagon

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Lt. Col. Karen U. Kwiatkowski has written extensively about the purges of the patriots in the Defense Department that happened in Washington during the lead up and after the commencement of the Iraq war in 2003. ..."
"... If anybody thinks what I have written is an exaggeration, research what the late Admiral Thomas Moorer had to say years ago about the total infiltration of the Defense Department by Israeli agents. ..."
Aug 25, 2017 | www.unz.com

schrub , August 25, 2017 at 7:18 pm GMT

People who seem to think that Trump's generals will somehow go along and support his original vision are sadly mistaken.

Since 2003, Israel has had an increasingly strong hand in the vetting who gets promoted to upper positions in the American armed forces. All of the generals Trump has at his side went through a vetting procedure which definitely involved a very close look at their opinions about Israel.

Lt. Col. Karen U. Kwiatkowski has written extensively about the purges of the patriots in the Defense Department that happened in Washington during the lead up and after the commencement of the Iraq war in 2003.

Officers who openly oppose the dictates of the Israel Lobby will see their prospects for advancement simply vanish like a whiff of smoke.. Those who support Israel's machinations are rewarded with promotions, the more fervent the support the more rapid the promotion especially if this knowledge is made known to their congressman or senator..

Generals who support Israel already know that this support will be heavily rewarded after their retirements by being given lucrative six figure positions on company boards of directors or positions in equally lucrative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institution or the Hoover Institute. They will receive hefty speaking fees. as well. They learned early that their retirements could be truly glorious if they only "went" along with The Lobby. They will be able to then live the good life in expensive places like Washington, New York or San Francisco, often invited to glitzy parties with unlimited amount of free prawns "the size of your hand".

On the other hand, upper officers who somehow get then get "bad" reputations for their negative views about Israel ( like Karen U. Kwiatkowski for instance) will end up, once retired, having to depend on just their often scanty pensions This requires getting an often demeaning second jobs to get by in some place where "their dollar goes further". No bright lights in big cities for them. No speaking fees, no college jobs. Once their fate becomes known, their still active duty contemporaries suddenly decide to "go along".

If anybody thinks what I have written is an exaggeration, research what the late Admiral Thomas Moorer had to say years ago about the total infiltration of the Defense Department by Israeli agents.

Face it, we live in a country under occupation by a hostile power that we willingly pay large amounts monetary tribute to. Our government does whatever benefits Israel regardless of how negatively this effects the USA. We are increasing troop strength in Afghanistan because, somehow, this benefits Israel. If our presence in Afghanistan (or the Mideast in general) didn't benefit Israel, our troops would simply not be there.

We are all Palestinians.

[Dec 21, 2019] War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror

Aug 22, 2017 | warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

JWalters , August 18, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Well put. These people are like the "nobles" of medieval times. They care not a whit about the "peasants" they trample. They are wealth bigots, compounded by some ethnic bigotry or other, in this case Jewish supremacism. America has an oligarchy problem. At the center of that oligarchy is a Jewish mafia controlling the banks, and thereby the big corporations, and thereby the media and the government. This oligarchy sees America as a big, dumb military machine that it can manipulate to generate war profits.

"War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror" . http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

[Dec 21, 2019] There has been a gradual decline in the rationality of UK military forces thinking

Notable quotes:
"... There has been a gradual decline in the rationality of UK forces thinking. They insisted on UN legal cover cover the invasion of Iraq but were totally on board with pre-emptive action in Libya, happily training effectively ISIS forces before Gaddafi was removed. They are now training Ukrainian Neo-Nazis and training ISIS/whatever in Syria, effectively invading the country. I guess this may reflect the increasing direct Zionist control of Perfidious Albion with attendant levels of hubris. ..."
Aug 10, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Anonymous | Aug 4, 2017 7:00:33 PM | 37

Enrico Malatesta @13

The Russians were there in Yugoslavia but they were not following NATO's script. There was an incident where Russian forces took control of a key airport to the total surprise of NATO. The US overall commander ordered the UK to go in and kick the Russians out. The UK ground commander wisely said he was not prepared to start WW III over Russian control of an airfield.

There has been a gradual decline in the rationality of UK forces thinking. They insisted on UN legal cover cover the invasion of Iraq but were totally on board with pre-emptive action in Libya, happily training effectively ISIS forces before Gaddafi was removed. They are now training Ukrainian Neo-Nazis and training ISIS/whatever in Syria, effectively invading the country. I guess this may reflect the increasing direct Zionist control of Perfidious Albion with attendant levels of hubris.

[Dec 21, 2019] Michael Brenner - The Linear Mindset In US Foreign Policy

According to some commenters at MoA the US neocons can be viewed as a flavor of political psychopaths: "Linear thinking is precisely how Washington psychopaths think and execute once they have identified a targeted population for subservience and eventual exploitation. It's a laser-like focus on control using the tools psychopaths understand: money, guns and butter. U.S. leaders use linear thinking because, as psychopaths, they do not have the ability to think otherwise. Linear thinking give leaders control over how their subordinates think and execute. A culture of psychopathy means subordinates and supporters will offer slavish devotion to such a linear path. Anyone straying from the path is not insightful or innovative, they are rebels that sow confusion and weaken leaders. They must be silenced and banished from the Washington tribe."
and " the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda. Even the psychopath manages to fake plausibility - although he has no empathy for the victim and takes a thrill out of hurting them, he can still know enough about them to predict how they will react and to fake empathy himself. This ability seems to be missing in the folk who send the troops in. Here there seems to be the genuine but unquestioning belief in one's own infallibility - that there is one right way of doing things to which all others must and will yield if enough pressure is applied. The line by one of GWB's staff was, supposedly, that "we create our own reality". It is this creation of a reality utterly divorced from the real world that seems to lead to disaster every single time. "
Notable quotes:
"... Provided the gross flaws of the intelligence, one has to wonder about the quality of the education in politics provided by Harvard and other expensive universities.. What they seem to learn very well there is lying. ..."
"... Barack CIA 0bama. ..."
"... It seems the, "Mission Possible" of the alphabet agencies is not intelligence, but chaos. ..."
"... Did the U.S. enter the First World War to save the world and democracy, or was it a game of waiting until the sides were exhausted enough that victory would be a walkover, the prize a seat at the center of power and the result that the U.S. could now take advantage of a superior position over the now exhausted former superpowers, having sat out the worst of the fighting and sold to both sides at a healthy profit? ..."
"... Invading Afghanistan and Iraq gives the U.S. a dominant role in the center of the Asian continent, the position coveted by Britain, Russia, France and the Ottoman Empire during the Great Power rivalry leading up to the Great War. It can be seen as partial success in a policy of encirclement of Russia and China. Redefining the Afghanistan and Iraq wars along these lines make them look more successful, not less, however odious we may thing these objectives might be from moral and international law perspectives. ..."
"... you mean non-conforming realities like the rule of law, and possible future contingencies like war crimes tribunals? ..."
"... it seems to me that trying to write some kind of rational analysis of a US foreign policy without mentioning the glaring fact that it's all absolutely illegal strikes me as an exercise in confusion. ..."
"... the author's focus on successful implementation of policy is misguided. That the Iraq War was based on a lie, the Libyan bombing Campaign was illegal, and the Syrian conflict was an illegal proxy war does not trouble him. And the strategic reasons for US long-term occupation of Afghanistan escapes him. ..."
"... Although he laments the failure to plan for contingencies, the words "accountable" and "accountability" never appear in this essay. Nor does the word "neocon" - despite their being the malignant driving force in US FP. ..."
"... There have been many lessons for the Russians since Afghanistan, two that Russia was directly involved with were the 90's break-up of Yugoslavia in the 90's (and the diplomatic invention of R2P) and the Chechen turmoil of the last decade. ..."
"... My only gripe with his work is that he always describes multiple aspects of psychopathy in his observations of U.S. foreign policy and the Washington ruling elite, but never goes as far as to conclude the root of all our problems are psychopathic individuals and institutions, or a culture of psychopathy infesting larger groups of the same, e.g., Washington elite, "The Borg", etc. ..."
"... Linear thinking is precisely how Washington psychopaths think and execute once they have identified a targeted population for subservience and eventual exploitation. It's a laser-like focus on control using the tools psychopaths understand: money, guns and butter. U.S. leaders use linear thinking because, as psychopaths, they do not have the ability to think otherwise. Linear thinking give leaders control over how their subordinates think and execute. A culture of psychopathy means subordinates and supporters will offer slavish devotion to such a linear path. Anyone straying from the path is not insightful or innovative, they are rebels that sow confusion and weaken leaders. They must be silenced and banished from the Washington tribe. ..."
"... the military was told "Go to Iraq, overthrow Saddam, everything will work out once we get our contractors and corporations in after you." Paul Bremer's CPA and his "100 Orders" were supposed to fix everything. But the Iraqis objected strenuously to the oil privatization selloff (and the rest of it) and the insurgency was launched. Okay, the military was told, break the insurgency. In comes the CIA, Special Forces, mass surveillance - what comes out? Abu Ghraib torture photos. The insurgency gets even stronger. Iran ends up winning the strategic game, hands down, and has far more influence in Iraq than it could ever dream of during the Saddam era. The whole objective, turning Iraq into a client state of the U.S. neoliberal order, utterly failed. ..."
"... Here's the point I think you're missing: the Washington strategists behind all this are batshit crazy and divorced from reality. Their objectives have to be rewritten every few years, because they're hopeless pipe dreams. They live and work and breathe in these Washington military-industrial think tanks, neocons and neoliberals both, that are largely financed by arms manufacturers and associated private equity firms. As far as the defense contractors go, one war is as good as another, they can keep selling arms to all regardless. Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria - cash cows is all they are. So, they finance the PR monkeys to keep pushing "strategic geopolitical initiatives" that are really nonsensical and have no hope of working in the long run - but who cares, the cash keeps flowing. ..."
"... It's all nonsense, there's no FSA just Al Qaeda and ISIS affiliates, plus the Kurdish proxy force is a long-term dead end - but it keeps the war going. A more rational approach - work with Russia to defeat ISIS, don't worry about economic cooperation between Syria and Iran, tell the Saudis and Israelis that Iran won't invade them (it won't), pull back militarily and focus instead on domestic problems in the USA - the think tanks, defense contractors, Saudi and Israeli lobbyists, they don't like that. ..."
"... Brenner is trying to mislead us with bombastic terminology like "The Linear Mindset". The root cause of America's problems is what Michael Scheuer calls Imperial Hubris: The idea that they are Masters of the Universe and so they have omnipotent power to turn every country into a vassal. But when this hubris meets reality, they get confused and don't know what to do. In such a case, they resort to three standard actions: sanctions, regime change or chaos. If these three don't work, they repeat them! ..."
"... Politicians are mere puppets. Their real owners are the 1% who use the Deep State to direct policy. Among this 1% there are zionists who have enormous influence on US Middle Eastern policy and they use the neocons as their attack dogs to direct such policy. This hubris has caused so much pain, destruction and death all over the world and it has also caused America so much economic damage. ..."
"... America is waning as a global power but instead of self-introspection and returning to realism, they are doubling down on neocon policy stupidity. Putin, China and Iran are trying to save them from their stupidity but they seem to be hell-bent on committing suicide. But I hope the policy sophistication of Russia, China and Iran, as well as their military capabilities that raise the stakes high for US military intervention will force the Masters of the Universe to see sense and reverse their road to destruction. ..."
"... the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda. Even the psychopath manages to fake plausibility - although he has no empathy for the victim and takes a thrill out of hurting them, he can still know enough about them to predict how they will react and to fake empathy himself. This ability seems to be missing in the folk who send the troops in. Here there seems to be the genuine but unquestioning belief in one's own infallibility - that there is one right way of doing things to which all others must and will yield if enough pressure is applied. The line by one of GWB's staff was, supposedly, that "we create our own reality". It is this creation of a reality utterly divorced from the real world that seems to lead to disaster every single time. ..."
"... The propaganda part is inventing, manufacturing and embellishing some embodiment of evil that must be defeated to liberate their victims and save humanity. That's the cover story, not the underlying purpose of U.S. aggression. ..."
"... Neocons do not believe that exclusively as a goal in itself - it merely dovetails rather nicely with their ultimate obsession with control, and it's and easy sell against any less-than-perfect targeted foreign leader or government. Irrational demonization is the embodiment of that propaganda. ..."
"... The methods of ultimately controlling the liberated people and their nation's resources are cloaked in the guise of 'bringing Western democracy'. Methods for corrupting the resulting government and usurping their laws and voting are hidden or ignored. The propaganda then turns to either praising the resulting utopia or identifying/creating a new evil that now must also be eliminated. The utopia thing hasn't worked out so well in Libya, Iraq or Ukraine, so they stuck with the 'defeat evil' story. ..."
"... Apart from psychopathy in US leadership, the US has no understanding, nor respect of, other cultures. This is not just in US leadership, but in the exceptional people in general. It shows up from time to time in comments at blogs like this, and is often quite noticeable in comments at SST. ..."
"... The essence of imperial hubris is the belief that one's country is omnipotent; that the country can shape and create reality. The country's main aspiration is to create clients, dependencies and as the Godfather Zbigniew Bzrezinski candidly put it, "vassals".Such a mindset does not just appreciate the reality of contingency; it also does not appreciate the nature of complex systems. The country's elites believe that both soft and hard power should be able to ensure the desired outcomes. But resistance to imperial designs and blowback from the imperial power's activities induce cognitive dissonance. Instead of such cognitive crises leading to a return to reality, they lead to denial amongst this elite. This elite lives in a bubble. Their discourse is intellectually incestuous and anybody that threatens this bubble is ostracized. Limits are set to what can be debated. That is why realists like John Mearsheimer, Steve Walt, Michael Scheuer and Stephen Cohen are ignored by this elite even though their ideas are very germane. If other countries don't bow down to their dictates, they have only a combination of the following responses: sanctions, regime change and chaos. The paradox is that the more they double down with their delusions the more the country's power continues to decline. My only hope is that this doubling down will not take the world down with it. ..."
Aug 04, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

virgile | Aug 4, 2017 11:18:14 AM | 1

"linear"?, I would say amateurish and often stupid! It seems that the USA cannot see far enough as it's submitted to regime changes every 5 years and decisions are finally left to powerful lobbies that have a better continuity.

Provided the gross flaws of the intelligence, one has to wonder about the quality of the education in politics provided by Harvard and other expensive universities.. What they seem to learn very well there is lying.

Sid2 | Aug 4, 2017 11:24:08 AM | 2
Moqtada had a million man army 10 years ago. He may still have it, in the "things do go astray" department.
Sid2 | Aug 4, 2017 11:28:23 AM | 3
"Linear" and all that is the mushy feel-good stuff on top of your arrogance. Kleptocracy only NOW putting down its roots? Come on. Let's get back to the 90's where it started. Vengeance for 9/11? Cover?
somebody | Aug 4, 2017 11:32:33 AM | 4
I think it is because US business is ruled by the quarter .

So there may be long term plans and goals but the emphasis for everybody is always short-term.

Emily | Aug 4, 2017 11:36:18 AM | 5
Second paragraph.

'There are features of how the United States makes and executes foreign policy'

There was no need for the rest. The United States makes and executes foreign policy on the direction of Tel Aviv and to meet the demands of the MIC.

Nuff said - surely.

JSonofa | Aug 4, 2017 11:43:23 AM | 6
You lost me at Walt Whitman or Barack CIA 0bama.
Skip | Aug 4, 2017 11:44:16 AM | 7
It seems the, "Mission Possible" of the alphabet agencies is not intelligence, but chaos. All's well in the world with them as long as the USSA is grinding away on some near helpless ME country. Drugs and other natural resources flow from and death and destruction flow to the unsuspecting Muslim targets.

With America, you're our friend, (or at least we tolerate you) until you're not (or we don't), then God help you and your innocent hoards.

The organized and well scripted chaos has been just one act in the larger play of destroying western civilization with throngs of Muslims now flooding western Europe and to a lesser degree, USA. Of course, the Deep State had felt confident in allowing Latinos to destroy America...Trump has put a large crimp in the pipeline--one of the reasons he is hated so badly by the destructive PTB.

Simplyamazed | Aug 4, 2017 12:15:58 PM | 8
Your analysis of linearity is interesting. However, you make what I believe is a critical error. You assume you know the objective and the path to follow and base your critique accordingly.

It is entirely possible that the underlying objective of, for instance, invading Iraq was to win a war and bring democracy. Subsequent behaviour in Iraq (and Afghanistan) indicates that there might be (likely is) a hidden but central other objective. I do not want to state that I know what that is because I am not "in the know". However, much that you attribute to failure from linear thinking just as easily can be explained by the complexity of realizing a "hidden agenda".

Perhaps we can learn from history. Did the U.S. enter the First World War to save the world and democracy, or was it a game of waiting until the sides were exhausted enough that victory would be a walkover, the prize a seat at the center of power and the result that the U.S. could now take advantage of a superior position over the now exhausted former superpowers, having sat out the worst of the fighting and sold to both sides at a healthy profit?

Invading Afghanistan and Iraq gives the U.S. a dominant role in the center of the Asian continent, the position coveted by Britain, Russia, France and the Ottoman Empire during the Great Power rivalry leading up to the Great War. It can be seen as partial success in a policy of encirclement of Russia and China. Redefining the Afghanistan and Iraq wars along these lines make them look more successful, not less, however odious we may thing these objectives might be from moral and international law perspectives.

aniteleya | Aug 4, 2017 12:33:51 PM | 9
Russia learnt a huge lesson from their experience in Afghanistan. There they retreated in the face of a violent Wahabist insurgency and paid the price. The Soviet union collapsed and became vulnerable to western free-market gangsterism as well as suffering the blowback of terrorism in Chechnya, where they decided to play it very differently. A bit more like how Assad senior dealt with the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980's.

Russia knew that if ISIS and friends were allowed to destroy Syria like the Mujahadeen had done in Afghanistan, then it would only be a matter of time before blowback would come again to Russia.

Russia's involvement is entirely rational and in their national interest. It should never have come as a surprise to the US, and the US should shake off their cold war propaganda and be grateful that people are willing to put their lives on the line to defeat Wahabist terrorism. Russia has played a focused line with integrity. Many Syrians love them for this, and many more in the Middle East will likewise adopt a similar line.

john | Aug 4, 2017 1:14:02 PM | 10
In other words, the linear mindset blocks out all non-conforming realities in the present and those contingent elements which might arise in the future

you mean non-conforming realities like the rule of law, and possible future contingencies like war crimes tribunals?

i kinda skimmed this piece, but it seems to me that trying to write some kind of rational analysis of a US foreign policy without mentioning the glaring fact that it's all absolutely illegal strikes me as an exercise in confusion.

Jackrabbit | Aug 4, 2017 1:26:29 PM | 11
Brenner: Washington never really had a plan in Syria.

Really? Firstly, the author's focus on successful implementation of policy is misguided. That the Iraq War was based on a lie, the Libyan bombing Campaign was illegal, and the Syrian conflict was an illegal proxy war does not trouble him. And the strategic reasons for US long-term occupation of Afghanistan escapes him.

Although he laments the failure to plan for contingencies, the words "accountable" and "accountability" never appear in this essay. Nor does the word "neocon" - despite their being the malignant driving force in US FP.

The bleach in Brenner's white-washing is delivered with the statement that Washington never really had a plan in Syria. Seymour Hersh described the planning in his "The Redirection" back in 2007(!):

The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January [2007], Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that there is "a new strategic alignment in the Middle East," separating "reformers" and "extremists"; she pointed to the Sunni states as centers of moderation, and said that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah were "on the other side of that divide."

Lastly, Brenner's complaint that Obama has been "scape-goated" as having created ISIS conveniently ignores Obama's allowing ISIS to grow by down-playing the threat that it represented. Obama's called ISIS al Queda's "JV team" and senior intelligence analysts dutifully distorted intelligence to down-play the threat (see below). This was one of many deceptions that Obama took part in - if not orchestrated (others: "moderate rebels", Benghazi, the "Fiscal Cliff", bank bailouts).

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

House GOP task force: Military leaders distorted ISIS intel to downplay threat

After months of investigation, this much is very clear: from the middle of 2014 to the middle of 2015, the United States Central Command's most senior intelligence leaders manipulated the command's intelligence products to downplay the threat from ISIS in Iraq" . . .

The Joint Task Force can find no justifiable reason why operational reporting was repeatedly used as a rationale to change the analytic product, particularly when the changes only appeared to be made in a more optimistic direction . . .

jsn | Aug 4, 2017 1:31:06 PM | 12
The US is playing checkers, the Russians Chess. We shall sanction them until they learn to play checkers.
Enrico Malatesta | Aug 4, 2017 1:31:39 PM | 13
aniteleya | Aug 4, 2017 12:33:51 PM | 9

There have been many lessons for the Russians since Afghanistan, two that Russia was directly involved with were the 90's break-up of Yugoslavia in the 90's (and the diplomatic invention of R2P) and the Chechen turmoil of the last decade.

Russia has also benefited through the non-linear analysis of US diplomacy failures of the last two decades. Russia has created a coalition backing up their military entry into the Middle East that allows achievement of tangible objectives at a sustainable cost.

But b's article is about the US's dismal diplomacy that is exacerbating its rapid empire decline and it does very well to help explain the rigid lack of thought that hastens the deterioration of US influence.

Duncan Kinder | Aug 4, 2017 1:33:14 PM | 14
This article makes a lot of good points, but I didn't really grasp exactly what "linear" thinking is. OK. Venezuela very well may be turning into a situation. What is the "linear" approach? What, instead, would be the "non-linear" approach? This article cites many "linear" failures. It would be helpful also to learn of some non-linear successes. If not by the United States then by somebody else.
Duncan Kinder | Aug 4, 2017 1:38:51 PM | 15
Let me clarify my prior posting. This article seems to be asserting that the United States has attempted to pound the square peg of its policy objectives into the round hole of the Middle East. I pretty much agree with that idea. But how is this "linear," as opposed to "bull-headed"? How does being "non-linear" help with the pounding? Would not adapting our policies to pound a round peg instead be just as "linear" but more clever?
PavewayIV | Aug 4, 2017 1:46:40 PM | 16
Thanks for posting these great observations by Michael Brenner, b.

The link to his bio on University of Pitsburg site is broken and the page is gone, but it still exists for now in Google's cache from Aug. 1st here . His bio can also be found under this ">https://www.theglobalist.com/united-states-common-man-forgotten-by-elites/">this article from The Globalist

Everything I've read of Dr. Brenner that I've stumbled across is brilliant. My only gripe with his work is that he always describes multiple aspects of psychopathy in his observations of U.S. foreign policy and the Washington ruling elite, but never goes as far as to conclude the root of all our problems are psychopathic individuals and institutions, or a culture of psychopathy infesting larger groups of the same, e.g., Washington elite, "The Borg", etc.

While he is quite accurate in describing the symptoms, one is left with the impression that they are the things to be fixed. Linear thinking in a U.S. foreign policy of aggression? Absolutely, but it's pointless to 'fix' that without understanding the cause.

Linear thinking is precisely how Washington psychopaths think and execute once they have identified a targeted population for subservience and eventual exploitation. It's a laser-like focus on control using the tools psychopaths understand: money, guns and butter. U.S. leaders use linear thinking because, as psychopaths, they do not have the ability to think otherwise. Linear thinking give leaders control over how their subordinates think and execute. A culture of psychopathy means subordinates and supporters will offer slavish devotion to such a linear path. Anyone straying from the path is not insightful or innovative, they are rebels that sow confusion and weaken leaders. They must be silenced and banished from the Washington tribe.

Does anyone in Washington REALLY want to 'save' the Persians and 'rebuild' Iran as they imagine America did post WWII to German and Japan? Or is the more overriding intent to punish and destroy a leadership that will not submit to the political and commercial interests in the US? Of course the U.S. fails to deliver any benefits to the 'little people' after destroying their country and government - they are incapable of understanding what the 'little people' want (same goes for domestic issues in the U.S.).

The U.S. government and leadership do not need lessons to modify their techniques or 'thinking' - they are incapable of doing so. You can't 'talk a psychopath into having empathy' any more than you can talk them out of having smallpox. 'The law' and voting were intentionally broken in the U.S. to make them all but useless to fix Washington, yet a zombified American public will continue to use the religiously (or sit back and watch others use them religiously) with little result. Because we're a democracy and a nation of laws - the government will fix anything broken with those tools.

In a certain sense, I'm glad Brennan does NOT go on about psychopathy in his articles. He would sound as tedious and nutty as I do here and would never be allowed near Washington. I'll just be grateful for his thorough illustration of the symptoms for now.

nonsense factory | Aug 4, 2017 2:00:27 PM | 17
@8 simply amazed, on this:
Your analysis of linearity is interesting. However, you make what I believe is a critical error. You assume you know the objective and the path to follow and base your critique accordingly.

First, this is more an analysis of military failure to "do the job" that Washington "strategic thinkers" tell them to do, and the reasons why it's such a futile game. In our system of government, the military does tactics, not strategy. And the above article, which should be passed out to every politician in this country, isn't really about "the objective".

For example, the military was told "Go to Iraq, overthrow Saddam, everything will work out once we get our contractors and corporations in after you." Paul Bremer's CPA and his "100 Orders" were supposed to fix everything. But the Iraqis objected strenuously to the oil privatization selloff (and the rest of it) and the insurgency was launched. Okay, the military was told, break the insurgency. In comes the CIA, Special Forces, mass surveillance - what comes out? Abu Ghraib torture photos. The insurgency gets even stronger. Iran ends up winning the strategic game, hands down, and has far more influence in Iraq than it could ever dream of during the Saddam era. The whole objective, turning Iraq into a client state of the U.S. neoliberal order, utterly failed.

Here's the point I think you're missing: the Washington strategists behind all this are batshit crazy and divorced from reality. Their objectives have to be rewritten every few years, because they're hopeless pipe dreams. They live and work and breathe in these Washington military-industrial think tanks, neocons and neoliberals both, that are largely financed by arms manufacturers and associated private equity firms. As far as the defense contractors go, one war is as good as another, they can keep selling arms to all regardless. Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria - cash cows is all they are. So, they finance the PR monkeys to keep pushing "strategic geopolitical initiatives" that are really nonsensical and have no hope of working in the long run - but who cares, the cash keeps flowing.

And if you want to know why the Borg State got firmly behind Hillary Clinton, it's because they could see her supporting this agenda wholeheartedly, especially after Libya. Here's a comment she wrote to Podesta on 2014-08-19, a long 'strategy piece' ending with this note:

Note: It is important to keep in mind that as a result of this policy there probably will be concern in the Sunni regions of Iraq and the Central Government regarding the possible expansion of KRG controlled territory. With advisors in the Peshmerga command we can reassure the concerned parties that, in return for increase autonomy, the KRG will not exclude the Iraqi Government from participation in the management of the oil fields around Kirkuk, and the Mosel Dam hydroelectric facility. At the same time we will be able to work with the Peshmerga as they pursue ISIL into disputed areas of Eastern Syria, coordinating with FSA troops who can move against ISIL from the North. This will make certain Basher al Assad does not gain an advantage from these operations. Finally, as it now appears the U.S. is considering a plan to offer contractors as advisors to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, we will be in a position to coordinate more effectively between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army.

It's all nonsense, there's no FSA just Al Qaeda and ISIS affiliates, plus the Kurdish proxy force is a long-term dead end - but it keeps the war going. A more rational approach - work with Russia to defeat ISIS, don't worry about economic cooperation between Syria and Iran, tell the Saudis and Israelis that Iran won't invade them (it won't), pull back militarily and focus instead on domestic problems in the USA - the think tanks, defense contractors, Saudi and Israeli lobbyists, they don't like that.

Regardless, it looks like end times for the American empire, very similar to how the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1980s, and the last days of the French and British empires in the 1950s. And good riddance, it's become a dead weight dragging down the standard of living for most American citizens who aren't on that gravy train.

Makutwa Omutiti | Aug 4, 2017 2:13:20 PM | 18
Brenner is trying to mislead us with bombastic terminology like "The Linear Mindset". The root cause of America's problems is what Michael Scheuer calls Imperial Hubris: The idea that they are Masters of the Universe and so they have omnipotent power to turn every country into a vassal. But when this hubris meets reality, they get confused and don't know what to do. In such a case, they resort to three standard actions: sanctions, regime change or chaos. If these three don't work, they repeat them!

Politicians are mere puppets. Their real owners are the 1% who use the Deep State to direct policy. Among this 1% there are zionists who have enormous influence on US Middle Eastern policy and they use the neocons as their attack dogs to direct such policy. This hubris has caused so much pain, destruction and death all over the world and it has also caused America so much economic damage.

America is waning as a global power but instead of self-introspection and returning to realism, they are doubling down on neocon policy stupidity. Putin, China and Iran are trying to save them from their stupidity but they seem to be hell-bent on committing suicide. But I hope the policy sophistication of Russia, China and Iran, as well as their military capabilities that raise the stakes high for US military intervention will force the Masters of the Universe to see sense and reverse their road to destruction.

Justin Glyn | Aug 4, 2017 2:51:51 PM | 20
There's a lot in both this piece and the comments. In a sense, I wonder if the core issue behind the Neocon/Imperial mindset isn't a complete inability to see the other side's point of view. Psychopathy, short-termism (a common fault in businesspeople), divorce from reality and hubris are likely a good part of it, as somebody, Paveway IV, Makutwa and nonsense factory put it, but the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda. Even the psychopath manages to fake plausibility - although he has no empathy for the victim and takes a thrill out of hurting them, he can still know enough about them to predict how they will react and to fake empathy himself. This ability seems to be missing in the folk who send the troops in. Here there seems to be the genuine but unquestioning belief in one's own infallibility - that there is one right way of doing things to which all others must and will yield if enough pressure is applied. The line by one of GWB's staff was, supposedly, that "we create our own reality". It is this creation of a reality utterly divorced from the real world that seems to lead to disaster every single time.
Piotr Berman | Aug 4, 2017 3:13:05 PM | 21
I would paraphrase critics of b that he (she?) has fallen into linearity trap: one point is the resources spent by USA on wars of 21-st century (a lot), the second points are positive results (hardly any), and an intellectual charge proceeds from A to B.

However between A and B there can be diversity of problems. We can stock enough gasoline, run out of potable water. And indeed, you can encounter pesky terrain. I recall a family vacation trip where we visited Natural Bridges National Monument and we proceeded to Arizona on an extremely straight highway through pretty flat plateau. Then the pavement end, and the acrophobic designated driver has to negotiate several 180* hairpins to get down on a cliff flanking Monument Valley. After second inspection, the map had tiny letters "switchbacks" and a tiny fragment of the road not marked with the pavement. Still better than discovering "bridge out" annotation on your map only when you gaze at the water flowing between two bridge heads. (If I recall, during late 20-th century Balkan intervention, US military needed a lot of time to cross Danube river that unexpectedly had no functioning bridge where they wanted to operate. Landscape changes during a war.)

That said, military usually has an appreciation for terrain. But there are also humans. On domestic side, the number of experts on those distant societies is small, and qualified experts, minuscule. Because the qualified ones were disproportionally naysayers, the mere whiff if expertise was treated as treason, and we had a purge of "Arabists". And it was of course worse in the lands to charm and conquer. Effective rule requires local hands to follow our wishes, people who can be trusted. And, preferably, not intensely hated by the locals they are supposed to administer. And like with gasoline, water, food, etc. on a vacation trip (who forgot mosquito repellent!), the list of needed traits is surprisingly long. Like viewing collaboration with Israel supporting infidels as a mortal sin that can be perpetrated to spare the family from starvation (you can recruit them, success!), but it has to be atoned through backstabbing (local cadres are disappointing).

Geoff | Aug 4, 2017 3:36:33 PM | 22
Great analysis! This is an excellent example for why I read MOA at least once a day and most of the comments! There's something of a sad irony that Trump has made at least some kind of effort to thwart the neocons and their relentless rush toward armageddon, seeing as how lacking in any real intellectual capcity they all seem and with Trump at the helm?

Mostly tptb, our political class, and the pundits for the masses, seem all to exhibit an astonishingly dull witted lack of true concern or humanity for anybody anywhere, and in my years on earth so far, at least in America, they have inculcated in the population very dubious ethical chioces, which you would think were tragic, and decisions, which you would believe were doomed, from the wars being waged, to the lifestyles of the citizenry especially toward the top of the economic ladder, and I don't know about others here but I for one have been confronting and dealing with these problems both in family and aquaintances for my entire adult life! Like the battle at Kurushetra. At least they say they "have a plan," scoffingly.

Where is chipnik to weigh in on this with his poetic observations, or I think long ago it was "slthrop" who may have been bannned for foul language as he or she raged on at the absurdities that keep heaping up exponentially? I do miss them!

Oh well, life is relatively short and we will all be gone at some point and our presense here will be one and all less than an iota. An awareness of this one fact and its implications you would think would pierce the consciousness of every human being well before drawing their final breath, but I guess every McCain fails to realize until too late that the jig is up?

PavewayIV | Aug 4, 2017 3:41:38 PM | 23
Justin Glyn@20 "but the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda."

The propaganda part is inventing, manufacturing and embellishing some embodiment of evil that must be defeated to liberate their victims and save humanity. That's the cover story, not the underlying purpose of U.S. aggression.

Neocons do not believe that exclusively as a goal in itself - it merely dovetails rather nicely with their ultimate obsession with control, and it's and easy sell against any less-than-perfect targeted foreign leader or government. Irrational demonization is the embodiment of that propaganda.

The methods of ultimately controlling the liberated people and their nation's resources are cloaked in the guise of 'bringing Western democracy'. Methods for corrupting the resulting government and usurping their laws and voting are hidden or ignored. The propaganda then turns to either praising the resulting utopia or identifying/creating a new evil that now must also be eliminated. The utopia thing hasn't worked out so well in Libya, Iraq or Ukraine, so they stuck with the 'defeat evil' story.

Peter AU | Aug 4, 2017 3:46:58 PM | 24
Apart from psychopathy in US leadership, the US has no understanding, nor respect of, other cultures. This is not just in US leadership, but in the exceptional people in general. It shows up from time to time in comments at blogs like this, and is often quite noticeable in comments at SST.

That it why the US in its arrogance has failed in Syria, and Russia with its tiny force has been so successful.

Makutwa Omutiti | Aug 4, 2017 3:51:17 PM | 25
The essence of imperial hubris is the belief that one's country is omnipotent; that the country can shape and create reality. The country's main aspiration is to create clients, dependencies and as the Godfather Zbigniew Bzrezinski candidly put it, "vassals".Such a mindset does not just appreciate the reality of contingency; it also does not appreciate the nature of complex systems. The country's elites believe that both soft and hard power should be able to ensure the desired outcomes. But resistance to imperial designs and blowback from the imperial power's activities induce cognitive dissonance. Instead of such cognitive crises leading to a return to reality, they lead to denial amongst this elite. This elite lives in a bubble. Their discourse is intellectually incestuous and anybody that threatens this bubble is ostracized. Limits are set to what can be debated. That is why realists like John Mearsheimer, Steve Walt, Michael Scheuer and Stephen Cohen are ignored by this elite even though their ideas are very germane. If other countries don't bow down to their dictates, they have only a combination of the following responses: sanctions, regime change and chaos. The paradox is that the more they double down with their delusions the more the country's power continues to decline. My only hope is that this doubling down will not take the world down with it.

[Dec 21, 2019] William Astore on War as Art and Advertising – Antiwar.com Blog

Notable quotes:
"... A lot of art depicts war scenes, and why not? War is incredibly exciting, dynamic, destructive, and otherwise captivating, if often in a horrific way. But I want to consider war and art in a different manner, in an impressionistic one. War, by its nature, is often spectacle; it is also often chaotic; complex; beyond comprehension. Perhaps art theory, and art styles, have something to teach us about war. Ways of representing it and capturing its meaning as well as its horrors. But also ways of misrepresenting it; of fracturing its meaning. Of manipulating it. ..."
"... My point (and I think I have one) is that America's wars are in some sense elaborate productions and representations, at least in the ways in which the government constructs and sells them to the American people. To understand these representations -- the ways in which they are both more than real war and less than it -- art theory, as well as advertising, may have a lot to teach us. ..."
"... Afghanistan as the unfinished masterpiece....most people forget that the government is yet to complete it except when a Marine dies, they think about it for a day and then forget all over again. ..."
Jul 12, 2017 | www.antiwar.com

Consider this article a work of speculation; a jumble of ideas thrown at a blank canvas.

A lot of art depicts war scenes, and why not? War is incredibly exciting, dynamic, destructive, and otherwise captivating, if often in a horrific way. But I want to consider war and art in a different manner, in an impressionistic one. War, by its nature, is often spectacle; it is also often chaotic; complex; beyond comprehension. Perhaps art theory, and art styles, have something to teach us about war. Ways of representing it and capturing its meaning as well as its horrors. But also ways of misrepresenting it; of fracturing its meaning. Of manipulating it.

For example, America's overseas wars today are both abstractions and distractions. They're also somewhat surreal to most Americans, living as we do in comparative safety and material luxury (when compared to most other peoples of the world). Abstraction and surrealism: two art styles that may say something vital about America's wars.

If some aspects of America's wars are surreal and others abstract, if reports of those wars are often impressionistic and often blurred beyond recognition, this points to, I think, the highly stylized representations of war that are submitted for our consideration. What we don't get very often is realism. Recall how the Bush/Cheney administration forbade photos of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Think of all the war reporting you've seen on U.S. TV and Cable networks, and ask how many times you saw severed American limbs and dead bodies on a battlefield. (On occasion, dead bodies of the enemy are shown, usually briefly and abstractly, with no human backstory.)

Of course, there's no "real" way to showcase the brutal reality of war, short of bringing a person to the front and having them face fire in combat -- a level of "participatory" art that sane people would likely seek to avoid. What we get, as spectators (which is what we're told to remain in America), is an impression of combat. Here and there, a surreal report. An abstract news clip. Blown up buildings become exercises in neo-Cubism; melted buildings and weapons become Daliesque displays. Severed limbs (of the enemy) are exercises in the grotesque. For the vast majority of Americans, what's lacking is raw immediacy and gut-wrenching reality.

Again, we are spectators, not participants. And our responses are often as stylized and limited as the representations are. As Rebecca Gordon put it from a different angle at TomDispatch.com , when it comes to America's wars, are we participating in reality or merely watching reality TV? And why are so many so prone to confuse or conflate the two?

Art, of course, isn't the only lens through which we can see and interpret America's wars. Advertising, especially hyperbole, is also quite revealing. Thus the US military has been sold, whether by George W. Bush or Barack Obama, as "the world's finest military in history" or WFMH, an acronym I just made up, and which should perhaps come with a copyright or trademark symbol after it. It's classic advertising hyperbole. It's salesmanship in place of reality.

So, when other peoples beat our WFMH, we should do what Americans do best: sue them for copyright infringement. Our legions of lawyers will most certainly beat their cadres of counsels. After all, under Bush/Cheney, our lawyers tortured logic and the law to support torture itself. Talk about surrealism!

My point (and I think I have one) is that America's wars are in some sense elaborate productions and representations, at least in the ways in which the government constructs and sells them to the American people. To understand these representations -- the ways in which they are both more than real war and less than it -- art theory, as well as advertising, may have a lot to teach us.

As I said, this is me throwing ideas at the canvas of my computer screen. Do they make any sense to you? Feel free to pick up your own brush and compose away in the comments section.

P.S. Danger, Will Robinson. I've never taken an art theory class or studied advertising closely.

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools and blogs at Bracing Views . He can be reached at wastore@pct.edu . Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author's permission.

Jim Savell , 19 hours ago

Afghanistan as the unfinished masterpiece....most people forget that the government is yet to complete it except when a Marine dies, they think about it for a day and then forget all over again.

[Dec 21, 2019] Since the turn of the century, the US has dumped trillions of dollars into wars

Notable quotes:
"... It is understandable why so many are angry at the leaders of America's institutions, including businesses, schools and governments," Dimon, 61, summarized. "This can understandably lead to disenchantment with trade, globalization and even our free enterprise system, which for so many people seems not to have worked. ..."
Apr 06, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
im1dc, April 05, 2017 at 10:16 AM
"Dimon Warns 'Something Is Wrong' With the U.S."

Do you agree with Jamie Dimon assessment of the USA?

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-04/dimon-still-optimistic-warns-something-is-wrong-with-u-s

"Dimon Warns 'Something Is Wrong' With the U.S."

by Laura J Keller...April 4, 2017

"JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon has two big pronouncements as the Trump administration starts reshaping the government: "The United States of America is truly an exceptional country," and "it is clear that something is wrong."

Dimon, leader of world's most valuable bank and a counselor to the new president, used his 45-page annual letter to shareholders on Tuesday to list ways America is stronger than ever -- before jumping into a much longer list of self-inflicted problems that he said was "upsetting" to write.

Here's the start: Since the turn of the century, the U.S. has dumped trillions of dollars into wars, piled huge debt onto students, forced legions of foreigners to leave after getting advanced degrees, driven millions of Americans out of the workplace with felonies for sometimes minor offenses and hobbled the housing market with hastily crafted layers of rules.

Dimon, who sits on Donald Trump's business forum aimed at boosting job growth, is renowned for his optimism and has been voicing support this year for parts of the president's business agenda. In February, Dimon predicted the U.S. would have a bright economic future if the new administration carries out plans to overhaul taxes, rein in rules and boost infrastructure investment. In an interview last month, he credited Trump with boosting consumer and business confidence in growth, and reawakening "animal spirits."

But on Tuesday, reasons for concern kept coming. Labor market participation is low, Dimon wrote. Inner-city schools are failing poor kids. High schools and vocational schools aren't providing skills to get decent jobs. Infrastructure planning and spending is so anemic that the U.S. hasn't built a major airport in more than 20 years. Corporate taxes are so onerous it's driving capital and brains overseas. Regulation is excessive.

" It is understandable why so many are angry at the leaders of America's institutions, including businesses, schools and governments," Dimon, 61, summarized. "This can understandably lead to disenchantment with trade, globalization and even our free enterprise system, which for so many people seems not to have worked. "...

pgl -> im1dc... , April 05, 2017 at 10:16 AM
I meant my last comment to be a reply. No - there is a lot that Dimon said that I cannot agree with.
pgl , April 05, 2017 at 10:49 AM
"Inner-city schools are failing poor kids. High schools and vocational schools aren't providing skills to get decent jobs. Infrastructure planning and spending is so anemic that the U.S. hasn't built a major airport in more than 20 years. Corporate taxes are so onerous it's driving capital and brains overseas. Regulation is excessive."

Let's unpack his list. The 4th (last) sentence is his hope that his bank can back to the unregulated regime that brought us the Great Recession. His 3rd sentence is a call for more tax cuts for the rich.

We may like his first 2 sentences here but who is going to pay for this? Not Jamie Dimon. See sentence #3.

DrDick -> pgl... , April 05, 2017 at 11:18 AM
He also seems to falsely imply that the people associated with capital actually have functioning brains.

[Dec 21, 2019] In places like Yemen, Syria and Iraq, the United States is deepening its involvement in wars while diplomacy becomes largely an afterthought

Mar 31, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne , March 30, 2017 at 12:47 PM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/29/world/middleeast/us-war-footprint-grows-in-middle-east.html

March 29, 2017

U.S. War Footprint Grows, With No Endgame in Sight
By BEN HUBBARD and MICHAEL R. GORDON

In places like Yemen, Syria and Iraq, the United States is deepening its involvement in wars while diplomacy becomes largely an afterthought.

ilsm -> anne... , March 30, 2017 at 01:51 PM
14 years as if US were going strong on Hanoi in '79!

Putin is a Tibetan Buddhist compared to Obama and so forth

mulp -> anne... , March 30, 2017 at 04:30 PM
Well, sending US troops is a US jobs program.

Why would you object to government creating more demand for labor? Over time, wages will rise and higher wages will fund more demand for labor produced goods.

[Dec 21, 2019] Needed Now a Peace Movement Against the Clinton Wars to Come by Andrew Levine

Notable quotes:
"... As the steward-in-chief of the American empire, Obama continued Bush's Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, and extended his "War on Terror" into Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and elsewhere in Africa and the Middle East. He also became a terrorist himself and a serial killer, weaponized drones and special ops assassins being his weapons of choice. ..."
Oct 08, 2016 | www.counterpunch.org
Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize -- for not being George W. Bush. This seemed unseemly at the time, but not outrageous. Seven years later, it seems grotesque.

As the steward-in-chief of the American empire, Obama continued Bush's Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, and extended his "War on Terror" into Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and elsewhere in Africa and the Middle East. He also became a terrorist himself and a serial killer, weaponized drones and special ops assassins being his weapons of choice.

More

ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

[Dec 21, 2019] The ruthless neo-colonialists of 21st century

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The destruction of Syria and Libya created massive refugee flows which have proved that the European Union was totally unprepared to deal with such a major issue. On top of that, the latest years, we have witnessed a rapid rise of various terrorist attacks in Western soil, also as a result of the devastating wars in Syria and Libya. ..."
"... Whenever they wanted to blame someone for some serious terrorist attacks, they had a scapegoat ready for them, even if they had evidence that Libya was not behind these attacks. When Gaddafi falsely admitted that he had weapons of mass destruction in order to gain some relief from the Western sanctions, they presented him as a responsible leader who, was ready to cooperate. Of course, his last role was to play again the 'bad guy' who had to be removed. ..."
"... Despite the rise of Donald Trump in power, the neoliberal forces will push further for the expansion of the neoliberal doctrine in the rival field of the Sino-Russian alliance. ..."
"... We see, however, that the Western alliances are entering a period of severe crisis. The US has failed to control the situation in Middle East and Libya. The ruthless neo-colonialists will not hesitate to confront Russia and China directly, if they see that they continue to lose control in the global geopolitical arena. The accumulation of military presence of NATO next to the Russian borders, as well as, the accumulation of military presence of the US in Asia-Pacific, show that this is an undeniable fact. ..."
Apr 09, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

The start of current decade revealed the most ruthless face of a global neo-colonialism. From Syria and Libya to Europe and Latin America, the old colonial powers of the West tried to rebound against an oncoming rival bloc led by Russia and China, which starts to threaten their global domination.

Inside a multi-polar, complex terrain of geopolitical games, the big players start to abandon the old-fashioned, inefficient direct wars. They use today other, various methods like brutal proxy wars , economic wars, financial and constitutional coups, provocative operations, 'color revolutions', etc. In this highly complex and unstable situation, when even traditional allies turn against each other as the global balances change rapidly, the forces unleashed are absolutely destructive. Inevitably, the results are more than evident.

Proxy Wars - Syria/Libya

After the US invasion in Iraq, the gates of hell had opened in the Middle East. Obama continued the Bush legacy of US endless interventions, but he had to change tactics because a direct war would be inefficient, costly and extremely unpopular to the American people and the rest of the world.
The result, however, appeared to be equally (if not more) devastating with the failed US invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US had lost total control of the armed groups directly linked with the ISIS terrorists, failed to topple Assad, and, moreover, instead of eliminating the Russian and Iranian influence in the region, actually managed to increase it. As a result, the US and its allies failed to secure their geopolitical interests around the various pipeline games.

In addition, the US sees Turkey, one of its most important ally, changing direction dangerously, away from the Western bloc. Probably the strongest indication for this, is that Turkey, Iran and Russia decided very recently to proceed in an agreement on Syria without the presence of the US.

Yet, the list of US failures does not end here. The destruction of Syria and Libya created massive refugee flows which have proved that the European Union was totally unprepared to deal with such a major issue. On top of that, the latest years, we have witnessed a rapid rise of various terrorist attacks in Western soil, also as a result of the devastating wars in Syria and Libya.

Evidence from WikiLeaks has shown that the old colonial powers have started a new round of ruthless competition on Libya's resources. The usual story propagated by the Western media, about another tyrant who had to be removed, has now completely collapsed. They don't care neither to topple an 'authoritarian' regime, nor to spread Democracy. All they care about is to secure each country's resources for their big companies.
The Gaddafi case is quite interesting because it shows that the Western hypocrites were using him according to their interests .

Whenever they wanted to blame someone for some serious terrorist attacks, they had a scapegoat ready for them, even if they had evidence that Libya was not behind these attacks. When Gaddafi falsely admitted that he had weapons of mass destruction in order to gain some relief from the Western sanctions, they presented him as a responsible leader who, was ready to cooperate. Of course, his last role was to play again the 'bad guy' who had to be removed.

Economic Wars, Financial Coups – Greece/Eurozone

It would be unthinkable for the neo-colonialists to conduct proxy wars inside European soil, especially against countries which belong to Western institutions like NATO, EU, eurozone, etc. The wave of the US-made major economic crisis hit Greece and Europe at the start of the decade, almost simultaneously with the eruption of the Arab Spring revolutionary wave and the subsequent disaster in Middle East and Libya.

Greece was the easy victim for the global neoliberal dictatorship to impose catastrophic measures in favor of the plutocracy. The Greek experiment enters its seventh year and the plan is to be used as a model for the whole eurozone. Greece has become also the model for the looting of public property, as happened in the past with the East Germany and the Treuhand Operation after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

While Greece was the major victim of an economic war, Germany used its economic power and control of the European Central Bank to impose unprecedented austerity, sado-monetarism and neoliberal destruction through silent financial coups in Ireland , Italy and Cyprus . The Greek political establishment collapsed with the rise of SYRIZA in power, and the ECB was forced to proceed in an open financial coup against Greece when the current PM, Alexis Tsipras, decided to conduct a referendum on the catastrophic measures imposed by the ECB, IMF and the European Commission, through which the Greek people clearly rejected these measures, despite the propaganda of terror inside and outside Greece. Due to the direct threat from Mario Draghi and the ECB, who actually threatened to cut liquidity sinking Greece into a financial chaos, Tsipras finally forced to retreat, signing another catastrophic memorandum.

Through similar financial and political pressure, the Brussels bureaufascists and the German sado-monetarists along with the IMF economic hitmen, imposed neoliberal disaster to other eurozone countries like Portugal, Spain etc. It is remarkable that even the second eurozone economy, France, rushed to impose anti-labor measures midst terrorist attacks, succumbing to a - pre-designed by the elites - neo-Feudalism, under the 'Socialist' Fran็ois Hollande, despite the intense protests in many French cities.

Germany would never let the United States to lead the neo-colonization in Europe, as it tries (again) to become a major power with its own sphere of influence, expanding throughout eurozone and beyond. As the situation in Europe becomes more and more critical with the ongoing economic and refugee crisis and the rise of the Far-Right and the nationalists, the economic war mostly between the US and the German big capital, creates an even more complicated situation.

The decline of the US-German relations has been exposed initially with the NSA interceptions scandal , yet, progressively, the big picture came on surface, revealing a transatlantic economic war between banking and corporate giants. In times of huge multilevel crises, the big capital always intensifies its efforts to eliminate competitors too. As a consequence, the US has seen another key ally, Germany, trying to gain a certain degree of independence in order to form its own agenda, separate from the US interests.

Note that, both Germany and Turkey are medium powers that, historically, always trying to expand and create their own spheres of influence, seeking independence from the traditional big powers.

Economic Wars, Constitutional Coups, Provocative Operations – Argentina/Brazil/Venezuela

A wave of neoliberal onslaught shakes currently Latin America. While in Argentina, Mauricio Macri allegedly took the power normally, the constitutional coup against Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, as well as, the usual actions of the Right opposition in Venezuela against Nicolแs Maduro with the help of the US finger, are far more obvious.
The special weight of these three countries in Latin America is extremely important for the US imperialism to regain ground in the global geopolitical arena. Especially the last ten to fifteen years, each of them developed increasingly autonomous policies away from the US close custody, under Leftist governments, and this was something that alarmed the US imperialism components.

Brazil appears to be the most important among the three, not only due to its size, but also as a member of the BRICS, the team of fast growing economies who threaten the US and generally the Western global dominance. The constitutional coup against Rousseff was rather a sloppy action and reveals the anxiety of the US establishment to regain control through puppet regimes. This is a well-known situation from the past through which the establishment attempts to secure absolute dominance in the US backyard.

The importance of Venezuela due to its oil reserves is also significant. When Maduro tried to approach Russia in order to strengthen the economic cooperation between the two countries, he must had set the alarm for the neocons in the US. Venezuela could find an alternative in Russia and BRICS, in order to breathe from the multiple economic war that was set off by the US. It is characteristic that the economic war against Russia by the US and the Saudis, by keeping the oil prices in historically low levels, had significant impact on the Venezuelan economy too. It is also known that the US organizations are funding the opposition since Chแvez era, in order to proceed in provocative operations that could overthrow the Leftist governments.

The case of Venezuela is really interesting. The US imperialists were fiercely trying to overthrow the Leftist governments since Chแvez administration. They found now a weaker president, Nicolแs Maduro - who certainly does not have the strength and personality of Hugo Chแvez - to achieve their goal.

The Western media mouthpieces are doing their job, which is propaganda as usual. The recipe is known. You present the half truth, with a big overdose of exaggeration. The establishment parrots are demonizing Socialism , but they won't ever tell you about the money that the US is spending, feeding the Right-Wing groups and opposition to proceed in provocative operations, in order to create instability. They won't tell you about the financial war conducted through the oil prices, manipulated by the Saudis, the close US ally.

Regarding Argentina, former president, Cristina Kirchner, had also made some important moves towards the stronger cooperation with Russia, which was something unacceptable for Washington's hawks. Not only for geopolitical reasons, but also because Argentina could escape from the vulture funds that sucking its blood since its default. This would give the country an alternative to the neoliberal monopoly of destruction. The US big banks and corporations would never accept such a perspective because the debt-enslaved Argentina is a golden opportunity for a new round of huge profits. It's happening right now in eurozone's debt colony, Greece.

'Color Revolutions' - Ukraine

The events in Ukraine have shown that, the big capital has no hesitation to ally even with the neo-nazis, in order to impose the new world order. This is not something new of course. The connection of Hitler with the German economic oligarchs, but also with other major Western companies, before and during the WWII, is well known.

The most terrifying of all however, is not that the West has silenced in front of the decrees of the new Ukrainian leadership, through which is targeting the minorities, but the fact that the West allied with the neo-nazis, while according to some information has also funded their actions as well as other extreme nationalist groups during the riots in Kiev.

Plenty of indications show that US organizations have 'put their finger' on Ukraine. A video , for example, concerning the situation in Ukraine has been directed by Ben Moses (creator of the movie "Good Morning, Vietnam"), who is connected with American government executives and organizations like National Endowment for Democracy, funded by the US Congress. This video shows a beautiful young female Ukrainian who characterizes the government of the country as "dictatorship" and praise some protesters with the neo-nazi symbols of the fascist Ukranian party Svoboda on them.

The same organizations are behind 'color revolutions' elsewhere, as well as, provocative operations against Leftist governments in Venezuela and other countries.

Ukraine is the perfect place to provoke Putin and tight the noose around Russia. Of course the huge hypocrisy of the West can also be identified in the case of Crimea. While in other cases, the Western officials were 'screaming' for the right of self-determination (like Kosovo, for example), after they destroyed Yugoslavia in a bloodbath, they can't recognize the will of the majority of Crimeans to join Russia.

The war will become wilder

The Western neo-colonial powers are trying to counterattack against the geopolitical upgrade of Russia and the Chinese economic expansionism.

Despite the rise of Donald Trump in power, the neoliberal forces will push further for the expansion of the neoliberal doctrine in the rival field of the Sino-Russian alliance. Besides, Trump has already shown his hostile feelings against China, despite his friendly approach to Russia and Putin.

We see, however, that the Western alliances are entering a period of severe crisis. The US has failed to control the situation in Middle East and Libya. The ruthless neo-colonialists will not hesitate to confront Russia and China directly, if they see that they continue to lose control in the global geopolitical arena. The accumulation of military presence of NATO next to the Russian borders, as well as, the accumulation of military presence of the US in Asia-Pacific, show that this is an undeniable fact.

[Dec 21, 2019] The goal of any war is the redistribution of taxpayer money into the bank accounts of MIC shareholders and executives

Highly recommended!
The USA state of continuous war has been a bipartisan phenomenon starting with Truman in Korea and proceeding with Vietnam, Lebanon,Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and now Syria. It doesn't take a genius to realize that these limited, never ending wars are expensive was to enrich MIC and Wall Street banksters
Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

KC February 15, 2019 at 11:16 pm

The one thing your accurate analysis leaves out is that the goal of US wars is never what the media spouts for its Wall Street masters. The goal of any war is the redistribution of taxpayer money into the bank accounts of MIC shareholders and executives, create more enemies to be fought in future wars, and to provide a rationalization for the continued primacy of the military class in US politics and culture.

Occasionally a country may be sitting on a bunch of oil, and also be threatening to move away from the petrodollar or talking about allowing an "adversary" to build a pipeline across their land.

Otherwise war is a racket unto itself. "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. "
― George Orwell

Also we've always been at war with Oceania .or whatever that quote said.

[Dec 20, 2019] War Denialism and Endless War by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... One of the most revealing and absurd responses to rejections of forever war is the ridiculous dodge that the U.S. isn't really at war when it uses force and kills people in multiple foreign countries: ..."
"... The distinction between "real war" and the constant U.S. involvement in hostilities overseas is a phony one. The war is very real to the civilian bystanders who die in U.S. airstrikes, and it is very real to the soldiers and Marines still getting shot at and blown up in Afghanistan. This is not an "antidote to war," but rather the routinization of warfare. ..."
"... The routinization and normalization of endless, unauthorized war is one of the most harmful legacies of the Obama administration. ..."
"... When the Obama administration wanted political and legal cover for the illegal Libyan war in 2011, they came up with a preposterous claim that U.S. forces weren't engaged in hostilities because there was no real risk to them from the Libyan government's forces. According to Harold Koh, who was the one responsible for promoting this nonsense, U.S. forces weren't engaged in hostilities even when they were carrying out a sustained bombing campaign for months. That lie has served as a basis for redefining what counts as involvement in hostilities so that the president and the Pentagon can pretend that the U.S. military isn't engaged in hostilities even when it clearly is. When the only thing that gets counted as a "real war" is a major deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops, that allows for a lot of unaccountable warmaking that has been conveniently reinvented as something else. ..."
Dec 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

One of the most revealing and absurd responses to rejections of forever war is the ridiculous dodge that the U.S. isn't really at war when it uses force and kills people in multiple foreign countries:

Just like @POTUS , who put a limited op of NE #Syria under heading of "endless war," this op-ed has "drone strikes & Special Ops raids" in indictment of US-at-war. In fact, those actions are antidote to war. Their misguided critique is insult to real war. https://t.co/DCLS9IDKSw

-- Robert Satloff (@robsatloff) December 15, 2019

War has become so normalized over the last twenty years that the constant use of military force gets discounted as something other than "real war." We have seen this war denialism on display several times in the last year. As more presidential candidates and analysts have started rejecting endless war, the war's defenders have often chosen to pretend that the U.S. isn't at war at all. The distinction between "real war" and the constant U.S. involvement in hostilities overseas is a phony one. The war is very real to the civilian bystanders who die in U.S. airstrikes, and it is very real to the soldiers and Marines still getting shot at and blown up in Afghanistan. This is not an "antidote to war," but rather the routinization of warfare.

The routinization and normalization of endless, unauthorized war is one of the most harmful legacies of the Obama administration. I made this point back in the spring of 2016 :

Because Obama is relatively less aggressive and reckless than his hawkish opponents (a very low bar to clear), he is frequently given a pass on these issues, and we are treated to misleading stories about his supposed "realism" and "restraint." Insofar as he has been a president who normalized and routinized open-ended and unnecessary foreign wars, he has shown that neither of those terms should be used to describe his foreign policy. Even though I know all too well that the president that follows him will be even worse, the next president will have a freer hand to conduct a more aggressive and dangerous foreign policy in part because of illegal wars Obama has waged during his time in office.

The attempt to define war so that it never includes what the U.S. military happens to be doing when it uses force abroad has been going on for quite a while. When the Obama administration wanted political and legal cover for the illegal Libyan war in 2011, they came up with a preposterous claim that U.S. forces weren't engaged in hostilities because there was no real risk to them from the Libyan government's forces. According to Harold Koh, who was the one responsible for promoting this nonsense, U.S. forces weren't engaged in hostilities even when they were carrying out a sustained bombing campaign for months. That lie has served as a basis for redefining what counts as involvement in hostilities so that the president and the Pentagon can pretend that the U.S. military isn't engaged in hostilities even when it clearly is. When the only thing that gets counted as a "real war" is a major deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops, that allows for a lot of unaccountable warmaking that has been conveniently reinvented as something else.


chris chuba3 days ago

It isn't just physical war that results in active service body bags but our aggression has alreay cost lives on the home front and there is every reason to believe it will do so again.

We were not isolationists prior to 9/11/2001, Al Qaeda had already attacked but we were distracted bombing Serbia, expanding NATO, and trying to connect Al Qaeda attacks to Iran. We were just attacked by a Saudi officer we were training on our soil to use the Saudis against Iran.

It remains to be seen what our economic warfare against Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Yemen, and our continued use of Afghanistan as a bombing platform will cost us. We think we are being clever by using our Treasury Dept and low intensity warfare to minimize direct immediate casualties but how long can that last.

SilverSpoon3 days ago
"War is the health of the State"

And our state has been very healthy indeed in recent decades.

Ray Joseph Cormier3 days ago • edited
This article confirms what the last Real Commander-in-Chief, General/President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about when he retired 58 years ago.
His wise Council based on his Supreme Military-Political experience has been ignored.
The MSM, Propagandists for the Military-Industrial Complex, won't remind the American People.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well.
But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.
Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government.
We recognize the imperative need for this development.
Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.
Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military
machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

http://rayjc.com/2011/09/04...

Lee Green3 days ago
The psychological contortionism required to deny that we are at war amazes me. US military forces are killing people in other countries – but it's not war? Because we can manufacture comforting euphemisms like "police action" or "preventive action" or "drone strike," it's not war? Because it's smaller scale than a "real" war like WWII?

Cancer is cancer. A small cancer is still a cancer. Arguing that it's not cancer because it's not metastatic stage IV is, well, the most polite term is sophistry. More accurate terms aren't printable.

[Dec 20, 2019] Singer became notorious for what he did to Argentina after he bought their debt, and he is pretty upfront about not caring who objects by Andrew Joyce

Highly recommended!
Jewish financists are no longer Jewish, much like a socialist who became minister is no longer a socialist minister. Unregulated finance promotes a set of destructive behaviors which has nothing to do with nationality or ethnicity.
Of course that Joyce is peddling his own obsessions, but I have to admit that Singer & comp. are detestable. I know that what they're doing is not illegal, but it should be (in my opinion), and those who are involved in such affairs are somehow odious. The same goes for Icahn, Soros etc. Still Ethnic angle is evident, too: how come Singer works exclusively with his co-ethnics in this multi-ethnic USA? Non-Jewish & most Jewish entrepreneurs don't behave that way.
Dec 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

It was very gratifying to see Tucker Carlson's recent attack on the activities of Paul Singer's vulture fund, Elliot Associates, a group I first profiled four years ago. In many respects, it is truly remarkable that vulture funds like Singer's escaped major media attention prior to this, especially when one considers how extraordinarily harmful and exploitative they are. Many countries are now in very significant debt to groups like Elliot Associates and, as Tucker's segment very starkly illustrated, their reach has now extended into the very heart of small-town America. Shining a spotlight on the spread of this virus is definitely welcome. I strongly believe, however, that the problem presented by these cabals of exploitative financiers will only be solved if their true nature is fully discerned. Thus far, the descriptive terminology employed in discussing their activities has revolved only around the scavenging and parasitic nature of their activities. Elliot Associates have therefore been described as a quintessential example of a "vulture fund" practicing "vulture capitalism." But these funds aren't run by carrion birds. They are operated almost exclusively by Jews. In the following essay, I want us to examine the largest and most influential "vulture funds," to assess their leadership, ethos, financial practices, and how they disseminate their dubiously acquired wealth. I want us to set aside colorful metaphors. I want us to strike through the mask.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/IdwH066g5lQ?feature=oembed

Who Are The Vultures?

It is commonly agreed that the most significant global vulture funds are Elliot Management, Cerberus, FG Hemisphere, Autonomy Capital, Baupost Group, Canyon Capital Advisors, Monarch Alternative Capital, GoldenTree Asset Management, Aurelius Capital Management, OakTree Capital, Fundamental Advisors, and Tilden Park Investment Master Fund LP. The names of these groups are very interesting, being either blankly nondescript or evoking vague inklings of Anglo-Saxon or rural/pastoral origins (note the prevalence of oak, trees, parks, canyons, monarchs, or the use of names like Aurelius and Elliot). This is the same tactic employed by the Jew Jordan Belfort, the "Wolf of Wall Street," who operated multiple major frauds under the business name Stratton Oakmont.

These names are masks. They are designed to cultivate trust and obscure the real background of the various groupings of financiers. None of these groups have Anglo-Saxon or venerable origins. None are based in rural idylls. All of the vulture funds named above were founded by, and continue to be operated by, ethnocentric, globalist, urban-dwelling Jews. A quick review of each of their websites reveals their founders and central figures to be:

Elliot Management -- Paul Singer, Zion Shohet, Jesse Cohn, Stephen Taub, Elliot Greenberg and Richard Zabel Cerberus -- Stephen Feinberg, Lee Millstein, Jeffrey Lomasky, Seth Plattus, Joshua Weintraub, Daniel Wolf, David Teitelbaum FG Hemisphere -- Peter Grossman Autonomy Capital -- Derek Goodman Baupost Group -- Seth Klarman, Jordan Baruch, Isaac Auerbach Canyon Capital Advisors -- Joshua Friedman, Mitchell Julis Monarch Alternative Capital -- Andrew Herenstein, Michael Weinstock GoldenTree Asset Management -- Steven Tananbaum, Steven Shapiro Aurelius Capital Management -- Mark Brodsky, Samuel Rubin, Eleazer Klein, Jason Kaplan OakTree Capital -- Howard Marks, Bruce Karsh, Jay Wintrob, John Frank, Sheldon Stone Fundamental Advisors -- Laurence Gottlieb, Jonathan Stern Tilden Park Investment Master Fund LP -- Josh Birnbaum, Sam Alcoff

The fact that all of these vulture funds, widely acknowledged as the most influential and predatory, are owned and operated by Jews is remarkable in itself, especially in a contemporary context in which we are constantly bombarded with the suggestion that Jews don't have a special relationship with money or usury, and that any such idea is an example of ignorant prejudice. Equally remarkable, however, is the fact that Jewish representation saturates the board level of these companies also, suggesting that their beginnings and methods of internal promotion and operation rely heavily on ethnic-communal origins, and religious and social cohesion more generally. As such, these Jewish funds provide an excellent opportunity to examine their financial and political activities as expressions of Jewishness, and can thus be placed in the broader framework of the Jewish group evolutionary strategy and the long historical trajectory of Jewish-European relations.

How They Feed

In May 2018, Puerto Rico declared a form of municipal bankruptcy after falling into more than $74.8 billion in debt, of which more than $34 billion is interest and fees. The debt was owed to all of the Jewish capitalists named above, with the exception of Stephen Feinberg's Cerberus group. In order to commence payments, the government had instituted a policy of fiscal austerity, closing schools and raising utility bills, but when Hurricane Maria hit the island in September 2017, Puerto Rico was forced to stop transfers to their Jewish creditors. This provoked an aggressive attempt by the Jewish funds to seize assets from an island suffering from an 80% power outage, with the addition of further interest and fees. Protests broke out in several US cities calling for the debt to be forgiven. After a quick stop in Puerto Rico in late 2018, Donald Trump pandered to this sentiment when he told Fox News, "They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street, and we're going to have to wipe that out." But Trump's statement, like all of Trump's statements, had no substance. The following day, the director of the White House budget office, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters: "I think what you heard the president say is that Puerto Rico is going to have to figure out a way to solve its debt problem." In other words, Puerto Rico is going to have to figure out a way to pay its Jews.

Trump's reversal is hardly surprising, given that the President is considered extremely friendly to Jewish financial power. When he referred to "your friends on Wall Street" he really meant his friends on Wall Street. One of his closest allies is Stephen Feinberg, founder and CEO of Cerberus, a war-profiteering vulture fund that has now accumulated more than $1.5 billion in Irish debt , leaving the country prone to a " wave of home repossessions " on a scale not seen since the Jewish mortgage traders behind Quicken Loans (Daniel Gilbert) and Ameriquest (Roland Arnall) made thousands of Americans homeless . Feinberg has also been associated with mass evictions in Spain, causing a collective of Barcelona anarchists to label him a "Jewish mega parasite" in charge of the "world's vilest vulture fund." In May 2018, Trump made Feinberg chair of his Intelligence Advisory Board , and one of the reasons for Trump's sluggish retreat from Afghanistan has been the fact Feinberg's DynCorp has enjoyed years of lucrative government defense contracts training Afghan police and providing ancillary services to the military.

But Trump's association with Jewish vultures goes far beyond Feinberg. A recent piece in the New York Post declared "Orthodox Jews are opening up their wallets for Trump in 2020." This is a predictable outcome of the period 2016 to 2020, an era that could be neatly characterised as How Jews learned to stop worrying and love the Don. Jewish financiers are opening their wallets for Trump because it is now clear he utterly failed to fulfil promises on mass immigration to White America, while pledging his commitment to Zionism and to socially destructive Jewish side projects like the promotion of homosexuality. These actions, coupled with his commuting of Hasidic meatpacking boss Sholom Rubashkin 's 27-year-sentence for bank fraud and money laundering in 2017, have sent a message to Jewish finance that Trump is someone they can do business with. Since these globalist exploiters are essentially politically amorphous, knowing no loyalty but that to their own tribe and its interests, there is significant drift of Jewish mega-money between the Democratic and Republican parties. The New York Post reports, for example, that when Trump attended a $25,000-per-couple luncheon in November at a Midtown hotel, where 400 moneyed Jews raised at least $4 million for the America First [!] SuperPAC, the luncheon organiser Kelly Sadler, told reporters, "We screened all of the people in attendance, and we were surprised to see how many have given before to Democrats, but never a Republican. People were standing up on their chairs chanting eight more years." The reality, of course, is that these people are not Democrats or Republicans, but Jews, willing to push their money in whatever direction the wind of Jewish interests is blowing.

The collapse of Puerto Rico under Jewish debt and elite courting of Jewish financial predators is certainly nothing new. Congo , Zambia , Liberia , Argentina , Peru , Panama , Ecuador , Vietnam , Poland , and Ireland are just some of the countries that have slipped fatefully into the hands of the Jews listed above, and these same people are now closely watching Greece and India . The methodology used to acquire such leverage is as simple as it is ruthless. On its most basic level, "vulture capitalism" is really just a combination of the continued intense relationship between Jews and usury and Jewish involvement in medieval tax farming. On the older practice, Salo Baron writes in Economic History of the Jews that Jewish speculators would pay a lump sum to the treasury before mercilessly turning on the peasantry to obtain "considerable surpluses if need be, by ruthless methods." [1] S. Baron (ed) Economic History of the Jews (New York, 1976), 46-7. The activities of the Jewish vulture funds are essentially the same speculation in debt, except here the trade in usury is carried out on a global scale with the feudal peasants of old now replaced with entire nations. Wealthy Jews pool resources, purchase debts, add astronomical fees and interests, and when the inevitable default occurs they engage in aggressive legal activity to seize assets, bringing waves of jobs losses and home repossessions.

This type of predation is so pernicious and morally perverse that both the Belgian and UK governments have taken steps to ban these Jewish firms from using their court systems to sue for distressed debt owed by poor nations. Tucker Carlson, commenting on Paul Singer's predation and the ruin of the town of Sidney, Nebraska, has said:

It couldn't be uglier or more destructive. So why is it still allowed in the United States? The short answer: Because people like Paul Singer have tremendous influence over our political process. Singer himself was the second largest donor to the Republican Party in 2016. He's given millions to a super-PAC that supports Republican senators. You may never have heard of Paul Singer -- which tells you a lot in itself -- but in Washington, he's rock-star famous. And that is why he is almost certainly paying a lower effective tax rate than your average fireman, just in case you were still wondering if our system is rigged. Oh yeah, it is.

Aside from direct political donations, these Jewish financiers also escape scrutiny by hiding behind a mask of simplistic anti-socialist rhetoric that is common in the American Right, especially the older, Christian, and pro-Zionist demographic. Rod Dreher, in a commentary on Carlson's piece at the American Conservative , points out that Singer gave a speech in May 2019 attacking the "rising threat of socialism within the Democratic Party." Singer continued, "They call it socialism, but it is more accurately described as left-wing statism lubricated by showers of free stuff promised by politicians who believe that money comes from a printing press rather than the productive efforts of businesspeople and workers." Dreher comments: "The productive efforts of businesspeople and workers"? The gall of that man, after what he did to the people of Sidney."

What Singer and the other Jewish vultures engage in is not productive, and isn't even any recognisable form of work or business. It is greed-motivated parasitism carried out on a perversely extravagant and highly nepotistic scale. In truth, it is Singer and his co-ethnics who believe that money can be printed on the backs of productive workers, and who ultimately believe they have a right to be "showered by free stuff promised by politicians." Singer places himself in an infantile paradigm meant to entertain the goyim, that of Free Enterprise vs Socialism, but, as Carlson points out, "this is not the free enterprise that we all learned about." That's because it's Jewish enterprise -- exploitative, inorganic, and attached to socio-political goals that have nothing to do with individual freedom and private property. This might not be the free enterprise Carlson learned about, but it's clearly the free enterprise Jews learn about -- as illustrated in their extraordinary over-representation in all forms of financial exploitation and white collar crime. The Talmud, whether actively studied or culturally absorbed, is their code of ethics and their curriculum in regards to fraud, fraudulent bankruptcy, embezzlement, usury, and financial exploitation. Vulture capitalism is Jewish capitalism.

Whom They Feed

Singer's duplicity is a perfect example of the way in which Jewish finance postures as conservative while conserving nothing. Indeed, Jewish capitalism may be regarded as the root cause of the rise of Conservative Inc., a form or shadow of right wing politics reduced solely to fiscal concerns that are ultimately, in themselves, harmful to the interests of the majority of those who stupidly support them. The spirit of Jewish capitalism, ultimately, can be discerned not in insincere bleating about socialism and business, intended merely to entertain semi-educated Zio-patriots, but in the manner in which the Jewish vulture funds disseminate the proceeds of their parasitism. Real vultures are weak, so will gorge at a carcass and regurgitate food to feed their young. So then, who sits in the nests of the vulture funds, awaiting the regurgitated remains of troubled nations?

Boston-based Seth Klarman (net worth $1.5 billion), who like Paul Singer has declared "free enterprise has been good for me," is a rapacious debt exploiter who was integral to the financial collapse of Puerto Rico, where he hid much of activities behind a series of shell companies. Investigative journalists eventually discovered that Klarman's Baupost group was behind much of the aggressive legal action intended to squeeze the decimated island for bond payments. It's clear that the Jews involved in these companies are very much aware that what they are doing is wrong, and they are careful to avoid too much reputational damage, whether to themselves individually or to their ethnic group. Puerto Rican journalists, investigating the debt trail to Klarman, recall trying to follow one of the shell companies (Decagon) to Baupost via a shell company lawyer (and yet another Jew) named Jeffrey Katz:

Returning to the Ropes & Gray thread, we identified several attorneys who had worked with the Baupost Group, and one, Jeffrey Katz, who -- in addition to having worked directly with Baupost -- seemed to describe a particularly close and longstanding relationship with a firm fitting Baupost's profile on his experience page. I called Katz and he picked up, to my surprise. I identified myself, as well as my affiliation with the Public Accountability Initiative, and asked if he was the right person to talk to about Decagon Holdings and Baupost. He paused, started to respond, and then evidently thought better of it and said that he was actually in a meeting, and that I would need to call back (apparently, this high-powered lawyer picks up calls from strange numbers when he is in important meetings). As he was telling me to call back, I asked him again if he was the right person to talk to about Decagon, and that I wouldn't call back if he wasn't, and he seemed to get even more flustered. At that point he started talking too much, about how he was a lawyer and has clients, how I must think I'm onto some kind of big scoop, and how there was a person standing right in front of him -- literally, standing right in front of him -- while I rudely insisted on keeping him on the line.

One of the reasons for such secrecy is the intensive Jewish philanthropy engaged in by Klarman under his Klarman Family Foundation . While Puerto Rican schools are being closed, and pensions and health provisions slashed, Klarman is regurgitating the proceeds of massive debt speculation to his " areas of focus " which prominently includes " Supporting the global Jewish community and Israel ." While plundering the treasuries of the crippled nations of the goyim, Klarman and his co-ethnic associates have committed themselves to "improving the quality of life and access to opportunities for all Israeli citizens so that they may benefit from the country's prosperity." Among those in Klarman's nest, their beaks agape for Puerto Rican debt interest, are the American Jewish Committee, Boston's Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Honeymoon Israel Foundation, Israel-America Academic Exchange, and the Israel Project. Klarman, like Singer, has also been an enthusiastic proponent of liberalising attitudes to homosexuality, donating $1 million to a Republican super PAC aimed at supporting pro-gay marriage GOP candidates in 2014 (Singer donated $1.75 million). Klarman, who also contributes to candidates who support immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, has said "The right to gay marriage is the largest remaining civil rights issue of our time. I work one-on-one with individual Republicans to try to get them to realize they are being Neanderthals on this issue."

Steven Tananbaum's GoldenTree Asset Management has also fed well on Puerto Rico, owning $2.5 billion of the island's debt. The Centre for Economic and Policy Research has commented :

Steven Tananbaum, GoldenTree's chief investment officer, told a business conference in September (after Hurricane Irma, but before Hurricane Maria) that he continued to view Puerto Rican bonds as an attractive investment. GoldenTree is spearheading a group of COFINA bondholders that collectively holds about $3.3 billion in bonds. But with Puerto Rico facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, and lacking enough funds to even begin to pay back its massive debt load, these vulture funds are relying on their ability to convince politicians and the courts to make them whole. The COFINA bondholder group has spent $610,000 to lobby Congress over the last two years, while GoldenTree itself made $64,000 in political contributions to federal candidates in the 2016 cycle. For vulture funds like GoldenTree, the destruction of Puerto Rico is yet another opportunity for exorbitant profits.

Whom does Tananbaum feed with these profits? A brief glance at the spending of the Lisa and Steven Tananbaum Charitable Trust reveals a relatively short list of beneficiaries including United Jewish Appeal Foundation, American Friends of Israel Museum, Jewish Community Center, to be among the most generously funded, with sizeable donations also going to museums specialising in the display of degenerate and demoralising art.

Following the collapse in Irish asset values in 2008, Jewish vulture funds including OakTree Capital swooped on mortgagee debt to seize tens of thousands of Irish homes, shopping malls, and utilities (Steve Feinberg's Cerberus took control of public waste disposal). In 2011, Ireland emerged as a hotspot for distressed property assets, after its bad banks began selling loans that had once been held by struggling financial institutions. These loans were quickly purchased at knockdown prices by Jewish fund managers, who then aggressively sought the eviction of residents in order to sell them for a fast profit. Michael Byrne, a researcher at the School of Social Policy at University College Dublin, Ireland's largest university, comments : "The aggressive strategies used by vulture funds lead to human tragedies." One homeowner, Anna Flynn recalls how her mortgage fell into the hands of Mars Capital, an affiliate of Oaktree Capital, owned and operated by the Los Angeles-based Jews Howard Marks and Bruce Karsh. They were "very, very difficult to deal with," said Flynn, a mother of four. "All [Mars] wanted was for me to leave the house; they didn't want a solution [to ensure I could retain my home]."

When Bruce Karsh isn't making Irish people homeless, whom does he feed with his profits? A brief glance at the spending of the Karsh Family Foundation reveals millions of dollars of donations to the Jewish Federation, Jewish Community Center, and the United Jewish Fund.

Paul Singer, his son Gordin, and their Elliot Associates colleagues Zion Shohet, Jesse Cohn, Stephen Taub, Elliot Greenberg and Richard Zabel, have a foothold in almost every country, and have a stake in every company you're likely to be familiar with, from book stores to dollar stores. With the profits of exploitation, they fund campaigns for homosexuality and mass migration , boost Zionist politics, invest millions in security for Jews , and promote wars for Israel. Singer is a Republican, and is on the Board of the Republican Jewish Coalition. He is a former board member of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, has funded neoconservative research groups like the Middle East Media Research Institute and the Center for Security Policy, and is among the largest funders of the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He was also connected to the pro-Iraq War advocacy group Freedom's Watch. Another key Singer project was the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group that was founded in 2009 by several high-profile Jewish neoconservative figures to promote militaristic U.S. policies in the Middle East on behalf of Israel and which received its seed money from Singer.

Although Singer was initially anti-Trump, and although Trump once attacked Singer for his pro-immigration politics ("Paul Singer represents amnesty and he represents illegal immigration pouring into the country"), Trump is now essentially funded by three Jews -- Singer, Bernard Marcus, and Sheldon Adelson, together accounting for over $250 million in pro-Trump political money . In return, they want war with Iran. Employees of Elliott Management were one of the main sources of funding for the 2014 candidacy of the Senate's most outspoken Iran hawk, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who urged Trump to conduct a "retaliatory strike" against Iran for purportedly attacking two commercial tankers. These exploitative Jewish financiers have been clear that they expect a war with Iran, and they are lobbying hard and preparing to call in their pound of flesh. As one political commentator put it, "These donors have made their policy preferences on Iran plainly known. They surely expect a return on their investment in Trump's GOP."

The same pattern is witnessed again and again, illustrating the stark reality that the prosperity and influence of Zionist globalism rests to an overwhelming degree on the predations of the most successful and ruthless Jewish financial parasites. This is not conjecture, exaggeration, or hyperbole. This is simply a matter of striking through the mask, looking at the heads of the world's most predatory financial funds, and following the direction of regurgitated profits.

Make no mistake, these cabals are everywhere and growing. They could be ignored when they preyed on distant small nations, but their intention was always to come for you too. They are now on your doorstep. The working people of Sidney, Nebraska probably had no idea what a vulture fund was until their factories closed and their homes were taken. These funds will move onto the next town. And the next. And another after that. They won't be stopped through blunt support of "free enterprise," and they won't be stopped by simply calling them "vulture capitalists."

Strike through the mask!

Notes

[1] S. Baron (ed) Economic History of the Jews (New York, 1976), 46-7.

(Republished from The Occidental Observer by permission of author or representative)


anon [631] Disclaimer , says: December 19, 2019 at 2:34 am GMT

To what extent is Jewish success a product of Jewish intellect and industry versus being a result of a willingness to use low, dirty, honorless and anti-social tactics which, while maybe not in violation of the word of the law, certainly violate its spirit?

An application of "chutzpah" to business, if you will -- the gall to break social conventions to get what you want, while making other people feel uncomfortable; to wheedle your way in at the joints of social norms and conventions -- not illegal, but selfish and rude.

Krav Maga applies the same concept to the martial arts: You're taught to go after the things that every other martial art forbids you to target: the eyes, the testicles, etc. In other sports this is considered "low" and "cheap." In Krav Maga, as perhaps a metaphor for Jewish behavior in general, nothing is too low because it's all about winning .

Colin Wright , says: Website December 19, 2019 at 3:07 am GMT
On a related subject

There's a rather good article on the New Yorker discussing the Sacklers and the Oxycontin epidemic. It focusses on the dichotomy between the family's ruthless promotion of the drug and their lavish philanthropy. 'Leave the world a better place for your presence' and similar pieties and Oxycontin.

The article lightly touches on the extent of their giving to Hebrew University of Jerusalem -- but in general, treads lightly when it comes to their Judaism.

understandably. The New Yorker isn't exactly alt-right country, after all. But can Joyce or anyone else provide a more exact breakdown on the Sacklers' giving? Are they genuine philanthropists, or is it mostly for the Cause?

Colin Wright , says: Website December 19, 2019 at 3:21 am GMT
@anon 'To what extent is Jewish success a product of Jewish intellect and industry versus being a result of a willingness to use low, dirty, honorless and anti-social tactics which, while maybe not in violation of the word of the law, certainly violate its spirit? '

It's important not to get carried away with this. Figures such as Andrew Carnegie, while impeccably gentile, were hardly paragons of scrupulous ethics and disinterested virtue.

Lot , says: December 19, 2019 at 3:36 am GMT
I won't defend high finance because I don't like it either. But this is a retarded and highly uninformed attack on it.

1. The article bounces back and forth between two completely different fields: private equity and distressed debt funds. The latter is completely defensible. A lot of bondholders, probably the majority, cannot hold distressed or defaulted debt. Insurance companies often can't by law. Bond mutual funds set out in their prospectuses they don't invest in anything rated lower than A, AA, or whatever. Even those allowed to hold distressed debt don't want the extra costs involved with doing so, such as carefully following bankruptcy proceedings and dealing with delayed and irregular payments.

As a result, it is natural that normal investors sell off such debt at a discount to funds that specialize in it.

2. Joyce defends large borrowers that default on their debt. Maybe the laws protecting bankrupts and insolvents should be stronger. But you do that, and lenders become more conservative, investment declines, and worthy businesses can't get investments. I think myself the laws in the US are too favorable to lenders, but there's definitely a tradeoff, and the question is where the happy middle ground is. In Florida a creditor can't force the sale of a primary residence, even if it is worth $20 million. That's going too far in the other direction.

3. " either blankly nondescript or evoking vague inklings of Anglo-Saxon or rural/pastoral origins "

More retardation. Cerberus is a greek dog monster guarding the gates of hell. Aurelius is from the Latin word for gold. "Hemisphere" isn't an Anglosaxon word nor does in invoke rural origins.

Besides being retardedly wrong, the broader point is likewise retarded: when English-speaking Jews name their businesses they shouldn't use English words. Naming a company "Oaktree" should be limited to those of purely English blood! Jews must name their companies "Cosmopolitan Capital" or RosenMoses Chutzpah Advisors."

4. The final and most general point: it's trivially easy to attack particular excesses of capitalism. Fixing the excesses without creating bigger problem is the hard part. Two ideas I favor are usury laws and Tobin taxes.

Dutch Boy , says: December 19, 2019 at 5:09 am GMT
Jewishness aside, maximizing shareholder is the holy grail of all capitalist enterprises. The capitalist rush to abandon the American working class when tariff barriers evaporated is just another case of vulturism. Tax corporations based on the domestic content of their products and ban usury and vulturism will evaporate.
ANZ , says: December 19, 2019 at 5:26 am GMT
Someone with the username kikz posted a link to this article in the occidental observer. I read it and thought it was a great article. I'm glad it's featured here.

The article goes straight for the jugular and pulls no punches. It hits hard. I like that:

1. It shines a light on the some of the scummiest of the scummiest Wall Street players.
2. It names names. From the actual vulture funds to the rollcall of Jewish actors running each. It's astounding how ethnically uniform it is.
3. It proves Trump's ties with the most successful Vulture kingpin, Singer.
4. It shows how money flows from the fund owners to Zionist and Jewish causes.

This thing reads like a court indictment. It puts real world examples to many of the theories that are represents on this site. Excellent article.


Robjil , says: December 19, 2019 at 12:09 pm GMT

Paul Singer is a world wide terrorist. Here is what he did to Argentina.

https://qz.com/1001650/hedge-fund-billionaire-paul-singers-ruthless-strategies-include-bullying-ceos-suing-governments-and-seizing-their-navys-ships/

Elliott Management is perhaps most notorious for its 15-year battle with the government of Argentina, whose bonds were owned by the hedge fund. When Argentine president Cristina Kirchner attempted to restructure the debt, Elliott -- unlike most of the bonds' owners -- refused to accept a large loss on its investment. It successfully sued in US courts, and in pursuit of Argentine assets, convinced a court in Ghana to detain an Argentine naval training vessel, then docked outside Accra with a crew of 22o. After a change of its government, Argentina eventually settled and Singer's fund received $2.4 billion, almost four times its initial investment. Kirchner, meanwhile, has been indicted for corruption.

UncommonGround , says: December 19, 2019 at 12:28 pm GMT
@Lot You give partial information which seem misleading and use arguments which are also weak and not enlightening.

1- Even if its natural that unsafe bonds are sold, this doesn't justify the practices and methods of those vulture fonds which buy those fonds which are socially damaging. I'm not certain of the details because it's an old case and people should seek more information. Very broadly, in the case of Argentina most funds accepted to make an agreement with the country and reduce their demands. Investors have to accept risks and losses. Paul Singer bought some financial papers for nothing at that time and forced Argentina to pay the whole price. For years Argentina refused to pay, but with the help of New York courts and the new Argentinian president they were forced to pay Singer. This was not conservative capitalism but imperialism. You can only act like Singer if you have the backing of courts, of a government which you control and of an army like the US army. A fast internet search for titles of articles: "Hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer's ruthless strategies include bullying CEOs, suing governments and seizing their navy's ships". "How one hedge fund made $2 billion from Argentina's economic colapse".

Andrew Sayer, professor in an English university, says in his book "Why we can't afford the rich" that finances as they are practiced now may cost more than bring any value to a society. It's a problem if some sectors of finances make outsized profits and use methods which are more than questionable.

2- You say that if borrowers become more protected "lenders become more conservative, investment declines, and worthy businesses can't get investments." I doubt this is true. In the first place, risk investments by vulture fonds probably don't create any social value. The original lenders who sold their bonds to such vulture fonds have anyway big or near total losses in some cases and in spite of that they keep doing business. Why should we support vulture fonds, what for? What positive function they play in society? In Germany, capitalism was much more social in old days before a neoliberal wave forced Germany to change Rhine capitalism. Local banks lended money to local business which they knew and which they had an interest that they prosper. Larger banks lended money to big firms. Speculation like in neoliberal capitalism wasn't needed.

3- The point which you didn't grasp is that there is a component of those business which isn't publicly clear, the fact that they funcion along ethnic lines.

4- It would be easy to fix excesses of capitalism. The problem is that the people who profit the most from the system also have the power to prevent any change.

Robjil , says: December 19, 2019 at 6:56 pm GMT
@Robjil This is an example of what I was saying. Less Euro whites in the world is not going to be a good world for Big Js. Non-Euros believe in freedom of speech.

https://www.abeldanger.org/vulture-lord-paul-singer-postmodern/

Jewish Bigwigs can't get control of businesses in East Asia. They have been trying. Paul Singer tried and failed. In Argentina he got lots of "success". Why? Lots of descendants of Europeans there went along with "decisions" laid out by New York Jews.

Little Paulie tried to get control of Samsung. No such luck for him in Korea. In Korea there are many family monopolies, chaebols. A Korean chaebol stopped him. Jewish Daniel Loeb tried to get a board seat on Sony. He was rebuffed.

I was moved to reflect on the universality of this theme recently when surveying media coverage on Korean and Argentinian responses to the activities of Paul Singer and his co-ethnic shareholders at Elliott Associates, an arm of Singer's Elliott Management hedge fund. The Korean story has its origins in the efforts of Samsung's holding company, Cheil Industries, to buy Samsung C&T, the engineering and construction arm of the wider Samsung family of businesses. The move can be seen as part of an effort to reinforce control of the conglomerate by the founding Lee family and its heir apparent, Lee Jae-yong. Trouble emerged when Singer's company, which holds a 7.12% stake in Samsung C&T and is itself attempting to expand its influence and control over Far East tech companies, objected to the move. The story is fairly typical of Jewish difficulties in penetrating business cultures in the Far East, where impenetrable family monopolies, known in Korea as chaebols, are common. This new story reminded me very strongly of last year's efforts by Jewish financier Daniel Loeb to obtain a board seat at Sony. Loeb was repeatedly rebuffed by COO Kazuo Hirai, eventually selling his stake in Sony Corp. in frustration.

Here is how the Koreans fought off Paul Singer.

The predominantly Jewish-owned and operated Elliott Associates has a wealth of self-interest in preventing the Lee family from consolidating its control over the Samsung conglomerate. As racial outsiders, however, Singer's firm were forced into several tactical measures in their 52-day attempt to thwart the merger. First came lawsuits. When those failed, Singer and his associates then postured themselves as defending Korean interests, starting a Korean-language website and arguing that their position was really just in aid of helping domestic Korean shareholders. This variation on the familiar theme of Jewish crypsis was quite unsuccessful. The Lee family went on the offensive immediately and, unlike many Westerners, were not shy in drawing attention to the Jewish nature of Singer's interference and the sordid and intensely parasitic nature of his fund's other ventures.

Cartoons were drawn of Singer being a vulture.

Other cartoons appearing at the same time represented Elliott, literally, as humanoid vultures, with captions referring to the well-known history of the fund. In the above cartoon, the vulture offers assistance to a needy and destitute figure, but conceals an axe with which to later bludgeon the unsuspecting pauper.

ADL got all worked about this. The Koreans did not care. It is reality. Freedom of speech works on these vultures. The west should try some real freedom of speech.

After the cartoons appeared, Singer and other influential Jews, including Abraham Foxman, cried anti-Semitism. This was despite the fact the cartoons contain no reference whatsoever to Judaism – unless of course one defines savage economic predation as a Jewish trait. Samsung denied the cartoons were anti-Semitic and took them off the website, but the uproar over the cartoons only seemed to spur on even more discussion about Jewish influence in South Korea than was previously the case. In a piece published a fortnight ago, Media Pen columnist Kim Ji-ho claimed "Jewish money has long been known to be ruthless and merciless." Last week, the former South Korean ambassador to Morocco, Park Jae-seon, expressed his concern about the influence of Jews in finance when he said, "The scary thing about Jews is they are grabbing the currency markets and financial investment companies. Their network is tight-knit beyond one's imagination." The next day, cable news channel YTN aired similar comments by local journalist Park Seong-ho, who stated on air that "it is a fact that Jews use financial networks and have influence wherever they are born." It goes without saying that comments like these are unambiguously similar to complaints about Jewish economic practices in Europe over the course of centuries. The only common denominator between the context of fourteenth-century France and the context of twenty-first-century South Korea is, you guessed it, Jewish economic practices.

The Koreans won. Paulie lost. Good win for humanity. The Argentines were not so lucky. They don't have freedom speech like the Koreans and East Asians have.

In the end, the Lee strategy, based on drawing attention to the alien and exploitative nature of Elliott Associates, was overwhelmingly effective. Before a crucial shareholder vote on the Lee's planned merger, Samsung Securities CEO Yoon Yong-am said: "We should score a victory by a big margin in the first battle, in order to take the upper hand in a looming war against Elliott, and keep other speculative hedge funds from taking short-term gains in the domestic market." When the vote finally took place a few days ago, a conclusive 69.5% of Samsung shareholders voted in favor of the Lee proposal, leaving Elliott licking its wounds and complaining about the "patriotic marketing" of those behind the merger.

Mefobills , says: December 19, 2019 at 11:08 pm GMT
@steinbergfeldwitzcohen Adrian Salbuchi, an economist from Argentina, does a good job of exposing Zionist plans in Patagonia.

If you google his name along with Patagonia then it will come up with links in Spanish.

Here is a Rense translation:

https://rense.com/general95/pata.htm

What our Jewish friends have done to Argentina, through maneuvering the elections, killing dissidents, and marking territory, is a cautionary tale to anybody woke enough to see with their own eyes.

Zion had the opportunity to go to Uganda and Ugandans were willing, but NO Zion had to have Palestine, and they got it through war, deception, and murder. It was funded by usury, as stolen purchasing power from the Goyim.

The fake country of Israel, is not the biblical Israel, and it came into being by maneuverings of satanic men determined to get their way no matter what, and is supported by continuous deception. Even today's Hebrew is resurrected from a dead language, and is fake. Many fake Jews (who have no blood lineage to Abraham), a fake country, and fake language. These fakers, usurers, and thieves do indeed have their eyes set on Patagonia, what they call the practical country.

Johan , says: December 19, 2019 at 11:15 pm GMT
@Anon "If debts can simply be repudiated at will, capitalism cannot function."

Is this children's capitalist theory class time? throwing around some simple slogans for a susceptible congregation of future believers?

Should be quite obvious that people, groups of people, if not whole nations , can be forced and or seduced into depths by means of certain practices. There are a thousand ways of such trickery and thievery, these are not in the theory books though. In these books things all match and work out wonderfully rationally

Then capitalism cannot function? Unfortunately it has become already dysfunctional, if not a big rotten cancer.

MarkinLA , says: December 20, 2019 at 12:14 am GMT
@silviosilver https://qz.com/1001650/hedge-fund-billionaire-paul-singers-ruthless-strategies-include-bullying-ceos-suing-governments-and-seizing-their-navys-ships/

Yes, but the Argentine bond situation was particulary crappy and not what happens when a typical bondhoder is forced to take a hit.

anon [125] Disclaimer , says: December 20, 2019 at 3:44 am GMT
Lobelog ran some articles in Singer, Argentina, Iran Israel and the attorney from Argentina who died mysteriously . Singer is a loan shark. Argentinian paid dearly .

Google search –

NYT's Argentina Op-Ed Fails to Disclose Authors – LobeLog

https://lobelog.com/nyts-argentina-op-ed-fails-to-disclose-authors-financial-conflict-of-interest/
Dec 13, 2017 Between 2007 and 2011, hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer contributed $3.6 million to FDD. That coincided with his battle to force Argentina to

Following Paul Singer's Money, Argentina, and Iran – LobeLog

https://lobelog.com/following-paul-singers-money-argentina-and-iran-continued/
May 8, 2015 As Jim and Charles noted, linking Singer to AIPAC and FDD doesn't between Paul Singer's money and those critical of Argentina, Sen.

Paul Singer – LobeLog

https://lobelog.com/tag/paul-singer/
Paul Singer NYT's Argentina Op-Ed Fails to Disclose Authors' Financial Conflict of Interest by Eli Clifton On Tuesday, Mark Dubowitz and Toby Dershowitz, two executives at the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), took

The Right-Wing Americans Who Made a Doc About Argentina

https://lobelog.com/the-right-wing-americans-who-made-a-doc-about-argentina/
Oct 7, 2015 One might wonder why a movie about Argentina, in Spanish and . of Nisman's and thought highly of the prosecutor's work, told LobeLog, FDD, for its part, has been an outspoken critic of Kirchner but has From 2008 to 2011, Paul Singer was the group's second-largest donor, contributing $3.6 million.

NYT Failed to Note Op-Ed Authors' Funder Has $2 Billion

https://fair.org/home/nyt-failed-to-note-op-ed-authors-funder-has-2-billion-motive-for-attacking-argentina/
Dec 16, 2017 Paul Singer FDD has been eager to promote Nisman's work. Singer embarked on a 15-year legal battle to collect on Argentina's debt payments by This alert orginally appeared as a blog post on LobeLog (12/13/17).

Digital Samizdat , says: December 20, 2019 at 12:18 pm GMT
@Mefobills

What our Jewish friends have done to Argentina, through maneuvering the elections, killing dissidents, and marking territory, is a cautionary tale to anybody woke enough to see with their own eyes.

Yup. And don't forget that ongoing Zionist psy-op known as the AMIA bombing: https://thesaker.is/hezbollah-didnt-do-argentine-bombing-updated/

[Dec 20, 2019] Imperial Tool Pelosi Falsely Links Russia to Ukrainegate by Stephen Lendman

The fact that the 'whistleblower' is a CIA officer who has since returned to active duty at the agency isn't lost on Mr. Trump's supporters.
"The CIA was the central protagonist in Russiagate. The origins of the New Cold War are found in Bill Clinton's first term, when administration neo-cons looted, plundered and moved NATO against a prostrate Russia in contradiction to explicit guarantees not to do so made by the George H.W. Bush administration. Vladimir Putin's apparent crime was to oust the Clintonites from Russia and restore Russian sovereignty." CounterPunch.org
"Russiagate was a declaration of war by the 'intelligence community' against a duly elected President. As argued below, the CIA's motive is to move its own foreign policy agenda forward without even the illusion of democratic consent." CounterPunch.org
Notable quotes:
"... Actions in the Washington cesspool never surprise -- by members of both right wing of the US war party. They represent the greatest threat to world peace and ordinary people everywhere at home and abroad. Pro-war, pro-business, pro-Wall Street, anti-progressive Speaker Pelosi is part of the problem, never part of the solution. ..."
Sep 29, 2019 | stephenlendman.org

by Stephen Lendman ( stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman )

Actions in the Washington cesspool never surprise -- by members of both right wing of the US war party. They represent the greatest threat to world peace and ordinary people everywhere at home and abroad. Pro-war, pro-business, pro-Wall Street, anti-progressive Speaker Pelosi is part of the problem, never part of the solution.

Her long disturbing congressional record shows she exclusively serves wealth and power interests at the expense of the vast majority of Americans she disdains, proving it time and again.

Her deplorable voting record speaks for itself, backing:

  1. the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Blily Act repeal of Glass-Steagall, permitting some of the most egregious financial abuses in the modern era;
  2. the September 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), permitting endless wars of aggression in multiple theaters, raging endlessly;
  3. annual National Defense Authorization Acts and US wars of aggression;
  4. Obama's neoliberal harshness, continuing under Trump, along with tax cuts for the rich, benefitting her and her husband enormously, without admitting it;
  5. increasingly unaffordable marketplace medicine, ripping off consumers for profit, leaving millions uninsured, most Americans way underinsured;
  6. the USA Patriot Act, Anti-Terrorism Act and other police state law;
  7. the 9/11 whitewash Commission Recommendation Act;
  8. the FISA Amendments Act -- permitting warrantless spying post-9/11, Big Brother watching everyone;
  9. NAFTA and other anti-consumer/corporate coup d'etat trade bills;
  10. the repressive US gulag prison system, the world's largest by far; incarcerating millions by federal, state, and local authorities, it includes global torture prisons;
  11. unapologetic support for Israeli apartheid viciousness;
  12. fierce opposition to Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea, and other nonbelligerent sovereign states threatening no one;
  13. the Russiagate witch hunt and Ukrainegate scams.

Calling exploitive/predatory "free market (capitalism) our greatest asset" shows her contempt for equity and justice.

Her support for the military, industrial, security, media complex is all about backing endless wars of aggression against invented enemies. No real ones exist.

Pelosi represents what belligerent, plutocratic, oligarchic, increasingly totalitarian rule is all about, notably contemptuous of nations on the US target list for regime change -- Russia, China and Iran topping the list.

On Friday, she falsely accused Russia of involvement in Ukrainegate, a failed Russiagate scam spinoff with no legitimacy, supported by undemocratic Dems and their echo-chamber media.

Repeating the long ago debunked Russian US election meddling Big Lie that won't die, she falsely accused Moscow of "ha(ving) a hand in this."

Referring to the Ukrainegate scam, she offered no evidence backing her accusation because none exists.

During a Friday press conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Sergey Lavrov slammed Pelosi's Big Lie, saying:

"Russia's been accused of all the deadly sins, and then some. It's paranoia, and I think it's obvious to everyone."

It's unacceptable anti-Russia hate-mongering, what goes on endlessly, Cold War 2.0 raging.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the following on her facebook page:

"Speaker of the lower house of Congress Nancy Pelosi believes that Russia is involved in the scandal over July telephone conversation between us and Ukraine Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Zelensky."

"This (baseless) assumption was made on Friday Pelosi (not) explaining what it means, and without providing evidence of her words."

"Considering that it was Nancy Pelosi who caused the 'Scandal around the telephone conversation between the presidents of the United States and Ukraine,' then, according to the speaker's logic, Russia attached the hand to her."

What's going on is continuation of the most shameful political chapter in US history, ongoing since Trump took office, along with railroading Richard Nixon.

Both episodes represent McCarthyism on steroids – supported by establishment media, furious about Trump's triumph over Hillary, targeting him largely for the wrong reasons, ignoring plenty of right ones.

Mueller's probe ended with a whimper, not the bang Dems wanted, Ukrainegate their second bite of the apple to try discrediting Trump for political advantage ahead of November 2020 elections.

That's what Russiagate and Ukrainegate are all about.

These actions by undemocratic Dems and their media press agents are further clear proof that Washington's deeply corrupted political system to its rotten core is far too debauched to fix.

VISIT MY NEW WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org ( Home – Stephen Lendman ). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net .

[Dec 19, 2019] MIC lobbyism (which often is presented as patriotism) is the last refuge of scoundrels

Highly recommended!
Dec 19, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

likbez, December 19, 2019 6:58 pm

Afghan war demonstrated that the USA got into the trap, the Catch 22 situation: it can't stop following an expensive and self-destructive positive feedback loop of threat inflation and larger and large expenditures on MIC, because there is no countervailing force for the MIC since WWII ended. Financial oligarchy is aligned with MIC.

This is the same suicidal grip of MIC on the country that was one of the key factors in the collapse of the USSR means that in this key area the USA does not have two party system, It is a Uniparty: a singe War party with two superficially different factions.

Feeding and care MIC is No.1 task for both. Ordinary Americans wellbeing does matter much for either party. New generation of Americans is punished with crushing debt and low paying jobs. They do not care that people over 50 who lost their jobs are essentially thrown out like a garbage.

"41 Million people in the US suffer from hunger and lack of food security"–US Dept. of Agriculture. FDR addressed the needs of this faction of the population when he delivered his One-Third of a Nation speech for his 2nd Inaugural. About four years later, FDR expanded on that issue in his Four Freedoms speech: 1.Freedom of speech; 2.Freedom of worship; 3.Freedom from want; 4.Freedom from fear.

Items 3 and 4 are probably unachievable under neoliberalism. And fear is artificially instilled to unite the nation against the external scapegoat much like in Orwell 1984. Currently this is Russia, later probably will be China. With regular minutes of hate replaced by Rachel Maddow show ;-)

Derailing Tulsi had shown that in the USA any politician, who try to challenge MIC, will be instantly attacked by MIC lapdogs in MSM and neutered in no time.

One interesting tidbit from Fiona Hill testimony is that neocons who dominate the USA foreign policy establishment make their living off threat inflation. They literally are bought by MIC, which indirectly finance Brookings institution, Atlantic Council and similar think tanks. And this isn't cheap cynicism. It is simply a fact. Rephrasing Samuel Johnson's famous quote, we can say, "MIC lobbyism (which often is presented as patriotism) is the last refuge of scoundrels."

[Dec 19, 2019] A the core of color revolution against Trump is Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Ukrainegate is preemptive political tactics. ..."
Dec 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lk , Dec 18 2019 22:19 utc | 26

The House impeachment is driven by several factors:
  1. After Russiagate, when Trump began to investigate its fraudulent origins, the Dems feared the exposure of Obama-era corruption if not high crimes. Hence Ukrainegate is preemptive political tactics.
  2. The investigation into Russiagate led right to Ukraine, and thus to Biden. In the context of Sanders' campaign, Ukrainegate became an imperative for the factions of the capitalist class that dominates the DNC. If Biden falls on Ukraine issues, then Sanders is inevitable; an anathema to Wall Street and Big Tech DNC donors.
  3. 3. While 1 and 2 dominate DNC machinations, foreign policy is also a factor. The foreign policy establishment is absolutely against any hesitation with respect to confronting Russia as part of a regional and global strategy for primacy. Trump's limited prevarications on Russia might threaten the long established strategy to expand Nato to Ukraine and thereby to encircle Russia and maintain US dominance over Europe. So, even though Trump names great power rivalry as the name of the game today, his inclination for making nice with Putin threatens to weaken the US hold over Europe, which Trump wants to label as an economic competitor.

    It is with these points that the strategic differences become apparent: Trump is raising a realist, neo-mercantalist strategy against ALL potential competitors; the DNC and the deep state hold a strategy of liberal hegemony: globalization and US primacy through dominating regional alliances, and impregnating US hegemony INSIDE the vassal States of the empire.

All of this, however, is bound to fail for the DNC, and down the road for Trump himself.

The contradictions of US empire and global capitalism cannot be mitigated by either more liberal strategies or realist ones.

[Dec 17, 2019] Neocons like car salespeople have a stereotypical reputation for lacking credibility because ther profession is to lie in order to sell weapons to the publin, much like used car saleme lie to sell cars

Highly recommended!
Dec 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Dec 16 2019 20:51 utc | 22

Neocons lie should properly be called "threat inflation"

The underlying critical point-at-issue is credibility as I noted in my comment on b's 2017 article. I've since linked to tweets and other items by that trio; the one major change seems to have been the epiphany by them that they needed to go to where the action is and report it from there to regain their credibility.

The fact remains that used car salespeople have a stereotypical reputation for lacking credibility sans a confession as to why they feel the need to lie to sell cars.

Their actions belie the guilt they feel for their choices, but a confession works much better at assuaging the soul while helping convince the audience that the change in heart's genuine. And that's the point as b notes--genuineness, whose first predicate is credibility.

[Dec 15, 2019] The infinity war - The Washington Post by Samuel Moyn, Stephen Wertheim

Highly recommended!
Dec 15, 2019 | www.washingtonpost.com
The infinity war We say we're a peaceful nation. Why do our leaders always keep us at war? The infinity war We say we're a peaceful nation. Why do our leaders always keep us at war? Sam Ward (For The Washington Post) By Samuel Moyn and Stephen Wertheim December 13, 2019 Add to list On my list

Now we know, thanks to The Afghanistan Papers published in The Washington Post this past week, that U.S. policymakers doubted almost from the start that the two-decade-long Afghanistan war could ever succeed. Officials didn't know who the enemy was and had little sense of what an achievable "victory" might look like. "We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking," said Douglas Lute, the Army three-star general who oversaw the conflict from the White House during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

And yet the war ground on, as if on autopilot. Obama inherited a conflict of which Bush had grown weary, and victory drew no closer after Obama's troop "surge" than when Bush pursued a small-footprint conflict. But while the Pentagon Papers, published in 1971 during the Vietnam War, led a generation to appreciate the perils of warmaking, a new generation may squander this opportunity to set things right. There is a reason the quagmire in Afghanistan, despite costing thousands of lives and $2 trillion , has failed to shock Americans into action: The United States for decades has made peace look unimaginable or unobtainable. We have normalized war.

President Trump sometimes disrupts the pattern by vowing to end America's "endless wars." But he has extended and escalated them at every turn, offering nakedly punitive and exploitative rationales. In September, on the cusp of a peace deal with the Taliban, he discarded an agreement negotiated by his administration and pummeled Afghanistan harder than ever (now he's back to wanting to talk). In Syria, his promised military withdrawal has morphed into a grotesque redeployment to "secure" the country's oil .

It is clearer than ever that the problem of American military intervention goes well beyond the proclivities of the current president, or the previous one, or the next. The United States has slowly slid away from any plausible claim of standing for peace in the world. The ideal of peace was one that America long promoted, enshrining it in law and institutions, and the end of the Cold War offered an unparalleled opportunity to advance the cause. But U.S. leaders from both parties chose another path. War -- from drone strikes and Special Operations raids to protracted occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan -- has come to seem inevitable and eternal, in practice and even in aspiration.

Given World War II, Korea, Vietnam and many smaller conflicts throughout the Western Hemisphere, no one has ever mistaken the United States for Switzerland. Still, the pursuit of peace is an authentic American tradition that has shaped U.S. conduct and the international order. At its founding, the United States resolved to steer clear of the system of war in Europe and build a "new world" free of violent rivalry, as Alexander Hamilton put it .

Indeed, Americans shrank from playing a fully global role until 1941 in part because they saw themselves as emissaries of peace (even as the United States conquered Native American land, policed its hemisphere and took Pacific colonies). U.S. leaders sought either to remake international politics along peaceful lines -- as Woodrow Wilson proposed after World War I -- or to avoid getting entangled in the squabbles of a fallen world. And when America embraced global leadership after World War II, it felt compelled to establish the United Nations to halt the "scourge of war," as the U.N. Charter says right at the start. At America's urging, the organization outlawed the use of force, except where authorized by its Security Council or used in self-defense.

[ I owe my new life to my Marine husband's hideous death. I pay the price every day. ]

Even when the United States dishonored that ideal in the years that followed, peace remained potent as a guiding principle. Vietnam provoked a broad-based antiwar movement. Congress passed the War Powers Resolution (WPR) to tame the imperial presidency. Such opposition to war is scarcely to be found today. (The Iraq War inspired massive protests, but they are a distant memory.) Consider that the United States has undertaken more armed interventions since the end of the Cold War than during it. According to the Congressional Research Service, more than 80 percent of all of the country's adventures abroad since 1946 came after 1989. Congress, whether under Democratic or Republican control, has allowed commanders in chief to claim the right to begin wars and continue them in perpetuity.

Legal constraints on U.S. warmaking -- including international obligations, domestic statutes and constitutional duties -- ought to have returned to the fore after the Cold War, the rationale for America's vast mobilization in the second half of the 20th century. Instead, they have eroded to dust. At the outset of the 1990s, as President George H.W. Bush promised a "peace dividend" for Americans and a "peaceful international order" for all, the United States did rely more faithfully than before on Security Council approval for military operations. The Persian Gulf War, blessed by the United Nations to repel Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, was legal under international law. But enthralled by its exorbitant primacy in world affairs, the United States turned away from international prohibitions on war, finding the rules too restricting.

The next two presidents, attracted to liberal internationalist and neoconservative creeds that embraced armed force, treated international law cavalierly. Bill Clinton abused U.N. resolutions meant to control Saddam Hussein's weaponry to justify new attacks, including the bombing of Iraq in December 1998. The next year, the U.S.-led NATO operations in Kosovo suggested that America would unleash its military for ostensibly noble causes -- in this case to prevent heart-rending atrocity -- even without the pretense of legality. Despite failing to obtain U.N. approval, the Clinton administration said the intervention should not be treated as a precedent (though it became one). Others excused it as "illegal but legitimate," with self-professed moral intentions permissibly trumping law. "For the purpose of stopping genocide," commented the New Republic's Leon Wieseltier, "the use of force is not a last resort; it is a first resort."

Once such arguments gained currency, their authors lost control of them. Conservative hawks found that a law-optional approach suited their agenda as well, and their liberal counterparts, if they disagreed at all, did so mostly as a matter of tactics, not principle. George W. Bush benefited from this permissive context when he launched the Iraq War, whose illegality was flagrant and catalytic, since it was unauthorized by the United Nations and relied on the administration's dangerous claim that "anticipatory self-defense" justifies invasion. The world took notice. Russia, in particular, seized on the new U.S. position as a spectacular excuse to make incursions of its own in Georgia in 2008 and in Ukraine in 2014.

Obama won election in part because he ran against the Iraq War. In office, however, he cemented more than reversed America's disregard of international constraints on warmaking. While failing to end the war in Afghanistan, his administration exceeded the Security Council's authorization by working to overthrow Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, converting a permission slip to avert atrocity into a blank check for regime change. Then, to punish the Islamic State, Obama bombed Syria on a contrived rationale -- one that allowed attacks against nations unwilling or unable to control terrorists on their territory. When he nearly struck again in response to Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons, Obama laid the legal foundation for Trump to strike the Syrian government, again without a U.N. sign-off. Once highly valued, then defied only with controversy, international law now scarcely figures in U.S. decisions of war and peace.

Like international law, U.S. domestic law enshrines an expectation of peace, setting a high bar for the resort to war. If war is to be waged, the Constitution requires Congress to declare it -- a purposeful grant of authority to the branch of government that best reflects the diverse interests of the people and therefore should be harder to rouse to conflict than one commander in chief. Yet the nation has drifted from that tradition, too. After defaulting on its constitutional obligation during the Cold War (partly on the grounds that the speed of a potential nuclear strike required a president who could respond quickly), Congress declined to reassert its authority after the Soviet threat passed.

[ How Veterans Affairs denies care to many of the people it's supposed to serve ]

In the 1990s, Congress might at least have kept faith with the WPR, which it passed in 1973 to rein in future presidents. The resolution calls for Congress to authorize "hostilities" within 60 days of their start; otherwise U.S. forces must withdraw. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, members of the House of Representatives brought presidents to court for taking military action in violation of the statute -- in El Salvador , the Persian Gulf War and Kosovo , for example. But advocates of the strategy all but gave up, and Congress itself increasingly deferred to presidential wars in the age of terrorism. By the time Obama intervened in Libya, the WPR lay in tatters. In a final indignity during the Libya operation, one administration lawyer explained that "hostilities" was an " ambiguous term of art " that might exclude aerial bombardment, so Congress did not need to approve a war that toppled a regime.

This deference has proved costly, allowing Trump to pose as an antiwar candidate against the mainstream of two political parties, a somnolent Congress and inactive courts. Once in power, this wildly unpredictable chief executive finally clarified the danger of entrusting the world's mightiest military to one man's whims. Congress has begun to stir. In voting this year to end U.S. involvement in Yemen's civil war, it invoked the WPR for the first time while forces were active in battle.


President Trump speaks to U.S. troops at Bagram air base in Afghanistan last month.
though he has pledged to end America's "endless wars,"
Trump, like past presidents, has instead extended them. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Ultimately, elevating peace as a priority will require not merely changing legal norms but overturning the militarized concept of America's world role that permeates Washington. Somehow, despite waging near-perpetual war, the leaders of the most powerful country on Earth have convinced themselves that America is always on the brink of turning "isolationist," a peril against which every president since Ronald Reagan has warned as their terms wound down. Trump is likely to deviate from that rhetorical tradition, but the rest of the establishment carries on and doubles down. Today, it is military withdrawals, not destructive deployments, that freak out pundits and spur Cabinet members to resign, as Jim Mattis did last year over Trump's vow to pull troops from Syria. Abandoning the Kurds there this fall was Trump's " great betrayal ," lamented Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, who did not appear to lose sleep over our past military incursions.

Under Trump, who applies "maximum pressure" to all foes foreign and domestic, American militarism is more perilous than ever. It is also more undeniable. That is one reason the current moment is surprisingly hopeful. The call to end "endless war" continues to rise on the flanks of both parties, even as it is flouted by leaders of each. More and more Americans insist that, whatever interests are served by endless war, their own are not. More than twice as many Americans prefer to lower than raise military spending, according to a 2019 Eurasia Group Foundation survey. Veterans support Trump's pledge to bring Middle East wars to a close: A majority of vets deem the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria not to have been worth fighting. The Afghanistan Papers ought to strengthen the consensus. Americans deserve a president who will act accordingly.

The United States would find partners far and wide, in nations great and small, if it put peace first. It could make clear that while spreading democracy or human rights remains worthwhile, values cannot come at the point of a gun or serve as a pretext for war -- and that international peace is, in fact, a condition for human flourishing. Every time Washington searches for a monster to destroy, it shows the world's despots how to abuse the rules and hands demagogues a phantom to inflate. The alternative is not "isolationism" but something closer to the opposite: peaceful, lawful international cooperation against the major threats to humanity, including climate change, pandemic disease and widespread deprivation. Those are the enemies worth fighting, and bombs and bullets will not defeat them.

Samuel Moyn is Henry R. Luce professor of jurisprudence and professor of history at Yale University and a fellow of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and Stephen Wertheim is deputy director of research and policy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He is also a research scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University Follow @samuelmoyn and @stephenwertheim

[Dec 14, 2019] Why Do They Hate Us? by Jacob G. Hornberger

Dec 10, 2019 | www.fff.org

The recent shootings of three U.S. soldiers in Florida at the hands of a Saudi citizen raises a standard question in the U.S. government's perpetual "war on terrorism": "Why do they hate us?"

Soon after the 9/11 attacks, the official mantra began being issued: The terrorists just hate us for our "freedom and values." No other explanation for motive was to be considered. If anyone suggested an alternative motive -- such as "They are retaliating for U.S. governmental killings over there" -- U.S. officials and interventionists would immediately go on the attack, heaping a mountain of calumny on that person, accusing him of treason, hating America, loving the terrorists, and justifying their attacks.

It happened to me and other libertarians who dared to challenge the official motive behind the 9/11 attacks. Shortly after the attacks, I spoke at a freedom conference in Arizona consisting of both libertarians and conservatives. When I pointed out that the attacks were the predictable consequence of a foreign policy that kills people over there, another of the speakers was filled with anger and rage over such an "unpatriotic" suggestion. Then, a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, FFF published an article by me entitled, " Is This the Wrong Time to Question Foreign Policy? " in which I pointed out the role that U.S. interventionism had played in the attacks. FFF was hit with the most nasty and angry attacks I have ever seen.

Eighteen years later, the evidence is virtually conclusive that the reason that the United States has been suffering a constant, never-ending threat of terrorism is because U.S. military and CIA forces have been killing people in the Middle East and Afghanistan since at least the end of the Cold War, and even before.

After all, if the terrorists hate us for our "freedom and values," why haven't they been attacking the Swiss? They have pretty much the same freedom and values that Americans have. And they are much closer geographically to Middle East terrorists than the United States is. Why haven't the terrorists been attacking them?

The answer is simple: the Swiss government, unlike the U.S. government, hasn't been killing, maiming, and injuring people and hasn't been bombing and destroying countries in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

A long history of U.S. interventionism

U.S. interventions in the Middle East began, of course, long before the 9/11 attacks. There was the 1953 CIA coup that destroyed Iran's experiment with democracy with a coup that replaced the democratically elected prime minister of the country with a tyrannical pro-U.S. dictator. Not surprisingly, that produced the violent Iranian revolution almost 25 years later. The Iranian revolutionaries didn't hate America for its "freedom and values." They hated America for the U.S. government's installation, training, and support of the tyrannical regime against which they revolted.

In the 1980s, there was the sending of U.S. troops into Lebanon as interventionist "peacekeepers." The terrorists ended up blowing up a Marine barracks, killing 241 U.S. soldiers. The terrorists didn't hate America for its "freedom and values." They hated America for the federal government's interventionism into Lebanon. As soon as all U.S. troops were withdrawn from Lebanon, which was the right thing to do, there were obviously no more deaths of U.S. soldiers in that country.

It was after the Pentagon and the CIA lost their official Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union (i.e., Russia), that they proceeded headlong into the Middle East and began killing multitudes of people. There was the Persian Gulf War, waged without the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war, where thousands of Iraqis were killed or injured. That was followed by a decade of brutal sanctions against Iraq, which contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.

Thus, when Ramzi Yousef, one of the terrorists who tried to bring down the World Trade Center with a bomb in 1993, appeared before a federal judge for sentencing, he angrily told the judge that it was U.S. officials who were the butchers, for killing multitudes of innocent children in Iraq.

As those Iraqi children were dying, there were retaliatory terrorist strikes on the USS Cole and the U.S. embassies in East Africa. Once again, however, U.S. officials continued to steadfastly maintain that was all about hatred for America's "freedom and values" and had nothing to do with the deadly and destructive U.S. interventionism in the Middle East.

Then came Osama bin Laden's declaration of war against the United States, in which he expressly cited U.S. interventionism in the Middle East as his motivating factor. That was followed by the 9/11 attacks, along with other terrorist attacks both here and abroad. Through it all, U.S. officials and interventionists have blindly maintained that the terrorists hate us for our "freedom and values," not because the U.S. government kills, maims, injures, and destroys people over there.

The recent Florida killings

And now we have the latest killing spree, this one at the hands of a Saudi citizen in Florida. According to a story in yesterday's Washington Post about the killing of three U.S. soldiers, the killer, Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani was described as "strange" and "angry." "He looked like he was angry at the world," said one person who knew him. Another said that he looked at people in an "angry, challenging" way.

The article says that "the FBI has not yet determined a motive for the mass shooting."

Well, of course it hasn't. That's undoubtedly because the FBI hasn't yet found any statements in which the killer states that he hates America for its "freedom and values."

But the Post article does point out something quite interesting. The article states: "The gunman, who was shot dead by a sheriff's deputy responding to the shooting, is thought to have written a 'will' that was posted to the account a few hours before the rampage. In it, he blasts U.S. policies in Muslim countries."

Well, isn't that interesting! Unfortunately, the Post didn't provide a verbatim transcript of the killer's "will" in which he "blasts U.S. policies in the Muslim countries." The Post does point out though that "the writer says he does not dislike Americans per se -- 'I don't hate you because of your freedoms,' he begins -- but that he hates U.S. policies that he views as anti-Muslim and 'evil.'"

I n an article at antiwar.com entitled, " Pensacola: Blowback Terrorism ," Scott Horton provides a verbatim transcript of the killer's "will," in which the killer states in part:

I'm not against you for just being American, I don't hate you for your freedom, I hate you because every day you supporting, funding, and committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity. I am against evil, and America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil. What I see from America is the supporting of Israel which is invasion of Muslim countrie, I see invasion of many countries by it's troops, I see Guantanamo Bay. I see cruise missiles, cluster bombs and UAV.

Now, if one goes back to Ramzi Yousef's sentencing hearing in 1995 -- some 24 years ago -- one will see that Yousef angrily said much the same thing to the federal judge who was getting ready to sentence him to jail for his 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Americans have a choice:

One, continue the U.S. government's decades-long killing spree in the Middle East, in which case America will continue to experience never-ending terrorist retaliation, the perpetual "war on terrorism, and the ongoing destruction of our liberty and privacy at the hands of our government, which is purportedly protecting us from the terrorist threats that it produces with its foreign interventionism.

Or, two, stop U.S. forces from killing any more people, bring them all home and discharge them, which would help get America back on the right track, one toward liberty, peace, prosperity, morality, normality, and harmony with the world.

This post was written by: Jacob G. Hornberger Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News' Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano's show Freedom Watch . View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context . Send him email .

[Dec 13, 2019] Savages, indeed. Zero accountability and Britain still playing faithful lap dog.

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

cephalus , 10 Dec 2019 12:11

The US lied about the Gulf of Tonkin in order to justify attacking North Vietnam, it then proceeded to lie about the conduct of the war and the terrible genocide it was committing. No lesson learned because in a heartbeat the US was lying about Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Nicaragua and El Salvador, committing a wide range of atrocities in each.

Add Somalia, Libya, proxy wars in Angola and Yemen, efforts to destabilize Cuba, Venezuela and Iran, illegal wars in the Lebanon and Syria, the annihilation of Afghanistan in retaliation for what was actually a Saudi terrorist act, the destruction of modern Iraq and her people using trumped up claims, to say nothing of Clinton's cheery disregard for the welfare of Balkan residents when the US rained (illegal) uranium bombs down on the hapless inhabitants.

And now the WP and Congress are worked up over spending a trillion dollars when plainly they could care less about the Afghan casualties and American war crimes. Heck this goes back to Theodore Roosevelt seizing Cuba claiming he was saving it from the ravages of Spain or even further back to government backed settler land grabs "saving their white women from the savages". Savages, indeed. Zero accountability and Britain still playing faithful lap dog.

Irascible45 , 10 Dec 2019 12:08
My take on this is that the American Department of Defense war machine remained in a state of perpetual excitement after their successes in WW11.. almost as if they had to continuously invent an enemy in order to maintain their war time budget.. (and therefore demonstrate their ongoing prowess etc etc) in a cycle of wars starting with Korea and bringing us up to date with Afghanistan.. so that's nearly 70 years worth of international hubris on display.


All on the excuse of spreading their version of democracy.. is money talks!!

UnrepentantPunk -> NadaZero , 10 Dec 2019 11:57

It wasn't a mistake. It was a deliberate decision from a bunch of warmongers

The last patriotic Republican, President Dwight D Eisenhower, warned US against the military-industrial complex in his farewell address .

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

DoctorWibble , 10 Dec 2019 11:55
That both the Afghan war and the invasion of Iraq could happen at all tells us that the UN Security Council is not fit for purpose. These wars also told us that British pretense at being the voice of reason or the steadying hand that prevents US foreign policy being subsumed by the visceral and synthesised reactions of a US public is no more than empty cant.

If the US is unable to prevent foreign and defence policy being captured by money interests and remains inclined to deliver revenge to its public on demand howsoever it might be misdirected then the US should not be on the UN Security Council at all. They are fast becoming the number one major rogue state. And the outlook suggests this is more likely to get worse than improve. Whatever happens to Trump One more (and likely smarter) Trumps are coming down the track. More Dick Cheneys too. More Bushes, more Rumsfelds, more Nixons, Boltons, Kissingers, Johnsons and a host of others we'd all much rather were one offs. The US is the biggest extant threat to world peace. It is too powerful and far too easily played by warmongers and terrorists of every stripe and every persuasion. And by those seeking to profit from war.

BaronVonAmericano , 10 Dec 2019 11:54
To call war profiteering and murder a geopolitical "mistake" is to EXCUSE criminal activity.

Anyone responding to this latest revelation of military dishonest as a "mistake" is actually part of the crime. They are aiding the abettors. Everyone in Congress knows what everyone in this comments section knows: our military and its global actions are, first and foremost, a financial fraud.

thedisciple516 -> sijacks , 10 Dec 2019 11:50
But not American oil companies which were basically shut out outside of a few minor service and procurement contracts. Looks like all the "Blood for Oil" poster were BS.

The Iraq War was only partly, however, about big profits for Anglo-American oil conglomerates - that would be a bonus (one which in the end has failed to materialise - not for want of trying though).

- Nafeez Ahmen Guardian 2014

thedisciple516 -> Boltedhorse01 , 10 Dec 2019 11:42
Yes, and it made no conclusion as to whether the war was legal or not.

" The inquiry did not reach a view on the legality of the war , saying this could only be assessed by a "properly constituted and internationally recognised court", but did make a damning assessment of how the decision was made."

- Guardian 2016

Cronus Titan , 10 Dec 2019 11:40
Just think - the USA spends more on its military then the combined amount of the next 10 nations in the list (incl. China/Russia/India). That is a major major spend commitment. A small percentage of that could be used for US citizens to fund their healthcare - but I suppose they prefer to spend it to threaten and bomb other nations to their will.

Just to think - a similar report was produced post Vietnam and in the 50's even Eisenhower was worried about the US military backed by private companies becoming a perpetual spending machine.

capatriot , 10 Dec 2019 11:39

But there's one big question the Post report raises but does not address: why? Why did so many people – from government contractors and high-ranking military officers, to state department and National Security Council officials – feel the need to lie about how the war in Afghanistan was going?

Because "how the war is going" is not the operating question. Because it does not matter if the war is just or unjust, whether it's winnable or not winnable, nor whether it's supported in the "homeland" or not. No, the operating principle is that there is a war. By its existence, the war creates funding and jobs and profits for the people that matter, the people the author mentions, from the Security/Military complex corporations all the way to careerists in the Pentagon and State.

So, it is NOT a waste of $1 trillion dollars ... it is just as it was supposed to be. That is why the war president (W), the peace president (Obama), and the swamp drainer (Trump) have all supported it. The war is doing what it's supposed to do.

GraphiteCommando , 10 Dec 2019 11:36
In time, the US national debt will force them to rein in their military spending. By lowering taxes while continuing to spend like drunken sailors on military adventures the national debt is ballooning. US government debt is currently rated AA whereas Canada is AAA. US debt to GDP is significantly higher than Canada's. (and that's just Canada vs the US). Trump is trying to create a mafia style protection racket to force other countries to subsidize reckless US military spending. "Pay up or who knows what might happen?" It is high time US taxpayers ask why the US can't lower its' out of control military spending rather than pressuring others to match their profligate ways? Some US citizens say they pay low taxes but it seems they get nothing in return; no health care, no equal access to education, decaying public infrastructure, etc. The rest feel overtaxed when they realize they get nothing in return but don't question the elephant in the room. If other countries maintain responsible levels of military spending the US will dig itself deeper into debt until the debt markets force them to see sense.
DenryMachin , 10 Dec 2019 11:22
Military spending is a fine way to transfer wealth from the general population to the rich. War has always been a fabulous business opportunity, but what has never been so very clear is how, even for the winning side, it represents a major defeat as wealth is transferred from the common good into the hands of the rich.

In such matters always consider 'Who will prosper'.
Follow the money...

kropotkinsf , 10 Dec 2019 11:09
Considering the United States has been involved in one war or another, directly or indirectly, for all but about 20 years of its existence, this latest revelation shouldn't shock anyone. We're a violent country with a violent history and never more so than now, with our built-on-conflict empire losing steam. We point fingers ("It's the Russians!" "It's the Chinese!" It's the Iranians!") to deceive ourselves and others, but we're the real threat to peace. Us. The United States.
CTanner52 , 10 Dec 2019 11:09
Every time I see a person on the street nobly collecting 50ps or the odd fiver for a good cause like Cancer Research or some other charity, I wonder why they have to do this when the US has spent over a USD$1 trillion on the Afghan war and other militaries continue to soak up massive amounts of funding. How much more could we have achieved by now for the real good of humanity if these funds were focused on research and real human need?
damientrollope , 10 Dec 2019 11:09
Te US military has been practicing genocide around the world since WW2, millions have been murdered and still are. But hey, they are the leaders of the free world, the corruption in the US government, corporations, and military has no bounds. Their own poorer members of this society are dying in their thousands for lack of medical care, innocent black people are murdered by police, yet the greed must go on nothing else matters. The only question now being, which country will they invade next, which government will they plot to overthrow. How many will be murdered in the process, not that it matters, greed cannot be measured in dead people.
BaronVonAmericano , 10 Dec 2019 11:09
For crying out loud, it was never a mistake.

World peace and the safety of the American public has never been a priority. Entirely the opposite. Standard procedure: foment fear to wage immoral, endless, profitable war.

This isn't conjecture or "conspiracy theory"; it's as obvious as the sun rising. Anyone casting this in any other way is either behind the curve or dangerously soft pedaling -- or lying to stave off actual accountability.

Please stop pretending that our "leaders" are mistaken. They aren't They're doing the jobs for which they were paid.

manoftheworld , 10 Dec 2019 11:00
It's worse even than a crime... it's insanity to keep excusing a failed 18 year strategy costing a trillion dollars, resulting in the death of more than 100,000, and the country ending up worse than when they started. The military, politicians and the media are all to blame. The military for being too frightened and too stupid to admit they were losing and had no idea how to correct it.. the politicians for being too frightened to call out their beloved but incompetent military, and for not "getting it" after more than a trillion dollars had already been spent; the press and media for being embedded (sometimes literally) with the military and acting as no more than unquestioning cheerleaders for a self-evidently failed strategy. It is a terrible indictment of the US on so many levels... where were the public anti-war protests or activists? Couldn't they see or didn't they care? Either way it's pathetic.

Almost every year US generals stood before the media and politicians, jutting jaws and feeble minds, to say that this year was going to be decisive against the Taliban. The fact is, after Al Qaeda was scattered in 2001, the US picked on the Taliban pointlessly. They stayed pretending they were engaged in countering the return of al Qaeda (that was never going to happen) but actually made a new enemy of the Taliban by picking the wrong side in what was a civil war. The US never understood what it was trying to do so it lied and lied out of fear of being found out. I find it sickening that this country -the US - pretends it is a force for good in the world when they are quite prepared to keep killing innocent people in order to mask the generals' cowardice about facing the truth of their own incompetence.

tenientesnafu , 10 Dec 2019 10:55
A terrible but interesting dichotomy. You have Governments and a broad part of the public fiercely opposed to public spending and any kind of redistribution. It is all about the individual.

Yet they sport and actually worship an institution where the individual counts for naught. In the military it always is about the collective. They throw huge swaths of money to the military. Which is the only place in the US where dreaded universal healthcare, pensions and free education exists. Not only that, even the army shops sell goods as subsidised prices, something unthinkable outside the barracks.

lalaeuro -> GeraldLobOn , 10 Dec 2019 10:53
Entirely intentional according the PNAC document Rebuilding America's Defences, Orwellian for we're going to make a lot of pointless weapons with huge mark-ups for profit by bombing the shit out of foreigners.
kapsiolaaaaa , 10 Dec 2019 10:37
I was listening to NPR about how Veterans turned against the Vietnam war. The people of south Vietnam would collect shells and explosives that did not detonate and gave to US troops for a small financial reward. In one such case - the shell exploded killing few kids and injuring a girl. That girl was refused treatment from US medics because she was one of them. That soldier involved later joined the anti war movement.
All the veterans were surprised with the image that soldiers coming back from war were spat at and disrespected by the anti war protesters - this could not have been further from truth.

Back in Vietnam you were taught how to destroy a village, poison drinking water sources etc. And understandably many GIs fought back.

There are similar stories out of Afghanistan - the naked prisoners with soldiers acting as if they are engaging in a sexual act and many such shameless incidents. These soldiers were acquitted which is another way of saying - An Afghan and his life and honor are below us. It has de-stabilized the region for many decades.

There is a bright side to Donny and his conmen - maybe there will be less intervention and more introspection - which can only be good for the World.

[Dec 13, 2019] The process of waging war is lucrative - positive outcomes (gas and oil) are a bonus.

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

NickStanford , 10 Dec 2019 12:24

I think it should have been seen as a thirty year campaign and the same with Iraq and Libya. The northern Ireland campaign took 30 years and many people are as bitter as they ever were much of it secondhand from younger people who weren't even alive during the conflict. The idea of a quick war is a very big mistake I think and flawed short-term thinking.
Piet Pompies -> MrMopp , 10 Dec 2019 12:24
Most decorated Marine officer ever? I thought that was Chesty Puller?
sammer -> tenientesnafu , 10 Dec 2019 12:24
That was very well put. Thank you for being so succinct.
easterman -> MrMopp , 10 Dec 2019 12:23
The process of waging war is lucrative - positive outcomes (gas and oil) are a bonus.
MyViewsOnThis , 10 Dec 2019 12:22
The West and the USA in particular have always taken the stand that their ideology is the only right one. That they have a right to interfere in the interns, affairs of other countries but their own internal affairs are sacrosanct.

So - USA, with UK support decided that Saddam Hussein had to be removed. They moved in to do so - they killed Saddam but had no plan to return the country to a functioning nation. Instead they facilitated the unleashing of internal wars and have now left the citizens of that country in utter turmoil.

& then went and repeated the exercise n Libya.

Decades ago, Britain decided that Palestinians could be thrown out of their homes to make way for the creation of Israel and laid the foundation for the Middle-East turmoil that has caused untold misery and suffering. They followed that up with throwing out the Chagosians out of their homes and making them homeless. Invited Caribbean's to the 'Mother Country' to serve their erstwhile lords, ladies, masters and mistresses only to then drive to despair the children and grandchildren of the invitees who had contributed to the 'Mother Country' for decades.

easterman , 10 Dec 2019 12:21
Lest we forget Cheney salivating over the gas in the Caspian Basin http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/west_asia/37021.stm
Piet Pompies -> cephalus , 10 Dec 2019 12:19
Yep, biggest terrorist state in the world, ever.
KoreyD , 10 Dec 2019 12:19
We are 18 years into an illegal invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. We are the invaders, the terrorists. The Taliban are fighting for their country, they may use brutal methods but so did the French, Dutch, Russian freedom fighters during the Nazi invasions. America's puppet regime in Afghanistan is reminiscent of the Quislings of WW2. And to use drones to kill Afghans and to say it is progress that there is more transparency is the height of hubris. All it does is show the corrosive effect of unfettered power in America and it's military. Why do we tolerate this inhuman action on another country's society? America is by far the greatest contributor to the rise in terrorism in the world and if not somehow stopped the greatest threat to world peace. It keeps on invading country after country with it's MSM propaganda machine claiming it is spreading Democracy throughout the globe. Thank you America !

[Dec 13, 2019] On Rogues and Rogue States by Fred Reed

Dec 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Guide to the Supervision of... Blogview Fred Reed Archive Blogview Fred Reed Archive On Rogues and Rogue States Old, New, and Improved Fred Reed December 10, 2019 1,600 Words 76 Comments Reply Listen ॥ ■ ► RSS

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I have just finished reading William Shirer's Berlin Diary . (This may not fascinate you, but I am coming to something.) I first encountered it in high school. It is of course Shirer's account as a correspondent in Germany of the rise of the Nazis. Most of it is well known to the educated. The Nazis, who had control over the domestic press, convinced the German population that the Poles were threatening Germany, as plausible as Guatemala threatening the United States. The Poles were said to be committing atrocities against Germans.

Then the Reich, with no justification whatever, having absolute air superiority, attacked Poland, bombing undefended cities and killing huge numbers of people. It was a German pattern several times repeated. Many reporters told of the smell of rotting bodies, of refugees dying of hunger and thirst. Today the Reich is endlessly remembered as a paragon of evil. It was.

How did Nazi Germany differ from the United States today? There is the same lying. Washington insisted that Iraq was about to get nuclear weapons, biological agents, that it had poisonous gas. None of this was true. The government, unimpeded by the media, persuaded over half of the American population that Iraq was responsible for Nine-Eleven. Now it says that Iran works to get nuclear weapons, and of course that the Russians are coming. The American press, informally but strictly controlled, carefully doesn't challenge any of this.

Having prepped the American public as the Nazis prepped theirs, Washington unleashed a savage attack against Iraq, deliberately destroying infrastructure, leaving the country without power or purified water. The slaughter was godawful. But, said America, the war was to rid the Iraqi people of an evil dictator, to bring them democracy, freedom, and human rights. (The oil was entirely incidental. The oil is always incidental.)

Fallujah, Iraq, after the American military brought it democracy, human rights, and freedom. Guernica, after the visit of the Kondor Legion. For the historically challenged, this was the Spanish city bombed during the Spแnish Civil War by the Germans in support of the Falangists.

Washington never sleeps in its campaigns to improve the lives of people whose most fervent wish is that America stop improving their lives. To give the Afghans democracy, human rights, and American values, the US has for eighteen years been bombing, bombing, bombing a largely illiterate population in a nation where America has no business. It is a coward's war with warplanes butchering peasants who have no defenses. The pilots and drone operators who do this deserve contempt, as does the country that sends them. How many more years? For what purpose? And how were the German Nazis different?

The German Gestapo perpetrated sickening torture in hidden basements. America does the same, mainltaining torture prisons around the world. In these, men, and no doubt women, are hung by their wrists for days, naked in very cold rooms, kept awake and periodically beaten (exactly as described by survivors of Soviet torture. Nazis, whether American, Russian, or German, are Nazis.)

Photos of Iraqis at the American torture operation at Abu Ghraib showed prisoners, almost naked, lying in pools of blood. Tell me, please, how this differs from what was done by the Reich? (The bloodier photos are no longer online. Many that remain seem to have been edited.)

Abu Ghraib. A happy American girl soldier. Note rubber gloves. The US military used many female soldiers for this duty. They apparently were kinky, as they seemed to get a kick out of it. A female general ran the operation.

Gina Haspel, head of the CIA, is a sadist who tortured Moslem prisoners, reminiscent of Ilse Koch, the notorious Nazi torturess, who also worked in prisons. It is easy to find victims there, I suppose.

An Abu Ghraib pic apparently no longer online. I found it on an ancient memory stick. Are we having fun yet?

President Trump has just pardoned several American war criminals, saying he wanted to give US soldiers the "confidence to fight." This amounts to blanket permission to commit atrocities. A purpose of military training being to extirpate human decency and mercifulness, the obscene barbarism is not surprising. Atrocities are what soldiers do, and will do as long as the wars go on, being furiously denied by the government. (When I covered Force Recon, the Marine Corps Special Forces, the motto on the wall was "Crush Their Skulls and Eat Their Faces.")

Perhaps the best known example of implied approval was Nixon's pardon of Lt. Calley, who ordered the murder of Vietnamese villagers, for which he received three years of house arrest.

The Germans wanted empire, lebensraum, and resources, in particular oil. Americans want empire and oil, control of which allows control of the world They go about getting them by invasion and intimidation. Thus America wants to bring democracy and human rights to Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, and Nigeria, which have lots of oil, while it has occupation troops in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and elsewhere in the Mideast. What part of Syria is Trump occupying? Surprise, surprise! The part with the oil. Oil for the Americans, land for the Germans.

As Shirer points out, the German public was not enthusiastic about the war, at least not through 1940, as neither is the American public today. Neither public showed any concern about the hideousness its government inflicted around the world. What is the difference?

The parallels with the Reich are not complete. Washington does not essay genocide against Jews or blacks or any other internal population, being content with killing whoever its bombs fall upon. Trump cannot reasonably be likened to Hitler. He lacks the vision, the backbone, and apparently the viciousness. Hitler was a very smart, very evil man who knew exactly what he was doing, at least politically. This cannot be said of Trump. However, Hitler was, and Trump is, surrounded by freak-show curiosities of great bellicosity. Adolf had Goering, Goebbels, Himler, Rheinhardt Heydrich, Julius Streicher, Eichman. Trump has John Bolton, as amoral and pathologically aggressive as any in the Fuehrer's entourage, or under a log. Pompeo, a bloated toad of a man, bears an uncanny resemblance to Goering. Both he and Pence are Christian heretics, Evangelicals, who believe they are connected to God on broadband. O'Brien sounds like Bolton. All want war with Iran and perhaps with China and Russia. Sieg heil, and run like hell.

My Lai, after Lt. Calley of the SS Totenkopf Div excuse me, the Americal Division, I meant to say, brought human rights, freedom, and the American way.

Wikipedia: "Between 347 and 504 unarmed people were killed by U.S. Army soldiers Victims included men, women, children, and infants. Some of the women were gang-raped and their bodies mutilated as were children as young as 12.")

For this Calley got three years house arrest, less than the sentence for a bag of methamphetamine, until pardoned by Nixon. Many Americans said, and many still say, that he should not have been punished at all, that we needed to take the gloves off, let the troops fight. Again, this is what Trump said.

The German Nazis worshiped Blood and Soil, the land of Germany and the Teutonic race, which they believed to be genetically superior to all others. Americans can't easily worship race. Instead they think themselves Exceptional, Indispensable, a Shining City on a Hill, the greatest civilization the world has known. Same narcissism and arrogance, slightly different foundation.

Nazi Germany was, like Nazi America, intensely militaristic. The US has hundreds of bases around the world (China has one overseas base, in Djibouti), spends appallingly on the military despite the lack of a credible military enemy. It currently buys new missile submarines (the Columbia class), aircraft carriers (the Ford class), intercontinental nuclear bombers (the B21), and fighter planes (the F-35).

Nazi Germany attacked Poland, Norway, Belgium, France, Russia, America, and England. America? Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, supports a brutal proxy war against Yemen (Yemen is a grave threat to America), threatens Venezuela, China, and Iran with attack, embargoes Cuba. These are recent. Going back a bit, we have Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, the intervention in Panama, on and on. Millions and millions killed.

The Third Reich was, and America is, the chief threat to peace on the planet, a truly rogue state.

Is this something to be proud of?

Other stuff

La FIL, Feria Internacional de Libros , International Book Fair, Guadalajara, an annual event. I post the photo with the joyous sense of mischief of an eleven-year-old poking a nest of wasps. It will infuriate the Dissident Right, or Alt Right, or Race Realists. Their leaders excepted, most of these are ill-tempered naifs who insist, and seem to hope desperately, that Latin Americans are illiterate. I occasionally have conservative friends down and they are astonished to find that Guadalajara, a large international city, has the sorts of bookstores had by large international cities. Duh. (If interested, here are a couple of dozen.)

Another and cherished conceit of the Dissident Right is that Latin Americans who can read must be white. Well, I guess. Why, you could easily mistake the crowd above for Norwegians. Their ancestors probably arrived with Leif Erikson.

Merry Christmas to all! Happy "Winter Holidays" to none.

Write Fred at jet.possum@gmail.com . Put the letters "pdq" anywhere in the subject line to avoid autodeletion. All read, reply not guaranteed due to volume.

This meritorious and beneficial column will go into hibernation until after New Year, after which it will likely return.

[Dec 13, 2019] It's almost a century since Smedley Butler wrote his incisive pamphlet War is a Racket

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

MrMopp , 10 Dec 2019 12:18

It's almost a century since Smedley Butler wrote his incisive pamphlet War is a Racket.

If you've never read it, it takes about 15-20 minutes to do so. It will astound, anger and depress you that the only thing that's changed is the number or zeroes on the eye waterering profits. Oh, and the players. What is it exactly that makes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia untouchable? (Answers on a postcard C/O Beelzebub.)

Smedley Butler knew of what he lectured about, being the most decorated officer in the history of the Marine Corps.

A brief insight into this insightful all American action man man Hollywood seems to have overlooked:

"I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

"I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.
I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street.

"The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

"During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

There's been a century of endless war and profits since then with this century shaping up nicely for the racketeers, whose finest day might well have been September 11th, 2001.

Anyway, here's a link to a pdf file of War is a Racket if you're interested.

https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

[Dec 13, 2019] Any particular American war has no purpose, but the USA waging it does.

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Richard Thorton , 10 Dec 2019 15:03

Any particular American war has no purpose, but the USA waging it does. The main points of what war does:

1. Transfers wealth from social services to the military industrial complex. Americans don't have education, infrastructure, or healthcare, but they do have a generation of soldiers with PTSD, national debt, worldwide hatred, and an ever increasing sense of exceptionalism.

2. Traps Americans in a cycle of fear and persecution. Americans don't need a bogeyman, but our corporate overlords do, its how they monetize the populace. Find some disparate population of brown people who want self autonomy, send in the CIA to fuck them up, and when they retaliate tell Americans that people who live in a 3rd world land locked country several thousands of miles away are a threat to their very existence and way of life because they don't like God and Walmart.


CourgetteDream , 10 Dec 2019 14:36

Sadly the US uses the MIC to keep a large chunk of its population under control, as well as providing a convenient coverup of the actual numbers of people who are unemployable or would be unemployed if it were'nt for the taxpayer funding humungous spending in the so-called defence sector, which needs a a constant supply of conflict to keep going. The frankly moronic 'thank you for your service' soundbite drives me insane but it shows how much the American public has been brainwashed.
jimbomatic -> Michael Knoth , 10 Dec 2019 14:36
For years my home state of Washington had a New Deal Democrat Senator named Henry Jackson, AKA the Senator from Boeing.
He did good things for the state & was hugely popular here. One reason being that because he brought the Federal pork back home.
IMO the things Gen. Butler wrote about in the 1920s are still the modus operandi of US foreign policy.
Rikyboy , 10 Dec 2019 14:11
If the Afghanistan war ends, the USA will go to war with someone else. You cannot spend so much on military & not be at war. America must have an enemy. And, don’t forget, they always have “God on our side!”
Mauryan , 10 Dec 2019 13:05
The neocons in power during 2001 were hell bent on taking out Saddam Hussein. When 9/11 happened, they were looking for avenues to blame Iraq so that they could launch the war on that nation. Since things could not be put together, and all evidence pointed to Afghanistan, they took a detour in their war plan with a half hearted approach.

In fact Afghanistan was never the problem - It was Pakistan that held Afghanistan on the string and managed all terror related activities. Everything related to 9/11 and beyond pointed directly at Pakistan. Whatever threat Bush and his cronies projected about Iraq was true in the case of Pakistan. The war was lost when they made Pakistan an ally on the war on terror. It is like allying with Al Capone to crack down on the mafia.

Pakistan bilked the gullible American war planners, protected its assets and deflected all the rage on to the barren lands of Afghanistan. They hid all key Al Qaeda operatives and handed off the ones that did not align with their strategic interests to the US, while getting reward for it. War in Iraq happened in a hurry because the Bush family had scores to settle in Iraq. Pressure was lifted on Afghanistan. This is when the war reached a dead end.

The Taliban knew time was on their hands and waited it out. Obama did understand the situation and tried to put Af-Pak together and tightened the grip on Pakistan. He got the troops out of Iraq. Pakistan is almost bankrupt now for its deep investment on terror infrastructure. The US has drained billions of dollars and lives in Afghanistan due to misdirected goals. I am surprised Bush and Cheney have not been sent to jail on lies to launch the Iraq war and botching the real war on terror.

[Dec 13, 2019] Lindsey Graham, Mattis, and Tillerson all opposed the withdrawal from Afghanistan and spoke to Trump in person about it. They all just kept saying that we needed troops in Afghanistan "to prevent the next 9/11."

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Redswordfish , 10 Dec 2019 15:05

I read Bob Woodward's book, "FEAR: Trump in the White House" which has a section talking about a time when Trump wanted to withdraw a substantial number of troops from Afghanistan. Lindsey Graham, Mattis, and Tillerson all opposed the withdrawl and spoke to him in person about it. They all just kept saying that we needed troops in Afghanistan "to prevent the next 9/11." Lindsey Graham was especially forceful about this. "If you withdraw those troops, then you're responsible for the next 9/11" he says [paraphrase].

This is the only section of the book where I actually found myself agreeing with Trump. How exactly does keeping troops in Afghanistan "prevent the next 9/11"? It seems like a bizarre non sequitur.

GalahadThreepwood , 10 Dec 2019 12:37
And this is a surprise because? There is a revolving door between Washington D.C. and defence contractors. When you have a multi trillion dollar industry making stuff that goes bang, the customers will want to use it. And the more the industry can encourage them to use it, the more money they make. Better still, when they have finished blowing a foreign country to hell, their friends in the civil engineering and construction companies can make more trillions rebuilding it all.

And if you then claim victory and withdraw enough of your troops, the incumbent Neanderthals can start slaughtering their own people all over again, giving the perfect excuse to go back in and blow it all to hell again.

With careful planning, you can maintain the cycle of profits for decades, if not centuries.

Next week - bears implicated in forest defecation scandal.

[Dec 13, 2019] The Afghan war is 18 years old now. It's no longer a minor in the eyes of the law. It's old enough to think for itself, to vote, to move out of the house and get it's own place

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Chiropolos , 10 Dec 2019 15:56

This war is 18 years old. It's no longer a minor in the eyes of the law. It's old enough to think for itself, to vote, to move out of the house and get it's own place. Afghanistan will figure it out. Once we withdraw to allow Afghanistan to return to self-governance.

[Dec 13, 2019] Why did so many people -- from government contractors and high-ranking military officers, to state department and National Security Council officials -- feel the need to lie about the wars the USA is engaged?

Notable quotes:
"... This is because it's easy cash cow for the old boys club by sending working class kids to be killed in a far off land. ..."
Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

yemrajesh , 10 Dec 2019 16:54

Why did so many people -- from government contractors and high-ranking military officers, to state department and National Security Council officials -- feel the need to lie about how the war in Afghanistan was going?

This is because it's easy cash cow for the old boys club by sending working class kids to be killed in a far off land.

The pentagon with the full cooperation of MSM will sell it as we are defending our ways of life by fighting a country 10,000 kms away. This show the poor literacy, poor analytical thinking of US population constantly brain washed by MSM, holy men, clergy, other neo con organisations like National rifle club etc.

sorrymess , 10 Dec 2019 15:00

i been to Cambodia a few years ago.

I never knew USA dropped 2.7 millions tons of bombs and now so many left unexploded and its same in Vietnam, Cambodia as neutral,
but i met so many injured kids etc from the bombs,.

the total MADNESS OF USA IS NAZI SM AT ITS BEST,.NO SHAME OR COMPASSION FOR THE VICTIMS.

I cannot comprehend the money it cost USA,. AN ALSO PROFITS FOR SOME,.

Heisham , 10 Dec 2019 14:10
With the exceptions of two attacks on American soil-Pearl Harbor and 911- the American people and for the most part their legislative representatives in Congress- will always remain cluless what the United States Government does overseas.

This country runs on its own drum beats. The ordinary man on the street needs to take care of his economic needs. The Big Boys always take care of themselves. That includes the military establishment, that is always entitled to an absurd amounts of monies, fueled by an empire building machinery, pushed by the elites that control the fate of economic might, and political orchestra that feeds its ego and prestige.
Time and again, our American sociopaths in power have a strangle hold on us, regardless of the destruction and animosity they heap on distant peoples and lands the world over in the name of national security and the democratic spiel, as they like to tell us ....
Richard Nixon, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson- Vietnam and the South East Asian countries of Laos , Cambodia, are an example .
Years later, the establishment manufactures blatant cover-ups with lies upon lies to accuse on record, as general Powell eloquently presented at the United Nations: That Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and needs to be held accountable.And now, this report on Afghanistan with all this pathological violence.

Is it reasonable to conclude that our democracy and its pathological actors in government and big business will always purchase it by demagoguery and self vested interest, because the ordinary man whose vote should count will never have the ultimate say when it comes to war and destruction!

[Dec 09, 2019] One of the best indicators of imperial violence is displaced persons

Dec 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Russ , Dec 9 2019 9:32 utc | 77

A User , Dec 9 2019 7:13 utc | 72

One of things which concerns me most about this site and most others inhabited by contrarian blokes of a certain age is the way that topics discussed are most often the same topics as those fed to the mugs via corporate media.

Sure the opinions are vastly different, but the subjects are not. So much energy and time wasted on pointless topics like the amerikan prez when we all know that it really doesn't matter who jags that gig nothing meaningful will alter for amerikans or the people outside amerika oppressed by empire.

Now the prez thing is a bit of a troll since so many amerikans have been intensely indoctrinated right through their lives to believe that all the prezdency guff is meaningful when it so obviously isn't. That in reality the odds of any amerikan suddenly having an epiphany about the pointlessness of DC kibuki from reading this, or something similar written by someone else, are negligible.

So we have to accept, to a degree, that Washington Housewives and Days of Our Lives DC will continue to feature at MoA.

But what happens when the corporate media chooses not to consider much larger, more pernicious forms of imperialism than is currently occurring in the ME because that imperialism is nascent, awful things are being done to humans western populations who have not been sufficiently propagandised against, so may not greet the tales of murder and mayhem generated by the actions of french foreign legionaires, english SAS or amerikan special forces with sufficient approval?

Easy, we just don't talk about it except when told to or where there is no choice because some action by the imperial thugs for hire has attracted too much attention. In that case the barest of details make it into the news and we will be told that whoever it was who had their families butchered belonged to an organisation which 'western intelligence' said was 'associated with ISIS'. No specificity, not details at all apart from the one unsubstantiated claim, which lets face it says any village of humans anywhere that contains a single resident which western intelligence believes is somehow associated with ISIS, is worthy of being genocided out of existence.

I reckon one of the best indicators of imperial violence is displaced persons. We saw in the ME that various forms of ethnic cleansing were practised to persuade people to move off their traditional lands in order to either exploit the natural resources in the area (see Saudi Amerika driving tribes from the newly discovered hydrocarbon prospects in North Yemen), or to create lebensraum for another group of humans currently held in favour by the empire (see the shifting of arabs and Turkamen from North Syria to give ready made villages to Kurds which only lasted for as long as the Kurds were needed by empire).

So many people were displaced in the ME during the first half of the teens that shock, horror some european countries felt obliged to allow a few of those whose lives had been destroyed into their communities.

That was then, yet we still all talk about the ME as though it is where the empire is committing its most egregious harm, but that is no longer the case.

If you check this Pew Center article you will see The total number of people living in sub-Saharan Africa who were forced to leave their homes due to conflict reached a new high of 18.4 million in 2017, up sharply from 14.1 million in 2016 -- the largest regional increase of forcibly displaced people in the world" .

If one checks the chart Pew has provided we can see that the numbers of decent humans in the ME who have been displaced from their land is alleged to currently be 21.5 million while the number of persons displaced in sub-Sahara Africa is about 3 million less at 18.4 million.

See so more action in the ME still. No, firstly the ME curve has flattened right out over the years since 2016 meaning that new displacements are relatively low unless of course it is your whanau that has been displaced in which case it wouldn't feel nearly as benign.
Secondly if you look at the fine-print on that chart you will see the 21.5 million line is labelled "Middle East-North Africa".

Libya is an African state which happens to have a proportion of arabic speaking people in its population, it also contains Berbers (e.g. Muammar Ghadaffi) and what the chart calls "sub-Saharan Africans when they want say negro but the unfortunate connotations associated with that term (99% the result of horrific whitefella behaviour) means that negro is no longer a la mode in whitefella land.

Not enough to rape, steal & steal from black Africans, now we also remove the means to identify them as a distinct group.

The Libya africa/ME issue matters a great deal because prior to the fukusi rape of Libya, that nation acted as a bulwark for all the supra-saharan nations, some Saharan eg Niger and that was just as likely a reason for amerika to destroy Libya setting loose the ethno-centrists of Misratah to kill black africans, standover Berbers & Turks to ensure that only Arab speaking semites can get control. This is the deal the empire struck. Not to enable italy to get some of that sweet sweet crude at the sort of bargain basement prices Italy hadn't enjoyed since Mussolini invaded Libya - that was purely a minor side benefit, now the good colonel was no more, fukus became the only game in town.
There was no longer any white knight determined to protect his/her neigbours from the outright theft, extortion, bribery, rape & murder which are the empire's stock in trade.

It began with aa team of US military nuclear experts in Niger .

It is foolish and counterproductive to ignore the horrors that a US-led fukus mission which runs across the entire African continent has created in the name of more billions to the already rich.
Do it if you want, but all you are really achieving is enabling the arseholes.

There is a scarcity of relevant links for the usual reasons. Not only are you more likely to put faith in info from sources you already know & trust, getting there will help you comprehend this crime far better than something easily digestible from a user, and most importantly the final paras were done long after the sun rose over the yardarm here.

@ A User 72

All very true. I would place the de jure war onslaughts within the overall context of globalization and in particular the imperialistic assault of corporate industrial agriculture upon Africa, the last great semi-frontier which wasn't fully assimilated by the first "Green Revolution" onslaught. A main goal as the global empire faces decline or collapse is to seize control of all land and drive the people OUT.

Globalization acts to destroy all local production and distribution. It destroys this outright or seizes control of it in order to force it into the global commodity framework. It seizes control of indigenous land and resources. It dumps subsidized Western goods. It destroys any functional politics and democracy. It imposes the control of multinational corporations over every part of life it can. It does this purely in the power interests of Western elites. Any benefits it lets trickle down to locals are purely calculated payouts to accomplices. Much of the global South has been crushed under the corporate boot this way, and Africa has already been subject to the IMF and World Bank’s debt indenture shock treatment (“structural adjustment”).

All this has been accompanied by the systematic ravaging of African ecosystems, culminating in the rising climate chaos driven by the patterns of energy consumption, waste, and ecological destruction practiced and imposed by Western industrialized productionism and consumerism. Climate change is caused by these actions. Since corporate state elites and their supporters have long known this and in spite of lots of lip service have refused to do anything to avert the worst of it, it’s long been true that climate change is an intentional campaign of aggression against the Earth and all vulnerable peoples. Thus climate change takes its place as the most extreme and far-reaching of the corporate campaigns designed to cause disaster, destruction, and chaos. According to this pattern of disaster capitalism the corporations then proceed to use the crises they intentionally generate as further opportunities for aggression and profit. All corporate sectors practice this, and corporate agriculture is the most aggressive and destructive practitioner of all. Today Africa is its primary new target.

Corporate control of agriculture and food has always been at the core of the globalization onslaught. In accordance with its food weapon the US government systematically has waged economic, political, chemical, biological (both of the former in the form of poison-based agriculture and other pretexts for systemic and systematic environmental poisoning), and often literal shooting warfare. Throughout this history of war and sublimated war, corporate agriculture has been a constant weapon and battleground as well as its aggrandizement being a constant goal.

[Dec 08, 2019] WSJ Article Runs Through The Greatest Hits of a Dysfunctional Foreign Policy Debate

Notable quotes:
"... Primacists use the security threats that are responding to the unnecessary use of U.S. military force to justify why the U.S. shouldn't stop, or in fact increase, the use of force. ..."
"... These stale arguments claim there will be consequences of leaving while conveniently ignoring the consequences of staying, which of course are far from trivial. For example, veteran suicide is an epidemics and military spending to perpetuate U.S. primacy continues at unnecessarily high rates. The presence of U.S. soldiers in these complex conflicts can even draw us into more unnecessary wars. The United States can engage the world in ways that don't induce the security dilemma to undermine our own security; reduce our military presence in the Middle East, engage Iran and other states in the region diplomatically and economically, and don't walk away from already agreed upon diplomatic arraignments that are favorable to all parties involved. ..."
"... September 11th was planned in Germany and the United States, the ability to exist in Afghanistan under the Taliban without persecution didn't enable 9/11, and denying this space wouldn't have prevented it. ..."
"... For those arguing to maintain the ongoing forever wars, American credibility will always be ruined in the aftermath of withdrawal. Here's the WSJ piece on that point: "When America withdraws from the Middle East unilaterally, the Russians internalize this and move into Crimea and Ukraine; the Chinese internalize it and move into the South China Sea and beyond in the Pacific." ..."
"... The exorbitant costs of the U.S.'s numerous military engagements around the world need to be justified by arguing that they secure vital U.S. interests. Without it, Primacists couldn't justify the cost in American lives. Whether the military even has the ability to solve all problems in international relations aside, not all interests are equal in severity and importance. ..."
"... This article originally appeared on LobeLog.com . ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | responsiblestatecraft.org

The unrivaled and unchallenged exertion of American military power around the world, or what's known as "primacy," has been the basis for U.S. Grand Strategy over the past 70 years and has faced few intellectual and political challenges. The result has been stagnant ideas, poor logic, and an ineffective foreign policy. As global security challenges have evolved, our foreign policy debate has remained in favor of primacy, repeatedly relying on a select few, poorly conceived ideas and arguments. Primacy's greatest hits arguments are played on repeat throughout the policy and journalism worlds and its latest presentation is in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, written by its chief foreign policy correspondent, titled, "America Can't Escape the Middle East." The piece provides a case study in how stagnant these ideas have become, and how different actors throughout the system present them without serious thought or contemplation.

Hyping the threat of withdrawal

The WSJ piece trotted out one of the most well-worn cases for unending American military deployments in the region. "The 2003 invasion of Iraq proved to be a debacle," it rightly notes. However, there's always a "but":[B]ut subsequent attempts to pivot away from the region or ignore it altogether have contributed to humanitarian catastrophes, terrorist outrages and geopolitical setbacks, further eroding America's standing in the world."

Primacists often warn of the dire security threats that will result from leaving Middle East conflict zones. The reality is that the threats they cite are actually caused by the unnecessary use of force by the United States in the first place. For example, the U.S. sends military assets to deter Iran, only to have Iran increase attacks or provocations in response. The U.S. then beefs up its military presence to protect the forces that are already there. Primacists use the security threats that are responding to the unnecessary use of U.S. military force to justify why the U.S. shouldn't stop, or in fact increase, the use of force.

These stale arguments claim there will be consequences of leaving while conveniently ignoring the consequences of staying, which of course are far from trivial. For example, veteran suicide is an epidemics and military spending to perpetuate U.S. primacy continues at unnecessarily high rates. The presence of U.S. soldiers in these complex conflicts can even draw us into more unnecessary wars. The United States can engage the world in ways that don't induce the security dilemma to undermine our own security; reduce our military presence in the Middle East, engage Iran and other states in the region diplomatically and economically, and don't walk away from already agreed upon diplomatic arraignments that are favorable to all parties involved.

Terrorism safe havens

And how many times have we heard that we must defend some undefined geographical space to prevent extremists from plotting attacks? "In the past, jihadists used havens in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Iraq to plot more ambitious and deadly attacks, including 9/11," the WSJ piece says. "Though Islamic State's self-styled 'caliphate' has been dismantled, the extremist movement still hasn't been eliminated -- and can bounce back."

The myth of the terrorism safe havens enabling transnational attacks on the United States has persisted despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and significant scholarly research that contradicts it. The myth persists because it provides a simple and comforting narrative that's easy to understand. September 11th was planned in Germany and the United States, the ability to exist in Afghanistan under the Taliban without persecution didn't enable 9/11, and denying this space wouldn't have prevented it.

Terrorists don't need safe havens to operate, and only gain marginal increases in capabilities by having access to them. Organizations engage in terrorism because they have such weak capabilities in the first place. These movements are designed to operate underground with the constant threat of arrest and execution. The Weatherman Underground in the United States successfully carried out bombings while operating within the United States itself. The Earth Liberation Front did the same by organizing into cells where no cell knew anything about the other cells to prevent the identification of other members if members of one cell were arrested. Organizations that engage in terrorism can operate with or without safe havens.

Although safe havens don't add significantly to a terrorist groups' capabilities, governing your own territory is something completely different. ISIS is a commonly used, and misused, example for why wars should be fought to deny safe havens. A safe haven is a country or region in which a terrorist group is free from harassment or persecution. This is different from what ISIS created in 2014. What ISIS had when it swept across Syria and Iraq in 2014 was a proto-state. This gave them access to a tax base, oil revenues, and governing resources. Safe havens don't provide any of this, at least not at substantial levels. The Islamic State's construction of a proto-state in Syria and Iraq did give them operational capabilities they wouldn't have had otherwise, but this isn't the same as the possible safe havens that would be gained from a military withdrawal from Middle Eastern conflicts. The conditions of ISIS's rise in 2014 don't exist today and the fears of an ISIS resurgence like their initial rise are unfounded .

Credibility doesn't work how you think it works

For those arguing to maintain the ongoing forever wars, American credibility will always be ruined in the aftermath of withdrawal. Here's the WSJ piece on that point: "When America withdraws from the Middle East unilaterally, the Russians internalize this and move into Crimea and Ukraine; the Chinese internalize it and move into the South China Sea and beyond in the Pacific."

Most commentators have made this claim without recognition of their own contradictions that abandoning the Kurds in Syria would damage American credibility. They then list all the other times we've abandoned the Kurds. Each of these betrayals didn't stop them from working with the United States again, and this latest iteration will be the same. People don't work with the United States because they trust or respect us, they do it because we have a common interest and the United States has the capability to get things done. As we were abandoning the Kurds this time to be attacked by the Turks, Kurdish officials were continuing to share intelligence with U.S. officials to facilitate the raid on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi because both the United States and the Kurds wanted Baghdadi eliminated and only the United States had the capability to get it done.

Similarly, the idea that pulling out militarily in one region results in a direct chain of events where our adversaries move into countries or areas in a completely different region is quite a stretch of the imagination. Russia moved into Crimea because it's a strategic asset and it was taking advantage of what it saw as an opportunity: instability and chaos in Kiev. Even if we left troops in every conflict country we've ever been in, Russia would have correctly assessed that Ukraine just wasn't important enough to spark a U.S. invasion. When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, did the United States invade Cuba? What alliance did the Soviets or Chinese abandon before the United States entered the Korean War? Assessments of credibility , especially in times of crisis (like that in Ukraine), are made based on what leaders think the other country's interests are and the capabilities they have to pursue those interests. There is no evidence to support -- in fact there is a lot of evidence that contradicts -- the idea that withdrawing militarily from one region or ending an alliance has any impact on assessments of a country's reliability or credibility.

Not all interests are created equal

Threat inflation isn't just common from those who promote a primacy-based foreign policy, it's necessary. Indeed, as the WSJ piece claimed, "There is no avoiding the fact that the Middle East still matters a great deal to U.S. interests."

The exorbitant costs of the U.S.'s numerous military engagements around the world need to be justified by arguing that they secure vital U.S. interests. Without it, Primacists couldn't justify the cost in American lives. Whether the military even has the ability to solve all problems in international relations aside, not all interests are equal in severity and importance. Vital interests are those that directly impact the survival of the United States. The only thing that can threaten the survival of the United States is another powerful state consolidating complete control of either Europe or East Asia. This would give them the capabilities and freedom to strike directly at the territorial United States. This is why the United States stayed in Europe after WWII, to prevent the consolidation of Europe by the Soviets. Addressing the rise of China -- which will require some combination of cooperation and competition -- is America's vital interest today and keeping troops in Afghanistan to prevent a terrorism safe haven barely registers as a peripheral interest. There are U.S. interests in the Middle East, but these interests are not important enough to sacrifice American soldiers for and can't easily be secured through military force anyway.

Consequences

Most of these myths and arguments can be summarized by the claim that any disengagement of any kind by the United States from the Middle East comes with consequences. This isn't entirely wrong, but it isn't really relevant either unless compared with the consequences of continuing engagement at current levels. We currently have 67,000 troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan and those troops are targets of adversaries, contribute to instability, empower hardliners in Iran, and provide continuing legitimacy to insurgent and terrorist organizations fighting against a foreign occupation. One article in The Atlantic argued that the problem with a progressive foreign policy is that restraint comes with costs, almost ironically ignoring the fact that the U.S.'s current foreign policy also comes with, arguably greater, costs. A military withdrawal, or even drawdown, from the Middle East does come with consequences, but it's only believable that these costs are higher than staying through the perpetuation of myths and misconceptions that inflate such risks and costs. No wonder then that these myths have become the greatest hits of a foreign policy that's stuck in the past.

This article originally appeared on LobeLog.com .

[Dec 06, 2019] Robert Bork Was the Judicial Activist He Warned Us About

Dec 06, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

As the Chicago revolution took hold, Bork's views crept into the judiciary. Eventually in a fit of activism, the courts did away with the prohibition on predatory pricing. In its 1993 decision in Brooke Group Ltd. v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation , the United States Supreme Court completely re-imagined the Robinson-Patman Act.

The case originally involved the tobacco oligopoly controlled by six firms. Liggett had introduced a cheap generic cigarette and gained market share. When Brown & Williamson saw that generics were undercutting their shares, it undercut Liggett and sold cigarettes at a loss. Liggett sued, alleging that the predatory behavior was designed to pressure it to raise prices on its generics, thus enabling Brown & Williamson to maintain high profits on branded cigarettes.

In its decision, the Court held that in order for there to be a violation of the Clayton Act and the Robinson-Patman Act, a plaintiff must show not only that the alleged predator priced the product below the cost of its production but also that the predator would be likely to recoup the losses in the future. The recoupment test dealt a death blow to predatory pricing lawsuits because it is, of course, impossible to prove a future event.

The Supreme Court parroted Bork, noting that "predatory pricing schemes are rarely tried, and even more rarely successful ." The Court also argued that it was best not to pursue predatory pricing cases because doing so would "chill the very conduct the antitrust laws are designed to protect."

The result has been severe. After 1993, no plaintiff alleging predatory pricing has prevailed at the federal level, and most cases are thrown out in summary judgement. The DOJ and FTC have completely ignored the law and ceased enforcing it.

Through judicial activism and executive neglect, the laws regarding antitrust and predatory pricing have become odd relics, like those on greased pigs and cannibalism.

Predatory pricing is symptomatic of the broader problems when it comes to antitrust. Today, except in extreme circumstances such as outright monopoly, courts are unlikely to block mergers over an increase in market concentration. The Supreme Court has now tilted so far the other way that it prefers to allow too much concentration rather than too little. It made this clear in its Verizon Communications Inc. v. Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko LLP decision, where it stated its preference for minimizing incorrect merger challenges rather than preventing excessive concentration.

In the Trinko case, for example, Justice Scalia suggested that those who enforce antitrust laws ought to be deferential to firms with monopoly power, which are "an important element of a free market system."

Scalia continued: "Against the slight benefits of antitrust intervention here, we must weigh a realistic assessment of its costs ." The opportunity to acquire monopoly power and charge monopoly prices is "what attracts 'business acumen' in the first place," he said, and "induces risk taking that produces innovation and economic growth." He wrote that the "mere possession of monopoly power, and the concomitant charging of monopoly prices, is not only not unlawful; it is an important element of the free-market system."

The result of all this has been an increase of monopolies. Professor John Kwoka reviewed decades of merger cases and concluded that "recent merger control has not been sufficiently aggressive in challenging mergers." The overall effect has been "approval of significantly more mergers that prove to be anticompetitive."

The Sherman Act and the Robinson-Patman Act may be deeply misguided; perhaps they should even be repealed. But they haven't been. Passing new legislation is the proper way to change laws one disagrees with. Getting rid of them in practice via judicial activism or an an unwilling executive is not democratic.

The death of antitrust and predatory pricing reflects not only a failure of jurisprudence but of economics. For all the claims of up-to-the-minute economic sophistication that activist judges have used in the field of antitrust, the scholarship on predatory pricing is wildly out of date. Brooke made Robinson-Patman irrelevant by citing "modern" economic scholarship, yet the research the Supreme Court relied on goes back to studies by John McGee and Roland Koller, published in 1958 and 1969 respectively.

Predatory pricing has only become more rational in a world where winner-take-all platforms are happy to sustain short-term losses for the sake of long-term market share gains. What they lose on one side with free shipping or below cost products, they make up for in other parts of their business.

The rationality of predatory pricing is not some new economic finding. Almost 20 years ago, Patrick Bolton , a professor at Columbia Business School, wrote that "several sophisticated empirical case studies have confirmed the use of predatory pricing strategies. But the courts have failed to incorporate the modern writing into judicial decisions, relying instead on earlier theory no longer generally accepted."

According to Bork, predatory pricing didn't work in theory, but does it work in practice? Antitrust experts remember the Brooke case, but none seem to recall what actually happened to the companies involved in the lawsuit.

After the Supreme Court decision left it without any legal remedy, Liggett succumbed to pressure from Brown & Williamson and raised its prices. The entire industry raised prices too. In the end, Liggett was not able to attract enough market share and ended up selling most of its brands to Phillip Morris a few years later. Ever since, the tobacco oligopoly has raised prices in lockstep twice a year with no competition. No company is foolish enough to lower prices for fear of predatory pricing.

The losers from the judicial activism of Brooke are consumers and the rule of law. The winners are the oligopolies and monopolies who protect their markets.

When it comes to enforcing antitrust, it's worth remembering the words of Robert Bork. As he wrote in 1971 in his seminal piece " Neutral Principles and Some First Amendment Problems ," "If the judiciary really is supreme, able to rule when and as it sees fit, the society is not democratic."

Jonathan Tepper is a founder of Variant Perception , a macroeconomic research company, and co-author of The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition . He is also TAC 's senior fellow on economic concentration issues. This article was supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors.


polistra24 a day ago

The Supremes have been the Federal legislature since 1803. Recommending restraint is the same thing as ordering one party in a legislature to surrender to the opposite party regardless of majorities.
Kent a day ago
Monopolization is the core of Free Market economics. Free, literally, means free to become a monopoly, free to practice vulture capitalism, free to use superior capitalization to destroy competition, free to move your factory to China.

Free Market is a buzz phrase among bankers and other well-to-do to increase their income at your expense instead of through superior production, design, and advertising methods. If you want to know why we live in such a dysfunctional economy, its because we've abandoned competitive capitalism for a free market economy.

Sid Finster Kent a day ago
Adam Smith (yes, that Adam Smith) noted in Wealth of Nations that if you put two competing businessmen in a room together, not only do they get along just fine, their conversation quickly turns to the subject of how they can work work together to rig markets and screw the consumer for moar profitt.

Adam Smith was a much more interesting and sophisticated thinker than the B-school Cliffs Notes version.

northernobserver a day ago
Libertarian policy corruption, the American Right's original sin.
ElitCommInc. a day ago
I think we could us more purist views of capitalism in conversations about capitalism. The kinds of behaviors engaged designed to put others out of business described in the article is not exemplary of capitalism.

The purpose of capitalism is not explicated with models of destroying competition. And it certainly does not have mechanisms in which the government acts as an arm of business. The notion that the business of "America" (the US) is business is misleading. Because when it comes the government of the US her role is to ensure fair play. And power dynamics used to destroy the ability of another to tap into the available market share is not a capitalist principle. When one reads about the level and kinds of antics that corporate boards and CEO's play to damage competition, to include the use of campaign funds to "buy" or influence unique favors at cost to consumers - then we are talking about kind of faux "law of the jungle". Bailing out business but not the defrauded customers of those same businesses -- mercantilism not capitalism.

And it is these types of behaviors guised as capitalism, that fuels liberal demands for a system of governance that is more akin to communism and socialism. They note the abuses, but apply the wrong remedy.

I would agree that predatory pricing actually undercuts better pricing, improved products or innovation (product creativity).

Liam781 a day ago
Yes he was.
=marco01= 18 hours ago
Conservatives are outraged, still, that Democrats refused to confirm Bork to the Supreme Court.

Never mind the fact the Democrats were fully within their rights not to confirm, advise and consent does not mean rubber stamp, Bork was the guy who actually carried out Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre. Why would conservatives want a corrupt and unethical person like this in the Supreme Court in the first place?

Conservatives' outraged is very ironic considering Reagan still got to nominate another candidate, which the Dems confirmed. Meanwhile in a completely unprecedented and vindictive move, Republicans denied a Democratic president outright his right to a Supreme Court appointment. There is no comparison between these two episodes.

[Dec 04, 2019] Operation Condor 2.0: After Bolivia Coup, Trump Dubs Nicaragua to be National Security Threat And Targets Mexico by Ben Norton

Dec 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Ben Norton via TheGrayZone.com,

After presiding over a far-right coup in Bolivia, the US dubbed Nicaragua a "national security threat" and announced new sanctions, while Trump designated drug cartels in Mexico as "terrorists" and refused to rule out military intervention.

One successful coup against a democratically elected socialist president is not enough, it seems.

Immediately after overseeing a far-right military coup in Bolivia on November 10, the Trump administration set its sights once again on Nicaragua, whose democratically elected Sandinista government defeated a violent right-wing coup attempt in 2018 .

Washington dubbed Nicaragua a threat to US national security, and announced that it will be expanding its suffocating sanctions on the tiny Central American nation.

Trump is also turning up the heat on Mexico, baselessly linking the country to terrorism and even hinting at potential military intervention. The moves come as the country's left-leaning President Andrés Manuel López Obrador warns of right-wing attempts at a coup.

As Washington's rightist allies in Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador are desperately beating back massive grassroots uprisings against neoliberal austerity policies and yawning inequality gaps, the United States is ramping up its aggression against the region's few remaining progressive governments.

These moves have led left-wing forces in Latin America to warn of a 21st-century revival of Operation Condor, the Cold War era campaign of violent subterfuge and US support for right-wing dictatorships across the region.

Trump admin declares Nicaragua a 'national security threat'

A day after the US-backed far-right coup in Bolivia, the White House released a statement applauding the military putsch and making it clear that two countries were next on Washington's target list: "These events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua ," Trump declared.

On November 25, the Trump White House then quietly issued a statement characterizing Nicaragua as an "unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."

This prolonged for an additional year an executive order Trump had signed in 2018 declaring a state of "national emergency" on the Central American country.

Trump's 2018 declaration came after a failed violent right-wing coup attempt in Nicaragua . The US government has funded and supported many of the opposition groups that sought to topple elected Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and cheered them on as they sought to overthrow him.

The 2018 national security threat designation was quickly followed by economic warfare. In December the US Congress approved the NICA Act without any opposition. This legislation gave Trump the authority to impose sanctions on Nicaragua, and prevents international financial institutions from doing business with Managua.

Trump's new 2019 statement spewed outlandish propaganda against Nicaragua, referring to its democratically elected government -- which for decades has been targeted for overthrow by Washington -- as a supposedly violent and corrupt "regime."

This executive order is similar to one made by President Barack Obama in 2015, which designated Venezuela as a threat to US national security.

Both orders were used to justify the unilateral imposition of suffocating economic sanctions. And Trump's renewal of the order paves the way for an escalated economic attack on Nicaragua.

The extension received negligible coverage in mainstream English-language corporate media, but right-wing Spanish-language outlets in Latin America heavily amplified it.

And opposition activists are gleefully cheering on the intensification of Washington's hybrid warfare against Managua.

More aggressive US sanctions against Nicaragua

Voice of America (VOA), the US government's main foreign broadcasting service, noted that the extension of the executive order will be followed with more economic attacks.

Washington's ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Carlos Trujillo, told VOA, "The pressure against Nicaragua is going to continue."

The OAS representative added that Trump will be announcing new sanctions against the Nicaraguan government in the coming weeks.

VOA stated clearly that "Nicaragua, along with Cuba and Venezuela, is one of the Latin American countries whose government Trump has made a priority to put diplomatic and economic pressure on to bring about regime change."

This is not just rhetoric. The US Department of the Treasury updated the Nicaragua-related sanctions section of its website as recently as November 8.

And in September, the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control announced a " more comprehensive set of regulations ," strengthening the existing sanctions on Nicaragua.

Voice of America's report quoted several right-wing Nicaraguans who openly called for more US pressure against their country.

Bianca Jagger, a celebrity opposition activist formerly married to Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, called on the US to impose sanctions on Nicaragua's military in particular.

"The Nicaraguan military has not been touched because they [US officials] are hoping that the military will like act the military in Bolivia," Jagger said, referring to the military officials who violently overthrew Bolivia's democratically elected president.

Many of these military leaders had been trained at the US government's School of the Americas , a notorious base of subversion dating back to Operation Condor. Latin American media has been filled in recent days with reports that Bolivian soldiers were paid $50,000 and generals were paid up to $1 million to carry out the putsch.

me title=

VOA added that "in the case of the Central American government [of Nicaragua], the effect that sanctions can have can be greater because it is a more economically vulnerable country."

VOA quoted Roberto Courtney, a prominent exiled right-wing activist and executive director of the opposition group Ethics and Transparency, which monitors elections in Nicaragua and is supported by the US government's regime-change arm , the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Courtney, who claims to be a human rights activist, salivated over the prospects of US economic war on his country, telling VOA, "There is a bit of a difference [between Nicaragua and Bolivia] the economic vulnerability makes it more likely that the sanctions will have an effect."

Courtney, who was described by VOA as an "expert on the electoral process," added, "If there is a stick, there must also be a carrot." He said the OAS could help apply diplomatic and political pressure against Nicaragua's government.

These unilateral American sanctions are illegal under international law, and considered an act of war. Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif , has characterized US economic warfare "financial terrorism," explaining that it disproportionately targets civilians in order to turn them against their government.

Top right-wing Nicaraguan opposition groups applauded Trump for extending the executive order and for pledging new sanctions against their country.

me title=

The Nicaraguan Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, an opposition front group that brings together numerous opposition groups , several of which are also funded by the US government's NED , welcomed the order.

Trump dubs drug cartels in Mexico "terrorists," refuses to rule out drone strikes

While the US targeting of Nicaragua and Venezuela's governments is nothing new, Donald Trump is setting his sights on a longtime US ally in Mexico.

In 2018, Mexican voters made history when they elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president in a landslide. López Obrador, who is often referred to by his initials AMLO, is Mexico's first left-wing president in more than five decades. He ran on a progressive campaign pledging to boost social spending, cut poverty, combat corruption, and even decriminalize drugs.

AMLO is wildly popular in Mexico. In February, he had a record-breaking 86 percent approval rating . And he has earned this widespread support by pledging to combat neoliberal capitalist orthodoxy.

"The neoliberal economic model has been a disaster, a calamity for the public life of the country," AMLO has declared. "The child of neoliberalism is corruption."

When he unveiled his multibillion-dollar National Development Plan, López Obrador announced the end to "the long night of neoliberalism."

AMLO's left-wing policies have caused shockwaves in Washington, which has long relied on neoliberal Mexican leaders ensuring a steady cheap exploitable labor base and maintaining a reliable market for US goods and open borders for US capital and corporations.

On November 27 -- a day after declaring Nicaragua a "national security threat" -- Trump announced that the US government will be designating Mexican drug cartels as " terrorist organizations ."

Such a designation could pave the way for direct US military intervention in Mexico.

Trump revealed this new policy in an interview with right-wing Fox News host Bill O'Reilly. "Are you going to designate those cartels in Mexico as terror groups and start hitting them with drones and things like that?" O'Reilly asked.

The US president refused to rule out drone strikes or other military action against drug cartels in Mexico.

me title=

Trump's announcement seemed to surprise the Mexican government, which immediately called for a meeting with the US State Department.

The designation was particularly ironic considering some top drug cartel leaders in Mexico have long-standing ties to the US government. The leaders of the notoriously brutal cartel the Zetas, for instance, were originally trained in counter-insurgency tactics by the US military.

Throughout the Cold War, the US government armed, trained, and funded right-wing death squads throughout Latin America, many of which were involved in drug trafficking. The CIA also used drug money to fund far-right counter-insurgency paramilitary groups in Central America.

These tactics were also employed in the Middle East and South Asia. The United States armed, trained, and funded far-right Islamist extremists in Afghanistan in the 1980s in order to fight the Soviet Union. These same US-backed Salafi-jihadists then founded al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

This strategy was later repeated in the US wars on Libya and Syria. ISIS commander Omar al-Shishani , to take one example, had been trained by the US military and enjoyed direct support from Washington when he was fighting against Russia.

The Barack Obama administration also oversaw a campaign called Project Gunrunne r and Operation Fast and Furious, in which the US government helped send thousands of guns to cartels in Mexico.

Mexican journalist Alina Duarte explained that, with the Trump administration's designation of cartels as terrorists, "They are creating the idea that Mexico represents a threat to their national security ."

"Should we start talking about the possibility of a coup against Lopez Obrador in Mexico?" Duarte asked.

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She noted that the US corporate media has embarked on an increasingly ferocious campaign to demonize AMLO , portraying the democratically elected president as a power-hungry aspiring dictator who is supposedly wrecking Mexico's economy.

Duarte discussed the issue of US interference in Mexican politics in an interview with The Grayzone's Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton, on their podcast Moderate Rebels:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/7OJyCHjxCEs

Now, a whisper campaign over fears that the right-wing opposition may try to overthrow President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is spreading across Mexico.

AMLO himself has publicly addressed the rumors, making it clear that he will not tolerate any discussion of coups.

"How wrong the conservatives and their hawks are," López Obrador tweeted on November 2. Referencing the 1913 assassination of progressive President Francisco Madero, who had been a leader of the Mexican Revolution, AMLO wrote, "Now is different."

"Another coup d'état will now be allowed," he declared.

me title=

In recent months, as fears of a coup intensify, López Obrador has swung even further to the left, directly challenging the US government and asserting an independent foreign policy that contrasts starkly to the subservience of his predecessors.

AMLO's government has rejected US efforts to delegitimize Venezuela's leftist government, throwing a wrench in Washington's efforts to impose right-wing activist Juan Guaidó as coup leader.

AMLO has welcomed Ecuador's ousted socialist leader Rafael Correa and hosted Argentina's left-leaning Alberto Fernández for his first foreign trip after winning the presidency.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/D4T0zbASfbA

In October, López Obrador even welcomed Cuban President Díaz-Canel to Mexico for a historic visit.

Trump's Operation Condor 2.0

For Washington, an independent and left-wing Mexico is intolerable.

In a speech for right-wing, MAGA hat-wearing Venezuelans in Miami , Florida in February, Trump ranted against socialism for nearly an hour, threatened the remaining leftist countries in Latin America with regime change.

"The days of socialism and communism are numbered not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and in Cuba as well," he declared, adding that socialism would never be allowed to take root in heart of capitalism in the United States.

While Trump has claimed he seeks to withdraw from wars in the Middle East (when he is not occupying its oil fields ), he has ramped up aggressive US intervention in Latin America.

Though the neoconservative war hawk John Bolton is no longer overseeing US foreign policy , Elliott Abrams remains firmly embedded in the State Department, dusting off his Iran-Contra playbook to decimate socialism in Latin America all over again.

During the height of the Cold War, Operation Condor thousands of dissidents were murdered, and hundreds of thousands more were disappeared, tortured, or imprisoned with the assistance of the US intelligence apparatus.

Today, as Latin America is increasingly viewed through the lens of a new Cold War, Operation Condor is being reignited with new mechanisms of sabotage and subversion in play. The mayhem has only begun.

[Dec 02, 2019] Hitchens If Bodies Like OPCW Cannot Be Trusted... World War 3 Could Be Started By A Falsehood

Notable quotes:
"... Authored by Peter Hitchens via The Mail On Sunday blog, ..."
"... I stood outside the safe house, in a road I cannot name, in a major European city I cannot identify, not sure what I might find inside. I had no way of being sure. ..."
"... In decades of journalism I have received quite a few leaks ..."
"... But I've never seen one like this. It scared me. ..."
"... If bodies such as the OPCW cannot be trusted, then World War Three could one day be started by a falsehood. ..."
Dec 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Peter Hitchens via The Mail On Sunday blog,

I stood outside the safe house, in a road I cannot name, in a major European city I cannot identify, not sure what I might find inside. I had no way of being sure.

I had travelled a long distance by train to an address I had been given over an encrypted email.

I was nervous that the meeting might be some sort of trap. Leaks from inside arms verification organisations are very sensitive matters. Powerful people mind about them.

I wasn't sure whether to be afraid of being followed, or to be worried about who might be waiting behind the anonymous door on a dark afternoon, far from home. I took all the amateurish precautions that I could think of.

As it happened, it was not a trap. Now, on carefully selected neutral ground, I was to meet a person who would confirm suspicions that had been growing in my mind over several years – that there is something rotten in the way that chemical weapons inspections are being conducted and reported. And that the world could be hurried into war on the basis of such inspections.

Inside the safe house, I was greeted by a serious, patient expert, a non-political scientist whose priority had until now always been to do the hard, gritty work of verification – travelling to the scenes of alleged horrors, sifting and searching for hard evidence of what had really happened. But this entirely honourable occupation had slowly turned sour.

The whiff of political interference had begun as a faint unpleasant smell in the air and grown until it was an intolerable stench. Formerly easy-going superiors had turned into tricky bureaucrats.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had become so important that it could no longer be allowed to do its job properly.

Too many of the big powers that sponsor and finance it were breathing down its neck, wanting certain results, whether the facts justified them or not.

My source calmly showed me various pieces of evidence that they were who they said they were, and knew what they claimed to know, making it clear that they worked for the OPCW and knew its inner workings. They then revealed a document to me.

This was the email of protest, sent to senior OPCW officials, saying that a report on the alleged Syrian poison gas attack in Douma, in April 2018, had been savagely censored so as to alter its meaning.

In decades of journalism I have received quite a few leaks : leaks over luxurious, expensive lunches with Cabinet Ministers, anonymous leaks that just turned up in envelopes, leaks from union officials and employers, diplomats and academics.

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But I've never seen one like this. It scared me. If it was true, then something hugely dishonest and dangerous was going on, in a place where absolute integrity was vital.

If bodies such as the OPCW cannot be trusted, then World War Three could one day be started by a falsehood.

Last week I reported on the first episode in this story. Within days the OPCW had confirmed that the email I leaked was authentic.

Nobody followed me home or threatened me. A few silly people on social media told blatant lies about me, insinuating that I was somehow a Russian patsy or a defender of the disgusting Syrian regime that I have been attacking in print for nearly 20 years. That was what I had expected.

But there is much more to come. And, as it grows harder for everyone to ignore this enormous, dangerous story, I suspect I shall be looking over my shoulder rather more than usual.

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[Nov 30, 2019] Ukraine Land Privatization Demanded by IMF, Links to Biden Graft Scandal. Engineered Bankruptcy of National Economy by Dmitriy Kovalevich

Notable quotes:
"... November in Ukraine has been marked by the adoption of the so called 'land reform', in accordance of the demands made by the IMF amongst other international financial organizations. The reform opens the way for the mass privatization of Ukraine's agricultural lands. The IMF has been making these demands for many years but assorted Ukrainian presidents have tried to postpone such an unpopular decision. Recent polls show that the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians of all political persuasions are opposed to land privatization, from far-right to far-left. ..."
"... After an intensive period of deindustrialization, which has taken place in recent years, agricultural land remain the only asset with any value in Ukraine but even so, it may be bought for very little. A remarkable fact is that one of the deputies from the ruling party 'Servant of the people,' Nikita Poturayev , while pressing his colleagues at the Parliament to vote for the bill on land reform, claimed [1] that this would be 'settling scores with maniac V. Lenin', i.e. the purpose of the bill was to abolish the land nationalization carried out following the October revolution. ..."
"... Ukrainian political expert Ruslan Bortnik says that the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky and his team came to power under an obligation to sell out the agricultural land of Ukraine to foreign companies. Those who buy these lands, according to Bortnik, will only be thinking about making the quickest possible buck. "Foreign companies are already operating on Ukrainian soil [renting land]," said Bortnik, ..."
"... "But they are competing with large Ukrainian agricultural holdings. They do not dominate. If the adopted land market model is launched, then only large foreign companies will remain in our market Let's be honest – we are not a sovereign country. At least our government is under external control. And this is a part of the obligations of this government. This is the condition under which they came to power. They are paying the debts through privatization." [2] ..."
"... Ukrainian farmers who still are landowners, formally at least – they just can't sell it – are the same people who are unable to pay their gas and electricity bills, especially after the recent raising of energy prices – another IMF demand. ..."
"... For the most part, it was in the region of $7.4 billion of stolen Ukraine's public money, from which only a "small share" was used to bribe Western politicians, like Hunter Biden. The deputies have stressed that, according to the investigation of Ukraine's general prosecution, the withdrawn and laundered money was then invested back into Ukraine. In particular through the Franklin Templeton Investments, the money was used to buy domestic government bonds (DGB), issued by Kiev at high interest rate. ..."
"... Ukrainian prosecutor Konstantin Kulik recently stated [4] in an interview that Ukraine takes IMF loans to pay out on these debt obligations (DGB). As deputy Aleksandr Dubinsky stressed at the press conference, 40% of the current public budget goes towards the payment of the public debt of Ukraine, including the repayment of DGB at inflated interest rates. ..."
Nov 28, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

New Cold War 28 November 2019 Region: Europe , Russia and FSU , USA Theme: Global Economy In-depth Report: UKRAINE REPORT

November in Ukraine has been marked by the adoption of the so called 'land reform', in accordance of the demands made by the IMF amongst other international financial organizations. The reform opens the way for the mass privatization of Ukraine's agricultural lands. The IMF has been making these demands for many years but assorted Ukrainian presidents have tried to postpone such an unpopular decision. Recent polls show that the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians of all political persuasions are opposed to land privatization, from far-right to far-left.

After an intensive period of deindustrialization, which has taken place in recent years, agricultural land remain the only asset with any value in Ukraine but even so, it may be bought for very little. A remarkable fact is that one of the deputies from the ruling party 'Servant of the people,' Nikita Poturayev , while pressing his colleagues at the Parliament to vote for the bill on land reform, claimed [1] that this would be 'settling scores with maniac V. Lenin', i.e. the purpose of the bill was to abolish the land nationalization carried out following the October revolution.

Ukraine's fertile soil up for grabs

It has long been known that Ukraine's soil is very fertile. Indeed, during WW2 the invading Nazis made a point of appropriating quantities of it; forcing POWs to collect the top soil and load it onto trains en route to Germany. Now these same lands could fall into the hands of international agro-holdings.

Ukrainian political expert Ruslan Bortnik says that the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky and his team came to power under an obligation to sell out the agricultural land of Ukraine to foreign companies. Those who buy these lands, according to Bortnik, will only be thinking about making the quickest possible buck. "Foreign companies are already operating on Ukrainian soil [renting land]," said Bortnik,

"But they are competing with large Ukrainian agricultural holdings. They do not dominate. If the adopted land market model is launched, then only large foreign companies will remain in our market Let's be honest – we are not a sovereign country. At least our government is under external control. And this is a part of the obligations of this government. This is the condition under which they came to power. They are paying the debts through privatization." [2]

Ukrainian farmers who still are landowners, formally at least – they just can't sell it – are the same people who are unable to pay their gas and electricity bills, especially after the recent raising of energy prices – another IMF demand. Obviously, their financial desperation will mean that many will have to sell their land at a low price, certainly well below the market value. Meanwhile, Ukraine remains the poorest country on the continent of Europe and Ukrainian agricultural land remains the cheapest. Moreover, the lands may be bought up as repaying large loans collected by the Kiev government following the Euromaidan coup in 2014.

This scheme of buying up Ukraine's land is connected with the ongoing corruption scandal in the US: the one related to Joe Biden and the gas company 'Burisma'. At the end of November, Ukrainian MPs (non-factional people's deputy Andrey Derkach; a deputy from the Batkivshchyna Party Aleksey Kucherenko; and a deputy from the ruling Servant of the People party, Aleksandr Dubinsky) revealed it at the press-conference [3].

The point here is that the former Minister of Ecology of Ukraine Nikolay Zlochevsky , an owner of "Burisma" gas company, in 2014 introduced a number of Western politicians to the board of directors of his company, which helped him to avoid accusations of corruption. Hunter Biden , son of former US Vice President Joe Biden , received monthly large payments for his "consultancy services". As a result Ukraine's General prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was investigating the corruption schemes of the company, was forced – under pressure – to resign by Joe Biden, who even boasted about it in the US media.

GMO Crops for Ukraine: The West's Agri-Business Conglomerates Snap up Ukraine's Bread Basket

Ukrainian MPs have now claimed at a press-conference that the money used to bribe the son of the former Vice President of the United States was in fact stolen. "Biden received money, the source of which is not the successful activity of Burisma, brilliant business moves, or recommendations. It is the money of the citizens of Ukraine. It was obtained by criminal means," said the MP Andrey Derkach. The ultimate goal of all this fraud, in which the Bidens were deeply involved, will be the bankruptcy of Ukraine in 2020-2021, through the formation of a pyramid of public debt.

Laundering scheme to withdraw money from Ukraine

According to Ukrainian deputies, this was a part of a bigger laundering scheme to withdraw money from Ukraine via Latvian banks and the fund 'Franklin Templeton Investments,' which is close to the United States Democratic Party. The founder of the foundation, John Templeton Jr., was one of the main sponsors of the campaign of former US President Barack Obama.

For the most part, it was in the region of $7.4 billion of stolen Ukraine's public money, from which only a "small share" was used to bribe Western politicians, like Hunter Biden. The deputies have stressed that, according to the investigation of Ukraine's general prosecution, the withdrawn and laundered money was then invested back into Ukraine. In particular through the Franklin Templeton Investments, the money was used to buy domestic government bonds (DGB), issued by Kiev at high interest rate.

The principle of this scheme is that with the assistance of American funds, the laundered money was legalised and invested in government bonds at 6-8% in dollars and 15-17% in Ukrainian currency (hryvnia). This is leading to enormous growth in the Ukrainian public debt and eventually the bankruptcy of the country's economy.

Eventual bankruptcy of the economy

Ukrainian prosecutor Konstantin Kulik recently stated [4] in an interview that Ukraine takes IMF loans to pay out on these debt obligations (DGB). As deputy Aleksandr Dubinsky stressed at the press conference, 40% of the current public budget goes towards the payment of the public debt of Ukraine, including the repayment of DGB at inflated interest rates.

According to him, bankruptcy on the debts could happen by the end of 2020 or 2021.

And this scheme is connected with land privatization, as adopted by Kiev in November in accordance with the IMF demand. "DGBs are a financial instrument by which the state owes all its property when paying off the DGB. And if the land market is opened, the state will have no other valuable property, with the exception of land," said Dubinsky, demanding the suspension of debt payments to international creditors.

As a result of this unpopular land reform and the widespread violations of labour rights, Ukraine's trade-unions called a general strike [5] for November 14 and began preparations. For the first time in the history of independent Ukraine, a strike committee was formed at the all-national level. This committee was joined by trade unions, individual entrepreneurs, small businesses, agricultural producers and farmers.

Management fires workers, pays themselves millions in bonuses

On November 14, Ukrainian railroad workers protested [6] in front of the Presidential office in Kiev against the announced plans to fire some 50% of railroad personnel. The workers demanded the railroad management should resign instead. The deputy head of the railroad trade-union, Alexander Mushenok, recently said [7] that currently "only 20 workers are employed where 60 workers are needed." At the same time the workers claim that the top-level management of the company are paying themselves millions in bonuses. One of the IMF demands requires that the Kiev authorities privatize the railroad system as well. In practice, this means that the few profitable routes will be privatized by western companies, while the majority of non-profitable routes – to poorly developed provinces – will remain state-owned, making the railway transport even less profitable.

The entire course of privatization, as promoted by the IMF, can be summarized by the principle 'privatization of profits, nationalization of losses." And the new Kiev government is far too dependent to protest against the imposition of this policy; however, this will effectively mean that this government will lose its credibility and trustworthiness among the people.

*

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Notes

The original source of this article is New Cold War Copyright © Dmitriy Kovalevich , New Cold War , 2019

[Nov 29, 2019] Lessons From The Bolivian Coup by Nathan J. Robinson

Any left wing leader clinging to power long enough (for EVo Morales it was 12 years) creates a real opportunities for a color revolution, which would decimate the whole movement. Looks like at this point Evo Moralis was doomed and the coup was just a matter of time.
Any protests in governments that oppose Washing neoliberal empire are hijacked by Washington and turned into the anti-government coupe d'้tat.
Notable quotes:
"... by 2019, Morales had been in office for 12 years, and his popularity had ebbed. As Christine Mathias writes in Dissent, even some on the left, including former indigenous supporters, had begun to question his leadership ..."
"... They raised concerns about Morales's desire to remain in office indefinitely, alleged corruption in his inner circle, his administration's response to recent fires in the Amazon, and especially its extractivist development model. Aymara leader Felipe Quispe presented some of the most damning critiques, describing [Morales' Movimiento al Socialismo] as "neoliberalism with an Indian face." ..."
"... Now, I've seen a lot of mockery directed at the Bolivian court for this decision, which said that barring Morales from running violated his "human rights." It is seen as a transparent power-grab by Morales, and a sign that his rule was undemocratic and illegitimate, because he simply had "cronies" rewrite the law. ..."
"... Article 23. Right to Participate in Government ..."
"... 1. Every citizen shall enjoy the following rights and opportunities: ..."
"... a. to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives; ..."
"... b. to vote and to be elected in genuine periodic elections, which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and by secret ballot that guarantees the free expression of the will of the voters; and ..."
"... c. to have access, under general conditions of equality, to the public service of his country. ..."
"... 2. The law may regulate the exercise of the rights and opportunities referred to in the preceding paragraph only on the basis of age, nationality, residence, language, education, civil and mental capacity, or sentencing by a competent court in criminal proceedings. ..."
"... This is important, because now that Morales has been forced out of power by an illegitimate leader, every effort is being made to paint him as having been illegitimate himself. ..."
"... We know that, as protests escalated after the election, Morales lost the support of members of the Bolivian police and that the military "encouraged him" to resign. Morales fled to Mexico; ..."
"... "We want to be a democratic tool of inclusion and unity," said the 52-year-old religious conservative, sitting at a table bearing a huge open Bible and crucifix. ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Several MAS officials have been detained, fled the country or have sought refuge in foreign embassies. Meanwhile, debate has brewed over whether the party, which still enjoys wide support, should even be allowed to exist due to the alleged electoral manipulation. ..."
"... The Journal quotes a Morales critic saying: "MAS is dead We have a saying here: When the dog dies, so do the fleas." ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... she was doing the power grab. ..."
"... But Morales was elected! ..."
"... Order Restored Amid Unrest, Government Says ..."
"... A Dozen Unarmed Protesters Murdered In Cold Blood. ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... debate has brewed over whether the party, which still enjoys wide support, should even be allowed to exist due to the alleged electoral manipulation. ..."
"... should be allowed to exist? ..."
"... Current Affairs ..."
Nov 26, 2019 | www.currentaffairs.org

In Bolivia, within the course of a month, one of the most successful contemporary governments to call itself "socialist" has been replaced by an unelected right-wing leadership that has killed protesters, promised to restore the rule of Christianity, and demanded the jailing of former president Evo Morales as a " terrorist. " What went wrong?

Let us review the most uncontroversial facts of what happened in Bolivia. Evo Morales, the country's first indigenous leader, had been praised for his sound management of the country's economy, which "experienced a spectacular run of economic growth and poverty reduction." Even harshly critical media assessments mentioned "the country's growing economy and shrinking inequality," and the New York Times noted that "tiny, impoverished Bolivia, once a perennial economic basket case, has suddenly become a different kind of exception -- this time in a good way," as the country became South America's fastest-growing economy . As with China, the heavily state-led economic program of Bolivia -- which included successful nationalization of certain parts of industry -- threatens free market orthodoxies about the inevitable catastrophe of socialism and state "intervention in the economy." (According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, "the importance of the government's nationalization of hydrocarbons to Bolivia's economic progress over the past 13 years cannot be overemphasized.")

But by 2019, Morales had been in office for 12 years, and his popularity had ebbed. As Christine Mathias writes in Dissent, even some on the left, including former indigenous supporters, had begun to question his leadership :

They raised concerns about Morales's desire to remain in office indefinitely, alleged corruption in his inner circle, his administration's response to recent fires in the Amazon, and especially its extractivist development model. Aymara leader Felipe Quispe presented some of the most damning critiques, describing [Morales' Movimiento al Socialismo] as "neoliberalism with an Indian face."

Morales ran for a fourth term this year. Previously, the new Bolivian constitution that Morales had introduced imposed term limits. There was a referendum on whether to scrap term limits in 2016, and Morales lost narrowly. Bolivia's Supreme Court then overturned the results of the referendum, allowing Morales to run again.

Now, I've seen a lot of mockery directed at the Bolivian court for this decision, which said that barring Morales from running violated his "human rights." It is seen as a transparent power-grab by Morales, and a sign that his rule was undemocratic and illegitimate, because he simply had "cronies" rewrite the law.

A few bits of context are important, though. First, the president actually has less direct control over the makeup of the Bolivian court than the United States president has over the composition of our Supreme Court. And second, the ruling was not actually as crazy as it is being made to sound. The ruling was based on the American Convention of Human Rights , which Bolivia is a signatory to. The relevant section reads as follows:

Article 23. Right to Participate in Government

1. Every citizen shall enjoy the following rights and opportunities:

a. to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;

b. to vote and to be elected in genuine periodic elections, which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and by secret ballot that guarantees the free expression of the will of the voters; and

c. to have access, under general conditions of equality, to the public service of his country.

2. The law may regulate the exercise of the rights and opportunities referred to in the preceding paragraph only on the basis of age, nationality, residence, language, education, civil and mental capacity, or sentencing by a competent court in criminal proceedings.

As you can see, every citizen is guaranteed the right to be elected in periodic elections, and that right can be regulated only on the basis of a number of very particular grounds. "Having served in office previously" is not one of those grounds. Now, your instinct here may be to say "Oh, but that's silly , of course term limits are permitted, it would be ridiculous to say that term limits are a violation of human rights." The entire argument made by legal textualists like Antonin Scalia, however, is that it doesn't matter what you might have meant , it matters what the law says. If the drafters of a law believe that you should be able to restrict people from running for office based on their previous service in office, they need to put that in the rights convention, otherwise that exception won't be valid.

I am not saying that I am anti-term limits, or that I share Scalia's theory of jurisprudence, although it's worth remembering that term limits do prevent people from choosing the candidate that they might want the most and are a restriction on democracy (after all, Obama would probably still be president if we adopted the democratic principle that "the candidate the most people would want to vote for should win the election"). I am saying that it's not obvious that the Supreme Court was simply mindlessly throwing out the rule of law, and that the reactions after the Court's decision (some called the decision itself a "coup") was not justified.

This is important, because now that Morales has been forced out of power by an illegitimate leader, every effort is being made to paint him as having been illegitimate himself. (The New York Times , using the language preferred by the right-wing government , calls him a "strongman.") And if these arguments are correct, it undermines critics of the anti-Morales coup. After all, if he was an autocrat who himself had no democratic mandate and disrespected institutions, it was less bad for his successors to seize power, even if they did so without being elected. The present Bolivian "leadership" has made a very strong effort to portray themselves as "restoring" a democracy that Morales had "undermined" (with the new self-declared president saying that "the coup d'état was by Evo Morales") even as they behave undemocratically themselves, so it's important to actually scrutinize the facts and remember what happened.

I find Morales' decision to keep running indefinitely to be frustrating, and a sign that he was relying more on his personality than a political movement, but I do not think that he disrespected the law any more than Michael Bloomberg did when he had the New York City Council get rid of term limits. I would not have called Bloomberg an "illegitimate" mayor or a "dictator," nor would I say that he was not the "real" mayor of New York and could justly be overthrown by the NYPD. So I think Morales was within his rights to run again, and since his term has not expired, and he was forced out by threats of violence, he should still be considered the president of Bolivia.


What of the election itself? American media has reported on the election as if it was self-evident that Morales stole it or committed election fraud. The central allegations here, however, do not appear to hold up. Read the analyses from Kevin Cashman in Jacobin and Mark Weisbrot in MarketWatch , who both provide careful explanations of how the Bolivian election actually worked, as opposed to vague innuendos.

We know that, as protests escalated after the election, Morales lost the support of members of the Bolivian police and that the military "encouraged him" to resign. Morales fled to Mexico; he says his life was threatened and a bounty was put on his head . His home was ransacked , and a racist right-wing minor legislator, Jeanine Añez, declared herself president of the country .

She vowed to be a mere caretaker until new elections could be held, "[telling] reporters that her only aim was to unite the country and restore it to the path to democracy," and saying that her mission in office was "to call for clean and transparent elections with all the qualified political actors as soon as possible." Of course, that word "qualified" should have been the tip-off from the beginning that Añez would soon unilaterally declare Morales ineligible to run .

But it was very evident that she was lying about her intentions, which were not to preside over a "caretaker" government but to re-establish right-wing rule after a decade of successful socialism. She acted like " anything but a caretaker ," and has "been putting her own ideological stamp on South America's poorest nation as she pursues the opposition's long-held dream of undoing nearly 14 years of socialist rule under former president Evo Morales." She "replaced Bolivia's top military brass, cabinet ministers and the heads of major state-owned companies with appointees of her own." She immediately moved to reshape the county's foreign policy, reinstall Catholic rituals, and gave soldiers immunity from prosecutor for murdering protesters. Sure enough, "within hours, a confrontation between soldiers and Morales supporters near Cochabamba left nine dead." (It is ironic that Áñez had previously "denied that Morales had been the victim of a coup," saying "a coup d'etat is when there are soldiers in the streets.")

Añez's government barely pretended to care about equality. She brought a giant Bible to her swearing-in, and said "the Bible has returned to the government palace." As the press noted, this was "a pointed attack on Morales, since the constitution he passed in 2009 placed Christianity on equal footing with indigenous spiritual traditions." Añez's open Christian supremacist ideology was evident even when she was making half-hearted gestures toward inclusiveness:

"We want to be a democratic tool of inclusion and unity," said the 52-year-old religious conservative, sitting at a table bearing a huge open Bible and crucifix.

Añez was not just repudiating Morales, socialism, and secular pluralism, but the indigeneous population more broadly. She had previously "published provocative posts on Twitter mocking Indigenous people's culture, branding their religious rites 'satanic' and calling Mr. Morales a 'poor Indian. '"

She "quickly set up a transition cabinet with almost no indigenous people, but full of business elites who oppose Morales." At a public rally by a close Añez ally, a speaker cried: "We have tied all the demons of the witchery and thrust them into the abyss. Satans, get out of Bolivia now." As one analyst noted, her government seems to be " thinking that what Bolivia needs right now is a purge. "

And the purge is underway. The interim interior minister threatened "to arrest lawmakers loyal to ousted President Evo Morales for alleged acts of subversion and sedition," even though Morales' MAS party still technically held a legislative majority. He " announced the creation of a 'special apparatus of the Prosecutor's Office' that will crack down on elected officials from Morales' Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party, which controls about two-thirds of the legislature," and "said he would be publishing a 'list' of legislators he claims are guilty of 'subversion' and that those individuals will be blocked from continuing their duties as representatives and will be subject to arrest starting Monday." He "began by promising to hunt down Mr. Morales's top former minister, Juan Ramón Quintana, who has gone into hiding," saying "We're going to go hunting for Juan Ramón Quintana because he is an animal that feeds on the blood of the people."

The Wall Street Journal reported :

Several MAS officials have been detained, fled the country or have sought refuge in foreign embassies. Meanwhile, debate has brewed over whether the party, which still enjoys wide support, should even be allowed to exist due to the alleged electoral manipulation.

The Journal quotes a Morales critic saying: "MAS is dead We have a saying here: When the dog dies, so do the fleas."

* * * *

Surely, some things are clear here. The new right-wing government is not actually interested in democracy, but in destroying socialism and indigenous power. They're literally threatening to "hunt down" socialist legislators. They don't want fair elections. They want elections that have socialists either excluded from running or intimidated by force. Why is Evo Morales in Mexico? He's not there because he wants to be in Mexico. He's there because if he had stayed in Bolivia he might have been jailed as a "terrorist" or killed. I do not know why there is " debate " over whether what happened in Bolivia was a "coup." The elected president fled the country at the direction of the military and has been branded a criminal by an unelected leadership that has murdered protesters and explicitly vowed to destroy socialism and restore Christian rule.

Yet now we enter the topsy-turvy world of the U.S. media, whose response to the Bolivian coup has been a case study in Chomsky and Herman's theory of "manufacturing consent."

The Wall Street Journal , unsurprisingly, has heralded the ousting of Morales as a victory for democracy . "No one should shed a tear" for Morales, its editorial board said. Bolivia's "people have suffered enormously" under Morales, it said, citing no evidence. (Hard to know what to cite when what the people have suffered from its record growth and diminishing poverty .) The Journal said that "Bolivian law forbids a candidate caught in fraud from running again," though it did not cite which Bolivian law allows unconfirmed allegations to override court precedents. Another editorial, " Morales Made Bolivia A Narco State ," essentially repeated the word "narco" over and over, emphasizing that Morales started as the head of the coca grower's union, to convince readers to think of him as nothing but a drug trafficking dictator. (The editorial had the audacity to center criticism of Morales around his violations of indigenous people's rights, said the military "suggested" he step down, and suggested that he simply ran illegally, failing to mention the court decision that allowed him to participate and the justifications given by the court.)

One expects this stuff from a fascist-sympathizing Murdoch paper, of course. But the New York Times has been just as bad, full of sentences like: "Morales's grip on power unraveled after he tried bending electoral rules to stay in power for a fourth term in October, flouting constitutional term limits he himself had set." (Again, a Supreme Court decision allowed him to run under the terms of a treaty.) " How an Unknown Female Senator Came to Replace the Bolivian Strongman Evo Morales " is an incredible article. It does not quote any socialist legislators, but quotes plenty of figures from the conservative opposition, including heavy quotation from a "cement magnate." It discusses the "transition talks," and says that Añez was brought to the capital to "pre-empt any power grab," without noting that she was doing the power grab. The article treats the conservatives as pragmatic and patriotic restorers of order who were concerned with preventing a slide into chaos and wanted to maintain the constitutional order. "We knew that she was the only constitutional thread we had." Calling Morales a "strongman" is bad enough. He is a democratically elected president, and the Times did the opposition's work for it by printing a word that suggested Morales was an illegitimate tyrant. (Even if you believe this year's elections were fraudulent, Morales' term does not expire until January!) Perhaps because of public outcry about this use of a loaded, and arguably racist, term, the Times later stealth-edited "strongman" out of the headline and replaced it with "president," without offering a correction or apology.

The Times editorial board published an incredible editorial blaming Morales for what happened, saying that "the country's growing economy and shrinking inequality propped him up for years. But its democracy and its institutions suffered, and that's what brought him down." (The idea of being "propped up" by a growing economy is funny.) "Predictably," the Times editors said, stodgy old leftists were denouncing the "coup," but "what brought Mr. Morales down was not his ideology or foreign meddling, as he claimed, but the arrogance of the populist , evident in so many other parts of the world -- the claim to be the ultimate arbiter of the will of the people, entitled to crush any institution that stands in his way." The Times editorial is an interesting example of how institutions in other countries are spoken of differently than they would be in our own. It says Morales had the country's Supreme Court "by now stuffed with his loyalists, rule that limiting his time in office somehow violated his human rights." Our Supreme Court, of course, is not "stuffed with loyalists," even though it too is a nakedly political institution . Of Añez, all it said was that she was "offering to lead the country to new elections," and that Morales "would do well to call on his backers to clear the way."

Witness, too, this Times op-ed , written in sorrow and lament , about how Bolivia offers "lessons on how to fix semi-democracies," saying that the coup was "a reminder that the process of stopping semi-democratic leaders is likely to be semi-democratic as well." But Morales was elected! The op-ed pretends there is no difference between Morales's democratic election and Añez's seizure of power without an election. "Blaming the coup is to blame the symptoms and ignore the overall shock on the system caused by the preceding democratic backsliding . Fixing a semi-democracy will not always follow strict democratic playbooks The best that can be hoped for is that the military sides with moderate civilians, democratic norms, and constitutional rule."

Here, we would do well to remind ourselves that anything can be cloaked under euphemisms: mass murder can be "restoring order," overthrowing an elected government can be "preserving democratic rule." And the most dangerous political actors are going to have a very strong incentive to use these kinds of euphemisms, which is why it's important for ordinary people to be extremely skeptical, and why newspapers shouldn't quote powerful people's words as if they are facts. ( Order Restored Amid Unrest, Government Says is a headline that could easily mean A Dozen Unarmed Protesters Murdered In Cold Blood. )

When you are reading about Bolivia in the U.S. press, make sure to ask critical questions: Whose voices are being quoted here, and whose voices don't I hear? What is taken as being self-evident that should actually require some proof? How are words being shaded in ways that could disguise what is actually going on? Is one action being described two different ways when done by two different people? (When X does it, they're a "strongman" or "caudillo" and when Y does it they are a "caretaker" or "interim leader.") Propaganda often looks very reasonable, on the surface, especially to those of us who don't have access to the facts on the ground. Every word needs to be read carefully to see how our perceptions of reality are being manipulated.

One interesting thing about propaganda, as Noam Chomsky has pointed out, is that you can often find the truth buried within it. U.S. newspapers often do report all the facts you need to know in order to understand what is going on, but the analysis and framing buries those facts. (I've previously written about how the Holocaust, far from being unknown, was reported in the pages of the New York Times as something trivial not worth caring about.) You need to notice the small stuff. For example, when someone is quoted talking about how "when a dog dies, the fleas do too," that sounds an awful lot like they're probably going to try to destroy the socialist movement. Amid all the Wall Street Journal 's discussions about whether or not to call the "transition" a "coup," you will find little sentences like: " debate has brewed over whether the party, which still enjoys wide support, should even be allowed to exist due to the alleged electoral manipulation. " Um, there is debate over whether a movement with wide support should be allowed to exist? Who is "brewing" this debate?

When Añez announced that Morales couldn't run in a new election, Current Affairs predicted that the next thing that would happen was a new election which wouldn't be legitimate, but which would quickly be declared legitimate. Sure enough, MAS legislators are being persecuted and threatened, and Evo Morales is being told that if he comes back to the country he will be tried as a terrorist.

No election held under these conditions can be legitimate, and it will inevitably be worse than the "fraud-marred" original election. But when the right wins, they will declare democracy restored. In fact, fake elections are historically a powerful tool of the right.

The 1933 German election was not a real election, because the Nazis' opponents were systematically persecuted and threatened. But they used it to claim they had a democratic mandate. This is also what happened in Brazil: The most popular Workers Party candidate, Lula, was barred from running, and cleared the way for the far-right Jair Bolsonaro to take power.

This is what the Bolivian right needs now: an "election" in which the most popular opposition candidate is barred from standing, and the majority party is threatened and intimidated. Then, when the right narrowly wins the election (as Bolsonaro and Hitler did) they will demand recognition for the "people's will." If you do not notice what is happening, you need to read some more history! This is a very old story and has been told many times.

[Nov 29, 2019] Manufacturing a pretext for the U.S. missile strike on Syria in April 2018 is nowhere near the biggest of OPCW's crimes. The OPCW is an accessory, both before and after the fact to the crime of mass murder.

Notable quotes:
"... The worst of these massacres happened in Ghouta in August 2013 when 2000 civilian hostages (rebel claim) were gassed to death by rebels and their pre-White Helmets "civil defence". The OPCW was there to cover up the crime and to fabricate evidence to assign blame to Syria. ..."
Nov 29, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Petri Krohn , Nov 29 2019 23:16 utc | 21

TAKE THEM TO THE HAGUE!

Manufacturing a pretext for the U.S. missile strike on Syria in April 2018 is nowhere near the biggest of OPCW's crimes. The OPCW is an accessory , both before and after the fact to the crime of mass murder.

It should now be clear to everyone that Syrian "rebels" gassed thousands of hostages in cellars, most likely with chlorine gas, and then paraded the victims in White Helmets snuff videos. OPCW conspired in this crime in both encouraging the terrorists to more murder and by protecting them afterward by assigning blame to Assad and the Syrian government.

The worst of these massacres happened in Ghouta in August 2013 when 2000 civilian hostages (rebel claim) were gassed to death by rebels and their pre-White Helmets "civil defence". The OPCW was there to cover up the crime and to fabricate evidence to assign blame to Syria.

We have been documenting these crimes and hoaxes at A Closer Look On Syria from December 2012. OPCW was used from the beginning to manufacture consent for war. See for example:


karlof1 , Nov 29 2019 23:52 utc | 24

Petri Krohn @21--

Of course, the OPCW is already there! I highly suggest Caitlin Johnstone's article b linked be read, which can be found here .

We should expand on Petri's number of people involved in this crime to include all the paid disinformation artists noted in Caitlin's essay at minimum. What becomes very clear in all this is the total collusion with OPCW upper level management--those whom the whistleblowers and their allies within OPCW petitioned--in these crimes as Petri contends. Until they are visibly replaced, nothing issued by OPCW has any credence.

Canthama , Nov 30 2019 0:21 utc | 26
OPCW has shown to be a pure political entity, used at will by few regimes in the UN to promote their agenda, b has done a tremendous job to humanity to bring the truth to the public worldwide. Syrians have paid the price for UN leaders support to global terrorism for too long. It must stop now.
iv>

/div

[Nov 27, 2019] A Man Kills His Parents and Begs for Mercy Because He Is an Orphan

Nov 27, 2019 | wallwritings.me

July 7, 2009 by wallwritings By James M. Wall Barrier in Bethany

Since its creation in 1948, the modern state of Israel has steadily stolen Palestinian land and driven Palestinians from their homes, cities and villages.

Nothing has been done to halt Israel's steady march to tighten its absolute control of the Palestinian people with the obvious goal of ethnic cleansing, an historic fact well documented by Israeli scholar Ilan Pappe .

Under the protection of a security-obsessed military occupation, fully supported and underwritten by U.S. tax payers, Israel denies it has broken any laws. Israel makes its own self-preservation laws. It listens to no higher authority.

Israel has destroyed olive tree orchards and smothered stolen farmlands and pastures with modern malls where U.S. firms like Ace Hardware and Burger King enrich stock holders who don't know, or don't care, that they are taking part in the ugly crime of ethnic cleansing.

(The first time I saw an Ace Hardware store in a Ma'ale Adumim mall, I started my own personal boycott of Ace, an action unfair to employees of my local Ace outlet, but one that has increased the receipts of my small neighborhood hardware store.)

Those poor benighted U.S. media readers/viewers who are unaware of this reality live in a bubble of ignorance, protected by AIPAC and its political, media and religious allies .

The narrative of Israeli governments heeding no call but their own, has been with us all along, but U.S. media readers/viewers have avoided having to think about it, or do anything about it.

They live comfortably within their bubble of ignorance which is created and sustained for them by their newspapers, news magazines, television outlets, radio broadcasts, government leaders and, alas, their religious leaders.

It does not have to be this way. During the last decade, the narrative of settlements like Ma'ale Adumim has been available on the internet in reports like this one from Electronic Intafada , which begins :

It is only a fifteen minute bus ride from Jerusalem to the Ma'ale Adumim settlement. After entering through guarded gates, one's first impression is of a Miami-style suburb. The town at noon seems almost abandoned because the major part of Ma'ale Adumim residents head off to work in Jerusalem during the day. . . .

As soon as Barack Obama demanded from Israel the simple act of "freezing" its settlement expansion , Israel trotted out Public Relations Plan A for distribution to the media: Have a heart, settlement residents need room for their families to grow.

Israel operates on the logic of the man found guilty of killing his parents. The guilty man begged for mercy on the grounds that he was now an orphan.

To tell you about the Israeli settlers' plea for mercy, the Los Angeles Times (July 6) delivered its version of the orphan story: "Israel's settlements in West Bank present a major hurdle."

The opening paragraphs of the Times story set the tone for the plea with weasel words (Lobby talking points) used by writer Edmund Sanders:

Reporting from Ma'ale Adumim, West Bank -- This sprawling, well-manicured Israeli settlement -- with its rows of red-tile roofs, palm trees and air-conditioned shopping mall -- could almost pass for Orange County. Except the guards in this gated community sometimes pack automatic weapons.

Settlements such as the city-sized Ma'ale Adumim, about four miles east of Jerusalem in the West Bank, are viewed by much of the world as illegal because they are built on land seized by Israel during the 1967 Middle East War. Many Israelis see Ma'ale Adumim as part of their country.

Now let us review the weasel words.

The reference to the illegality of Ma'ale Adumim is softened by the qualifying rhetorical device, "viewed by much of the world as illegal". The phase "viewed by" suggests that the issue at hand is open to debate among reasonable people.

Reasonable, as, for example, as a story that might have appeared in a Birmingham, Alabama, newspaper, circa 1939, reporting that "segregation is viewed by many in the South as as a way to maintain harmony between the races and preserve our Southern Way of Life."

Should such an analysis have been open to debate? No, certainly not in the minds of a small number of courageous Southern liberals, and an increasingly impatient black population.

It required two more decades of U.S. racial oppression for that "debate"–for and against segregation–to reach a definitive conclusion with "all deliberate speed".

Now we have a 21st century debate. The Times' Monday story includes the phrase: "many Israelis see Ma'ale Adumim as part of their country." Do they, indeed? How many Israelis?

Most polls suggest that sentiment is largely confined to the pro-settler community, while "security-minded" government leaders continue to demand the inclusion of Ma'ale Adumimin a future Israeli state

To other more fair-minded Israelis the phrase "many Israelis see Ma'ale Adumim as part of their country", unpleasantly evokes the case of the parent-killer who begs for mercy because he is an orphan.

The Time s story continues:

Now the long-simmering dispute over this and other fast-growing settlements has become a major obstacle to restarting peace talks.

Settlement building is not a long-simmering dispute. It is part of decades of immoral and illegal actions by Israel and is much more than a "major obstacle" to peace talks. It is an indisputable violation of international law, which, if allowed to stand, will block any successful peace talks.

The parent-killer should mourn his Mom and Dad from his jail cell, not while sitting in the sun in his well-watered grass covered private backyard, shaded from the hot summer sun by a picnic umbrella purchased from a nearby Ace Hardware.

The LA Times reserves most of its early sympathy for the illegal settlers of an illegal city with these touching "facts":

"Why is President Obama interfering with our lives, telling us how many children we can have and whether we can get married?" asked Benny Kashriel, longtime mayor of Ma'ale Adumim. . . .

Talk about a possible freeze has many here worried.

"You can't freeze a city," Kashriel said. "If you freeze, you go backwards. Every month we are not building and people are not coming, it affects the economic situation of the city. . . . It's punishing."

A freeze, officials say, would threaten the opening of four new synagogues and seven sorely needed schools. Class sizes are already near the legal limit of 40 students per room.

An additional 400 units of housing in various stages of construction might also be shut down, leaving homeowners -- many of whom have already taken out mortgages up to $300,000 -- with monthly payments and no place to live.

The Times knew American readers would identify with those folks holding mortgages of up to $300,000 with monthly payments and no place to live. And those same readers can also identify with parents whose children are in schools "near the legal limit of 40 students per room".

Further down in the story, the Times reports on the Arab village of Aziriyeh, (in biblical times, the village of Bethany), where Lazarus was called from his grave by Jesus. (Or as the Times writes, carefully avoiding any validation of a religious belief, "where the biblical Lazarus is said to have risen from the dead").

The comparison of Aziriyeh (Bethany) with Ma'ale Adumim is fact-filled. The comparison also strains for a "balance" that is impossible to achieve between occupiers and the occupied.

Since 1967, the story reports, the village of Aziriyeh has had three-fourths of its land stolen to enlarge Ma'ale Adumim. Its mayor, Issam Faroun, makes a comparison between his citizens and those of the illegal citizens of Ma'ale Adumim. The facts are presented fairly. The comparative use of water is an example.

Mayor Faroun said:

. . . that as Ma'ale Adumim frets about the fate of its landscaped grounds or swimming pools, Azariyah residents receive water only once a week. The town gateway has turned into a junkyard of trash, scrap metal and old appliances. Schools have 45 students per class and unemployment is 50%, in part because the barrier prevents workers from reaching Jerusalem.

With no room to expand horizontally, families are adding second and third stories to their homes as children grow up and marry. Bassem abu Roomy, 31, still lives in his parents' house, sharing two rooms with his pregnant wife and two children. His younger brothers are not so lucky.

"We can't add any more stories because the foundation of the house can't support it," he said. "So they can't get married."

When did the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis in Aziriyeh (Bethany) and Ma'ale Adumim go wrong? When that first brick was laid in Maale Adumim soon after 1967? When Ma'ale Adumim gobbled up three fourths of Aziriyeh's farmland for its own use? Name your own moment in recent memory.

The LA Times wants us to look back no further than two decades when the biblical village of Lazarus and the modern Israeli city of Ma'ale Adumim had, as the Times describes it, their harmonious relations "strained".

A decade ago, the two communities lived somewhat harmoniously. Israelis shopped in Azariyah [Bethany] and Palestinians worked on housing projects in the settlement. But during the last Palestinian uprising, in 2000, two settlers were shot in the village and relations have been strained since.

The competing needs of these two communities have become part of the international debate.

So there you have it. Everything was fine until two Israeli settlers were shot. This is a case study on why the Israeli Lobby and the U.S. Congress are so grateful for news stories like this one that appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

For Sanders and the Times , the Arab village of Azariyah and the modern illegal city of Maale Adumim are merely playing a role in an "international debate".

No wonder that parent-killer failed to get any respect with his request for mercy because he was now an orphan. He did not have the support of his own personal lobby making a case for orphans who have killed their parents.

The picture above is of a barrier in the Arab village of Azariyah (Bethany). The break in the barrier has been covered by barbed wire. The wire is removed and replaced on a regular basis by Israeli authorities, who built the barrier in the first place. This photo is from the website of the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel.

[Nov 26, 2019] The Real Reason the Navy Stood Up to Trump

Nov 26, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

=marco01= • 13 hours ago • edited

"The difficulty here is that Trump thinks he's defending the military, when he's not"

No, this is not about Trump defending the military. What this is about is how Trump thinks war should be fought, "tough" in his words. What he means by this is troops should be utterly ruthless. They should murder and kill civilians, as this strikes fear into the enemy and shows them how "tough" we are. Plus of course Trump likes vengeance. No one should be surprised by this as Trump has voiced strong support for war crimes, he wants "strong" torture, he wants the families of terrorists, women, children, elderly murdered to punish the terrorists. Sad thing is, I've heard lots of support for this kind of warfighting among conservatives.

Trump has the mentality of an authoritarian dictator, thankfully he's not that smart.

SirMagpieDeCrow1 • 13 hours ago
Army Col. Keven Benson suggests Trump may have overplayed his hand, considering all the wreckage he wrought playing to his base at the possible cost of his legitimacy among those in uniform. Benson charges, too, that the president's decision to reverse the directives of senior Navy officers in disciplining one of their own might lose him support not only among senior officers, but among the rank and file -- a constituency that voted overwhelmingly to put him in the White House.

"You know, these guys, these three knuckleheads -- Lorance, Golsteyn and Gallagher -- might be welcome on Fox News," Benson says, "but they wouldn't be welcome in my platoon."

Damn.

If it is all the same to everyone, I think we shouldn't indulge in the kind of permissiveness that makes incidents like the My Lai Massacre or the Abu Graib prisoner abuse scandal possible.

George Hoffman • 11 hours ago
I served as a medical corpsman in Vietnam (31 May 1967 - 31 May 1968). That is to be blunt, I served as an enlisted man which is equivalent to a working class peon in civilian life or an Indentured servant who didn't have the money to pay his passage to the American colony but promised to serve an extended period of apprenticeship to pay it off. In American society at that time an indentured servant was one rung above being a slave. So I am no fan of the brass. And I have never been a big fan of our Commander-in-Chief "Bone Spurs" given what I saw during my tour of duty in Vietnam.

But on his decision to deny the brass javing their way and giving them the fickle finger of fate, i.e. the middle finger if you don't get my drift, I support President Trump wholeheartedly. Anyone who can piss off the brass and make them whine like melting snowflakes must be doing something right. Also does Mr. Perry remember when President Richard Nixon pardoned Lt. William Calley after being convicted for the infamous My Lai Massacre?

The American people overwhelmingly supported Nixon's pardon.They will again support President Trump's decision. They do not read the TAC. Nor do they read any other high-falutin' journal of political opinion. But they are still patriots in their minds. But being populists they are not necessarily patriots when it comes to the brass who in their thinking are the equivalent of the 1% in civilian life.

It's historical class warfare that fuels populism even though these populists have probably never read Karl Marx. So the brass can disagree vehemently with Trump, They can also resign like Richard Spencer did and join the private sector. But they may be in for a rude awakening when they try to give an order to average civilians and are instead given fickle fingers of fate. And besides, let's be real about this latest crisis du jour, there are plenty more brass where these whiners came from. I bet you at the Pentagon the brass are literally bumping into each other just walking down the halls.

But they swore allegiance to our Constitution. The president gives orders to them as commander-in-chief. Not the other way around. Mr. Perry doesn't get how our country has changed since Trump won the election. I assume reading this essay, and if I am wrong I apologize here, he probably has never broken bread with the great unwashed given how he identifies with military authority. Trump was elected president surfing on a wave of populism. He played his populist cards in this tempest in a teapot. He gets it. He is playing to his base. He wants to get re-elected.

But I have one question for Mr. Perry. Why didn't the brass resign en masse against the Iraq War or all these useless Forever Wars we have been fighting?

Moe H • 10 hours ago
These same people stood by and watched our military be socially engineered and gender normed to the point of incompetence. These are Obama sycophants pure and simple.
polistra24 • 10 hours ago
A "crisis" in Special Ops is good. Anything that weakens Deepstate is good. Trump didn't make his decision on this basis; he only needed to assuage his ego; but nevertheless he accidentally did the right thing.
Wally • 9 hours ago
I don't much care about this since I consider most all US military to be war criminals. I suppose I just note the cosmic justice which punishes many of them with PTSD, drug addiction, and suicide. Now... let's get on with privatizing the VA.
tz1 • 8 hours ago
The desk jockey keyboard warrior officers in the Pentagon want to make examples even if they have to use prosecutorial misconduct to do it and that will help morale and discipline?

Trump should get rid of all the swamp Generals and Admirals. I'm sure they will enjoy retirement making millions at Lockheed and Raytheon. Trump supports the Troops, not the Bureaucrats.

Bob K. • 7 hours ago
One gets the impression that the "Rules of Engagement" seem to have been the issue in the case discussed here but they were forgotten in the bureaucratic squabble between the military and the White House.
chris chuba • 5 hours ago
People like Pete Hegseth call Chief Gallagher's service exemplary and repeat that he was acquitted of 'alleged war crimes'.

He was acquitted because a medic testified that after he and Gallagher stabilized a wounded, sedated prisoner after 20 minutes, Gallagher inexplicably stabbed him (non-fatally) below the collar bone, stormed off, and then the medic suffocated him before Iraqi security forces could torture him. Later Gallagher posed with his corpse.

This is not the sign of a well man or one who was making a snap, life or death decision. I'm not interested in punishing Gallagher but this hero worship of our military and failure to acknowledge that these long deployments are breaking down our military is self-deception. But I won't be surprised if I see a trifecta of Trump, Hegseth, and Gallagher at a campaign stop.

If we are being honest, I bet the IRGC has a better reputation than us in the M.E.

Bigfrog • 5 hours ago
Julius Caesar was able to march on Rome because the soldiers gave their fealty to him over Rome. I find Trump's pardoning of soldiers accused of war crimes deeply disturbing.
gdpbull • 5 hours ago • edited
The first and foremost principle that must be maintained is that the President has complete authority over the military. Its one of the central constructs of our republic. The most egregious offence was for Spencer to defy Trump's order. Regardless of what one's opinion on the state of the special forces is, we can't go down that road. To say that Trump is destroying the commanders authorities is bass ackwards. The US military, like it or not, MUST have civilians over and above them.

Having said that, I completely agree that there is something very bad wrong with the special forces and especially the Navy Seals. My experience with Green Berets in the Vietnam era is that they were very effective in working with indigenous populations, to include recruiting fighters to our side, spoke their language, were highly competent, tough as nails, and very humble. Out of uniform, one would not even know they were Green Berets. Likewise almost all Army Rangers are equally humble. Green Berets are recruited from the Rangers.

I never had any personal experiences with Navy Seals, but over the last decade or so at least, its obvious that a large percent of them are a bunch of braggadocios chest thumpers. There is something seriously wrong with the Navy Seal recruitment program or training or both. They have a very bad reputation of making their missions public, making jokes out of their security clearances and never seem to be held accountable for such violations.

Mother124 • 5 hours ago
That this president conducts Policy By Tweet is beyond ridiculous. The presidency is becoming a laughingstock.
thelastindependentYankee • 4 hours ago
The regular military has always distrusted the SOF for the very reasons cited in this article. The Pentagon forbade the beret until JFK overruled the brass in 1963.

The Founding CO of that vaunted Tier 1 unit Seal team 6 was convicted of federal crimes and spent time in prison in the 1980s.

The Green Beret affair in 1965 resulted in the murder of a allied civilian in Vietnam. The military grew these units beyond reasonable levels and has misused and overused them since 9/11,

appleDwight • 4 hours ago
One is left to wonder whether the president has really overplayed his hand or these naval officers are simply Trump-haters as is all too often the case these days. I'd have to go with let the Navy be the Navy and handle it's own business. But one has to question whether these officers would've objected as strongly had it been Obama giving the orders?
OrthoAnabaptist • 4 hours ago
What a disgrace... I'm a dovish, pacifist peacenik, but even I understand maintaining organizational order, respect for authority, chain-of-command... (and have respect for many in the military for their desire and attempts to play by international rules and by-the-book procedures.)

Trump & Gallagher (who strikes me as a sadist) are a disgrace and Fox News is especially beyond the pale, giving Gallagher a platform to impugn his commanding officer! in public! Where has anyone ever gotten away with that before?... unbelievable.

I guess you could hope for some silver lining that this might undermine the DoD's global empire tendencies... but I'm not sure this is a good way to get that done (ie leaving or promoting arrogant, cruel men like Gallagher, with the stench of by-gone barbarism clinging to him, in the services:)

EliteCommInc. • 3 hours ago
If I were one of this president's advisers, I would make one thing clear.

Don't tweet instructs to any department or department member because it is neither a proper channel for official communique's nor is it conducive to to effectively, management and more times than not creates more trouble that it solves.

After listing the reasons why "twitter" is an inappropriate forum. i would of course be fired. But I am deeply concerned that the president is conducting official business in open forums such as twitter.

The official in question was certainly being reasonable to request the order either direct communique or in riding. Given the nature of twitter, it was a reasonable expectation.

Laugh: I think there are plenty of issues with the military justice system. But that is another matter best left out of twitter feeds.

anon • 2 hours ago
Why didn't anyone mention what the effect of these democracy wars are having on our soldiers considering they aren't actually protecting the country but helping the Muslims move over to it, not just here but to Europe as well.

Most of the terrorist fighters are coming and going from other countries and travel freely oh and besides in Syria we're really not fighting terrorists but over-throwing a government.

To top it all off these actions are helping to bankrupt our nation. I wonder how this plays for morale of our soldiers? I'm sure many don't care, the majority of people indluding those just coming in ro the country seem to hate the country anyway so why would anyone want to fight for them and then maybe there is another side who sees it all and cares, cares that they are losing their nation. What about the "fight them over there but love them and bow down to their diverstity"? What happens when you realize that you're not the savior you thought you would be and no one is greatful to have you around, they are fighting you endlessly and ruthlessly while you're ttying to be a gentle invader, not fighting to win but to install democracy and can't figure out why no one wants your gift of gentrification.
I'm not so sure I could take his rank from him either, maybe just give him a break from the war on the ground and the two sides of the war in his head.

Fran Macadam • 2 hours ago
On the other hand we increasingly see an unwillingness by the military and Deep State to be ruled over by civilian government, and instead of a commander in chief, to make of elected Presidents mere puppets for their consensus.
3Monkeys • 2 hours ago
I disagree with Lt.Col Milburns (Ret.) The UCMJ is military law and military law is part of federal law. The president has the right to pardon anyone convicted under the UCMJ but his authority stops where the law is concerned. The president isn't above the law, he can countermand the conviction but he can't force the military to withdraw the A@D given by the individual services. That remains the prerogative of the commanders. Discipline must be maintained and the commanders are responsible and accountable for that discipline.

CIC is a title conferred on a civilian president, he states that they are responsible for the strategic decisions used to justify the use of our military forces, the Presidents actions with regard to anything other than the pardon does not meet the criteria of a strategic decision.

And if water isn't involved in the mission then there really isn't need for SEALS to be there. Mission creep on the part of the Navy to increase Spec Ops budgets.

Not Kent • 2 hours ago
Just another case of the stable genius not knowing what is good for the Armed Forces and trying to improve his reelection chances.
ScienceABC123 • 2 hours ago
Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion...
ketahburat • 2 hours ago
Rank has their privilege and as far as I know, PDJT is the CiC. So either you - the un-elected bureaucrat, shut up and follow the order or put up and resign your commission.

[Nov 26, 2019] Support for Restraint Is on the Rise by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... 38% of respondents want to end the war in Afghanistan now or within one year, and another 31% support negotiations with the Taliban to bring the war to an end. A broad majority of Americans wants to bring the war to a conclusion. I already mentioned the survey's finding that there is majority support for reducing the U.S. military presence in East Asia last night. Americans not only want to get out of our interminable wars overseas, but they also want to scale back U.S. involvement overall. ..."
"... The survey asked respondents how the U.S. should respond if "Iran gets back on track with its nuclear weapons program." That is a loaded and potentially misleading question, since Iran has not had anything resembling a nuclear weapons program in 16 years, so there has been nothing to get "back on track" for a long time. Framing the question this way is likely to elicit a more hawkish response. In spite of the questionable wording, the results from this year show that there is less support for coercive measures against Iran than last year and more support for negotiations and non-intervention: ..."
"... With only around 10% favoring it, there is almost no support for preventive war against Iran. Americans don't want war with Iran even if it were developing nuclear weapons ..."
"... There is substantial and growing support for bringing our current wars to an end and avoiding unnecessary conflicts in the future. This survey shows that there is a significant constituency in America that desires a more peaceful and restrained foreign policy, and right now virtually no political leaders are offering them the foreign policy that they say they want. It is long past time that Washington started listening. ..."
Nov 26, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

he Eurasia Group Foundation's new survey of public opinion on U.S. foreign policy finds that support for greater restraint continues to rise:

Americans favor a less aggressive foreign policy. The findings are consistent across a number of foreign policy issues, and across generations and party lines.

The 2019 survey results show that most Americans support a more restrained foreign policy, and it also shows an increase in that support since last year. There is very little support for continuing the war in Afghanistan indefinitely, there is virtually no appetite for war with Iran, and there is a decline in support for a hawkish sort of American exceptionalism. There is still very little support for unilateral U.S. intervention for ostensibly humanitarian reasons, and support for non-intervention has increased slightly:

In 2018, 45 percent of Americans chose restraint as their first choice. In 2019, that has increased to 47 percent. Only 19 percent opt for a U.S.-led military response and 34 percent favor a multilateral, UN-led approach to stop humanitarian abuses overseas.

38% of respondents want to end the war in Afghanistan now or within one year, and another 31% support negotiations with the Taliban to bring the war to an end. A broad majority of Americans wants to bring the war to a conclusion. I already mentioned the survey's finding that there is majority support for reducing the U.S. military presence in East Asia last night. Americans not only want to get out of our interminable wars overseas, but they also want to scale back U.S. involvement overall.

The report's working definition of American exceptionalism is a useful one: "American exceptionalism is the belief that the foreign policy of the United States should be unconstrained by the parochial interests or international rules which govern other countries." This is not the only definition one might use, but it gets at the heart of what a lot of hawks really mean when they use this phrase. While most Americans still say they subscribe to American exceptionalism either because of what the U.S. represents or what it has done, there is less support for these views than before. Among the youngest respondents (age 18-29), there is now a clear majority that rejects this idea.

The survey asked respondents how the U.S. should respond if "Iran gets back on track with its nuclear weapons program." That is a loaded and potentially misleading question, since Iran has not had anything resembling a nuclear weapons program in 16 years, so there has been nothing to get "back on track" for a long time. Framing the question this way is likely to elicit a more hawkish response. In spite of the questionable wording, the results from this year show that there is less support for coercive measures against Iran than last year and more support for negotiations and non-intervention:

A strong majority of both Republicans and Democrats continue to seek a diplomatic resolution involving either sanctions or the resumption of nuclear negotiations. This year, there was an increase in the number of respondents across party lines who would want negotiations to resume even if Iran is a nuclear power in the short term, and a bipartisan increase in those who believe outright that Iran has the right to develop nuclear weapons to defend itself. So while Republicans might be more likely than Democrats to believe Iran threatens peace in the Middle East, voters in neither party are eager to take a belligerent stand against it.

With only around 10% favoring it, there is almost no support for preventive war against Iran. Americans don't want war with Iran even if it were developing nuclear weapons, and it isn't doing that. It may be that the failure of the "maximum pressure" campaign has also weakened support for sanctions. Support for the sanctions option dropped by almost 10 points overall and plunged by more than 20 points among Republicans. In 2018, respondents were evenly split between war and sanctions on one side or negotiations and non-intervention on the other. This year, support for diplomacy and non-intervention in response to this imaginary nuclear weapons program has grown to make up almost 60% of the total. If most Americans favor diplomacy and non-intervention in this improbable scenario, it is safe to assume that there is even more support for those options with the real Iranian government that isn't pursuing nuclear weapons.

There is substantial and growing support for bringing our current wars to an end and avoiding unnecessary conflicts in the future. This survey shows that there is a significant constituency in America that desires a more peaceful and restrained foreign policy, and right now virtually no political leaders are offering them the foreign policy that they say they want. It is long past time that Washington started listening.

[Nov 26, 2019] Repeal the Nearly Two-Decade-Old War Authorizations by Matthew Hoh

Nov 25, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

In 2001 and in 2002 Congress passed authorizations for war. While not declarations of war, these mandates, each titled an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) provided the legal framework for attacks against al-Qaeda in 2001 and in 2002 for the Iraq War. Both AUMFs are still in effect today. As Congress considers its annual authorization to fund the Pentagon our current members of Congress, both in the House and the Senate, are in positions of responsibility and ability to repeal these AUMFs.

The effect of the AUMFs :

Based on FBI and journalist investigations, al Qaeda had between 200-400 members worldwide in September of 2001. Al Qaeda now has affiliates in every corner of the world, their strength measures in the tens of thousands of members, and they control territory in Yemen, Syria and parts of Africa. In Afghanistan, the Taliban now control as much as 60 percent of the territory and, with regards to international terrorism, where there was one international terror group in Afghanistan in 2001, the Pentagon now reports twenty such groups .

ISIS was formerly al Qaeda in Iraq, an organization that came into existence solely due to the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the United States. US military , intelligence agencies, journalists and other international organizations continually report that the reason people join such groups is not out of ideology or religious devotion, but out of resistance to invasion and occupation, and in response to the killing of family, friends and neighbors by foreign and government forces. It is clear the AUMFs have worsened terrorism, not defeated it.

The cost of the AUMFs :

More than 7,000 US service members have been killed and more than 50,000 wounded in the wars since 9/11. Of the 2.5 million troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as many as 20% percent are afflicted with PTSD, while 20 percent more may have traumatic brain injury. The Veterans Administration reports Afghan and Iraq veterans have rates of suicide 4-10 times higher than their civilian peers. This means almost two Afghan and Iraq veterans are die by suicide every day. Do the math and it is clear more Afghan and Iraq veterans are dying by suicide than by combat. The cost to the people overseas to whom we have brought these wars is hard to grasp. Between one and four million people have been killed, directly and indirectly, by these wars, while tens of millions more have been wounded or psychologically traumatized, and tens of millions more made homeless – the cause of the worst refugee crisis since WWII.

Financially, the cost of these wars is immense, at least $6 trillion. Of a vast many statistics that compose this incomprehensible figure of $6 trillion, is that nearly $1 trillion of it is simply just interest and debt payments. For any American, Democrat, Republican or independent, these interest and debt payments alone should cause them to reconsider these wars.

The AUMFs have allowed for wars to be waged without end by the executive branch, wars the American people, including veterans, say have not been worth fighting . Congress has the ability and responsibility to help bring about an end to these wars by ensuring the repeal of the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Matthew Hoh

Matthew Hoh is a member of the advisory boards of Expose Facts, Veterans For Peace and World Beyond War. In 2009 he resigned his position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of the Afghan War by the Obama Administration. He previously had been in Iraq with a State Department team and with the U.S. Marines. He is a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy.

[Nov 26, 2019] The problem with the loyalty of government employees in the state that strive to dominate the world

Notable quotes:
"... America was feared by many intellectuals, both in the United States and Britain of the 1940s and 1950s, and their fears were not unwarranted. ..."
"... Big, brawny America – its power establishment – very much was inclined towards dominating the world after WWII. The whole tone of the American press and speeches of major political figures in the period was actually quite frightening. Any highly intelligent, sensitive type would be concerned by it. ..."
"... America wanted a monopoly on nuclear weapons, so that it would be in an unassailable position as it built its imperial apparatus after WWII, the time effectively it "took over" as world imperial power with so many potential competitors flattened. ..."
"... Later, the Pentagon actually planned things like an all-out first strike on the Soviets – it did that more once as well as doing so later for China – so there were indeed plenty of dark intentions in Washington. ..."
"... Spies and ex-spies often put disinformation into their books. Sometimes officials even insist they do so. ..."
Nov 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

Comments below are from Was Robert Oppenheimer a Soviet Agent, by John Wear - The Unz Review


JOHN CHUCKMAN , says: Website November 25, 2019 at 8:59 am GMT

The motives for so many Western spies serving the Soviet Union – and in the 1940s and 1950s the Soviets had the best "humint" on earth – were rather idealistic. This was largely true for the Cambridge Circle in Britain. They were concerned that America was going to "lord it over" the Russians and everyone else.

America was feared by many intellectuals, both in the United States and Britain of the 1940s and 1950s, and their fears were not unwarranted.

Big, brawny America – its power establishment – very much was inclined towards dominating the world after WWII. The whole tone of the American press and speeches of major political figures in the period was actually quite frightening. Any highly intelligent, sensitive type would be concerned by it.

You certainly did not have to be a communist to feel that way, but being one assisted with access to important Soviet contacts. They sought you out.

America wanted a monopoly on nuclear weapons, so that it would be in an unassailable position as it built its imperial apparatus after WWII, the time effectively it "took over" as world imperial power with so many potential competitors flattened.

It made little secret of its desire to keep such a monopoly, so brilliant people like Oppenheimer would be well aware of something they might well regard as ominous.

Later, the Pentagon actually planned things like an all-out first strike on the Soviets – it did that more once as well as doing so later for China – so there were indeed plenty of dark intentions in Washington.

A hugely important general like MacArthur was unblinkingly ready in 1950 to use atomic weapons in the Korean War to destroy North Korea's connections with China.

I read several major biographies of Oppenheimer, and there is little to nothing concerning Soviet intelligence work. When I came across the Sudoplatov book with its straightforward declaration of Oppenheimer's assistance, it was difficult to know how to weigh the claim.

Spies and ex-spies often put disinformation into their books. Sometimes officials even insist they do so.

Judging by what is suggested here, if Oppenheimer did help, it was in subtle ways like letting Klaus Fuchs, a fellow scientist and a rather distinguished one (but a Soviet spy), look at certain papers. But the scientific community always has some considerable tendency to share information, a tendency having nothing to do with spying.

In general, it should be understood, that Oppenheimer, despite all his brilliance, was a rather disturbed man all his life. Quite early on, as just one example, he attempted to poison someone he did not like. Only pure luck prevented the man's eating a lethally-laced apple. There were other disturbing behaviors too.

He was subject to severe emotional breakdowns.

SolontoCroesus , says: November 25, 2019 at 12:10 pm GMT

"the[y] . . . saw themselves as a new breed of superstatesmen whose mandate transcended national boundaries"

Like Vindman

another anon , says: November 25, 2019 at 12:20 pm GMT

Later they believed that equality of superpower status for the Soviet Union would contribute to world peace.

How dumb were these "scientists". Everyone knows that once Soviet Union fell, peace and freedom and democracy are flowering all over the world and United States are not waging any wars anymore.

[Nov 22, 2019] The Independent Ukraine s painful journey through the five stages of grief by The Saker

Notable quotes:
"... Is it not possible to have an article on Ukraine without all the N@ZI references? Might have been a non-biased article, but many of us will never know... ..."
"... They certainly aren't National Socialists, and arguably not nationalists. Nationalists are open to what is best for "the nation" regardless of where it lies on the political spectrum. Since they don't consider the people in Donbas to be part of "the nation", that means, if anything, they are useful idiots of Zionism. ..."
Nov 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

In my July 25th article " Zelenskii's dilemma " I pointed out the fundamental asymmetry of the Ukrainian power configuration following Zelenskii's crushing victory over Poroshenko: while a vast majority of the Ukrainian people clearly voted to stop the war and restore some kind of peace to the Ukraine, the real levers of power in the post-Maidan Banderastan are all held by all sorts of very powerful, if also small, minority groups including:

The various "oligarchs" (Kolomoiskii, Akhmetov, etc.) and/or mobsters Arsen Avakov's internal security forces including some "legalized" Nazi death squads The various non-official Nazi deathsquads (Parubii) The various western intelligence agencies who run various groups inside the Ukraine The various western financial/political sponsors who run various groups inside the Ukraine The so-called "Sorosites" (соросята) i.e. Soros and Soros-like sponsored political figures The many folks who want to milk the Ukraine down to the last drop of Ukrainian blood and then run

These various groups all acted in unison, at least originally, during and after the Euromaidan. This has now dramatically changed and these groups are now all fighting each other. This is what always happens when things begin to turn south and the remaining loot shrinks with every passing day,

Whether Zelenskii ever had a chance to use the strong mandate he received from the people to take the real power back from these groups or not is now a moot point: It did not happen and the first weeks of Zelenskii's presidency clearly showed that Zelenskii was, indeed, in " free fall ": instead of becoming a "Ukrainian Putin" Zelenskii became a "Ukrainian Trump" – a weak and, frankly, clueless leader, completely outside his normal element, whose only "policy" towards all the various extremist minorities was to try to appease them, then appease them some more, and then even more than that. As a result, a lot of Ukrainians are already speaking about "Ze" being little more than a "Poroshenko 2.0". More importantly, pretty much everybody is frustrated and even angry at Zelenskii whose popularity is steadily declining.

... ... ...

Another major problem for Zelenskii are two competing narratives: the Ukronazi one and, shall we say, the "Russian" one. I have outlined the Ukronazi one just above and now I will mention the competing Russian one which goes something like this:

The Euromaidan was a completely illegal violent coup against the democratically elected President of the Ukraine, whose legitimacy nobody contested, least of all the countries which served as mediators between Poroshenko and the rioters and who betrayed their word in less than 24 hours (a kind of a record for western politicians and promises of support!).

... ... ...

Some of the threats made by these Ukronazis are dead serious and the only person who, as of now, kinda can keep the Ukrainian version of the Rwandan " Interahamwe " under control would probably be Arsen Avakov, but since he himself is a hardcore Nazi nutcase, his attitude is ambiguous and unpredictable. He probably has more firepower than anybody else, but he was a pure " Porokhobot " (Poroshenko-robot) who, in many ways, controlled Poroshenko more than Poroshenko controlled him. The best move for Zelenskii would be to arrest the whole lot of them overnight (Poroshenko himself, but also Avakov, Parubii, Iarosh, Farion, Liashko, Tiagnibok, etc.) and place a man he totally trusts as Minister of the Interior. Next, Zelenskii should either travel to Donetsk or, at least, meet with the leaders of the LDNR and work with them to implement the Minsk Agreements. That would alienate the Ukronazis for sure, but it would give Zelenskii a lot of popular support.

Needless to say, that is not going to happen. While Zelenskii's puppet master Kolomoiskii would love to stick this entire gang in jail and replace them with his own men, it is an open secret that powerful interest groups in the US have told Zelenskii "don't you dare touch them". Which is fine, except that this also means "don't you dare change their political course either".

...are going through the famous Kübler-Ross stages of griefs: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance: currently, most of them are zig-zagging between bargaining and depression; acceptance is still far beyond their – very near – horizon. Except that Zelenskii has nothing left to bargain with.


Alfred , says: November 14, 2019 at 9:51 am GMT

Thank you for a rational article about Ukraine. The sad thing is that it might take years to reach the "acceptance" phase.

It would take someone like Hitler to clean out the stables. Arrest is not a viable option as they will bribe their way out. These people need to be put down like rabid dogs. That is the only way to put an end to their mischief and it would be a deterrent to their replacements.

Personally, I suspect that the Ukraine is being deliberately depopulated to make way for waves of "refugees" from Israel. Another country that is still in the "denial" phase. Its military and political leaders know full-well that their strategic aims have all failed. The boot is now firmly on the other foot.

I suspect that Crimea was their preferred destination and hence the massive non-stop propaganda against Russia on that score. To give you an idea of how ridiculous it has all become, the UK no longer accepts medical degrees awarded by universities in Crimea.

AWM , says: November 14, 2019 at 1:56 pm GMT
Is it not possible to have an article on Ukraine without all the N@ZI references? Might have been a non-biased article, but many of us will never know...
Kateryna , says: November 14, 2019 at 5:18 pm GMT
It's "Ukraine", not "the Ukraine".
Spycimir Mendoza , says: November 14, 2019 at 5:30 pm GMT
Roman Dmowski, one of the creators of independent Poland, wrote in 1931 about Ukraine:
http://www.mysl-polska.pl/node/164
Commentator Mike , says: November 14, 2019 at 5:33 pm GMT
@Alfred

I suspect that the Ukraine is being deliberately depopulated to make way for waves of "refugees" from Israel.

You got that right – what it's all about is building a New Khazaria. But they're neither giving up on their Greater Israel project between the two rivers, and hence more wars, conflict and chaos to drive out the native Arabs from the Middle East.

I suspect that Crimea was their preferred destination and hence the massive non-stop propaganda against Russia on that score.

SeekerofthePresence , says: November 14, 2019 at 7:31 pm GMT
'Murka in boundless greed seizes Ukraine,
"Vital US national interest."
US now run by the likes of Strain,
'Nother hide to post in Pinterest.
Curmudgeon , says: November 14, 2019 at 9:47 pm GMT
@AWM They certainly aren't National Socialists, and arguably not nationalists. Nationalists are open to what is best for "the nation" regardless of where it lies on the political spectrum. Since they don't consider the people in Donbas to be part of "the nation", that means, if anything, they are useful idiots of Zionism.
tolemo , says: November 15, 2019 at 12:06 am GMT
@Curmudgeon They may not be real n@zis but they sure do look like it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vhw4IdIO6Lg&feature=youtu.be
Alfred , says: November 15, 2019 at 10:14 am GMT
@bob sykes Kolomoiskii is the real hidden owner/controller of the company that bribed the Bidens. He has a finger in lots of pies. His pretense to leaning towards Russia is his way to try to get the Americans to stop attempts to get at the many millions that he stole from his own Ukrainians bank – fake loans to his companies.

Of course, the Russians understand all of that. This theater is aimed at the Americans – not at the Russians.

Igor Kolomoisky Makes A Mistake, And The New York Times Does What It Always Does

Felix Keverich , says: November 15, 2019 at 9:43 pm GMT
For the Ukrainian state to break up, there need to be some forces interested in a break-up. You won't find such forces inside the Ukraine.

What is Ukrainian South-East? In pure political terms, "South-East" is a bunch of oligarchs, who are all integrated into Ukrainian system, and have no reason to seek independence from Kiev, especially if it means getting slapped with Western sanctions.

Even the Kremlin doesn't show much interest in breaking up the Ukraine, so why the hell would it break up?

It's worth pointing out that the so-called "Novorossia movement" started out as Akhmetov's project to win concessions from new Kiev regime. It was then quickly hijacked by Strelkov, a man who actually wanted to break up the Ukraine, and it is because of Strelkov, that Donetsk and Lugansk are now de-facto independent. Without similar figures to lead secessionist movements elsewhere in the Ukraine, this break-up that Saker keeps talking about will never happen.

Marshall Lentini , says: November 17, 2019 at 5:28 am GMT
Twenty-one occurrences of "Nazi".
Marshall Lentini , says: November 17, 2019 at 5:30 am GMT
@Nodwink Do you doubt it'll come to that? Krakow is on its way to becoming Little Bombay. Gotta have that "tech".
Carlton Meyer , says: Website November 17, 2019 at 6:31 am GMT
How 98% of Americans feel about the Ukraine BS:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Evj_qduJY7U?feature=oembed

Skeptikal , says: November 17, 2019 at 2:02 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer Tucker nails it -- with humor, to boot.

His ratings must be sky-high, because otherwise I cannot imagine why Fox would allow him to continue to use their network as a medium to broadcast common sense.

Of course the Dems are making it so easy.
Schiff, Kent, Taylor, Yanovitch -- what a pathetic, nauseating crew.

[Nov 22, 2019] How 98% of Americans feel about the Ukraine BS

Tucker is definitely an interesting commentator.
Nov 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

Carlton Meyer , says: Website November 17, 2019 at 6:31 am GMT

How 98% of Americans feel about the Ukraine BS:

Tucker Democrats have no actual plan for impeachment - YouTube

Antares , says: November 17, 2019 at 9:42 am GMT
@Alfred I had the same thoughts. Zelenskii should show a similar coffin with the text "This one is still empty" and then start rounding up the terrorists. He finally has a good excuse.
Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: November 17, 2019 at 9:58 am GMT
Thank you Saker and Unz for the very interesting article .

I wonder what has been the role of Germany in the Ukrainian disaster . ...I have the feeling , just the suspicion , that they contributed to the ucranian disaster out of their genetic Drang nach Osten Nordic greed , is that right ?

Anyway since the Ukrainian disaster the cohesion of the EU is going going down . Germany which was gifted with the german reunification , is less and less trusted spetially in south Europe , and even less in the EU far west , in England which is going out of the EU .

Most of the people in the EU would like to keep collaborating with the US , of course , but also with Russia and with the rest of the world . Most of the people in the UE are scared of the dark forces operating in Ukraine trying to provoke a war with Russia .

As a curiosity in 1945 the jewery asked Stalin to give Crimea to the jews , Stalin refused .
https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/164673/crimea-as-jewish-homeland

Z-man , says: November 17, 2019 at 10:21 am GMT
@Mr. Hack Do you work for Victoria Nudleman?
awry , says: November 17, 2019 at 10:41 am GMT
The stupid name-calling like the term "ukronazi" makes this article look like a rant like North Korean communiques or the ravings of some Arab despot's propagandist. It is not better than calling "The Saker" a "Moskal", "Sovok" or "Putler's stooge" etc. He should keep this lingo to directly "debating" "Ukronazis" on twitter or youtube commentst etc. not for an article that is supposed to be a serious analysis.
I understand that it is hard for a Russian nationalist to accept that the majority of Ukrainians don't want to belong to their dream Russkiy Mir, they were seduced by the West, which is more attractive with all its failings, because mostly of simple materialistic reasons. Ukrainians happily go to EU countries that now allow them in as guest workers. The fact, like it or not that majority of them chose the West over Russkiy Mir despite being very close to Russians in culture, language, history etc. He is still in the first stage of grief it seems.
Beckow , says: November 17, 2019 at 12:38 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack Touching. (Really, no sarcasm implied.)

All in all, Ukrainians are probably way above average in most human characteristics. The area of Ukraine is by planetary standards one of the best available: arable land, great rivers, Black see, pleasant and liveable.

But it is 2019 and life in Ukraine is barely better than it was 25-50 years ago, population has actually dropped from its peak in early 1990's. Millions of Ukrainians live abroad (I know some of them) and have – to be polite – at best an ambivalent attitude towards their homeland. Almost all of them prefer to be somewhere else, even to become someone else.

Now why is that? A normal society would have enough introspection to discuss this, to look for answers. Throwing a temper-tantrum on a big square in Kiev every few years is not looking for a solution. That is escapism, Orange-this, Maidan-that, 'Russians bad', 'we are going West', 'golden toilets', and always 'Stalin did it'.

I don't agree with the facile name-calling that sees Nazis everywhere and exaggerates throw-away symbolism. But Ukraine has not been functioning and it can't go like this much longer. Not because it will collapse, it won't, but because during an era of general prosperity Ukraine can't be a unstable exception (oh, I get it, they are better than Moldova, good for them.)

Rebellions against geography are doomed. Projecting one's personal frustrations on external enemies (Kremlin!) has never worked. Ukraine needs rationality – accepting that they will not be in EU, that attempting to join Nato would destroy Ukraine, and that they can't beat Russia in a war. And following advise of half-mad and half-ignorant well-wishers from Washington or Brussels is a road to ruin. Nulands, Bidens and Tusks will never live in Ukraine, they really deeply don't care about it. They have no skin in that game, it is just entertainment for them.

Or alternatively you can pray that Russia collapses – good luck waiting for that.

Beckow , says: November 17, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT
@Anon

.genetic drang nach osten nordic greed

There is not much 'drang' left in Germany, so I think this is mostly fingers on the map post dinner empty talk.

in 1945 the jewery asked Stalin to give Crimea to the jews , Stalin refused

Crimea is a jewel, but has one big problem: not enough water. But that's also true about Izrael, maybe there is a deep genetic memory of coming out of a desert environment.

During WWII, Germany actually established settlements in Crimea. Think about it: there is a massive war, you have like 1-2 years, short on transport and resources, and you start sending settlers to Crimea – that's how much drang-nach-osten types wanted it. And the Turks, etc This must be driving them absolutely nuts.

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: November 17, 2019 at 1:34 pm GMT
The mexicans are able to make fun of themselves , that`s a good thing . They have a joke which aplies also to Ukraina ( and other countries )

The mexicans say : when God created Mexico He gave Mexico everything ; land , mountains , plains , tropical forests , deserts , two oceans , agriculture , gold , silver , oil . then God saw how beautiful and perfect Mexico was and He though that He should also give something bad to the country to prevent the sin of pride , and then he populated Mexico with pure pendejos ,( idiots ) .

The same aplies to Ukraina . pure pendejos .

Skeptikal , says: November 17, 2019 at 1:49 pm GMT
@AWM "Is it not possible to have an article on Ukraine without all the N@ZI references?

If you want a decent analysis of current events in the Ukraine, which is what The Saker provides, I guess you'll just have to put up with his terminology.

The world won't miss a thing if Curmudgeon or AWM goes off in a huff, to sit on his toilet and read the "one joke per dump" volume lodged on the tank and stops reading The Saker's very thorough analysis as a protest action!

Beckow , says: November 17, 2019 at 1:55 pm GMT
@Anon My experience is that Ukrainians individually are far from being pendejos . But they are unable to act as a group or as a nation. (Well, they 'act', but it mostly somehow fails.)

Maybe it is the relative shallow and heterogenous history of Ukraine. Or – and this is what I have observed – a fundamental inner disloyalty to the Ukraine as a homeland. When one observes the assorted Porkys, Timoshenkas, Yanuks, the oligarchs, but also the crowds on Maidan, I get a sense that they are all about to leave Ukraine or are thinking about leaving. Societies can't be built with one foot always at the airport, or in an old car in a 5-km column waiting on the border of Poland. Or Russia.

GMC , says: November 17, 2019 at 1:56 pm GMT
Another good article – thanks – Yep, the US/EU NWO is not going to let their "West Ukraine Isis" battalions and intel gang lose their funding , arms trafficking ops, or terrorist reputation. This is a no win situation in Ukraine and the West knows it – Even if NovoRossiya gets some independence, the Ukraine Isis will/can reek havoc and murder for a long time along the border. The modern Cheka { Ukraine Isis } has been modified for the security of the new Farmland owners – Monsanto, Cargill, DuPont and the rest of the Globalist Corporations and their ports close to Odessa.
Hapalong Cassidy , says: November 17, 2019 at 2:01 pm GMT
One point of contention since it wasn't made clear in this article – Novorussia consists of Luhansk and Donetsk, but not Kharkov. While Kharkov has more Russians than most other provinces of Ukraine do, it does not have a plurality like Donetsk and Luhansk.
Epigon , says: November 17, 2019 at 2:06 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

All of Ukraine's doomsayers have been crying about Ukraine's demise for the lat 25 years, yet the fact is that it' s getting stronger and stronger every year,

USA diaspora keeps on delivering.

Shoutout to quarter/half Poles USA citizens LARPing as Ukrainian patriots in the comments.

Alfred , says: November 17, 2019 at 5:20 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich Even the Kremlin doesn't show much interest in breaking up the Ukraine, so why the hell would it break up?

Follow the money my friend!

Some provinces send much more money to Kiev then they get back in "services". So long as more loans from the EU, The USA and the IMF were forthcoming, that situation was not too bad. Now, the spigot is being closed. Hence the sad face of Mr Z when he met Trump in Washington.

This means that the provinces that are losing most from this internal transfer are going to be strongly motivated to stop sending money to Kiev. Kiev will lose control and that will fragment the country.

The Donbass was a big contributor to Kiev and got little in return – that was a major reason for their dissatisfaction. Everyone there could see that Kiev sent the money west and kept much for itself.

If the French provinces were to stop sending money to Paris, the Yellow movement would be totally unnecessary.

Skeptikal , says: November 17, 2019 at 5:20 pm GMT
@awry About 2.5 million Ukrainians have "emigrated" (you could also say "fled") to the RF since 2014.
Per Bloomberg most of the outflow not to Russia has been to countries of Eastern Europe, esp. Poland.
Alfred , says: November 17, 2019 at 5:34 pm GMT
@AP "Ukraine was historically a marsh of Poland for centuries before it was a historical marsh of Russia"

That was mostly Galicia and Volhynia. It is a tiny part of today's the Ukraine. In these areas, the Poles were landowners, the Jews their rent/tax collectors and the peasants were Ukrainian-speaking Slavs. Now, they are planning to sell the best farmland to "foreigners" (i.e. Jews) and the Slavs will become serfs once again.

Ukraine's plan to sell farmland raises fears of foreigners

It did not include many important cities – Kiev, Odessa, Kharkov and a great many smaller ones. There was no access to the sea.

If you go further back in time, you can also claim that Smolensk and Moscow belonged to Poland.

Beckow , says: November 17, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack The problem with your argument is that the 'war' in the east was entirely predicable. So was Crimea leaving and joining Russia. The people in charge in Kiev – presumably with 3-digit IQ – would think about it, plan for it, etc They obviously didn't. Instead they provided a needed catalyst to make it worse by voting in February 2014 to ban Russian language in official use, and the idiotic attacks on Russian speakers like in Odessa, that were neither prevented nor punished. The other side – in this case Russia and Russian speakers living in Donbas and Crimea – rationally took care of their own interests. Post-Maidan Kiev handed them all they could on a silver platter while busying themselves with silly slogans and videos of golden saunas.

Russia is actually one of the least susceptible countries to an economic collapse in the world – it is largely self-sufficient, has enormous resources that others will always buy, and has a very minimal percentage of its economy that deals with foreign trade. What they are susceptible to is the loss of value for their currency – and that has already largely happened since 2014. When it comes to energy, the countries that are low-cost producers are least impacted – who you should worry about are the numerous higher-cost producers like US shale, coal miners, or LNG gas that have huge upfront fixed costs and built-in high transportation costs. Russia and Saudis will be fine.

Back to the drawing board, what exactly is the plan in Kiev? If they know that having a war costs them investments, how do they end that war? It is highly unlikely that it would end with a victorious Kiev army conquering Donetsk (or Crimea). So what's the plan?

chris , says: November 17, 2019 at 6:45 pm GMT
It's amazing how spectacularly inept all these interventions over the last decades have been. Iraq, Lybia, Syria, Yemen, the coup in Turkey but also Ukraine.

And I know that in the ME, the Isrseli policy, as iterated by Michael Orin is to let all sides bleed each other to death, and that part has been relatively successful until recently.

But in Ukraine, they were going to consolidate their control over the country from Kiev and force-march the Russians out of Sevastopol. And that part didn't work at all, except as leverage to impose sanctions on Russia; but the long term goal of using Ukraine to overthrow Putin is now stuck in the Donbas.

My point being that it is the great fortune of the world that these criminal nitwits and fools in the State (War) Department and their helpers in the "intelligence" community are so arrogant and incompetent.

Arioch , says: November 17, 2019 at 7:41 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack Putin did not courted Yanukovich.

Putin courted (gave loans to) Yulia Timoshenko, the same way as later Putin gave loans to Marine Le Pen of France

You don't know even the most recent and public history of ze Ukraine .
Well, how is the land so are the patriots.

Arioch , says: November 17, 2019 at 7:52 pm GMT
@Anon Merkel (who herself was studying in Donetsk for few months) definitely has a hand in ze EuroUkrainian mess.

Afterall she met with Right Sector representatives one dayt before the final, bloody part of the coup started. And that meeting of "reporting on delivering at our commitments and asking Merkel about her delivery of her commitments" both with the next day start of "offence at the government" was announced by Right Sector yet another day before, 16 February 2014.

However i have reservations about Merkel representing German peoples, especially some alleged "genetical" trend of them to invade eastwards.
It was public, that Merkel's everything including public phone is spied upon by USA "intelligence community", and Merkel considered it normal and proper.

So it is clearly stated what she considers her allegiance and whom she considers her employees. Not citizens of Germany.

EliteCommInc. , says: November 17, 2019 at 7:53 pm GMT
"Each of these countries is as inorganic and disunited as Ukraine, or worse, made up as they are of various racial and ethnic groups who don't identify with each other."

I am dubious about this suggestion. But more importantly, Ukraine or the Ukraine has had a violent revolution about every ten years. You simply cannot develop a stable government, economy or safe social system if you you overturn the the government via violence every ten tears.

That is the key differences and essential to any successful government, and more so for a democracy that holds as innate belief, a tolerance for difference even competing ideas held by its population. It is as if the only the only we are exporting is revolution as solution to differences.

Arioch , says: November 17, 2019 at 8:58 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack > Russia has never been able to lead with a carrot, but only with a stick.

Russia offered dozen billions of loans and years ahead orders for Ukrainian industries. Those that Yatzenyuk begged to be re-started when he destroyed democratic government of Ukraine.

EuroMaidan tried to stole the carrot from Ukraine, and while it succeeded in stealing what Ukraine already picked, about 10%, the rest was kept safe of usurpers' reach, and so they started looting Ukrainian economy instead. Hrivna fallen 3-fold – more than ruble.

> Positive outside influence into Ukraine's internal development in the form of investments and economic development

EuroMaidan usurpers stopped real and ongoing investments from China and Russia by looting what investments arrived into Ukraine already. But at least they got $5 billions of investments from Nulland.

I like how "economic development" is listed as "outside influence". I thought that any state or nation would claim being capable of their own economic development, but for EuroMaidania it is quoted as some miracle that can only be given from outside.

> foreign investments being delayed until the war in the east is resolved

And that was why EuroMaidan usurpers invaded Donbass and started the war. To preclude investments from the West after they stopped investments form China and Russia.

> create a chaotic situations

EuroMaidan proponent blaming chaotic situations. Precious. "Bees against honey" movement.

> Since the West changed the dynamics of the energy game around the world

Did it? how exactly? By making Ukrainian pipelines liability no one wants to touch with a pole?

> It's learned to better feed itself, and that's about it

But that is exactly what Ukraine knew how to do, and what EuroMaidania can not do.
While Russia is gaining this experience – EuroMaidania was and is destroying it, for the sake of being "not like Russia". Way to go!

> One more jolt like in 2014

You mean the one when rouble fallen two-fold and hrivna three-fold?
Guess if the West could do it again – they would. But they can't.

> where are Russia's automobiles, televisions, medical equipment, computers, pharmaceuticals etc; within the world markeplace?

Russia is not packaging consumer goods. Russia is sending technologies, which others pack as consumer goods.

https://www.quora.com/Does-Russia-make-and-export-things-I-have-never-seen-anything-made-in-Russia

Ukraine could become one of those salesmen, packing Russian technologies into pretty wraps and selling around.
EuroMaidan usurpers feared that and prevented that.

EuroMaidan even destroyed Antonov company, which was one of just 4 companies in the world capable of building large airframes. Ensuring AirBus+Boeing+Tupolev/Ilyushin would have one competitor less. And as Antonov was el-cheapo vendor with strategy based on dumping – it was especially dangerous for Russian company, of the three. Thank you, guys, for removing this riddance out of Russian pathway. You did great service!

Arioch , says: November 17, 2019 at 9:19 pm GMT
@Hapalong Cassidy Beckow> the crowds on Maidan, I get a sense that they are all about to leave Ukraine or are thinking about leaving.

You do not need to "have a feeling"

The promise of "visa-less living and working in EU" was exactly what EuroMaidan crowd paraded as their aim and treasure, somehow magically warranted by the "Deep Association" that Yatzenyuk and Poroshenko later dragged feet for months, trying to delay signing of this economy suicide pact.

They were very public and honest about it. They claimed Yanukovich was somehow putting ball and chain on them all by giving the second thought to orders from Brussels. Aid in leaving Ukraine was the price they sold Ukrainian economy for. Ther were never shy in 2014 to speak about it.

Hapalong Cassidy> While Kharkov has more Russians than most other provinces of Ukraine do, it does not have a plurality like Donetsk and Luhansk.

There is a point. Kharkov in North-East and Odessa in South-West were trading cities, routing the official and smuggled goods streams and hosting the largest foreign goods markets. This clearly had impact upon mindsets of citizens and even more of cities elites.

People in Kharkov went to the streets right after the coup commited and without support they were at least equally numerous to all-Ukraine sponsored gathering of EuroMaidan #2.
But their leaders did not seek for independence, Kharkov city mayor Kernes openly shook hands with Andrey "White Fuhrer" Byletsky and expressed his care about his (not Kharkov citizens) safety in the night of Rymarskaya street murders, 2014 March 14th AFAIR.

People in Kharkov went against nazi from westernmost Ukraine regions (and even policemen) and stormed those out of their district government building. Who else did then?

They had a huge impulse, but they also focused the most efforts from usurpers to deflect and dissipate it. And little free resources the usurpers had back then.
Month later, in April, Kharkov was exhausted and pacified. But other regions of Ukraine were overlooked those two months.

However, it was that first month which gave people in Donetsk and Lugansk both time and examples to understand what is really going on (it was almost unbelievable that something like that can actually happen in XXI century in Europe, wasn't it?) and learn their Ukrainian elites are prostituting them, and then find some other leaders which would have enough skin in the game to not sell them out.

You may rightly say Kharkov citizens did not resist for long. But have to admit the resistance of Donbass and Lugansk was in significant part based upon time Kharkov bought them in March and April 2014, and upon self-exposing that Kharkov's fleeting but furious resistance forced EuroMaidan usurpers into.

Anon [301] Disclaimer , says: November 17, 2019 at 9:40 pm GMT
"All, repeat, ALL the steps taken to sever crucial economic and cultural links between Russia and the Ukraine were decided upon by Ukrainian leaders, never by Russia who only replied symmetrically when needed.
Even with international sanctions directed at her, Russia successfully survived both the severance of ties with the Ukraine and the AngloZionist attempts at hurting the Russian economy. In contrast, severing economic ties with Russia was a death-sentence for the Ukrainian economy which has now become completely deindustrialized."

No wonder saker deletes posts to his website containing info like these:

https://wits.worldbank.org/CountryProfile/en/Country/UKR/Year/LTST/TradeFlow/Export/Partner/by-country/Product/Total

https://wits.worldbank.org/CountryProfile/en/Country/UKR/Year/LTST/TradeFlow/Import/Partner/by-country/Product/Total

http://www.democracyhouse.com.ua/en/2018/ukraine-russia-trade-ties-trends-and-forecasts/

The top trade partner of *the* Ukraine is Russia. So his thesis is a little 'shoddy math' ish. The links have not been severed as he pretends.

" the severance of ties with Russia " The Ukraine is more tied to Russia than any other country, by recent trade volumes (as well as in traditional culture). Saker doesn't like these facts to muddy up his thesis.

Felix Keverich , says: November 17, 2019 at 9:59 pm GMT
@Alfred

This means that the provinces that are losing most from this internal transfer are going to be strongly motivated to stop sending money to Kiev.

You don't get it. Ukraine's South-Eastern provinces are inanimate objects . They have no consciousness, no self-interest or free will. They don't decide anything.

Donbass never decided to break away from the Ukraine. That choice was made for it by Strelkov, when he and his men occupied Slovyansk and began an armed confrontation.

Felix Keverich , says: November 17, 2019 at 10:04 pm GMT
@Anon The Ukraine used to export something like $20 billion worth of goods to Russia annually. It's now closer to $5 billion, and Ukrainians are a lot poorer as a result.
Anon [301] Disclaimer , says: November 17, 2019 at 10:24 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich The point is saker maintains it is completely de-industrialized. It is