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[Oct 17, 2017] For War Hawks, Iran Deal Dump Is Music to the Ears

As one commenter aptly said: " 'Moron', as Tillerson would say." and as another noted "Don the Neocon.. We can keep the military in the end-stateless, goal-less, sinkhole known as Afghanistan for decades, STILL subsidize the defense of rich EU and Asian countries, fight the latest "Al Qaeda offshoot" everywhere on the African continent but we can't afford universal healthcare like US welfare baby Israel or about every other developed country, or restore power or drinking water in a US territory."
Notable quotes:
"... the question is, who are these people all excited about Iran? Other than politicians who may be working for foreign lobbies? ..."
"... This is pure lawlessness. We are breaking an agreement and by advocating regime change against a govt that has not attacked us or even threatened us in a serious manner are breaking the U.N. charter. ..."
"... Screw Trump. I mean really, screw him. He got my vote because I thought he was going to first crush ISIS and then get us out of the Middle East. Instead he's intensifying nearly every aspect of our Middle East entanglements. ..."
"... Now he's creating a new mess of his own. And this crap he's pulling with Iran is for Saudi Arabia and Israel. America First really? ..."
"... Of all of the Obama-era foreign policy decisions Trump could pull back, he's hell-bent on crushing one of the only good ones. I'd be shocked if he has even an elementary understanding of the agreement. "Moron", as Tillerson would say. ..."
"... "Cotton is one of the biggest Israel money guys in the Senate, if not the biggest. Really whopping contributions – "the Swamp" personified. In return for Israel money he has tirelessly pushed the core Israeli policy of hostility to Iran, so much so that it hardly makes sense to think of him as an American senator anymore." ..."
"... It appears that Trump's strategy is to insult and ruin Ran's economy to the point where he can get Iran to do something that will allow him to declare war against Iran because they attacked us. ..."
"... And how many countries has Iran invaded in the last 200 years? And how many countries has Israel invaded in the last 80 years? ..."
"... We will really find out who the Swamp creatures are now. Any congressman or Senator who votes for new sanctions against Iran – a country that poses virtually no threat to the United States – exposes himself as a bought-and-paid-for tool of Saudi Arabia and the jihadist fanatics the Saudis support. ..."
"... it's less that Trump wants to undo what Obama did and more that he wants to do what Netanyahu wants. ..."
"... Any notion of American excellence has now been erased. Our country will not soon recover all that Trump has tossed away and as citizens, we cannot absolve ourselves from blame. We have elected the most odious leader in our history and have allowed (mostly) a Republican Party to participate in government without having made a single contribution to the welfare of the American republic. Cotton is not alone in his folly that dismisses all real national interest. Like others, there have been many times I have despaired at the state of affairs in our Country, but this is different. Trump and his vandal allies I believe have inflicted permanent and irreversible damage to our country. Joe F , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm One follow up to earlier post: with this action, Trump has proven beyond doubt that the Mullah regime in Iran is a far more trustworthy nation than the United States. Well done Donald ..."
Oct 13, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Fran Macadam , says: October 13, 2017 at 12:48 am

Making war in other people's countries is what an American government captured by globalist financial elites is all about. For elites, such wars, paid for by the deplorable ordinary Americans they loathe, have no downside and carry no risk to them. Lose-lose for the American public is win-win for them, they cannot lose, especially since wars that can't be won will never end, perfect profit streams.
80 Percent Polyester , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:39 am
"Cotton was among the fiercest and loudest opponents of the agreement before it was made, and he has continued to look for ways to sabotage it."

Cotton is one of the biggest Israel money guys in the Senate, if not the biggest. Really whopping contributions – "the Swamp" personified. In return for Israel money he has tirelessly pushed the core Israeli policy of hostility to Iran, so much so that it hardly makes sense to think of him as an American senator anymore.

He's more like a member of the Netanyahu government who somehow ended up in one of Arkansas's US Senate seats.

Early To Rise , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:58 am
Does anyone here know any real Americans who are pushing for this policy against Iran? My family and friends are nearly all real Americans, and not one of them has any interest in ending the deal with Iran. Most of them wish we would get out of the Middle East altogether.

So the question is, who are these people all excited about Iran? Other than politicians who may be working for foreign lobbies?

Christian Chuba , says: October 13, 2017 at 7:16 am
This is pure lawlessness. We are breaking an agreement and by advocating regime change against a govt that has not attacked us or even threatened us in a serious manner are breaking the U.N. charter.

We are doing this while condemning other countries for not following a 'liberal, rules based world order' (whatever that is, oh, wait, it is following Caesar's decrees). Our Hubris will catch up to us, whether it will be by the Almighty that the Haley's and Cotton's claim to serve or just the law of reciprocity, I don't know. No one is more blind than those corrupted by power.

John Quincy Adams, "But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force . She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit."

He was able to see this because we were not yet intoxicated by power.

Everything Must Go , says: October 13, 2017 at 8:01 am
Screw Trump. I mean really, screw him. He got my vote because I thought he was going to first crush ISIS and then get us out of the Middle East. Instead he's intensifying nearly every aspect of our Middle East entanglements.

Now he's creating a new mess of his own. And this crap he's pulling with Iran is for Saudi Arabia and Israel. America First really?

Frederick Martin , says: October 13, 2017 at 9:38 am
Of all of the Obama-era foreign policy decisions Trump could pull back, he's hell-bent on crushing one of the only good ones. I'd be shocked if he has even an elementary understanding of the agreement. "Moron", as Tillerson would say.
Fred Bowman , says: October 13, 2017 at 10:14 am
What seem to be missing here is anybody talking about Israel nuclear capability. That's the "dirty little secret" that nobody talks about. Imho, as long as Iran is in compliance the deal should. Of course Trump and the Hawks in Congress are going to do everything to scuttle it and bring about a war with Iran which will end up being a World War and will necessitate the US returning to a military draft to fight this war. It will be a sad way to "wake up" America to what is being done militarily in their name. But perhaps when they see their little "Johnny and Jill" marched off to war, they'll see what has been done in these endless, unwinnable wars in the Middle East.
AR complaint , says: October 13, 2017 at 10:31 am
[Tom Cotton gets] "Really whopping contributions – "the Swamp" personified."

He got a $700,000 check from a single Israel donor in 2014. You think anybody in Arkansas not named "Walton" can match that? No sir. Tom Cotton does what Israel tells him to do. Scuttle the Iran deal? No problem.

It's time that my fellow Arkansans did for Tom Cotton what those upstanding Virginians did for Eric Cantor back in 2014, and for the same reason: we want our government back from corrupt politicians working for foreign interests.

SDS , says: October 13, 2017 at 11:53 am
I second EVERYTHING said above by all –
Steve Waclo , says: October 13, 2017 at 11:53 am
" the president made clear over the summer, he didn't "believe" Iran was in compliance and would not certify again."

Wait, what?! What does Trump know that the IAEA has been unable to learn and at the risk of compromising intelligence sources, why has he not shared that knowledge? As with many of the man's "beliefs", such attitudes do not make issues remotely true. We don't need to stir the Iran pot, for goodness sake. Has not this man kicked enough hornets nests around the world?

Stephen J. , says: October 13, 2017 at 11:58 am
I believe the "War Hawks"are leading Trump into another war. Therefore, I asked on: February 4, 2017 Will There Be War With Iran?
http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/02/will-there-be-war-with-iran.html
Steve in Ohio , says: October 13, 2017 at 12:35 pm
"Cotton is one of the biggest Israel money guys in the Senate, if not the biggest. Really whopping contributions – "the Swamp" personified. In return for Israel money he has tirelessly pushed the core Israeli policy of hostility to Iran, so much so that it hardly makes sense to think of him as an American senator anymore."

Cotton is wrong on this issue, but he's hardly a Swamp politico. He understands the dangers of mass immigration and looks likely to replace Jeff Sessions as the leading immigration hawk in the Senate. Unfortunately, I suspect he has presidential ambitions and being pro Israel is a must in GOP primaries.

Rand Paul, on the other hand, like his dad, is good on foreign policy, but doesn't get the immigration issue. People like me who want a non interventionist FP and low immigration seldom have candidates that believe in both to support. I had high hopes for Trump, but he seems to have too many generals around him telling him the wrong things.

the times they are a'changing , says: October 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm
"Cotton is wrong on this issue, but he's hardly a Swamp politico. He understands the dangers of mass immigration and looks likely to replace Jeff Sessions as the leading immigration hawk in the Senate. Unfortunately, I suspect he has presidential ambitions and being pro Israel is a must in GOP primaries. "

No it's not. It was a litmus test for the old neocon Establishment GOP, and it's gone the way of Eric Cantor. You have to go to New York, DC, or some left coastal city to find anyone who gives a goddamn about it, and those places don't vote Republican anyway.

Politicians who take the Israel dollar care about it a lot, naturally. And Cotton's near the top of the list.

jk , says: October 13, 2017 at 2:04 pm
Don the Neocon.. We can keep the military in the end-stateless, goal-less, sinkhole known as Afghanistan for decades, STILL subsidize the defense of rich EU and Asian countries, fight the latest "Al qaeda offshoot" everywhere on the African continent but we can't afford universal healthcare like US welfare baby Israel or about every other developed country, or restore power or drinking water in a US territory.

"NO KIN IN THE GAME": STUDY FINDS MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WITHOUT DRAFT-AGE SONS WERE MORE HAWKISH"

https://theintercept.com/2017/10/11/congress-war-hawkish-policies-study/

That explains "lifetime bachelor" Graham's behavior!

Kent , says: October 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm
To our neocon friends:

1. Even though Iran and Iraq are 4 letter words and share the first 3, they are very, very different animals. Iran is an industrial state of 85 million capable of designing and building effective rockets. It is highly unlikely the US can defeat Iran in a conventional war on its own turf.

2. Even if we did defeat them, there is nobody there yearning for American style pseudo-democracy. While they are not perfectly happy with their own government, they'll be dammed if they're going to accept one from us. So you'd have to put millions of American troops in harms way against the civilian population essentially forever.

And a note on the President. I don't believe he knows or cares a thing about Iran or their capabilities. What he does know, after watching Fox News for the last 8 years is: Obama bad. So the only reason, I'm certain, that Trump cares about this is because it was an Obama initiative.

Robert Charron , says: October 13, 2017 at 3:34 pm
It appears that Trump's strategy is to insult and ruin Ran's economy to the point where he can get Iran to do something that will allow him to declare war against Iran because they attacked us.

And how many countries has Iran invaded in the last 200 years? And how many countries has Israel invaded in the last 80 years?

As I recall we made a regime change in the Iranian government when we had the CIA along with the English intelligence by replacing the elected Prime Minister of Iran with the despotic, tyrannical Shah.

As an American, Trump has desecrated our flag with his flat out lies, not the NFL athletes who simps knelt during the National Anthem.

simon94022 , says: October 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm
We will really find out who the Swamp creatures are now. Any congressman or Senator who votes for new sanctions against Iran – a country that poses virtually no threat to the United States – exposes himself as a bought-and-paid-for tool of Saudi Arabia and the jihadist fanatics the Saudis support.

Let them be counted!

Ollie , says: October 13, 2017 at 4:26 pm
No president in history has been more feckless and reckless than Trump. The danger demands that the 25th amendment be asserted.
Why Does The Heathen Rage? , says: October 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm
"So the only reason, I'm certain, that Trump cares about this is because it was an Obama initiative."

I've heard this before, but if it were true than why is Trump helping the Saudis wreck and starve Yemen? That was an Obama initiative too. That's why I now think that it's not really the Obama connection so much as the Netanyahu connection that drives Trump. In other words, it's less that Trump wants to undo what Obama did and more that he wants to do what Netanyahu wants.

Joe F , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:05 pm
Any notion of American excellence has now been erased. Our country will not soon recover all that Trump has tossed away and as citizens, we cannot absolve ourselves from blame. We have elected the most odious leader in our history and have allowed (mostly) a Republican Party to participate in government without having made a single contribution to the welfare of the American republic.

Cotton is not alone in his folly that dismisses all real national interest. Like others, there have been many times I have despaired at the state of affairs in our Country, but this is different. Trump and his vandal allies I believe have inflicted permanent and irreversible damage to our country.

Joe F , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm
One follow up to earlier post: with this action, Trump has proven beyond doubt that the Mullah regime in Iran is a far more trustworthy nation than the United States. Well done Donald
Liam , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm
Regarding the 25th amendment option: how far down the line of succession must one go to find someone who has solid, bona fide cred to stop this inanity?
picture window , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:45 pm
The Economist today opines that Xi Jinping has more clout than Donald Trump.

And I read on TAC that Trump is p***ing away our wealth and power doing favors for Israel and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, like scuttling the Iran deal and picking fights with the Iranian government. And I conclude that the reason that the Economist may be right about Xi Jinping is because Trump is doing what I read about in TAC, wasting our time, blood, money, and focus on appeasing a bunch of goddamn foreigners in the form of the Israel and Saudi lobbies.

Pretty damn grim.

[Oct 17, 2017] Trump Decertifies Iran Deal, Vows New Sanctions by Jason Ditz

The immediate costs of decertification for the USl include the loss of the trust of allies, increased tensions with Iran, and much greater skepticism from all other governments. It also create additional difficulties the next time America wants to negotiate a major international agreement as some countries will view the USA as a rogue nation which is unable to keep its word. If decertification leads to the U.S. breaching its obligations under the nuclear deal, as seems likely, that the costs will increase even more, and so will the chances of war with Iran.
It might well be that Trump made a step increasing the probability of his removal from the current position by cabinet members.
Looks like Trump focus on appeasing a bunch of foreigners in the form of the Israel and Saudi lobbies.
Pretty damn grim.
Oct 13, 2017 | news.antiwar.com

President Trump started his long-anticipated anti-Iran speech by complaining about the 1979 hostage situation. What followed was an increasingly fantastical and absurd accounting of Iran's history, before finally announcing he is decertifying the nuclear deal for "violations," and announcing new sanctions.

The allegations against Iran went from things that happened a generation ago to treating things like the specious "Iranian plot" to attack a DC restaurant as not only the government's fault, but absolute established fact. Beyond that, he blamed Iran for the ISIS wars in Iraq and Syria, repeatedly accused them of supporting al-Qaeda, and claimed Iran was supporting the 9/11 attackers.

The allegations were so far-fetched by the end, that even President Trump appeared cognizant that many won't be taken seriously. Later in his speech, he insisted that the claims were "factual."

When addressing "violations" of the P5+1 nuclear deal, Trump similarly played fast and loose with the facts, citing heavy water claims that are really more the international community's violation than Iran's (Iran was guaranteed an international market for the water, but after Congress got mad the US has refused to buy any more, meaning Iran's totally non-dangerous stock grew), and accusing them of "intimidating" inspectors, insinuating that was the reason there aren't investigations at Iranian military sites.

In reality, Iranian military sites are only subject to investigation in the case of a substantiated suspicion of nuclear activities, and there simply are none. The IAEA has in recent days clarified multiple times that they don't need or want to visit any military sites right now. The only allegations about the sites are from the Mujahedin-e Khalq, which has been the source of repeated false accusations in the past.

And while this was supposed to be a speech about the nuclear deal, Trump closed it off with comments that very much sound like his goal is regime change, saying Iran's people want to be able to interact with their neighbors (despite Iran being on very good terms with most of its neighbors already), and suggesting that whatever he's going to do will lead to "peace and stability" across the Middle East.

[Oct 16, 2017] Trump Looks Set to Start Blowing Up the Iran Deal by Eli Clifton

Notable quotes:
"... Despite the potential pitfalls of Cotton and Netanyahu's plan, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley embraced the approach. Haley, a possible replacement for embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, tweeted yesterday, "[Sen. Tom Cotton] has clear understanding of the Iranian regime & flaws in the nuclear deal. His [CFR] speech is worth reading." ..."
"... The United States must cease all appeasement, conciliation, and concessions towards Iran, starting with the sham nuclear negotiations. Certain voices call for congressional restraint, urging Congress not to act now lest Iran walk away from the negotiating table, undermining the fabled yet always absent moderates in Iran. But, the end of these negotiations isn't an unintended consequence of Congressional action, it is very much an intended consequence. A feature, not a bug, so to speak." ..."
"... Any agreement that advances our interests must by necessity compromise Iran's -- doubly so since they are a third-rate power, far from an equal to the United States. The ayatollahs shouldn't be happy with any deal; they should've felt compelled to accept a deal of our choosing lest they face economic devastation and military destruction of their nuclear infrastructure. That Iran welcomes this agreement is both troubling and telling. ..."
"... Ben Armbruster, writing for LobeLog last week, detailed the ways in which Mark Dubowitz , CEO of the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies , pushes for a so-called "better deal" while explicitly calling for regime change in Tehran. ..."
"... But perhaps a bigger pressure on Trump to de-certify comes from three of his biggest political donors : Sheldon Adelson , Paul Singer , and Bernard Marcus . All three have funded groups that sought to thwart the negotiations leading to the JCPOA, including Dubowitz's FDD, and have given generously to Trump. ..."
"... Adelson has also financed Israel's largest circulation daily newspaper, whose support for Netanyahu and his right-wing government earned it the nickname "Bibiton." ..."
Oct 16, 2017 | fpif.org

The Post credits Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) with this "fix it or nix it" approach to U.S. compliance with the JCPOA. Indeed, Cotton laid out essentially this very strategy in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in which he proposed that the president should decertify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal based on Iran's actions in unrelated areas and toughen key components of the agreement, arguing that the deal fails to serve U.S. national security interests.

This plan has a low likelihood of success because Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif says that the JCPOA will not be renegotiated and European governments have urged Trump to stick with the pact.

Despite the potential pitfalls of Cotton and Netanyahu's plan, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley embraced the approach. Haley, a possible replacement for embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, tweeted yesterday, "[Sen. Tom Cotton] has clear understanding of the Iranian regime & flaws in the nuclear deal. His [CFR] speech is worth reading."

But Cotton has been clear that renegotiating the nuclear deal isn't his actual intention. In 2015, he made no secret of his desire to blow up diplomacy with Iran, saying :

The United States must cease all appeasement, conciliation, and concessions towards Iran, starting with the sham nuclear negotiations. Certain voices call for congressional restraint, urging Congress not to act now lest Iran walk away from the negotiating table, undermining the fabled yet always absent moderates in Iran. But, the end of these negotiations isn't an unintended consequence of Congressional action, it is very much an intended consequence. A feature, not a bug, so to speak."

Later that same year, Cotton explained his terms for any agreement with Iran, qualities that more closely resemble a surrender document than anything the Iranians would agree to in a negotiation. Cotton said :

Any agreement that advances our interests must by necessity compromise Iran's -- doubly so since they are a third-rate power, far from an equal to the United States. The ayatollahs shouldn't be happy with any deal; they should've felt compelled to accept a deal of our choosing lest they face economic devastation and military destruction of their nuclear infrastructure. That Iran welcomes this agreement is both troubling and telling.

Indeed, Cotton and his fellow proponents of the president de-certifying Iranian compliance, despite all indications that Iran is complying with the JCPOA, have a not-so-thinly-veiled goal of regime change in Tehran, a position in which the JCPOA and any negotiations with Iran pose a serious threat. Ben Armbruster, writing for LobeLog last week, detailed the ways in which Mark Dubowitz , CEO of the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies , pushes for a so-called "better deal" while explicitly calling for regime change in Tehran.

But perhaps a bigger pressure on Trump to de-certify comes from three of his biggest political donors : Sheldon Adelson , Paul Singer , and Bernard Marcus . All three have funded groups that sought to thwart the negotiations leading to the JCPOA, including Dubowitz's FDD, and have given generously to Trump.

"I think that Iran is the devil," said Marcus in a 2015 Fox Business interview . Adelson told a Yeshiva University audience in 2013 that U.S. negotiators should launch a nuclear weapon at Iran as a negotiating tactic. Adelson may hold radical views about the prudence of a nuclear attack on Iran, but he appears to enjoy easy access to Trump. Adelson and his wife, Miriam, who were Trump's biggest financial supporters by far during his presidential run, met with the president at Adelson's headquarters in Las Vegas recently, ostensibly to discuss the recent mass shooting there.

But Andy Abboud, senior vice president Government Relations for Adelson's Sands Corporation, told the Adelson-owned Las Vegas Review Journal that the meeting was "pre-arranged and set to discuss policy," according to the paper .

Adelson has also financed Israel's largest circulation daily newspaper, whose support for Netanyahu and his right-wing government earned it the nickname "Bibiton."

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and U.S. foreign policy. He's previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.

[Oct 16, 2017] President Trump Beats War Drums For Iran by Ron Paul

Notable quotes:
"... Nearly every assertion in the president's speech was embarrassingly incorrect. Iran is not allied with al-Qaeda, as the president stated. The money President Obama sent to Iran was their own money. Much of it was a down-payment made to the US for fighter planes that were never delivered when Iran changed from being friend to foe in 1979. The president also falsely claims that Iran targets the United States with terrorism. He claims that Iran has "fueled sectarian violence in Iraq," when it was Iranian militias who prevented Baghdad from being overtaken by ISIS in 2014. There are too many other false statements in the president's speech to mention. ..."
"... Unfortunately the American people are being neoconned into another war. Just as with the disastrous 2003 US attack on Iraq, the media builds up the fear and does the bidding of the warmongers without checking facts or applying the necessary skepticism to neocon claims. ..."
Oct 16, 2017 | www.unz.com

President Trump has been notoriously inconsistent in his foreign policy. He campaigned on and won the presidency with promises to repair relations with Russia, pull out of no-win wars like Afghanistan, and end the failed US policy of nation-building overseas. Once in office he pursued policies exactly the opposite of what he campaigned on. Unfortunately Iran is one of the few areas where the president has been very consistent. And consistently wrong.

In the president's speech last week he expressed his view that Iran was not "living up to the spirit" of the 2015 nuclear agreement and that he would turn to Congress to apply new sanctions to Iran and to, he hopes, take the US out of the deal entirely.

Nearly every assertion in the president's speech was embarrassingly incorrect. Iran is not allied with al-Qaeda, as the president stated. The money President Obama sent to Iran was their own money. Much of it was a down-payment made to the US for fighter planes that were never delivered when Iran changed from being friend to foe in 1979. The president also falsely claims that Iran targets the United States with terrorism. He claims that Iran has "fueled sectarian violence in Iraq," when it was Iranian militias who prevented Baghdad from being overtaken by ISIS in 2014. There are too many other false statements in the president's speech to mention.

How could he be so wrong on so many basic facts about Iran? Here's a clue: the media reports that his number one advisor on Iran is his Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. Ambassador Haley is a "diplomat" who believes war is the best, first option rather than the last, worst option. She has no prior foreign policy experience, but her closest mentor is John Bolton – the neocon who lied us into the Iraq war. How do these people live with themselves when they look around at the death and destruction their policies have caused?

Unfortunately the American people are being neoconned into another war. Just as with the disastrous 2003 US attack on Iraq, the media builds up the fear and does the bidding of the warmongers without checking facts or applying the necessary skepticism to neocon claims.

Like most Americans, I do not endorse Iran's style of government. I prefer religion and the state to be separate and even though our liberties have been under attack by our government, I prefer our much freer system in the US. But I wonder how many Americans know that Iran has not attacked or "regime-changed" another country in its modern history. Iran's actions in Syria are at the invitation of the legitimate Syrian government. And why won't President Trump tell us the truth about Iranian troops in Syria – that they are fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda, both of which are Sunni extremist groups that are Iran's (and our) mortal enemies?

How many Americans know that Iran is one of the few countries in the region that actually holds elections that are contested by candidates with very different philosophies? Do any Americans wonder why the Saudis are considered one of our greatest allies in the Middle East even though they hold no elections and have one of the world's worst human rights records?

Let's be clear here: President Trump did not just announce that he was "de-certifying" Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal. He announced that Iran was from now on going to be in the bullseye of the US military. Will Americans allow themselves to be lied into another Middle East war?

Jim Christian , October 16, 2017 at 4:31 pm GMT

"Will Americans allow themselves to be lied into another Middle East war?"

The die was cast the minute they ended the draft and mandatory service. What the hell does anyone in this country care about the next war? Maybe some realize it's a theft, a looting, but as long as it isn't THEIR blood being spilt, nothing goes nuclear, they don't care. Few outside our little venue here even understand, they think it's still Rah! Rah! And then, I suppose if I were in Congress, I might demand votes on these deals. Civilian control of the military, funding the wars, etc. Of course, if I pushed the point, they'd put a bullet in my HEAD . Just because. And headline me, my Mistress and my wife on the front page of the Post. Because NSA just KNOWS shit. Probably set me up with my Mistress to begin with so they'd have something on me, heh. This is the dilemma the Hill has on a personal level. We don't vote on wars, we gave em a blank check after 9/11 and that's that. Keeping it all going? That's all private. None-ya.

No one can talk about it, they just do it.

[Oct 16, 2017] Trump acts like the proverbial bull in a china shop. Which might be the symptom of floundering, weakened, posturing US Empire -- decending into empty threats (Iran, NK) which are often rightly dismissed by others. Which make this historical period very dangerous indeed.

Notable quotes:
"... The reality is that the above situation outlined by Kerry two years ago has only worsened with Trump's inability to understand that reality leading to the current irrationality in policy-- unless --Trump is actually trying to further the Neocon policy of Full Spectrum Dominance. ..."
"... "Have you met America? That's the country that needs "lives matter" movements because of its prevailing culture of utter indifference to human welfare, but which trips over itself in its eagerness to wage war in defense of the petrodollar." ..."
"... I can easily envision a joint announcement by Russia, China and Iran that all trade conducted with them must be transacted in Yuan, Ruble, Rial, or Euro--that the dollar is no longer welcomed. And given the utter stupidity of the Republican controlled US Congress, more sanctions will be applied to Iran thus sealing the onset of the Outlaw US Empire's international isolation. ..."
"... Imho, the US political establishment, as publically projected, is moving closer to a realm where words, be they snide remarks, lofty pronouncements, declarations of intent, or vile accusations, become substitutes for action. ..."
"... US overt behavior is hapless unless entered into with cold calculation, a specific hidden aim in mind, and levers of control somewhere. Not the case imho, but dismissing Trump as a fool is not useful. We see symptoms of floundering, weakened, posturing Empire -- imho empty sorts o' threats (Iran, NK) are often dismissed by others, rightly so, but that is dangerous too: the US has to play the military domination position combined with the unpredictability card. Extremely volatile situation. ..."
"... Remember when Trump said he would never do a first nuke strike? :) ..."
Oct 16, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 | Oct 15, 2017 5:22:59 PM | 12

In the final days of the Iran Deal negotiations, August 2015, I completely missed the interview Kerry did with Reuters, https://2009-2017.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2015/08/245935.htm that Mercouris parses for his detailed article proving the Outlaw US Empire's Imperial Policy is now "irrational"--utterly I'd say since for me it's been irrational for decades when weighing the actual interests of the United States's populous. The key excerpt:

"But if everybody thinks, 'Oh, no, we're just tough; the United States of America, we have our secondary sanctions; we can force people to do what we want.' I actually heard that argument on television this morning. I've heard it from a number of the organisations that are working that are opposed to this agreement. They're spreading the word, 'America is strong enough, our banks are tough enough; we can just bring the hammer down and force our friends to do what we want them to.'

"Well, look – a lot of business people in this room. Are you kidding me? The United States is going to start sanctioning our allies and their banks and their businesses because we walked away from a deal and we're going to force them to do what we want them to do even though they agreed to the deal we came to? Are you kidding ?

"That is a recipe quickly, my friends, for them to walk away from Ukraine, where they are already very dicey and ready to say, 'Well, we've done our bit.' They were ready in many cases to say, 'Well, we're the ones paying the price for your sanctions.' We – it was Obama who went out and actually put together a sanctions regime that had an impact. By – I went to China. We persuaded China, 'Don't buy more oil.' We persuaded India and other countries to step back.

"Can you imagine trying to sanction them after persuading them to put in phased sanctions to bring Iran to the negotiating table, and when they have not only come to the table but they made a deal, we turn around and nix the deal and then tell them you're going to have to obey our rules on the sanctions anyway?

"That is a recipe very quickly, my friends, businesspeople here, for the American dollar to cease to be the reserve currency of the world – which is already bubbling out there .." (Bold italics in original.)

The reality is that the above situation outlined by Kerry two years ago has only worsened with Trump's inability to understand that reality leading to the current irrationality in policy-- unless --Trump is actually trying to further the Neocon policy of Full Spectrum Dominance. If that is indeed the case, then Trump's behavior is rational in that the only alternative facing the Outlaw US Empire in its drive to enslave the planet is to launch a non-proxy hot war to achieve its goals.

Or... Trump's smarter than any of us as he expects the neocons to fold when faced with the possibility of escalating the ongoing Hybrid Third World War into one that's no longer Hybrid and promises to bring horrendous amounts of death and destruction to The Homeland.

karlof1 | Oct 15, 2017 5:23:58 PM | 13
Oops, forgot link to Mercouris article, http://theduran.com/donald-trump-decertifies-iran-us-foreign-policy-becomes-irrational/
Grieved | Oct 15, 2017 6:10:34 PM | 18
@12 karlof1

yes, I just read that Mercouris piece and I was excited to read about that Kerry interview, that everyone seems to have missed. So here's what seems to be the authoritative background on the the Iran deal.

b said in his last piece - October 14 , linked in his article above:

Obama pushed sanctions onto sanctions to make Iran scream. But the country did not fold. Each new U.S. sanction step was responded to with an expansion of Iran's nuclear program. In the end Obama had to offer talks to Iran to get out of the hole he had dug himself.

For me this was the first time I'd seen an explanation of why the Iran deal happened, and I really wanted to know more. Now this retrospective by Mercouris shows exactly how accurate b's assessment was, but fills in the detail to show that the EU was already on the verge of a major split from the dollar. Only the deal, which allowed EU to grow its trade with the huge market of Iran, saved this potential run from the dollar by Europe.

I read the full Reuters interview , and I find it debatable how much of Kerry's statement was applied to Russia and China and how much to Britain, France and Germany. I'll parse it as, Asia will say it out loud, Europe will think it silently - the unthinkable, that is. Mercouris seems sure it was Europe:

In other words the US was pushed into the JCPOA somewhat against its will at the insistence of its European allies, who were considering lifting sanctions on Iran unilaterally if the US rejected the deal which was on offer. The US submitted to their demands because it feared that the alternative – threatening economic war on its European allies by imposing sanctions on them – would have hastened the ending of the reserve currency status of the US dollar.

It is rare to say the least for US officials to so much as contemplate in public the possibility of the US dollar losing its reserve currency status. The fact that in August 2015 Secretary of State Kerry actually did so shows the pressure that the US was under.

Astonishing. Here we are two years later trying to think that if Trump does whatever nonsense he does with the Iran deal, it will encourage a rift between the US and the EU - but actually this has already come to be the situation, and two years ago at that.

This is some serious shit, that we all seem to have missed. EU leaders may be craven, but European business wants to trade with Iran, and it's simmering around the point of breaking away from the dollar in order to do it. Surely this calls for a large re-calculation of the situation.

What happens if Iran starts to negotiate payments settled in Yuan? Hezbollah can take down Israel militarily. But perhaps Iran can take down the US financially?

ben | Oct 15, 2017 7:27:42 PM | 19
karlof1 @ 13: Thanks for the link. Good read. Actually gives a little hope that the adults in the world can reign in the morons now running the U$A.
ben | Oct 15, 2017 7:32:32 PM | 20
From TRNN: "Decertifying Iran Deal, Trump Escalates His War"

http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20220:Decertifying-Iran-Deal%2C-Trump-Escalates-His-War

Peter AU 1 | Oct 15, 2017 8:19:51 PM | 21
Part of Obama speech.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/08/05/text-obama-gives-a-speech-about-the-iran-nuclear-deal/?utm_term=.aac92dd70db9
..."Moreover, our closest allies in Europe or in Asia, much less China or Russia, certainly are not going to enforce existing sanctions for another five, 10, 15 years according to the dictates of the U.S. Congress because their willingness to support sanctions in the first place was based on Iran ending its pursuit of nuclear weapons. It was not based on the belief that Iran cannot have peaceful nuclear power, and it certainly wasn't based on a desire for regime change in Iran.

As a result, those who say we can just walk away from this deal and maintain sanctions are selling a fantasy. Instead of strengthening our position, as some have suggested, Congress' rejection would almost certainly result in multi-lateral sanctions unraveling.

If, as has also been suggested, we tried to maintain unilateral sanctions, beefen them up, we would be standing alone. We cannot dictate the foreign, economic and energy policies of every major power in the world. In order to even try to do that, we would have to sanction, for example, some of the world's largest banks. We'd have to cut off countries like China from the American financial system. And since they happen to be major purchasers of our debt, such actions could trigger severe disruptions in our own economy, and, by way, raise questions internationally about the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency. That's part of the reason why many of the previous unilateral sanctions were waived."...


Another time when Obama was covincing US to pass the Iran deal, he stated bluntly that not passing the deal would put the US dollar at risk. Have not been able to find it as yet.

Perimetr | Oct 15, 2017 10:44:48 PM | 26
RE: karlof1 | Oct 15, 2017 5:22:59 PM | 12 You write: "Or... Trump's smarter than any of us . . ."

Probably not

see: Donald Trump bodyslams, beats and shaves Vince McMahon at Wrestlemania XXIII
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMKFIHRpe7I

psychohistorian | Oct 15, 2017 11:38:03 PM | 28
I just read this comment by Oh Homer at another site and felt motivated to share it here.

"Have you met America? That's the country that needs "lives matter" movements because of its prevailing culture of utter indifference to human welfare, but which trips over itself in its eagerness to wage war in defense of the petrodollar."

karlof1 | Oct 16, 2017 11:30:57 AM | 38
Grieved @18-

Good questions! The extremely rare candor shown by Kerry, as Mercouris notes, isn't being shared by the Trumpsters and is likely responsible for their outward state of high anxiety and knee-jerk reactions to just about anything.

Iran says it has a plan: "Speaker of Iran's parliament Ali Larijani said that Iran 'had a developed plan and a certain law,' should the United States withdraw from the agreement on Tehran's nuclear program, adding that Washington would 'regret it.'" https://sputniknews.com/world/201710161058275364-iran-plan-us-nuclear-deal/

RT reports Larijani thusly: "' We have a plan We've recently approved in parliament what we should do given the Americans undertake certain steps, ' Larijani told reporters Monday on the sidelines of the Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting in St. Petersburg.

' We will take steps so that the Americans will regret it. '" (Emphasis in original.) https://www.rt.com/news/406851-iran-has-plan-if-us-withdraws-nuclear/ If that is so, then what Iran plans to do ought to be discerned by looking at its parliamentary actions on the subject by those able to read Farsi. I rather doubt it's bluff and bluster.

And the EU won't support Trump's decertification: "After a closed-door meeting [of EU Foreign Ministers at Luxembourg] chaired by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on how best to proceed on the Iran issue, ministers issued a joint statement saying that the 2015 deal was key to preventing the global spread of nuclear weapons." https://www.rt.com/newsline/406844-iran-eu-us-mogherini/

I can easily envision a joint announcement by Russia, China and Iran that all trade conducted with them must be transacted in Yuan, Ruble, Rial, or Euro--that the dollar is no longer welcomed. And given the utter stupidity of the Republican controlled US Congress, more sanctions will be applied to Iran thus sealing the onset of the Outlaw US Empire's international isolation.

Noirette | Oct 16, 2017 1:21:55 PM | 40
Imho, the US political establishment, as publically projected, is moving closer to a realm where words, be they snide remarks, lofty pronouncements, declarations of intent, or vile accusations, become substitutes for action.

Likewise, minor symbolic moves like withdrawing, "quitting" which is ambiguous, from e.g. UNESCO - *US didn't pay dues in any case.*

Trump is not alone, all the Dem. Russia-bashing/blaming leads nowhere, the Trump denigration as well, Trump threatening NK is similar.

The word is sufficient to itself! As are incantatory spells, religious appeals, etc. All one clumsy step beyond the Rovian "when we act, we create our own reality.." which rests on the power to act and transform reality (sometimes with sleight of hand, mirages..) transferring that power to symbols with hope and 'belief'... That's the comforting take.

US overt behavior is hapless unless entered into with cold calculation, a specific hidden aim in mind, and levers of control somewhere. Not the case imho, but dismissing Trump as a fool is not useful. We see symptoms of floundering, weakened, posturing Empire -- imho empty sorts o' threats (Iran, NK) are often dismissed by others, rightly so, but that is dangerous too: the US has to play the military domination position combined with the unpredictability card. Extremely volatile situation.

Remember when Trump said he would never do a first nuke strike? :)

[Oct 15, 2017] Trump Shoots the US in the Foot Over Iran by Eric Margolis

Notable quotes:
"... The US vociferous ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is almost a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Las Vegas gambling mogul and uber Zionist billionaire, Sheldon Adelson – who is also a key financial backer of Trump and Netanyahu. ..."
"... Israel has just scored a major triumph by using Trump to sabotage the Iran nuclear pact. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long been adamant in insisting that the pact be scrapped. Having pushed the US to destroy its old foes, Iraq and Syria, Israel now has its big guns trained on Iran, the last regional power that can challenge Israel's domination of the Mideast. Iran, we should remember, is also the only important Mideast power backing the Palestinians and calling for a Palestinian state. ..."
"... Trump is surrounded by a coterie of ardently pro-Israel advisors and cronies aligned to that nation's far right wing. So far to the right, in fact, that their Israeli opponents often call them 'fascists.' Trump, with this Mussolini complex, fits right into this mind-set. ..."
"... If the Iran nuclear deal is abrogated, America will have shot itself in the foot and shown the world it has fallen under the control of special interests for whom America's national interests do not come first. Europe, already disgusted by the Trump carnival in Washington and its religious supporters, will pull further away from the US and closer to Russia and China. Who would trust America's word after deal-break Trump? ..."
"... Europe has lately signed billions in new trade accords with Iran, most notably and $18 billion deal with Airbus for the sale of commercial aircraft. Boeing wants to sell 80 aircraft to Iran worth $16 billion. Thus Trump's jihad against Iran will likely deny high-paid jobs to tens of thousands of American workers. This from the president who was going to create jobs, jobs, jobs. ..."
"... Iran handed over ten tons of medium-enriched uranium as part of the nuclear deal. Will Tehran get this trove back if Congress scuppers the Iran deal? Doubtful. Iran destroyed many of its uranium centrifuges as part of the deal. Can it sue Washington for breach of contract? ..."
"... Meanwhile, the US heads towards some sort of military conflict with Iran at a time when it may go to war any day with North Korea. Trump, who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War due to a trivial foot problem, is now clearly thrilled by all his new military toys. Many of Trump's close advisors fear Trump will trigger a nuclear war. It may be time for his top officials to step in and take away the president's nuclear launch codes. ..."
"... Israel is determined to destroy Iran so that it can never pose a military or political challenge to the Jewish state. Call it Iraq II. This means turning Iran's nuclear industry and its civilian economy to ruins. And maybe even breaking up Iran – as was done with Iraq – into Iranian, Azeri and Kurdish mini-states. ..."
"... Rome's famous statesman Cato the Elder used to end every speech with 'Carthago Delenda Est' – (Carthage, bitter rival and enemy of Rome, must be destroyed.') Now, it's Iran's turn. ..."
"... Trump, who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War due to a FAKE foot problem ..."
"... Why is it that so many chicken hawks, like Bush, Trump and Cheney are warmongers? ..."
"... Com·pen·sa·tion: Behavior that develops either consciously or unconsciously to offset a real or imagined deficiency, as in personality or physical ability. Yep, that's fits the "fuking moron in chief", alright. Just one of his many mental deficiencies. ..."
Oct 15, 2017 | www.commondreams.org

President Donald Trump has put the United States on the course for war with Iran. That was clearly his objective last Friday when he refused to certify the international nuclear accord with Iran and proclaimed heavy sanctions against Tehran's powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Trump's move was also a clever ploy to deflect blame for abrogating the key 2015 Iran nuclear treaty that the US signed with Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union.

Accusing Iran of 'terrorism' and 'violating the spirit of the accord,' Trump threw the Iran issue into the hands of the Republican-dominated US Congress. He had to. All of Trump's senior national security officials and those from the treaty partners and UN reported that Iran had kept its end of the deal.

So Trump trotted out the old song and dance about terrorism – which means anything Uncle Sam does not like. The same United States that supports the murderous Islamic State and its allies in Syria and Iraq.

There won't be much doubt about how Congress handles this hot potato. The leading senators and congressmen who will deal with the issue, like Bob Corker, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio, are all firmly in the pocket of pro-Israel lobbies.

The US vociferous ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is almost a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Las Vegas gambling mogul and uber Zionist billionaire, Sheldon Adelson – who is also a key financial backer of Trump and Netanyahu.

In fact, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have more influence on Capitol Hill than President Trump. He used to show it off by humiliating former president Barack Obama.

Israel has just scored a major triumph by using Trump to sabotage the Iran nuclear pact. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long been adamant in insisting that the pact be scrapped. Having pushed the US to destroy its old foes, Iraq and Syria, Israel now has its big guns trained on Iran, the last regional power that can challenge Israel's domination of the Mideast. Iran, we should remember, is also the only important Mideast power backing the Palestinians and calling for a Palestinian state.

Trump is surrounded by a coterie of ardently pro-Israel advisors and cronies aligned to that nation's far right wing. So far to the right, in fact, that their Israeli opponents often call them 'fascists.' Trump, with this Mussolini complex, fits right into this mind-set.

In addition, Trump's virulent hatred of Islam and his deep support from America's evangelicals fuels his antipathy to Iran. The Israeli lobby and so-called Christian Zionists that make up his electoral base are beating the war drums against Iran.

If the Iran nuclear deal is abrogated, America will have shot itself in the foot and shown the world it has fallen under the control of special interests for whom America's national interests do not come first. Europe, already disgusted by the Trump carnival in Washington and its religious supporters, will pull further away from the US and closer to Russia and China. Who would trust America's word after deal-break Trump?

Europe has lately signed billions in new trade accords with Iran, most notably and $18 billion deal with Airbus for the sale of commercial aircraft. Boeing wants to sell 80 aircraft to Iran worth $16 billion. Thus Trump's jihad against Iran will likely deny high-paid jobs to tens of thousands of American workers. This from the president who was going to create jobs, jobs, jobs.

Iran handed over ten tons of medium-enriched uranium as part of the nuclear deal. Will Tehran get this trove back if Congress scuppers the Iran deal? Doubtful. Iran destroyed many of its uranium centrifuges as part of the deal. Can it sue Washington for breach of contract?

Meanwhile, the US heads towards some sort of military conflict with Iran at a time when it may go to war any day with North Korea. Trump, who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War due to a trivial foot problem, is now clearly thrilled by all his new military toys. Many of Trump's close advisors fear Trump will trigger a nuclear war. It may be time for his top officials to step in and take away the president's nuclear launch codes.

Israel is determined to destroy Iran so that it can never pose a military or political challenge to the Jewish state. Call it Iraq II. This means turning Iran's nuclear industry and its civilian economy to ruins. And maybe even breaking up Iran – as was done with Iraq – into Iranian, Azeri and Kurdish mini-states.

Rome's famous statesman Cato the Elder used to end every speech with 'Carthago Delenda Est' – (Carthage, bitter rival and enemy of Rome, must be destroyed.') Now, it's Iran's turn.

Shantiananda

Many of Trump's close advisors fear Trump will trigger a nuclear war."

One does not need to be a close advisor to Trump in order to feel the same way!

WiseOwl

Trump, feeling so (rightly) unloved today embraces Bibi's CONDITIONAL love if only to attack Iran. Let's hope some four-stars can spare a bright an shiny among them and shove it up his ass. His? Trump and Bibi, of course. Grammar be damned.

ncycat

Netanyahu and his cronies are terrorists and war criminals. Nety and his wife are being investigated for fraud. The Israeli people are held hostage by organized crime, just as are Americans. We don't call them "mafioso," but mark my word, that is what we are dealing with: criminals of the vilest sort.

nighthawk

In addition, Trump's virulent hatred of Islam and his deep support from America's evangelicals fuels his antipathy to Iran. The Israeli lobby and so-called Christian Zionists that make up his electoral base are beating the war drums against Iran.

This one sentence says it all! Our foreign policy is now being controlled by an insane "Christian" minority and a racist foreign government.

Swagman

Israel is a ruinous parasite that, with great vigilance to consolidate power and quell opposition, seeks to control its host. Our screwed up plutocracy, illusory democracy, media control, and woeful so-called elites makes this in large measure possible.

buffalospirits

Trump, who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War due to a FAKE foot problem

Shantiananda

Why is it that so many chicken hawks, like Bush, Trump and Cheney are warmongers?

nighthawk

The answer is to be found in the psychological definition of compensation.

MCH

And apparently those close advisers don't fear it enough to demand impeachment proceedings. Unfortunately as long as Trump gives those corporate owned advisers a pass to rape the country, they will continue to risk rolling the nuclear war dice.

blaggard

Com·pen·sa·tion: Behavior that develops either consciously or unconsciously to offset a real or imagined deficiency, as in personality or physical ability. Yep, that's fits the "fuking moron in chief", alright. Just one of his many mental deficiencies.

Eric Margolis is a columnist, author and a veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East. Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain's Sky News TV as "the man who got it right" in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq. His latest book is American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World.

[Oct 14, 2017] Republican senator blasts Donald Trump for 'castrating' Rex Tillerson

Notable quotes:
"... Tillerson told a news conference in Beijing two weeks ago that the US was directly communicating with North Korea on its nuclear and missile programs, but it had shown no interest in dialogue. Trump took to Twitter the next day, saying Tillerson was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. ..."
"... "The greatest diplomatic activities we have are with China, and the most important, and they have come a long, long way," Corker said. "Some of the things we are talking about are phenomenal. "When you jack the legs out from under your chief diplomat, you cause all that to fall apart." He added that working with China was the key to reaching a peaceful settlement with North Korea. ..."
"... "When you publicly castrate your secretary of state, you take that off the table," Corker said. ..."
"... If Tillerson is undermined by Trump, why is he hanging around. He can't be effective. Honorable thing to do is to hand over his resignation. He doesn't need the job. ..."
"... It's bad, but having experienced the 60s and early 70s (Nixon, Watergate, Vietnam, assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, Kent State, 1960 Dem Convention, Weather Underground, etc.) I think it's safe to say that we are nowhere near that level. And then there's the Civil War, Andrew Johnson, etc. ..."
"... Forty years of Reagan's mantra that government, taxes, and unions are evil and business is the way, the truth, and the power. Forty years of his trickle down economics which has led to stagnating/declining wages, crumbling infrastructure and, importantly, divestment in k-16 education. Ongoing dog whistles to now include Christian persecution in a primarily Christian country. ..."
"... And remember, we're a big ass country with small, far flung towns. Trump's support is strongest in small, rural communities ..."
"... Trump picked up the GOP ball and ran with it to its natural conclusion -- a know nothing incompetent, narcissistic president who won on the back of the bigotry, fear, and economic lies the GOP's been peddling for decades. ..."
"... I think many people have been secretly hoping that the good cop/bad cop act was part of an agreed strategy for dealing with Kim and the DRK. It's not though is it? Dozza really is as pathetic as he looks. Absolutely out of his depth and endangering everybody with his bullshit. ..."
"... Sadly the typical American has very little to no awareness of the world outside of the US. Their world view and knowledge of the rest of the world is extremely limited and biased. That is why 'America First' is the perfect strap-line for this 'president'. ..."
"... Trump isn't evil. He's thin-skinned, easily goaded, petty and vindictive, and lacks foresight and self-awareness. His attempts to dismantle Obamacare will kill people, but that's not his aim and he doesn't think of it in those terms. He's not evil, just incompetent and irrational. ..."
"... Trump doesn't understand the word "negotiation" anyway. That's why he previously said that any negotiations with NK would be very short. It's because his definition of the word is, "we tell you what we demand, and you do it, regardless of your viewpoint." That's why he makes enemies of everyone he has contact with, a total lack of understanding that a Win-Win approach is better for all (what does it matter what the outcome for "all" is, as long as Trump appears to be the winner). Boils down to his mental condition meaning he has no empathy. ..."
"... Trump is "riding" the surge in jobs that is related entirely to a cyclical recovery from worldwide recession. ..."
"... I think everyone knows the keys the North Korea crisis are China and dialog. But who says the Corporate States and their military-industrial complex want peace? War drives profits. And as anyone who has travelled the US - outside of Vegas, 5th Ave and Hollywood and Vine - knows war is essential to the American identity and needed to maintain cohesion in that fracturing society. Pride in the US military is a foundation stone of the modern US. War is needed to distract the peasants from the rising poverty virtually nil opportunities at home. War on the Korean peninsula may be needed by the Corporate State and if it is it will happen. ..."
"... It is almost as if Donald Trump thinks the Secretary of State's job is to take notes on Donald Trump's statements. ..."
Oct 14, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Bob Corker accuses the president of undercutting the secretary of state's efforts to rein in North Korea's nuclear program

US Republican senator Bob Corker stepped up his public feud with Donald Trump on Friday, saying the president's undermining of his secretary of state was like castrating him in public.

Corker told the Washington Post in an interview that Trump had undercut Rex Tillerson's efforts to enlist China in reining in North Korea's nuclear program by denigrating the diplomat.

"You cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state" without limiting the options for dealing with North Korea, Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, told the Post.

Tillerson told a news conference in Beijing two weeks ago that the US was directly communicating with North Korea on its nuclear and missile programs, but it had shown no interest in dialogue. Trump took to Twitter the next day, saying Tillerson was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

"The greatest diplomatic activities we have are with China, and the most important, and they have come a long, long way," Corker said. "Some of the things we are talking about are phenomenal. "When you jack the legs out from under your chief diplomat, you cause all that to fall apart." He added that working with China was the key to reaching a peaceful settlement with North Korea.

"When you publicly castrate your secretary of state, you take that off the table," Corker said.

Artgoddess 14 Oct 2017 17:05

Tillerson gets A LOT of $ if he lasts a year. Mnuchin, too.

humdum 14 Oct 2017 14:55

If Tillerson is undermined by Trump, why is he hanging around. He can't be effective. Honorable thing to do is to hand over his resignation. He doesn't need the job.

LibtardMangina -> imipak 14 Oct 2017 13:06

Like Sadam had no WMDs yet George and Tony pretended they cared whether they were there or not and went in guns blazing. We're still trying to pick up the pieces. Thanks guys. Dozza's adventures in NK is the next instalment of this shit show.

willyjack -> lochinverboy 14 Oct 2017 12:54

"This is the low point in America's political history"

It's bad, but having experienced the 60s and early 70s (Nixon, Watergate, Vietnam, assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, Kent State, 1960 Dem Convention, Weather Underground, etc.) I think it's safe to say that we are nowhere near that level. And then there's the Civil War, Andrew Johnson, etc.

ConBrio -> CorvidRegina 14 Oct 2017 12:16

She came, she manipulated the nomination process, she lost! Get over it the precipitous canonization of damaged goods and try to elect someone competent. She ain't risin again.

CorvidRegina -> Abusedbythestate 14 Oct 2017 11:30

politicians playing on people's fears and telling them what they want to hear

That is the true culprit here. The role of politicians has always been to protect the country, including from its own citizens. Every politician makes use of some fear as a rhetorical tool, but the American conservatives really took this to a whole new level; they found an easy and lazy way to keep their support bolstered, by conflating the very worst traits of the ignorant and gullible with moral, even religious, superiority.

Of course they now consider themselves superior to even the politicians that fed them. It's hard to feel much pity.

john ayres -> colacj 14 Oct 2017 11:18

[Edited for clarity] Anyone other then primate chosen for this position would outshine him. Leave at the Russia BS. It is the result of $2B of propaganda from US agencies.

DAW188 14 Oct 2017 11:02

On an international scale what should probably be concerning American voters more than it is, are the US allies that appear to be pivoting away from them and towards each other. With an incompetent ninny of a POTUS and absolutely no clear military or diplomatic direction it is unsurprising that other global players are looking to each other for some security. The latest fallout over the Iran deal will only exasperate it.

I imagine it has caused some of the diplomats and bureaucrats in Washington to sit up and feel concerned. But as most US news reporting (even from internationally regarded publications like the NYT) seems to look no further than the end of its nose, I doubt its getting much, if any, play amongst US voters.

A fine example of this would be the machinations of the recent meetings between Theresa May and Shinzo Abe. They represent two of the closest political, economic and military allies of the US and are arguably key to the US' Atlantic and Pacific spheres of influence. Both countries find themselves in a bit of a bind. May turns up with a big empty bag labelled trade deals and Abe greets her with a tin-helmet on fearing a NK missile might drop on his head at any moment and that the US administration is not reliable enough to step in and diffuse the tension as it has in the past.

Abe conveniently has a country full of investors who would quite like to get access to the UK to buy up business on the cheap. May had a few hundred nuclear warheads in her back pocket that are all transferable anywhere in the world undetected and underwater (say for example in the South China Sea or the Sea of Japan), as well as a large intelligence agency and a UN security council seat. Not hard to see how tempting it would be for the two to cut a deal. The speech that the two leaders gave at the end of their little summit spelt it out. Abe bigged up Brexit, the opportunities it would afford and the strength of the Anglo-Nippon economic partnership, whilst May reaffirmed British commitments to defend its ally Japan's interests in a big two fingers up to Beijing and Pyongyang. Suddenly the US has two powerful allies turning away from it and towards each other, providing support that the US was once a bridge for.

This isn't restricted to the UK or Japan. Look at Macron in France and Merkel in Germany. Trudeau in Canada and Pena Nieto in Mexico. Even loyal old Bibi is getting in on the act when he recently invited India's Modi around for tea in Jerusalem.

Then you have theoretical allies, that have questionable intentions. Qatar and the Saudis remain at each others throats. The Emir of Qatar (or should that be his mother, the former Queen Moza, the power behind the curtain) certainly seems increasingly enamored with the Iranian's. Whilst the tensions in the Gulf are the way they are, it may not be the time to try and up-end again the relationship with Iran.

mbidding -> JEM5260 14 Oct 2017 11:00

Fifty years of the GOP putting party before country is how too many voters have been duped and misinformed.

Fifty years of Nixon's Southern Strategy and subsequent dog whistle politics aimed at convincing "real" Americans that people of color, liberals, intellectuals, and secular humanists are out to destroy their way of life and are the causes of all their woes.

Forty years of Reagan's mantra that government, taxes, and unions are evil and business is the way, the truth, and the power. Forty years of his trickle down economics which has led to stagnating/declining wages, crumbling infrastructure and, importantly, divestment in k-16 education. Ongoing dog whistles to now include Christian persecution in a primarily Christian country.

Thirty five years of repeal of the Fairness Doctrine by which "news" has become nothing more than politically propagandized infotainment.

And remember, we're a big ass country with small, far flung towns. Trump's support is strongest in small, rural communities -- communities with no experience with diversity of any type (political, economic, and social). These folks have been groomed by the GOP for fifty years to believe that liberal policies and non whites are out to get them and only the GOP and business have their backs.

Trump picked up the GOP ball and ran with it to its natural conclusion -- a know nothing incompetent, narcissistic president who won on the back of the bigotry, fear, and economic lies the GOP's been peddling for decades.

LibtardMangina 14 Oct 2017 10:44

I think many people have been secretly hoping that the good cop/bad cop act was part of an agreed strategy for dealing with Kim and the DRK. It's not though is it? Dozza really is as pathetic as he looks. Absolutely out of his depth and endangering everybody with his bullshit.

Abusedbythestate -> Conradsagent 14 Oct 2017 08:23

It will still end in tears for the yanks - a powerful military will not save the dollar - change is the one constant in the universe - where is the roman empire, the British empire, the Portuguese and Spanish empires, the Venetian empire now???? No one state stays the top dog for ever.

The rest of the world will see to that - the British and Europe are starting to look East and Trump is helping them do that to become so isolated, the US will become a backwater as quick as the USSR collapsed almost overnight. It only takes one extra straw to break the camel's back

Abusedbythestate -> digamey 14 Oct 2017 08:19

Indeed - I have many German friends and we talk about how any group of people in a nation can vote a nutter into power - Hitler being one of the most in(famous). At the end of the day, in all of the world in every nation state, there are a lot of very dumb people - the majority of the electorate to a greater or lesser degree - it's not their fault - we are all born entirely ignorant and our culture forms our opinions and our ability to question - do you remember how often at school, you were encouraged to question anything? or were facts, facts?

Pile on top of that a very powerful media, politicians playing on people's fears and telling them what they want to hear, and people's general gullibility and it's no great surprise that the Germans voted for Hitler, the Yanks voted for Trump and our dumb country voted .... well, vote the way they do - the fact that people seem happy with our so called democracies around the world that are far from democratic, depending on definition, and where we're often given a choice of just one or two options that seem incredibly similar in policy compared to the vast possible alternatives on how to run a country/economy - heaven forbid we might attempt an "extreme" alternative!!!

3melvinudall 14 Oct 2017 08:18

It seems some Republicans have decided now is the time to take down Trump. From what the country has seen of how Trump does "business" better to take him on now than deal with the disastrous consequences of his failures. Captain Trump is taking the ship down with his incompetence...problem is: we are all on that ship.

Gytaff -> Mordicant 14 Oct 2017 07:48

Sadly the typical American has very little to no awareness of the world outside of the US. Their world view and knowledge of the rest of the world is extremely limited and biased. That is why 'America First' is the perfect strap-line for this 'president'.

The Trump base doesn't give a toss about 'worldwide economic momentum', they only see what is happening in their own back yards. This is why Trump is doing well with his base, they see his posturing against North Korea, Iran and Syria as strength, they see his threats to trade deals as protectionist and have absolutely no problem with it, it's perfectly aligned with their views and mindset.

The Democrats are going to have a serious battle in the mid-terms, they need to find a way to appeal to the common man and give them what Trump keeps promising to deliver (but not, so far!). They need to show that they, as elitists can empathize with the common man's position, needs and beliefs, sadly the democrats have a long way to go! The Republicans are also screwed as Trumpism is anathema to their candidates too.

The next 12 months are going to be 'interesting times'!

Conradsagent -> ConBrio 14 Oct 2017 07:34

The US is one of the most fundamentalist, extreme religious whack job countries on the planet.

As for addiction to US protection...it is also one of the most (if not, the most) dangerously confused countries on earth. The world needs protecting 'from' it...not by it

corneilius -> pruneau 14 Oct 2017 07:24

Exactly the same can be said of the Tory party in the UK, especially the belief that you run a national economy on the same principles of a household budget.

saintkiwi -> Prumtic 14 Oct 2017 07:23

I think half the cabinet and half of Congress may actually go along with it; we know from whispers around the White House and Washington that many, if not most, Republicans think Trump is temperamentally/psychologically unfit for the post. Maybe Corker is the crack in the dam that eventually leads to catastrophic failure and flood; maybe not.

Pence is a total stiff, though. No way such a conservative guy would implement such an historic and radical action as forcibly* removing a sitting president, no matter how nuts that C-in-C was.

*(and yes, I can envisage Tump literally having to be dragged from the Oval Office)

UB__DK 14 Oct 2017 07:02

I hope the 25th amendment is on the agenda behind the scenes. It is clear to everyone that the president is unqualified. He is steadily eroding the credibility of the office he holds and of the entire West on the international political scene. And the longer his removal is delayed the worse it will get.

BeenThereDunThat -> ClearlyNow 14 Oct 2017 06:39

Oh dear, another Trumpkin. I am no fan of Merkel - a neoliberal to her boots. But at least she has some humanity and actually cares for other members of the human race outside of her immediate family - and to be honest, I doubt the Tango Tyrant cares for his family other than their being a projection of his own narcissistic ego.

As for Germany, its economy still marches along with it being the number 4 economy in the world and the top of the G5 group. It's standard of living remains high while social inequality is far lower than in countries such as the US or the UK.

So sorry, but another pathetically failed straw-man - or in this case, straw-woman - attempt to deflect attention from the discussion at hand.

Ramas100 14 Oct 2017 05:49

It's the military generals who are stroking Trump's ego by telling him there is a military solution to N Korea and Iran.

RichWoods -> blairsnemesis 14 Oct 2017 05:47

but Trump is the most evil and worst person to hold the post, ever.

Trump isn't evil. He's thin-skinned, easily goaded, petty and vindictive, and lacks foresight and self-awareness. His attempts to dismantle Obamacare will kill people, but that's not his aim and he doesn't think of it in those terms. He's not evil, just incompetent and irrational.

All those things were apparent during the election campaign, so whatever your politics you have no excuse if you voted for someone who is so patently unfit to hold public office.

blairsnemesis -> FrankRoberts 14 Oct 2017 05:23

I suspect he realised before he even took up the post that he was far too thick for the job. Reagan was an appalling bag of shit but Trump is the most evil and worst person to hold the post, ever. I only hope that if someone doesn't kill him (and they'd have my full backing because he is an immense threat to the world), he gets put behind bars, along with the rest of his thick-as-pigshit family, for life.

Prumtic -> HelpAmerica 14 Oct 2017 05:14

Trump doesn't understand the word "negotiation" anyway. That's why he previously said that any negotiations with NK would be very short. It's because his definition of the word is, "we tell you what we demand, and you do it, regardless of your viewpoint." That's why he makes enemies of everyone he has contact with, a total lack of understanding that a Win-Win approach is better for all (what does it matter what the outcome for "all" is, as long as Trump appears to be the winner). Boils down to his mental condition meaning he has no empathy.

MortimerSnerd 14 Oct 2017 05:11

Just trying to keep the faith here until the mid terms. Trump is more bluster than balls, and he is not The Emperor. There are checks and balances in the system and the system has thwarted him on many occasions.

peterxpto -> LondonFog 14 Oct 2017 05:03

Trump is "riding" the surge in jobs that is related entirely to a cyclical recovery from worldwide recession.

Kevin Cox -> WhigInterpretation 14 Oct 2017 04:46

Well said. Regarding Congress, people do not understand the way the US is hobbled by a constitution that facilitates the lobbying of special interests - so long as it is not the labor movement - and which is very, very hard to change. So much for the Founding Fathers and what they accomplished and made difficult to alter.

tippisheadrun -> simba72 14 Oct 2017 04:29

Absolutely.
President Ted Cruz, President Mike Huckabee, President Ben Carson, President Chris Christie, President Rick Santorum, President Marco Rubio - take your prick - none of them would promote any sense of security in the populace. With the exception of John Kasich, the GOP nominee was destined to be a dangerous character- either through lack of scruples or a misguided sense of their own righteousness.

daWOID -> digamey 14 Oct 2017 02:53

Fun fact: "the lifestyle of the good citizens of Montana, Idaho, Nebraska, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Texas etc., etc" collapsed a long time ago.

juster digamey 14 Oct 2017 02:50

The dollar is not going to stay the reserve currency forever. Its just math. If an average chinese can reach 25% productivity of an average amreican, and there is no reason they cant, they will have by all metrics the largest economy. At that stage USD keeping its present day status is impossible even if Abraham Lincoln gets revived an re elected.

charles47 -> RealityCheck2016 14 Oct 2017 02:22

I am involved in negotiations every day of my working life, with staff, with Trustees (directors), with local authorities, with suppliers.

I have good working relationships with most of them. Must be doing something right, while doing a job that matters to me personally. I've met Trump types. They wouldn't last five minutes in the world I live and work in. Too "entitled" and far too full of themselves. Generally, if I come across someone like that, they don't get our business because they are long on promise, short on delivery, and more interested in getting the "deal" than considering our needs as an organisation - which is the selling point I look for, as with most people. One-sided deals don't work and don't last.

As for affording to go to a Trump hotel...if I could, I wouldn't. I have my favourites, and my personal standards that don't involve glitter without substance.

jon donahue -> BhoGhanPryde 14 Oct 2017 01:57

Iran. At about 10,000 dead, it could go on for about three years with beaucoup contracts to be had. Perfect for all the flag-wavers.

Korea? No. Too many dead too fast, could run up to 25,000 in a hurry. Plus, Seoul smoked. Bad optics, no money in it...

jon donahue 14 Oct 2017 01:52

Trump is a train wreck. Incompetent. Unable to manage, unable to negotiate, unable to govern.

The good news is that we don't actually need a functioning President, with the world pretty much at peace and the economy doing well enough.
Everybody in the government and military can just work around the jerk.

digamey 14 Oct 2017 01:38

Republicans are experts at protecting their own butts. While Trump's numbers hold, they will bitch about him in private and suck up to him in public. Once his numbers start to tank, as inevitably they will, they will turn upon him and savage him in a manner with which even the most voracious hyenas could not compete.

BhoGhanPryde 14 Oct 2017 00:38

I think everyone knows the keys the North Korea crisis are China and dialog. But who says the Corporate States and their military-industrial complex want peace? War drives profits. And as anyone who has travelled the US - outside of Vegas, 5th Ave and Hollywood and Vine - knows war is essential to the American identity and needed to maintain cohesion in that fracturing society. Pride in the US military is a foundation stone of the modern US. War is needed to distract the peasants from the rising poverty virtually nil opportunities at home. War on the Korean peninsula may be needed by the Corporate State and if it is it will happen.

Mike Bray 13 Oct 2017 23:37

It is almost as if Donald Trump thinks the Secretary of State's job is to take notes on Donald Trump's statements.

[Oct 14, 2017] The Deep State's Bogus 'Iranian Threat' by David Stockman

Notable quotes:
"... The real answer, however, is both simple and consequential. To wit, the entire prosperity and modus operandi of the Imperial City is based on a panoply of "threats" that are vastly exaggerated or even purely invented; they retain their currency by virtue of endless repetition in the groupthink that passes for analysis. We'd actually put it in the category of cocktail party chatter. ..."
"... The truth is, the US defense budget is hideously oversized for a reason so obvious that it constitutes the ultimate elephant in the room. No matter how you slice it, there just are no real big industrialized, high tech countries in the world which can threaten the American homeland or even have the slightest intention of doing so. ..."
"... That gets us to the bogus Iranian threat. It originated in the early 1990s when the neocon's in the George HW Bush Administration realized that with the cold war's end, the Warfare State was in grave danger of massive demobilization like the US had done after every war until 1945. ..."
"... So among many other invented two-bit threats, the Iranian regime was demonized in order to keep the Imperial City in thrall to its purported national security threat and in support of the vast global armada of military forces, bases and occupations needed to contain it (including the Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf and US bases throughout the region). ..."
"... Likewise, what the Imperial City claims to be state sponsored terror is actually nothing more than Iran's foreign policy – something that every sovereign state on the planet is permitted to have. ..."
"... Thus, as the leader of the minority Shiite schism of the Islamic world, Iran has made political and confessional alliances with various Shiite regimes in the region. These include the one that Washington actually installed in Baghdad; the Alawite/Shiite regime in Syria; the largest political party and representative of 40 percent of the population in Lebanon (Hezbollah); and the Houthi/Shiite of Yemen, who historically occupied the northern parts of the country and are now under savage attack by American weapons supplied to Saudi Arabia. ..."
"... In the case of both Syria and Iraq, their respective governments invited Iranian help, which is also their prerogative as sovereign nations. Ironically, it was the Shiite Crescent alliance of Iran/Assad/Hezbollah that bears much of the credit for defeating ISIS on the ground in Mosul, Aleppo, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and elsewhere in the now largely defunct Islamic State. ..."
Oct 14, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

... ... ...

He was right. Russia today is a shadow of what Ronald Reagan called the Evil Empire. Its GDP of $1.3 trillion is smaller than that of the New York metro area ($1.6 trillion) and only 7 percent of total US GDP.

Moreover, unlike the militarized Soviet economy which devoted upwards of 40 percent of output to defense, the current Russian defense budget of $60 billion is just 4.5 percent of its vastly shrunken GDP.

So how in the world did the national security apparatus convince the Donald that we need the $700 billion defense program for FY 2018 – 12X bigger than Russia's – that he just signed into law?

What we mean, of course, is how do you explain that – beyond the fact that the Donald knows virtually nothing about national security policy and history; and, to boot, is surrounded by generals who have spent a lifetime scouring the earth for enemies and threats to repel and reasons for more weapons and bigger forces.

The real answer, however, is both simple and consequential. To wit, the entire prosperity and modus operandi of the Imperial City is based on a panoply of "threats" that are vastly exaggerated or even purely invented; they retain their currency by virtue of endless repetition in the groupthink that passes for analysis. We'd actually put it in the category of cocktail party chatter.

... ... ...

The truth is, the US defense budget is hideously oversized for a reason so obvious that it constitutes the ultimate elephant in the room. No matter how you slice it, there just are no real big industrialized, high tech countries in the world which can threaten the American homeland or even have the slightest intention of doing so.

Indeed, to continue with our historical benchmarks, the American homeland has not been so immune to foreign military threat since WW II. Yet during all those years of true peril, it never spent close too the Donald's $700 billion boondoggle.

For instance, during the height of LBJs Vietnam folly (1968) defense spending in today's dollars was about $400 billion. And even at the top of Reagan's utterly unnecessary military building up (by the 1980s the Soviet Union was collapsing under the weight of its own socialist dystopia), total US defense spending was just $550 billion.

That gets us to the bogus Iranian threat. It originated in the early 1990s when the neocon's in the George HW Bush Administration realized that with the cold war's end, the Warfare State was in grave danger of massive demobilization like the US had done after every war until 1945.

So among many other invented two-bit threats, the Iranian regime was demonized in order to keep the Imperial City in thrall to its purported national security threat and in support of the vast global armada of military forces, bases and occupations needed to contain it (including the Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf and US bases throughout the region).

The truth, however, is that according to the 2008 NIE ( National Intelligence Estimates) of the nation's 17 intelligence agency, the Iranian's never had a serious nuclear weapons program, and the small research effort that they did have was disbanded by orders of the Ayatollah Khamenei in 2003.

Likewise, what the Imperial City claims to be state sponsored terror is actually nothing more than Iran's foreign policy – something that every sovereign state on the planet is permitted to have.

Thus, as the leader of the minority Shiite schism of the Islamic world, Iran has made political and confessional alliances with various Shiite regimes in the region. These include the one that Washington actually installed in Baghdad; the Alawite/Shiite regime in Syria; the largest political party and representative of 40 percent of the population in Lebanon (Hezbollah); and the Houthi/Shiite of Yemen, who historically occupied the northern parts of the country and are now under savage attack by American weapons supplied to Saudi Arabia.

In the case of both Syria and Iraq, their respective governments invited Iranian help, which is also their prerogative as sovereign nations. Ironically, it was the Shiite Crescent alliance of Iran/Assad/Hezbollah that bears much of the credit for defeating ISIS on the ground in Mosul, Aleppo, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and elsewhere in the now largely defunct Islamic State.

In tomorrow's installment we will address the details of the Iran nuke agreement and why the Donald is making a horrible mistake in proposing to decertify it. But there should be no doubt about the consequence: It will reinforce the neocon dominance of the Republican party and insure that the nation's $1 trillion Warfare State remains fully entrenched.

Needless to say, that will also insure that the America's gathering fiscal crisis will turn into an outright Fiscal Calamity in the years just ahead.

David Stockman has agreed to send every Antiwar.com reader a free copy of his newest book, Trumped! when you take his special Contra Corner offer. Click here now for the details.

David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He's the author of three books, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed , The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin And How to Bring It Back . He also is founder of David Stockman's Contra Corner and David Stockman's Bubble Finance Trader .

Read more by David Stockman

[Oct 14, 2017] The United States and Iran Two Tracks to Establish Hegemony by James Petras

You can't analyze the USA foreign policy toward Iran without analyzing the needs of the US led neoliberal empire... Interests of Israel are secondary to the interests of empire.
Notable quotes:
"... 'salami tactics' ..."
"... "color revolution" ..."
"... 'terrorist state' ..."
"... 'responsibility to protect (R2P) ..."
"... Iran responded by developing economic, technical and military agreements with Russia and China in order to counter the US-Israeli-Saudi threats and sanctions. Russia provides advanced defensive weapons systems. China signs large-scale, long-term trade agreements while including Iran in its huge Central Asian infrastructure projects. Most importantly, Iran has succeeded in defending the legitimate government of Syria, while aiding Iraq and Yemen. ..."
"... President Trump is facing a serious coup d'état involving the political-intelligence elite, with the military looking warily on the chaos. The masses are increasingly polarized or disgusted. ..."
"... 'national-capitalist ideology' ..."
"... The Trump regime is full of contradictions: It threatens to end the nuclear agreement with Iran but allows Boeing to sell billions of dollars of civilian aircraft to Teheran. It signs a $300 billion dollar arms sales agreement with Saudi Arabia (business for the for military industries) while losing political influence in the US, where the Saudis are widely despised. ..."
"... And yet the US destroyed Iran's most useful enemy, Saddam's Iraq. Sometimes I wonder whether US foreign policy has any guiding intelligence at all. Maybe it consists only of stupid, reckless flailing. ..."
"... How many Americans and Europeans realize that all Islamic terrorism in the West is Sunni and none of it is Shia, and that all the demonization of Iran and Hezbollah is solely for the benefit of Israel? ..."
"... Bottom line is that most American people are kept under-educated by design and they are being fooled and mislead by the ZIOMSM about the rest of the world! ..."
"... Trump administration has promised to one of many fans of MEK that it has been looking and will continue to look into ways to change the Iranian regime . One of the ways is to harness the terrorism that is embodied by MEK. ..."
"... Next generation might end up repeating 'God forgive America' instead of chanting ad nauseam – ' God bless America' . ..."
"... The younger generation is just as corrupt and unthinking as their teachers -- maybe even more corrupt: for most of the young professionals -- such as a group I met recently -- the primary concern is networking/career building, and if it means acquiescing to regime change, so be it. ..."
"... Hey S2 and KA, how about the [regime change] color revolution that's happening here, with the drive to impeach Trump? Only it's not really regime change, is it. It's the Deep State (with its useful idiot Pussy Brigade) desperate to maintain status quo. ..."
"... Some people think I'm a Trump supporter. Well, I support that he's our duly elected President, and I'm grateful for his disruption (God Bless him for "the system is rigged" and "fake news"), but I don't like most of his policy, and he abandoned the part I did like. But it was just so euphoric to dodge Hilmonster bullet. ..."
"... What's happening now, however, is bigger than persons or parties. The fraudulent accusations of collusion with Russia, intended to derail this administration, are an attack on our democracy and an exercise in persuasion and mind-control of our citizenry. This was underscored for me by a dreadful conversation in church this morning. When I said that I didn't believe that "17 intelligence agencies" had proved that the Russians interfered [directly, by hacking, was the point] in our election, my interlocutor was aghast. Unable to answer in a "Christian" manner, she threw back her head and laughed. It was quite a Hillaryesque gesture. ..."
"... What preceded this was my bringing up the collaboration of the DNC, Crowdstrike, and Ukraine to slander and taint Donald Trump via accusations against Paul Manafort. Rather than cross-examine me about that or discuss it, she came back with, "How about Trump and the Russian oligarchs " and "How about Jared Kushner meeting the Russians.." – IN THE RUSSIAN EMBASSY !!! seemed to be enormously unforgivable in her mind – and a few other 'How abouts.' When none of this impressed me, she was visibly exasperated and went to the '17 agencies,' hoping for a knock-out blow, I guess. ..."
"... Sadly, I turn to anonymous commenters for solace. Also, I encourage all to see the significance of the DNC chicanery, of Crowdstrike not allowing the FBI to see the DNC computers, of Ukraine collaboration. I'm not an unqualified endorser of all Lee Stranahan's views, but he's doing a terrific job investigating this – and he's the only one who is! What he doesn't say in this video: the Dems should be careful what they wish for! After Comey hearing, there will be investigation of Loretta Lynch. ..."
"... The US can only operate in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria (and try for Iran) because of Zionist Neo-con dominance of the US government. The public actually voted against ME wars so it's clear that further wars are illegitimate. ..."
Oct 13, 2017 | www.unz.com

US policy in the Middle East and South Asia is shaped by several basic considerations:

US Imperialism is the force of global domination US imperial policy in the Middle East focuses on encircling, destroying and dismantling Iran's allies (Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (Shi'a Militia), Qatar and Yemen with the intent of overthrowing the government and installing a client regime in Teheran. The return of Iran to the status of puppet regime will advance Washington's ultimate goal of encircling and isolating Russia and China. The US overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran will facilitate Israel's final seizure of Palestine, including Jerusalem, and establish Tel Aviv as the dominant regional power in the Middle East.

Washington's 'Two Track' Policy for Domination

US strategic planners rely on a two-track policy , combining and blending military and ideological weapons.

Its military strategy relies on slicing up the Middle East - 'salami tactics' – invading and conquering of each and every country and government, which shares the Islamic Republic of Iran's policy of national sovereignty and independence. US military success or failure depends on its alliances in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel all sponsor terrorist groups which have attacked Iran's scientists, its elected representatives and military leaders, as well as its sacred sites – inside Iran as well as abroad. The political and ideological strategy involves the penetration and organization of domestic forces to destabilize and weaken Iran's internal security, defense capability and overseas alliances. Ideological warfare involves: (1) exploiting regional, ethnic, class and religious differences to undermine stability and fragment the country; and (2) converting legitimate social critics and political opposition parties into imperial collaborators.

Ideological attacks are designed to attract Iranian writers, academics, intellectuals and artists who choose to ignore the history of US imperialism in fomenting bloody coups (Mossadegh 1954), launching proxy wars via Saddam Hussain's invasion (1980- 88) and the terrorist attacks by Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as the terrorists backed by Iraq's former dictator.

US propaganda intervention in Iran's electoral process has been designed to promote a so-called "color revolution" regime change favored by neo-liberal, pro-West parties and candidates who seek US sponsorship in their ascent to power. The imperial collaborators and various Western 'human rights' NGOs hide the sordid history of Washington's overt and proxy wars/coups and occupations in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Palestine.

Modern imperialist policies include:

diplomatic and cyber warfare against Iran's defense and security systems; economic sanctions and the assassination of highly skilled scientists and engineers to undermine economic growth; political propaganda labeling Iran a 'terrorist state' in order to intimidate and weaken overseas and domestic allies; and the financing and arming of terrorists from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa to attack the Islamic Republic.

Linguistic and Conceptual Perversions

Imperial warfare depends on perverting political language and concepts. The US refers to invasion, which have killed and maimed millions of Muslims and Christians in Iraq (2003-2017) and Syria (2011-2017) as 'humanitarian interventions'. In reality its policy described an ongoing 'holocaust' – the massive genocidal violation of the human rights of scores of millions of people to sovereignty, peace and security of home, life, limb, culture and faith.

The millions of victims of the West's current holocaust in the Middle East reject and scorn Washington's imperialist claim of defending 'democratic values' and its so-called 'responsibility to protect (R2P) ' as pronounced by a series of US Administrations through their mouthpieces in the United Nations.

In contrast, US support for the Saudi monarch's brutal bombing and blockade of Yemen has led to an entire population facing starvation and a massive, cholera epidemic, which now threatens over 26 million Yeminis. The campaign against Yemen by the brutal Saudis and their US-EU allies is the very definition of crimes against humanity and international law.

Sanctions: A Tool of Conquest

US sanctions against Iraq, Syria, Iran and Yemen have been designed to starve working people into submission while capturing the support of some middle class consumers. US policy of invading Libya and brutally murdering President Gadhafi and his family members was designed to systematically destroy a prosperous, independent republic and turn it into a backward, impoverished fiefdom of tribal warlords, exploited by Western oil companies. Saudi Arabia joined the European Union in financing terrorists, many trained in the destroyed remnants of Libya, who later killed innocent civilians in Paris, Nice, London, Manchester and other parts of Europe.

The strategic goal of the US invasion of Iraq, Syria and Yemen has been to violently divide these independent republics and turn them into ethnically cleansed, impoverished, mini-states – in the imperial tradition of 'divide and conquer'. Such tribal fiefdoms are easily dominated by imperial powers.

Regional and Global Strategy

Washington's imperial strategists have arrived at the conclusion that they cannot conquer independent states, like Iran, in a single attack, given its size, defense capability, internal cohesion and regional alliances.

Their strategy is to surround Iran by destroying its allies, one nation at a time.

The first phase of the US invasion, occupation and systematic destruction of Iraq and its entire governmental infrastructure was designed to overthrow the Baathist state, then neutralize the Shi'a militia and impose a servile client regime in Baghdad. The second step was to encourage Sunni tribal warlords to seize control of central Iraq. The third step was to arm the Kurds to form a mini-state in northern Iraq (so-called "Kurdistan"). This would entail large-scale ethnic cleansing, the total destruction of Iraq's ancient Christian community, the extermination of its multiethnic modern educated, scientific, cultural and technocratic work force. In other words, the US strategy was to obliterate any remnant of the Iraqi Republic in its war to 'remake the Middle East'.

After Iraq and Libya, the next target for US-EU aggression has been the government of the Syrian Arab Republic, Iran's ally. The EU, USA, Saudi Arabia and Turkey sponsored an invasion by mercenary Salafi forces under a network of Daesh-ISIS-al Queda terrorists. Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have provided military, logistical and financial support to the terrorists.

After Syria, the fourth target of Anglo-American-Saudi-Israeli military strategy would be to undermine the national sovereignty of Lebanon and destroy the armed political Hezbollah Party, the powerful Lebanese resistance organization (allied with Iran). It was consistent with this strategy for the West to support Israel's brutal air and ground attacks against the civilian population and infrastructure of Beirut, Lebanese port cities and villages. Tens of thousands of Lebanese Christians were not spared the Israeli terror bombing campaign.

If a Lebanese campaign were successful and Hezbollah was destroyed, the 'final' Israeli conquest of Palestine, the fifth objective, could commence: US and world Zionism would unconditionally celebrate Israel's massive ethnic purge of Palestine's native peoples and finish off the total confiscation of the homes, mosques, churches, land and resources of millions of Muslim and Christian Palestinians and other peoples. This would create history's first 'pure Jewish' state.

The sixth imperial objective would be to disarm Iran's military and security structure and weaken its economy in order to isolate the Islamic Republic and undermine its Middle Eastern alliances. This strategic objective explains why Washington promotes its one-sided nuclear arms agreement with Iran, while the nuclear-armed Israel is excluded! Despite Iran's abiding by the terms of the agreement, there have been no reciprocal lifting of economic sanctions or the normalization of trade and diplomatic relations.

Beyond Iran, the global strategy would be to weaken, encircle and isolate the US's big power rivals, China and Russia and re-establish the US as the uncontested world imperial power.

Iran Counters the US Global Military Threat

Iran responded by developing economic, technical and military agreements with Russia and China in order to counter the US-Israeli-Saudi threats and sanctions. Russia provides advanced defensive weapons systems. China signs large-scale, long-term trade agreements while including Iran in its huge Central Asian infrastructure projects. Most importantly, Iran has succeeded in defending the legitimate government of Syria, while aiding Iraq and Yemen.

Iran undermined official US sanctions by signing multi-billion dollar agreements with the giant Boeing Corporation for the purchase of passenger airplanes as well as developing further agreements with US banks and agro-business exporters and oil companies. These profitable agreements with the US agro-business export sector can weaken the Pentagon-Zionist sanctions.

Iran has the diplomatic support of the Non-Aligned Movement opposing Israeli-US Zionist military threats.

Iran's principled opposition to Saudi Arabia's massive arms purchases, as well as the Kingdom's vicious alliance with Israel and its genocidal assault against the Yemeni people, has gained the support of world public opinion – especially the masses of independent Muslims throughout the world.

Iran's educational, scientific, military and political-electoral advances provide the basis for national security, economic growth, cultural enrichment, international alliances and the deepening of social democracy for its people. It provides an alternative independent vision for many millions of Muslims living under harsh monarchies, military dictators and imperial oppression.

Conclusion

Since the US and its allies launched their 'hot war' by surrounding, threatening and destabilizing Iran, Washington's strategy has suffered serious military defeats and political retreats. Iraq is no longer encircled by the US. Shia-based militias have regional control, especially south of Baghdad and beyond. Syria, Iran's ally, has fought hard to finally liberate many towns, cities and territory taken by the terrorist mercenaries despite the EU-US-Saudi-Israel's initial advances.

Rival rebel forces and mercenary gangsters besiege the US puppet governments in Libya, Somalia and South Sudan. The classic CIA term, 'blowback', means these terrorists are now turning their guns on the West. Washington has lost control of Afghanistan. Over a third of the Afghan military and police recruits defect to the resistance fighters. The central 'government' in Kabul influences less than a quarter of the country

Despite spending trillions of dollars on wars and propaganda over the past two decades, US military strategy to encircle and conquer Iran has been a military, diplomatic and economic failure. The American people have suffered thousands of casualties and its domestic economy is in permanent crisis with massive unemployment, poverty, recession and stagnation.

Despite US congressional, Presidential and Pentagon support for Israel's Jewish colonization of Palestine, more countries, trade unions and social movements, around the world, support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel than ever before. Manu are speaking up despite government threats to outlaw 'criticism of Israel' as a 'hate crime'.

The turmoil and deep political divisions in the United States between the oligarchs allied to President Trump and the opposition oligarchs have created a profound institutional crisis, which has undermined domestic governance and disrupted US global alliances, US-EU relations and US-Asian trade links.

Despite the bizarre and often theatrical presentation by the US mass media, the American Congress and President Trump are fighting over fundamental issues, including control of the national security agencies (CIA, NSA, FBI, Homeland Security, etc.), foreign and military policy, the economy and environmental agenda, the federal budget, judiciary and the Presidency.

The political crisis has paralyzed the capacity of the US to start new wars and negotiate international agreements. President Trump is facing a serious coup d'état involving the political-intelligence elite, with the military looking warily on the chaos. The masses are increasingly polarized or disgusted.

In an attempt to deflect from his domestic problems, President Trump deepened the US alliance with Saudi Arabia and reiterated threats against Iran. Nevertheless he declined pressure to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. The inconsistent and ad hoc nature of current US policy alienates friends and foes – with no redeeming features.

The domestic opposition demands an end of President Trump's diplomatic overtures to Russia. It uses the fake pretext of Russian interference in the US presidential election to move toward the president's impeachment.

The US faces a CLANDESTINE CIVIL WAR among its elite!

A financial bubble accompanies the American domestic political crisis. The economic elite, the banks and stock market have benefited through speculation, despite or because of, the paralysis among rival political oligarchs!

The emergence of Trump's so-called 'national-capitalist ideology' means a decline in US multi-lateral agreements, such as NATO, the EU, NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP). This explains Trump's effort to renegotiate bilateral agreements, which have failed

Trump's stated policy objectives have fallen between two chairs: the multi-lateral agreements have not been replaced by lucrative bilateral deals. Trump relies on big business offerings and 'nationalist' ideology to minimize his diplomatic failures and ideological isolation. Trump wants to win contracts for greater US exports and investment. This has been weakened by the previous administration's pursuit of economic sanctions and expanding wars, as well as his feckless propaganda.

The Trump regime is full of contradictions: It threatens to end the nuclear agreement with Iran but allows Boeing to sell billions of dollars of civilian aircraft to Teheran. It signs a $300 billion dollar arms sales agreement with Saudi Arabia (business for the for military industries) while losing political influence in the US, where the Saudis are widely despised.

At least, Trump does not blather on about humanitarian wars; he would prefer signing business deals. He mentions the need for 'regime change' in Syria and sending more troops to Afghanistan but does little to implement these goals.

President Trump is fighting for his own political (and personal) survival and to prevent his impeachment (via a Congressional coup). His strongest defense would be to strengthen the domestic economy and show some overseas economic successes.

Essentially, Trump's economic agenda depends on his avoiding politically and militarily costly wars. That was one of his campaign promises that resonated with the nation's core electorate.

Trump would like to balkanize Syria, while avoiding new troop commitments to Afghanistan. He would prefer profitable trade relations with Russia and China and perhaps, Iran, over war.

The impediments to any Trump policy success are massive: Trump's Administration includes zealous neo-conservative Russophobes and Zionist-Iranophobes. These are militarists who would provoke eventual armed conflict with Moscow and Teheran. Their current focus is on expanding the war in Syria, sending more US troops to Afghanistan and forging deeper ties with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The current internal political contradictions between the Trump regime and the 'Deep' State apparatus, and between the Trump-allied business elite and the Zionist-neoconservative warmongers, preclude the development of a consequential Trump foreign policy.

In the meantime, domestic political warfare and the deepening divisions between the US and EU will create opportunities for Russia, China and Iran to join together in historic economic political and alliances, which might help re-balance a world on the brink of 'world war', economic collapse and environmental disaster.

The divisions among NATO countries undermine the establishment of a united front for greater imperial wars. The fragmentation of the European Union (Brexit, the collapse of Greece, the EU-sponsored putsch in Ukraine) lessens its global economic influence. The division between the US Presidential regime and the Opposition Security State apparatus paralyzes the US push for new imperial wars.

Divisions and conflicts within the imperial camp presents favorable opportunities for anti-imperialist countries in the Middle East, like Iran, Syria and Lebanon.

The strategic Russo-Chinese economic alliance may create a new global economy based on peaceful co-existence and greater economic co-operation.

This essay is dedicated to the memory of the innocent martyrs of the recent brutal terrorist attacks against the Iranian Parliament and the holy shrine and to honor the brave survivors and family members of the victims.

(Republished from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)

Of Related Interest The Demolition of U.S. Global Power Donald Trump's Road to Debacle in the Greater Middle East Alfred McCoy July 16, 2017 4,200 Words 106 Comments Trump Presidency --- First SNAFUs Already The Saker February 3, 2017 2,000 Words 225 Comments Autopilot Wars Sixteen Years, But Who's Counting? Andrew J. Bacevich October 8, 2017 2,100 Words 71 Comments disturbed_robot >, June 24, 2017 at 6:14 am GMT

Mr. Petras, my hats off to you. This is the most to-the-point, honest assessment of what's going on I've read in a long time.

My only complaint is the use of the term "Middle East". We should all drop this British colonial era term and just call it what it is: Southwest Asia. Please don't take that as being nit-picky and looking for fault (not my intention at all) your article is brilliant. But we have to start somewhere.

jilles dykstra >, June 24, 2017 at 6:15 am GMT

@Joe Levantine

Is it possible that many representatives know quite well what's going on, but have reasons, their own political survival, to pretend they do not know ?

Senator Hollings just dared to speak the truth shortly before he resigned, in 2004.

Hans Vogel >, June 24, 2017 at 7:14 am GMT

With respect to Israel's supposedly assigned role, I beg to differ. The US, like Russia and Iran, is an assimilative empire, established on the basis of welcoming and incorporating any group or individual willing to adopt the imperial culture and language. In other words, these are non-exclusive states.

Israel, on the other hand, is built on rigid and comprehensive racial and religious exclusiveness. Only Jews can join. Israel is the quintessential nation state, built on an antiquated, romantic 19th-century idea. The self-defeating and ultimately untenable model of the nation state was demonstrated unequivocally in 1945, but ignoring historical proof, Israel resuscitated it in 1948.

Therefore, it would seem to me Israel can never become the dominant force in the Middle East. Even if it somehow succeeds in attaining this position, it will definitely be of a very short duration. It is a bit like what Guizot once remarked: you can do anything with a bayonet, except sit on it.

Durruti >, June 24, 2017 at 10:27 am GMT

A Nicely Written Article by Petras:

Could have used a bit of information on the Rothschilds and other dominant Jewish Banking Family Oligarchs, including their role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy (the last Constitutional President of the United States ), on November 22, 1963, in the Coup D'etat in Dallas, (the first successful Modern Arab Spring ). Could have benefitted by references to the horrors of Vietnam and Indonesia (1965), 9/11, and the attack on the Liberty, among other dark pages of recent history, which would have taken a sentence. Could have used a bit of a VISION advocacy of how to Cure this Zionist imperialist plague so nicely described by Petras. The Restoration of the Republic, destroyed on November 22, 1963, is the Revolutionary Cure so ignored by the earnest and not so earnest critics of the Zionist New World Order.

Oh for our own Decembrists! God Bless America! Restore the Republic!

Durruti for The Anarchist Collective

jacques sheete >, June 24, 2017 at 11:07 am GMT

The strategic Russo-Chinese economic alliance may create a new global economy based on peaceful co-existence and greater economic co-operation.

Let's hope so. I, for one, am more than fed up with the one trick parasite, gangster politics.

Sergey Krieger >, June 24, 2017 at 11:16 am GMT

As USA internal rot accelerates she is becoming increasingly erratic and desperate in her international policy. It increasingly looks like biten by white shark seal trashing desperately in the water while life along with blood leaving it's body. Others should keep their cool and patiently wait.

dearieme >, June 24, 2017 at 11:37 am GMT

"2) US imperial policy in the Middle East focuses on encircling, destroying and dismantling Iran's allies (Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (Shi'a Militia), Qatar and Yemen with the intent of overthrowing the government and installing a client regime in Teheran."

And yet the US destroyed Iran's most useful enemy, Saddam's Iraq. Sometimes I wonder whether US foreign policy has any guiding intelligence at all. Maybe it consists only of stupid, reckless flailing.

fnn >, June 24, 2017 at 2:19 pm GMT

How many Americans and Europeans realize that all Islamic terrorism in the West is Sunni and none of it is Shia, and that all the demonization of Iran and Hezbollah is solely for the benefit of Israel?

Rurik >, Website June 24, 2017 at 6:26 pm GMT

Excellent article and analysis, kudos and gratitude

If I were to offer any suggestion, I'd just prefer that the author amend the abbreviation of the US to the Z US (Zionist occupied US), as all of the things he mentions that the US is doing, are all in direct contravention of the principles and interests and people of the actual US, and are, rather, all being done to benefit the most sinister and intractable enemy of the of the US (and so many others including Iran); the Z US.

The American people have suffered thousands of casualties and its domestic economy is in permanent crisis with massive unemployment, poverty, recession and stagnation.

Trump's economic agenda depends on his avoiding politically and militarily costly wars. That was one of his campaign promises that resonated with the nation's core electorate.

I spell out my case for calling it the ZUS here:

(which I invite the moderators to including under a blue 'more' link so as not to clutter up the comment section)

[MORE]

saying US, by which I do not mean ordinary US people then the rotten elite running the show.

I sort of know that, but I hope you (and others) can understand why that distinction is so important to us genuine Americans who're horrified at the conduct of the US government on the world's stage.

The interests of the US government vs. the people of the US, could not be more diametrically opposed. They're looting our Treasury and our future to fund eternal wars for Israel- that do nothing but destroy any kind of long-term hope for this country. They're creating hatred for the American people that will reverberate over generations. They're systematically dismantling our sacred codified rights (earned in blood) going all the way back to the Magna Carta. They assassinate our citizens if they prove inconvenient to the regime, when they aren't burning them alive at places like Waco or the World Trade Center. There seems to be nothing too demonic that this government will do to us American citizens if they suspect that by doing so it will somehow augment their power to dominate us even more.

Today in America is much like the Russians during the Bolshevik / Soviet regime. Our government is our most intractable and dangerous enemy on the planet. We Americans have nothing to fear from Russia or Iran. That's laughable. But we have everything to fear from Washington DC. The drooling fiend that inhabits those think tanks and J-Street and K-Street and CFR and PNAC and CIA and all the other acronyms of Satan are our worst enemy on this planet, just as they threaten and menace the rest of the people of the planet, intending to use our children as cannon fodder even as they commit endless atrocities and war crimes in our name.

So I guess my point is just that the interests of the US [zio-government], vs. the interests of the US people are so wildly at odds, that it would be nice if others could see this as glaringly as those of us American citizens, watching with horror- as our government perpetrates monstrous crimes all over the globe, and here at home.

The banking cartels are not run by patriotic American citizens, they're run by our enemies.

The Pentagon is not run by patriotic American citizens, it's run by our enemies.

the FBI and CIA and DEA and NSA are all operated by the enemies of the American people.

the media are the most sinister and committed enemy we have. No one hates our guts more.

the universities are nothing but kosher Marxist indoctrination centers, telling our young people (among other things) that the "US" liberated the people of Kosovo. (is that what happened?). They tell our students that our participation in the world wars was honorable and noble. They tell them that what we are doing in the Middle East today is honorable and noble. They even are attempting to make any criticism of Israel a crime on the universities and campuses. Outlawing any expression of support for the BDS movement. Does that sound like our universities are run by and for Americans?!

there are two entities here in the good ol' US of A. There is the ZUSA, that is an enemy to all of mankind, including the people of the US. And then there are the people of the US; represented by those who still cling to quaint notions like the Rule of Law, and our traditions like freedom of speech and fair play. People like Michael Hastings. People like Seth Rich. People like Pat Tillman or Ron Paul or all of his supporters. People like the ones that voted for Obama to end the wars, and who voted for Trump to end the wars. People like Ken O'keefe, who are Americans to the core, and still represent the spirit of what being an American was all about, until our nation was hijacked in 1913 for the greater glory of $atan.

the US goal in former Yugoslavia was primarily a rejuvenation of NATO which has lost its meaning with the demise of SU. Also, the Demoncrats have a natural propensity to package their imperialism into "humanitarian" interventions, the Republicans are much less sleazy – the Republicans just say you are with us or against us, no matter whether what we do is legal or illegal. Therefore, it was a perfect little war for the Clintons:
1) breath a new life into NATO,
2) clean up the Southern Europe of any residual Russia and/or socialist influence and
3) do a dress rehearsal for attacking Russia (using NATO).

sounds like a perfectly excellent analysis to me.

I remember how we scrambled at the time to make sense of it. WTF were they up to?!

why were they bombing a nation that had been 'our' ally during WWII, and seemingly so that some KLA terrorists could lay claim to their ancient and sacred lands? Hard won from the same Muslim hoards that had drenched Kosovo in Christian, Serbian blood for centuries.

Some of us figured it was kind of a payback for Palestine. 'Yes, we zio-scum are ravaging your people in Palestine, but as payback, we'll give you Kosovo!

We even wondered if there wasn't some secret, high-level negotiations going on between the representatives of Islam and the Zionists. 'OK, what do you want for Palestine?' / 'We'll take Kosovo'.

Then there was general Clarks quote regarding the necessity of bombing Serbia:

"Let's not forget what the origin of the problem is. There is no place in
modern Europe for ethnically pure states. That's a 19th century idea and we are trying to transition into the 21st century, and we are going to do it with multi-ethnic states."

- General Wesley Clark

so it's been a conundrum, but your analysis sounds like the best so far.

travelling NGO EcoSystem

yes we see it all over the place. But also please keep in mind that the original NGO that $ubverted and corrupted is the one that took control of the US. The actions of the 'US' (ZUSA) today are no more a representation of the people of the US, than those in Kyiv or Kabul represent the typical Ukrainian or Afghan. Washington DC no more represents the 300+ million people here than did the actions of Mubarak represented the Egyptian people, or Yeltsin represented the Russian people, or Tony Blair represented the people of England. We have all of us been NGO'd by the Fiend, and none more so than us here in the US, where they declare from their pulpits that there is 'zero daylight between Israel and the ZUSA!'

So it stings to read about how this or that benefits the US, when all the benefits are going to the very same Beast that is drooling its putrid saliva all over US too.

Durruti >, June 24, 2017 at 10:19 pm GMT

@Rurik

My fine feathered friend:

I have little to parse in your lengthy essay.

However, in your selfish – sectarian way , you manage to blather on without a passing referral to comment # 6, directly above, which deals similarly with the same material,

And Includes: A suggestion #3, for a Cure to the Illness we are discussing. The Cure, which you in your 'brilliant' analysis, manage to avoid – ignore – or, suggest your own. Whining is OK, but Curative Change, apparently, is Verboten.

Of Necessity, I repeat : " a VISION advocacy of how to Cure this Zionist imperialist plague so nicely described by Petras. The Restoration of the Republic, destroyed on November 22, 1963, is the Revolutionary Cure so ignored by the earnest and not so earnest critics of the Zionist New World Order ."

Monty Ahwazi >, June 24, 2017 at 10:55 pm GMT

Great job Mr James Petras! Excellent summary of the past generation and the possibilities for near future of the Southwest Asia!

I wished you would have elaborated more about the US and Israeli Zionists pulling the west particularly the US into the Israel's illegal conflicts in the Southwest Asia! Now and in the near future the Israelis have more freedom to grab more land freely and without any challenges!

The US government has fallen for this crap at the expense of the American people! But I don't blame the Israelis to take advantage of the American government! I do blame however the American people who don't give damn about what their government is doing abroad as long as they have a job, place to live, food to eat, beer and pop to drink and a couch to sit on and watch Foux no news!

Bottom line is that most American people are kept under-educated by design and they are being fooled and mislead by the ZIOMSM about the rest of the world!

KA >, June 25, 2017 at 3:39 am GMT

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/23/all-signs-point-to-trumps-coming-war-with-iran/

Trump administration has promised to one of many fans of MEK that it has been looking and will continue to look into ways to change the Iranian regime . One of the ways is to harness the terrorism that is embodied by MEK.

Let's unpack it. America ,few months back apologized or regretted for destroying the regime of Mossadegh.
America few months back apologized to Guatemalan for changing the regime ( easily violently ) in 50s.

Is there anything to learn here that gives hope? Absolute power corrupts absolutely .

Next generation might end up repeating 'God forgive America' instead of chanting ad nauseam – ' God bless America' .

It is nauseating .

SolontoCroesus >, June 25, 2017 at 9:00 pm GMT

@KA

It is nauseating . The even greater tragedy, KA, is that the next generation are being indoctrinated by the same folks who on one day apologize and on the next day plan/carry out another regime change, without learning the lessons.

The younger generation is just as corrupt and unthinking as their teachers -- maybe even more corrupt: for most of the young professionals -- such as a group I met recently -- the primary concern is networking/career building, and if it means acquiescing to regime change, so be it.

RobinG >, June 26, 2017 at 3:50 am GMT

@SolontoCroesus

Hey S2 and KA, how about the [regime change] color revolution that's happening here, with the drive to impeach Trump? Only it's not really regime change, is it. It's the Deep State (with its useful idiot Pussy Brigade) desperate to maintain status quo.

Some people think I'm a Trump supporter. Well, I support that he's our duly elected President, and I'm grateful for his disruption (God Bless him for "the system is rigged" and "fake news"), but I don't like most of his policy, and he abandoned the part I did like. But it was just so euphoric to dodge Hilmonster bullet.

What's happening now, however, is bigger than persons or parties. The fraudulent accusations of collusion with Russia, intended to derail this administration, are an attack on our democracy and an exercise in persuasion and mind-control of our citizenry. This was underscored for me by a dreadful conversation in church this morning. When I said that I didn't believe that "17 intelligence agencies" had proved that the Russians interfered [directly, by hacking, was the point] in our election, my interlocutor was aghast. Unable to answer in a "Christian" manner, she threw back her head and laughed. It was quite a Hillaryesque gesture.

What preceded this was my bringing up the collaboration of the DNC, Crowdstrike, and Ukraine to slander and taint Donald Trump via accusations against Paul Manafort. Rather than cross-examine me about that or discuss it, she came back with, "How about Trump and the Russian oligarchs " and "How about Jared Kushner meeting the Russians.." – IN THE RUSSIAN EMBASSY !!! seemed to be enormously unforgivable in her mind – and a few other 'How abouts.' When none of this impressed me, she was visibly exasperated and went to the '17 agencies,' hoping for a knock-out blow, I guess.

Did all this mean that she considers the DNC malfeasance insignificant? DC, and Bethesda, where this took place, are overwhelmingly Blue. Around here it's poorly tolerated to defend Trump, or to criticize his detractors. But I didn't realize it was verboten to expose the DNC. After all, they already know the DNC and DWS stole the primary from Bernie.

Sadly, I turn to anonymous commenters for solace. Also, I encourage all to see the significance of the DNC chicanery, of Crowdstrike not allowing the FBI to see the DNC computers, of Ukraine collaboration. I'm not an unqualified endorser of all Lee Stranahan's views, but he's doing a terrific job investigating this – and he's the only one who is! What he doesn't say in this video: the Dems should be careful what they wish for! After Comey hearing, there will be investigation of Loretta Lynch.

What to look for in establishment reaction to the story about Ukrainian election interference

Hans Vogel >, June 26, 2017 at 2:01 pm GMT

@Joe Levantine

I do not agree. Germany (1933-1945) was a nation state carried to its extreme consequences. Moreover, the fundamental concept of the nation is a romantic fallacy. There is no reason why people speaking the same language would share the same values. How else do you think civil wars could come about? Switzerland may be many things, but not a nation state. It is a federation of wildly different entities (Kantons): most speak a German dialect. some French, one Italian and one Romance. Some are calvinist. some Roman Catholic, some Lutheran etc. If language be your yardstick, only two states in Europe qualify as nation states: Portugal and Iceland. I would agree with Rousseau (a Swiss, by the way): the smaller a state, the more rights (democratic etc.) the citizens tend to have. And indeed, Iceland is the freest and most democratic state in Europe, and therefore, also in the world.

Miro23 >, June 27, 2017 at 1:12 am GMT

This article covers a lot of ground but I would have emphasized more what 's happening internally in the US.

The US can only operate in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria (and try for Iran) because of Zionist Neo-con dominance of the US government. The public actually voted against ME wars so it's clear that further wars are illegitimate.

It would have been easier for the Zio-cons if HRC had been elected, but she wasn't, so the emphasis is now on the face-off between Trump's voters (maybe or maybe not represented by Trump) and the Zio-con/SJW alliance.

It goes without saying that the Zio-con/SJW alliance and the Deep State aren't Democratic, so they'll probably make another grab for absolute power since their first Coup attempt (9/11) failed.

How this works out seems to be the prime determinant of future ME action.

RobinG >, June 27, 2017 at 1:42 am GMT

@Miro23

Right. SOROS / CLINTON OVERTHROW: Seeing The Matrix OR What is "Civil Society?"

Miro23 >, June 27, 2017 at 1:48 am GMT

@Miro23

And a suspicious aspect are all the recent MSM "Russia" stories.

9/11 needed MSM preparation with Iraq WMD and Al Qaeda stories, so when the "Event" happened, the outrage could be pointed in the right direction.

Now it looks like preparation for some Russian "Event" / False Flag – probably this time with a fabricated "Russian surprise attack" on the US military, aimed at legitimizing a US Emergency Regime dictatorship run by the Zio/Neo-con crowd.

Chris Chuba >, June 27, 2017 at 5:38 pm GMT

Iran has transitioned away from terrorism and its harsh rhetoric of the 80′s and early 90′s and is attempting to claim the mantel of being a stabilizing influence in the M.E. They are contrasting this to the U.S. who they claim (rather convincingly) are agents of chaos. The kool-aid drinkers in the U.S. can bray 'terrorist state' all they want but this only plays in Peoria not to anyone who lives in the M.E. and sees what is actually happening.

The Qatar situation demonstrates this beautifully, while the KSA was asking Qatar to become a vassal and making a not so subtle threat of invasion, Iran was emphasizing the right of free commerce, sovereignty, and dialogue regarding differences.

Is Iran taking over the M.E.? yes, but not in the way that Neocons think, they are gaining influence by showing restraint.

[Oct 13, 2017] Iran - Trump Has No Strategy, Only Aims And No Way To Achieve Them

Oct 13, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trump hates the international nuclear deal with Iran. The agreement put temporary restriction of Iran's nuclear program and opened it up to deeper inspections. The other sides of the deal committed to lifting sanctions and to further economic cooperation. Trump wants to get rid of the deal; but he is unwilling to pay the political price.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was negotiated and signed by the five permanent UN Security Council members (U.S., Ch, Ru, UK, F), Germany, the EU and Iran. If the U.S. defaults on the deal it will be in a lone position. The diplomatic isolation would limit its abilities to use its influence on other issues.

Trump has little knowledge of Iran, the nuclear deal, the Middle East or anything else. What he knows comes from Fox News and from Netanyahoo and other Zionist whisperers who get to his ear. All he heard is that the deal with Iran is bad. Therefore, he concluded, it must end.

The White House handed a paper to the media which is supposed to describe President Donald J. Trump's New Strategy on Iran . But there is no strategy in that paper. It list a number of aims the Trump wants to achieve. But it does no explain how he plans to do that. It is a wish list, not a program to follow.

The "Core Elements of the Presidents New Iran Strategy" are:

The list is full of factual mistakes:

The White House list of aims, "the strategy", is followed by "background" information on Iran and its alleged behavior. Some White House intern must have copied it from a neoconservative version of Wikipedia. It is a conglomeration of general talking points which lack a factual basis.

When the JCOPA deal was closed, Congress legislated that the White House must certify every 90 days that Iran sticks to the deal. Trump will now stop to certify Iran's compliance even as everyone, including the White House, acknowledges that Iran is fulfilling all its parts. The White House claims that non-certification is not a breach of the agreement. The issue now falls back to Congress which might re-introduce the sanctions on Iran which the agreement had lifted. If it does that Trump will say that it is responsible for all consequences.

It is not clear if or what Congress will do. Senators Corker and Cotton are pushing for legislation that amounts to an unilateral change of the nuclear deal. It would introduce new sanctions if Iran does not accept their demands. Trump seems to support that.

But it is not going to work. It is an unilateral breach of the contract and no other country involved in deal will support it. Trump may introduce new economic sanctions on Iran but why would Iran care? Unless all other countries follow Trump's lead, it can simply buy and sell elsewhere.

The EU countries were again craven and offered to push against Iran's ballistic missiles if Trump does not completely break the JCPOA deal. This was utterly stupid negotiation behavior. Why offer concessions to Trump even before he makes a self defeating move? Still - they will not support breaking the deal.

Iran will not give up to its rights and it will not disarm. Obama pushed sanctions onto sanctions to make Iran scream. But the country did not fold. Each new U.S. sanction step was responded to with an expansion of Iran's nuclear program. In the end Obama had to offer talks to Iran to get out of the hole he had dug himself.

Now Trump is saying that stopping Iran from getting nukes is the priority. And that Obama was wrong to focus on it. The result is a bungled policy which will have either catastrophic, or no consequences at all.

01:42 PM | Comments (20)

CarlD | Oct 13, 2017 1:56:09 PM | 1

Decertifying Iran has only one aim, sparking a reaction from Iran that Trump can use
to prod for war powers. Then he will look like a real macho man POTUS to the delight of
his fanboys.

Somehow, Netanyahu is pressure cooking him to go to war with Iran whose power seems too great and oh, so close to its borders.

It now appears that more than pipeline right of ways and other economic aspects, Syria's civil war is more directed at weakening Syria and rendering it less apt to reclaim stolen territories or challenge Israel's ambitions of lebensraum.

Now, we must expect a gulf of Tonkin type incident to give Messieurs Corker and Cotton a pretext to empower Netanyahu's war on Iran.

One thing is curious: why is it that when confronted to accusations of interfering in US elections, the Russians do not protest that they are not AIPAC?

Stephen | Oct 13, 2017 2:01:51 PM | 2
who exactly, other than Likud, US neo cons, is Trump appealing to with this? Who?
nhs | Oct 13, 2017 2:16:29 PM | 3
US Realpolitik 2.0: the recruitment of evil Kissingerism against Russia and China under Donald Trump
Christian Chuba | Oct 13, 2017 2:29:12 PM | 4
Trump was so off the wall he made Nikki Haley sound coherent. I sometimes visit Nikki Haley's twitter account but not today. I just cannot stand the complete and total contempt for truth. Both of them get their talking points off of a postcard and are hailed as geniuses as long as they stick to them.
ger | Oct 13, 2017 2:34:48 PM | 5
Trump: Known in America as the MORON (sometimes preceded by an adjective: F..king MORON).The US is living in one of Trump's (un)reality television programs except there will be no winner in the end....while the rest of life on earth is 'voted' off the show!!
Blue | Oct 13, 2017 2:37:58 PM | 6
The "Core Elements of the United Nations' New United States Strategy" are:

The UN new US strategy focuses on neutralizing the Government of the United States destabilizing influence and constraining its aggression, particularly its support for terrorism and militants.

We will revitalize our UN charter as bulwarks against US subversion and restore a more stable balance of power in the World.

We will work to deny the US regime and especially the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funding for its malign activities, and oppose VIA activities that extort the wealth of the UN members and their people.

We will counter threats to UN members from Nuclear weapons and other asymmetric weapons.

We will rally the international community to condemn the CIAs gross violations of human rights and its unjust detention of UN members' citizens on specious charges.

Most importantly, we will deny the US regime all paths to a global hegemony.

If the shoe fits.

Grieved | Oct 13, 2017 2:40:36 PM | 7
Thanks, b.

This paragraph of yours:

"The EU countries were again craven and offered to push against Iran's ballistic missiles if Trump does not completely break the JCPOA deal. This was utterly stupid negotiation behavior. Why offer concessions to Trump even before he makes a self defeating move? Still - they will not support breaking the deal."

I think it explains itself, they threw in the agreement on missiles and Iran's "destabilizing" proclivities as a sop to the US, to soften the alienation, in order to remain firm on not breaking the deal. Craven they are, but the reality of what they're NOT giving up is far bigger - especially since the two points they gave up are ephemeral whereas the deal itself is very tangible.

Your link in that para was to the Washington Post, and I astonished myself by reading the whole piece. Marvelous to see how the story stands up for the integrity of agreements and very explicitly and repeatedly ties in the rationale that breaking an existing agreement makes it harder to come to terms with North Korea, because that nation might now be more wary of a potential agreement with the US ;)

This seems useful. The meme is now being propagated at MSM level that breaking an agreement makes the US untrustworthy, and hampers its ability to do good in the world. Sickening, yes, but the power of a UN resolution over the US President is highlighted. One tiny step for humanity.

financial matters | Oct 13, 2017 2:41:30 PM | 8
Either knowingly or unknowingly, and it does seem largely unknowingly, Trump has a habit of taking things to the limit which often tends to expose their ludicrousness.

This scenario seems to be what has recently played out in Syria and Saudi Arabia.

This does seem to have the effect of taking on the deep state.

Starting with the dossier and continuing with various charades the deep state wants to get rid of or discredit him.

I've wondered why they haven't tried to tank the stock market. This may be so propped up by the Feds actions over the last several years that it is difficult to unwind.

Red Ryder | Oct 13, 2017 2:54:36 PM | 9
"The White House handed a paper to the media which is supposed to describe President Donald J. Trump's New Strategy on Iran. But there is no strategy in that paper."

Trump never has a strategy; nor does the Pentagon.
Trump has a vision, sometime even a mission he conceives. The Pentagon never has a strategy. They have weapons and a mission to create chaos and instability.

This is what is now on Meth, hyperbolic fuel of propaganda. Iran=Terrorism, disobedience, evil.

Along come the great 21st Century strategists Putin and Xi. Russia and China will decide how this works out. They had the final stakes in the agreement of the sanctions on Iran, and they will decide how this hegemonic threat to them and their interests is thwarted.

Iran won't be alone against Trump, Congress and the neocons and their master Bibi.
Russia and China are huge stakeholders.

james | Oct 13, 2017 3:15:59 PM | 10
thanks b for highlighting this... and thank you @7 grieved for articulating all that..

i note in the press briefing from oct 10th"2:30 p.m. -- On-Camera, On-the-Record Briefing with CT Coordinator, Ambassador Nathan A. Sales and NCTC Director Nicholas J. Rasmussen on U.S. efforts to counter Hizballah, in the Press Briefing Room (room 2209)." in this briefing the sole purpose was to highlight how the usa is going to go after iran... so, i think their is a concerted effort on the part of the usa to go to war with iran, on the part of israel..

that the usa continues to isolate itself is made more possible thanks the erratic and unpredictable behaviour of president trump..

@6 blue.. nice post!

pat lang has a post up on this topic as well..

Thirdeye | Oct 13, 2017 3:22:30 PM | 11
The end result will be the US isolating itself to the point where it can't do much of anything other than blow stuff up. And if there's a deterrent to blowing stuff up that leaves literally no options. Look what happened with Syria, where the US attempt to salvage its unicorns through diplomacy led to "ceasefires" that accomplished nothing. Aleppo was liberated, the Astana process replaced the US-Russia negotiations as the nexus of diplomacy over Syria, and Turkey, while officially remaining within NATO, is behaving neutrally. The scale of that strategic defeat has hardly been recognized. The only real result of the last round of sanctions against Iran was to push it towards the Eurasian sphere, with Russia as the main beneficiary. Russia now uses Iranian airspace for operations over Syria, which shifts the balance of escalation dominance over the entire region. Trump's diplomatic impasse with the DPRK opens the opportunity for China to pull off a major diplomatic coup with ROK. China can offer results in ROK's interests if the US is unwilling to. All the US offers ROK at this point is a heightened probability of having much of their country destroyed, in exchange for inheriting a radioactive wasteland full of destitute people. But you can bet that China would want something from ROK in return, and it would be a major setback for US influence in the region.
never mind | Oct 13, 2017 3:42:24 PM | 12
"The result is a bungled policy which will have either catastrophic, or no consequences at all."

It most certainly will have catastrophic consequences, with the europeans moving further away from the US (and closer to Russia and China); this would be yet another, in a line of many, self-defeating moves by the empire. Really, ever since 9/11, the US has repeatedly been shooting itself in the face in regards to that particular region. I don't see that trend changing anytime soon.

psychohistorian | Oct 13, 2017 3:42:59 PM | 13
This is the train wreck we have all been waiting for and it is happening in sloooooooow motion.

This train wreck is all about global private finance and their abuse of the zombie Americans to maintain their power and control. I think the jig is just about up. Even if Trump can sell another war to Americans, it is doubtful that his "karma" (read cattle prod of empire) can hold even the EU countries in support.

Yes, there are many suffering through this nightmare but I am encouraged that the travesties of empire are so evident to more people and this period will end sooner that if we had Clinton II as president.

Maybe, given the beatings that Gaia is giving to the US, maybe the populace will really stand up and demand domestic spending over more wars.....one can only hope....

Save the world and humanity, eliminate private finance and neuter inheritance

financial matters | Oct 13, 2017 3:43:48 PM | 14
The US is a long way off the mark by attacking countries that show an interest in socialism and a resistance to the neoliberal world order.

Stephen Gowans does a great job of describing this in his new book, 'Washington's Long War in Syria.' This article is a nice synopsis of that book.

Gowans

""And I would have imagined, as well, that the US Left would regard its responsibilities to include disseminating a rigorous, evidence-based political analysis of how the US economic elite uses the apparatus of the US state to advance its interests at the expense of both domestic and foreign populations. How does Washington's long war on Syria affect the working people of America?""

Pat Bateman | Oct 13, 2017 3:44:54 PM | 15
Trump's strategy is to deflect blame for another election promise that he does not intend to keep. Certifying a deal every 90 days that you were supposed to cancel is a continuous embarrassment. It seems certain to me that Congress will reject new sanctions and instead revise legislation to relive the President of responsibility for certification - thereby releasing Trump from the 90 day cycle of looking stupid. The Democrates will take credit for saving the world from big bad Trump, and Trump will give them credit for saving him from himself.
Kalen | Oct 13, 2017 3:47:35 PM | 16
Trump may impose banking sanctions on anyone EU and China who deals with Iran, Russia and NK as they already did.

B is wrong it is EU that will fold, you see, look what the do with NATO, increase spending, this are real deed not a posturing EU can only afford.

AtaBrit | Oct 13, 2017 3:54:42 PM | 17
@Grievd
"I think it explains itself, they threw in the agreement on missiles and Iran's "destabilizing" proclivities as a sop to the US, to soften the alienation, in order to remain firm on not breaking the deal."

Excellent point and fully agree.

Also agree with others who consider that if implemented Trump will succeed only in further isolating and weakening the US globally. The sanctions on Russia have achieved very little, if anything, and any sanctions imposed on Iran will achieve less. Iran has not been idle these last couple of years and has entered into significant deals with many US 'allies' - deals which can not fall through - the most recent being with Total (France).

Have to wonder about Israel. @CarlD | 1 comments are foreboding ...

What is worrying is that Trump's rhetoric is strengthening the Mullahs, thereby weakening Rouhani. If this were to continue, Iran may have difficulty maintaining the pace at which it is currently signing business deals - large and small.

Don Bacon | Oct 13, 2017 4:01:04 PM | 18
Trump may say that stopping Iran from getting nukes is the priority, but the Agreement is credibly working and actually Trump has other gripes about Iran. The main problem that Washington right now hates Iran even more than usual because of Iran's success on the battlefield in Syria. Remember Trump on war? "You will be tired of winning. We will win win win." Ooopsy. It didn't work out.

The US has sanctioned the Islamic Republic since its conception nearly forty years ago. Meanwhile Iran has gained Middle East hegemony largely via poor US actions, mainly Operation Iraqi Freedom which converted Iraq to an Iran ally and the US attempt for Syria regime change with US-supported forces defeated largely by Iran militias in conjunction with the Syria Arab Army and Russian Air.

We can now say that the 1980 Carter Doctrine, stipulating the United States would use military force if necessary to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf, has been replaced by the Khamenei Doctrine. Iran is now the Big Dog in the Middle East, which has driven Turkey and Saudi Arabia away from the US and toward Russia.

This makes Washington extremely unhappy and the US needs to do something about it. (sore losers) But what? The US is used to invading weak countries and losing, so how can it attack a strong country and win, at a time when US allies are flying the coop? It can't. The only thing the US can do is cry about the Joint Nuclear Agreement, but the other countries involved are onto that scheme. They are the Coalition of the Unwilling.

Curtis | Oct 13, 2017 4:40:55 PM | 19
CarlD 1
True. They want their excuse for military action. Netanyahu appeasement is a big reason, too. Unfortunately, Trump's core praised his desire to get the US out of nation-building wars but ignored his push against Iran. There is some common sense out there saying not to do this. I wonder how fast Hillary would have us bombing Iran by now.
J Swift | Oct 13, 2017 4:49:40 PM | 20
The last NIE which was considered to have been performed by intelligence professionals rather than the current crop of political yes-men had determined with pretty high confidence that Iran did not have nuclear weapons and had ceased attempting to build one, for religious and pragmatic reasons.
https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Newsroom/Reports%20and%20Pubs/20071203_release.pdf

Of course Israel was not about to let this interfere with drumming for war with one of the few regional powers who could actually counter it, so you had the massive Israeli/Neocon push for sanctions and eventually war. Since Iran hadn't really done anything, the only way to make them sound threatening to the world was by accusing them of terrorism and THE BOMB. To his credit Little Bushie refused to green light the war, based on a few stubborn old military men who carefully explained that it would be a guaranteed loser, so they had to wait until they could purge those and get Obama in the picture. They about had him convinced, but since the whole argument revolved around Iran's non-existent A-bomb, Iran deftly agreed to allow inspections (one might see the soft guidance of Russia here, since it mirrors the Syrian chemical weapons agreement). The Israelis were furious at having been out maneuvered (since they already knew there was no bomb), which is why Nettybooboo avoided meddling in US politics and foreign affairs by addressing the joint US legislature with condescending pictures of Wiley Coyote bombs about to go off at any minute--but this time it was Obama who declined to go to war for the Israeli/Neocons. Had to wait for the new sock puppet.

Trump was already so close to Israel this was going to be easy--except everyone kept verifying that Iran was sticking perfectly to the deal. But Israel already knew they would do that, it was actually those ballistic missiles and support for Hezbollah they were worried about--well, and the general desire to weaken Iran. That's why suddenly all the attention to the missile tests, even though the Iranians had cleverly avoided making that part of the deal. And cleverly added several parties to the deal. So now, as has been pointed out, while the US politicians will give themselves hernias trying to do Israel's bidding, they truly are in an awkward legal position. Trump refusing to certify Iran is in compliance, while every single entity agrees they are, exposes him as a buffoon with contempt for the truth or laws. Congress going along (which they will, as they are owned by AIPAC) and withdrawing the US from the parties to the agreement will complete the humiliation of the US, while everyone else party to the contract (which was everyone who matters) will essentially be granted a very legal free pass to ignore any US calls for sanctions (which they are tired of anyway), meaning any US sanctions will actually be sanctions on itself, not Iran. For the first time in a long time, US businesses will have to bear the cost of sanctions being decreed willy-nilly by the US. Be fun to see if this works out they way they think it will.

[Oct 11, 2017] The Infantilization of President Trump by David A. Graham

Atlantic used to have a strong pro-Hillary bias and stooges are prominent among its correspndents, so all information should be take with huge grain of salt. may be this is just a "color revolution" style campaign to provoke the President of some outburst that hurts him politically.
But Trump behaviour in case of North Korea speaks for itself so this is not pure insinuations...
Notable quotes:
"... On the North Korean front, the president has repeatedly made bellicose remarks for months, even as aides try to slow-walk the slide toward war, warning of the catastrophic destruction that would result, insisting that all options remain on the table, and trying to keep diplomatic channels open -- only to see Trump repeatedly undercut them. Even as the president seems eager for confrontation, more prudent members of the team have sought to redirect his anger. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.theatlantic.com

... Or, for that matter, whether the U.S. might go to war soon with either North Korea or Iran, as I wrote yesterday . On the North Korean front, the president has repeatedly made bellicose remarks for months, even as aides try to slow-walk the slide toward war, warning of the catastrophic destruction that would result, insisting that all options remain on the table, and trying to keep diplomatic channels open -- only to see Trump repeatedly undercut them. Even as the president seems eager for confrontation, more prudent members of the team have sought to redirect his anger.

Bargaining is another technique, as recent news about Iran shows. While many of Trump's aides had their gripes about the 2015 deal with Tehran to prevent nuclear proliferation, most of them seem to agree that keeping the deal in place is far preferable to eliminating it. But now the administration seems likely to punt the issue, decertifying the deal but leaving it to Congress to either let it stand or fall. (So much for Harry S. Truman's "the buck stops here.") Why take this halfway step? Part of it is that, just as on DACA, Trump wants to keep a campaign promise to end the deal without suffering the consequences, but another part is childish petulance: Olivier Knox reports Trump simply hates being confronted with the need to recertify the deal every 90 days.

And then, as every parent knows, sometimes you just have to give in -- let the kid have a victory on something less significant. Aides can try to prevent war with North Korea, and they can seek compromise on the Iran deal, and they can quietly kill the demand for more nukes, but they've got to let the president have his way on occasion. When Trump demands "goddamned steam" to power catapults on aircraft carriers, aides shrug and let it go.

Trump's childish behavior was worrying when it involved belittling his opponents, discussing his genitalia, or taking swipes at former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, but it takes on a new level of danger when it affects U.S. military policy, from Iran to North Korea to the nuclear arsenal. There's a powerful, perhaps too powerful, urge to seek historical analogues for Trump , but seldom has there been a president whose own loyalists and insiders were so dismissive of his maturity, judgment, and prudence. So how does the presidency work when the president's aides treat him like a child? The immediate answer is, not very well. The longer-term answers are murkier and scarier.

[Oct 11, 2017] The Operational Code of President Trump

Notable quotes:
"... He can use withholding of certification as his personal statement of disapproval of the JCPOA while saying that his declaration does not constitute a violation of the agreement. ..."
"... By itself, it doesn't. But non-certification is an invitation to Congress -- where Iran-bashing is always one of the easiest things on which to muster a majority -- to enact sanctions that either would blatantly violate the JCPOA directly or would go so far down a road of negating the economic portions of the agreement that the Iranians would throw up their hands in disgust and pronounce the accord void. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

Recently there has been a bit more willingness even in that party to call out the excesses for what they are. This is exemplified not so much by the secretary of state's colorful description of his president as a "f------ moron" but rather the more thoughtful observations of Senator Bob Corker about Trump's international recklessness.

Corker, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will be a key figure in what comes next for the JCPOA after Trump withholds certification. A subsidiary part of Trump's operational code is not to do dirty work himself but instead to goad others into doing it. Throwing things into the lap of Congress is part of that technique, as Trump wanted it to be with DACA.

The review legislation regarding JCPOA -- although it was written more with a Democratic president in mind -- turns out to be well-suited to Trump's use of this technique.

He can use withholding of certification as his personal statement of disapproval of the JCPOA while saying that his declaration does not constitute a violation of the agreement.

By itself, it doesn't. But non-certification is an invitation to Congress -- where Iran-bashing is always one of the easiest things on which to muster a majority -- to enact sanctions that either would blatantly violate the JCPOA directly or would go so far down a road of negating the economic portions of the agreement that the Iranians would throw up their hands in disgust and pronounce the accord void.

The choice facing members of Congress regarding Iran is defined by the president's driving, overwhelming obsession to destroy his predecessor's accomplishments.

Members need to decide whether they wish to be accessories to that obsession even though being so would mean dealing a major blow against nuclear nonproliferation, against hopes for reducing tensions in the Persian Gulf, against the full use of U.S. diplomacy to promote U.S. interests in the Middle East, against good relations with U.S. allies, and against U.S. credibility.

[Oct 11, 2017] Donald Trump is exposing the contradictions of the elite by David Callahan

That's neoliberal elite after all. Why the author expects them to be ashamed is unclear
Notable quotes:
"... Business practices aimed at boosting shareholder value – like outsourcing, offshoring, automation, union-busting, predatory lending, and a range of anti-competitive abuses – have undermined the security of large swaths of the country. In turn, a flood of business dollars for campaign donations and lobbying over decades has helped thwart effective government responses to rising pain on Main Street. ..."
"... History tells us that societies with extractive and self-serving upper classes tend to fall into decline – whereas societies with inclusive elites are more likely to thrive. With the rise of Trump, we're seeing what an unraveling of the social fabric looks like after decades in which nearly all the nation's income gains have flowed upwards to a tiny sliver of households. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Since January, though, we've also seen a new level of rapaciousness by corporate interests in Washington DC that seem intent on extracting as much wealth as they can from wherever they can: consumers, investors, public lands, student borrowers, the tax code and even the war in Afghanistan.

Longtime watchers of the .01% won't be surprised by this bifurcated picture. For over two decades, an ever more educated wealthy elite has trumpeted its belief in tolerance, diversity, and meritocracy – even as it's also helped usher in record levels of inequality that have left many Americans feeling economically excluded and increasingly angry.

Trump's retrograde presidency has revealed the profound contradictions at the top of the US income ladder.

... ... ...

Corporate leaders have already been supportive of Trump's sweeping push to gut regulations in ways that would tilt the rules governing the economy more in favor of business and the wealthy. Social inclusion may be a growing public mantra of the far upper class. But economic extraction remains among its core operating principles.

... ... ...

Social inclusion is a public mantra of the upper class. But economic extraction remains a core operating principle

The answer is that many corporate and financial leaders were, and still are, a big part of the problem. These leaders have fostered the economic conditions that have thrown the values of tolerance and diversity on the defensive in America.

Business practices aimed at boosting shareholder value – like outsourcing, offshoring, automation, union-busting, predatory lending, and a range of anti-competitive abuses – have undermined the security of large swaths of the country. In turn, a flood of business dollars for campaign donations and lobbying over decades has helped thwart effective government responses to rising pain on Main Street.

... ... ...

History tells us that societies with extractive and self-serving upper classes tend to fall into decline – whereas societies with inclusive elites are more likely to thrive. With the rise of Trump, we're seeing what an unraveling of the social fabric looks like after decades in which nearly all the nation's income gains have flowed upwards to a tiny sliver of households.

Rarely has the American experiment – the notion of a country united by ideas rather than shared heritage – felt more fragile than it does right now. It's an ugly picture of division and resentment, but a predictable one given the economic trauma inflicted on millions of people over recent decades.

... ... ...

David Callahan is the author of The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age. He is the founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy

[Oct 09, 2017] Corker Strikes Back by Daniel Larison

And this guy was elected with the mandate to end all foreign wars, although regarding Iraq he always was pretty crazy and jingoistic.
Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Bob Corker followed up on his initial response to Trump's attack on him with some scathing criticism in an interview with The New York Times :

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview on Sunday that President Trump was treating his office like "a reality show," with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation "on the path to World War III."

In an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party, Mr. Corker said he was alarmed about a president who acts "like he's doing 'The Apprentice' or something."

"He concerns me," Mr. Corker added. "He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation."

Corker isn't saying anything that many others haven't already said, but it is significant that it is coming from such a high-profile elected Republican. The senator was among a very few in the Senate inclined to give Trump the benefit of the doubt in the past, and he sometimes went out of his way to say positive things about Trump's foreign policy. During the election, he was saying that Trump was bringing a "degree of realism" and "maturity" to foreign policy. That was always wishful thinking, and Corker's criticism now is a belated admission that he was wrong about all of that. It is fair to fault Corker for not realizing or saying any of these things sooner, but that doesn't make it any less extraordinary that he is saying it on the record. Thanks to Trump's foolish attack on him yesterday, he evidently no longer feels obliged to keep quiet about the problems he has with the president.

One of the more interesting things that Corker confirmed concerned Trump's repeated undermining of Tillerson:

The senator, who is close to Mr. Tillerson, invoked comments that the president made on Twitter last weekend in which he appeared to undercut Mr. Tillerson's negotiations with North Korea.

"A lot of people think that there is some kind of 'good cop, bad cop' act underway, but that's just not true," Mr. Corker said.

Without offering specifics, he said Mr. Trump had repeatedly undermined diplomacy with his Twitter fingers. "I know he has hurt, in several instances, he's hurt us as it relates to negotiations that were underway by tweeting things out," Mr. Corker said.

We already knew this, but it is important that someone in Corker's position is acknowledging that the administration's foreign policy is every bit as dysfunctional as it appears to be. It remains to be seen whether Corker's break with Trump will translate into meaningful opposition to any part of Trump's foreign policy, but his remarks in this interview suggest that it might.

[Oct 09, 2017] Sen. Corker Reckless Trump Threatens World War III by Jason Ditz

www.amazon.com

October 8, 2017 Top ranking Republican Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed concerns Sunday that President Trump's reckless threats toward other counties "could set the nation on the path to World War III ."

Trump spent the better part of the weekend on Twitter angrily condemning Corker, accusing him of being behind the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, and saying he's not running for another term in office because "he doesn't have the guts."

Corker said that top administration officials are constantly trying to protect Trump from his own interests, and much of the work of today's White House is "a situation of trying to contain him."

Corker went on to say Trump's irresponsible outbursts should be concerning to all Americans, and that he's treating the presidency like it's a reality television show. He also said Trump's Twitter outbursts have in several instances harmed diplomatic efforts of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

While Trump has yet to respond to Corker's latest comments, the last thing he'd said earlier in the day was that he expects Corker to "be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda."

Sen. Corker's comments are an unprecedentedly public rebuke of Trump from his own party, but are seen as reflective of some other Republican leaders who are uncomfortable with Trump's volatile behavior. It may also be a bigger problem than Trump expects if he's totally alienated Corker, as the Republican majority in the Senate is small, and losing a top leader's public loyalty could easily cost him some close votes.

[Oct 09, 2017] Dennis Kucinich We Must Challenge the Two-Party Duopoly Committed to War by Adam Dick

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In the interview, Kucinich discusses his work to expose the misinformation used to argue for US government interventions overseas before and during the Iraq War and, later, concerning the US effort to assist in the overthrow of the Syria government. ..."
"... Kucinich, in the interview, places the Iraq War, with its costs including trillions in US government spending and the death of over a million Iraqis, in the context of "this American imperium, this idea that somehow we have the right to establish ourselves anywhere we want" including with "over 800 bases in 132 countries" and to go around the world "looking for dragons to slay while we ignore our own problems here at home." ..."
"... This is a racket. This is a way for people who make arms to cash in or have government contracts to cash in. ..."
"... Rescuing America from a future "cataclysmic war," Kucinich argues, requires that Americans both "realize that our position in the world was never, ever meant to be a cop on the beat, a global cop," and "challenge this two-party duopoly that's committed to war." ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

In a new interview with host Jesse Ventura at RT, former United States presidential candidate and House of Representatives Member Dennis Kucinich stressed the importance of the American people challenging the "two-party duopoly that's committed to war."

In the interview, Kucinich discusses his work to expose the misinformation used to argue for US government interventions overseas before and during the Iraq War and, later, concerning the US effort to assist in the overthrow of the Syria government.

Regarding the Iraq War, Kucinich, who is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, explains that his research showed that "Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, nothing to do with al-Qaeda's role in 9/11, didn't have any connection to the anthrax attack, didn't have the intention or the capability of attacking the United States, and didn't have the weapons of mass destruction that were being claimed." This information, Kucinich relates, he provided to US Congress members in an October 2, 2002 report showing "there was no cause for war."

Despite Kucinich and other individuals' efforts to stop the march toward war, Congress passed an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against Iraq later in October, and the invasion of Iraq commenced in March of 2003.

Kucinich, in the interview, places the Iraq War, with its costs including trillions in US government spending and the death of over a million Iraqis, in the context of "this American imperium, this idea that somehow we have the right to establish ourselves anywhere we want" including with "over 800 bases in 132 countries" and to go around the world "looking for dragons to slay while we ignore our own problems here at home."

Why are we "wasting the blood of our nation, the treasure of our nation, our young people" on these overseas activities that are "causing catastrophes among families in other countries?" Kucinich asks. He answers as follows:

This is a racket. This is a way for people who make arms to cash in or have government contracts to cash in.
Continuing with his explanation for the support for the Iraq War and other US military intervention abroad, Kucinich says:
The problem today we have in Washington is that both political parties have converged with the military-industrial complex, fulfilling President Eisenhower's nightmare and setting America on a path toward destruction.

Rescuing America from a future "cataclysmic war," Kucinich argues, requires that Americans both "realize that our position in the world was never, ever meant to be a cop on the beat, a global cop," and "challenge this two-party duopoly that's committed to war."

Watch Kucinich's complete interview here:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3n5w1xYmV8A


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[Oct 09, 2017] Autopilot Wars by Andrew J. Bacevich

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While serving as defense secretary in the 1960s, Robert McNamara once mused that the "greatest contribution" of the Vietnam War might have been to make it possible for the United States "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." With regard to the conflict once widely referred to as McNamara's War, his claim proved grotesquely premature. Yet a half-century later, his wish has become reality. ..."
"... Why do Americans today show so little interest in the wars waged in their name and at least nominally on their behalf? Why, as our wars drag on and on, doesn't the disparity between effort expended and benefits accrued arouse more than passing curiosity or mild expressions of dismay? Why, in short, don't we give a [ expletive deleted ..."
"... The true costs of Washington's wars go untabulated. ..."
"... On matters related to war, American citizens have opted out. ..."
"... Terrorism gets hyped and hyped and hyped some more. ..."
"... Blather crowds out substance. ..."
"... Besides, we're too busy. ..."
"... Anyway, the next president will save us. ..."
"... Our culturally progressive military has largely immunized itself from criticism. ..."
"... Well, yes, the US has recently killed 100.000′s of Arab civilians because they were Terrorists (?) or to Bring them Democracy (?) or whatever, or something – or who cares anyway. There's more coverage of the transgender toilet access question. ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | www.unz.com

Autopilot Wars Sixteen Years, But Who's Counting?

Consider, if you will, these two indisputable facts. First, the United States is today more or less permanently engaged in hostilities in not one faraway place, but at least seven . Second, the vast majority of the American people could not care less.

Nor can it be said that we don't care because we don't know. True, government authorities withhold certain aspects of ongoing military operations or release only details that they find convenient. Yet information describing what U.S. forces are doing (and where) is readily available, even if buried in recent months by barrages of presidential tweets. Here, for anyone interested, are press releases issued by United States Central Command for just one recent week:

Ever since the United States launched its war on terror, oceans of military press releases have poured forth. And those are just for starters. To provide updates on the U.S. military's various ongoing campaigns, generals, admirals, and high-ranking defense officials regularly testify before congressional committees or brief members of the press. From the field, journalists offer updates that fill in at least some of the details -- on civilian casualties, for example -- that government authorities prefer not to disclose. Contributors to newspaper op-ed pages and "experts" booked by network and cable TV news shows, including passels of retired military officers, provide analysis. Trailing behind come books and documentaries that put things in a broader perspective.

But here's the truth of it. None of it matters.

Like traffic jams or robocalls, war has fallen into the category of things that Americans may not welcome, but have learned to live with. In twenty-first-century America, war is not that big a deal.

While serving as defense secretary in the 1960s, Robert McNamara once mused that the "greatest contribution" of the Vietnam War might have been to make it possible for the United States "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." With regard to the conflict once widely referred to as McNamara's War, his claim proved grotesquely premature. Yet a half-century later, his wish has become reality.

Why do Americans today show so little interest in the wars waged in their name and at least nominally on their behalf? Why, as our wars drag on and on, doesn't the disparity between effort expended and benefits accrued arouse more than passing curiosity or mild expressions of dismay? Why, in short, don't we give a [ expletive deleted ]?

Perhaps just posing such a question propels us instantly into the realm of the unanswerable, like trying to figure out why people idolize Justin Bieber, shoot birds, or watch golf on television.

Without any expectation of actually piercing our collective ennui, let me take a stab at explaining why we don't give a @#$%&! Here are eight distinctive but mutually reinforcing explanations, offered in a sequence that begins with the blindingly obvious and ends with the more speculative.

Americans don't attend all that much to ongoing American wars because:

1. U.S. casualty rates are low . By using proxies and contractors, and relying heavily on airpower, America's war managers have been able to keep a tight lid on the number of U.S. troops being killed and wounded. In all of 2017, for example, a grand total of 11 American soldiers have been lost in Afghanistan -- about equal to the number of shooting deaths in Chicago over the course of a typical week. True, in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries where the U.S. is engaged in hostilities, whether directly or indirectly, plenty of people who are not Americans are being killed and maimed. (The estimated number of Iraqi civilians killed this year alone exceeds 12,000 .) But those casualties have next to no political salience as far as the United States is concerned. As long as they don't impede U.S. military operations, they literally don't count (and generally aren't counted).

2. The true costs of Washington's wars go untabulated. In a famous speech , dating from early in his presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower said that "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." Dollars spent on weaponry, Ike insisted, translated directly into schools, hospitals, homes, highways, and power plants that would go unbuilt. "This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense," he continued. "[I]t is humanity hanging from a cross of iron." More than six decades later, Americans have long since accommodated themselves to that cross of iron. Many actually see it as a boon, a source of corporate profits, jobs, and, of course, campaign contributions. As such, they avert their eyes from the opportunity costs of our never-ending wars. The dollars expended pursuant to our post-9/11 conflicts will ultimately number in the multi-trillions . Imagine the benefits of investing such sums in upgrading the nation's aging infrastructure . Yet don't count on Congressional leaders, other politicians, or just about anyone else to pursue that connection.

On matters related to war, American citizens have opted out. Others have made the point so frequently that it's the equivalent of hearing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" at Christmastime. Even so, it bears repeating: the American people have defined their obligation to "support the troops" in the narrowest imaginable terms , ensuring above all that such support requires absolutely no sacrifice on their part. Members of Congress abet this civic apathy, while also taking steps to insulate themselves from responsibility. In effect, citizens and their elected representatives in Washington agree: supporting the troops means deferring to the commander in chief, without inquiring about whether what he has the troops doing makes the slightest sense. Yes, we set down our beers long enough to applaud those in uniform and boo those who decline to participate in mandatory rituals of patriotism. What we don't do is demand anything remotely approximating actual accountability.

4. Terrorism gets hyped and hyped and hyped some more. While international terrorism isn't a trivial problem (and wasn't for decades before 9/11), it comes nowhere close to posing an existential threat to the United States. Indeed, other threats, notably the impact of climate change, constitute a far greater danger to the wellbeing of Americans. Worried about the safety of your children or grandchildren? The opioid epidemic constitutes an infinitely greater danger than "Islamic radicalism." Yet having been sold a bill of goods about a "war on terror" that is essential for "keeping America safe," mere citizens are easily persuaded that scattering U.S. troops throughout the Islamic world while dropping bombs on designated evildoers is helping win the former while guaranteeing the latter. To question that proposition becomes tantamount to suggesting that God might not have given Moses two stone tablets after all.

5. Blather crowds out substance. When it comes to foreign policy, American public discourse is -- not to put too fine a point on it -- vacuous, insipid, and mindlessly repetitive. William Safire of the New York Times once characterized American political rhetoric as BOMFOG, with those running for high office relentlessly touting the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God. Ask a politician, Republican or Democrat, to expound on this country's role in the world, and then brace yourself for some variant of WOSFAD, as the speaker insists that it is incumbent upon the World's Only Superpower to spread Freedom and Democracy. Terms like leadership and indispensable are introduced, along with warnings about the dangers of isolationism and appeasement, embellished with ominous references to Munich . Such grandiose posturing makes it unnecessary to probe too deeply into the actual origins and purposes of American wars, past or present, or assess the likelihood of ongoing wars ending in some approximation of actual success. Cheerleading displaces serious thought.

6. Besides, we're too busy. Think of this as a corollary to point five. Even if the present-day American political scene included figures like Senators Robert La Follette or J. William Fulbright , who long ago warned against the dangers of militarizing U.S. policy, Americans may not retain a capacity to attend to such critiques. Responding to the demands of the Information Age is not, it turns out, conducive to deep reflection. We live in an era (so we are told) when frantic multitasking has become a sort of duty and when being overscheduled is almost obligatory. Our attention span shrinks and with it our time horizon. The matters we attend to are those that happened just hours or minutes ago. Yet like the great solar eclipse of 2017 -- hugely significant and instantly forgotten -- those matters will, within another few minutes or hours, be superseded by some other development that briefly captures our attention. As a result, a dwindling number of Americans -- those not compulsively checking Facebook pages and Twitter accounts -- have the time or inclination to ponder questions like: When will the Afghanistan War end? Why has it lasted almost 16 years? Why doesn't the finest fighting force in history actually win? Can't package an answer in 140 characters or a 30-second made-for-TV sound bite? Well, then, slowpoke, don't expect anyone to attend to what you have to say.

7. Anyway, the next president will save us. At regular intervals, Americans indulge in the fantasy that, if we just install the right person in the White House, all will be well. Ambitious politicians are quick to exploit this expectation. Presidential candidates struggle to differentiate themselves from their competitors, but all of them promise in one way or another to wipe the slate clean and Make America Great Again. Ignoring the historical record of promises broken or unfulfilled, and presidents who turn out not to be deities but flawed human beings, Americans -- members of the media above all -- pretend to take all this seriously. Campaigns become longer, more expensive, more circus-like, and ever less substantial. One might think that the election of Donald Trump would prompt a downward revision in the exalted expectations of presidents putting things right. Instead, especially in the anti-Trump camp, getting rid of Trump himself (Collusion! Corruption! Obstruction! Impeachment!) has become the overriding imperative, with little attention given to restoring the balance intended by the framers of the Constitution. The irony of Trump perpetuating wars that he once roundly criticized and then handing the conduct of those wars to generals devoid of ideas for ending them almost entirely escapes notice.

8. Our culturally progressive military has largely immunized itself from criticism. As recently as the 1990s, the U.S. military establishment aligned itself with the retrograde side of the culture wars. Who can forget the gays-in-the-military controversy that rocked Bill Clinton's administration during his first weeks in office, as senior military leaders publicly denounced their commander-in-chief? Those days are long gone. Culturally, the armed forces have moved left. Today, the services go out of their way to project an image of tolerance and a commitment to equality on all matters related to race, gender, and sexuality. So when President Trump announced his opposition to transgendered persons serving in the armed forces, tweeting that the military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," senior officers politely but firmly disagreed and pushed back . Given the ascendency of cultural issues near the top of the U.S. political agenda, the military's embrace of diversity helps to insulate it from criticism and from being called to account for a less than sterling performance in waging wars. Put simply, critics who in an earlier day might have blasted military leaders for their inability to bring wars to a successful conclusion hold their fire. Having women graduate from Ranger School or command Marines in combat more than compensates for not winning.

A collective indifference to war has become an emblem of contemporary America. But don't expect your neighbors down the street or the editors of the New York Times to lose any sleep over that fact. Even to notice it would require them -- and us -- to care.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular , is the author, most recently, of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History .

Dan Hayes > , October 9, 2017 at 2:30 am GMT

You have enumerated ten general reasons why Americans "don't attend" to ongoing wars.

Let me add a further specific one: the draft or lack of same. If there were a draft in place either the powers-that-be would not even dare to contemplate any of our present martial misadventures, or failing that the outraged citizenry would burn down the Congress!

BTW I had never thought about reason #8: the military's embrace of diversity helps to insulate it from criticism. This explains General Casey's inane statement that diversity shouldn't be a casualty of the Fort Hood massacre by a "diverse" officer!

Carlton Meyer > , Website October 9, 2017 at 5:17 am GMT

One reason Trump won is that he promised to pull back the empire, while suggesting the Pentagon already has plenty of money. After the election, he demanded a 10% increase, and threatens North Korea to justify it! This increase alone is bigger than the entire annual military budget of Russia! The public is informed that this is because of cuts during the Obama years, but there were no cuts, only limits to increases.

How did the Democrats react? Most voted for a bigger military budget than the mindless increase proposed by Trump! That news was not reported by our corporate media, as Jimmy Dore explained:

Miro23 > , October 9, 2017 at 6:52 am GMT

A collective indifference to war has become an emblem of contemporary America.

Well, yes, the US has recently killed 100.000′s of Arab civilians because they were Terrorists (?) or to Bring them Democracy (?) or whatever, or something – or who cares anyway. There's more coverage of the transgender toilet access question.

So who are Mr & Mrs Indifferent, the emblems of contemporary America? https://www.yahoo.com/news/29-couples-boudoir-photos-almost-172445904.html ?.tsrc=fauxdal – Thanks to Priss

Backwoods Bob > , October 9, 2017 at 7:37 am GMT

Structurally, you have arms production, military bases, hospitals, and related service industries across nearly all the congressional districts in the country.

So it is an enormous set of vested interests with both voting power and corporate money for campaign treasuries.

Quoting Ike was good, and he mentions the opportunity cost in schools, roads, etc. – but also the organizing political and economic power of the military industrial complex.

The government schools are with some exceptions worthless. No subject, let alone war, is taken on seriously.

The legacy media has been co-opted by the MIC/Financial interests. The state is spying on everyone and everyone knows so. Free speech, free association, free assembly, right to bear arms, confront your accuser, trial by jury, habeas corpus – all gone now.

So the sheep behave. They walk by the dead whistling, and look straight ahead.

Robert Magill > , October 9, 2017 at 9:27 am GMT

While serving as defense secretary in the 1960s, Robert McNamara once mused that the "greatest contribution" of the Vietnam War might have been to make it possible for the United States "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." With regard to the conflict once widely referred to as McNamara's War, his claim proved grotesquely premature. Yet a half-century later, his wish has become reality.

He was dead wrong about this in the 60′s as it soon became obvious to everyone else. But we learned how "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." Cut out the military draft and embed the press into the ranks so they dare not report the actions they witness.

http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

[Oct 08, 2017] THE CRISIS OF NEOLIBERALISM by Julie A. Wilson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOW WE GET THERE

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

Against Disimagination: Educated Hope and Affirmative Speculation

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

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

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

Against De-democratization: Organizing and Collective Coverning

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

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

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

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

Against Disposability: Radical Equality

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

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

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

Against Dispossession: Shared Security and Common Wealth

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

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

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

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

[Oct 06, 2017] White House Pressuring CIA to Find Iran in Noncompliance of Nuclear Deal by Julian Borger

Jan 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

World affairs editor for the Guardian Julian Borger returns to the show to discuss his latest article " White House 'pressuring' intelligence officials to find Iran in violation of nuclear deal ." Borger details the pressure CIA officials are facing from the White House to find or procure evidence of Iran being in noncompliance with the nuclear deal. But while Borger believes there's hope that the CIA isn't willing to play ball, he details how the Trump administration is finding other creative ways to void the deal. Scott turns back the clock and wonders whether Obama could have solidified long term peace with Iran by visiting Tehran; Borger isn't so sure. They try to understand just why Trump is against the Iran Deal, the attempt to torpedo which is beginning to look a lot like the push to war in Iraq. Finally, Borger explains just how effective the Iran Deal has been for nonproliferation.

Julian Borger is the Guardian's world affairs editor. His book, The Butcher's Trail , is the story of the pursuit and capture of the Balkan war criminals. Follow him on Twitter: @julianborger .

[Oct 04, 2017] Wheels and Deals Trouble Brewing in the House of Saud by Pepe Escobar

The quote attributed to Mark Twain and Yogi Berra "It's Difficult to Make Predictions, Especially About the Future" still holds. This assessment by Pete Escobar about forthcoming bankruptcy of KAS need to be verified in three years from now. It is unclear whether the key future events (such as prediction that the current Crown Prince might be deposed with the CIA help) will take place.
It is, nevertheless, clear that KAS economics is under considerable stress due to low oil prices and that eventually can bankrupt the kingdom as foreign currency reserves shrink rapidly. What such economic crisis might entail for KAS we can only guess by reshuffling at the top is quite probably in this case. So in a way the future of KAS hangs on how soon oil prices will be pushed back into $100 range.
Notable quotes:
"... MBS is surrounded by inexperienced thirty-something princes, and alienating just about everyone else. ..."
"... "the CIA is outraged that the compromise worked out in April, 2014 has been abrogated wherein the greatest anti-terrorist factor in the Middle East, Mohammed bin Nayef, was arrested." That may prompt "vigorous action taken against MBS possibly in early October." And it might even coincide with the Salman-Trump get together. ..."
"... Asia Times' Gulf business source stresses how "the Saudi economy is under extreme strain based on their oil price war against Russia, and they are behind their bills in paying just about all their contractors. That could lead to the bankruptcy of some of the major enterprises in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabia of MBS features the Crown Prince buying a US$600 million yacht and his father spending US$100 million on his summer vacation, highlighted on the front pages of the New York Times while the Kingdom strangles under their leadership." ..."
"... MBS's pet project, the spun-to-death Vision 2030, in theory aims to diversify from mere oil profits and dependency on the US to a more modern economy (and a more independent foreign policy). That's completely misguided, according to the source, because "the problem in Saudi Arabia is that their companies cannot function with their local population and [are] reliant on expatriates for about 70% or more of their staff. Aramco cannot run without expatriates. Therefore, selling 5% of Aramco to diversify does not solve the problem. If he wants a more productive society, and less handouts and meaningless government jobs, he has to first train and employ his own people." ..."
"... The similarly lauded Aramco IPO, arguably the largest share sale in history and originally scheduled for next year, has once again been postponed – "possibly" to the second half of 2019, according to officials in Riyadh. And still no one knows where shares will be sold; the NYSE is far from a done deal. ..."
"... I n parallel, MBS's war on Yemen, and the Saudi drive for regime change in Syria and to reshape the Greater Middle East, have turned out to be spectacular disasters. ..."
"... The Islamic State project was conceived as the ideal tool to force Iraq to implode. It's now public domain that the organization's funding came mostly from Saudi Arabia. Even the former imam of Mecca has publicly admitted ISIS' leadership "draw their ideas from what is written in our own books, our own principles." ..."
"... Salafi-jihadism is more than alive inside the Kingdom even as MBS tries to spin a (fake) liberal trend (the "baby you can drive my car" stunt). The problem is Riyadh congenitally cannot deliver on any liberal promise; the only legitimacy for the House of Saud lies in those religious "books" and "principles." ..."
"... In Syria, besides the fact that an absolute majority of the country's population does not wish to live in a Takfiristan , Saudi Arabia supported ISIS while Qatar supported al-Qaeda (Jabhat al-Nusra). That ended up in a crossfire bloodbath, with all those non-existent US-supported "moderate rebels" reduced to road kill. ..."
"... In Enemy of the State, the latest Mitch Rapp thriller written by Kyle Mills, President Alexander, sitting at the White House, blurts, "the Middle East is imploding because those Saudi sons of bitches have been pumping up religious fundamentalism to hide the fact that they're robbing their people blind." That's a fair assessment. ..."
"... In terms of what Washington wants, the CIA is not fond of MBS, to say the least. They want "their" man Nayef back. As for the Trump administration, rumors swirl it is " desperate for Saudi money , especially infrastructure investments in the Rust Belt." ..."
"... This piece first appeared in Asia Times . ..."
Oct 04, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

No wonder, considering that the ousted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef – highly regarded in the Beltway, especially Langley – is under house arrest. His massive web of agents at the Interior Ministry has largely been "relieved of their authority". The new Interior Minister is Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, 34, the eldest son of the governor of the country's largely Shi'ite Eastern Province, where all the oil is. Curiously, the father is now reporting to his son. MBS is surrounded by inexperienced thirty-something princes, and alienating just about everyone else.

Former King Abdulaziz set up his Saudi succession based on the seniority of his sons; in theory, if each one lived to the same age all would have a shot at the throne, thus avoiding the bloodletting historically common in Arabian clans over lines of succession.

Now, says the source, "a bloodbath is predicted to be imminent." Especially because "the CIA is outraged that the compromise worked out in April, 2014 has been abrogated wherein the greatest anti-terrorist factor in the Middle East, Mohammed bin Nayef, was arrested." That may prompt "vigorous action taken against MBS possibly in early October." And it might even coincide with the Salman-Trump get together.

ISIS playing by the (Saudi) book

Asia Times' Gulf business source stresses how "the Saudi economy is under extreme strain based on their oil price war against Russia, and they are behind their bills in paying just about all their contractors. That could lead to the bankruptcy of some of the major enterprises in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabia of MBS features the Crown Prince buying a US$600 million yacht and his father spending US$100 million on his summer vacation, highlighted on the front pages of the New York Times while the Kingdom strangles under their leadership."

MBS's pet project, the spun-to-death Vision 2030, in theory aims to diversify from mere oil profits and dependency on the US to a more modern economy (and a more independent foreign policy). That's completely misguided, according to the source, because "the problem in Saudi Arabia is that their companies cannot function with their local population and [are] reliant on expatriates for about 70% or more of their staff. Aramco cannot run without expatriates. Therefore, selling 5% of Aramco to diversify does not solve the problem. If he wants a more productive society, and less handouts and meaningless government jobs, he has to first train and employ his own people."

The similarly lauded Aramco IPO, arguably the largest share sale in history and originally scheduled for next year, has once again been postponed – "possibly" to the second half of 2019, according to officials in Riyadh. And still no one knows where shares will be sold; the NYSE is far from a done deal.

I n parallel, MBS's war on Yemen, and the Saudi drive for regime change in Syria and to reshape the Greater Middle East, have turned out to be spectacular disasters. Egypt and Pakistan have refused to send troops to Yemen, where relentless Saudi air bombing – with US and UK weapons – has accelerated malnutrition, famine and cholera, and configured a massive humanitarian crisis.

The Islamic State project was conceived as the ideal tool to force Iraq to implode. It's now public domain that the organization's funding came mostly from Saudi Arabia. Even the former imam of Mecca has publicly admitted ISIS' leadership "draw their ideas from what is written in our own books, our own principles."

Which brings us to the ultimate Saudi contradiction. Salafi-jihadism is more than alive inside the Kingdom even as MBS tries to spin a (fake) liberal trend (the "baby you can drive my car" stunt). The problem is Riyadh congenitally cannot deliver on any liberal promise; the only legitimacy for the House of Saud lies in those religious "books" and "principles."

In Syria, besides the fact that an absolute majority of the country's population does not wish to live in a Takfiristan , Saudi Arabia supported ISIS while Qatar supported al-Qaeda (Jabhat al-Nusra). That ended up in a crossfire bloodbath, with all those non-existent US-supported "moderate rebels" reduced to road kill.

And then there's the economic blockade against Qatar – another brilliant MBS plot. That has only served to improve Doha's relations with both Ankara and Tehran. Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was not regime-changed, whether or not Trump really dissuaded Riyadh and Abu Dhabi from taking "military action." There was no economic strangulation: Total, for instance, is about to invest US$2 billion to expand production of Qatari natural gas. And Qatar, via its sovereign fund, counterpunched with the ultimate soft power move – it bought global footballing brand Neymar for PSG , and the "blockade" sank without a trace.

"Robbing their people blind"

In Enemy of the State, the latest Mitch Rapp thriller written by Kyle Mills, President Alexander, sitting at the White House, blurts, "the Middle East is imploding because those Saudi sons of bitches have been pumping up religious fundamentalism to hide the fact that they're robbing their people blind." That's a fair assessment.

No dissent whatsoever is allowed in Saudi Arabia. Even the economic analyst Isam Az-Zamil, very close to the top, has been arrested during the current repression campaign. So opposition to MBS does not come only from the royal family or some top clerics – although the official spin rules that only those supporting Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey, Iran and Qatari "terrorism" are being targeted.

In terms of what Washington wants, the CIA is not fond of MBS, to say the least. They want "their" man Nayef back. As for the Trump administration, rumors swirl it is " desperate for Saudi money , especially infrastructure investments in the Rust Belt."

It will be immensely enlightening to compare what Trump gets from Salman with what Putin gets from Salman: the ailing King will visit Moscow in late October. Rosneft is interested in buying shares of Aramco when the IPO takes place. Riyadh and Moscow are considering an OPEC deal extension as well as an OPEC-non-OPEC cooperation platform incorporating the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).

Riyadh has read the writing on the new wall: Moscow's rising political / strategic capital all across the board, from Iran, Syria and Qatar to Turkey and Yemen. That does not sit well with the US deep state. Even if Trump gets some Rust Belt deals, the burning question is whether the CIA and its friends can live with MBS on the House of Saud throne.

This piece first appeared in Asia Times .

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). His latest book is Empire of Chaos . He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com .

[Oct 03, 2017] The Trump Presidency

Notable quotes:
"... The most dangerous of these has barely been reported. A very important study in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists ..."
Oct 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

Not all of the damage can be blamed on the con man who is nominally in charge, on his outlandish appointments, or on the congressional forces he has unleashed. Some of the most dangerous developments under Trump trace back to Obama initiatives -- initiatives passed, to be sure, under pressure from the Republican Congress.

The most dangerous of these has barely been reported. A very important study in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , published in March 2017, reveals that the Obama nuclear weapons modernization program has increased "the overall killing power of existing US ballistic missile forces by a factor of roughly three -- and it creates exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike."

As the analysts point out, this new capacity undermines the strategic stability on which human survival depends. And the chilling record of near disaster and reckless behavior of leaders in past years only shows how fragile our survival is. Now this program is being carried forward under Trump. These developments, along with the threat of environmental disaster, cast a dark shadow over everything else -- and are barely discussed, while attention is claimed by the performances of the showman at center stage.

Whether Trump has any idea what he and his henchmen are up to is not clear. Perhaps he is completely authentic: an ignorant, thin-skinned megalomaniac whose only ideology is himself.

[Oct 03, 2017] The USA can not tolerate independt political force in the oil rich Gulf and that the source current animosity toward Iran

The problem with Chomsky views is that Iran is still a theocracy. Hardly the ideal form of government for Iranians. But the statement that the neither USA nor Israel can tolerate independent political force in the region sounds true. Carter doctrine dictates that. And that's the key value of this article.
Notable quotes:
"... That's the doctrinal system. In the real world, Iranian support for terrorism translates to support for Hezbollah, whose major crime is that it is the sole deterrent to yet another destructive Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and for Hamas, which won a free election in the Gaza Strip -- a crime that instantly elicited harsh sanctions and led the U.S. government to prepare a military coup. Both organizations, it is true, can be charged with terrorist acts, though not anywhere near the amount of terrorism that stems from Saudi Arabia's involvement in the formation and actions of jihadi networks. ..."
"... As for Iran's nuclear weapons programs, U.S. intelligence has confirmed what anyone can easily figure out for themselves: if they exist, they are part of Iran's deterrent strategy. There is also the unmentionable fact that any concern about Iranian weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) could be alleviated by the simple means of heeding Iran's call to establish a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. Such a zone is strongly supported by the Arab states and most of the rest of the world and is blocked primarily by the United States, which wishes to protect Israel's WMD capabilities. ..."
"... The United States and Israel cannot tolerate an independent force in a region that they take to be theirs by right. An Iran with a nuclear deterrent is unacceptable to rogue states that want to rampage however they wish throughout the Middle East. But there is more to it than that. Iran cannot be forgiven for overthrowing the dictator installed by Washington in a military coup in 1953, a coup that destroyed Iran's parliamentary regime and its unconscionable belief that Iran might have some claim on its own natural resources. The world is too complex for any simple description, but this seems to me the core of the tale. ..."
"... It also wouldn't hurt to recall that in the past six decades, scarcely a day has passed when Washington was not tormenting Iranians. After the 1953 military coup came U.S. support for a dictator described by Amnesty International as a leading violator of fundamental human rights. Immediately after his overthrow came the U.S.-backed invasion of Iran by Saddam Hussein, no small matter. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians were killed, many by chemical weapons. Reagan's support for his friend Saddam was so extreme that when Iraq attacked a U.S. ship, the USS Stark ..."
"... Trump, for his part, has joined the harshest and most repressive dictators in shouting imprecations at Iran. As it happens, Iran held an election during his Middle East travel extravaganza -- an election which, however flawed, would be unthinkable in the land of his Saudi hosts, who also happen to be the source of the radical Islamism that is poisoning the region. ..."
Oct 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

Barsamian: Trump's first foreign trip was to Saudi Arabia. What significance do you see in that, and what does it mean for broader Middle East policies? And what do you make of Trump's animus toward Iran?

Chomsky: Saudi Arabia is the kind of place where Trump feels right at home: a brutal dictatorship, miserably repressive (notoriously so for women's rights, but in many other areas as well), the leading producer of oil (now being overtaken by the United States), and with plenty of money. The trip produced promises of massive weapons sales -- greatly cheering the Constituency -- and vague intimations of other Saudi gifts. One of the consequences was that Trump's Saudi friends were given a green light to escalate their disgraceful atrocities in Yemen and to discipline Qatar, which has been a shade too independent of the Saudi masters. Iran is a factor there. Qatar shares a natural gas field with Iran and has commercial and cultural relations with it, frowned upon by the Saudis and their deeply reactionary associates.

Iran has long been regarded by U.S. leaders, and by U.S. media commentary, as extraordinarily dangerous, perhaps the most dangerous country on the planet. This goes back to well before Trump. In the doctrinal system, Iran is a dual menace: it is the leading supporter of terrorism, and its nuclear programs pose an existential threat to Israel, if not the whole world. It is so dangerous that Obama had to install an advanced air defense system near the Russian border to protect Europe from Iranian nuclear weapons -- which don't exist, and which, in any case, Iranian leaders would use only if possessed by a desire to be instantly incinerated in return.

That's the doctrinal system. In the real world, Iranian support for terrorism translates to support for Hezbollah, whose major crime is that it is the sole deterrent to yet another destructive Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and for Hamas, which won a free election in the Gaza Strip -- a crime that instantly elicited harsh sanctions and led the U.S. government to prepare a military coup. Both organizations, it is true, can be charged with terrorist acts, though not anywhere near the amount of terrorism that stems from Saudi Arabia's involvement in the formation and actions of jihadi networks.

As for Iran's nuclear weapons programs, U.S. intelligence has confirmed what anyone can easily figure out for themselves: if they exist, they are part of Iran's deterrent strategy. There is also the unmentionable fact that any concern about Iranian weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) could be alleviated by the simple means of heeding Iran's call to establish a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. Such a zone is strongly supported by the Arab states and most of the rest of the world and is blocked primarily by the United States, which wishes to protect Israel's WMD capabilities.

Since the doctrinal system falls apart on inspection, we are left with the task of finding the true reasons for U.S. animus toward Iran. Possibilities readily come to mind. The United States and Israel cannot tolerate an independent force in a region that they take to be theirs by right. An Iran with a nuclear deterrent is unacceptable to rogue states that want to rampage however they wish throughout the Middle East. But there is more to it than that. Iran cannot be forgiven for overthrowing the dictator installed by Washington in a military coup in 1953, a coup that destroyed Iran's parliamentary regime and its unconscionable belief that Iran might have some claim on its own natural resources. The world is too complex for any simple description, but this seems to me the core of the tale.

It also wouldn't hurt to recall that in the past six decades, scarcely a day has passed when Washington was not tormenting Iranians. After the 1953 military coup came U.S. support for a dictator described by Amnesty International as a leading violator of fundamental human rights. Immediately after his overthrow came the U.S.-backed invasion of Iran by Saddam Hussein, no small matter. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians were killed, many by chemical weapons. Reagan's support for his friend Saddam was so extreme that when Iraq attacked a U.S. ship, the USS Stark , killing 37 American sailors, it received only a light tap on the wrist in response. Reagan also sought to blame Iran for Saddam's horrendous chemical warfare attacks on Iraqi Kurds.

Eventually, the United States intervened directly in the Iran-Iraq War, leading to Iran's bitter capitulation. Afterward, George H. W. Bush invited Iraqi nuclear engineers to the United States for advanced training in nuclear weapons production -- an extraordinary threat to Iran, quite apart from its other implications. And, of course, Washington has been the driving force behind harsh sanctions against Iran that continue to the present day.

Trump, for his part, has joined the harshest and most repressive dictators in shouting imprecations at Iran. As it happens, Iran held an election during his Middle East travel extravaganza -- an election which, however flawed, would be unthinkable in the land of his Saudi hosts, who also happen to be the source of the radical Islamism that is poisoning the region. But U.S. animus against Iran goes far beyond Trump himself. It includes those regarded as the "adults" in the Trump administration, like James "Mad Dog" Mattis, the secretary of defense. And it stretches a long way into the past.

[Oct 03, 2017] Are You Ready to Die by Paul Craig Roberts

Notable quotes:
"... Greenwald explains that the US media is so conditioned by the National Security State to see Russian President Putin lurking behind and masterminding attacks on America that it is "now religious dogma" -- a requirement -- to find Russian perfidy everywhere. The result Greenwald correctly says is that "an incredibly reckless, anything-goes climate prevails when it comes to claims about Russia. Media outlets will publish literally any official assertion as Truth without the slightest regard for evidentiary standards." ..."
"... In other words, the United States no longer has a media . It has a propaganda ministry for the military/security complex, the neoconservatives, and the Israel Lobby. And the idiot Americans sit in front of the TV and absorb the propaganda, and they read the New York Times and think that they are sophisticated and in the know. ..."
"... Russia knows that Washington knows that the accusations against Russia are false. ..."
"... This is a serious question, not only for Russia but for the entire world. All previous false accusations from the Clinton regime criminals, the Bush/Cheney regime criminals, and the Obama regime criminals ended in military attacks on the falsely demonized targets. Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea would be within reason to wonder if the false news propaganda attack on them is a prelude to military attack. ..."
"... What is the point of US security agencies such as Homeland Security, CIA, FBI, NSA constantly filling the propaganda machine known as the American Media with lies about Russia? Russia must wonder as well. Russia knows that they are lies. Russia knows that it does no good to refute the lies because the West has a Propaganda Ministry instead of a media. Russia knows that Washington told lies about the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad, Iran. What does Russia conclude from the constant stream of lies about Russia that flow out of Washington and are presented as truth by the Western presstitutes? ..."
"... I have written many times that provoking nuclear powers such as Russia and China is the most extreme form of recklessness and irresponsibility. ..."
Oct 02, 2017 | www.unz.com

Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept exposes the fake news put out by the US Department of Homeland Security (an euphemistic name for a Big Brother operation that spies on US citizens) that Russia hacked 21 US state elections, news that was instantly spread around the world by the presstitute media. The propagandists running Homeland Security were contradicted by the state governments, forcing Homeland Security to retract its fake news claims. https://theintercept.com/2017/09/28/yet-another-major-russia-story-falls-apart-is-skepticism-permissible-yet/

The unasked/unanswered question is why did Homeland Security put out a FAKE NEWS story?

Greenwald explains that the US media is so conditioned by the National Security State to see Russian President Putin lurking behind and masterminding attacks on America that it is "now religious dogma" -- a requirement -- to find Russian perfidy everywhere. The result Greenwald correctly says is that "an incredibly reckless, anything-goes climate prevails when it comes to claims about Russia. Media outlets will publish literally any official assertion as Truth without the slightest regard for evidentiary standards."

In other words, the United States no longer has a media . It has a propaganda ministry for the military/security complex, the neoconservatives, and the Israel Lobby. And the idiot Americans sit in front of the TV and absorb the propaganda, and they read the New York Times and think that they are sophisticated and in the know.

What Greenwald doesn't address is the effect of the massive amount of fake news on Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. Russia knows that Washington knows that the accusations against Russia are false. So why is Washington making false accusations against Russia?

This is a serious question, not only for Russia but for the entire world. All previous false accusations from the Clinton regime criminals, the Bush/Cheney regime criminals, and the Obama regime criminals ended in military attacks on the falsely demonized targets. Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea would be within reason to wonder if the false news propaganda attack on them is a prelude to military attack.

Iran and North Korea cannot attack the US and its European vassals, but Russia and China can. I have written about the Operational Command of the Russian armed forces conclusion that Washington is preparing a surprise nuclear attack on Russia. Instead of reassuring the Russians that no such planning is in the works, Washington has instead pushed further the fake news Russiagate story with the false report that Russia had hacked the elections of 21 states.

What is the point of US security agencies such as Homeland Security, CIA, FBI, NSA constantly filling the propaganda machine known as the American Media with lies about Russia? Russia must wonder as well. Russia knows that they are lies. Russia knows that it does no good to refute the lies because the West has a Propaganda Ministry instead of a media. Russia knows that Washington told lies about the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad, Iran. What does Russia conclude from the constant stream of lies about Russia that flow out of Washington and are presented as truth by the Western presstitutes?

If you were the Russian government, would you conclude that your country was the next to be attacked militarily by Washington? If you were the Russian government, you would know that Washington/NATO cannot possibly attack Russia except by surprise nuclear strike. Knowing this, if you were the Russian government, would you sit there and wait on the strike? Imagine yourself the Russian government listening day in, day out, to endless wild improbable charges against Russia. What can Russia possibly conclude other than this is preparation of Western peoples for a nuclear attack on Russia?

Russia is not going to be hung like Saddan Hussein or murdered like Gaddafi.

I have written many times that provoking nuclear powers such as Russia and China is the most extreme form of recklessness and irresponsibility. The crazed morons in Washington are risking the life of the planet. The presstitutes are worse than the whores that they are. They never question the path to war; they only amplify it. Washington's craven, cowardly, moronic vassal states in UK, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, and the rest of the EU/NATO idiots are, by their cooperation with Washington, begging for their own destruction.

Nowhere in the West is there a sign of intelligence.

Will Washington follow Adolf Hitler's folly and march into Russia?

[Oct 02, 2017] The Russian Defence Minister has released photos of US Forces stationed on Daesh territory

Oct 02, 2017 | www.voltairenet.org

On 24 September 2017, the Russian Defense Minister broadcast satellite images of US Special forces camping right in the centre of Daesh territory in Deir ez-Zor, a region in Syria.

The Turkish press agency, Anadolu, had already flagged up the existence of these bases on 17 June.

A number of sources confirm that there is a non-aggression agreement between the US Forces and Kurdish forces on the one hand, and Daesh on the other. These photographs challenge the version that the United States and its Kurdish allies are fighting the Islamic State. Only States which have satellites positioned above Syria are able to verify the authenticity of these photos. It follows that this information is meant for them.

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[Oct 02, 2017] The Kurdish independence referendum was a political miscalculation

Independence of small nations always depends on great powers. They are essentially pawns in a bigger game, national aspirations and all that as a tool in often pretty dirty game.
Notable quotes:
"... The Iraqi government has banned international flights to the Kurdish capital Irbil from 6pm this Friday, isolating the Kurds in Iraq to a degree they have not experienced since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The isolation is political as well as geographical as traditional Kurdish allies, like the US, UK, France and Germany, have opposed the referendum on Kurdish independence while near neighbours in Turkey, Iran and Baghdad are moving to squeeze the Kurds into submission. ..."
"... The four countries with Kurdish minorities fear that secessionism might spread, but a further problem is that they do not believe that an Iraqi Kurdish state would be truly independent, but would shift into the orbit of another power. The Iranians are paranoid about the possibility that such a state would be an American base threatening Iran. Politicians in Baghdad say that, if the Kurds are serious about self-determination, they would cling onto the oil fields of Kirkuk and be dependent on Turkey through which to export their crude. ..."
Oct 02, 2017 | www.unz.com

The Iraqi government has banned international flights to the Kurdish capital Irbil from 6pm this Friday, isolating the Kurds in Iraq to a degree they have not experienced since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The isolation is political as well as geographical as traditional Kurdish allies, like the US, UK, France and Germany, have opposed the referendum on Kurdish independence while near neighbours in Turkey, Iran and Baghdad are moving to squeeze the Kurds into submission.

The referendum succeeded in showing that the Kurds, not just in Iraq but in Turkey, Iran and Syria, still yearn for their own state. Paradoxically, the outcome of the poll has demonstrated both the strength of their demand for self-determination and the weakness of their ability to obtain it. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is revealed as a minnow whose freedom of action – and even its survival – depends on playing off one foreign state against the other and keeping tolerable relations with all of them, even when they detested each other. In the past an American envoy would go out one door just as the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards came in the other.

The referendum has ended, perhaps only temporarily, these delicate balancing acts at which the Kurdish leadership was very skilled. In the last few weeks, the US has denounced the referendum in forthright terms, emboldening Iraq, Turkey and Iran to punish the Kurds for their undiplomatic enthusiasm to be an independent nation.

The poll was always a dangerous gamble but it is too early to say that it has entirely failed: minority communities and small nations must occasionally kick their big power allies in the teeth. Otherwise, they will become permanent proxies whose agreement with what their big power ally wants can be taken for granted. The skill for the smaller player is not to pay too high a price for going their own way. Iraq, Turkey and Iran have all made threatening statements over the last few days, some of them bombast, but they can hit the Kurds very hard if they want to.

The Kurds are in a fix and normally they would look to Washington to help them out, but under President Trump US foreign policy has become notoriously unpredictable. Worse from the Kurdish point of view, the US no longer needs the Iraqi Kurds as it did before the capture of Mosul from Isis in July. In any case, it was the Iraqi armed forces that won a great victory there, so for the first time in 14 years there is a powerful Iraqi army in the north of the country. We may not be on the verge of an Arab-Kurdish war, but the military balance of power is changing and Baghdad, not Irbil, is the gainer.

Anxious diplomats and excited journalists describe Iraq as "being on a collision course", but the different parties will not necessarily collide. Muddling through is not only a British trait. But there is no doubt that the situation has become more dangerous, particularly in the disputed territories stretching across northern Iraq from Syria to Iran.

The referendum always had a risky ambivalence about it which helped ignite the present crisis. It all depended on what audience Kurdish President Masoud Barzani was addressing: when he spoke to Kurdish voters, it was a poll of historic significance when the Kurds would take a decisive step towards an independent state.

But addressing an international and regional audience, Barzani said he was proposing something much tamer, more like an opinion poll, in which the Iraqi Kurds were politely indicating a general preference for independence at some date in the future. Like many leaders who play the nationalist card, Barzani is finding that his rhetoric is being taken more seriously than his caveats. "Bye, Bye Iraq!" chanted crowds in Irbil on the night of the referendum.

Much of this was born of Barzani's bid to outmanoeuvre his political rivals in Kurdistan by re-emerging as the standard bearer of Kurdish nationalism. He will benefit from his decision to defy the world and press ahead with the vote when it comes to the presidential and parliamentary elections in KRG on 1 November.

But the price of this could be high. It is not only Barzani who is facing an election in which national self-assertion is an issue in the coming months. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has a parliamentary election in 2018 and does not want to be accused of being insufficiently tough on the Kurds. Banning of international flights to Irbil is far less than many Iraqi MPs say they want.

By holding a referendum in the disputed territories, Barzani promoted this issue to the top of the Iraqi political agenda. It might have been in the interests of the Kurds to let it lie since the contending claims for land are deeply felt and irreconcilable. Optimists believe that Irbil and Baghdad could never go to war because they are both too dependent militarily on foreign powers. It is true that the Iraqi armed forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga alike could not have held off and defeated Isis without close air support from the US-led coalition. But by putting the future status of the KRG and the territories in play, Barzani has presented the Iraqi government, Turkey and Iran with a threat and an opportunity.

The four countries with Kurdish minorities fear that secessionism might spread, but a further problem is that they do not believe that an Iraqi Kurdish state would be truly independent, but would shift into the orbit of another power. The Iranians are paranoid about the possibility that such a state would be an American base threatening Iran. Politicians in Baghdad say that, if the Kurds are serious about self-determination, they would cling onto the oil fields of Kirkuk and be dependent on Turkey through which to export their crude.

Once the KRG dreamed of becoming a new Dubai with gleaming malls and hotels, but since 2014 it has looked more like Pompeii. The skyline is punctured by dozens of half completed tower blocks beside rusting cranes and abandoned machinery. The boom town atmosphere disappeared in 2014 when the price of oil went down, money stopped coming from Baghdad and Isis seized Mosul two hours' drive away. The state is impoverished and salaries paid late, if at all. This will now all get a lot worse with airports and border crossings closed and 35,000 federal employees no longer being paid.

At all events, the political landscape in Iraq and Syria is changing: we are at the beginning of a new political phase in which the battle to defeat Isis is being replaced by a power struggle between Arabs and Kurds.

[Oct 01, 2017] Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here by Cornel West

Notable quotes:
"... The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order – a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness. ..."
"... This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future. ..."
"... In this sense, Trump's election was enabled by the neoliberal policies of the Clintons and Obama that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat Trump to avert this neofascist outcome! ..."
"... The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang ..."
"... The white house and congress are now dominated by tea party politicians who worship at the altar of Ayn Rand.....read Breitbart news to see how Thatcher and Reagan are idolised. ..."
"... if you think the era of "neo liberalism" is over, you are in deep denial! ..."
"... The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad. ..."
"... Didn't Obama say to Wall Street ''I'm the only one standing between you and the lynch mob? Give me money and I'll make it all go away''. Then came into office and went we won't prosecute the Banks not Bush for a false war because we don't look back. ..."
"... He did not ignore, he actively, willingly, knowingly protected them. At the end of the day Obama is wolf in sheep's clothing. Exactly like HRC he has a public and a private position. He is a gifted speaker who knows how to say all the right, progressive liberal things to get people to go along much better than HRC ever did. ..."
"... Even when he had the Presidency, House and Senate, he never once introduced any progressive liberal policy. He didn't need Republican support to do it, yet he never even tried. ..."
Nov 17, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians.

The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order – a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness.

White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites. Yet these same citizens also supported a candidate who appeared to blame their social misery on minorities, and who alienated Mexican immigrants, Muslims, black people, Jews, gay people, women and China in the process.

This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future.

What is to be done? First we must try to tell the truth and a condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak. For 40 years, neoliberals lived in a world of denial and indifference to the suffering of poor and working people and obsessed with the spectacle of success. Second we must bear witness to justice. We must ground our truth-telling in a willingness to suffer and sacrifice as we resist domination. Third we must remember courageous exemplars like Martin Luther King Jr, who provide moral and spiritual inspiration as we build multiracial alliances to combat poverty and xenophobia, Wall Street crimes and war crimes, global warming and police abuse – and to protect precious rights and liberties.

Feminists misunderstood the presidential election from day one Liza Featherstone By banking on the idea that women would support Hillary Clinton just because she was a female candidate, the movement made a terrible mistake Read more

The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.

Rightwing attacks on Obama – and Trump-inspired racist hatred of him – have made it nearly impossible to hear the progressive critiques of Obama. The president has been reluctant to target black suffering – be it in overcrowded prisons, decrepit schools or declining workplaces. Yet, despite that, we get celebrations of the neoliberal status quo couched in racial symbolism and personal legacy. Meanwhile, poor and working class citizens of all colors have continued to suffer in relative silence.

In this sense, Trump's election was enabled by the neoliberal policies of the Clintons and Obama that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat Trump to avert this neofascist outcome!

Click and elect: how fake news helped Donald Trump win a real election Hannah Jane Parkinson The 'alt-right' (aka the far right) ensnared the electorate using false stories on social media. But tech companies seem unwilling to admit there's a problem

In this bleak moment, we must inspire each other driven by a democratic soulcraft of integrity, courage, empathy and a mature sense of history – even as it seems our democracy is slipping away.

We must not turn away from the forgotten people of US foreign policy – such as Palestinians under Israeli occupation, Yemen's civilians killed by US-sponsored Saudi troops or Africans subject to expanding US military presence.

As one whose great family and people survived and thrived through slavery, Jim Crow and lynching, Trump's neofascist rhetoric and predictable authoritarian reign is just another ugly moment that calls forth the best of who we are and what we can do.

For us in these times, to even have hope is too abstract, too detached, too spectatorial. Instead we must be a hope, a participant and a force for good as we face this catastrophe.

theomatica -> MSP1984 17 Nov 2016 6:40

To be replaced by a form of capitalism that is constrained by national interests. An ideology that wishes to uses the forces of capitalism within a market limited only by national boundaries which aims for more self sufficiency only importing goods the nation can not itself source.

farga 17 Nov 2016 6:35

The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang.

Really? The white house and congress are now dominated by tea party politicians who worship at the altar of Ayn Rand.....read Breitbart news to see how Thatcher and Reagan are idolised.

That in recent decades middle ground politicians have strayed from the true faith....and now its time to go back - popular capitalism, small government, low taxes.

if you think the era of "neo liberalism" is over, you are in deep denial!

Social36 -> farga 17 Nov 2016 8:33

Maybe, West should have written that we're now in neoliberal, neofascist era!

ForSparta -> farga 17 Nov 2016 14:24

Well in all fairness, Donald Trump (horse's ass) did say he'd 'pump' money into the middle classes thus abandoning 'trickle down'. His plan/ideology is also to increase corporate tax revenues overall by reducing the level of corporation tax -- the aim being to entice corporations to repatriate wealth currently held overseas. Plus he has proposed an infrastructure spending spree, a fiscal stimulus not a monetary one. When you add in tax cuts the middle classes will feel flushed and it is within that demographic that most businesses and hence jobs are created. I think his short game has every chance of doing what he said it would.

SeeNOevilHearNOevil 17 Nov 2016 6:36

The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.

Didn't Obama say to Wall Street ''I'm the only one standing between you and the lynch mob? Give me money and I'll make it all go away''. Then came into office and went we won't prosecute the Banks not Bush for a false war because we don't look back.

He did not ignore, he actively, willingly, knowingly protected them. At the end of the day Obama is wolf in sheep's clothing. Exactly like HRC he has a public and a private position. He is a gifted speaker who knows how to say all the right, progressive liberal things to get people to go along much better than HRC ever did.

But that lip service is where his progressive views begin and stop. It's the very reason none of his promises never translated into actions and I will argue that he was the biggest and smoothest scam artist to enter the white house who got even though that wholly opposed centre-right policies, to flip and support them vehemently. Even when he had the Presidency, House and Senate, he never once introduced any progressive liberal policy. He didn't need Republican support to do it, yet he never even tried.

ProbablyOnTopic 17 Nov 2016 6:37

I agree with some of this, but do we really have to throw around hysterical terms like 'fascist' at every opportunity? It's as bad as when people call the left 'cultural Marxists'.

LithophaneFurcifera -> ProbablyOnTopic 17 Nov 2016 7:05

True, it's sloganeering that drowns out any nuance, whoever does it. Whenever a political term is coined, you can be assured that its use and meaning will eventually be extended to the point that it becomes less effective at characterising the very groups that it was coined to characterise.

Keep "fascist" for Mussolini and "cultural Marxist" for Adorno, unless and until others show such strong resemblances that the link can't seriously be denied.

I agree about the importance of recognising the suffering of the poor and building alliances beyond, and not primarily defined by, race though.

l0Ho5LG4wWcFJsKg 17 Nov 2016 6:40
Hang about Trump is the embodiment of neo-liberalism. It's neo-liberalism with republican tea party in control. He's not going to smash the system that served him so well, the years he manipulated and cheated, why would he want to change it.
garrylee -> l0Ho5LG4wWcFJsKg 17 Nov 2016 9:38
West's point is that it's beyond Trump's control. The scales have fallen from peoples eyes. They now see the deceit of neo-liberalism. And once they see through the charlatan Trump and the rest of the fascists, they will, hopefully, come to realize the only antidote to neo-liberalism is a planned economy.

Nash25 17 Nov 2016 6:40

This excellent analysis by professor West places the current political situation in a proper historical context.

However, I fear that neo-liberalism may not be quite "dead" as he argues.

Most of the Democratic party's "establishment" politicians, who conspired to sabotage the populist Sanders's campaign, still dominate the party, and they, in turn, are controlled by the giant corporations who fund their campaigns.

Democrat Chuck Schumer is now the Senate minority leader, and he is the loyal servant of the big Wall Street investment banks.

Sanders and Warren are the only two Democratic leaders who are not neo-liberals, and I fear that they will once again be marginalized.

Rank and file Democrats must organize at the local and state level to remove these corrupt neo-liberals from all party leadership positions. This will take many years, and it will be very difficult.


VenetianBlind 17 Nov 2016 6:42

Not sure Neo-Liberalism has ended. All they have done is get rid of the middle man.

macfeegal 17 Nov 2016 6:46

It would seem that there is a great deal of over simplifying going on; some of the articles represent an hysteric response and the vision of sack cloth and ashes prevails among those who could not see that the wheels were coming off the bus. The use of the term 'liberal' has become another buzz word - there are many different forms of liberalism and creating yet another sound byte does little to illuminate anything.

Making appeals to restore what has been lost reflects badly upon the central political parties, with their 30 year long rightward drift and their legacy of sucking up to corporate lobbyists, systems managers, box tickers and consultants. You can't give away sovereign political power to a bunch of right wing quangos who worship private wealth and its accumulation without suffering the consequences. The article makes no contribution (and neither have many of the others of late) to any kind of alternative to either neo-liberalism or the vacuum that has become a question mark with the dark face of the devil behind it.

We are in uncharted waters. The conventional Left was totally discredited by1982 and all we've had since are various forms of modifications of Thatcher's imported American vision. There has been no opposition to this system for over 40 years - so where do we get the idea that democracy has any real meaning? Yes, we can vote for the Greens, or one of the lesser known minority parties, but of course people don't; they tend to go with what is portrayed as the orthodoxy and they've been badly let down by it.

It would be a real breath of fresh air to see articles which offer some kind of analysis that demonstrates tangible options to deal with the multiple crises we are suffering. Perhaps we might start with a consideration that if our political institutions are prone to being haunted by the ghost of the 1930's, the state itself could be seen as part of the problem rather than any solution. Why is it that every other institution is considered to be past its sell by date and we still believe in a phantom of democracy? Discuss.

VenetianBlind -> macfeegal 17 Nov 2016 7:00

I have spent hours trying to see solutions around Neo-Liberalism and find that governments have basically signed away any control over the economy so nothing they can do. There are no solutions.

Maybe that is the starting point. The solution for workers left behind in Neo-Liberal language is they must move. It demands labor mobility. It is not possible to dictate where jobs are created.

I see too much fiddly around the edges, the best start is to say they cannot fix the problem. If they keep making false promises then things will just get dire as.

[Sep 30, 2017] Is the US in cahoots with IS - TTG

Notable quotes:
"... "BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:50 P.M.) – A video has just been released on social media showing the interview of an ISIS fighter from Deir Ezzor who admits that the terrorist groups forces in the region are forbidden by their commanders from attacking US-backed, Kurdish-led militias. ..."
"... The interviewee, Mohammed Moussa al-Shawwakh, says that his group, tasked with defending the area around the Conoco Gas Fields, was ordered to allow Kurdish forces to enter the strategic site. The order, he says, came from a top regional emir (leader) called Abu Zaid. ..."
"... The ISIS fighters confession goes on to mention that Kurdish-led forces were also allowed to enter other gas and oil fields in the region in order to make propaganda videos. ..."
"... Mohammed finishes the interview by saying that he knows for a fact that the US is attempting to establish an alliance between Kurdish forces and ISIS in Deir Ezzor province in order to undermine government-led military efforts to liberate the region." ..."
"... Regime change in Syria was an Obama/Hillary project aided and abetted by Ambassador Ford, the French, Germans and British and of course the prime manipulators Bibi, Erdogan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies. ..."
"... Brennan and CENTCOM were in hog heaven. No idea if they directly aided the jihadis both AQ & IS. But clearly indirectly and in a big way. Then Putin intervened. I recall Obama trolling him saying this would be another Afghanistan quagmire for Russia. Well, it seems like R+6, have the winning hand and Assad may survive and Syria will face the long road to reconstruction as a mostly secular state. ..."
"... The distinction about arrogance, if I understand TTG correctly, is more that the brainiacs in DC and CENTCOM making policy think they are such world class game players that they can or will have control over the situation. Because they are so astute and on top of things, the pieces will move because they want them to. ..."
"... US foreign policy is another topic - my mental image is of a bunch of kittens in a bag. When all the kittens are moving in different directions the bag won't move but sometimes three kittens are moving in one direction and the bag will move. I label the kittens Gas&Oil, AIPIAC+neocons, CIA and banking.... ..."
"... Is this the case with Canada and Australia? It's usually assumed, maybe simplistically, that the Ukrainian/Eastern European diaspora in those countries keeps the politicians there committed to neocon foreign policy anyway. At the more extreme end of the spectrum you sometimes see on the internet assertions that both the Ukrainians and the Israelis are holding the fort for white civilisation. Whether that's some nutter sounding off on a blog or whether it represents the underlying attitude of some of the Mr and Mrs Averages in that diaspora is difficult to tell from this distance. ..."
"... ISIS=Saudi; Al Nusra=Turkey & SDF=IDF with Saudi & IDF collaboration. Thus, ISIS melts away and voilà: SDF takes over ..."
Sep 27, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com
In short, no. IS is clearly losing cohesion and any IS or allied groups not closely tied to the central leadership are beginning to despair of the fight. I think YPG/SDF units may be able to bypass some of these deflated jihadis without much of a fight. Local jihadis may also be open to local truces with the local SDF Arab tribes. I would think the US and its allied forces would be happy to avoid these fights rather than aggressively seek combat. CJTF-OIR may also be watching the success of the Russian reconciliation program in turning former enemy fighters into allies and seek to do the same east of the Euphrates.

Yesterday Al Masdar News published an enlightening story where an ISIS fighter admits that ISIS is forbidden to attack Kurdish forces in Deir Ezzor.

*********

"BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:50 P.M.) – A video has just been released on social media showing the interview of an ISIS fighter from Deir Ezzor who admits that the terrorist groups forces in the region are forbidden by their commanders from attacking US-backed, Kurdish-led militias.

The interviewee, Mohammed Moussa al-Shawwakh, says that his group, tasked with defending the area around the Conoco Gas Fields, was ordered to allow Kurdish forces to enter the strategic site. The order, he says, came from a top regional emir (leader) called Abu Zaid.

The ISIS fighters confession goes on to mention that Kurdish-led forces were also allowed to enter other gas and oil fields in the region in order to make propaganda videos.

Mohammed finishes the interview by saying that he knows for a fact that the US is attempting to establish an alliance between Kurdish forces and ISIS in Deir Ezzor province in order to undermine government-led military efforts to liberate the region."

**********

Well, this would certainly explain the ease of the YPG/SDF advance to Deir Ezzor and the lack of combat. Some will see this as proof of US-IS collusion. I see it as evidence supporting my earlier thoughts of the CJTF-OIR seeing the wisdom of neutralizing the enemy through negotiations rather than eliminating them through combat. It is evidence of IS weakness rather than US perfidy.

Remember all that talk about the Russians and Assad being allied with IS because they were busy slamming all those other jihadis, including our unicorn army, rather than exclusively targeting IS? Many also were, and still are, in high dungeon about the whole Russian sponsored de-escalation zone effort. We were most recently mightily upset that the R+6 and Lebanon would allow a few busloads of IS jihadis and their families to leave their positions along the Syrian-Lebanese border enroute to Deir Ezzor. In my opinion, all these de-escalation efforts have put the R+6 in a far better position of neutralizing the jihadi threat in Idlib now than it was in immediately after the liberation of Aleppo. Perhaps the CJTF-OIR has realized what the R+6 discovered long ago. As Churchill said, Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war. Even as a tactic of war, it makes sense in this region.

What is more troubling is that we dont know what the USG and CJTF-OIR plans to do once IS is neutralized on both sides of the Euphrates. CENTCOM is a damnably arrogant command which has long sought to maintain a sizable and influential footprint in the region. Why?

mike , 27 September 2017 at 09:31 PM

Mohammed Moussa al-Shawwakh is saying whatever the Mukhbarat wants him to say. But I am sure there will be many commenters here who will believe his "confession" to be the final proof they are looking for. Sadly.

CENTCOM arrogant? Maybe. They do have a lot on their plate:

http://www.centcom.mil/portals/6/Images/centcommapmideast_Cropped.jpg?ver=2016-07-13-125046-033

Why you ask? Seems to me that is their charter from the National Command Authorities, and not from General Votel.

james -> mike... , 27 September 2017 at 09:45 PM
mike, the guys comments are in a long line of similar revelations for anyone receptive to the idea.. no '''final'' proof needed.. in the past it was always assad working with isis and etc. etc.. folks in the west have been indoctrinated to years of this bs.. i think it was obama who stated something to the effect he thought that isis would help to get rid of assad... that is the level of depravity the usa has sunk to here as i see it.. it has been ongoing and this guys comments come in a long line of examples of us exceptionalism..
mike -> james... , 28 September 2017 at 11:47 PM
james -

I do not believe Assad ever worked with Daesh. Some claim otherwise. I have not suggested that. His security services did release some jihadis from prison who became Daesh leaders, just like al-Baghdadi was released from imprisonment in Iraq. Many Syrians claim it was deliberate on Assad's part. I have not suggested that. Stupidity? Incompetence? Yes to both IMO, and that includes both the USA and the Syrian regime.

The real father of Daesh is Bush Junior and his invasion of Iraq in 2003, and Iraqi prime Minister Maliki. But to give them the benefit of the doubt, that was probably arrogance and ignorance on their part and not a deliberately evil intention.

PS - Why do you call this death cult by their preferred name of 'ISIS'? By using that term you legitimize their argument that they are a state, in other words a country like Syria or Belgium or the US or any country in the United Nations. They are the Daesh, a word they despise, a word which they have flogged people for using and threaten to cut out the tongue of those who use the word. Do not legitimize these monsters. They are not a state.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/what-daesh-mean-isis-threatens-6841468

james -> mike... , 29 September 2017 at 12:35 AM
mike,

i never said you did, but the western msm did fairly regularly.. as for the name isis - i have called them the ''moderate'' headchoppers too - to make fun of the stupid idea of any moderate opposition in all of this, although that bill of goods has been passed off regularly via the western msm and by the usa in particular.. they are a bunch of wahabbi nut jobs spreading their religion of intolerance and hate thanks the funding from saudi arabia primarily - again - a country the usa continues to countenance... i am sorry mike, but it burns me up to think anyone would believe the usa (or the uk, and a host of other countries) has played an honest role in anything to do with syria.. they haven't.. they have tried to tear it apart and ruined countless innocent lives with their bullshit... and - it continues all under the guise of going after isis, or daesh or whatever you want to call it.. thanks..

Red Cloud -> mike... , 28 September 2017 at 01:24 PM
Mohammed Moussa al-Shawwakh's comments don't contradict any accepted facts, and just as TTG pointed out - his statements are in line with the evidence of what actually happened.

So from an objective standpoint there is more reason to believe what he is saying than to not.

Yet right on que, you were the first comment to quickly dismiss everything the man said.

james -> Red Cloud... , 28 September 2017 at 05:26 PM
the pay must be good..
LeaNder -> Red Cloud... , 28 September 2017 at 09:38 PM
Army Times reported on a new Baghdadi audio that surfaced. I know, I know reminiscent of the curious OBL videos. But thankfully this time all that is needed is voice recognition. Wonder how good they are in that field by now. ;)

https://www.militarytimes.com/flashpoints/2017/09/28/isis-releases-baghdadi-audio-as-the-group-crumbles-in-iraq-and-syria/

In the message, Baghdadi told his supporters that ISIS remains steadfast as America grows weary in the conflict, according to analysis by Hassan Hassan, a senior fellow at the Tahrir Institute located in Washington D.C.

Townsend, thought he was still alive and kicking in the Middle Euphrates River Valley (MERV) Syria/Iraq; MT, August 31:
https://www.militarytimes.com/flashpoints/2017/09/28/isis-releases-baghdadi-audio-as-the-group-crumbles-in-iraq-and-syria/

Slightly more elaborated via the NYT, same date:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/31/us/politics/isis-military-us-iraq-syria-euphrates.html

Were planning for tough fights ahead, General Townsend said.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, which are backed by the United States, are largely led by Syrian Kurds who may not be immediately acceptable to the local Arab populations. The Syrian Kurds provide most of the essential command-and-control for the overall fighting force, half of which is Arab.

But as they move into the Euphrates River Valley, the Syrian forces now are expected to recruit additional local Arabs as well other Arab fighters who have been trained by American and allied forces at al-Tanf, a desert outpost in southern Syria near the intersection of the Jordanian and Iraqi borders.

The Arab fighters from al-Tanf are vetted and supported with small arms, navigation tools and medical supplies. American and other allied advisers also provide basic combat training skills, including first aid, marksmanship and techniques on how to clear a house of militants.

They also report that an agreement between Russia and the US that the SAA stay on the Western side hadn't been reached at that date.


Christian Chuba , 27 September 2017 at 09:37 PM
Great post TTG. Both the SDF and SAA have made evacuation arrangements to spare civilians or to gain military advantage and both sides have made something that resembles reconciliation / de-escalation agreements but the SAA and Russians have been better at it.

Between the U.S./SDF vs the Syrian / Russians, I'd say that we have grandstanded much more about it when the SAA have done this because we are always in Information War mode. I wish we wouldn't, poisoning the waters doesn't do any good and can eventually bite us but it sure makes us feel good and gives Nikki lots to rant about.

There must be tiers of ISIS members, a top tier of Baghdadi types who are 'irredeemable' and a bottom tier who are just as comfortable being part of any number of groups. I don't think we should get on our high horse about it if someone local decides that it's a good idea to let some of them scat but then again we once thought that Baghdadi was one of the more harmless ones. No one has invented a Takfiri gauge yet.

james , 27 September 2017 at 09:41 PM
thanks ttg.. i guess the question i have is has the usa paid a fee to get isis to stand down? i don't know if that is the case, but i am fine with that. my problem with the usa is their intent all along has been to divide syria and remove assad.. it seems to be continuing on for the most part here..

as for your last statement and question, i think the answer is the usa's intent to divide syria, giving the part in the east to the kurds, which works well with the oil interests and israel which the usa seems to always coincidently align itself with..

Jack , 27 September 2017 at 10:11 PM
TTG, Sir

I watched Ken Burn's Vietnam War documentary. IMO, an important aspect of the documentary was perspective.

Regime change in Syria was an Obama/Hillary project aided and abetted by Ambassador Ford, the French, Germans and British and of course the prime manipulators Bibi, Erdogan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies.

Brennan and CENTCOM were in hog heaven. No idea if they directly aided the jihadis both AQ & IS. But clearly indirectly and in a big way. Then Putin intervened. I recall Obama trolling him saying this would be another Afghanistan quagmire for Russia. Well, it seems like R+6, have the winning hand and Assad may survive and Syria will face the long road to reconstruction as a mostly secular state.

The big winners from a strategic sense are Russia, Iran and Hezbollah who earned whatever that victory means in blood. Maybe some decades from now the next Ken Burns will come along and give us a documentary of our sordid role in creating chaos and anarchy in the Middle East beginning with regime change in Iraq on the basis of false pretenses.

J , 27 September 2017 at 10:51 PM
TTG,

Speaking of the Kurds, appears Kurd nationalism is bringing together Iran/Iraq/Turkey in a joint op to squash Kurd independence.

jjc , 27 September 2017 at 10:51 PM
The focus for SDF was removing ISIS from Raqqa, then suddenly it became a race to the Euphrates and the oil fields. The Kurdish militias have moved far outside their traditional territory. So it's hard not to see this as a land and resources grab, facilitated by a cooperative ISIS (who still attack SAA).
LeaNder , 28 September 2017 at 09:53 AM
Mohammed finishes the interview by saying that he knows for a fact that the US is attempting to establish an alliance between Kurdish forces and ISIS in Deir Ezzor province in order to undermine government-led military efforts to liberate the region.

I could imagine that Russia and its partners in war wonder about what drives the Iraqi Kurds to have an election on independence right now? ...

Elijah J. M.
https://elijahjm.wordpress.com/2017/09/28/masoud-barzani-either-burned-or-paved-the-way-for-the-syrian-kurds-a-dangerous-move/

JJackson , 28 September 2017 at 10:17 AM
The poorly thought out neocon dream of destuction of a Shia cresent is showning every sign of developing into something beyond their worst nightmares. When the dust settles they may well be faced by a new Warsaw pact of the feared Shia cresent plus the defection of Turkey and Qatar. The new Hizb re-armed and retrained by the Russians - quite possibly with defacto control of Lebanon. At this point the Golan would seem vunerable and should it go Jordan may well begin to wonder if a realignment may not also be in its best interests. What then Judea and Sumeria?
As to TTG's why? My guess would be that the incoherent multi-faceted US FP still has significant elements that have not given up hope of a 'friendly' entity in east Syria. Trump may have given up on Syrian regieme change but I am not sure everyone else has and these delusional dreamers may still hope this can be used as a springboard from which to undo all that has occured since the start of the second Iraq war.
Charles Michael -> The Twisted Genius ... , 28 September 2017 at 01:20 PM
TTG,
That is exactly my understanding of the situation.
From the start of the insurgency Bachar Al Hassad has been rather benevolent with the Kurds.
Surely with victory in sight he will not start speeling Kurds blood.

Most westerners seems unable to consider a long game, true it is nerve raking; but all quick fix imposed by brutal force have proved very temporary.

Ishmael Zechariah -> The Twisted Genius ... , 28 September 2017 at 05:18 PM
TTG,
For whatever it's worth, PKK, PYG, KRG etc. are completely infiltrated by Mossad at this time and must dance to the izzie tune. IMO the kurds are too deeply in to extricate themselves gracefully. Governments might make nice w/each other but the tribes surrounding the kurds will not forget kurdish perfidy that easily.
Ishmael Zechariah
The Porkchop Express , 28 September 2017 at 11:12 AM
TTG - I think you struck a very important distinction: the issue of connivance vs. arrogance when it comes to US/assorted jihadis in Syria and around the region.
Willybilly -> The Porkchop Express... , 28 September 2017 at 12:53 PM
TPE & TTG, Thre are definitely connivance and arrogance galore... and YES the US, NATO and the Izzies are in cahoots with ISIS and ALL its cousins, sisters and brothers in arms from day one. But plausible deniability requires all the acrobatics and various posturing we have seen over the years, in a veiled but failing attempts at denying the obvious...
The Porkchop Express -> Willybilly... , 28 September 2017 at 04:19 PM
There is no way the US is actively, directly in cahoots with Daesh, HTS/al Qaeda, or any other salifiyye. The Israelis, maybe. Saudis most assuredly.

The distinction about arrogance, if I understand TTG correctly, is more that the brainiacs in DC and CENTCOM making policy think they are such world class game players that they can or will have control over the situation. Because they are so astute and on top of things, the pieces will move because they want them to.

That doesn't mean the US is in bed with any of them.

james -> The Porkchop Express... , 28 September 2017 at 05:28 PM
and who is in cahoots with israel and saudi arabia??? one can see a pattern here!~
The Twisted Genius -> Willybilly... , 28 September 2017 at 11:35 PM
Willybilly,

While the USG thought it was clever enough to allow IS to attempt to topple the Assad government, it did not deliberately create and direct IS to do so. If that was the USG policy, we would not have bombed the crap out of IS around Kobane when the Rojava Kurds were about to be wiped out? We supported those Kurds in their successful campaign against IS since then.

We still seem hell bent on pursuing an "Assad must go" policy, but we did not deliberately support IS. We just stupidly let IS rampage across Iraq and Syria when we thought we could gain from that. As part of that stupid and destructive policy, we let the Saudis and Turks directly support IS. Now all those "moderate jihadis" who freely supported Al Qaeda and IS were our direct fault. Of course we weren't alone in that idiocy, either.

jld -> The Twisted Genius ... , 29 September 2017 at 02:51 AM
If that was the USG policy, we would not have bombed the crap out of IS around Kobane when the Rojava Kurds were about to be wiped out?

That argument doesn't hold because it suppose some USG rationality but there is plenty of evidence that the USG does engage in stupid/contradictory/incoherent/schizophrenic behavior.
Hey, careful, you might destroy the so convenient excuse "It's only stupidity not malevolence" !

semiconscious -> The Twisted Genius ... , 29 September 2017 at 09:36 AM
'We still seem hell bent on pursuing an "Assad must go" policy, but we did not deliberately support IS. We just stupidly let IS rampage across Iraq and Syria when we thought we could gain from that ...'

i believe the accepted term for describing this type of behavior is 'enabling' :) ...

FkDahl -> The Twisted Genius ... , 29 September 2017 at 12:55 PM
ISIS is the Tasmanian Devil, full of chaos and destruction, and the US has no direct control over it - but it appears the growth of ISIS was useful for certain US foreign policy goals.

Why European leaders went along with this and thus greatly facilitated the growth of combat experienced salafist terrorists in Europe is yet another example how - to put it frankly - stupid and short sighted (Western) European leaders are. Playing ball with the hegemon gives you a nice sinecure as a cushy post-politics job is the best explanation I can think of.

US foreign policy is another topic - my mental image is of a bunch of kittens in a bag. When all the kittens are moving in different directions the bag won't move but sometimes three kittens are moving in one direction and the bag will move. I label the kittens Gas&Oil, AIPIAC+neocons, CIA and banking....

Richardstevenhack , 28 September 2017 at 02:09 PM
"It is evidence of IS weakness rather than US perfidy."

In the immortal words of Tony Stark: "I say, is it too much to ask for both?"

Sure, the US is bombing ISIS NOW. Go back to 2014 to 2015. A year of US bombing ISIS and ISIS continued to make gains throughout Syria.

The Russians come in September, 2015 - and six months later the tide is turned. 25-50 Russian jets did in six months what US bombing for a year did not do.

Pretty much stands for itself. Not to mention that all during that time the US was insisting that "Assad must go" as their primary objective, several times threatening to establish a "no-fly zone" as a cover for directly attacking the Syrian regime.

Now that the tide is turned, and Russia (and Iran and Hizballah) has shamed the US in terms of effectiveness, of course the US comes in to try to finish off ISIS and have a hand in any subsequent negotiations.

I think this interpretation of the history of events is quite plausible.

Babak Makkinejad -> Richardstevenhack ... , 28 September 2017 at 06:10 PM
A joint US-Jordanian force could have destroyed ISIS in Syria in its early days. Wonder why that was never attempted, I guess helping the Party of Ali was a big No-No.
Richardstevenhack , 28 September 2017 at 02:14 PM
This is how the Russians do it...

REVENGE: Russia Vaporizes 5 Al-Qaeda Commanders Who Attacked Their MPs Last Week
http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/revenge-russia-vaporizes-5-al-qaeda-commanders-who-attacked-their-mps-last-week/ri21077

"At present, special measures to search for and destroy all the militants involved in the attack on Russian servicemen in Syria are continuing."

ISL -> Richardstevenhack ... , 29 September 2017 at 11:52 AM
Richardstevenhack:

Thanks for the link:

From the article:

"It was discovered where the leaders would hold a meeting..."

If true, this would suggest that ISIS is now leaking perhaps as individuals try and buy their post ISIS survival.

I do not recall such reports claimed a year or so ago.

VietnamVet , 28 September 2017 at 06:55 PM
TTG

Thanks again for keeping us up-to-date. This is invaluable.

Policies that ignore American citizens and enrich polluters and war profiteers are reaching a point of implosion. The chickens are coming home to roost.

Either the Shiite Crescent is accepted with Iran as a regional leader in an alliance with Russia or a world war is about to break out to form Kurdistan to cut the landline in half. Tens of thousands of American soldiers and contractors are in Syria and Iraq. As Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico point out; projected catastrophes do happen. Dont develop quagmires.

mike , 28 September 2017 at 09:02 PM
There are some signs of Damascus relaxing their attitude against the Kurds in northern Syria. The Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moualem, told Russia Today News that some form of autonomy may be possible. Is he sincere - or just trying to head off an independence referendum in Syria like what happened in northern Iraq?

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-kurds/damascus-says-syrian-kurdish-autonomy-negotiable-report-idUSKCN1C10TJ

The Kurds with their Syriac-Assyrian/Arab/Turkmen allies in the Democratic Northern Syria Federation have "answered Syrian Foreign Ministers remarks on 'negotiations', saying that they are ready for talks." They say Moualem's statement is welcome and a positive step. They put it in writing.

https://anfenglish.com/rojava/northern-syria-answers-damascus-we-are-ready-for-negotiations-22376

My thinking is that Russian pressure on Damascus has made this possible. The Kurds have been so far shut out of Geneva and Astana. So this possible thawing of relations is a good sign. Russia has also suggested that Afrin may be the next 'de-escalation' area. About time I say.

Negotiations will be tough. Damascus will hold out for control of oil and gas assets in the north - plus the lion's share of electricity distribution from Tishrin and Tabqa dams that are under SDF control. The Kurds (and their allies) will hold out for the right to elect their own local officials instead of carpetbaggers from Damascus. They will want the right to participate in legitimate political parties other than the Ba'ath Party. Plus they may want justice for the PYD Party officials who were tortured and died while imprisoned by the Mukhbarat in the past. That last won't happen IMO, no way the regime is going to give up the men of its security apparatus to trial. In any case it will take a lot of good faith and compromising on both sides to make it work. Tough road ahead.

Laguerre -> mike... , 29 September 2017 at 08:46 AM
"There are some signs of Damascus relaxing their attitude against the Kurds in northern Syria."

This is a quite inexact reading of the situation. The Rojavan Kurds have always been negotiating with Damascus, because of course they recognize that they will have to make a deal with Asad when the war is over. It's just the US that wants outright war. The evidence of course is the survival of the Syrian army base in Qamishli (or is it Hassekeh?). There was one attack upon it, but it was never renewed, and they're still there. I've always presumed that the attack was under US pressure, and now the Kurdish leadership has thought again, and doesn't want to go there now.

mike -> Laguerre... , 29 September 2017 at 01:56 PM
Laguerre -

You are correct that the Kurdish PYD have for a long time been in discussions with the Syrian regime - or at least elements of the regime. And cooperating with them too. You case in point about Qamislo is but one example. The Kurds in the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo City cooperated with and helped the SAA to break the siege there.

It was al-Hasakah where the Kurds and regime forces clashed. But that was due to attacks on Kurds by elements of the regime backed NDF militia. There are still regime police and other elements in Hasakah. There was also a minor skirmish in Qamislo about a year and a half ago when NDF militia opened fire on a Kurdish Asayish police patrol.

But this latest thaw (if it is one) is critical as it follows the two to three week long agitprop blitz out of Baghdad and Moscow about the SDF and the US.

I'm not sure what to make of the Syrian FM. He also said this back in May of this year: I think that what the Syrian Kurds are doing in fighting Daesh is legitimate in the framework of their keenness on preserving the unity and integrity of Syrian territories. He thought that the Kurds were helping to preserve Syrian unity.

Does Moualem speak for Assad? Maybe. Or not. But some Kurds claim that Assad had a Kurdish grampa. Or maybe it was a great grampa?

Laguerre -> mike... , 29 September 2017 at 04:42 PM
"But that was due to attacks on Kurds by elements of the regime backed NDF militia."

Ha ha. You expect me to believe that? If the Kurds wanted the Syrian base gone, it would have been gone long ago.

mike -> Laguerre... , 29 September 2017 at 08:06 PM
Laguerre -

You are correct in saying: "If the Kurds wanted the Syrian base gone, it would have been gone long ago." The facts that they did not should bolster the case that these were primarily local pissing-contest firefights between the Kurds and local/hostile militias. There are probably lots of he-saids and she-saids as to who fired the first shots in these skirmishes. The Kurdish police claim they were fired on at NDF checkpoints. I have not seen any counterclaims from the NDF.

JJackson -> masoud... , 29 September 2017 at 05:02 AM
Personally I do not believe that. I think they were happy to sit back and watch Assad and IS weaken each other with a view to picking up the pieces later. In addition their poor understading of the flows of knowledge, arms and personel between all the Jihadis led them to aid groups they thought 'friendly' only to find they were then fighting them once they morphed into something else. At root the problem is the difference between reality and 'US reality' as understood inside the beltway bubble and various tendrils of USgov.
LeaNder -> masoud... , 29 September 2017 at 08:23 AM
That's a nice and comfortable formula, case closed let's move on? Are you going to be both prosecutor and judge? Also executor of your own verdict? And what exactly would that be concerning the US? to not dwell too long on masoud.
English Outsider , 29 September 2017 at 07:24 AM

TTG - Thank you for another great summary. In addition to that, I believe that the second paragraph of your reply to "Willybilly" is the most accurate summary possible of the issue of claimed Western support for IS. We "let" ISIS run. We did not deliberately "create and direct" it.

Who's "We?". As the Syrian conflict becomes more and more solely a US/Russia affair, as far as the participants outside the ME are concerned, the final sentence of that second paragraph points to something else that needs clarifying about the "stupid and destructive policy" that led to the Syrian debacle: European and Israeli input into the policy and into the implementation of that policy.

The Israeli input into both policy and implementation gets sufficient attention, sometimes even in the media. The European input not so much, though I believe it was significant. Of the British component of that input on the ground we in the general public - that is, we in the general public who might have a rough idea of where Syria is on the map - know little except for what we hear of some dubious sounding intelligence/PR work and the odd reference to Special Forces. Even less of the French and German component.

Given the disinformation and spin that surrounds the subject arriving at a view of Western intervention in the ME that is at once informed and balanced isn't easy. This is the only site that does it. At present we're waiting to see whether Syria succeeds in recovering its territory, whether it goes into a "frozen conflict" condition, or whether it ends up with a Kosovo scenario. As said, the Israeli influence on that outcome is recognised. European influence on the outcome and on arriving at it will also be a factor. Are there any indications of how that influence is exerted at present?

There is also the question of Chinese interests in Syria and whether that will lead to the Chinese seeking to exert influence on the outcome.

Such questions seem at present to have little direct bearing on the military position you are examining. They must, however, be in the minds of whoever in Washington is making the military decisions.

David Habakkuk -> English Outsider ... , 29 September 2017 at 12:48 PM
EO,

On the British role in Syria, an invaluable resource is the material collected in the pages entitled Talk: British involvement in Syria, on the A Closer Look On Syria site.

(See http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Talk:British_involvement_in_Syria .)

This has a lot of material on the activities of Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, whom I discussed briefly in my post on the British role in the Ghouta false flag and the subsequent cover-up, back in April.

(See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/04/sentence-first-verdict-afterwards-a-revision-by-david-habakkuk-14-april-2017.html .)

Among other subjects covered is the role of James Le Mesurier in the White Helmets, and of Paul Tilley in InCoStrat.

One interesting feature is that the British seemed to have carved out a niche in StratCom. So, for example, a sometime colleague of mine, Mark Laity, who when I had dealings with him was BBC Radio Defence Correspondent, is now Chief Strategic Communication at SHAPE.

In this capacity, he produces presentations with titles like Perception becomes Reality, and Behavioural approaches to Perception management.

(See https://www.cmdrcoe.org/download.php?id=336 , https://www.cmdrcoe.org/download.php?id=341 )

What I find fascinating – and depressing – is that former British Army officers – like Tilley, Le Mesurier, and de Bretton-Gordon – seem to have swallowed this kind of nonsense hook, line and sinker.

They do not seem to realise a central problem with propaganda – that, very often, the easiest person to fool is oneself.

This may also be relevant to a central issue raised by British involvement in Syria, as also in other places.

All one can find here are indications and pointers. But it seems likely that, behind the scenes, arguments about the dangers of blowback involved in the assumption that we could collaborate with the Saudis and other Gulfies in using jihadists against those deemed common enemies have been going on for a long time.

It is of interest that a figure who has traced the history of this devils bargain very incisively – Alastair Crooke – is a former employee of MI6.

(See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/isis-aim-saudi-arabia_b_5748744.html .)

There is enough of the old Tory cynic in me to think that it is commonly a very major mistake to apply the twenty-twenty vision of hindsight. There are a lot of matters where it seemed a good idea at the time is an appropriate maxim.

However, the evidence is fairly clear that the kind of people who run MI6 have been remarkably resistant to the accumulating evidence that Sunni jihadists have been, as it were, devils with whom we have supped without a long enough spoon.

So, for example, as late as July 2014 the former head of the organisation, Sir Richard Dearlove, was still attempting to convince others – and probably himself – that we didnt have to worry too much about the Islamic State, because their central objective was to butcher Shia.

(See http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/iraq-crisis-how-saudi-arabia-helped-isis-take-over-the-north-of-the-country-9602312.html .)

To see the extent to which the leadership of MI6 still dont get it – and cannot grasp how the assumptions that have shaped the organisations activities for decades have little relevance to todays world – one has only to read the first public speech of its current head, Sir Alex Younger, given last December.

From the section on Syria:

Because beyond any of our capabilities, it is legitimacy that is the strongest weapon against international terrorism. If you doubt the link between legitimacy and effective counter-terrorism, then – albeit negatively – the unfolding tragedy in Syria will, I fear, provide proof. I believe the Russian conduct in Syria, allied with that of Asads discredited regime, will, if they do not change course, provide a tragic example of the perils of forfeiting legitimacy. In defining as a terrorist anyone who opposes a brutal government, they alienate precisely that group that has to be on side if the extremists are to be defeated. Meanwhile, in Aleppo, Russia and the Syrian regime seek to make a desert and call it peace. The human tragedy is heart-breaking.

(See https://www.sis.gov.uk/media/1155/cs-public-speech-8-december-2016-final.doc .)

The man is, quite patently, both a gibbering idiot and a very unpleasant kind of sentimentalist. And, commonly, sentimentalists are precisely those people who are capable of the most wicked actions.

But the MSM, in Britain and the United States, continue to behave like the characters in the Hans Christian Andersen fable – they cannot face the fact that the Emperor has no clothes, and they have been among those who have been praising the beauty of his suits all the time.

How this situation has developed is a very interesting question.

james -> David Habakkuk ... , 29 September 2017 at 09:08 PM
eo and david h.. thank you both for the insightful and knowledgeable comments.. yes - white helmets and probably the info shop sohr - all on the uk/usa propaganda bankroll... i am not absolving canada - where i live) in any of this either.. canada with regard to syria has also been an abject failure of vision and leadership.. all our political class here do is follow what the usa does.. it's pathetic..
English Outsider -> james... , 30 September 2017 at 08:58 AM

James - pathetic all right but I have some reservations:-

You write- "all our political class here do is follow what the USA does.."

Is this the case with Canada and Australia? It's usually assumed, maybe simplistically, that the Ukrainian/Eastern European diaspora in those countries keeps the politicians there committed to neocon foreign policy anyway. At the more extreme end of the spectrum you sometimes see on the internet assertions that both the Ukrainians and the Israelis are holding the fort for white civilisation. Whether that's some nutter sounding off on a blog or whether it represents the underlying attitude of some of the Mr and Mrs Averages in that diaspora is difficult to tell from this distance.

In any case I believe the view that neocon is just something the cronies do is incorrect. In Eastern Europe, parts of Germany and France, and I think in Canada and Australia there is a genuine sub-stratum of popular support for neocon foreign policy. We merely have to look at the relaxed attitude some Germans take to their government giving the Neo-Nazis a hand in the Ukraine; and some of those Neo-Nazis are getting up to considerably more than just sounding off on a blog. With respect, I don't think the Beltway is leading the charge in such aspects of neocon foreign policy. More shoulder to shoulder.

More generally I'd suggest, very diffidently because the general public doesn't get to see a lot of what's happening, that sometimes in the various Western interventions abroad the tail has been wagging the dog pretty vigorously.

That was my impression at times, both of the Clinton and Bush II years and of the Obama years. Still waiting to see what happens in the Trump years.

james -> English Outsider ... , 30 September 2017 at 11:03 AM
thanks eo... actually i think it is the case.. we are told to continue on with this nato exercise and to continue to spend more money on the military and we are encouraged to get involved in these conflicts around the globe where the usa deems the correct side to be on is - opposed to syria, with ukraine, and etc. etc... i prefer to not use the word neocon to describe it all..

i agree there is a part of canada's public that continues to be okay with this war spending and foreign activities in support of the usa general policy as expressed in a newspaper.. this segment is becoming less and less relevant as i see it.. there have been too many botched jobs in the middle east beginning with iraq and moving on to libya... there are enough people that can see when you constantly hold up the idea that you have found the next hitler - saddam, gaddaffi, assad, putin - it wears very thin... i think the stomach for these types of foreign actions/interventions is quite low..

now it might be slightly different with regard to ukraine where a large diaspora of ukranian people have a spokesperson in the form of crystia freeland who i personally find a huge embarrassment to canada, but other then that - i don't think canucks are in any significant way supportive of as you say 'neocons'... in the case of freeland, her connections to george soros remain enshrouded in secrecy and of course we know of soros position towards russia with his open russia ngo... he can go have another party with pussy riot and try to con the west all he wants and of course there will always be willing fools to buy into it especially ones in the western msm..

JJackson -> David Habakkuk ... , 30 September 2017 at 08:46 AM
Long ago, somewhere in these threads, I posted a link to a Small Wars Journal post by a British officer sent to the US DoS to add British input into the Iraq war post kinetic recunstruction phase. From memory the gist was this. The planning was going quite well originally but as the offensive drew near DoD got on a roll and began to take over the show at which point they looked at the DoS plan and junked it as being overly pessimistic as in their view the victorious allies would be welcomed as much loved liberators and post Saddam Iraq would naturally morph into some kind of democratic ally.
David Habakkuk -> English Outsider ... , 29 September 2017 at 12:53 PM
Pat,

EO's comment seemed to need a reply, but once again it has been put into spam. The lawsuits provoked by the dossier are getting odder and odder. The lawyers for BuzzFeed are now trying to compel key figures in the American 'intelligence community' to produce some kind of testimony. This is, ironically, a situation familiar in wars -- where there are clearly escalatory dynamics, which are hard to predict.

I have been tied up with other things, but hope to produce something sensible about what is going on at some point.

English Outsider -> David Habakkuk ... , 30 September 2017 at 10:18 AM

David Habkkuk,

These people you're researching, particularly those in or on the fringes of the media - when you write more on them it will be instructive to see how you account for their being able to reconcile their activities with any sort of recognisable Service or institutional ethos.

mike , 29 September 2017 at 10:55 AM
Press brief yesterday morning by the CJTF-OIR spokesman, Colonel Ryan Dillon. Coalition airstrikes killed a network of three Daesh drone developers in and near Mayadin. (That indicates agents or sources (moles?) on the ground in Mayadin that are providing intel on Daesh leadership and constituents. It appears Colonel Lang was correct in his previous comment on that subject.)

https://www.dvidshub.net/video/554521/inherent-resolve-spokesman-briefs-reporters

Other key points that Dillon mentioned: More than 44000 sq kilometers liberated from Daesh in Syria by CJTF supported CJTF. (That is more than 24% of Syrian landmass in my estimation.) Two million Syrians no longer under the control of ISIS thanks to CJTF supported SDF.

"Singular mission of the coalition joint task force is the annihilation of ISIS."

Laguerre , 29 September 2017 at 05:24 PM
The basic point about ISIS is the remark of I think it was Bandar bin Sultan who said, 'ISIS is a Saudi thing, the Muslim Brotherhood is Qatar.' Evidently since then Saudi has been obliged to disavow its support. But, you know, the islamic tradition is for private support of jihad objectives, thus no problem for the saudi princes to continue to support ISIS out of their private pocket, which is the same thing as the public pocket. There are endless public sermons in favour of ISIS in Saudi.

I don't know how much the US is involved in all this, but I guess they've figured it out. Stick with Saudi and you stick with jihadism.

Lurker -> Laguerre... , 30 September 2017 at 08:46 AM
ISIS=Saudi; Al Nusra=Turkey & SDF=IDF with Saudi & IDF collaboration. Thus, ISIS melts away and voilà: SDF takes over

[Sep 28, 2017] Russias Stand-Off Capability The 800 Pound Gorilla in Syria

In comments the term Neoliberal was replaced to Neoliberal for clarity...
Notable quotes:
"... Long term goal for USI meant Neoliberal Empire, is weakening the regime in Moscow and executing a regime change. Long term goal for Russia is enduring and waiting/hoping for US..umphNeoliberal Empire implosion. ..."
"... Nobody voted for Trump to advocate a dreamer amnesty, and nobody voted for Trump to continue the neocons foreign policy. So right now Trump has two big black marks against him. ..."
Sep 28, 2017 | www.unz.com

This is both a legitimate but also a highly unprofessional question. In fact, there are many people of prominence in the US who apart from considering such a terrifying scenario are actually pushing for it. Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters doesnt mince words when it comes to attacking Russians; in fact, he is a very straight to the point guy when giving prescriptions on how to fight those Russians: This could spin out of control very, very fast. If it does, we have to win rapidly and decisively -- and keep it within Syria.

There is no doubt that Peters and the bunch of US military and political people he represents did partake in the strategic wisdom of the past, from Clausewitz to Moltke to Guderian, but it is here where a seemingly legitimate question on the probability of American success in bombing those nasty Russkies into the stone age at Khmeimim and elsewhere in Syria stops being, well, serious. Of course, US can unleash whatever it has at its conventional disposal at Khmeimim and it will eventually overwhelm whatever the Russians have there, from several SU-35s to S-300s and S-400s and, possibly, make Peters wet dream of keeping the whole ordeal confined to Syria very real. This would work, say against anyones military contingent except Russia.

At issue here is not the fact that Russia is a nuclear superpower -- everyone knows that. Even the most rabid American Russophobes know this and can grasp, however slightly, the concept of their poor dears turning into radioactive ash pretty fast if they do the unthinkable, such as attacking Russia proper with nuclear weapons. Syria, however, is a bit different -- the escalation to a nuclear threshold could, indeed, be controlled by those who hold a decisive advantage conventionally. At issue here is the fact of conventional war -- a precise type of a conflict US military prided itself on for the last 30+ years, boasting of being able to handle any kind of adversary.

In the foundation of this, rather overly assertive approach, the self-assurance was the real and not so real advantage of the US in stand-off weapons. Aggression against Yugoslavia showed the US military could overwhelm the air-defense of a nation such as Serbia fairly fast and from distances far beyond the reach of its obsolete air defenses. There were Tomahawk cruise missiles, which were launched at Serbia in thousands and which rendered her air defense almost useless after the first couple of weeks of incessant bombing.

But here is the problem for the US: Russia can take this hypothetical conventional conflict well beyond Syria any time it wants and I am not talking about other strategic theaters, such as Ukraine, where Russia can compensate for a hypothetical defeat in Syria. The reason for this is purely technological -- Russia can go tit-for-tat conventionally in Syria and anywhere in the Middle East. In fact, the Russian military has in its possession the most advanced arsenal of High Precision stand-off weapons which have been demonstrated in action for the whole world to see.

This is what makes the whole talk about defeating the Russian contingent in Syria very amateurish. War is much more than some shoot-out between belligerents, the war starts in the operational rooms and political offices well before any shot is fired. If the Russian contingent in Syria had been deployed there say in 2005, there would have been no problem in imagining Ralph Peters scenario. But it is not 2005 and an 800 pound gorilla, which many continue to ignore, in the room is Russias stand-off capability -- it is simply much better than the American one and it opens an operational door, in case of a hypothetical conventional attack on Kheimim, for a massive retaliation against any US asset in the region.

Yesterday, in the wake of the death of Lieutenant General Asapov in Syria, allegedly with some help from the so called Coalition in the vicinity of the liberated Deir-ez-Zor, Russias strategic aviation launched long-range stealthy X-101 cruise missiles at ISIS targets in Syria. There is nothing new now in Russias using 5,500+ kilometer range cruise missile, nor is there news any more for the Russian Navy being able to launch 2,500+ kilometer range 3M14 of Kalibr family from anywhere in the Eastern Mediterranean or the Caspian Sea. These are ranges which are simply beyond the reach of any stand-off weapon in US arsenal with Tomahawk TLAM-A Block II having the maximum range of around 2,500 kilometers while TLAM Block IV, currently being most produced variety, having the range of 1,600 kilometers.

Raytheon says that these missiles are capable of loitering and that Tomahawk would be able to hit moving targets. It is all fine and dandy but the key is range and precision and here the US is not in the leading position to put it mildly. Range gives an unprecedented operational flexibility and yesterdays launch from Russian Tu-95 Bears strategic bombers had a very serious message -- not in terms of X-101′s range, even longer range cruise missiles are getting ready for procurement, with ranges in 10,000 kilometers vicinity. The message was in the fact that missiles were launched from Iranian and Iraqi aerospace. They didnt have to do so, this could have been easily done from the area of the Caspian Sea. But Bears launched while being escorted in Iranian aerospace by Su-30s and Su-35s of Russian Air Space Forces and that, apart from obvious hint at Russian full capability to reach any US ground asset in the area, provided some ominous signs.

Iran knows for sure that should the unthinkable but not improbable happen, such as an American attack on the Russian forces in Syria, Iran will not be left standing on the side -- she gets immediately involved whether she wants it or not. So, the logic goes, why not make the best of it when all bets, other than nuclear, will be off. Iran may as well have Russian forces on her side and in her airspace, which, obviously helps significantly. But that also opens another serious operational possibility in case of a real conventional conflict in the area between Russia and the US -- a scenario Neocons, due to their military illiteracy and overall detachment from the strategic reality, are dreaming about. Putting inevitable emotions aside and looking at the factual side of things, Russias Military Doctrine since 2010, reaffirmed in 2014 Edition, views the use of stand-off High Precision as a key in strategic force containment, as Article 26 of a doctrine clearly states. Russia doesnt want war with the US, but if push comes to shove Russia is totally capable of not only reaching US ground assets, such as CENTCOMs Qatar forward installation but, what is even more significant, also the naval ones in the Persian Gulf.

Apart from 66 long-range strategic bombers, the Tu-160s and Tu-95s, Russia has at her disposal more than 100 TU-22M3 bombers many of which are capable of both inflight refueling and of carrying a rather intimidating weapon -- the X-32 (Kh-32) cruise missile whose range is 1000 kilometers and the speed is in excess of Mach 4.2. This missile, apart from being able to attack anything on the ground, is capable in fact was designed primarily for the purpose, of hitting anything moving on the surface of the sea. The missile, let alone a salvo of those, is incredibly difficult if possible at all to intercept and as yesterdays demonstration showed, Iran, most likely would have no problem with allowing these very TU-22M3s to operate from her airspace in case of the worst case scenario. Launched anywhere from Darab area the salvo will not only cover all of a Persian Gulf but will reliably close off Gulf of Oman for any naval force. No ship, no Carrier Battle Group will be able to enter this area in case of a conventional conflict with Russia in Syria -- the strategic ramifications of this are enormous. Even the salvo of 3M14s from Caspian Sea on October 7, 2015 made such an impression that USS Theodore Roosevelt and her CBG almost immediately left the Gulf .

Ron Unz > , September 27, 2017 at 8:06 pm GMT

In support of the strategic thesis advanced in this important article, I seem to recall that the original Russian military intervention in Syria was accompanied by a volley of ultra-long-range cruise missiles, whose capabilities greatly surprised American military analysts.

At the time, such a high-tech attack on ISIS positions seemed rather cost-ineffective to me, but presumably a major purpose was to dissuade America (and Israel) from considering any future attack on what was a rather small and isolated Russian expeditionary force.

Also, since Russia, Iran, and Iraq have become de facto allies in the Syria War, Id think that the use of Iranian and Iraqi airspace as the launch point for the latest bombardment is also meant to raise much greater doubts in Trumps military advisors about the huge risks in any future attack against Iran or attempt to forcefully renegotiate the existing nuclear treaty.

Thorfinnsson > , September 27, 2017 at 8:22 pm GMT

Advanced Russian cruise missiles–or at least should not be news to military planners.

They were well known in Cold War times and discussed in Western defense publications such as Janes.

The entire purpose of the failed F-111B and its replacement, the F-14, was to keep Soviet maritime bombers and their deadly cruise missiles as far away from the fleet as possible. A lesson obviously forgotten since the end of the Cold War.

The existence of advanced military technology in Russia (or, really, anywhere outside of America) does appear to surprise American civilian leaders however, few of whom have any military expertise these days.

The real question: how many working cruise missiles does Russia have in inventory? If Soviet stocks still exist the answer could be quite a lot.

Andrei Martyanov > , Website September 27, 2017 at 9:11 pm GMT

@Thorfinnsson Advanced Russian cruise missiles--or at least should not be news to military planners.

They were well known in Cold War times and discussed in Western defense publications such as Jane's.

The entire purpose of the failed F-111B and its replacement, the F-14, was to keep Soviet maritime bombers and their deadly cruise missiles as far away from the fleet as possible. A lesson obviously forgotten since the end of the Cold War.

The existence of advanced military technology in Russia (or, really, anywhere outside of America) does appear to surprise American civilian leaders however, few of whom have any military expertise these days.

The real question: how many working cruise missiles does Russia have in inventory? If Soviet stocks still exist the answer could be quite a lot.

Advanced Russian cruise missiles–or at least should not be news to military planners.

Second generation Anti-Shipping Missiles , starting from Malakhyt and ending with P-700 Granit are not news since 1980s. We are talking about latest generation of high precision land and surface attack weapons which make all previous Soviet weapons obsolete and look like amateurs. 3M14 and X-101 are a new word in TLAMs which, apart from Inertial, GLONASS and TERCOM guidance use other quirky things and, again–nothing was produced ever with combat range of 5,500+ kilometers. None. You are talking about mostly anti-shipping missiles. Among them today only P-1000 Voulkans are retained on old Missile Cruisers of Slava-class and P-700 Granits (NATO: SS-N-19 Shipwreck) carried by some Project 949A (Oscar-II class) SSGNs and Cruiser Peter The Great–most of those will be removed (some are being as I type it) and will have new generation of: P-800 Onyx, 3M54 Kalibr family and 3M22 Zircon hyper-sonic missiles installed. X-32 also is already fully operational for strategic aviation. Those are game changers. Once Mach=8 capable 3M22 Zircon comes on-line, it is pretty much over for the naval warfare as we know it. Real American military professionals know it, others only sense it.

peterAUS > , September 28, 2017 at 4:28 am GMT

Read the article.

Interesting.

Say its all true. So what?

MAD was assured during Cold War.So what? Soviet/Warsaw Pact was superior in conventional capability then NATO. So what? The end result was dissolution of not only Warsaw Pact but Soviet Union itself.

And thats precisely whats going on here. Not an all out war with Russia. I mean, it can happen but neither party would want it. If it happens it will be one of those oh SHIT! moments. Anyway.

The purpose of war in Syria, from US (OKNeoliberal Empire/whatever) point is ongoing chaos in that region. Chaos …in……that……region.

Russia can not make that chaos go away. Or if it can, well.fine. I just dont see it.

All this missiles/high tech/who has a bigger dick thing is ….just….irrelevant.

The Professor is doing a fine job of spinning positive image on that General (and some other people) death here and thats fine. Not a bad job.

But the game which killed the General will go on. And on…..and on..and it wont be solved by advanced missiles and what not.

Russia is in Syria to prop its strategic ally and keep the presence there. The presence there is the objective.

Russia can keep the presence -- –US (yes..sorry..Neoliberal Empire) will maintain chaos . Both winners.

Military personnel on both sides will keep being killed and mutilated. Part of the job. High tech assassinations and just bad luck.

And Islamists from all over the world will keep fulfilling their destiny.

The Syrians, though…..mice and elephants.

Long term goal for USI meant Neoliberal Empire, is weakening the regime in Moscow and executing a regime change. Long term goal for Russia is enduring and waiting/hoping for US..umphNeoliberal Empire implosion.

SimpleHandle > , September 28, 2017 at 4:43 am GMT

Nobody voted for Trump to advocate a dreamer amnesty, and nobody voted for Trump to continue the neocons foreign policy. So right now Trump has two big black marks against him. I hope Trump can be convinced to back off from his military brinkmanship but with the generals in his administration I am not optimistic. Russia is on the right side of the Syrian conflict.

unit472 > , September 28, 2017 at 5:03 am GMT

@peterAUS Read the article.

Interesting.

Say it's all true. So what?

MAD was assured during Cold War.So what? Soviet/Warsaw Pact was superior in conventional capability then NATO. So what? The end result was dissolution of not only Warsaw Pact but Soviet Union itself.

And that's precisely what's going on here. Not an all out war with Russia. I mean, it can happen but neither party would want it. If it happens it will be one of those "oh SHIT!" moments. Anyway.

The purpose of war in Syria, from US (OK...Neoliberal Empire/whatever) point is ongoing chaos in that region. Chaos ......in............that............region.

Russia can not make that chaos go away. Or if it can, well....fine. I just don't see it.

All this missiles/high tech/who has a bigger dick thing is .......just.......irrelevant.

The Professor is doing a fine job of spinning positive image on that General (and some other people) death here and that's fine. Not a bad job.

But the game which killed the General will go on. And on........and on.....and it won't be solved by advanced missiles and what not.

Russia is in Syria to prop its strategic ally and keep the presence there. The presence there is the objective.

Russia can keep the presence -----US (yes..sorry..Neoliberal Empire) will maintain chaos . Both winners.

Military personnel on both sides will keep being killed and mutilated. Part of the job. High tech assassinations and just bad luck.

And Islamists from all over the world will keep fulfilling their destiny.

The Syrians, though...........mice and elephants.

Long term goal for US...I meant Neoliberal Empire, is weakening the regime in Moscow and executing a regime change. Long term goal for Russia is enduring and waiting/hoping for US..umph...Neoliberal Empire implosion.

All fine. Unless one is a Syrian. Indeed, high tech ( and expensive) weaponry is almost useless against groups like the Taliban or ISIS. Unless you are willing to wage a Mosul type campaign and slaughter civilians on an industrial scale rooting out bands of armed brigands requires infantry. A $ 10 million drone firing a $100,000 missile may take out a terrorist leader but these guys are not indispensable. OTOH some guy driving a car or wearing a suicide vest can take out a whole bunch of highly trained military professionals.

Anonymous > , Disclaimer September 28, 2017 at 5:56 am GMT

Check out this article and video of a Russian cruise missile launch, hitting ISIS targets a thousand miles away. Very impressive. This was from the Deir al-Zor operation from a few weeks ago. In the comments section there is dispute as to weather the USN has this same vertical launch system capability (launch rate).

VIDEO: Russian Frigate Fires 3 Cruise Missiles on ISIS Targets in Syria

https://news.usni.org/2017/09/05/video-russian-frigate-fires-3-cruise-missiles-isis-targets-syria

Eagle Eye > , September 28, 2017 at 6:02 am GMT

@Ron Unz In support of the strategic thesis advanced in this important article, I seem to recall that the original Russian military intervention in Syria was accompanied by a volley of ultra-long-range cruise missiles, whose capabilities greatly surprised American military analysts.

At the time, such a high-tech attack on ISIS positions seemed rather cost-ineffective to me, but presumably a major purpose was to dissuade America (and Israel) from considering any future attack on what was a rather small and isolated Russian expeditionary force.

Also, since Russia, Iran, and Iraq have become de facto allies in the Syria War, I'd think that the use of Iranian and Iraqi airspace as the launch point for the latest bombardment is also meant to raise much greater doubts in Trump's military advisors about the huge risks in any future attack against Iran or attempt to forcefully renegotiate the existing nuclear treaty. Thank you, Mr. Unz, for bringing these items – which are of fundamental strategic importance – to a wider public.

Just found that the Russians actually released a video of the October 2015 cruise missile launches from the Caspian Sea.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2015/oct/07/russia-launches-missiles-on-isis-from-caspian-sea-video

Frankie P > , September 28, 2017 at 8:49 am GMT

@peterAUS Read the article.

Interesting.

Say it's all true. So what?

MAD was assured during Cold War.So what? Soviet/Warsaw Pact was superior in conventional capability then NATO. So what? The end result was dissolution of not only Warsaw Pact but Soviet Union itself.

And that's precisely what's going on here. Not an all out war with Russia. I mean, it can happen but neither party would want it. If it happens it will be one of those "oh SHIT!" moments. Anyway.

The purpose of war in Syria, from US (OK...Neoliberal Empire/whatever) point is ongoing chaos in that region. Chaos ......in............that............region.

Russia can not make that chaos go away. Or if it can, well....fine. I just don't see it.

All this missiles/high tech/who has a bigger dick thing is .......just.......irrelevant.

The Professor is doing a fine job of spinning positive image on that General (and some other people) death here and that's fine. Not a bad job.

But the game which killed the General will go on. And on........and on.....and it won't be solved by advanced missiles and what not.

Russia is in Syria to prop its strategic ally and keep the presence there. The presence there is the objective.

Russia can keep the presence -----US (yes..sorry..Neoliberal Empire) will maintain chaos . Both winners.

Military personnel on both sides will keep being killed and mutilated. Part of the job. High tech assassinations and just bad luck.

And Islamists from all over the world will keep fulfilling their destiny.

The Syrians, though...........mice and elephants.

Long term goal for US...I meant Neoliberal Empire, is weakening the regime in Moscow and executing a regime change. Long term goal for Russia is enduring and waiting/hoping for US..umph...Neoliberal Empire implosion.

All fine. Unless one is a Syrian. You miss the more immediate goal of the AngloNeoliberal Empire, namely the prevention of the Shia Crescent becoming a stable and calm area, protected and strengthened by well-trained, battle-hardened, united forces, including of course the SAA, Iran, the Iraqi militias, and Hezzbollah. For although as you mentioned the Neoliberal narcissistic great evil and its Yinon Plan to destabilize the entire Middle East / North Africa has long been a goal, we see once again that reality presents them having bitten off more than they could chew, and actions like the Iraq War, a neocon feast of overconfidence and bluster, ended up strengthening the true resistance, the true danger to their regional hegemonic plans. They doubled down, as psychopathic narcissists are prone to do, in Syria, and the resulting action by a stronger and more aggressive Russia has shone the light on the folly of their ways. The resistance has now become The Resistance, and with Americas continuing belligerence pushing Russia and China ever closer, we will soon be calling it THE RESISTANCE.

Frankie P

Randal > , September 28, 2017 at 9:41 am GMT

So, what do you think, what could be the next steps in that play?

OK lets look at it a bit closer. But to do so we must recognise that we are moving to the realms of wider politics rather than its subset, war. At the level we are talking about, the decisions are always political rather than military, even when they are taken by military men in an overtly military regime.

The context is what is discussed by Martyanov above – the US regime, presumably listening to some of the less wise amongst its senior military men and the less honestly motivated amongst its influential political and media figures, decides to try to defeat and destroy the Russian forces in Syria whilst counting on what they believe is the USs general escalation superiority to constrain Russian responses and keep the open conflict contained to the region. After the initial probably devastating US attack on Russian forces in Syria, involving the overloading and suppression by various means including direct SEAD attacks of the limited air defences in theatre, the Russians respond with large standoff attacks that effectively destroy US bases and/or carriers used in the attack or in the vicinity. They would not have enough to keep all US and allied ships and bases from which attacks could be launched in Syria out of action, but they could presumably render several substantial bases unusable for significant periods and sink a number of ships including carriers, which would have to operate from more distant locations, rendering operations more costly and less effective.

What does the US do next? Militarily it has to retaliate, but it can choose how far to escalate in doing so. The problem is that substantive retaliation presumably requires attacks on Russian bases inside Russia, which involves very high risks of uncontrolled escalation to a strategic nuclear exchange. Do they do that? If they launch limited attacks inside Russia (eg an attack on a base used to launch the strategic bombers, say), Russia has the strategic capability to carry out direct tit for tat responses.

Given the likely involvement of the forces and bases of regional allies (though who really knows how enthusiastic Turkey would really be, these days), it seems likely the attack on Russian forces in Syria could still be prosecuted to completion with their effective destruction, and meaningful Russia reinforcements interdicted successfully, but that would now seem rather a sideshow. And meanwhile Iraqi and Iranian involvement would be likely, and not to the advantage of the USs interests on the ground. Russian ships in the region and perhaps elsewhere could (certainly would in the case of ships in theatre) be engaged in full scale air/sea battles likely resulting in their fairly prompt destruction, but not without significant ongoing losses to US naval forces.

While all this is going on, what is the political response that will drive the long term outcome? Imo that depends on the political context – is this Pearl Harbor or the Beirut bombings for the US regime? In Pearl Harbor the Japanese executed a Bush Doctrine preventive attack on US military forces intended to forestall what they probably correctly saw as an existential threat from a rival. The result was that although they did considerable military damage all they ultimately achieved was to provide the political context in which the US regime could do what it had not previously been capable of doing, namely to wage a total war to defeat and occupy its Pacific rival. In Beirut the US was interfering in a Lebanese conflict under the transparently false pretext of peacekeeping, and their enemies struck back at them by carrying out a large suicide bombing attack on their military base in theatre. The result was not the creation of a political motivation for invasion and occupation, but rather the discrediting of the intervention policy and the withdrawal of US military forces from Lebanon.

In the context under discussion, would the loss of US bases and/or carriers, with massive loss of life and arguably even greater loss of prestige (and, it should be remembered, substantial loss of actual military intervention capability in theatre, even if that could be rebuilt and replaced over time), result in an American political determination to engage in a long, massive military confrontation to defeat Russia strategically (a WW2 Japan-style open war of invasion and occupation is ruled out by the modern nuclear peace), and would the US have the necessary global support in waging such a campaign to give it any chance of succeeding?

Or would it result in a backlash, both domestic and international, against the US regime itself for attacking Russian forces in Syria and essentially provoking the Russian response?

Much depends on propaganda – does the US regime and its various collaborating elites still have sufficient control of the global and domestic media environment to impose the necessary narrative of a dastardly Russian act of aggression (yes, incredibly enough that is how they try to would portray it – the Americans have demonstrated over the years a shocking degree of hypocrisy when it comes to viewing themselves as the victims in cases of retaliation against them for the actions of their own government and military)? But much also would depend upon the particular circumstances in which the initial American attacks took place and how they were justified (supposed chemical attacks, WMD, responses to provocations, etc).

In the end, all the dithering in Washington over the past six years about how far to go in Syria has been in large part about who gets the blame if things go wrong.

So would the result be some kind of strategic defeat for Russia (as for Japan in WW2), or political turmoil in the US resulting in a loss of stomach for further interference (as in Lebanon)? If the former, then you have to explain how such a defeat is realistically going to occur given the reality of the strategic nuclear deterrent Russia has against any massive military attack, and its very significant defensive conventional capabilities, as well as the reality that even if the USs European and Pacific satellites might be willing to go along in such a venture (questionable in some cases, depending on the context), China and most of Asia, and much of Africa and South America, certainly would not, and these areas weigh much more heavily in the global economic balance than they did a few decades ago.

The real lesson of all this, of course, is that the US regime would have to be profoundly stupid or desperate to risk attacking Russian forces in Syria. Sadly thats not as reassuring as it ought to be.

The Alarmist > , September 28, 2017 at 11:21 am GMT

There are reasons why that rabid attack chihuahua Peters retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, not the least of which is an inability to grasp the meaning of tactical and strategic indicators and the differences between them. He undoubtedly makes great money giving Fox red-meat quotes for the Rah-Rah crowd who drive the advertising, but I doubt anyone who is anyone, except for a few of the dumbest neocons, takes anything he says seriously.

Andrei Martyanov > , Website September 28, 2017 at 12:48 pm GMT

@The Alarmist There are reasons why that rabid attack chihuahua Peters retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, not the least of which is an inability to grasp the meaning of tactical and strategic indicators and the differences between them. He undoubtedly makes great money giving Fox red-meat quotes for the Rah-Rah crowd who drive the advertising, but I doubt anyone who is anyone, except for a few of the dumbest neocons, takes anything he says seriously.

but I doubt anyone who is anyone, except for a few of the dumbest neocons, takes anything he says seriously.

Here is the problem, Peters is not alone, in fact, a lot of his hysteria is echoed by such people as former SACEUR Phil Breedlove, today it is Dunford etc. Another matter, because those are still uniformed (or were recently) it is really bad idea to behave as psychopaths as Peters but all of them read from the same script, just the method of delivery differs, slightly at that. As per neocons–these are exact people who set foreign policies in D.C. Their military incompetence is appalling (which is expected from people with their backgrounds) and as such they are extremely dangerous. So I would dispute this thesis of yours. Militarily all neocons are dumb. For people who think that the history of Peloponnesian War (in their big honcho Kagans version) has any relevance to the age of GPS/GLONASS and Combat Informational Control Systems with Stand-off weapons–these people should be looked at very seriously by psychiatrist.

Randal > , September 28, 2017 at 12:57 pm GMT

@Ron Unz In support of the strategic thesis advanced in this important article, I seem to recall that the original Russian military intervention in Syria was accompanied by a volley of ultra-long-range cruise missiles, whose capabilities greatly surprised American military analysts.

At the time, such a high-tech attack on ISIS positions seemed rather cost-ineffective to me, but presumably a major purpose was to dissuade America (and Israel) from considering any future attack on what was a rather small and isolated Russian expeditionary force.

Also, since Russia, Iran, and Iraq have become de facto allies in the Syria War, I'd think that the use of Iranian and Iraqi airspace as the launch point for the latest bombardment is also meant to raise much greater doubts in Trump's military advisors about the huge risks in any future attack against Iran or attempt to forcefully renegotiate the existing nuclear treaty.

At the time, such a high-tech attack on ISIS positions seemed rather cost-ineffective to me, but presumably a major purpose was to dissuade America (and Israel) from considering any future attack on what was a rather small and isolated Russian expeditionary force.

Clearly it made no sense in a tactical military sense to use cruise missiles when straightforward air attack was available, and the use of the Kalibrs in October 2015 was certainly motivated as a demonstration of capability. To what degree it was a warning to potential enemies (the US regime, Israel and the Gulf states, obviously, but also remember at the time still Turkey, though that brief hostility seems to have been managed out of existence, helped by the US turning to the Kurds as their proxies in Syria, since then), as opposed to a marketing pitch ( the Russians have been selling export versions of these missiles for many years ) is open to question – probably both.

The issue is not so much the possession of cruise missiles – the Soviets had nuclear armed Tomahawk equivalents back in the 1980s, and its always been assumed that those (the air and sea launched ones, anyway) were repurposed as conventionally armed missiles. Its having them, along with deployable launchers, in numbers and proving that they work reliably that was the issue. Theres an understandable post-Soviet tendency in the US sphere to discount Russian capabilities in terms of high tech weapons. And in order to use cruise missiles in the way Martyanov describes here – basically as a base-denial weapon against a peer rival – you need plenty of them. To hit a US base and render it unusable with conventionally armed weapons, you have to hit it accurately and you have to hit it multiple times, evading or overloading the defences and counter-measures. To take out a carrier, you have to locate the target first, and then beat the counter-measures to hit it at least once and preferably several times, though one hit could be a mission kill. And in the case of the land base, you have to be able to do it again a few days later, and keep hitting it.

So the Russians, with their repeated uses of cruise missiles and the introduction of more modern and potentially significantly more capable missiles that Martyanov refers to, have been building a credible case that the US can no longer count on escalation superiority in Syria to protect them.

Andrei Martyanov > , Website September 28, 2017 at 1:13 pm GMT

@unit472

Sinking a 100,000 ton aircraft carrier has not yet been done.

And hopefully will not be done in the future–lets keep our fingers crossed.

The Forrestal survived multiple detonations and explosions on its flight deck back in 1967 though over 100 sailors died

Tragic scenario which still rendered USS Forrestal nonoperational. But then again: E=(mv^2)/2 . If to discount explosives, kinetic energy alone of Mach=3 (not to mention Mach=7+) of a single missile will surpass anything what Forestall or, for that matter, USS Enterprise endured in 1969. But here we get into the main issue of leaker and this is the problem which any US naval air defense system is not capable of solving. You may read more on the issue on US Naval Institute written by me.

https://blog.usni.org/posts/2017/08/28/aircraft-carriers-drama

Michael Kenny > , September 28, 2017 at 1:41 pm GMT

This sort of Russia is invincable bluster is old hat. It suggests that Putins American supporters are getting nervous.

Sergey Krieger > , September 28, 2017 at 1:58 pm GMT

Now I see how shooting from Iranian airspace increases salvo.missiles with shorter range can be used which could not have been used from Russian airspace. Now the logic behind longer range missiles is also clear to avoid being dependent on allies too. Those are not reliable
One can only say in retrospective that were it not for what happened in 90s soviet/ Russian stand off capabilities would be absolutely crushing strong long time ago. Now, combined with EW capabilities, air defences and fast moving hard hitting land forces all this United by computerized control it must be something.

The Alarmist > , September 28, 2017 at 2:06 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov There are reasons why Breedlove was pushed out. Ive been out of the war for a couple decades, so my confidence that there are saner heads where it counts might be misplaced.

I wouldnt say 99%, but the number is non-trivial, and that is alarming. Peters is aimed at the folks who buy the medicines and other crap hawked on Fox. It helps sell his fiction to people who used to read Tom Clancy but now have to take a step down. If he were taken seriously, hed be doing more appearances on the Sunday shows.

Stoltenbergs militancy is distressing, but I again hope his masters have him on a short leash, meaning he will bark but he wont bite.

The neocons are a problem. I think theyve largely been kept in check by calmer heads in the military, which has to do the fighting and occasional dying in the fights the neocons want to pick, which in my opinion is why the neocons have gone about achieving their aims using the Company and its assets.

DoD has undoubtedly seen and assessed the standoff capability of the Russians, which is why their involvement has been somewhat muted, but yeah, there are some rabid types down the chain who are itching to try their toys on the only real adversaries we have in the world, and given the independence we often give field commanders, they can get us in trouble.

Thorfinnsson > , September 28, 2017 at 2:10 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov Pardon the pun, but converting anti-ship missiles into land attack missiles doesnt sound like rocket science.

Even if the Soviet Union didnt have advanced land-attack cruise missiles in the 80s, it should still have been obvious to anyone that their anti-ship missiles could be developed into land attack missiles.

Were really just talking about a different guidance package, and depending on the sensors involved that can be as simple as a software change. GLONASS began to enter service in 1982, and the first test of a satellite guided bomb was conducted in 1993. Any idiot shouldve been able to put two and two together here, and at least some Western writers have been warning about increasingly sophisticated Russian weapons for more than a decade.

Whether or not anti-ship missiles make surface warships obsolete I do not know. My hunch is certainly yes (and the future obsolescence of surface warships was predicted already before the war), but this is one of those things we wont truly know until we see it done.

For that matter Im not sure that hypersonic missiles are game changers for naval warfarepresumably one could simply saturate any naval task force with cheaper subsonic missiles and overwhelm defenses. If none of the of the ships in the task force have low frequency radars, stealth aircraft could drop laser guided bombs right down the blind stack directly on top of warships. A 2,000 pound high explosive bomb would sink more or less any warship afloat today. The Australian theorist Carlo Kopp proposed this for the F-22 as part of his pet cause to get his country to acquire F-22s.

It has long struck me as idiotic that modern surface warships are largely unarmored, and I also find it curious how few CIWS Western warships have compared to Russian ones.

DESERT FOX > , September 28, 2017 at 2:12 pm GMT

The Neoliberal neocons who control the U.S. are used to invading and destroying small countries with no regard for international law and killing millions of civilians including men , women and children, this is what the Neoliberal neocons do or rather this is what they make the American military do.

America is run by a Neoliberal crime cabal that operates much as Hitler and the Nazis did with no regard for life or limb, ie a rogue nation that creates terror groups such as ISIS and AL CIADA that it uses to wreck countries and pretends to fight this self created terror.

The Neoliberal warmongers are going to destroy America and in case of war with Russia both nations will be destroyed and fools like col. ralph peters are typical of the toy officer contingent that is harbored in the military, and who are puppets of Israel.

The real GORILLA is the Neoliberals and Israel who have driven American foreign policy for decades and who are going to destroy America as just as a parasite destroys its host...

GOD BLESS RUSSIA AND SYRIA

[Sep 27, 2017] Come You Masters of War by Matthew Harwood

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Middle East was now a U.S. military priority, and the pursuit of direct American domination of the region came from none other than the supposed peacenik, Jimmy Carter. ..."
"... The result was the Carter Doctrine. Delivered to the American people during the 1980 State of Union Address, Carter started Americas War for the Greater Middle East. ..."
"... he declared Americas right to cheap energy. Let our position be absolutely clear, he said. An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force. ..."
"... Analyzing the Carter Doctrine, Bacevich writes that it represented a broad, open-ended commitment, one that expanded further with time -- one that implied the conversion of the Persian Gulf into an informal American protectorate. Defending the region meant policing it. And police it America has done, wrapping its naked self-interest in the seemingly noble cloth of democratization and human rights. ..."
"... They didnt see that the U.S.-armed Afghan mujahideen also believed they were the victors and that they had every intention of resisting Americas version of modernity as much as they had resisted the Soviet Unions. (Americas self-destructive trend of arming its eventual enemies -- either directly or indirectly from Saddam Hussein to ISIS, respectively -- is a recurring theme of Bacevichs narrative.) ..."
"... History cannot be controlled, and it had its revenge on a U.S. military and political elite who somehow believed they could see the future and manage historical forces toward a predestined end that naturally benefitted America. As Reinhold Niebuhr warned, and Bacevich quotes approvingly, The recalcitrant forces in the historical drama have a power and persistence beyond our reckoning. ..."
"... Another piece of connective tissue, according to Bacevich, is the belief that war is not the failure of diplomacy but a necessary ingredient to its success. The U.S. military establishment learned this lesson in Bosnia when U.S.-led NATO bombing brought Serbia to the negotiating table at the Dayton Peace Accords. The proper role of armed force, writes Bacevich, was not to supplant diplomacy but to make it work. Gen. Wesley Clark was more succinct when he called war coercive diplomacy during the Kosovo conflict. U.S. military force was no longer a last resort, particularly when technology was making it easier to unleash violence without endangering U.S. service members lives. ..."
"... The people on the ground, as the D.C. elites just learned in November, have a way of not going along with the best-laid plans made for them in the epicenters of power. ..."
"... Without any unifying aim or idea, according to Bacevich, the Obama administrations principal contribution to Americas War for the Greater Middle East was to expand its fronts. ..."
"... As Bacevich clearly shows over and over again in his narrative, the men and women who make up the defense establishment have a fanatical, almost theological, belief in the transformational power of American violence. ..."
"... Expect Uncle Sams fangs to grow longer, his talons sharper, his violence huge. ..."
"... Bacevich, himself, is not hopeful. In a note to readers that greets them before the prologue, Bacevich is refreshingly terse with his assessment of Americas war for the Greater Middle East: We have not won it. We are not winning it. Simply trying harder is unlikely to produce a different outcome. ..."
Sep 26, 2017 | www.fff.org

Review of America's War for the Greater Middle East by Andrew J. Bacevich (New York: Random House, 2016; 480 pages)

Americas War for the Greater Middle East. Over time, other considerations intruded and complicated the wars conduct, but oil as a prerequisite of freedom was from day one an abiding consideration.

By 1969, oil imports already made up 20 percent of the daily oil consumption in the United States. Four years later, Arab oil exporters suspended oil shipments to the United States to punish America for supporting Israel in the October War. The American economy screeched to a halt, seemingly held hostage by foreigners -- a big no-no for a country accustomed to getting what it wants. Predictably the U.S. response was regional domination to keep the oil flowing to America, especially to the Pentagon and its vast, permanent war machine.

The Middle East was now a U.S. military priority, and the pursuit of direct American domination of the region came from none other than the supposed peacenik, Jimmy Carter. Before him, Richard Nixon was content to have the Middle East managed by proxies after the bloodletting America experienced in Vietnam. His arch-proxy was the despised shah of Iran, whom the United States had installed into power and then armed to the teeth. When his regime collapsed in 1979, felled by Islamic revolutionaries who would eventually capture the American embassy and initiate the Iranian hostage crisis, so too did the Nixon Doctrine. That same year, the Soviet Union rolled into Afghanistan. The world was a mess, and Carter was under extreme pressure to do something about it, lest he lose his bid for a second term. (He suffered a crushing defeat anyway.)

Furies beyond reckoning

The result was the Carter Doctrine. Delivered to the American people during the 1980 State of Union Address, Carter started Americas War for the Greater Middle East. Months earlier, in his infamous malaise speech, Carter asked Americans to simplify their lives and moderate their energy use. Now he declared Americas right to cheap energy. Let our position be absolutely clear, he said. An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.

Analyzing the Carter Doctrine, Bacevich writes that it represented a broad, open-ended commitment, one that expanded further with time -- one that implied the conversion of the Persian Gulf into an informal American protectorate. Defending the region meant policing it. And police it America has done, wrapping its naked self-interest in the seemingly noble cloth of democratization and human rights.

It is illustrative, and alarming, to list Bacevichs selected campaigns and operations in the region since 1980 up to the present, unleashed by Carter and subsequent presidents. Lets go in alphabetical order by country followed by the campaigns and operations:

  1. Afghanistan (Cyclone, 1980–1989; Infinite Reach, 1998; Enduring Freedom, 2001–2015; Freedoms Sentinel, 2015–present);
  2. Bosnia (Deny Flight, 1993–1995; Deliberate Force, 1995; Joint Endeavor, 1995–1996);
  3. East Africa (Enduring Freedom -- Trans Sahara, 2007–present);
  4. Egypt (Bright Star, 1980–2009);
  5. Iraq (Desert Storm, 1991; Southern Watch, 1991–2003; Desert Strike, 1996; Northern Watch, 1997–2003; Desert Fox, 1998; Iraqi Freedom, 2003–2010; New Dawn, 2010–2011; Inherent Resolve, 2014–present);
  6. Iran (Eagle Claw, 1980; Olympic Games, 2007–2010)
  7. Kosovo (Determined Force, 1998; Allied Force, 1999; Joint Guardian, 1999–2005);
  8. Lebanon (Multinational Force, 1982–1984);
  9. Libya (El Dorado Canyon, 1986; Odyssey Dawn, 2011);
  10. North/West Africa (Enduring Freedom -- Trans Sahara, 2007– present);
  11. Pakistan (Neptune Spear, 2011);
  12. Persian Gulf (Earnest Will, 1987–1988; Nimble Archer, 1987; Praying Mantis, 1988);
  13. Saudi Arabia (Desert Shield, 1990; Desert Focus, 1996);
  14. Somalia (Restore Hope, 1992–1993; Gothic Serpent, 1993); Sudan (Infinite Reach, 1998);
  15. Syria (Inherent Resolve, 2014–present);
  16. Turkey (Provide Comfort, 1991);
  17. Yemen (Determined Response, 2000)

While Bacevich deftly takes the reader through the history of all those wars, the most important aspect of his book is his critique of the United Statess permanent military establishment and the power it wields in Washington. According to Bacevich, U.S. military leaders have a tendency to engage in fantastical thinking rife with hubris. Too many believe the United States is a global force for good that has the messianic duty to usher in secular modernity, a force that no one should ever interfere with, either militarily or ideologically.

As Bacevich makes plain again and again, history does not back up that mindset. For instance, after the Soviet Unions crippling defeat in Afghanistan, the Washington elite saw it as an American victory, the inauguration of the end of history and the inevitable march of democratic capitalism. They didnt see that the U.S.-armed Afghan mujahideen also believed they were the victors and that they had every intention of resisting Americas version of modernity as much as they had resisted the Soviet Unions. (Americas self-destructive trend of arming its eventual enemies -- either directly or indirectly from Saddam Hussein to ISIS, respectively -- is a recurring theme of Bacevichs narrative.)

Over and over again after 9/11, America would be taught this lesson, as Islamic extremists, both Sunni and Shia, bloodied the U.S. military across the Greater Middle East, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq. History cannot be controlled, and it had its revenge on a U.S. military and political elite who somehow believed they could see the future and manage historical forces toward a predestined end that naturally benefitted America. As Reinhold Niebuhr warned, and Bacevich quotes approvingly, The recalcitrant forces in the historical drama have a power and persistence beyond our reckoning.

Yet across Americas War for the Greater Middle East, presidents would speak theologically of Americas role in the world, never admitting the United States is not an instrument of the Almighty. George H.W. Bush would speak of a new world order. Bill Clintons Secretary of State Madeleine Albright would declare that America is the indispensable nation. George W. Bushs faith in this delusion led him to declare a global war on terrorism, where American military might would extinguish evil wherever it resided and initiate Condoleeza Rices 'paradigm of progress -- democracy, limited government, market economics, and respect for human (and especially womens) rights across the region. As with all zealots, there was no acknowledgment by the Bush administration, flamboyantly Christian, that evil resided inside them too. Barack Obama seemed to pull back from this arrogance in his 2009 Cairo speech, declaring, No system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other. Yet he continued to articulate his faith that all people desire liberal democracy, even though that simply isnt true.

All in all, American presidents and their military advisors believed they could impose a democratic capitalist peace on the world, undeterred that each intervention created more instability and unleashed new violent forces the United States would eventually engage militarily, such as Saddam Hussein, al-Qaeda, and ISIS. Bacevich explains that this conviction, deeply embedded in the American collective psyche, provides one of the connecting threads making the ongoing War for the Greater Middle East something more than a collection of disparate and geographically scattered skirmishes.

War and diplomacy

Another piece of connective tissue, according to Bacevich, is the belief that war is not the failure of diplomacy but a necessary ingredient to its success. The U.S. military establishment learned this lesson in Bosnia when U.S.-led NATO bombing brought Serbia to the negotiating table at the Dayton Peace Accords. The proper role of armed force, writes Bacevich, was not to supplant diplomacy but to make it work. Gen. Wesley Clark was more succinct when he called war coercive diplomacy during the Kosovo conflict. U.S. military force was no longer a last resort, particularly when technology was making it easier to unleash violence without endangering U.S. service members lives.

This logic would run aground in Iraq after 9/11 during what Bacevich calls the Third Gulf War. In an act of preventive war, the Bush administration shocked and awed Baghdad, believing U.S. military supremacy and its almost divine violence would bring other state sponsors of terrorism to heel after America quickly won the war. Vanquishing Saddam Hussein and destroying his army promised to invest American diplomacy with the power to coerce. Although the Bush administration believed the war ended after three weeks, Bacevich notes, the Third Gulf War was destined to continue for another 450. The people on the ground, as the D.C. elites just learned in November, have a way of not going along with the best-laid plans made for them in the epicenters of power.

There was hope that Barack Obama, a constitutional professor, would correct the Bush administrations failures and start to wind down Americas War for the Greater Middle East. Instead, he expanded it into Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and West Africa through drone warfare and special-operations missions. Without any unifying aim or idea, according to Bacevich, the Obama administrations principal contribution to Americas War for the Greater Middle East was to expand its fronts.

Now this war is in the hands of Donald J. Trump. If there is any upside to a Trump presidency -- and I find it hard to find many -- its the possibility that the intensity of American imperialism in the Middle East will wane. But I find that likelihood remote. Trump has promised to wipe out ISIS, which means continued military action in at least Iraq, Syria, and Libya. He has also called for more military spending, and I find it hard to believe that he or the national-security establishment will increase investment in the military and then show restraint in the use of force overseas.

As Bacevich clearly shows over and over again in his narrative, the men and women who make up the defense establishment have a fanatical, almost theological, belief in the transformational power of American violence. They persist in this belief despite all evidence to the contrary. These are the men and women who will be whispering their advice into the new presidents ear. Expect Uncle Sams fangs to grow longer, his talons sharper, his violence huge.

Bacevich, himself, is not hopeful. In a note to readers that greets them before the prologue, Bacevich is refreshingly terse with his assessment of Americas war for the Greater Middle East: We have not won it. We are not winning it. Simply trying harder is unlikely to produce a different outcome. And to this its not hard to hear Trump retort, Loser! And so the needless violence will continue on and on with no end in sight unless the American population develops a Middle East syndrome to replace the Vietnam syndrome that once made Washington wary of war.

That lack of confidence in the masters of war cant come soon enough.

This article was originally published in the July 2017 edition of Future of Freedom .

[Sep 26, 2017] US-Saudi Alliance Fragments the Middle East (2-2) by RANIA KHALEK

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... And so, now, you have a situation now where Yazidis and Sunni Arabs who were able to live together for quite a while in Sinjar next door, being not just neighbors, but also friends, now hate each other. Yazidis never, ever, ever, and this is actually not just true for Yazidis, I mean, I'm talking like minority communities in general in Iraq, they now kind of harbor this hatred for Sunni Arabs because of what ISIS did to them and in some cases, it was their neighbors who turned on them when ISIS came. So, people that they knew, people that were even friends with. And so, now there is this trauma and this distrust between Sunni Arabs and Yazidis and they probably won't be able to live together for a very, very long time. ..."
"... At the same time, the Kurdistan regional government is using the ISIS atrocities as a way to kind of like remove Sunni Arabs from areas just kind of calling them blanket, calling them all ISIS and removing them and burning down their villages as they did in Sinjar. And so, now you have a situation where it's just like you said, one community after another keeps being pitted against the other. And at the end of the day, the region is less safe. The region is a less hospitable place for people to live, and I mean Iraq is honestly one of the most extreme versions of this that I've ever seen and it's the outcome of decades and decades and decades of U.S. empire meddling in that region and just using one group against another. ..."
Sep 26, 2017 | therealnews.com

The consequences of US meddling and Saudi Wahhabism have decimated Iraq and pitted multiple Middle East groups against the other, says independent journalist Rania Khalek

... ... ...

RANIA KHALEK: No, exactly, and at the end of the day, it kind of goes to the outside players who continue to meddle in the region. They just create a more violent, more toxic region where the conditions are fomented for more sectarianism, for more hatred, for more atrocities, one group against another.

And you know, I didn't really get to this in my piece, but now you have a situation because of what happened with ISIS, and we can also say ISIS, the outcome of ISIS existing, is a direct result of the U.S. intervention in Iraq. You could say that Al Qaeda would never have come to Iraq. You never would have had ISIS had the U.S. not opened the floodgates when it intervened in that country in the way it intervened.

And so, now, you have a situation now where Yazidis and Sunni Arabs who were able to live together for quite a while in Sinjar next door, being not just neighbors, but also friends, now hate each other. Yazidis never, ever, ever, and this is actually not just true for Yazidis, I mean, I'm talking like minority communities in general in Iraq, they now kind of harbor this hatred for Sunni Arabs because of what ISIS did to them and in some cases, it was their neighbors who turned on them when ISIS came. So, people that they knew, people that were even friends with. And so, now there is this trauma and this distrust between Sunni Arabs and Yazidis and they probably won't be able to live together for a very, very long time.

At the same time, the Kurdistan regional government is using the ISIS atrocities as a way to kind of like remove Sunni Arabs from areas just kind of calling them blanket, calling them all ISIS and removing them and burning down their villages as they did in Sinjar. And so, now you have a situation where it's just like you said, one community after another keeps being pitted against the other. And at the end of the day, the region is less safe. The region is a less hospitable place for people to live, and I mean Iraq is honestly one of the most extreme versions of this that I've ever seen and it's the outcome of decades and decades and decades of U.S. empire meddling in that region and just using one group against another.

It's worse than any place I've ever seen in that respect. Syria, Lebanon, I mean Iraq really tops it all. And so at the end of the day, I think it's really kind of a lesson in why the U.S. should not be involved in the Middle East in the way it has been.

AARON MATÉ: Rania, finally, you spoke to Yezidis who survived and witnessed unimaginable atrocities under ISIS. What was that like for you?

RANIA KHALEK: It's the first time that I've ever had to sit down and listen to somebody tell me about how they were gang raped or about they were raped at all. I'm not a grief counselor and I don't think that I've ever, ever, I mean I've never heard these kinds of stories before. It was really, really shocking to me especially speaking to the women survivors. The most, it was really, really shocking to me, the kinds of stuff they went through.

In one case, one woman told me that the ISIS wife of one of the men who bought her, she was sold seven times, and one of the men who bought her, his wife actually helped him rape her. So, you have women who participated in helping to rape people because of their identity, because they were sub-human to them because they were Yazidi.

Hearing these kinds of stories, honestly, it really felt like I was talking to Holocaust survivors. It was really, really shocking and I don't think that level of, like I said, the Yazidi plight has received a lot of attention, but I don't think their genocide has necessarily received the attention that it deserves because all I kept thinking was how angry it made me.

Because there's an ideological basis, an ideological foundation for why ISIS did the things that they did. It doesn't happen in a vacuum. It doesn't come from nowhere. Its ideology is based in Salafism and Wahhabism and it's an ideology that is the state religion of the U.S.'s greatest ally in the region, Saudi Arabia.

And that's something that Yazidis kept saying to me that I never, ever, ever see expressed in any articles that I read about the Yazidis is they always, always say, "How come Saudi Arabia is allowed to push these ideas everywhere." That's where this comes from. This is who did this to us as this ideology. And they mention the Saudis and they mention the U.S.. For some reason, this will be in other articles I have coming out about this issue, but I never, ever read about this. And so if anything, hearing the kinds of stories I heard, at the end of the day, as atrocious as they were and as traumatic as they were to hear, what made me angriest is that nobody's talking about the ideological basis behind this, which is a fascistic ideology that is tolerated because it comes from America's number one ally in the region.

AARON MATÉ: Yeah, and really on this front I have to point out, for raising this issue in the same way that we've seen supporters of Israel call critics of Israel anti-Semites. I've recently been seeing some critics of yours paint your argument as Islamophobic for pointing to the particularly dangerous facets of Wahhabism in the Saudi Arabian version which I found a very interesting parallel. I don't know, a brief comment on that?

RANIA KHALEK: Well, yeah, so I think that that's a really great way you just put it is if anything, the people who want to defend Wahhabism have adopted a similar strategy as we've seen Israel's most excited supporters take views against its critics, which is to call anybody who criticizes Zionism or Israel or the policies of Israel, an anti-Semite. And it's really sad to me to see people taking that strategy and applying it to the issue of Islamophobia. Especially at a time when in America, Islamophobia is at its peak. It's at its worst it's ever been. We have a president right now who literally got elected on hatred for Muslims.

So, it's not something that should ever be, I feel like it makes a mockery of Islamophobia to try and say that and austere strain of Sunni Islam like Wahhabism, to say that criticizing that is somehow Islamophobic. It's absolutely absurd. And beyond that, I will tell you right now, it is not just, this is the fascistic ideology in the Middle East is Wahhabism and Salafi-like Jihadi style thinking, which comes directly out of Wahhabism.

And so for someone like me, who's a Middle Easterner, who at the moment is based in the region, I can tell you right now this is a conversation here that people are having and they don't see this being Islamophobic whatsoever, and it's really absurd for people in the West to be projecting Western dynamics of Islamophobia onto a region that actually does have to deal with groups that want to impose, Sharia Law that want to impose Al-Qaeda style laws. Because we do have Al-Qaeda in this region that does want to impose this on people, that wants to wipe out minorities, that wants to wipe out secular people, that wants to wipe out anybody who doesn't agree with them.

And so I think it's just really, there's a lot of conversations happening among progressives in the U.S. about how it might be Islamophobic to be criticizing, like I said, Wahhabism and Salafism, but from my vantage point in this region, it just looks so absurd and so disconnected from reality.

AARON MATÉ: The term that I think Max Blumenthal coined, correct me if I'm wrong is 'Woke Wahhabism.'

RANIA KHALEK: Yeah, [laughs] 'Woke Wahhabism.' I don't think people understand. It's so insane. Wahhabism literally preaches like, supremacy. It's like the Middle East's version of white supremacy is Wahhabism. It's like these Al-Qaeda groups, these ISIS groups are the Middle East's version of the KKK and of these white nationalist groups you see in the U.S., and so if anything, these are kind of similar symptoms of something I see happening around the globe which is this sort of rise of fascism, but we always have to remember that in the Middle East, in the context of the Middle East and even beyond the Middle East, Wahhabism isn't rising naturally. Salafism isn't rising naturally. Saudi Arabia has spent a hundred billion dollars plus over the past several decades with the U.S.'s approval and participation supporting this ideology in Muslim communities around the world. And this is something we need to be talking about or else we end up conceding the conversation about these issues to the far Right, which is just going to blanket brush every single Muslim as being a part of the Wahhabi style doctrine, which isn't true.

And so, I think that this is a conversation that the Left needs to be having. It needs to be on the forefront of because at the end of the day, Wahhabism is really just a tool of American imperialism because the Saudis don't do anything without America's approval and without America participating in helping them do it. So that's something to consider when we do have these conversations. 'Woke Wahhabism.' [laughs].

AARON MATÉ: Rania Khalek, independent Journalist, co-host of the podcast, Unauthorized Disclosure. Her new piece for Alternate's Grayzone Project is called In the

'Field with Yezidi Fighters, Tales of Genocide at ISIS's Hands and More Conflicts to Come.' Rania, thank you.

Youri • 2 days ago

thank you Real News for having Rania on, I feel you could invite her more but I'm glad you haven't blacklisted her like Vice, Jacobin, Al Jazeera, Democracy Now, The Intercept and others who have shamefully jumped the shark on Syria, Venezuela, and Russia conspiracy theories. Rania I feel deserves a Reality Asserts itself special, please do it. And I can't believe with all we know about Saudi Arabia and US-UK foreign policy towards the Middle East that people would be for the overthrow of Assad and ignore Western support for Saudi and Qatar and turkey exporting ISIS to Syria to overthrow Assad so they can put pipeline and create a Sunni client state there. How is Rania or anyone islamaphobic or a assadist for that? its ridiculous.

Well Rania keep up the brilliant work your doing, and all the haters and smear artists and insincere left outlets and faux indie outlets can go to hell. Folks donate generously to the Real News, AlterNet that publishes Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton and yours truly Rania's work, and donate to Shadowproof and Unauthorized Disclosure that Rania co-hosts with Kevin Gosztola. Stay safe Rania, and "Good night & good luck".

[Sep 24, 2017] Russian special forces repel a US-planned attack in Syria, denounce the USA and issue a stark warning - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... There are a couple of problems here. First, objectively, the Russian contingent in Syria is a tiny one if compared to the immense power of CENTCOM, NATO and the ever-present Israelis. Not only that, but in any US-Russian confrontation, Russia as a country is objectively the weaker side by any measure except a full-out nuclear exchange. ..."
"... Furthermore, for historical and cultural reasons, Russians are much more concerned by the initiation of any incident which could lead to all-out war than the Americans who always fight their wars in somebody else's country. ..."
"... In practical terms this means that an American miscalculation could very well lead to a Russian military response which would stun the Americans and force them to enter an escalatory spiral which nobody would control. ..."
"... At the same time a new Kurdistan means that the US, NATO, and Israel will lose Turkey to Russia forever. And that is a very bad trade off! ..."
"... Anything short of nuclear is excellent for business but the profit potential of nuclear bombs is limited. ..."
Sep 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

Something rather unprecedented just happened in Syria: US backed "good terrorist" forces attempted a surprise attack against Syrian government forces stationed to the north and northeast of the city of Hama. What makes this attack unique is that it took place inside a so-called "de-escalation zone" and that it appears that one of the key goals of the attack was to encircle in a pincer-movement and subsequently capture a platoon of Russian military police officers deployed to monitor and enforce the special status of this zone. The Russian military police forces, composed mainly of soldiers from the Caucasus region, fought against a much larger enemy force and had to call for assistance. For the first time, at least officially, Russian special operations forces were deployed to rescue and extract their comrades. At the same time, the Russians sent in a number of close air support aircraft who reportedly killed several hundred "good" terrorists and beat back the attack ( Russian sources speak of the destruction of 850 fighters, 11 tanks, three infantry fighting vehicles, 46 armed pickup trucks, five mortars, 20 freighter trucks and 38 ammo supply points; you can see photos of the destroyed personnel and equipment here ). What also makes this event unique is the official reaction of the Russians to this event.

Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia's General Staff Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi declared that:

"Despite agreements signed in Astana on September 15, gunmen of Jabhat al-Nusra and joining them units that don't want to comply with the cessation of hostilities terms, launched a large-scale offensive against positions of government troops north and northeast of Hama in Idlib de-escalation zone from 8 am on September 19 ( ) According to available data, the offensive was initiated by American intelligence services to stop a successful advance of government troops east of Deir ez-Zor ".

Today, other Russian officials have added a not-so-veiled threat to this accusation. The Russian Defense Ministry's spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov has declared that:

Russia unequivocally told the commanders of US forces in Al Udeid Airbase (Qatar) that it will not tolerate any shelling from the areas where the SDF are stationed ( ) Fire from positions in regions [controlled by the SDF] will be suppressed by all means necessary

This is unprecedented on many levels. First, the Russians clearly believe that this attempt to kill or capture a platoon of the Russian military police was planned by the United States. The fact that they are making this accusation officially shows the degree of irritation felt by the Russians about the duplicity of the Americans. Second, this is the first time, at least to my knowledge, that Russian Spetsnaz forces had to be sent in to rescue a surrounded Russian subunit. All Spetsnaz operators survived, but three of them were wounded in the operation (the Russians are not saying how badly). The close air support by very low flying SU-25 aircraft was obviously coordinated by Spetsnaz forward air controllers and probably saved the day. In other words, this was a close call and things could have ended much more badly (just imagine what the Takfiri crazies would have done, on video, to any captured Russian serviceman!). Finally, a US-organized attack on what was supposed to be a "de-confliction" zone combined with an attempt to capture Russian soldiers raises the bar for American duplicity to a totally new level.

The big question now is "do the Russians mean it?" or are they just whining with real determination to hit back if needed.

There are a couple of problems here. First, objectively, the Russian contingent in Syria is a tiny one if compared to the immense power of CENTCOM, NATO and the ever-present Israelis. Not only that, but in any US-Russian confrontation, Russia as a country is objectively the weaker side by any measure except a full-out nuclear exchange. So the Russians are not in a position of force. Furthermore, for historical and cultural reasons, Russians are much more concerned by the initiation of any incident which could lead to all-out war than the Americans who always fight their wars in somebody else's country. This might seem paradoxical, but the Russians fear war but they are ready for it. In contrast to the Russians, the Americans don't fear war, but neither are they ready for it. In practical terms this means that an American miscalculation could very well lead to a Russian military response which would stun the Americans and force them to enter an escalatory spiral which nobody would control.

Johnny Rico > , September 21, 2017 at 7:36 pm GMT

Finally, a US-organized attack on what was supposed to be a "de-confliction" zone combined with an attempt to capture Russian soldiers raises the bar for American duplicity to a totally new level.

Wow! That escalated quickly.

First it is an accusation by a Russian general and a paragraph later it is apparently a fact.

Evidence not required. You are worse than the Pentagon.

So much for exercising caution and restraint.

hunor > , September 22, 2017 at 4:39 am GMT

@Johnny Rico " evidence not required"

the Russians are not in a position to make an outlandish accusation ,without proof.

they have intercepted communications between American military personals and moderate jihadist

/ AL Nustra / both in the planning , and executing of the operation. the Russians presented the evidence to they

American "partners " The American official response was that the USA considers the Al Nustra front

a terrorist organization

anonymous > , Disclaimer September 22, 2017 at 2:36 pm GMT

This is a very strange story and I find it puzzling. Could this be true? The numbers of killed and destroyed tanks and trucks seem to be rather high. Tanks? Who's supplying them with tanks? There's a confusing array of combatants out there, each with their own sponsors. What we need is a scorecard. Also, what's needed is an analysis of what the US goal of setting up a separate Kurdish state is all about and what the perceived benefits are. It's hard to tell if there's a coherent plan behind all this or if it's all due to confusion and gung-ho incompetence.

Dr. Charles > , September 22, 2017 at 6:41 pm GMT

This is a very, very dangerous situation. And it is by no means clear who will blink first. All the contemptuous things that may be said about Trump only add to the danger. Yes, he's both a bully and a coward (as most bullies are). That's why he fired Bannon (who was going to get him out of Syria) and then put the Junta (of Mattis, McMaster and Kelly) over him–to "make a man out of him." That's why Trump's Dad sent him to Military School. So Trump will follow orders as he did back then. The military discipline didn't stick. But his military school years were the best he ever felt about himself. That's why he put the Junta over him now. And the Junta is out to be great generals all and win where others have failed. They'll be the Grants and Shermans of the 21st century. They'll win the Syrian War, the Afghan War, and the Korean War. (Just follow McArthur's nuclear plan!) Defeat Iran too– and send Russia running back to its borders. (Obama and HRC both privately pegged Putin as an appeaser a la letting the Kiev coup go through and just defending Crimea.)

In Syria, Plan B was always to create a separate state of Kurdistan in Eastern Syria; build scores of US bases there; and cut off Hezbollah from Iran. Then let Israel wipe out Hezbollah (Good luck with that one!) and extend Israel's borders to the Litani River, which would then be diverted South to irrigate Israeli lands.

Then Israel and the US would catch and destroy Assad in a pincer movement. And it's assumed Putin will withdraw rather than fight. He's already said on the record that Russia doesn't need Syria to survive. And if that causes the hardliners to topple him, the US will be ready with a First Strike option by then.

I believe "Mad Dog" Mattis and McMaster think they can pull it off. They have the blood of General Custer in them!

anon > , Disclaimer September 22, 2017 at 8:15 pm GMT

@Johnny Rico "Nothing to see here"

No. There's a lot to see here . 1st America declares Assad should go Then UK tells Assad has left the country for Russia .NATo says it is considering erecting safe zone and someone with bewitching smile saying: I am coming I am seeing but he is not dying I will impose no- fly zone.
Then HRW and paid and bribed NYT WaPO and Guardian CNN FOX were asking when when when , when are we going to decapitate Assadd- that Sarin gas smells bad !!!

AIPAC and Holocaust Museum with Natanyhuu getting irtae with Obama and now with Trump for not doing yet what should have been done 4 years ago. Trump goes to UN after firing misile and warns the world of his next move against Syria and IRan.

Against these backdrop, relentless but slow recapture of territories by the 3 enemy forces – Iran Syria and Hizbullah must have turned AIPAC , ADL Holocaust Museum ,Natanyhu and their children in Congress and cabinets pure eunuchs with dry shrunken balls hanging between two beastly legs . There is a lot to see. Now Russia has told them something that any country with balls will point to the lies and laugh at the accusation or warnings or both. US just swallow it and like a confused child spit venom at NK IRAN and VENEZUELA thinking the ground underneath his feet was responsible for his fall.

Schmid > , September 22, 2017 at 10:25 pm GMT

I wonder why the Rebels /Islamist don't opt for a radical guerilla tactic. Why does they operate in a way, they risk being shot from air, a large amount of them in one place with their heavy material, being an easy target for air-forces? Isn't this crazy? I'm by far no military expert, so just asking.

Other questions are the credibility of the sources and the possibility of other narrative

Dr. Charles > , September 22, 2017 at 11:59 pm GMT

@paull Pure fantasy from Saker McNasty. The US isn't interested in winning battles. It's interested in controlling the future of Syria. Russia may have won this battle, but the message sent was by the US and Russia, despite its public fulminating, got that message. Russia will agree to the partition of Syria that the US wants. This whole story is about face saving for Russia. Saker McNasty has a role to play in that. He plays it well.

I think Putin never really intended to defend Syria's sovereignty. I think he has basically the same idea Trump has: that sovereignty means something different for small countries. Let's just say that the more powerful a country is, the more 'sovereignty' it has.

So Russia boasts that it has won a battle and consequently makes threats. Meanwhile negotiations for the carve-up of Syria are being finalized... I do not believe that any of us should be permitted by the moderators to engage in vicious slurs, as in adding the epithet, "McNasty," to The Saker's illustrious nom de plume (or nom de guerre, as the case may be). The Saker never descends to such mud-slinging. He is ever challenging, but never girlishly "nasty." Such insult-throwing only inflames us all to turn troll. The moderators should not allow it. If a comment otherwise has merit, the moderators should have the option of sending the comment back to the writer to decide if he wants to have his comment published without these self-degrading slurs that substitute for rational debate. As for your "Americanized" (Animal Farm) version of what Putin thinks about sovereignty, it's certainly contrary to everything I know about the man (based on my own long professional study of his words and deeds)!starting with his lifelong (literally since age 13) commitment to the moral philosophy of Judo or "Gentle Path" in Japanese (reinforced by his post-1996 embrace of Orthodox Christianity): which holds that all people are equal and deserving of mutual respect, regardless of size, as expressed by the obligatory exchange of bows before matches. And Putin has carried that through to international relations, as often stated in his addresses at international forums. That said, he may decide that it may be in everyone's best interest to avoid a hot war with the US for now and let the US partition Syria for the time being–knowing that this new Kurdistan is not apt to last very long with Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Russia, and possibly China (as a major oil/gas buyer) all opposed to it and only Israel and the US supporting it.

At the same time a new Kurdistan means that the US, NATO, and Israel will lose Turkey to Russia forever. And that is a very bad trade off! Though I, for one, believe that if Putin does allow this partitioning to happen, the 3 generals now running Trump are likely to see this as further evidence of their own bogus (US-propaganda contradicting) theory of Putin's "appeasement" tendencies and go for a "limited" First Strike option (meaning: "accept our total destruction of your nuclear forces and unconditionally surrender or our Second Strike will incinerate every Russian city!").

And that will be the ballgame. Whereas The Saker finds this idea that Trump's damned generals are so Hell-bent on ruling the world that they would actually go for a First Strike option just too well insane. True Son of the Enlightenment he! Just joking

I'm not joking, however, when I say that it is my true belief that these Hell-bound generals now ruling Trump and our "post-Christian" Empire are so blinded by Satanic pride and lustful delusions of grandeur that they may well bring down a nuclear Armageddon upon us all.

KA > , September 23, 2017 at 3:11 am GMT

@Johnny Rico The Saker piece you read above is, in itself, a deception, however unintentional or not it may be.

It does this by presenting its own narrative and context for the "facts" as provided by the linked articles. And also, leaving out any awkward details that might not match the desired narrative.

Any history of this incident written a year from now will look quite different. As will one written 10 years from now.

Here is another early take on the context.

http://www.newsweek.com/russia-accuses-us-working-al-q-affiliate-syria-668414

Accusation is not new . American scholars have accused of the same practices . American government has had a love hate relationship with this terrorists outfit .

RAND corporation was very clear and explicit in its urging that America should embrace Jihadist to reach its goal. America is recapturing its past association with Fascist and with Nazis . Nothing remarkable or out of character . It is par the course .

What is confusing is the half baked attempts to undermine Assad without a ready coherent opposition who America can present . It seems American plans embrace the theory of vivisection of Syria by different weakened groups as it happening in Libya . But what is different here is the presence of strong interested neighbors who have designs on this land . US wants to satisfy them .

Then use the platform to project its power over Iran and possibly wobbly vacillating East European countries . Once Iran is corralled , America most likely target the belt and road initiative of China .

It is very important for America to succeed in Syria. Otherwise it is done as far power projection is concerned. This is the reason America agreed to let Assad stay but within demarcated zone . Although it is doubtful if it could have done otherwise . This is plan B .

Iain W > , September 23, 2017 at 6:53 am GMT

Maybe the Russians have now finally realised after processing all the permutations in their 'reflexive control' model that talk is useless with the perfidious and odious US degenerates. The US is now an existential threat to the existence of Russia along with other non US aligned countries. If so, this will become a fight for survival at some point.

CPH > , September 23, 2017 at 9:51 am GMT

There is a contingent within the American government which has been pushing for war with Russia since Trump was elected. Unfortunately, any clear signals from the Russians that what this incident represents will not be tolerated is exactly what they are looking for.

The bet they'll make is that the Russian government will not respond to the next provocation with a credible threat to escalate to nuclear war. Anything short of nuclear is excellent for business but the profit potential of nuclear bombs is limited.

GreenEyedJinn > , September 23, 2017 at 2:38 pm GMT

That al-Nusra attacked Idlib is likely. It's what they do. To say that it was orchestrated in any way by the US is not. We don't coordinate or push any ops with al-Nusra. The current al-Nusra is a splinter of ISIS. The US is in the business of killing ISIS, not supporting them. I'm glad the Russians are having success in killing al-Nusra, too.
Note in the original TASS article there is zero mention of any US-Russian interaction. http://tass.com/defense/966624

Christian > , September 23, 2017 at 6:00 pm GMT

@Realist Its pretty clear to me that Trump has stopped funding many of the covert operations in Syria under the Obama admin. He didn't completely stop the stupidity, I doubt anyone could, but the eminent destruction of ISIS would be far less likely if his rival had one the election.

El Dato > , September 23, 2017 at 10:25 pm GMT

@Dr. Charles This is a very, very dangerous situation. And it is by no means clear who will blink first. All the contemptuous things that may be said about Trump only add to the danger. Yes, he's both a bully and a coward (as most bullies are). That's why he fired Bannon (who was going to get him out of Syria) and then put the Junta (of Mattis, McMaster and Kelly) over him--to "make a man out of him."

That's why Trump's Dad sent him to Military School. So Trump will follow orders as he did back then. The military discipline didn't stick. But his military school years were the best he ever felt about himself. That's why he put the Junta over him now. And the Junta is out to be great generals all and win where others have failed. They'll be the Grants and Shermans of the 21st century. They'll win the Syrian War, the Afghan War, and the Korean War. (Just follow McArthur's nuclear plan!) Defeat Iran too-- and send Russia running back to its borders. (Obama and HRC both privately pegged Putin as an appeaser a la letting the Kiev coup go through and just defending Crimea.)

In Syria, Plan B was always to create a separate state of Kurdistan in Eastern Syria; build scores of US bases there; and cut off Hezbollah from Iran. Then let Israel wipe out Hezbollah (Good luck with that one!) and extend Israel's borders to the Litani River, which would then be diverted South to irrigate Israeli lands. Then Israel and the US would catch and destroy Assad in a pincer movement.

And it's assumed Putin will withdraw rather than fight. He's already said on the record that Russia doesn't need Syria to survive. And if that causes the hardliners to topple him, the US will be ready with a First Strike option by then. I believe "Mad Dog" Mattis and McMaster think they can pull it off. They have the blood of General Custer in them! Pretty much this.

You are just leaving out Saudi Arabia (still hell-bent on "leveraging" Sunni Radicalism to throw its might around but getting a first rash of blowback), Pakistan and India (both interested in having a role in the future of Afghanistan while mooning each other over a sometimes-hot funny border war) and China (apparently probing the anus of the good old USA and not ready to play running dog lackey)

Johnny Rico > , September 23, 2017 at 11:38 pm GMT

@Realist The US should not be in any part of Syria. "There will never be peace in the Middle-East and in a hundred years it won't matter because we will all be dead."
-my East German-defector (he was rumored to have commandeered an APC and driven it across the border) Defense Journalism professor at BU circa 1993

Those, however, are predictions and I don't know what the future holds.

I would say we probably shouldn't be in Syria either. But that is probably an unlikely outcome and problematic expectation.

In regards to American involvement there, my opinion is that it is better Trump is President than Hillary. No regrets there. And I didn't vote for either one.

peterAUS > , September 24, 2017 at 4:18 am GMT

@paull Agree.

Especially with:

Russia will agree to the partition of Syria that the US wants.

I think Putin never really intended to defend Syria's sovereignty. I think he has basically the same idea Trump has: that sovereignty means something different for small countries. Let's just say that the more powerful a country is, the more 'sovereignty' it has.

Meanwhile negotiations for the carve-up of Syria are being finalized

[Sep 23, 2017] Trumps UN Speech the Swamps Wine in an America First! Bottle

Notable quotes:
"... Listening to the president, one would almost think Trump was giving two different speeches, one rhetorical and one substantive. The rhetorical speech ( reportedly authored by Stephen Miller ) was the most stirring advocacy one could hope for of the rule of law and of the Westphalian principle of the sovereign state as the bedrock of the international order. The substantive speech, no doubt written by someone on the National Security Council staff, abrogates the very same Westphalian principle with the unlimited prerogatives of the planet's one government that reserves the right to violate or abolish the sovereignty of any other country – or to destroy that country altogether – for any reason political elites in Washington decide. ..."
"... With respect to North Korea, some people assume that because the consequences would be patently catastrophic the "military option" must be off the table and that all this war talk is just bluster. That assumption is dead wrong. The once unthinkable is not only thinkable, it is increasingly probable. As Trump said: "The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea." This is exactly backwards. Threatening North Korea with total destruction doesn't equate to the defense of the US (forget about our faux ..."
"... With respect to Iran, the relevant passages of Trump's speech could as well have been drafted in the Israeli and Saudi foreign ministries – and perhaps they were. Paradoxically, such favoritism toward some countries and hatred for others is the exact opposite of the America First! principle on which Trump won the presidency. ..."
"... Not to belabor the obvious, at least as far as foreign policy goes, the would-be Swamp-drainer has lost and the Swamp has won. ..."
"... We can speculate as to why. Some say Trump was always a liar and conman and had no intention of keeping his promises. ..."
"... To be fair, Trump's populism was never based on consistent non-interventionism. In 2016 he promised more money for the Pentagon and vowed to be the most " militaristic " president ever. Still, he seemed to understand that wars of choice unrelated to vital national interests, like Bush's in Iraq and Obama's in Libya, were a waste of untold billions of dollars and produced only disasters. ..."
"... His acceptance of the Swamp's continuation of the war in Afghanistan was his first major stumble towards the dismal path of his predecessors. War against North Korea or Iran, or God forbid both, would wreck his presidency and his pledge to "Make America Great Again!" even more surely than Iraq ruined Bush's. ..."
"... Reprinted with permission from the Strategic Culture Foundation . ..."
Sep 23, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

In his maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly , President Donald Trump invoked the terms "sovereign" and "sovereignty" 21 times. In a manner unimaginable coming from any other recent occupant of the White House, the President committed the United States to the principle of national sovereignty and to the truth that "the nation-state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition." More, Trump rightly pointed out that these pertain not just to the US and the safeguarding of American sovereignty but to all countries:

In foreign affairs, we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty. Our government's first duty is to its people, to our citizens -- to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values.

As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first."

Then he took it all back.

Listening to the president, one would almost think Trump was giving two different speeches, one rhetorical and one substantive. The rhetorical speech ( reportedly authored by Stephen Miller ) was the most stirring advocacy one could hope for of the rule of law and of the Westphalian principle of the sovereign state as the bedrock of the international order. The substantive speech, no doubt written by someone on the National Security Council staff, abrogates the very same Westphalian principle with the unlimited prerogatives of the planet's one government that reserves the right to violate or abolish the sovereignty of any other country – or to destroy that country altogether – for any reason political elites in Washington decide.

Numerous commentators immediately rushed to declare that Trump had dialed back to George W. Bush's 2002 " Axis of Evil " speech. (The phrase is attributed to then-speechwriter David Frum , now a moving figure behind the " Committee to Investigate Russia ," which in the sage opinion of Rob Reiner and Morgan Freeman claims "we are at war" with Russia already.) Trump has now laid down what amounts to declarations of war against both North Korea and Iran. On both he has left himself very little room for maneuver, or for any compromise that would be regarded as weakness or Obama-style "leading from behind." While hostilities against both countries may not be imminent (though in the case of North Korea, they might be) we are, barring unforeseen circumstances, now approaching the point of no return.

With respect to North Korea, some people assume that because the consequences would be patently catastrophic the "military option" must be off the table and that all this war talk is just bluster. That assumption is dead wrong. The once unthinkable is not only thinkable, it is increasingly probable. As Trump said: "The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea." This is exactly backwards. Threatening North Korea with total destruction doesn't equate to the defense of the US (forget about our faux allies South Korea and Japan, which contribute nothing to our security), it positively increases the danger to our country and people.

The Deep State would rather risk the lives of almost 30,000 American military personnel in Korea, of hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of South Koreans, and of even more millions in North Korea – not to mention prodding Pyongyang to accelerate acquisition of a capability for a nuclear strike on the United States itself – than pry its grip off of a single square meter of our forward base against China on the northeast Asian mainland.

With respect to Iran, the relevant passages of Trump's speech could as well have been drafted in the Israeli and Saudi foreign ministries – and perhaps they were. Paradoxically, such favoritism toward some countries and hatred for others is the exact opposite of the America First! principle on which Trump won the presidency. As stated in his Farewell Address by our first and greatest president (wait – are we still allowed to say that? George Washington was a slave-owner!), a country that allows itself to be steered not by its own interests but the interests of others negates it own freedom and becomes a slave to its foreign affections and antipathies:

The nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur.
Not to belabor the obvious, at least as far as foreign policy goes, the would-be Swamp-drainer has lost and the Swamp has won.

We can speculate as to why. Some say Trump was always a liar and conman and had no intention of keeping his promises. (Let's see what he does on the "Dreamers" and throwing away his wall on the Mexican border. As Ann Coulter says , "If Trump doesn't get that wall built, and fast, his base will be done with him and feed him to Robert Mueller.") Others say Trump meant what he said during the campaign but now surrounded by generals and globalists that dominate his administration, and with populists in the White House now about as common as passenger pigeons , he's a virtual captive. If so, it's a captivity of his own making.

To be fair, Trump's populism was never based on consistent non-interventionism. In 2016 he promised more money for the Pentagon and vowed to be the most " militaristic " president ever. Still, he seemed to understand that wars of choice unrelated to vital national interests, like Bush's in Iraq and Obama's in Libya, were a waste of untold billions of dollars and produced only disasters.

His acceptance of the Swamp's continuation of the war in Afghanistan was his first major stumble towards the dismal path of his predecessors. War against North Korea or Iran, or God forbid both, would wreck his presidency and his pledge to "Make America Great Again!" even more surely than Iraq ruined Bush's.

Still unanswered: does Trump know that, does he care, and does he have the wherewithal to do anything about it? At the moment, it doesn't look good.

Reprinted with permission from the Strategic Culture Foundation .


Related

[Sep 23, 2017] Uncle Sam vs. Russia in Eastern Syria the Nightmare Scenario

Notable quotes:
"... lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition . He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com . ..."
Sep 23, 2017 | www.unz.com

The impending collapse of ISIS has touched off a race for territory in the oil-rich eastern part of Syria pitting US-backed forces against the Russian-led coalition of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah. This is the nightmare scenario that everyone wanted to avoid. Washington and Moscow's armies are now converging on the same area at the same time greatly increasing the probability of a conflagration between the two nuclear-armed superpowers. The only way a clash can be avoided is if one party backs down, which seems increasingly unlikely.

The situation can be easily explained. The vast swath of territory captured by ISIS is steadily shrinking due to the dogged perseverance of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) which has liberated most of the countryside west of the Euphrates River including the former ISIS stronghold at Deir Ezzor, a critical garrison at the center of the fighting. ISIS is also getting pressure from the north where the US-backed SDF is pounding their capital at Raqqa while deploying troops and tanks southward to the oil fields in Deir Ezzor province.

Washington has made it clear that it wants its proxy-army to control the area east of the Euphrates establishing a soft partition between east and west. The US also wants to control Deir Ezzor's vast oil resources in order to provide a reliable revenue stream for the emergent Kurdish statelet.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad has said many times that he will never agree to the partitioning of the country. But the decision will not be made by Assad alone. His coalition partners in Moscow, Beirut and Tehran will also help shape the final settlement. As far as Putin is concerned, it seems extremely unlikely that he'd risk a protracted and bloody war with the United States simply to recapture every square inch of Syrian territory. The Russian president will probably allow the US to keep its bases in the northeast provided that critical areas are conceded to the regime. But where will the line be drawn, that's the question?

The US wants to control the area east of the Euphrates including the lucrative oil fields. This is why they deployed troops from the SDF southward even though they're still needed in Raqqa. Earlier in the week, it looked like the Syrian Army had a leg up on the SDF as troops and armored vehicles crossed the Euphrates headed east to the oil fields. But reports that appeared late Thursday indicate that the SDF has beaten them to the punch. This is from South Front:

"On Thursday, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured Tabiyeh and al-Isba oil fields in the northwestern Deir Ezzor countryside, according to pro-Kurdish sources. If these reports are confirmed, the SDF will be in control over a half of Syria's oil reserve. Moreover, that will mean that the SDF at least partly blocked the SAA way on the eastern bank of the Euphrates river." ("Syrian Democratic Forces Capture Key Oil Fields In Deir Ezzor", South Front)

This is a major setback for the Russian coalition. It means that the SAA backed by the Russian Airforce will have to fight a group which, up to this point, has been an ally in the war against ISIS. Now it's clear that the mainly-Kurdish SDF is no ally, it's an enemy that wants to steal Syria's resources and carve a state out of its eastern flank.

The news about the SDF's arrival at the oil fields came just hours after the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov issued a terse warning to the US and SDF that Russia would retaliate if SAA positions were attacked again by SDF mortar or rocket fire.

Quote: "Russia unequivocally told the commanders of US forces in Al Udeid Airbase (Qatar) that it will not tolerate any shelling from the areas where the SDF are stationed ( ) Fire from positions in regions [controlled by the SDF] will be suppressed by all means necessary."

In retrospect, it looks like the SDF had already decided to make a clean break with the government leaving no doubt of where they stood. Washington is using the SDF to seize the oil fields and to claim to the entire east side of the Euphrates for its own. There's no doubt that these combat units of the SDF are accompanied by US Special Forces who are providing critical communications, logistic and tactical support. This operation has Washington's fingerprints all over it.

On Friday morning, loyalist forces led by the 5th Assault Corps ISIS Hunters, established full control over Khusham village on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River near Deir Ezzor city. The strategically-located village blocks a key road linking the area held by the SDF to the Omar oil fields.

Get the picture? US-backed forces and Russian coalition members are now operating cheek-to-jowl in the same theatre trying to seize the same oil-rich scrap of land. This has all the makings of a major head-on collision.

Putin is a cautious and reasonable man, but he's not going to hand over Syria's oil fields without a fight. Besides, Assad needs the oil receipts to finance the rebuilding of his decimated country. Equally important, he needs the territory east of Deir Ezzor to for an overland route connecting Beirut to Damascus to Baghdad to Tehran, the so-called Arab Superhighway. Putin's job is to glue as much of the country together as needed to create a viable state. So while he may allow the SDF and US military to occupy parts of the northeast, he's not going to surrender crucial resources or strategically-located territory.

So what does it all mean? Does it mean that Russia will support Assad's attempts to liberate the oil fields even if it could trigger a broader war with the United States?

Yes, that's exactly what it means.

Putin doesn't want a slugfest with Uncle Sam, but he's not going to abandon an ally either. So there's going to be a confrontation because neither party is willing to give up what they feel they need to achieve success.

So there you have it. As the standoff begins to take shape in east Syria, the two rival superpowers are preparing themselves for the worst. Clearly, we have reached the most dangerous moment in the six year-long war.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition . He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com .

TG > , September 23, 2017 at 1:57 pm GMT

An intelligent and well-argued commentary, as usual from this source.

But here is something that nobody is talking about: sure oil is important. But Syria is mostly an arid plateau. Water is more important. Why is nobody talking about that?

It gets zero press coverage, but the real trigger for Syria's nasty civil war was the deliberately-engineered Syrian population explosion. The population doubled and doubled and then the aquifers had been drained, and the mostly agrarian economy fell apart Even without idiotic foreign meddling, one way or the other, good things would not have happened to Syria.

http://globuspallidusxi.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-real-story-on-syria-forced.html

So here's my question: who controls the water supplies in Syria? What is the status of the aquifers? What has the war and the exodus of refugees done to the rate of population increase? I heard recently that one faction opened the spillgates on a dam to slow an enemy river crossing: how much water was wasted? What happens if one faction decides to drain the reservoirs before retreating?

You say that Syria will want oil money to rebuild: but you can't buy water, at least not enough to grow crops on a substantial scale. Sure, in theory networks of nuclear power plants running desalinization plants might work, but that would take about all the money in the world just to keep 30 million Syrians fed. Or perhaps people who until recently were goatherds and farmers will suddenly re-educate themselves into world-class computer programmers and within two years they will be beating the Singaporeans at their own game and have created a non-agrarian economy from scratch and they can import food from elsewhere. Good luck with that one.

The mainstream press may not be talking about water, but I assure you, the Syrian government and the Syrian people very much aware of the issue.

DESERT FOX > , September 23, 2017 at 2:50 pm GMT

ISIS aka AL CIADA is a creation of the U.S. and Israel and Britain and is supplied with men and weapons and equipment by them and the U.S. airforce acts as the ISIS airforce and most of all, the U.S. has no legal right to be in SYRIA where as Russia was invited in by the Syrian government.

Russia and Syria are going to destroy ISIS and kick the U.S. the hell out of Syria and the Kurds will have to accept defeat as of now they are being used as a proxy army of the U.S. and the Kurds will be betrayed by the U.S. in the end in any event as this is what the U.S. does.

GOD BLESS SYRIA AND RUSSIA.

Janis > , September 23, 2017 at 2:58 pm GMT

The U.S. has no strategic national interest in Syria. I am convinced the only reason we are there is in the behest of Israel. We no longer have Perle, Wolfowitz or Feith impacting U.S. foreign policy, but we have other Israel firsters in government who have taken their place. Dual loyalty is a farce. I like what Barry Goldwater said on the subject in his book, "Goldwater." He said: "I was never put under greater pressure than by the Israeli lobby, nor has the Senate as a whole. It's the most influential crowd in Congress and America by far. The Israelis can come up with 50 votes or more on almost any bill in the Senate that affects their interests. They went to extraordinary lengths to get me to vote for them, even sending some of my dearest and closest Arizona friends, like Harry Rosenzweig, to lobby me in Washington. The Israelis never raised the fact of my being half Jewish, but they stressed protecting Israel in the event of war. I told them over and over, without a treaty we've already promised to go to war to protect Israel. And the United States is not getting all that much out of the deal. I think Israel is doing pretty well. I don't worry about Israel when I go to sleep at night. I worry about the U.S. Constitution, which I've sworn to uphold–not Israel's Constitution, not that of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon or anybody else in the Middle East or the world. That usually shut them up, but they often went away mad because I was not about to support everything they wanted." That quote is from "Goldwater" page 16-17.

Would to God we had more Goldwaters back in the day or now for that matter!

[Sep 23, 2017] Spinning by NYT can and will form the base of a conspiracy. NYT is lying . But this lies can help build the necessary platform for future wars

Notable quotes:
"... Spinning by NYT can and will form the base of a conspiracy. ..."
"... NYT is lying . But this lies can help build the necessary platform for future wars . Another Sarin gas? Another Harriri death? Another picture of beheadings ? Another story of North Korean supplying nukes ? Wrongful consequences from falsehood will not cost NYT excepting a correction years later somehere in the 5 th page. A conspiracy to hatch is something that has no consequences for the plotters . ..."
"... NYT will be there claiming for the right to crow – how it has prepared the ground. All are done openly. When resistance is mounted, Bernie Sander supporters are sent home with flowers and a reminder to vote for Clinton because in this age all over the world America is the exception that has heard them. With that satisfaction they can go home and vote as expected. They are not allowed to know how the campaign marginalized Sander's chances from the get go. ..."
www.unz.com
KA , September 5, 2016 at 5:19 pm GMT

"HANGZHOU, China : The image of a 5-year-old Syrian boy, dazed and bloodied after being rescued from an airstrike on rebel-held Aleppo, reverberated around the world last month, a harrowing reminder that five years after civil war broke out there, Syria remains a charnel house.

But the reaction was more muted in Washington, where Syria has become a distant disaster rather than an urgent crisis. President Obama's policy toward Syria has barely budged in the last year and shows no sign of change for the remainder of his term. The White House has faced little pressure over the issue,

That frustrates many analysts because they believe that a shift in policy will come only when Mr. Obama has left office. "Given the tone of this campaign, I doubt the electorate will be presented with realistic and intelligible options, with respect to Syria," said Frederic C. Hof, a former adviser on Syria in the administration."

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/05/world/middleeast/obama-syria-foreign-policy.html

Spinning by NYT can and will form the base of a conspiracy.

The world we see are not festooned with the morbid pictures and the world has not one echo chamber among its 7 billions that are reverberating with his sad cry .
No American taxpayer is piling pressure on Obama.

Tone of the election doesn't and shouldn't provide option on Syria . Electorates are not asking to know what America should do.

Next president will introduce something that he wont share w and making them known before the voters will destroy his chances. Someone shared and was evisecrated by NYT and other as Putin's Trojan horse .

NYT is lying . But this lies can help build the necessary platform for future wars . Another Sarin gas? Another Harriri death? Another picture of beheadings ? Another story of North Korean supplying nukes ? Wrongful consequences from falsehood will not cost NYT excepting a correction years later somehere in the 5 th page. A conspiracy to hatch is something that has no consequences for the plotters .

If Dulles were hanged for role in all the illegal things he had done in Guatemala and Iran, may be Kennedy would have survived. But his earlier political escapades were also built on something that were way earlier . Conspiracy keeps on coming back begging for one more round ,for one more time .

NYT will be there claiming for the right to crow – how it has prepared the ground. All are done openly. When resistance is mounted, Bernie Sander supporters are sent home with flowers and a reminder to vote for Clinton because in this age all over the world America is the exception that has heard them. With that satisfaction they can go home and vote as expected. They are not allowed to know how the campaign marginalized Sander's chances from the get go.

Neither NYT explains how reckless Trump with nuclear code will start a nuclear war with Putin's Russia despite being his co conspirator .

Chalabi s daughter exclaimed in early part of 2004 – We are heroes in mistakes. She won't say it now . Conspirators would love to get the credit and be recognized . It all depends on the success . First Iraq war, if went bad from beginning, Lantos wouldn't have been reelected . But again who knows what media can deliver. They delivered Joe Liberman .

[Sep 22, 2017] The Neocon Case Against The Iran Nuclear Deal – Ron Paul Says It's One Big Lie! – Antiwar.com Blog

Sep 22, 2017 | www.antiwar.com

September 14, 2017

Why does President Trump listen to Nikki Haley and the neocons when it comes to Iran? Doesn't he know they are always wrong? Trump has been consistent in his animosity toward Iran and especially the Iran deal, but why? Haley claims that Iran gave up nothing for the deal, but that is just not true. Does Trump think the rest of the world is going to follow the US if the US pulls out of the agreement? Or if the US attacks Iran? Tune in to today's Ron Paul Liberty Report:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9OigCNTT_QM

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity . Disqus is a discussion network Disqus never moderates or censors. The rules on this community are its own. Don't be a jerk or do anything illegal. Everything is easier that way.

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tom , September 16, 2017 10:15 AM

How can these USA "leaders" be allowed to spew their venomous lies in front of the whole world. WW2 was over 70 years ago, a war that the USA helped 'win", yet here we are STILL witnessing raw propaganda and lies designed to foment war, BY THE USA! Either Nikki Haley is the dumbest person I have ever seen or she is the biggest liar. The problem with the world since WW2 is that the USA is apparently shielded from war crimes, which totally counteracts the reasons for WW2 in the first place- not allowing a pariah nation to unilaterally violate the rest of the world! If I had known Trump would allow such warmongering o0n his watch, I would have NEVER voted for him.

griffinalabama , September 16, 2017 11:03 PM

Check out White Helmets Exposed on Twitter to see the US government and media lies fully exposed. https://twitter.com/WhiteHe...

Z54 , September 18, 2017 12:29 PM

A long time ago, when leaders of a country wanted to attack another country. The leaders of that country were obligated to put their battle armour on and lead their troops into battle against their proclaimed enemy. That is something we should adopt here in modern times. Can you imagine Slick Oily (Barack Obama) and Donald Trump as a tag team against Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin, or Nikki Haley and Hillary Clinton against Muammar Qaddafi and Iran's Hassan Rouhani, or Bush I and II against Saddam Hussein. Forget Sunday night football, and cage matches, this would be the most popular thing on TV. At least in the blood soaked United States it would be.

dieter heymann Z54 , September 19, 2017 12:49 PM

By the year 1600 that had already changed significantly although there still were later exceptions such as a King of Sweden and our Washington.

Gene , September 21, 2017 11:35 AM

I am convinced WW2 was the worst thing that ever happened to this country. The decision to involve ourselves in that war is rarely challenged and most American's view it as "the great war". The aftermath of WW2 led to many of the conflicts we are involved in around the world today. "Be careful how you treat people on the way up, you just might meet them again on the way down"

http://www.anthonyflood.com...

[Sep 22, 2017] America Can Never Be Trusted! by Stephen LENDMAN

Sep 22, 2017 | www.strategic-culture.org

Time and again throughout its history, America breached treaties and other agreements – proving it doesn't negotiate in good faith. Just the opposite!

According to Russian official Zamir Kabulov, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Alice Wells expressed "willingness to cooperate with us on Afghanistan, while realizing that the area of cooperation is very narrow."

The only thing Washington wants from Russia is compliance with its imperial agenda – its endless wars of aggression, in Afghanistan and everywhere else.

Does Russia really believe it has a partner in America? Do Putin, Lavrov and other top officials think improved bilateral relations are possible?

Do they publicly express views they don't believe privately? Do they realize after a century of US hostility toward their country, things are worse today than ever – with no prospect for improvement?

How can there be when Washington wants regime change, sovereign Russia eliminated, US vassal state subservience replacing it – puppet governance, not democratic rule.

Chances for improved bilateral relations are nil. America considers Russia an adversary, not a partner. Getting along is not an acceptable option in Washington.

Illegal sanctions on Russia alone prove it. So does closing, seizing and inspecting its San Francisco consulate and other diplomatic properties in Washington and New York, flagrantly breaching international law in both instances.

US cooperation with Russia in Syria is illusory. On Tuesday, US-supported al-Nusra terrorists attacked Syrian troops and Russian police in Idlib's de-escalation zone – after Washington agreed to observe ceasefire in all Syrian de-escalation zones.

According to head of Russia's General Staff Gen. Sergey Rudskoi:

"Despite agreements signed in Astana on September 15, (hundreds of) gunmen of Jabhat al-Nusra (together with allied terrorists) launched a large-scale offensive against positions of government troops north and northeast of Hama in the Idlib de-escalation zone on September 19."

"According to available data, the offensive was initiated by American intelligence services to stop a successful advance of government troops east of Deir Ezzor."

Russian aerial operations thwarted the attack, killing hundreds of terrorists, destroying their heavy weapons and equipment, aided by Syrian Assault Corp troops deployed to the area and Russian special forces.

This incident and numerous others shows Washington wants endless war, not peace. It wants Assad toppled, US-controlled puppet rule replacing Syrian sovereign independence.

Nothing in prospect suggests a change in US policy. Sergey Lavrov admitted Washington supports al-Nusra terrorists – "shield(ing) and spar(ing) them from (US) airstrikes."

"This is inadmissible," he stressed. Eliminating their fighters, along with ISIS, is Russia's top military objective in Syria. Washington's aim is polar opposite, supporting the scourge it claims to oppose.

The agendas of both countries are in conflict with no prospect for change. Nor is there any possibility for improved relations.

They remain dismal, likely worsening ahead, not improving. Nothing Russia can do diplomatically will change things. Chances for eventual confrontation between both countries is ominously real.

Differences between them are irreconcilable, Washington fully responsible, not Moscow.

A Final Comment

So-called US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) attacked government positions at least twice in Deir Ezzor with mortar and rocket fire. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov warned US commanders "it will not tolerate any shelling from the areas where the SDF are stationed." "Fire from positions in regions (they control) will be suppressed by all means necessary," he stressed, adding:

"SDF militants work to the same objectives as IS terrorists. Russian drones and intelligence have not recorded any confrontations between IS and the 'third force,' the SDF."

They're colluding with each other in Deir Ezzor. "More than 85% percent of (its) territory is under the full control of Syrian troops. Over the next week the city will be liberated completely," Konashenkov explained.

stephenlendman.org

[Sep 21, 2017] Trump Slams US and Saudi Foreign Policy in Fiery UN Speech

Sep 21, 2017 | theantimedia.org

( ANTIMEDIA Op-ed) In a bold move, President Trump condemned the violent, oppressive behavior and policies of the U.S. and its allies while speaking at the U.N. this week.

We're revolutionizing the news industry, but we need your help! Click here to get started.

He described the decline of " a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos ."

His description accurately fits the United States, which has devolved from a country with high-minded (if not fully realized ) ideals, courageous struggles for human and civil rights, and a strong sense of independence into a nationalistic, militant nation with a fledgling economy and an increasingly impoverished population whose government has spent its wealth arming radical extremists and waging endless war. The U.S. government has sowed chaos around the world over the years, from Iran to Iraq to Libya to Chile and Guatemala, spilling the blood of countless innocents as it plays geopolitical chess to favor its own hegemonic interests.

Sad!

Trump also called out the despicable behavior of U.S. allies, blasting entities that use their oil profits to support " terrorists that kill innocent Muslims." He asserted that such wealth is used to " fuel Yemen's civil war, and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East ," an apt description of the Saudi Arabian Kingdom.

" We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities , " he bravely said.

Further, apparently condemning the behavior of both the U.S. and its allies , Trump warned that evildoers " must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving [their] own people, and respect the sovereign rights of [their] neighbors. "

It is easy to make the case that the Saudis themselves are engaging in terrorism by directly targeting civilians in Yemen for a political purpose .

Find Out More > 44,130

During his speech at the U.N., Trump described all of the behavior displayed by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia ! but he wasn't talking about either. In all of the excerpts listed above, he was unironically talking about Iran, condemning the admittedly repressive regime for the exact same crimes the U.S. government and its allies commit.

The U.S. is responsible both for war crimes and for arming radical Islamists ! who Trump loves to condemn ! from the mujahideen in the 1980s to "moderate" (read: al-Qaeda-affiliated) rebels in Syria. The U.S. and its allies have grotesquely violated the "sovereign rights" of countries around the world for decades, and the Saudis are actively violating the rights of their neighbor, Yemen, using American-made weapons to maintain power for their murderous regime while they destabilize the region.The Saudis have been documented supporting ISIS and using their oil profits to export radical ideologies while beheading , flogging , and attempting to crucify political dissidents at home (candidate Trump condemned the Saudis' alleged support for terrorism before selling them billions of dollars in arms as president; he also criticized their human rights record while before he rose to power).

Laughably, in his speech he bragged about the U.S.' success in battling ISIS in Syria, completely ignoring Iranian-backed militias' contributions to defeating the terror group while actually respecting Syria's sovereignty (Iran is an ally of the Syrian government whereas the U.S. does not have official authorization to be there).

Further, Trump's own administration has admitted Iran is complying with the nuclear deal Trump vehemently condemns. " No nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles ," he said at the U.N.

He bemoaned the possibility of other countries like Iran and North Korea having nuclear weapons while his own war criminal government holds one of the largest caches of nukes in the world and is the only country to have ever intentionally used them on civilian populations.

Even worse, Trump's claims about Iran's undemocratic government may be true, but this modern reality did not come about absent American influence. The Iranian regime is repressive. It does support terror groups like Hezbollah (though Hezbollah is far less globally influential than ISIS, which, again, the Saudis have been exposed for fostering and funding). Iran's government is no friend to freedom, but how did Iran get to this point?

Might it have something to do with, yet again, the U.S. government's own flagrant disrespect for the sovereignty of other nations? Its own proliferation of bloodshed and chaos? Is toppling Iran's democratically elected government for the sake of oil profits in 1953 ! installing the ousted leader with an autocratic shah ! supposed to qualify as 'respecting sovereign rights'? Is the world supposed to pretend that over two decades of such an oppressive, American-installed monarch were entirely unrelated to the reactionary Iranian revolution that broke out against that ruler in 1979 and the political conditions that have developed since?

As the president grandstands to the world, boasting of American compassion and spewing American exceptionalism while condemning his enemies for the exact same behavior of the empire he now rules over, it is clear the emperor has no clothes.

[Sep 21, 2017] Donald Trump yesterday spoke from the gut without thinking through the consequences

Notable quotes:
"... His threat to wipe out North Korea reminded me of Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on the podium at the UN. Great theater but makes one thing that the shoe banger is crazy. There is no acceptable military option in North Korea. ..."
"... But Trump is not the only one spouting such madness. We've heard the same delusional threats from SecDef Mattis and National Security Advisor McMaster. ..."
Sep 21, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

That's essentially what Donald Trump did yesterday. He spoke from the gut without thinking through the consequences.

His threat to wipe out North Korea reminded me of Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on the podium at the UN. Great theater but makes one thing that the shoe banger is crazy. There is no acceptable military option in North Korea.

But Trump is not the only one spouting such madness. We've heard the same delusional threats from SecDef Mattis and National Security Advisor McMaster.

I learned a long time ago that you do not make threats you are not will to carry out. In fact, I'm a firm believer in the sucker punch. Why tell someone what you are going to do and how you are going to do it? That stuff only works in Hollywood.

Remember this clip from Billy Jack?

[Sep 21, 2017] Demand to cancel Iran deal is an Israeli spin by Ron Ben-Yishai

Sep 21, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"Demand to cancel Iran deal is an Israeli spin" by Ron Ben-Yishai " ... it's clearly in the best interest of everyone! including the US and Israe l!to uphold the nuclear agreement with Iran and then increase the measures to supervise its implementation in letter and spirit. The US, for example, is currently embroiled in an active nuclear dispute with North Korea, and cancelling the nuclear agreement with Iran will only cause trouble on another front and increase China and Russia's extortion abilities towards the US.

Moreover, the US has no interest in withdrawing from the nuclear agreement with Iran because all its European partners would not follow in its footsteps and, as a result, Iran would have no problem bypassing the sanctions that would be imposed by the US. An American demand to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran might also split the United Nations Security Council." Ron Ben-Yishal

--------------

Israel under its present government wants Iran to be Morgenthau-ized (made into a pastoral rug factory) so as to eliminate any possible threat to itself now or in the future. For Israel a 1% threat is too much. Oddly enough (irony alert) that was Cheney's number as well.

IAEA has once again certified Iran's compliance with JCPOA. In spite of that Israel's entourage (including DJT) claim that Iran is not in compliance with the SPIRIT of JCPOA. What does that mean? Evidently the argument is that without Israel friendly policies in all fields, Iran can never be in compliance with JCPOA, this in spite of the fact that JCPOA is specifically and solely concerned with a putative Iranian nuclear weapons program. pl