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War is Racket

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The slightest acquaintance with history shows that powerful republics  are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations.

Ambrose Bierce

"The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace."

Tacitus, Agricola

"When the rich wage war, it is the poor who die."

Jean-Paul Sartre, The Devil and the Good Lord

During the Vietnam War, one of the peace movement’s more sardonic slogans was: “War is good business. Invest your son" (Iraq War and Venture Capitalism by Norman Solomon )

ZNet

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During the Vietnam War, one of the peace movement’s more sardonic slogans was: “War is good business. Invest your son.”

In recent years, some eminent pundits and top government officials have become brazen about praising war as a good investment.

Thomas Friedman’s 1999 book “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” summed up a key function of the USA’s high-tech arsenal. “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist,” he wrote. “McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the U.S. Air Force F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

On Sept. 12, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke this way as he defended the U.S. military occupation of Iraq: “Since the United States and its coalition partners have invested a great deal of political capital, as well as financial resources, as well as the lives of our young men and women -- and we have a large force there now -- we can’t be expected to suddenly just step aside.” He was voicing the terminology and logic of a major capitalist investor.

And so, it was fitting when the New York Times reported days ago that Powell will soon be (in the words of the headline) “Taking a Role in Venture Capitalism.” The article explained that Powell is becoming a partner in Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a renowned Silicon Valley venture firm: “Mr. Powell acknowledged in an interview Tuesday that he has had any number of tempting job offers since leaving the State Department in January, but that the chance to work as a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins seemed too enticing to turn down.”

Writ large, the balance-sheet outlook of venture capitalism is being widely applied to the current war in Iraq -- even while defenders of the war are apt to indignantly reject any claim that it’s driven by zeal for massive profits. But let’s take the corporate firms at their own words.

Last year, I went through the latest annual reports from some American firms with Pentagon contracts. Those reports acknowledged, as a matter of fact, the basic corporate reliance on the warfare state.

Orbit International Corp., a small business making high-tech products for use by the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marines, had increased its net sales by nearly $2.4 million during the previous two years, to about $17.1 million -- and the war future was bright. “Looking ahead,” CEO Dennis Sunshine reported, “Orbit’s Electronics and Power Unit Segments expect to continue to benefit from the expanding military/defense and homeland security marketplace.” In its yearly report to federal regulators, Orbit International acknowledged: “We are heavily dependent upon military spending as a source of revenues and income. Accordingly, any substantial future reductions in overall military spending by the U.S. government could have a material adverse effect on our sales and earnings.”

A much larger corporation, Engineered Support Systems, Inc., had quadrupled its net revenues between 1999 and 2003, when they reached $572.7 million. For the report covering 2003, the firm’s top officers signed a statement that declared: “As we have always said, rapid deployment of our armed forces drives our business.” The company’s president, Jerry Potthoff, assured investors: “Our nation’s military is deployed in over 130 countries, so our products and personnel are deployed, as well. As long as America remains the world’s policeman, our products and services will help them complete their missions.”

The gigantic Northrop Grumman firm, while noting that its revenues totaled $26.2 billion in 2003, boasted: “In terms of the portfolio, Northrop Grumman is situated in the ‘sweet spot’ of U.S. defense and national security spending.”

War. How sweet it can be.

This article is adapted from Norman Solomon’s new book “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” For information, go to:


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[Jun 23, 2019] Iranian UN envoy condemns unlawful destabilizing measures by US

Jun 20, 2019 | www.rt.com

Iran's envoy to the United Nations has called on the international community to end "unlawful destabilizing measures" by the US, declaring that while Iran does not seek war, it "reserves the right to counter any hostile act."

Iranian envoy to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi has condemned continuing US provocations that culminated Thursday morning in the downing of an American surveillance drone by the Iranian air force over Hormozgan province.

The drone "had turned off its identification equipment and [was] engaged in a clear spying operation," Ravanchi confirmed in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, adding that the aircraft had ignored "repeated radio warnings" in order to enter Iranian airspace near the Strait of Hormuz.

[Jun 22, 2019] A new policy issued by the United States Department of Defense, in conjunction with online platforms like Twitter and Facebook, will automatically enlist you to New Departement of Defence rule: Internet Users Who Call For Attacking Other Countries Will Now Be Enlisted In The Military Automatically

Highly recommended!
Jun 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

interlocutor , Jun 21, 2019 6:13:43 PM | 186

The Babylon Bee: Report: Internet Users Who Call For Attacking Other Countries Will Now Be Enlisted In The Military Automatically

https://babylonbee.com/img/articles/article-4404-1.jpg

U.S. -- A new policy issued by the United States Department of Defense, in conjunction with online platforms like Twitter and Facebook, will automatically enlist you to fight in a foreign war if you post your support for attacking another country.

People who bravely post about how the U.S. needs to invade some country in the Middle East or Asia or outer space will get a pop-up notice indicating they've been enlisted in the military. A recruiter will then show up at their house and whisk them away to fight in the foreign war they wanted to happen so badly.

"Frankly, recruitment numbers are down, and we needed some way to find people who are really enthusiastic about fighting wars," said a DOD official. "Then it hit us like a drone strike: there are plenty of people who argue vehemently for foreign intervention. It doesn't matter what war we're trying to create: Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, China---these people are always reliable supporters of any invasion abroad. So why not get them there on the frontlines?"

"After all, we want people who are passionate about occupying foreign lands, not grunts who are just there for the paycheck," he added.

Strangely, as soon as the policy was implemented, 99% of saber-rattling suddenly ceased.

Note: The Babylon Bee is the world's best satire site, totally inerrant in all its truth claims. We write satire about Christian stuff, political stuff, and everyday life.

The Babylon Bee was created ex nihilo on the eighth day of the creation week, exactly 6,000 years ago. We have been the premier news source through every major world event, from the Tower of Babel and the Exodus to the Reformation and the War of 1812. We focus on just the facts, leaving spin and bias to other news sites like CNN and Fox News.

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[Jun 22, 2019] Chuck Schumer 'The American People Deserve A President Who Can More Credibly Justify War With Iran'

Highly recommended!
Jun 20, 2019 | politics.theonion.com

In a pointed critique of President Trump's foreign policy leadership, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated to members of the press Thursday that "the American people deserve a president who can more credibly justify war with Iran."

"What the American people need is a president who can make a much more convincing case for going to war with Iran," said Schumer (D-NY), adding that the Trump administration's corruption and dishonesty have "proven time and time again" that it lacks the conviction necessary to act as an effective cheerleader for the conflict.

"Donald Trump is completely unfit to assume the mantle of telling the American people what they need to hear in order to convince them a war with Iran is a good idea.

One of the key duties of the president is to gain the trust of the people so that they feel comfortable going along with whatever he says. President Trump's failure to serve as a credible advocate for this war is yet another instance in which he has disappointed not only his colleagues in Washington, but also the entire nation."

Schumer later concluded his statement with a vow that he and his fellow Democrats will continue working toward a more palatable case in favor of bombing Iran.

[Jun 22, 2019] Bolton Calls For Forceful Iranian Response To Continuing US Aggression

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "Iran cannot sit idly by as the American imperialist machine encroaches on their territory, threatens their sovereignty, and endangers their very way of life," said Bolton, warning that America's fanatical leadership, steadfast devotion to flexing their muscles in the region, and alleged access to nuclear weapons necessitated that Iran strike back with a vigorous show of force as soon -- and as hard -- as possible. ..."
"... "The only thing these Westerners understand is violence, so it's imperative that Iran sends a clear message that they won't be walked over. Let's not forget, the U.S. defied a diplomatically negotiated treaty for seemingly no reason at all -- these are dangerous radicals that cannot be reasoned with. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | politics.theonion.com

Demanding that the Middle Eastern nation retaliate immediately in self-defense against the existential threat posed by America's military operations, National Security Adviser John Bolton called for a forceful Iranian response Friday to continuing United States aggression.

"Iran cannot sit idly by as the American imperialist machine encroaches on their territory, threatens their sovereignty, and endangers their very way of life," said Bolton, warning that America's fanatical leadership, steadfast devotion to flexing their muscles in the region, and alleged access to nuclear weapons necessitated that Iran strike back with a vigorous show of force as soon -- and as hard -- as possible.

"The only thing these Westerners understand is violence, so it's imperative that Iran sends a clear message that they won't be walked over. Let's not forget, the U.S. defied a diplomatically negotiated treaty for seemingly no reason at all -- these are dangerous radicals that cannot be reasoned with.

They've been given every opportunity to back down, but their goal is total domination of the region, and Iran won't stand for that."

At press time, Bolton said that the only option left on the table was for Iran to launch a full-fledged military strike against the Great Satan.

[Jun 22, 2019] Why The Empire Is Failing The Horrid Hubris Of The Albright Doctrine by Doug Bandow

Highly recommended!
Bolton is just Albright of different sex. The same aggressive stupidity.
Notable quotes:
"... Albright typifies the arrogance and hawkishness of Washington blob... ..."
"... How to describe US foreign policy over the last couple of decades? Disastrous comes to mind. Arrogant and murderous also seem appropriate. ..."
"... Washington and Beijing appear to be a collision course on far more than trade. Yet the current administration appears convinced that doing more of the same will achieve different results, the best definition of insanity. ..."
"... Despite his sometimes abusive and incendiary rhetoric, the president has departed little from his predecessors' policies. For instance, American forces remain deployed in Afghanistan and Syria. Moreover, the Trump administration has increased its military and materiel deployments to Europe. Also, Washington has intensified economic sanctions on Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, and even penalized additional countries, namely Venezuela. ..."
"... "If we have to use force, it is because we are America: we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us." ..."
"... Even then her claim was implausible. America blundered into the Korean War and barely achieved a passable outcome. The Johnson administration infused Vietnam with dramatically outsize importance. For decades, Washington foolishly refused to engage the People's Republic of China. Washington-backed dictators in Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, and elsewhere fell ingloriously. An economic embargo against Cuba that continues today helped turn Fidel Castro into a global folk hero. Washington veered dangerously close to nuclear war with Moscow during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and again two decades later during military exercises in Europe. ..."
"... Perhaps the worst failing of U.S. foreign policy was ignoring the inevitable impact of foreign intervention. Americans would never passively accept another nation bombing, invading, and occupying their nation, or interfering in their political system. Even if outgunned, they would resist. Yet Washington has undertaken all of these practices, with little consideration of the impact on those most affected -- hence the rise of terrorism against the United States. Terrorism, horrid and awful though it is, became the weapon of choice of weaker peoples against intervention by the world's industrialized national states. ..."
"... Albright's assumption that members of The Blob were far-seeing was matched by her belief that the same people were entitled to make life-and-death decisions for the entire planet. ..."
"... The willingness to so callously sacrifice so many helps explain why "they" often hate us, usually meaning the U.S. government. This is also because "they" believe average Americans hate them. Understandably, it too often turns out, given the impact of the full range of American interventions -- imposing economic sanctions, bombing, invading, and occupying other nations, unleashing drone campaigns, underwriting tyrannical regimes, supporting governments which occupy and oppress other peoples, displaying ostentatious hypocrisy and bias, and more. ..."
"... At the 1999 Rambouillet conference Albright made demands of Yugoslavia that no independent, sovereign state could accept: that, for instance, it act like defeated and occupied territory by allowing the free transit of NATO forces. Washington expected the inevitable refusal, which was calculated to provide justification for launching an unprovoked, aggressive war against the Serb-dominated remnant of Yugoslavia. ..."
"... Alas, members of the Blob view Americans with little more respect. The ignorant masses should do what they are told. (Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently complained of public war-weariness from fighting in Afghanistan for no good reason for more than seventeen years.) Even more so, believed Albright, members of the military should cheerfully patrol the quasi-empire being established by Washington's far-sighted leaders. ..."
"... When asked in 2003 about the incident, she said "what I thought was that we had -- we were in a kind of a mode of thinking that we were never going to be able to use our military effectively again." ..."
"... For Albright, war is just another foreign policy tool. One could send a diplomatic note, impose economic sanctions, or unleash murder and mayhem. No reason to treat the latter as anything special. Joining the U.S. military means putting your life at the disposal of Albright and her peers in The Blob. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Doug Bandow via National Interest,

Albright typifies the arrogance and hawkishness of Washington blob...

How to describe US foreign policy over the last couple of decades? Disastrous comes to mind. Arrogant and murderous also seem appropriate.

Since 9/11, Washington has been extraordinarily active militarily -- invading two nations, bombing and droning several others, deploying special operations forces in yet more countries, and applying sanctions against many. Tragically, the threat of Islamist violence and terrorism only have metastasized. Although Al Qaeda lost its effectiveness in directly plotting attacks, it continues to inspire national offshoots. Moreover, while losing its physical "caliphate" the Islamic State added further terrorism to its portfolio.

Three successive administrations have ever more deeply ensnared the United States in the Middle East. War with Iran appears to be frighteningly possible. Ever-wealthier allies are ever-more dependent on America. Russia is actively hostile to the United States and Europe. Washington and Beijing appear to be a collision course on far more than trade. Yet the current administration appears convinced that doing more of the same will achieve different results, the best definition of insanity.

Despite his sometimes abusive and incendiary rhetoric, the president has departed little from his predecessors' policies. For instance, American forces remain deployed in Afghanistan and Syria. Moreover, the Trump administration has increased its military and materiel deployments to Europe. Also, Washington has intensified economic sanctions on Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, and even penalized additional countries, namely Venezuela.

U.S. foreign policy suffers from systematic flaws in the thinking of the informal policy collective which former Obama aide Ben Rhodes dismissed as "The Blob." Perhaps no official better articulated The Blob's defective precepts than Madeleine Albright, United Nations ambassador and Secretary of State.

First is overweening hubris. In 1998 Secretary of State Albright declared that

"If we have to use force, it is because we are America: we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us."

Even then her claim was implausible. America blundered into the Korean War and barely achieved a passable outcome. The Johnson administration infused Vietnam with dramatically outsize importance. For decades, Washington foolishly refused to engage the People's Republic of China. Washington-backed dictators in Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, and elsewhere fell ingloriously. An economic embargo against Cuba that continues today helped turn Fidel Castro into a global folk hero. Washington veered dangerously close to nuclear war with Moscow during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and again two decades later during military exercises in Europe.

U.S. officials rarely were prepared for events that occurred in the next week or month, let alone years later. Americans did no better than the French in Vietnam. Americans managed events in Africa no better than the British, French, and Portuguese colonial overlords. Washington made more than its share of bad, even awful decisions in dealing with other nations around the globe.

Perhaps the worst failing of U.S. foreign policy was ignoring the inevitable impact of foreign intervention. Americans would never passively accept another nation bombing, invading, and occupying their nation, or interfering in their political system. Even if outgunned, they would resist. Yet Washington has undertaken all of these practices, with little consideration of the impact on those most affected -- hence the rise of terrorism against the United States. Terrorism, horrid and awful though it is, became the weapon of choice of weaker peoples against intervention by the world's industrialized national states.

The U.S. record since September 11 has been uniquely counterproductive. Rather than minimize hostility toward America, Washington adopted a policy -- highlighted by launching new wars, killing more civilians, and ravaging additional societies -- guaranteed to create enemies, exacerbate radicalism, and spread terrorism. Blowback is everywhere. Among the worst examples: Iraqi insurgents mutated into ISIS, which wreaked military havoc throughout the Middle East and turned to terrorism.

Albright's assumption that members of The Blob were far-seeing was matched by her belief that the same people were entitled to make life-and-death decisions for the entire planet. When queried 1996 about her justification for sanctions against Iraq which had killed a half million babies -- notably, she did not dispute the accuracy of that estimate -- she responded that "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." Exactly who "we" were she did not say. Most likely she meant those Americans admitted to the foreign policy priesthood, empowered to make foreign policy and take the practical steps necessary to enforce it. (She later stated of her reply: "I never should have made it. It was stupid." It was, but it reflected her mindset.)

In any normal country, such a claim would be shocking -- a few people sitting in another capital deciding who lived and died. Foreign elites, a world away from the hardship that they imposed, deciding the value of those dying versus the purported interests being promoted. Those paying the price had no voice in the decision, no way to hold their persecutors accountable.

The willingness to so callously sacrifice so many helps explain why "they" often hate us, usually meaning the U.S. government. This is also because "they" believe average Americans hate them. Understandably, it too often turns out, given the impact of the full range of American interventions -- imposing economic sanctions, bombing, invading, and occupying other nations, unleashing drone campaigns, underwriting tyrannical regimes, supporting governments which occupy and oppress other peoples, displaying ostentatious hypocrisy and bias, and more.

This mindset is reinforced by contempt toward even those being aided by Washington. Although American diplomats had termed the Kosovo Liberation Army as "terrorist," the Clinton Administration decided to use the growing insurgency as an opportunity to expand Washington's influence. At the 1999 Rambouillet conference Albright made demands of Yugoslavia that no independent, sovereign state could accept: that, for instance, it act like defeated and occupied territory by allowing the free transit of NATO forces. Washington expected the inevitable refusal, which was calculated to provide justification for launching an unprovoked, aggressive war against the Serb-dominated remnant of Yugoslavia.

However, initially the KLA, determined on independence, refused to sign Albright's agreement. She exploded. One of her officials anonymously complained: "Here is the greatest nation on earth pleading with some nothingballs to do something entirely in their own interest -- which is to say yes to an interim agreement -- and they stiff us." Someone described as "a close associate" observed: "She is so stung by what happened. She's angry at everyone -- the Serbs, the Albanians and NATO." For Albright, the determination of others to achieve their own goals, even at risk to their lives, was an insult to America and her.

Alas, members of the Blob view Americans with little more respect. The ignorant masses should do what they are told. (Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently complained of public war-weariness from fighting in Afghanistan for no good reason for more than seventeen years.) Even more so, believed Albright, members of the military should cheerfully patrol the quasi-empire being established by Washington's far-sighted leaders.

As Albright famously asked Colin Powell in 1992:

"What's the use of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?" To her, American military personnel apparently were but gambit pawns in a global chess game, to be sacrificed for the interest and convenience of those playing. No wonder then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell's reaction stated in his autobiography was: "I thought I would have an aneurysm."

When asked in 2003 about the incident, she said "what I thought was that we had -- we were in a kind of a mode of thinking that we were never going to be able to use our military effectively again." Although sixty-five years had passed, she admitted that "my mindset is Munich," a unique circumstance and threat without even plausible parallel today.

Such a philosophy explains a 1997 comment by a cabinet member, likely Albright, to General Hugh Shelton, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "Hugh, I know I shouldn't even be asking you this, but what we really need in order to go in and take out Saddam is a precipitous event -- something that would make us look good in the eyes of the world. Could you have one of our U-2s fly low enough -- and slow enough -- so as to guarantee that Saddam could shoot it down?" He responded sure, as soon as she qualified to fly the plane.

For Albright, war is just another foreign policy tool. One could send a diplomatic note, impose economic sanctions, or unleash murder and mayhem. No reason to treat the latter as anything special. Joining the U.S. military means putting your life at the disposal of Albright and her peers in The Blob.

Anyone of these comments could be dismissed as a careless aside. Taken together, however, they reflect an attitude dangerous for Americans and foreigners alike. Unfortunately, the vagaries of U.S. foreign policy suggest that this mindset is not limited to any one person. Any president serious about taking a new foreign-policy direction must do more than drain the swamp. He or she must sideline The Blob.

* * *

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

[Jun 22, 2019] How Madeleine Albright Got the War the U.S. Wanted by Gregory Elich

Notable quotes:
"... Twenty years have passed since the U.S.-orchestrated NATO attack on Yugoslavia. As the United States readied its forces for war in 1999, it organized a peace conference that was ostensibly intended to resolve differences between the Yugoslav government and secessionist ethnic Albanians in Kosovo on the future status of the province. A different scenario was being played out behind the scenes, however. U.S. officials wanted war and deliberately set up the process to fail, which they planned to use as a pretext for war. ..."
"... U.S. mediators habitually referred to the Yugoslav delegation as "the Serbs," even though they constituted a minority of the members. The Americans persisted in trying to cast events in Kosovo as a simplistic binary relationship of Serb versus Albanian, disregarding the presence of other ethnic groups in the province, and ignoring the fact that while some ethnic Albanians favored separation, others wished to remain in multiethnic Yugoslavia. ..."
"... It is probable that the U.S. was also operating electronic listening equipment and that U.S. mediators knew everything the delegations were saying in private. ..."
"... "Madeleine Albright told us all the time: 'If the Yugoslav delegation does not accept what we offer, you will be bombed.'" Šainović added, "We agreed in Rambouillet to any form of autonomy for Kosovo," but sovereignty remained the red line. [viii] ..."
"... As the conference progressed, U.S. negotiators were faced with an alarming problem, in that the Yugoslav delegation had accepted all of the Contact Group's fundamental political principles for an agreement, balking only at a NATO presence in Kosovo. On the other hand, the secessionist delegation rejected the Contact Group's political principles. Something had to be done to reverse this pattern. ..."
"... Quite intentionally, U.S. mediators included provisions in the final version of the text that no sovereign nation could be expected to accept. Neoliberal economic interests are always front and center when U.S. officials are involved, and they surely were not unaware of Kosovo's abundant reserves of mineral resources, ripe for exploitation. The first point in Article 1 of the Economic Issues section of the text states: ..."
"... Western investors were favored with a provision stating that authorities shall "ensure the free movement of persons, goods, services, and capital to Kosovo, including from international sources." [xiii] One may wonder what these stipulations had to do with peace negotiations, but then the talks had far more to do with U.S. interests than anything to do with the needs of the people in the region. ..."
"... Yugoslavia was required "to provide, at no cost, the use of all facilities and services required" by NATO. [xvii]Within six months, Yugoslavia would have to withdraw all of its military forces from Kosovo, other than a small number of border guards. [xviii] ..."
"... The plan granted NATO "unrestricted use of the entire electromagnetic spectrum" to "communicate." Although the document indicated NATO would make "reasonable efforts to coordinate," there were no constraints on its power. [xix] Yugoslav officials, "upon simple request," would be required to grant NATO "all telecommunication services, including broadcast services free of cost." [xx]NATO could take over any radio and television facilities and transmission wavelengths it chose, knocking local stations off the air. ..."
"... The plan did not restrict NATO's presence to Kosovo. It granted NATO, with its "vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia]." [xxi] NATO would be "granted the use of airports, roads, rails, and ports without payment of fees, duties, dues, tools, or charges." [xxii] ..."
"... Bombing Yugoslavia was meant to solidify the new role for NATO as an offensive military force, acting on behalf of U.S. imperial interests. Since that time, NATO has attacked Libya, and engaged in military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and a variety of nations in Africa. Despite NATO's claim that it is "committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes," the record shows otherwise. ..."
"... Gregory Elich is a Korea Policy Institute associate and on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute. He is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea, a columnist for Voice of the People , and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period , published in the Russian language. He is also a member of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific. His website is https://gregoryelich.org . Follow him on Twitter at @GregoryElich ..."
May 13, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Region: Europe , USA Theme: History , US NATO War Agenda

Twenty years have passed since the U.S.-orchestrated NATO attack on Yugoslavia. As the United States readied its forces for war in 1999, it organized a peace conference that was ostensibly intended to resolve differences between the Yugoslav government and secessionist ethnic Albanians in Kosovo on the future status of the province. A different scenario was being played out behind the scenes, however. U.S. officials wanted war and deliberately set up the process to fail, which they planned to use as a pretext for war.

The talks opened on February 6, 1999, in Rambouillet, France. Officially, the negotiations were led by a Contact Group comprised of U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Christopher Hill , European Union envoy Wolfgang Petritsch , and Russian diplomat Boris Mayorsky . All decisions were supposed to be jointly agreed upon by all three members of the Contact Group. In actual practice, the U.S. ran the show all the way and routinely bypassed Petritsch and Mayorsky on essential matters.

Ibrahim Rugova , an ethnic Albanian activist who advocated nonviolence, was expected to play a major role in the Albanian secessionist delegation. Joining him at Rambouillet was Fehmi Agani , a fellow member of Rugova's Democratic League of Kosovo.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright regularly sidelined Rugova, however, preferring to rely on delegation members from the hardline Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which had routinely murdered Serbs, Roma, and Albanians in Kosovo who worked for the government or opposed separatism. Only a few months before the conference, KLA spokesman Bardhyl Mahmuti spelled out his organization's vision of a future Kosovo as separate and ethnically pure:

"The independence of Kosovo is the only solution We cannot live together. That is excluded." [i]

Rugova had at one time engaged in fairly productive talks with Yugoslav officials, and his willingness to negotiate was no doubt precisely the reason Albright relegated him to a background role. Yugoslav Minister of Information Milan Komnenić accompanied the Yugoslav delegation to Rambouillet. He recalls,

"With Rugova and Fehmi Agani it was possible to talk; they were flexible. In Rambouillet, [KLA leader Hashim] Thaçi appears instead of Rugova. A beast." [ii]

There was no love between Thaçi and Rugova, whose party members were the targets of threats and assassination attempts at the hands of the KLA. Rugova himself would survive an assassination attempt six years later.

The composition of the Yugoslav delegation reflected its position that many ethnic groups resided in Kosovo, and any agreement arrived at should take into account the interests of all parties. All of Kosovo's major ethnic groups were represented in the delegation. Faik Jashari , one of the Albanian members in the Yugoslav delegation, was president of the Kosovo Democratic Initiative and an official in the Provisional Executive Council, which was Yugoslavia's government in Kosovo. Jashari observed that Albright was startled when she saw the composition of the Yugoslav delegation, apparently because it went against the U.S. propaganda narrative. [iii] Throughout the talks, Albright displayed a dismissive attitude towards the delegation's Albanian, Roma, Egyptian, Goran, Turkish, and Slavic Muslim members.

U.S. mediators habitually referred to the Yugoslav delegation as "the Serbs," even though they constituted a minority of the members. The Americans persisted in trying to cast events in Kosovo as a simplistic binary relationship of Serb versus Albanian, disregarding the presence of other ethnic groups in the province, and ignoring the fact that while some ethnic Albanians favored separation, others wished to remain in multiethnic Yugoslavia.

After arriving at Rambouillet, the secessionist Albanian delegation informed U.S. diplomats that it did not want to meet with the Yugoslav side. Aside from a brief ceremonial meeting, there was no direct contact between the two groups. The Yugoslav and Albanian delegations were placed on two different floors to eliminate nearly all contact. U.S. mediators Richard Holbrooke and Christopher Hill ran from one delegation to the other, conveying notes and verbal messages between the two sides but mostly trying to coerce the Yugoslav delegation. [iv]

Luan Koka, a Roma member of the Yugoslav delegation, noted that the U.S. was operating an electronic jamming device.

"We knew exactly when Madeleine Albright was coming. Connections on our mobile phones were breaking up and going crazy." [v]

It is probable that the U.S. was also operating electronic listening equipment and that U.S. mediators knew everything the delegations were saying in private.

Albright, Jashari said, would not listen to anyone.

"She had her task, and she saw only that task. You couldn't say anything to her. She didn't want to talk with us and didn't want to listen to our arguments." [vi]

One day it was Koka's birthday, and the Yugoslav delegation wanted to encourage a more relaxed atmosphere with U.S. mediators, inviting them to a cocktail party to mark the occasion.

"It was a slightly more pleasant atmosphere, and I was singing," Koka recalled. "I remember Madeleine Albright saying: 'I really like partisan songs. But if you don't accept this, the bombs will fall.'" [vii]

According to delegation member Nikola Šainović ,

"Madeleine Albright told us all the time: 'If the Yugoslav delegation does not accept what we offer, you will be bombed.'" Šainović added, "We agreed in Rambouillet to any form of autonomy for Kosovo," but sovereignty remained the red line. [viii]

From the beginning of the conference, U.S. mediator Christopher Hill "decided that what we really needed was an Albanian approval of a document, and a Serb refusal. If both refused, there could be no further action by NATO or any other organization for that matter." [ix] It was not peace that the U.S. team was seeking, but war.

As the conference progressed, U.S. negotiators were faced with an alarming problem, in that the Yugoslav delegation had accepted all of the Contact Group's fundamental political principles for an agreement, balking only at a NATO presence in Kosovo. On the other hand, the secessionist delegation rejected the Contact Group's political principles. Something had to be done to reverse this pattern.

On the second day of the conference, U.S. officials presented the Yugoslav delegation with the framework text of a provisional agreement for peace and self-rule in Kosovo, but it was missing some of the annexes. The Yugoslavs requested a copy of the complete document. As delegation head Ratko Marković pointed out,

"Any objections to the text of the agreement could be made only after an insight into the text as a whole had been obtained."

Nearly one week passed before the group received one of the missing annexes. That came on the day the conference had originally been set to end. The deadline was extended, and two days later a second missing annex was provided to the Yugoslav delegation.[x]

When the Yugoslavs next met with the Contact Group, they were assured that all elements of the text had now been given to them. Several more days passed and at 7:00 PM on February 22, the penultimate day of the conference, the Contact Group presented three new annexes, which the Yugoslavs had never seen before. According to Marković, "Russian Ambassador Boris Mayorsky informed our delegation that Annexes 2 and 7 had not been discussed or approved by the Contact Group and that they were not the texts drafted by the Contact Group but by certain Contact Group members, while Annex 5 was discussed, but no decision was made on it at the Contact Group meeting." The Yugoslav delegation refused to accept the new annexes, as their introduction had violated the process whereby all proposals had to be agreed upon by the three Contact Group members. [xi]

At 9:30 AM on February 23, the final day of the conference, U.S. officials presented the full text of the proposal, containing yet more provisions that were being communicated for the first time. The accompanying note identified the package as the definitive text while adding that Russia did not support two of the articles. The letter demanded the Yugoslav delegation's decision by 1:00 PM that same day.[xii] There was barely time enough to carefully read the text, let alone negotiate. In essence, it was an ultimatum.

Quite intentionally, U.S. mediators included provisions in the final version of the text that no sovereign nation could be expected to accept. Neoliberal economic interests are always front and center when U.S. officials are involved, and they surely were not unaware of Kosovo's abundant reserves of mineral resources, ripe for exploitation. The first point in Article 1 of the Economic Issues section of the text states:

"The economy of Kosovo shall function in accordance with free market principles."

Western investors were favored with a provision stating that authorities shall "ensure the free movement of persons, goods, services, and capital to Kosovo, including from international sources." [xiii] One may wonder what these stipulations had to do with peace negotiations, but then the talks had far more to do with U.S. interests than anything to do with the needs of the people in the region.

Twitter and the Smearing of Corbyn and Assange: A Research Note on the "Integrity Initiative"

The document called for a Western-led Joint Commission including local representatives to monitor and coordinate the implementation of the plan. However, if commission members failed to reach consensus on a matter, the Western-appointed Chair would have the power to impose his decision unilaterally. [xiv] Local representatives would serve as little more than window-dressing for Western dictate, as they could adopt no measure that went against the Chair's wishes.

The Chair of the Implementation Mission was authorized to "recommend" the "removal and appointment of officials and the curtailment of operations of existing institutions in Kosovo." If the Chair's command was not obeyed "in the time requested, the Joint Commission may decide to take the recommended action," and since the Chair had the authority to impose his will on the Joint Commission, there was no check on his power. He could remove elected and appointed officials at will and replace them with handpicked lackeys. The Chair was also authorized to order the "curtailment of operations of existing institutions." [xv]Any organization that failed to bend to U.S. demands could be shut down.

Chapter 7 of the plan called for the parties to "invite NATO to constitute and lead a military force" in Kosovo. [xvi]The choice of words was interesting. In language reminiscent of gangsters, Yugoslavia was told to "invite" NATO to take over the province of Kosovo or suffer the consequences.

Yugoslavia was required "to provide, at no cost, the use of all facilities and services required" by NATO. [xvii]Within six months, Yugoslavia would have to withdraw all of its military forces from Kosovo, other than a small number of border guards. [xviii]

The plan granted NATO "unrestricted use of the entire electromagnetic spectrum" to "communicate." Although the document indicated NATO would make "reasonable efforts to coordinate," there were no constraints on its power. [xix] Yugoslav officials, "upon simple request," would be required to grant NATO "all telecommunication services, including broadcast services free of cost." [xx]NATO could take over any radio and television facilities and transmission wavelengths it chose, knocking local stations off the air.

The plan did not restrict NATO's presence to Kosovo. It granted NATO, with its "vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia]." [xxi] NATO would be "granted the use of airports, roads, rails, and ports without payment of fees, duties, dues, tools, or charges." [xxii]

The agreement guaranteed that NATO would have "complete and unimpeded freedom of movement by ground, air, and water into and throughout Kosovo." Furthermore, NATO personnel could not be held "liable for any damages to public or private property." [xxiii] NATO as a whole would also be "immune from all legal process, whether civil, administrative, or criminal," regardless of its actions anywhere on the territory of Yugoslavia. [xxiv]Nor could NATO personnel be arrested, detained, or investigated. [xxv]

Acceptance of the plan would have brought NATO troops swarming throughout Yugoslavia and interfering in every institution.

There were several other objectionable elements in the plan, but one that stood out was the call for an "international" (meaning, Western-led) meeting to be held after three years "to determine a mechanism for a final settlement for Kosovo."[xxvi] It was no mystery to the Yugoslav delegation what conclusion Western officials would arrive at in that meeting. The intent was clearly to redraw Yugoslavia's borders to further break apart the nation.

U.S. officials knew the Yugoslav delegation could not possibly accept such a plan.

"We deliberately set the bar higher than the Serbs could accept," Madeleine Albright confided to a group of journalists, "because they needed a little bombing." [xxvii]

At a meeting in Belgrade on March 5, the Yugoslav delegation issued a statement which declared:

"A great deceit was looming, orchestrated by the United States. They demanded that the agreement be signed, even though much of this agreement, that is, over 56 pages, had never been discussed, either within the Contact Group or during the negotiations." [xxviii]

Serbian President Milan Milutinović announced at a press conference that in Rambouillet the Yugoslav delegation had "proposed solutions meeting the demands of the Contact Group for broad autonomy within Serbia, advocating full equality of all national communities." But "agreement was not what they were after." Instead, Western officials engaged in "open aggression," and this was a game "about troops and troops alone." [xxix]

While U.S. officials were working assiduously to avoid a peaceful resolution, they needed the Albanians to agree to the plan so that they could accuse the Yugoslav delegation of being the stumbling block to peace. U.S. mainstream media could be counted on to unquestioningly repeat the government's line and overlook who the real architects of failure were. U.S. officials knew the media would act in their customary role as cheerleaders for war, which indeed, they did.

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook revealed the nature of the message Western officials were conveying to the Albanian delegation when he said,

"We are certainly saying to the Kosovo Albanians that if you don't sign up to these texts, it's extremely difficult to see how NATO could then take action against Belgrade." [xxx]

Western officials were practically begging the secessionists to sign the plan. According to inside sources, the Americans assured the Albanian delegation that disarmament of the KLA would be merely symbolic and that it could keep the bulk of its weaponry so long as it was concealed. [xxxi]

Albright spent hours trying to convince Thaçi to change his mind, telling him:

"If you say yes and the Serbs say no, NATO will strike and go on striking until the Serb forces are out and NATO can go in. You will have security. And you will be able to govern yourselves." [xxxii]

That was a clear enough signal that the intent was to rip the province away from Yugoslavia and create an artificial state. Despite such assurances, Thaçi feared the wrath of fellow KLA members if he were to sign a document that did not explicitly call for separation. When U.S. negotiators asked Thaçi why he would not sign, he responded:

"If I agree to this, I will go home and they will kill me." [xxxiii]

This was not hyperbole. The KLA had threatened and murdered a great many Albanians who in its eyes fell short of full-throated support for its policy of violent secession and ethnic exclusion.

Even NATO Commander Wesley Clark , who flew in from Belgium, was unable to change Thaçi's mind. [xxxiv] U.S. officials were exasperated with the Albanian delegation, and its recalcitrance threatened to capsize plans for war.

"Rambouillet was supposed to be about putting the screws to Belgrade," a senior U.S. official said. "But it went off the rails because of the miscalculation we made about the Albanians." [xxxv]

On the last day at Rambouillet, it was agreed that the Albanian delegation would return to Kosovo for discussions with fellow KLA leaders on the need to sign the document. In the days that followed, Western officials paid repeated visits to Kosovo to encourage the Albanians to sign.

So-called "negotiations" reconvened in Paris on March 15. Upon its arrival, the Yugoslav delegation objected that it was "incomprehensible" that "no direct talks between the two delegations had been facilitated." In response to the Yugoslavs' proposal for modifications to the plan, the Contact Group informed them that no changes would be accepted. The document must be accepted as a whole. [xxxvi]

The Yugoslav position, delegation head Ratko Marković maintained, was that "first one needs to determine what is to be implemented, and only then to determine the methods of implementation." [xxxvii]The delegation asked the Americans what there was to talk about regarding implementation "when there was no agreement because the Albanians did not accept anything." U.S. officials responded that the Yugoslav delegation "cannot negotiate," adding that it would only be allowed to make grammatical changes to the text. [xxxviii]

From the U.S. perspective, the presence of the Yugoslav delegation in Paris was irrelevant other than to maintain the pretense that negotiations were taking place. Not permitted to negotiate, there was little the Yugoslavs could do but await the inevitable result, which soon came. The moment U.S. officials obtained the Albanian delegation's signatures to the plan on March 18, they aborted the Paris Conference. There was no reason to continue engaging with the Yugoslav delegation, as the U.S. had what it needed: a pretext for war.

On the day after the U.S. pulled the plug on the Paris talks, Milan Milutinović held a press conference in the Yugoslav embassy, condemning the Paris meeting as "a kind of show," which was meant "to deceive public opinion in the whole world." [xxxix]

While the United States and its NATO allies prepared for war, Yugoslavia was making last-ditch efforts to stave off attack, including reaching out to intermediaries. Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos contacted Madeleine Albright and told her that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević had offered to engage in further negotiations. But Albright told him that the decision to bomb had already been made. "In fact," Pangalos reported, "she told me to 'desist, you're just being a nuisance.'" [xl] In a final act of desperation to save the people from bombing, Milutinović contacted Christopher Hill and made an extraordinary offer: Yugoslavia would join NATO if the United States would allow Yugoslavia to remain whole, including the province of Kosovo. Hill responded that this was not a topic for discussion and he would not talk about it. [xli]

Madeleine Albright got her war, which brought death, destruction, and misery to Yugoslavia. But NATO had a new role, and the United States further extended its hegemony over the Balkans.

In the years following the demise of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, NATO was intent on redefining its mission. The absence of the socialist bloc presented NATO not only with the need to construct a new rationale for existence but also with the opportunity to expand Western domination over other nations.

Bosnia offered the first opportunity for NATO to begin its transformation, as it took part in a war that presented no threat to member nations.

Bombing Yugoslavia was meant to solidify the new role for NATO as an offensive military force, acting on behalf of U.S. imperial interests. Since that time, NATO has attacked Libya, and engaged in military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and a variety of nations in Africa. Despite NATO's claim that it is "committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes," the record shows otherwise.

*

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Gregory Elich is a Korea Policy Institute associate and on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute. He is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea, a columnist for Voice of the People , and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period , published in the Russian language. He is also a member of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific. His website is https://gregoryelich.org . Follow him on Twitter at @GregoryElich

[Jun 22, 2019] The Myopia of Interventionists by Daniel Lariso

Feb 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Andrew Bacevich recalls Madeleine Albright's infamous statement about American indispensability, and notes how poorly it has held up over the last twenty-one years:

Back then, it was Albright's claim to American indispensability that stuck in my craw. Yet as a testimony to ruling class hubris, the assertion of indispensability pales in comparison to Albright's insistence that "we see further into the future."

In fact, from February 1998 down to the present, events have time and again caught Albright's "we" napping.

Albright's statement is even more damning for her and her fellow interventionists when we consider that the context of her remarks was a discussion of the supposed threat from Iraq. The full sentence went like this: "We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us." Albright was making a general claim about our supposed superiority to other nations when it came to looking into the future, but she was also specifically warning against a "danger" from Iraq that she claimed threatened "all of us." She answered one of Matt Lauer's questions with this assertion:

I think that we know what we have to do, and that is help enforce the UN Security Council resolutions, which demand that Saddam Hussein abide by those resolutions, and get rid of his weapons of mass destruction, and allow the inspectors to have unfettered and unconditional access.

Albright's rhetoric from 1998 is a grim reminder that policymakers from both parties accepted the existence of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" as a given and never seriously questioned a policy aimed at eliminating something that did not exist. American hawks couldn't see further in the future. They weren't even perceiving the present correctly, and tens of thousands of Americans and millions of Iraqis would suffer because they insisted that they saw something that wasn't there.

A little more than five years after she uttered these words, the same wild threat inflation that Albright was engaged in led to the invasion of Iraq, the greatest blunder and one of the worst crimes in the history of modern U.S. foreign policy . Not only did Albright and other later war supporters not see what was coming, but their deluded belief in being able to anticipate future threats caused them to buy into and promote a bogus case for a war that was completely unnecessary and should never have been fought.

[Jun 21, 2019] Pentagon announces $250 million in military aid to Ukraine

Jun 18, 2019 | www.rt.com

The US will provide Ukraine with $250 million worth of military equipment, training and support, the Pentagon announced, saying Ukraine's Navy and marines would be among the beneficiaries.

The Ukrainian military will get sniper rifles, grenade launchers, counter-battery radar systems, night vision equipment and communication devices, the Pentagon statement said...

The statement said the package will bring total US security assistance to Ukraine to $1.5 billion since 2014, when a US-backed coup in Kiev ousted Ukraine's elected government.

[Jun 21, 2019] Guilty or Not, Iran's Fate Is in Trump's Hands

Jun 21, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

From the standpoint of Information Warfare, it is very critical when a new event happens to put forward one's version of the "truth" first before any other possible competing theories can arise. This could be why Pompeo or someone like him would chose to immediately come out with accusations thrown around as facts with no evidence to support them and no respect for the great Western concepts of "innocence until proven guilty" or the "right to a fair trial".

Pompeo's objective here is not the truth but to take that virgin intellectual territory regarding the interpretation of this issue before anyone else can, because once a concept has become normalized in the minds of the masses it is very difficult to change it and many people in Washington cannot risk blowing the chance to waste thousands of American lives invading Iran based on an ultimately false but widely accepted/believed narrative.

Not surprisingly foreign and especially Russian media has quickly attempted to counter the "Iran obviously did it" narrative before it becomes an accepted fact. Shockingly Slavic infowarriors actually decided to speak to the captain of a tanker that was hit to get his opinion rather than simply assert that Iran didn't do it because they are a long time buddy of Moscow. The captain's testimony of what happened strongly contradicts the version of reality that Washington is pushing. And over all Russia as usual takes the reasonable position of "let's gather the evidence and then see who did it", which is good PR for itself as a nation beyond this single issue.

In terms of finding the actual guilty party the media on both sides has thus far ignored the simple fact that if Iran wanted to sink a tanker it would be sunk. No civilian vessel is going to withstand an attack from a 21st century navy by having a particularly thick hull and the idea that the Iranians need to physically attach bombs to boats is mental. Physically planting bombs is for goofball inept terrorists, not a professional military. After all, even the West acknowledges that the Iranians use the best Russian goodies that they can afford and Russian 21 st century arms will sink civilian ship guaranteed. The Iranians have everything they need to smoke any civilian vessel on the planet guaranteed from much farther away than 3 feet.

If Iran's goal was to scare or intimidate the tanker they could have just shot at it with rifles or done something else to spook the crew and get a media response. When looked at from the standpoint of military logic, these "attacks" seem baffling as Iran could have just destroyed the boats or directly tried to terrorize them to make a statement.

[Jun 20, 2019] US gives military assistance to 70% of world dictoris whether they re using their free time to kill thousands of innocent people or to harmonize their rock garden.

Notable quotes:
"... If one does even a cursory check of what dictators around the world are up to recently, you'll find that the U.S. doesn't care in the slightest whether they are bad or good, whether they're using their free time to kill thousands of innocent people or to harmonize their rock garden. ..."
Jun 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

We now know that the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction. We now know that the crushing of Libya had nothing to do with "stopping a bad man."

If one does even a cursory check of what dictators around the world are up to recently, you'll find that the U.S. doesn't care in the slightest whether they are bad or good, whether they're using their free time to kill thousands of innocent people or to harmonize their rock garden.

In fact, the U.S. gives military aid to 70 percent of the world's dictators . (One would hope that's only around the holidays though.)

[Jun 20, 2019] Washington s Dr. Strangeloves: Is plunging Russia into darkness really a good idea?

Notable quotes:
"... ...What else did you expect other than the MIC/Intelligence Agencies/Pentagon/embedded war mongers handling this stuff? ..."
"... Gen. Buck Turgidson is most certainly going rogue. ..."
"... That's really the bigger story here. It has become a mainstream idea that it is a GOOD thing that an elected President is a figurehead with no real power. ..."
Jun 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Not if_ But When , 11 minutes ago link

...What else did you expect other than the MIC/Intelligence Agencies/Pentagon/embedded war mongers handling this stuff?

SurfingUSA , 2 minutes ago link

Gen. Buck Turgidson is most certainly going rogue.

joego1 , 11 minutes ago link

It's all about the bankers bitches.

LetThemEatRand , 17 minutes ago link

...That's really the bigger story here. It has become a mainstream idea that it is a GOOD thing that an elected President is a figurehead with no real power.

Of course it's been true for a long time, but it's a fairly recent phenomenon that a large number of Americans like it. Russiagate is another example.

Huge portions of America were cheering for the unseating of an elected President by unelected police state apparatus because they don't like him.

[Jun 20, 2019] Bias, Lies Videotape Doubts Dog Confirmed Syria Chemical Attacks

Jun 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bias, Lies & Videotape: Doubts Dog 'Confirmed' Syria Chemical Attacks Disturbing new evidence suggests 2018 incident might've been staged, putting everything else, including U.S. retaliation, into question. By Scott Ritter June 20, 2019

(By Mikhail Semenov /Shutterstock) Thanks to an explosive internal memo, there is no reason to believe the claims put forward by the Syrian opposition that President Bashar al-Assad's government used chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Douma back in April. This is a scenario I have questioned from the beginning.

It also calls into question all the other conclusions and reports by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) , which was assigned in 2014 "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic."

As you recall, the Trump administration initiated a coordinated bombing of Syrian government facilities with the UK and France within days of the Douma incident and before a full investigation of the scene could be completed, charging Assad with the "barbaric act" of using "banned chemical weapons" to kill dozens of people on the scene. Bomb first, ask questions later.

The OPCW began their investigation days after the strikes . The group drew on witness testimonies, environmental and biomedical sample analysis results, and additional digital information from witnesses (i.e. video and still photography), as well as toxicological and ballistic analyses. In July 2018, the OPCW released an interim report on Douma that said "no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties," but that chlorine, which is not a banned chemical weapon, was detected there.

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The report cited ballistic tests that indicated that the canisters found at two locations on the scene were dropped from the air (witnesses blamed Assad's forces), but investigations were ongoing. The final report in March reiterated the ballistics data, and the conclusions were just as underwhelming, saying that all of the evidence gathered there provides "reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place," due in part to traces of chlorine and explosives at the impact sites.

Now, the leaked internal report apparently suppressed by the OPCW says there is a "high probability" that a pair of chlorine gas cylinders that had been claimed as the source of the toxic chemical had been planted there by hand and not dropped by aircraft. This was based on extensive engineering assessments and computer modeling as well as all of the evidence previously afforded to the OPCW.

What does this mean? To my mind, the canisters were planted by the opposition in an effort to frame the Syrian government.

The OPCW has confirmed with the validity of this shocking document and has offered statements to reporters, including Peter Hitchens, who published the organization's response to him on May 16.

The ramifications of this turn of events extend far beyond simply disproving the allegations concerning the events in April 2018. The credibility of the OPCW itself and every report and conclusion it has released concerning allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government are now suspect. The extent to which the OPCW has, almost exclusively, relied upon the same Syrian opposition sources who are now suspected of fabricating the Douma events raises serious questions about both the methodology and motivation of an organization that had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for "its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons."

In a response to Agence France-Presse (AFP) , OPCW director general Fernando Arias acknowledged there is an internal probe into the memo leak but that he continues to "stand by the impartial and professional conclusions" of the group's original report. He played down the role of the memo's author, Ian Henderson, and said his alternative hypotheses were not included in the final OPCW report because they "pointed at possible attribution" and were therefore outside the scope of the OPCW's fact finding mission in Syria.

Self-produced videos and witness statements provided by the pro-opposition Violations Documentation Center, Syrian Civil Defense (also known as the White Helmets), and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) , a non-profit organization that operates hospitals in opposition-controlled Syria, represented the heart and soul of the case against the Syrian government regarding the events in Douma. To my mind, the internal memo now suggests that these actors were engaging in a systemic effort to disseminate disinformation that would facilitate Western military intervention with the goal of removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

This theory has been advanced by pro-Assad forces and their Russian partners for some time. But independent reporting on the ground since the Douma incident has sussed out many of the same concerns. From James Harkin, director of the Center for Investigative Journalism and a fellow at Harvard University's Shorenstein Center, who traveled to the site of the attacks and reported for The Intercept in February of this year:

The imperative to grab the fleeting attention of an international audience certainly seems to have influenced the presentation of the evidence. In the videos and photos that appeared that evening, most analysts and observers agree that there were some signs that the bodies and gas canisters had been moved or tampered with after the event for maximum impact. The Syrian media activists who'd arrived at the apartment block with the dead people weren't the first to arrive on the scene; they'd heard about the deaths from White Helmet workers and doctors at the hospital.

The relationship between the OPCW and the Syrian opposition can be traced back to 2013. That was when the OPCW was given the responsibility of eliminating Syria's declared arsenal of chemical weapons; this task was largely completed by 2014. However, the Syrian opposition began making persistent allegations of chemical weapon attacks by the Syrian government in which chlorine, a substance not covered by Syria's obligation to be disarmed of chemical weapons, was used. In response, the OPCW established the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) in 2014 "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic."

The priority of effort for the FFM early on was to investigate allegations of the use of chlorine as a weapon. Since, according to its May 2014 summary, "all reported incidents took place at locations that the Syrian Government considers to be outside its effective control," the FFM determined that the success of its mission was contingent upon "identification of key actors, such as local authorities and/or representatives of armed opposition groups in charge of the territories in which these locations are situated; the establishment of contacts with these groups in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence that allows the mandate and objectives of the FFM to be communicated."

So from its very inception, the FFM had to rely on the anti-Assad opposition and its supporters for nearly everything. The document that governed the conduct of the FFM's work in Syria was premised on the fact that the mission would be dependent in part upon "opposition representatives" to coordinate, along with the United Nations, the "security, logistical and operational aspects of the OPCW FFM," including liaising "for the purposes of making available persons for interviews."

One could sense the bias resulting from such an arrangement when, acting on information provided to it by the opposition regarding an "alleged attack with chlorine" on the towns of Kafr Zeyta and Al-Lataminah, the FFM changed its original plans to investigate an alleged chlorine attack on the town of Harasta. This decision, the FFM reported, "was welcomed by the opposition." When the FFM attempted to inspect Kafr Zeyta, however, it was attacked by opposition forces, with one of its vehicles destroyed by a roadside bomb, one inspector wounded, and several inspectors detained by opposition fighters.

The inability to go to Kafr Zeyta precluded the group from "presenting definitive conclusions," according to the report. But that did not stop the FFM from saying that the information given to them from these opposition sources, "including treating physicians with whom the FFM was able to establish contact," and public domain material, "lends credence to the view that toxic chemicals, most likely pulmonary irritating agents such as chlorine, have been used in a systematic manner in a number of attacks" against Kafr Zeyta.

So the conclusion/non-conclusion was based not on any onsite investigation, but rather videos produced by the opposition and subsequently released via social media and interviews also likely set up by opposition groups (White Helmets, SAMS, etc.), which we know, according to their own documents, served as the key liaisons for the FFM on the ground.

All of this is worrisome. It is unclear at this point how many Syrian chemical attacks have been truly confirmed since the start of the war. In February of this year, the Global Policy Institute released a report saying there were 336 such reports, but they were broken down into "confirmed," "credibly substantiated," and "comprehensively confirmed." Out of the total, 111 were given the rigorous "comprehensively confirmed" tag, which, according to the group, meant the incidents were "were investigated and confirmed by competent international bodies or backed up by at least three highly reliable independent sources of evidence."

They do not go into further detail about those bodies and sources, but are sure to thank the White Helmets and their "implementing partner" Mayday Rescue and Violations Documentation Center, among other groups, as "friends and partners" in the study. So it becomes clear, looking at the Kafr Zeytan inspection and beyond, that the same opposition sources that are informing the now-dubious OPCW reports are also delivering data and "assistance" to outside groups reaching international audiences, too.

The role of the OPCW in sustaining the claims made by the obviously biased Syrian opposition sources cannot be understated -- by confirming the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma, the OPCW lent credibility to claims that otherwise should not -- and indeed would not -- have been granted, and in doing so violated the very operating procedures that had been put in place by the OPCW to protect the credibility of the organization and its findings.

There is an old prosecutorial rule -- one lie, all lies -- that comes into play in this case. With the leaked internal report out there, suggesting that the sources in the Douma investigation were agenda-driven and dishonest, all information ever provided to the OPCW by the White Helmets, SAMS, and other Syrian opposition groups must now, in my mind, be viewed as tainted and therefore unusable.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.

JPH 8 hours ago

The OPCW reaction clearly considering the investigation into the leak instead of apologizing for not publishing this report is revealing its bias.

There has been a push from 'the West' to have the OPCW also attributing responsibility. Given the bias already on display this will further politicize the OPCW.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk...

As soon as such organizations become propaganda tools their credibility goes into the wind.

Given what we know of the Skripal hoax and the Tories attitude to the truth with their government funded 'Integrity Initiative' through the Institute of Statecraft' that exactly what the British Intelligence intended.

https://medium.com/@tomseck...

One may note the specific personal links through Orbis/Steele/Miller between the 'Integrity Initiative' and the fake 'Trump Dossier' and one ought to be alarmed by 'services' of a British intelligence out of control, but given the FBI/CIA involvement and exploitation of that fake 'Trump Dossier' it looks that the US has a quite similar problem.

john 11 hours ago
Our government lied to start a war! When has that always happened.

[Jun 19, 2019] Trump MIGA bellicosity: the president said a fight would mean "the official end of Iran"

Neocon donors ask Trump for favors and he can't refuse... Trump foreign policy is a direct continuation of Bush II and Obama foreign policy and is dominated by neocons, who rule the State Department. Pomeo is a rabid neocon, to the right of Condoleezza Rice, Hillary and John Kerry. Actually anti-Iranian and pro-Israeli bias was clearly visible even during 2016 campaign, but few voters paid any attention. Now they should.
It is clear that Trump is the most pro-Israel President after Johnson.
Notable quotes:
"... In contrast, in the Middle East the president has been extraordinarily bellicose. In April, the Administration revoked waivers that allowed certain countries to buy oil from Iran without violating U.S. sanctions [ U.S. Won't Renew Sanction Exemptions For Countries Buying Iran's Oil , by Bill Chappell, NPR, April 22, 2019]. In early May, the president imposed new sanctions on Iranian metals, a direct threat to the regime's economic viability. ..."
"... The "maximum pressure campaign," as it has been called, puts Iran in the position of either accepting a humiliating surrender or striking out where it can [ Maximum pressure on Iran Means Maximum Risk of War , by Ilan Goldenberg, Foreign Policy, June 14, 2019]. ..."
"... Why Iran would do this is questionable, unless it's just a move of desperation. ..."
"... But did Iran actually do it? Washington has a credibility gap with the rest of the world and its own people thanks to the disaster of the Iraq War . There were, it turned out, no "Weapons of Mass Destruction." So now many Americans openly question whether Iran attacked these tankers. This includes some MSM reporters who trusted the "intelligence community" when it was attacking Trump but now want an "international investigation of the incident". [ Ben Rhodes, CNN, And Others Purposefully Fuel Pro-Iranian "False Flag Conspiracy Theories After Tanker Attacks , RedState, June 14, 2019] ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

The most optimistic explanation: Trump intends to use immigration as an election issue in 2020. Yet his fecklessness in office will be as unappealing to many voters as the Democrats' extremism. [ Trump Is Vulnerable to Biden on Immigration , by Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, June 11, 2019] After all, Trump began his campaign vowing to solve the immigration problem almost exactly four years ago -- but essentially nothing has been done.

Instead, the president has been reduced to asking Mexico to solve our problem for us. He supposedly cut a deal with the Mexican government after threatening tariffs , but even that is in dispute. [ Mexico denies Trump's claim of secret concessions in deal , by Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, and Maria Verza, Associated Press, June 10, 2019] The president left powerful negotiating tools on the side, including, most importantly, a remittance tax . As in his dealings with Congress, the president insists on negotiating from weakness in his dealings with Mexico.

In contrast, in the Middle East the president has been extraordinarily bellicose. In April, the Administration revoked waivers that allowed certain countries to buy oil from Iran without violating U.S. sanctions [ U.S. Won't Renew Sanction Exemptions For Countries Buying Iran's Oil , by Bill Chappell, NPR, April 22, 2019]. In early May, the president imposed new sanctions on Iranian metals, a direct threat to the regime's economic viability. [ Trump sanctions Iranian metals, Tehran's largest non-petroleum-related sources of export revenue , by Amanda Macias, CNBC, May 8, 2019]

Later that month, the president said a fight would mean "the official end of Iran" [ Trump threatens Iran With 'Official End' by Kenneth Walsh, US News and World Report, May 20, 2019].

The "maximum pressure campaign," as it has been called, puts Iran in the position of either accepting a humiliating surrender or striking out where it can [ Maximum pressure on Iran Means Maximum Risk of War , by Ilan Goldenberg, Foreign Policy, June 14, 2019].

This has culminated in Iran's alleged attack on two tankers traveling in the Strait of Hormuz. [ Pompeo Says 'There's No Doubt' Iran Attacked 2 Tankers , by Daniella Cheslow, NPR, June 16, 2019] Congressman Adam Schiff, one of the president's most fervent opponents, agrees Iran is to blame [ Schiff agrees with Trump: 'No question' Iran attacked oil tankers , by Ronn Blitzer, Fox News, June 16, 2019], Senator Tom Cotton (who has a relatively strong immigration policy ) has gone so far as to call for direct military action. [ Senator Tom Cotton Calls For 'Retaliatory Military Strike,' Against Iran After Tanker Attacks, by Benjamin Fearnow, Newsweek, June 16, 2019]

Why Iran would do this is questionable, unless it's just a move of desperation.

But did Iran actually do it? Washington has a credibility gap with the rest of the world and its own people thanks to the disaster of the Iraq War . There were, it turned out, no "Weapons of Mass Destruction." So now many Americans openly question whether Iran attacked these tankers. This includes some MSM reporters who trusted the "intelligence community" when it was attacking Trump but now want an "international investigation of the incident". [ Ben Rhodes, CNN, And Others Purposefully Fuel Pro-Iranian "False Flag Conspiracy Theories After Tanker Attacks , RedState, June 14, 2019]

This is not the same country that re-elected George W. Bush in 2004. The trust in institutions is gone; America is war-weary.

And regardless of who did it, who cares? What American interest is at stake? The Iraq War made the region more unstable ; an Iran War would unleash sectarian warfare all over again. [ Attacking Iran Would Unleash Chaos on the Middle East , by Robert Gaines and Scott Horton, National Interest, June 15, 2019]

We can't even say it's "about the oil" -- the United States is now the world's biggest oil producer and may soon be the world's top exporter [ US will soon threaten to topple Saudi Arabia as the world's top oil exporter: IEA by Tom DiChristopher, CNBC, March 11, 2019]. Who cares about Iran's oil?

There is also a deeper fundamental question. Our country is crumbling. The border is non-existent; entire communities are being overrun. There's something perverse about even entertaining a dangerous and costly military intervention halfway around the world. It's akin to a Roman emperor declaring he will conquer India while barbarians are crossing the Rhine.

President Trump ran on a policy of non-intervention and promised it even after being elected. [ Trump lays out non-interventionist U.S. military policy , by Steve Holland, Reuters, December 6, 2016] He repeatedly pushed back against efforts to get more deeply involved in Syria. He must now resist efforts to get involved in Iran, especially from those who may hint it will win him re-election.

[Jun 18, 2019] Can the US launch a war without a Secratary of Defence in place? W>ell, they are not exactly planning to defend themselves.

Jun 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Norwegian , Jun 18, 2019 3:52:24 PM | 14

Purely euphemistic of course, though it actually did used to be called the Department of War.

Norwegian , Jun 18, 2019 3:52:24 PM | 15

It is unlikely that the U.S. would launch a war without a Secretary of Defense in place.

Well, they are not exactly planning to defend themselves.

[Jun 18, 2019] Washington s Dark Secret The Real Truth about Terrorism and Islamic Extremism by John Maszka

Notable quotes:
"... "A century after World War I, the great war for oil is still raging, with many of the same fronts as before and also a few new ones. Throughout it all -- whether waged by realists, neoliberals, or neocons -- war has been extremely good for business" (225). ..."
Jun 08, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Anna Faktorovich , December 17, 2018

The War for Oil and the New Holocaust

The premise of this book is to say what most of the world's public has probably been thinking since the War on Terror began, or that it is a "war for natural resources -- and that terrorism has little to do with it. Once the military became mechanized, oil quickly became the most sought-after commodity on the planet, and the race for energy was eventually framed as a matter of national security."

John Maszka argues that the "oil conglomerates" are the real "threats to national security". Demonizing "an entire religion" is a repercussion of this policy. My own research in Rebellion as Genre a few years ago also attempted to point out the misuse of the term terrorism in its current application, or as a weapon against one's enemies rather than as a reference to a type of attacks intended to terrorize. Governments that accuse others of terrorism while legitimizing their own "acts of violence" as "retributive" are clearly breaking human rights agreements and their stated commitments to freedom.

Maszka's perspective is of particular interest because he teaches this subject at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi, and has published widely his criticisms of the War on Terror, including Terrorism and the Bush Doctrine.

Many of the books I have read on terrorism from American supporters of this pro-War on Terror doctrine are troubling in their references to spreading Christianity and other similarly questionable ideologies, so it is refreshing to hear from somebody with a fresh perspective that is more likely to bring about world peace. The preface acknowledges that this book contrasts with the bulk of other books in this field. It also explains that it focuses primarily on two "Islamic militant organizations -- al-Qaeda and the Islamic State".

He explains that perception has a lot to do with who a country is willing to commit violence against, giving the example of Nazis being able to commit violence on Jews in the Holocaust because of this blindness. Thus, violence against Muslims by the West in the past two decade is shown as possibly a new Holocaust where the militaries are carrying out orders because Muslims have been demonized.

Terrorism has historically been the work of a few extremists, or terms like "war" or "revolution" is employed to describe large groups of such fighters; so it is strange that the West has entered the War on Terror with entire Muslim-majority countries, killing so many civilians that it is not a stretch to call these Holocaust-like.

The Islamic State targets Muslims as well, also showing dehumanized traits that are even harder to explain (x-xi). The preface also acknowledges that the author will be using "contractions and anecdotal digressions" as "intentional literary devices", shooing the standard scholarly style (this is troubling for me personally, as I'm allergic to digressions, but at least he tells readers what to expect).

As promised, Chapter One begins with a poet's story about the Tree of Life, then discusses the Boston Marathon bombings from the perspective of the author as he worked in Kyrgyzstan, and goes off on other tangents before reaching this conclusion -- the marathon's bombers were not terrorists: "They had no political aspirations. They weren't attempting to obtain concessions from the government or provoke a reaction. They simply believed that they were 'wave sheaves' -- first fruits of God -- and that they would be instrumental in ushering in the apocalypse" (5).

This conclusion explains the relationship between all of the digressions across this section, so these digressions were necessary to prove this point, and thus are suitable for a scholarly book. And this is exactly the type of logical reasoning that is missing in most of the oratory on terrorism. The entire book similarly uses specific acts of supposed terrorism to explain what really happened and working to understand th motivations of the actors.

Since the author's digressions into his own life are typically very relevant to the subject, they are definitely helpful: "I was stationed in Riyadh at an American military base that was attacked by an al-Qaeda suicide bomber" (135).

It would actually be unethical if Maszka did not explain that he has been personally affected by al-Qaeda in this context; and since he has seen this War as a civilian living in the affected countries and as a member of the military that is attaching these "terrorists", his opinions should be trustworthy for both sides. Given how emotional writing this book with detachment and carefully crafted research must have been for somebody who has been bombed, it is only fitting that the final chapter is called, "The Definition of Insanity."

And here is the final chapter:

"A century after World War I, the great war for oil is still raging, with many of the same fronts as before and also a few new ones. Throughout it all -- whether waged by realists, neoliberals, or neocons -- war has been extremely good for business" (225).

Very powerful words that are justly supported. I would strongly recommend that everybody in the West's militaries who is responsible for making decisions in the War on Terror read this book before they make their next decision. Who are they shooting at? Why? Who is benefiting? Who is dying? Are they committing war crimes as serious as the Nazis? If there is any chance these allegations are true what kind of a military leader can proceed without understanding the explanations that Maszka offers here? This would probably also work well in an advanced graduate class, despite its digressions, it will probably help students write better dissertations on related topics.

Pennsylvania Literary Journal: Fall 2018

[Jun 18, 2019] MIC vs FIRE sector

They are actually a single sector
Jun 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Lochearn , Jun 18, 2019 8:29:55 AM | 98
@ 71 b4real
"Do you really believe those bankers with their terminals and wingtip shoes are telling the boys with the billion dollars of weaponry what to do?"

Simple answer: Yes. US weapons sales in 2018 were worth $192 billion. Total miltary budget in 2018 was $650 billion. That does not add up to even a trillion which is a paltry sum when compared to about $30 trillion sloshing around US banks and fund management companies.

Let's take the example of the world's biggest arms producer – Lockhead Martin. The State Street Corporation (fund management) holds 16.6% of the shares of Lockhead Martin, Capital World Investors (California) hold 7.7%, Vanguard Group 7% and BlackRock Inc. 6.7%. That means 4 fund management companies own 38% of the stock of Lockead Martin. These guys with the wingtip shoes can fire the entire management team of Lockhead Martin at the drop of a hat.

The finance, insurance and real estate sector accounted for 20% of US GDP in 2016 (Forbes), which means approximately $18 trillion. You may argue that real estate has little to do with bankers but every sale needs a mortgage and private equity has moved into real estate in a big way over the last decade.

It should also be recalled that the man who created the CIA and ran it for over a decade - Allen Dulles - was a Wall Street lawyer.


[Jun 18, 2019] The American Cult of Bombing and Endless War

Notable quotes:
"... Its political benefit: minimizing the number of U.S. "boots on the ground" and so American casualties in the never-ending war on terror, as well as any public outcry about Washington's many conflicts. ..."
"... Its economic benefit: plenty of high-profit business for weapons makers for whom the president can now declare a national security emergency whenever he likes and so sell their warplanes and munitions to preferred dictatorships in the Middle East (no congressional approval required). ..."
"... Think of all this as a cult of bombing on a global scale. America's wars are increasingly waged from the air, not on the ground, a reality that makes the prospect of ending them ever more daunting. The question is: What's driving this process? ..."
"... In a bizarre fashion, you might even say that, in the twenty-first century, the bomb and missile count replaced the Vietnam-era body count as a metric of (false) progress . Using data supplied by the U.S. military, the Council on Foreign Relations estimated that the U.S. dropped at least 26,172 bombs in seven countries in 2016, the bulk of them in Iraq and Syria. Against Raqqa alone, ISIS's "capital," the U.S. and its allies dropped more than 20,000 bombs in 2017, reducing that provincial Syrian city to literal rubble . Combined with artillery fire, the bombing of Raqqa killed more than 1,600 civilians, according to Amnesty International . ..."
"... U.S. air campaigns today, deadly as they are, pale in comparison to past ones like the Tokyo firebombing of 1945, which killed more than 100,000 civilians; the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki later that year (roughly 250,000); the death toll against German civilians in World War II (at least 600,000); or civilians in the Vietnam War. (Estimates vary, but when napalm and the long-term effects of cluster munitions and defoliants like Agent Orange are added to conventional high-explosive bombs, the death toll in Southeast Asia may well have exceeded one million.) ..."
"... the U.S. may control the air, but that dominance simply hasn't led to ultimate success. In the case of Afghanistan, weapons like the Mother of All Bombs, or MOAB (the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military's arsenal), have been celebrated as game changers even when they change nothing. (Indeed, the Taliban only continues to grow stronger , as does the branch of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.) As is often the case when it comes to U.S. air power, such destruction leads neither to victory, nor closure of any sort; only to yet more destruction. ..."
"... Just because U.S. warplanes and drones can strike almost anywhere on the globe with relative impunity doesn't mean that they should. Given the history of air power since World War II, ease of access should never be mistaken for efficacious results. ..."
"... Bombing alone will never be the key to victory. If that were true, the U.S. would have easily won in Korea and Vietnam, as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq. ..."
"... Despite total air supremacy, the recent Iraq War was a disaster even as the Afghan War staggers on into its 18th catastrophic year. ..."
"... No matter how much it's advertised as "precise," "discriminate," and "measured," bombing (or using missiles like the Tomahawk ) rarely is. The deaths of innocents are guaranteed. Air power and those deaths are joined at the hip, while such killings only generate anger and blowback, thereby prolonging the wars they are meant to end. ..."
"... A paradox emerges from almost 18 years of the war on terror: the imprecision of air power only leads to repetitious cycles of violence and, even when air strikes prove precise, there always turn out to be fresh targets, fresh terrorists, fresh insurgents to strike. ..."
"... Using air power to send political messages about resolve or seriousness rarely works. If it did, the U.S. would have swept to victory in Vietnam. In Lyndon Johnson's presidency, for instance, Operation Rolling Thunder (1965-1968), a graduated campaign of bombing, was meant to, but didn't, convince the North Vietnamese to give up their goal of expelling the foreign invaders -- us -- from South Vietnam. ..."
"... Air power is enormously expensive. Spending on aircraft, helicopters, and their munitions accounted for roughly half the cost of the Vietnam War. ..."
"... Aerial surveillance (as with drones), while useful, can also be misleading. Command of the high ground is not synonymous with god-like "total situational awareness ." ..."
"... Air power is inherently offensive. That means it's more consistent with imperial power projection than with national defense ..."
"... Despite the fantasies of those sending out the planes, air power often lengthens wars rather than shortening them. ..."
"... Air power, even of the shock-and-awe variety, loses its impact over time. The enemy, lacking it, nonetheless learns to adapt by developing countermeasures -- both active (like missiles) and passive (like camouflage and dispersion), even as those being bombed become more resilient and resolute. ..."
"... Pounding peasants from two miles up is not exactly an ideal way to occupy the moral high ground in war. ..."
"... all the happy talk about the techno-wonders of modern air power obscures its darker facets, especially its ability to lock America into what are effectively one-way wars with dead-end results. ..."
"... War's inherent nature -- its unpredictability, horrors, and tendency to outlast its original causes and goals -- isn't changed when the bombs and missiles are guided by GPS. Washington's enemies in its war on terror, moreover, have learned to adapt to air power in a grimly Darwinian fashion and have the advantage of fighting on their own turf. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by William Astore via TomDispatch.com,

The American Cult of Bombing and Endless War

From Syria to Yemen in the Middle East, Libya to Somalia in Africa, Afghanistan to Pakistan in South Asia, an American aerial curtain has descended across a huge swath of the planet. Its stated purpose: combatting terrorism. Its primary method: constant surveillance and bombing -- and yet more bombing.

Its political benefit: minimizing the number of U.S. "boots on the ground" and so American casualties in the never-ending war on terror, as well as any public outcry about Washington's many conflicts.

Its economic benefit: plenty of high-profit business for weapons makers for whom the president can now declare a national security emergency whenever he likes and so sell their warplanes and munitions to preferred dictatorships in the Middle East (no congressional approval required).

Its reality for various foreign peoples: a steady diet of " Made in USA " bombs and missiles bursting here, there, and everywhere.

Think of all this as a cult of bombing on a global scale. America's wars are increasingly waged from the air, not on the ground, a reality that makes the prospect of ending them ever more daunting. The question is: What's driving this process?

For many of America's decision-makers, air power has clearly become something of an abstraction. After all, except for the 9/11 attacks by those four hijacked commercial airliners, Americans haven't been the target of such strikes since World War II. On Washington's battlefields across the Greater Middle East and northern Africa, air power is always almost literally a one-way affair. There are no enemy air forces or significant air defenses. The skies are the exclusive property of the U.S. Air Force (and allied air forces), which means that we're no longer talking about "war" in the normal sense. No wonder Washington policymakers and military officials see it as our strong suit, our asymmetrical advantage , our way of settling scores with evildoers, real and imagined.

Bombs away!

In a bizarre fashion, you might even say that, in the twenty-first century, the bomb and missile count replaced the Vietnam-era body count as a metric of (false) progress . Using data supplied by the U.S. military, the Council on Foreign Relations estimated that the U.S. dropped at least 26,172 bombs in seven countries in 2016, the bulk of them in Iraq and Syria. Against Raqqa alone, ISIS's "capital," the U.S. and its allies dropped more than 20,000 bombs in 2017, reducing that provincial Syrian city to literal rubble . Combined with artillery fire, the bombing of Raqqa killed more than 1,600 civilians, according to Amnesty International .

Meanwhile, since Donald Trump has become president, after claiming that he would get us out of our various never-ending wars, U.S. bombing has surged, not only against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq but in Afghanistan as well. It has driven up the civilian death toll there even as "friendly" Afghan forces are sometimes mistaken for the enemy and killed , too. Air strikes from Somalia to Yemen have also been on the rise under Trump, while civilian casualties due to U.S. bombing continue to be underreported in the American media and downplayed by the Trump administration.

U.S. air campaigns today, deadly as they are, pale in comparison to past ones like the Tokyo firebombing of 1945, which killed more than 100,000 civilians; the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki later that year (roughly 250,000); the death toll against German civilians in World War II (at least 600,000); or civilians in the Vietnam War. (Estimates vary, but when napalm and the long-term effects of cluster munitions and defoliants like Agent Orange are added to conventional high-explosive bombs, the death toll in Southeast Asia may well have exceeded one million.) Today's air strikes are more limited than in those past campaigns and may be more accurate, but never confuse a 500-pound bomb with a surgeon's scalpel, even rhetorically. When " surgical " is applied to bombing in today's age of lasers, GPS, and other precision-guidance technologies, it only obscures the very real human carnage being produced by all these American-made bombs and missiles.

This country's propensity for believing that its ability to rain hellfire from the sky provides a winning methodology for its wars has proven to be a fantasy of our age. Whether in Korea in the early 1950s, Vietnam in the 1960s, or more recently in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, the U.S. may control the air, but that dominance simply hasn't led to ultimate success. In the case of Afghanistan, weapons like the Mother of All Bombs, or MOAB (the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military's arsenal), have been celebrated as game changers even when they change nothing. (Indeed, the Taliban only continues to grow stronger , as does the branch of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.) As is often the case when it comes to U.S. air power, such destruction leads neither to victory, nor closure of any sort; only to yet more destruction.

Such results are contrary to the rationale for air power that I absorbed in a career spent in the U.S. Air Force. (I retired in 2005.) The fundamental tenets of air power that I learned, which are still taught today, speak of decisiveness. They promise that air power, defined as "flexible and versatile," will have "synergistic effects" with other military operations. When bombing is "concentrated," "persistent," and "executed" properly (meaning not micro-managed by know-nothing politicians), air power should be fundamental to ultimate victory. As we used to insist, putting bombs on target is really what it's all about. End of story -- and of thought.

Given the banality and vacuity of those official Air Force tenets, given the twenty-first-century history of air power gone to hell and back, and based on my own experience teaching such history and strategy in and outside the military, I'd like to offer some air power tenets of my own. These are the ones the Air Force didn't teach me, but that our leaders might consider before launching their next "decisive" air campaign.

Ten Cautionary Tenets About Air Power

1. Just because U.S. warplanes and drones can strike almost anywhere on the globe with relative impunity doesn't mean that they should. Given the history of air power since World War II, ease of access should never be mistaken for efficacious results.

2. Bombing alone will never be the key to victory. If that were true, the U.S. would have easily won in Korea and Vietnam, as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq. American air power pulverized both North Korea and Vietnam (not to speak of neighboring Laos and Cambodia ), yet the Korean War ended in a stalemate and the Vietnam War in defeat. (It tells you the world about such thinking that air power enthusiasts, reconsidering the Vietnam debacle, tend to argue the U.S. should have bombed even more -- lots more .) Despite total air supremacy, the recent Iraq War was a disaster even as the Afghan War staggers on into its 18th catastrophic year.

3. No matter how much it's advertised as "precise," "discriminate," and "measured," bombing (or using missiles like the Tomahawk ) rarely is. The deaths of innocents are guaranteed. Air power and those deaths are joined at the hip, while such killings only generate anger and blowback, thereby prolonging the wars they are meant to end.

Consider, for instance, the "decapitation" strikes launched against Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein and his top officials in the opening moments of the Bush administration's invasion of 2003. Despite the hype about that being the beginning of the most precise air campaign in all of history, 50 of those attacks, supposedly based on the best intelligence around, failed to take out Saddam or a single one of his targeted officials. They did, however, cause "dozens" of civilian deaths. Think of it as a monstrous repeat of the precision air attacks launched on Belgrade in 1999 against Slobodan Milosevic and his regime that hit the Chinese embassy instead, killing three journalists.

Here, then, is the question of the day: Why is it that, despite all the "precision" talk about it, air power so regularly proves at best a blunt instrument of destruction? As a start, intelligence is often faulty. Then bombs and missiles, even "smart" ones, do go astray. And even when U.S. forces actually kill high-value targets (HVTs), there are always more HVTs out there. A paradox emerges from almost 18 years of the war on terror: the imprecision of air power only leads to repetitious cycles of violence and, even when air strikes prove precise, there always turn out to be fresh targets, fresh terrorists, fresh insurgents to strike.

4. Using air power to send political messages about resolve or seriousness rarely works. If it did, the U.S. would have swept to victory in Vietnam. In Lyndon Johnson's presidency, for instance, Operation Rolling Thunder (1965-1968), a graduated campaign of bombing, was meant to, but didn't, convince the North Vietnamese to give up their goal of expelling the foreign invaders -- us -- from South Vietnam. Fast-forward to our era and consider recent signals sent to North Korea and Iran by the Trump administration via B-52 bomber deployments, among other military "messages." There's no evidence that either country modified its behavior significantly in the face of the menace of those baby-boomer-era airplanes.

5. Air power is enormously expensive. Spending on aircraft, helicopters, and their munitions accounted for roughly half the cost of the Vietnam War. Similarly, in the present moment, making operational and then maintaining Lockheed Martin's boondoggle of a jet fighter, the F-35, is expected to cost at least $1.45 trillion over its lifetime. The new B-21 stealth bomber will cost more than $100 billion simply to buy. Naval air wings on aircraft carriers cost billions each year to maintain and operate. These days, when the sky's the limit for the Pentagon budget, such costs may be (barely) tolerable. When the money finally begins to run out, however, the military will likely suffer a serious hangover from its wildly extravagant spending on air power.

6. Aerial surveillance (as with drones), while useful, can also be misleading. Command of the high ground is not synonymous with god-like "total situational awareness ." It can instead prove to be a kind of delusion, while war practiced in its spirit often becomes little more than an exercise in destruction. You simply can't negotiate a truce or take prisoners or foster other options when you're high above a potential battlefield and your main recourse is blowing up people and things.

7. Air power is inherently offensive. That means it's more consistent with imperial power projection than with national defense . As such, it fuels imperial ventures, while fostering the kind of " global reach, global power " thinking that has in these years had Air Force generals in its grip.

8. Despite the fantasies of those sending out the planes, air power often lengthens wars rather than shortening them. Consider Vietnam again. In the early 1960s, the Air Force argued that it alone could resolve that conflict at the lowest cost (mainly in American bodies). With enough bombs, napalm, and defoliants, victory was a sure thing and U.S. ground troops a kind of afterthought. (Initially, they were sent in mainly to protect the airfields from which those planes took off.) But bombing solved nothing and then the Army and the Marines decided that, if the Air Force couldn't win, they sure as hell could. The result was escalation and disaster that left in the dust the original vision of a war won quickly and on the cheap due to American air supremacy.

9. Air power, even of the shock-and-awe variety, loses its impact over time. The enemy, lacking it, nonetheless learns to adapt by developing countermeasures -- both active (like missiles) and passive (like camouflage and dispersion), even as those being bombed become more resilient and resolute.

10. Pounding peasants from two miles up is not exactly an ideal way to occupy the moral high ground in war.

The Road to Perdition

If I had to reduce these tenets to a single maxim, it would be this: all the happy talk about the techno-wonders of modern air power obscures its darker facets, especially its ability to lock America into what are effectively one-way wars with dead-end results.

For this reason, precision warfare is truly an oxymoron. War isn't precise. It's nasty, bloody, and murderous. War's inherent nature -- its unpredictability, horrors, and tendency to outlast its original causes and goals -- isn't changed when the bombs and missiles are guided by GPS. Washington's enemies in its war on terror, moreover, have learned to adapt to air power in a grimly Darwinian fashion and have the advantage of fighting on their own turf.

Who doesn't know the old riddle: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Here's a twenty-first-century air power variant on it: If foreign children die from American bombs but no U.S. media outlets report their deaths, will anyone grieve? Far too often, the answer here in the U.S. is no and so our wars go on into an endless future of global destruction.

In reality, this country might do better to simply ground its many fighter planes, bombers, and drones. Paradoxically, instead of gaining the high ground, they are keeping us on a low road to perdition.


Joiningupthedots , 11 minutes ago link

All off that may be true BUT.......

The myth of Tomahawk has already been dispelled

Countries with reasonable to excellent A2D2 are seriously avoided.

The solution is for Russia to sell equipment and training packages of A2D2 to any country that wants then at BE prices.

Thousands of decoys with spoof emitters and......

Planes take like 3 years to build and pilots take at least 5-6 years to train.

Do the math!

107cicero , 17 minutes ago link

From a marketing/profit perspective , BOMBS are the perfect product.

Insanely expensive, used once.

Rinse and repeat.

Theedrich , 1 hour ago link

In December of 2017, Daniel Ellsberg published a book, "The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner" . Among many other things, he revealed the actual Strangelovian nature of our military establishment. Most enlightening is his revelation that many in the high command of our nuclear triggers do not trust, or even have contempt for, civilian oversight and control of the military. They covertly regard the presidential leadership as naïve and inept, though it would be professional suicide to admit such an attitude openly.

Comes now 𝕿𝖍𝖊 𝕹𝖊𝖜 𝖄𝖔𝖗𝖐 𝕿𝖎𝖒𝖊𝖘 with the revelation that the Pentagon's Cyber Command has attacked Russia's power grid with software "implants" designed to destroy that grid the instant a mouse click is given, thereby possibly initiating global war. Most alarmingly, the details of this secret action were kept from the President, lest he countermand the operation or leak it to the Russians.

So now we have a general staff that is conducting critical international military operations on its own, with no civilian input, permission or hindrances of any kind. A formula for national suicide, executed by a tiny junta of unelected officers who decide to play nuclear Russian roulette.

We seem to be ineluctably and irreversibly trapped in a state of national dementia.

He–Mene Mox Mox , 2 hours ago link

Just remember this: The U.S. had the technological advantage in Viet Nam, and blasted that country, along with Cambodia, and Laos, with 7.5 million tons of bombs, (more than the entire WWII campaign of 2.25 million tons), and the Vietnamese were still able to kick our *** out of the country by 1975.

Uskatex , 2 hours ago link

There is a 11th tenet: air force operations need airports or aircraft carriers, and these are very vulnerable to modern, high precision missiles. If the enemy has plenty of missiles, your fighters and bombers can be impeded to take off and land, or even be destroyed. Modern aircrafts need very sophisticated and working infrastructures to be operational.

In the case of a full war with Iran, I see all hostile bases and airports destroyed or damaged by Iranian, Hezbollah and Syrian missiles. They have tens of thousand of them - it is 30 years they have been accumulating missiles in prevision of a possible forthcoming war.

Groundround , 44 minutes ago link

You are right. Also, there are many nations with subs and probably more countries have acquired nukes than are willing to admit. I strongly suspect Iran already has nukes. If North Korea has them, I see no reason that Iran wouldn't be even further ahead. They have been under threat of US attacks for my entire lifetime. Anyway, I would not put it past some other countries to hit US coastal cities and then deny any knowledge about who did it. There are many capable and many people have been made enemies by our foreign policy. Surely these people have treaties to help each other should be attack. And why would they make these treaties public and antagonize the US military further. I'm sure there are many well kept secrets out there. We must evolve, or the US and Israel could find it is us against the world.

Wantoknow , 3 hours ago link

War is hell. It has always been so. The failure here is that since World War II all US wars have been fatuously political. Actions have not been taken to win but to posture about moral greatness and the ability to force the enemy to deal without destroying his capacity to resist.

How can you say the US lost in Vietnam when the entire country could have been removed from the face of the Earth? Yes the price of such removal would have been very high but it could have been done. Do such considerations mean that if one withdraws one has lost?

The US won the war in the Pacific but it is now considered an excessive use of force that the US used nuclear weapons to conclude the war. Perhaps the US did not use enough force then to successfully conclude the Vietnam war? Perhaps, it failed to field the right kind of force?

The definition of lost is an interesting one. The practical answer is that the US did lose in many places because it was unwilling to pay the price of victory as publicly expressed. Yet it could have won if it paid the price.

So an interesting question for military types is to ask how to lower the price. What kind of weapons would have been needed to quickly sweep the enemy into oblivion in Vietnam let us say, given the limits of the war? Could the war have been won without ground troops and choppers but with half a million computer controlled drones armed with machine guns and grenades flying in swarms close to the ground?

The factories to produce those weapons could have been located in Thailand or Taiwan or Japan and the product shipped to Vietnam. Since only machines would be destroyed and the drones are obviously meant to substitute for ground troops then how about a million or two million of the drones in place of the half a million ground troops? Could the US, with anachronistic technology to be sure, have won the war for a price that would have been acceptable to the US?

The idea here is that one constructs an army, robot or otherwise, than can destroy the enemy it is going to fight at a price which is acceptable. This is actually a form of asymmetric warfare which requires a thorough understanding of the enemy and his capabilities. The US did not enter Vietnam with such an army but with one not meant to serve in Vietnam and whose losses would be deeply resented at home. The price of victory was too high.

But this does not mean that the US cannot win. It only means that the commitment to win in a poorly thought out war must be great enough to pay the price of victory. This may be a stupid thing to do but it does not mean that it cannot be done. One cannot assume that the US will never again show sufficient commitment to win.

wildfry , 5 hours ago link

Victory means you get to write your own ******** version of history.The most devastating civilian bombing campaign in human history is not even mentioned in this article. The US fire bombing of 30 major cities in Korea with the death toll estimated at between 1.2 million and 1.6 million. I bet most US citizens aren't even aware of this atrocity or that the military requested Truman to authorize the use of nuclear warheads which he, thankfully, declined to do.

herbivore , 5 hours ago link

What does the word "victory" mean? It means whatever the rulers want it to mean. In this case, "victory" is synonymous with prolongation and expansion of warmaking around the world. Victory does not mean an end to combat. In fact, victory, in the classic sense, means defeat, at least from the standpoint of those who profit from war. If someone were to come up with a cure for cancer, it would mean a huge defeat for the cancer industry. Millions would lose their jobs. CEO's would lose their fat pay packages. Therefore, we need to be clearheaded about this, and recognize that victory is not what you think it is.

sonoftx , 5 hours ago link

Talked with a guy recently. He is a pilot. He flies planes over Afghanistan. He is a private contractor.

The program began under the Air Force. It then was taken over by the Army. It is now a private contractor.

There are approx 400 pilots in country at a time with 3 rotations. He told me what he gets paid. $200,000 and up.

They go up with a NSA agent running the equipment in back. He state that the dumbass really does not know what the plane is capable of. They collect all video, audio, infrared, and more? (You have to sense when to stop asking questions)

I just wanted to know the logistics of the info gathered.

So, the info is gathered. The NSA officer then gets with the CIA and the State Dept to see what they can release to the end user. The end user is the SOCOM. After it has been through review then the info is released to SOCOM.

So with all of this info on "goatherders" we still cannot pinpoint and defeat the "enemy"? No. Too many avenues of profit and deceit and infighting. It will always be. May justice here and abroad win in the end.

Concentrate on the true enemies. It is not your black, or Jewish, or brown, or Muslim neighbor. It is the owners of the Fed, Dow chemical, the Rockefellers, McDonnel Douglas and on and on and on and on and on and on..............

ardent , 6 hours ago link

The ROAD to perdition passes through APARTHEID Israhell.

"It does not take a genius to figure out that the United States... has no vital interests at stake in places like Syria, Libya, Iran and Iraq. Who is driving the process and benefiting? Israel is clearly the intended beneficiary... " – Philip Giraldi, Former CIA officer.

Boogity , 6 hours ago link

As Dubya famously said they hate us for our freedoms not because we've been dropping bombs on 'em for a couple of decades.

HideTheWeenie , 6 hours ago link

Bombing and war tech looks pretty cool in movies and controlled demonstrations. On reality, it doesn't get you too far. Never has.

Boots on the ground is what wins wars and all the generals know that. So do our enemy combatants.

On the ground, your chances of dying are 5-10% of your chances of getting maimed or permanently disabled, which are pretty high.

Maybe that's why we're letting in all the illegals, so they can fight our next war(s).

[Jun 17, 2019] Cotton warmongering on Iran is easily explainable by the fact that he is running low of AIPAC dollars again

Jun 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Notafanoyall a day ago

Mr. Cotton must be running low on those AIPAC dollars again. Nothing like some good ol' Iran-bashing to keep the coffers full.

[Jun 17, 2019] Averting a Disastrous War with Iran by Daniel Larison

Jun 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

There is a report that the Trump administration may be preparing an attack on Iran:

Diplomatic sources at the UN headquarters in New York revealed to Maariv that they are assessing the United States' plans to carry out a tactical assault on Iran in response to the tanker attack in the Persian Gulf on Thursday.

According to the officials, since Friday, the White House has been holding incessant discussions involving senior military commanders, Pentagon representatives and advisers to President Donald Trump.

The military action under consideration would be an aerial bombardment of an Iranian facility linked to its nuclear program, the officials further claimed.

If this report is true, that would mean that the worst of the Iran hawks in the administration are prevailing once again. The report goes on to say that "Trump himself was not enthusiastic about a military move against Iran, but lost his patience on the matter and would grant Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is pushing for action, what he wants." If that is true, that is an absurdly casual way to blunder into an unnecessary war. Trump should understand that if he takes the U.S. into a war against Iran, especially without Congressional authorization, it will consume the rest of his presidency and it should cost him his re-election. Starting an unnecessary war with Iran would go down as one of the dumbest, most reckless, illegal acts in the history of U.S. foreign policy.

Congress must make absolutely clear that the president does not have the authority to initiate hostilities against Iran. Both houses should pass a resolution this week saying as much, and they should block any funds that could be used to support such an action. There is no legal justification for attacking Iran, and if Trump approves an attack he would be violating the Constitution and should be impeached for it.

The risk of war with Iran is greater than it was six months ago, and it is much greater than it was two and a half years ago when Trump took office. The U.S. and Iran are in this dangerous position solely because of the determined efforts of Iran hawks in and around this administration to drive our country on a collision course with theirs. Those efforts accelerated significantly thirteen months ago with the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and the reimposition of sanctions, and things have been getting steadily worse with each passing month. It is not too late to avert the collision, but it requires the U.S. to make a dramatic change in policy very soon. Since we know we can't count on the president to make the right decision, Congress and the public need to make him understand what the political price will be if he makes the wrong one.

[Jun 17, 2019] America's Legacy of Regime Change by Stephen Kinzer

Notable quotes:
"... For the United States, as for all warlike nations, military power has traditionally been the decisive factor determining whether it wins or loses its campaigns to capture or subdue other countries. World War II was the climax of that bloody history. ..."
"... It was not only the Dulles brothers, however, who brought the United States into the regime-change era in the early 1950s. Eisenhower himself was a fervent advocate of covert action. Officially his defense and security policy, which he called the "New Look," rested on two foundations, a smaller army and an increased nuclear arsenal. In reality, the "New Look" had a third foundation: covert action. Eisenhower may have been the last president to believe that no one would ever discover what he sent the CIA to do. With a soldier's commitment to keeping secrets, he never admitted that he had ordered covert regime-change operations, much less explained why he favored them. ..."
Jun 10, 2019 | www.fff.org

Covert Regime Change: America's Secret Cold War by Lindsey A. O'Rourke (Cornell University Press, 2018); 330 pages.

For most of history, seizing another country or territory was a straightforward proposition. You assembled an army and ordered it to invade. Combat determined the victor. The toll in death and suffering was usually horrific, but it was all done in the open. That is how Alexander overran Persia and how countless conquerors since have bent weaker nations to their will. Invasion is the old-fashioned way.

When the United States joined the race for empire at the end of the 19th century, that was the tactic it used. It sent a large expeditionary force to the Philippines to crush an independence movement, ultimately killing some 200,000 Filipinos. At the other end of the carnage spectrum, it seized Guam without the loss of a single life and Puerto Rico with few casualties. Every time, though, U.S. victory was the result of superior military power. In the few cases when the United States failed, as in its attempt to defend a client regime by suppressing Augusto Cesar Sandino's nationalist rebellion in Nicaragua during the 1920s and 30s, the failure was also the product of military confrontation. For the United States, as for all warlike nations, military power has traditionally been the decisive factor determining whether it wins or loses its campaigns to capture or subdue other countries. World War II was the climax of that bloody history.

After that war, however, something important changed. The United States no longer felt free to land troops on every foreign shore that was ruled by a government it disliked or considered threatening. Suddenly there was a new constraint: the Red Army. If American troops invaded a country and overthrew its government, the Soviets might respond in kind. Combat between American and Soviet forces could easily escalate into nuclear holocaust, so it had to be avoided at all costs. Yet during the Cold War, the United States remained determined to shape the world according to its liking -- perhaps more determined than ever. The United States needed a new weapon. The search led to covert action.

A news agency

During World War II the United States used a covert agency, the Office of Strategic Services, to carry out clandestine actions across Europe and Asia. As soon as the war ended, to the shock of many OSS agents, Harry Truman abolished it. He believed there was no need for such an agency during peacetime. In 1947 he changed his mind and signed the National Security Act, under which the Central Intelligence Agency was established. That marked the beginning of a new era. Covert action replaced overt action as the principal means of projecting American power around the world.

Truman later insisted that he had intended the CIA to serve as a kind of private global news service. "It was not intended as a 'Cloak & Dagger Outfit!'" he wrote. "It was intended merely as a center for keeping the President informed on what was going on in the world [not] to act as a spy organization. That was never the intention when it was organized." Nonetheless he did not hesitate to use the new CIA for covert action. Its first major campaign, aimed at influencing the 1948 Italian election to ensure that pro-American Christian Democrats would defeat their Communist rivals, was vast in scale and ultimately successful -- setting the pattern for CIA intervention in every Italian election for the next two decades. Yet Truman drew the line at covert action to overthrow governments.

The CIA's covert-action chief, Allen Dulles, twice proposed such projects. In both cases, the target he chose was a government that had inflicted harm on corporations that he and his brother, John Foster Dulles, had represented during their years as partners at the globally powerful Wall Street law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell. In 1952 he proposed that the CIA overthrow President Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala, whose government was carrying out land reform that affected the interests of United Fruit. By one account, State Department officials "hit the roof" when they heard his proposal, and the diplomat David Bruce told him that the Department "disapproves of the entire deal." Then Dulles proposed an operation to overthrow Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh of Iran, who had nationalized his country's oil industry. Secretary of State Dean Acheson flatly rejected it.

White House resistance to covert regime-change operations dissolved when Dwight Eisenhower succeeded Truman at the beginning of 1953. Part of the new administration's enthusiasm came from Allen Dulles, Washington's most relentless advocate of such operations, whom Eisenhower named to head the CIA. The fact that he named Dulles's brother as secretary of State ensured that covert operations would have all the necessary diplomatic cover from the State Department. During the Dulles brothers' long careers at Sullivan & Cromwell, they had not only learned the techniques of covert regime change but practiced them. They were masters at marshaling hidden power in the service of their corporate clients overseas. Now they could do the same with all the worldwide resources of the CIA.

It was not only the Dulles brothers, however, who brought the United States into the regime-change era in the early 1950s. Eisenhower himself was a fervent advocate of covert action. Officially his defense and security policy, which he called the "New Look," rested on two foundations, a smaller army and an increased nuclear arsenal. In reality, the "New Look" had a third foundation: covert action. Eisenhower may have been the last president to believe that no one would ever discover what he sent the CIA to do. With a soldier's commitment to keeping secrets, he never admitted that he had ordered covert regime-change operations, much less explained why he favored them. He would, however, have had at least two reasons.

Since Eisenhower had commanded Allied forces in Europe during World War II, he was aware of the role that covert operations such as breaking Nazi codes had played in the war victory -- something few other people knew at the time. That would have given him an appreciation for how important and effective such operations could be. His second reason was even more powerful. In Europe he had had the grim responsibility of sending thousands of young men out to die. That must have weighed on him. He saw covert action as a kind of peace project. After all, if the CIA could overthrow a government with the loss of just a few lives, wasn't that preferable to war? Like most Americans, Eisenhower saw a world of threats. He also understood that the threat of nuclear war made overt invasions all but unthinkable. Covert action was his answer. Within a year and a half of his inauguration, the CIA had deposed the governments of both Guatemala and Iran. It went on to other regime-change operations from Albania to Cuba to Indonesia. Successive presidents followed his lead.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States was once again free to launch direct military invasions. When it found a leader it didn't like -- such as Saddam Hussein or Muammar Qaddafi -- it deposed him not through covert action, but by returning to the approach it had used before World War II: the force of arms. Covert efforts to overthrow governments have hardly ceased, as any Iranian or Venezuelan could attest. The era when covert action was America's principal weapon in world affairs, however, is over. That makes this a good time to look back.

Metrics for covert action

Books about the Cold War heyday of covert action era are a mini-genre. Lindsey A. O'Rourke's contribution is especially valuable. Unlike many other books built around accounts of CIA plots, Covert Regime Change takes a scholarly and quantitative approach. It provides charts, graphs, and data sets. Meticulous analysis makes this not the quickest read of any book on the subject, but certainly one of the best informed. Chapters on the disastrous effort to overthrow communist rule in Eastern Europe, which cost the lives of hundreds of deceived partisans, and on the covert-action aspects of America's doomed campaign in Vietnam are especially trenchant.

O'Rourke identifies three kinds of covert operations that are aimed at securing perceived friends in power and keeping perceived enemies out: offensive operations to overthrow governments, preventive operations aimed at preserving the status quo, and hegemonic operations aimed at keeping a foreign nation subservient. From 1947 to 1989, by her count, the United States launched 64 covert regime-change operations, while using the overt tool -- war -- just six times. She traces the motivations behind these operations, the means by which they were carried out, and their effects. Her text is based on meticulous analysis of individual operations. Some other books about covert action are rip-roaring yarns. This one injects a dose of
rigorous analysis into a debate that is often based on emotion. That rigor lends credence to her conclusions:

Although these conclusions are not new, they have rarely if ever been presented as the result of such persuasive statistical evidence. Yet even this evidence seems unlikely to force a reassessment of covert action as a way to influence or depose governments. It is an American "addiction." The reasons are many and varied, but one of the simplest is that covert action seems so easy. Changing an unfriendly country's behavior through diplomacy is a long, complex, multi-faceted project. It takes careful thought and planning. Often it requires compromise. Sending the CIA to overthrow a "bad guy" is far more tempting. It's the cheap and easy way out. History shows that it often produces terrible results for both the target country and the United States. To a military and security elite as contemptuous of history as America's, however, that is no obstacle.

Although covert regime-change operations remain a major part of American foreign policy, they are not as effective as they once were. The first victims of CIA overthrows, Prime Minister Mossadegh and President Arbenz, did not understand the tools the CIA had at its disposal and so were easy targets. They were also democratic, meaning that they allowed open societies in which the press, political parties, and civic groups functioned freely -- making them easy for the CIA to penetrate. Later generations of leaders learned from their ignorance. They paid closer attention to their own security, and imposed tightly controlled regimes in which there were few independent power centers that the CIA could manipulate.

If Eisenhower could come back to life, he would see the havoc that his regime-change operations wreaked. After his overthrow of Mossadegh, Iran fell under royal dictatorship that lasted a quarter-century and was followed by decades of rule by repressive mullahs who have worked relentlessly to undermine American interests around the world. The operation he ordered in Guatemala led to a civil war that killed 200,000 people, turning a promising young democracy into a charnel house and inflicting a blow on Central America from which it has never recovered. His campaign against Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, which included the fabrication of a poison kit in a CIA laboratory, helped turn that country into one of the most violent places on Earth.

How would Eisenhower respond to the long-term disasters that followed his covert action victories? He might well have come up with a highly convincing way to excuse himself. It's now clear, he could argue, that covert action to overthrow governments usually has terrible long-term results -- but that was not clear in the 1950s. Eisenhower had no way of knowing that even covert regime-change operations that seem successful at the time could have devastating results decades later.

We today, however, do know that. The careful analysis that is at the center of Covert Regime Change makes clearer than ever that when America sets out to change the world covertly, it usually does more harm than good -- to itself as well as others. O'Rourke contributes to the growing body of literature that clearly explains this sad fact of geopolitics. The intellectual leadership for a national movement against regime-change operations -- overt or covert -- is coalescing. The next step is to take this growing body of knowledge into the political arena. Washington remains the province of those who believe not only that the United States should try to reconfigure the world into an immense American sphere of influence, but that that is an achievable goal. In the Beltway morass of pro-intervention think tanks, members of Congress, and op-ed columnists, America's role in the world is usually not up for debate. Now, as a presidential campaign unfolds and intriguing new currents surge through the American body politic, is an ideal moment for that debate to re-emerge. If it does, we may be surprised to see how many voters are ready to abandon the dogma of regime change and wonder, with George Washington, "Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground?"

This article was originally published in the June 2019 edition of Future of Freedom .


This post was written by: Stephen Kinzer Stephen Kinzer is an author and newspaper reporter. He is a veteran New York Times correspondent who has reported from more than 50 countries on five continents. His books include "Overthrow" and "All the Shah's Men".

[Jun 15, 2019] WATCH US economist urges covert violence to provoke war with Iran

Notable quotes:
"... The appeasers would include the US who fully supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, who provided him with chemical weapons and logistical help in using those weapons, which killed around 50,000 Iranian troops and Kurdish civilians. The same appeasers armed and funded the Taliban (Mujahideen) against the Soviets. The US are the single largest force for terrorism the World has ever seen. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | off-guardian.org

WATCH: US economist urges covert violence to provoke war with Iran "I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down – someday one of them might not come up." Admin

https://www.youtube.com/embed/TzSjPDaSNMQ

Many believe war with the Islamic Republic of Iran has been the dream of some hardcore neocons in Washington since at least 2001. Back in 2012 former employee of the IMF and current economist for the World Bank, Patrick Clawson , provided fuel for this belief when he was videoed obliquely advocating using covert violence so that the US president "can get to war with Iran."

In a startlingly frank speech, Clawson makes it clear he believes (and apparently approves) that the US has a history of seeking war for profit, and of using provocations to goad its perceived enemies into starting such wars. Clawson highlights in particular the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in 1861 , which, he says, was deliberately engineered by president Lincoln in pursuit of an excuse to launch a war on the Southern secessionist states.

In light of the recent alleged attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, timed to coincide with the visit of the Japanese prime minister to Iran, and in light of Secretary of State Capone Pompeo's precipitate and predictable claim the attacks were likely perpetrated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, this is an apposite time to recall this telling little incident.

Below see the transcript of Mr Clawson's remarks

Transcript

"I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough and it's very hard for me to see how the United States president can get us to war with Iran which leads me to conclude that if in fact compromise is not coming that the traditional way of America gets to war is what would be best for US interests

Some people might think that mr. Roosevelt wanted to get us in to the World War two as David mentioned. You may recall we had to wait for Pearl Harbor.

Some people might think mr. Wilson wanted to get us into World War One. You may recall he had to wait for the Lusitania episode

Some people might think that mr. Johnson wanted to send troops to Vietnam. You may recall they had to wait for the Gulf of Tonkin episode.

We didn't go to war with Spain until the USS Maine exploded, and may I point out that mr. Lincoln did not feel he could call off the federal army until Fort Sumter was attacked which is why he ordered the commander at Fort Sumter to do exactly that thing which the South Carolinians had said would cause an attack.

So if in fact the Iranians aren't going to compromise it would be best if somebody else started the war

But I would just like to suggest that one can combine other means of pressure with sanctions. I mentioned that explosion on August 17th. We could step up the pressure. I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down – someday one of them
might not come up.

Who would know why?

We can do a variety of things if we wish to increase the pressure. I'm not advocating that but I'm just suggesting that a it's this is not a either-or proposition of, you know, it's just sanctions has to be has to succeed or other things.


DunGroanin

Always follow the money they made lots instantly from the firework display, it aint rocket science!

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-14/senators-switched-key-votes-bill-gulf-arms-ban-hours-after-tanker-attacks

mark
What do you expect from a Zionist Front like WINEP? They've been inciting wars for Israel for decades. "Getting the stupid goys to fight Israel's wars for decades."
Jen
If Patrick Clawson is typical of the kind of economist employed at the IMF and then promoted to a leading position at the World Bank, I dread to think of the calibre of people who also applied for his job in the past and were rejected. His speech is so garbled and full of unconscious slip-ups.
andyoldlabour
The US has convinced itself of its own so called "exceptionalism", where they can say anything out in the open, reveal their greatest desires, their unholy plans. There must be some "good" Americans who can stop this madness, or have they all become inflicted/infected with some hate virus?
Milton
Interesting that this Israeli-First traitor Clawson mentions Lincoln and Ft. Sumter. He finally admits what genuine historians of the Civil War long knew: Lincoln was a warmonger and tyrant, not an emancipator. The Civil war was fought to eliminate true freedom and equality in this country and it has been downhill ever since. The working class and soldier-class in America today are slaves in every sense of the word. Slaves to Zion. No wonder the certified warmonger and racist Lincoln is worshiped equally by Left and Right today, whilst genuine American patriots like Robert E. Lee have their legacy torn down. Lincoln was the proto-Neocon. Tom Dilorenzo summed up the real Lincoln when he wrote in Lincoln Unmasked:

"Imagine that California seceded from the union and an American president responded with the carpet bombing of Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco that destroyed 90 percent of those cities. Such was the case with General Sherman's bombardment of Atlanta; a naval blockade; a blocking off of virtually all trade; the eviction of thousands of residents from their homes (as occurred in Atlanta in 1864); the destruction of most industries and farms; massive looting of private property by a marauding army; and the killing of one out of four males of military age while maiming for life more than double that number. Would such an American president be considered a 'great statesman' or a war criminal? The answer is obvious.

A statesman would have recognized the state's right to secede, as enshrined in the Tenth Amendment, among other places, and then worked diligently to persuade the seceded state that a reunion was in its best interest. Agreat statesman, or even a modest one, would not have impulsively plunged the entire nation into a bloody war.

Lincoln's warmongering belligerence and his invasion of all the Southern states in response to Fort Sumter (where no one was harmed or killed) caused the upper South -- Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas -- to secede after originally voting to remain in the Union. He refused to meet with Confederate commissioners to discuss peace and even declined a meeting with Napoleon III of France, who offered to broker a peace agreement. No genuine statesman would have behaved in such a way.

After Fort Sumter, Lincoln thanked naval commander Gustavus Fox for assisting him in manipulating the South Carolinians into firing at Fort Sumter. A great statesman does not manipulate his own people into starting one of the bloodiest wars in human history."

mathias alexand
Here's a man who holds a press conference to announce a secret plan. Only in America.
Gezzah Potts
False flags here, false flags there, false flags everywhere. All too further the aims of the 'masters of the universe'. We know who was responsible for the tanker attacks. Who are the 3 countries absolutely desperate to take Iran down and install a completely pliant puppet regime answerable to Washington, Tel Aviv and to a lesser extent Riyadh. And creatures like Clawson, and all the other vermin can only see $$$$. Thats all they care about. Opening up more markets to further enrich themselves. I echo the other commenters also. The evil men stoop to for greed, power and control. Psychopaths.
harry law
The Foreign Office issued a statement saying: "It is almost certain that a branch of the Iranian military – the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – attacked the two tankers on 13 June. No other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible."
Unbelievable, The UK vassal will use this to as one more reason to evade their responsibilities in implementing the JCPOA.
William HBonney
A Riyadh/Tel Aviv conspiracy. Genius!
Gezzah Potts
Er . just a rough guess Bill going on the belligerent foaming at the mouth by people in those places along with the likes of Bolton and Pompeo. In fact, you can probably go all the way back to about 1980 or so.
mark
I think the real giveaway was when all three rogue states openly stated their intention of doing this 1,000 times over the past 10 years. That was the crucial clue Sherlock Holmes was looking for.
Wilmers31
And who funds the Washington Institute? Last time I looked the International Crisis Group existed thanks to Soros and is usually treated like a serious organisation.

Many Europeans are not in love with the idea of war with Iran, just to achieve obedience to the US. 90 million people is bigger than Germany.

wardropper
These are the shysters, the spivs and the con men of bygone times. They are the ones who lurked at street corners, waiting for someone to come along who was gullible enough to buy the Moon from them.
But, for some reason, they are all in politics today.
Now how could that be?

Only because there are people whom it currently suits to use shysters, spivs and con men in order to create enough chaos for us to want to give up and just let those people have their way.

I agree with Rhys below. There is no more disgusting example of sub-humanity to be found on earth than these warmongers.
To deal with them, however, we will have to realize that their "philosophy", if you can call it that, runs very deep. It didn't just enter their heads last week.
They are reared and trained in it.

It will be a tough battle.

wardropper
I should add that, in bygone times, the police and the law were usually able to deal with the shysters, spivs and con men, since their lack of conscience often gave them away.
The modern version, however, which has moved into politics, was shrewd enough to use a few decades of bribery and threats in order to build around itself a nice little shell, through which the law simply cannot penetrate, except on special occasions, mainly for show.
Rhys Jaggar
There is a big cabal of warmongers who stoke the fuel but never see action. I find those people more disgusting than anyone on earth.

Draft dodgers, academics, 'historians' etc etc.

Ball-less pricks is what I call them .

mark
All fully paid up members of the Bill Clinton Light Infantry.
andyoldlabour
The appeasers would include the US who fully supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, who provided him with chemical weapons and logistical help in using those weapons, which killed around 50,000 Iranian troops and Kurdish civilians.
The same appeasers armed and funded the Taliban (Mujahideen) against the Soviets.
The US are the single largest force for terrorism the World has ever seen.
William HBonney
The easiest, and perhaps best metric by which to judge a country, is 'do people aspire to live there? '.

I see you admire the Soviet Union, but at its dissolution, people were queuing to leave. And yet the US, and the UK, according to you, iniquitous places of tyranny, are oversubscribed. Could it be, that for all your implied erudition, you are merely a bellend?

BigB
Well, even as a pacifist: if that is his sentiment – I hope he has sons or daughters in the military stationed in CENTCOM in Qatar. I bet he hasn't, though.
Rhisiart Gwilym
He should be right there on the frontline himself. That would straighten the disgusting creep's ideas out about the 'usefulness' of deliberately provoking war

[Jun 14, 2019] Originally, creation of the Arc of Crisis was proposed by Bernard Lewis as a means to divide and rule, which has always been the British Empire s mody operandi , and Zbigniew Brzezinski wanted to create an Arc of Crisis all along the southern border of the USSR and later, Russia

Notable quotes:
"... Except for Afghanistan, the "Arc of Crisis" hasn't been all that successful as far as creating instability to Russia's south, and it hasn't been all that successful in promoting Anglo-American hegemony either. However, it has been wildly successful in perpetuating the "arc of instability" that justifies US military spending, so the MIC is quite well satisfied with the policies whether the broader interests and security of the British and American people are served well by the policy or not. ..."
"... Interesting to note that Daesh only ever appear to be attacking the traditional enemies of the Zionist. ..."
"... Daesh are like another Gladio, but on steroids. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | washingtonsblog.com
Southern 4 years ago • edited ,

Thanks for clarifying this - The roots of ISIS can be found in this article Creating an "Arc of Crisis": The Destabilization of the Middle East and Central Asia

Bill Rood Southern 4 years ago ,

Yes. Originally, creation of the "Arc of Crisis" was proposed by Bernard Lewis as a means to divide and rule, which has always been the British Empire's mody operandi , and Zbigniew Brzezinski wanted to create an "Arc of Crisis" all along the southern border of the USSR and later, Russia.

Except for Afghanistan, the "Arc of Crisis" hasn't been all that successful as far as creating instability to Russia's south, and it hasn't been all that successful in promoting Anglo-American hegemony either. However, it has been wildly successful in perpetuating the "arc of instability" that justifies US military spending, so the MIC is quite well satisfied with the policies whether the broader interests and security of the British and American people are served well by the policy or not.

Southern Bill Rood 4 years ago • edited ,

There are many different aspects to this, like from the moment that large numbers of prisoners on death row in S.A. were given the ultimatum for joining the FSA or decline and face certain execution.

Too often regions are deliberately being exploited by greedy individuals and mixed into politics.

Interesting to note that Daesh only ever appear to be attacking the traditional enemies of the Zionist.

Daesh are like another Gladio, but on steroids.

Check this out - letter from Raqqa

[Jun 13, 2019] Congress Investigates the Iran Hawks' Creepy Smear Campaign by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... The department should also review its relationship with the contractor responsible for the smear campaign, because paying someone to do little more than harass political opponents because they are insufficiently hard-line is a waste of the public's money and serves no legitimate public interest: ..."
"... could it be the smear campaign is a feature and not a bug? And if so could it be a reflection of Pompeo's character and disposition. ..."
"... Take a look at previous secretaries of state - leading American foreign policy - Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton where the U.S. was lead into awful, nation destroying policies and mass deaths. The only recent person at that post that sincerely tried to actually do something for the sake of peace and the actual use of diplomacy was John Kerry, with the deal among the European nations and America and Iran. ..."
"... Terrible human beings they are and foe them it was all fun and games. Obama was too much of a weakling to take firm stands, except of course with the work of Kerry on the Iran deal. Ask yourself: do any of the three, Rice, Hillary or Albright give a damn about human life, including American troops dying? Ah no ..."
"... "Pompeo's State Department used government money, taxpayer money, to disinform the American public and smear American citizens. " ..."
"... It's worse than that. Our "America First" president's State Department hired foreigners to do this, foreigners who belong to a "former" terror gang that used to kill Americans. Hiring foreigners to lie to and smear Americans? There must be laws against it. Laws with serious consequences. ..."
Jun 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Negar Mortazavi and Borzou Daragahi report on the response in Congress to the scandal over State Department funding for the so-called Iran Disinformation Project:

United States officials say they are outraged by a government-funded troll campaign that has targeted American citizens critical of the administration's hardline Iran policy and accused critics of being loyal to the Tehran regime.

State Department officials admitted to Congressional staff in a closed-door meeting on Monday that a project they had funded to counter Iranian propaganda had gone off the rails. Critics in Washington have gone further, saying that the programme resembled the type of troll farms used by autocratic regimes abroad.

"It's completely unacceptable that American taxpayer dollars supported a project that attacked Americans and others who are critical of the Trump administration's policy of escalation and conflict with Iran," a senior Congressional aide told The Independent, on condition of anonymity.

The State Department's Global Engagement Center erred from the beginning by entrusting the effort to counter Iranian regime propaganda to an outside contractor with such hard-line views. There was clearly a failure to supervise what the contractor was doing with the funding provided by the department, and the result was outsourcing the department's work to self-serving ideologues. Had it not been for the public outcry and investigations by several of the people being targeted by this department-funded operation, the department might not have realized what was being done with its own resources until much later and it might not have acknowledged the error at all.

The department should also review its relationship with the contractor responsible for the smear campaign, because paying someone to do little more than harass political opponents because they are insufficiently hard-line is a waste of the public's money and serves no legitimate public interest:

E-Collaborative for Civic Education, co-founded by Iranian American activist Mariam Memarsadeghi, is a long-time State Department contractor.

It purports to promote democratic political life and empower civil society inside Iran, but it appears to have no presence inside the country and instead confines itself to engaging with Iranians in the Diaspora.

In this case, the engagement with Iranians in the diaspora amounted to shouting abuse at many of them and harassing those that didn't toe a certain ideological line. As the scandal proves, hard-line regime changers have a very warped idea of what qualifies as pro-regime rhetoric and who can be considered a regime supporter, and so it should come as no surprise that this operation turned its ire on the many Iranian-American professionals that didn't get with the hawkish program. This calls into question whether the department is capable of countering disinformation from foreign governments without indulging the worst and most hawkish people that want to use such efforts to settle scores against their fellow Americans. It is good that Congress is looking into how this particular scandal happened, but there have to be changes made to how the department runs the Global Engagement Center so that something like this can't happen again.

One of the absurdities of this smear campaign is that it has targeted the very journalists and analysts that have been far more effective in countering the Iranian government's false claims through their reporting and analysis. The Iran Disinformation Project went after these journalists and analysts because they refused to recite arguments in favor of regime change and war. They were targeted because they were independent and credible observers and critics of Iran and U.S. Iran policy, and that meant that they used their expertise and understanding of the country to question the wisdom and efficacy of sanctions and spoke out against the folly of military intervention. Iran hawks desperately need to discredit and smear people like this because they pose a major threat to the promotion of the hawks' agenda. Fortunately, their smear tactics aren't working very well these days.


Christian J Chuba , says: June 11, 2019 at 6:00 pm

How long before these Congressman are denounced as traitors by the likes of Tom Cotton. 'No one can challenge me, I was in Iraq, how dare they shoot at me, it's my country not theirs.'
Oleg Gark , says: June 11, 2019 at 6:22 pm
I think American citizens should engage their own State Department with lawsuits and criminal indictments. The legal discovery process should air the place out quite nicely.
Tourmaloony , says: June 11, 2019 at 7:20 pm
It's kind of odd that this is something that's being highlighted and looked into, considering the total lack of interest in charging Bolton, Dean, Giuliani, Ridge, and others for their material support to terrorists when they were promoting MEK when it was still on the FTO list.

Sorry, that was a long sentence.

Thanks for your efforts, Larison.

WorkingClass , says: June 11, 2019 at 9:08 pm
" .the department might not have realized what was being done with its own resources until much later and it might not have acknowledged the error at all."

Oh well. We all make mistakes. Or could it be the smear campaign is a feature and not a bug? And if so could it be a reflection of Pompeo's character and disposition.

Fayez Abedaziz , says: June 12, 2019 at 2:06 am
Take a look at previous secretaries of state - leading American foreign policy - Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton where the U.S. was lead into awful, nation destroying policies and mass deaths. The only recent person at that post that sincerely tried to actually do something for the sake of peace and the actual use of diplomacy was John Kerry, with the deal among the European nations and America and Iran.

The above three were truly terrible people to have representing the U.S. They bullied and gloated about the deaths in other nations: see Albright defending the deaths of children in Iraq due to sanctions and Hillary laughing at the deaths and mayhem in Libya.

Terrible human beings they are and foe them it was all fun and games. Obama was too much of a weakling to take firm stands, except of course with the work of Kerry on the Iran deal. Ask yourself: do any of the three, Rice, Hillary or Albright give a damn about human life, including American troops dying? Ah no

rayray , says: June 12, 2019 at 2:19 pm
To your point, what I enjoyed about John Kerry was his full throated effort to bring back the ideal of what the State Department is supposed to be doing that is, using the mechanisms of diplomacy to make peace and increase communication.

All the other Sec States felt like they wished they were part of the military.

Burn Bag , says: June 12, 2019 at 4:47 pm
Don't give me this "Global Engagement Center" crap. Pompeo? "Global Engagement"?

It's simple. Pompeo's State Department used government money, taxpayer money, to disinform the American public and smear American citizens. The next step is obvious. Find who did it and throw them in prison.

Loadbearing , says: June 12, 2019 at 8:52 pm
@Burn Bag says

"Pompeo's State Department used government money, taxpayer money, to disinform the American public and smear American citizens. "

It's worse than that. Our "America First" president's State Department hired foreigners to do this, foreigners who belong to a "former" terror gang that used to kill Americans. Hiring foreigners to lie to and smear Americans? There must be laws against it. Laws with serious consequences.

[Jun 08, 2019] Judging by the comment thread, US Navy propaganda crew is hard at work

US navy plays dangerous games. Sooner or later Russia or China or Iran maybe, or any hot spot in the world - encounters the situation wherein the US both must and can be slapped.
Notable quotes:
"... Apparently the US had an ASW capable chopper in the air which was a treat to the UUV so the Russians gently reminded the US that they should back off. ..."
"... This happens with all sides regularly without too much of a fuss. The Russians have decades of history of warning off the US and UK in this way, and it never involves anyone getting hurt or even weapons getting pointed. It is just a firm but non-violent way of getting the other side to back off. ..."
"... Rarely is a fuss kicked up and the crews on both sides often use these encounters as a photo op, so why the Americans have decided to make an issue out this one is anyones guess. ..."
"... I call bullshit on the "recovering an helicopter" excuse. The vision shown is from a helicopter positioned well ahead of the intersection of the two tracks. Helicopters are recovered at the rear deck, not the front. Clearly the helo was not trying to land at the time of the incident ..."
"... If the yankees were on a recovery maneuver exercise they should have detected a hazard approaching and in range of being serious and simply deferred the exercise until it could be conducted free of distraction. They had ample time to display appropriate flags. The yankees have a serious blind spot as evidenced by two previous collisions referenced in posts above. ..."
"... "The ship should display the signals required by Rules 27(b)(i) and (ii) of the IMO International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS). Alternatively, International Code Flag 'D' may be flown." ..."
"... In my experience US Navy Public Affairs Officers are ignorant of what they are commenting on by design. They can't give up too much if they know nothing beyond the party line and enough jargon to dazzle the journalists. ..."
"... There's a checklist for going to flight ops. Part of the checklist is to tell the signalmen to fly the "H" flag and to raise the restricted in ability to maneuver day shapes (ball-diamond-ball). ..."
Jun 08, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Peter AU 1 , Jun 7, 2019 5:09:13 PM | 66
Judging by the comment thread, these boys are hard at work.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_communication_specialist
"Mass Communication Specialist (abbreviated as MC) is a United States Navy occupational rating. MCs practice human-centered design to develop creative communication solutions and align communication strategies and tactics to leadership's intent; conduct research and develop audience profiles; prepare, process, and print publications and media products; create sketches, storyboards, and graphics; design publications; produce still imagery, and written, audio, video, and multimedia information products; collect, analyze, and report media project and communication plan feedback and performance information; create media project plans; conduct community outreach, news media operations, leadership communication operations, and organizational communication operations; plan and direct communication campaigns and events and serve as communication advisors to commanders; and develop content strategies, create data stories, and ensure communication products and experiences are designed to enhance understanding and discoverability. MCs serve aboard ships, in expeditionary units and at shore commands in the United States and overseas.[1]"

Peter AU 1 , Jun 7, 2019 5:56:41 PM | 72
My guess is the Russian anti submarine ship was on a parallel course to keep track of the US attack submarines with the carrier group. US ship was sent out to push it away. As you say, the helicopter may have been sent out to capture some video or stills that could be used to back up the 'US is innocent' propaganda already planned.

One thought on this - If the Russian ship did not change course, with the US ship slowing under reverse thrust, the Russian ship most likely would have hit it somewhere near the center. A great video of a Russian ship aggressively ramming a 'peaceful and innocent' US ship.

Yonatan , Jun 7, 2019 6:03:30 PM | 74
A 1:49 video filmed from the US vessel. The cameraman was taking leisurely close in shots of the Russian vessel's comms systems. The two vessels were sailing close to parallel for all this time and there is a view of the infamous Russian sunbathers on the helicopter landing platform.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5SDldfZ3dE

Abe Jonson , Jun 7, 2019 6:24:16 PM | 76
There was something on Press TV about the US ship getting too close to a Russian UUV undergoing trials / on a covert op which caused the Russian escort ship to intercept the US ship.

Apparently the US had an ASW capable chopper in the air which was a treat to the UUV so the Russians gently reminded the US that they should back off.

This happens with all sides regularly without too much of a fuss. The Russians have decades of history of warning off the US and UK in this way, and it never involves anyone getting hurt or even weapons getting pointed. It is just a firm but non-violent way of getting the other side to back off.

Rarely is a fuss kicked up and the crews on both sides often use these encounters as a photo op, so why the Americans have decided to make an issue out this one is anyones guess.

Krollchem , Jun 7, 2019 8:31:15 PM | 86
Robert@78

Apparently you didn't read "b" post and know nothing about Russian vs US ship construction:

"The crew of the Chancellorsville should call itself lucky. Russian ships are build with a strong bow to travel in icy waters. Had the Admiral Vinogradov not made the emergency turn to its right, its bow would have cut their ship in half."

There are a lot of other idiotic comments at the US Navy site: https://twitter.com/USNavy/status/1136978500185919488

eagle eye , Jun 7, 2019 8:43:30 PM | 87
I call bullshit on the "recovering an helicopter" excuse. The vision shown is from a helicopter positioned well ahead of the intersection of the two tracks. Helicopters are recovered at the rear deck, not the front. Clearly the helo was not trying to land at the time of the incident

82 sums it up nicely. The Yanks f..ked up, yet again.

uncle tungsten , Jun 7, 2019 9:13:20 PM | 90
Posted by: Robert | Jun 7, 2019 5:41:03 PM | 70

My sympathies are with the crew too. The reckless heroics of the bridge gang are deplorable. These encounters do not happen at high speed. Minutes go by. Both vessels should have been aware of their potential for close encounter.

If the yankees were on a recovery maneuver exercise they should have detected a hazard approaching and in range of being serious and simply deferred the exercise until it could be conducted free of distraction. They had ample time to display appropriate flags. The yankees have a serious blind spot as evidenced by two previous collisions referenced in posts above.

The Russians could easily have adjusted course to pass behind the yankee vessel. All these ships have more than adequate electronics and personnel to calculate converging course and time of encounter. That they chose to come so close could indicate a FU attitude or perhaps they were on a 'collision stations' maneuver in real time. It is also probable they were monitoring US communications systems that are limited in range and only detected up close. Understanding those systems enables one to build a jamming device. The crew on that vessel would have been mighty anxious too.

Hyped egos, poor training and warships are a very stupid mix. See the Forrestal debacle where the ships fire crew were wiped out in the first response and untrained sailors sprayed the deck with water rather than foam thus washing fuel below decks and setting the stern ablaze.

karlof1 , Jun 7, 2019 9:42:39 PM | 92
Here we have manual : Helicopter-Ship-Operations . From page 37, Section 5.4.1:

"The ship should display the signals required by Rules 27(b)(i) and (ii) of the IMO International
Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS). Alternatively, International Code Flag 'D' may be flown."

"D" translates as "Keep clear of me." From COLREGS, "Day shapes" mentioned above would be "1 ball+1 diamond+1 ball" organized vertically, which translates as "Restricted in ability to maneuver" ( here ).

But none of what the Regs require is visible--none! Russia wins its case, and it was all too easy!

Carl Nyberg , Jun 7, 2019 10:14:19 PM | 94
In my experience US Navy Public Affairs Officers are ignorant of what they are commenting on by design. They can't give up too much if they know nothing beyond the party line and enough jargon to dazzle the journalists.

The failure to mention USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) had the appropriate day shapes flying is simply too in the weeds for the PAOs and admiral's staff who wrote the press release/story.

There's a checklist for going to flight ops. Part of the checklist is to tell the signalmen to fly the "H" flag and to raise the restricted in ability to maneuver day shapes (ball-diamond-ball).

Even if the officer of the deck & the helicopter control officer did fail to tell the signalman to do those things, the vast majority of signalmen would have reminded the OOD. Signalmen have relatively few things to pay attention to, so they are pretty self directed.

[Jun 07, 2019] The Policy of Creative Chaos America's Project for a Middle-East Holocaust by Mark Taliano

Jun 01, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Region: Middle East & North Africa Theme: Crimes against Humanity , US NATO War Agenda

The Project for a New Middle East[1] is a Project for a New Holocaust. It is happening now. The policy of "Creative Chaos"[2] underpins the "Middle East Holocaust". Empire willfully destroys the sovereignty and territorial integrity of prey nations such as Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, and beyond. Genocidal ethnic cleansing, mass murder and destruction are described benignly as "chaos" and as "creative".

Empire deploys meticulously planned strategies to fabricate sectarian and ethnic divides, and to balkanize prey nations. The notion, as expressed by Condoleeza Rice , that the Middle East should be divided into a "Sunni Belt" and a "Shia Belt"[3] objectifies peoples, diminishes their humanity, turns them into fictional "stock characters" defined exclusively by perceived religious affiliations, and deliberately fabricates ethnic and religious tensions, all of which serve as preconditions for imperialists to create chaos and the disintegration of strong nation-states into fractious vassal states, devoid of self-determination and sovereignty.

Empire sees non-compliant, self-governing, secular, pluralist, multi-confessional, democratic states as enemies. Syria is all of the above, and therefore an "enemy". Empire further destroys the "host" when it "opens the veins" of prey countries for resource plundering and criminal occupation. The oil-rich, strategically-located area East of the Euphrates is one such example.

When Empire supports the SDF against ISIS, it is polishing its fake image by creating the perception that it opposes ISIS, even as it re-introduces "rebadged" ISIS into the same battle grounds. Alternatively, as in the case of Raqqa, Empire "rescues" and redeploys ISIS elsewhere. Both terrorists and civilians are expendable in these demonic operations.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/HxxKuFxvrQE

Empire rounds civilians up in terrorist-controlled concentration camps[4]. It "weaponizes" them by deliberately creating conditions of desperation which lend themselves to recruiting opportunities for new terrorist proxies. Daesh will never disappear as long as Empire is in control or seeking control globally.

As long as Western war propaganda remains ascendant, and Western populations remain oblivious, Westerners will continue to believe that these wars are humanitarian or in their national interests. In fact, the wars are anti-humanitarian, and they only represent narrow "special interests."

NATO's strongest weapon is its apparatus of "Perception Management". Without it, NATO and the imperialists would be exposed as the Supreme International War Criminals that they are.

Video: West's War Against Syria Is Packed in Lies and Deceptions

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Mark Taliano is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and the author of Voices from Syria , Global Research Publishers, 2017.

[Jun 06, 2019] Facing the Facts Israel Cannot Escape ICC Jurisdiction by Ramzy Baroud

Notable quotes:
"... Last February, the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on Gaza's protests concluded that "it has reasonable grounds to believe that during the Great March of Return, Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, and must be immediately investigated by Israel." ..."
"... Article 12 of the Rome Statute allows for ICC's jurisdiction in two cases; first, if the State in which the alleged crime has occurred is itself a party of the Statute and, second, if the State where the crime has occurred agrees to submit itself to the jurisdiction of the court. ..."
Jun 05, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org
The Chief Military Advocate General of the Israeli army, Sharon Afek, and the US Department of Defense General Counsel, Paul Ney, shared a platform at the 'International Conference on the Law of Armed Conflict', which took place in Herzliya, Israel between May 28-30.

Their panel witnessed some of the most misconstrued interpretations of international law ever recorded. It was as if Afek and Ney were literally making up their own law on warfare and armed conflict, with no regard to what international law actually stipulates.

Unsurprisingly, both Afek and Ney agreed on many things, including that Israel and the US are blameless in all of their military conflicts, and that they will always be united against any attempt to hold them accountable for war crimes by the International Court of Justice (ICC).

Their tirade against the ICC mirrors that of their own leaders. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's anti-ICC position is familiar, last April, US President Donald Trump virulently expressed his contempt for the global organization and everything it represents.

"Any attempt to target American, Israeli, or allied personnel for prosecution will be met with a swift and vigorous response," Trump said in a writing on April 12.

While Trump's (and Netanyahu's) divisive language is nothing new, Afek and Ney were entrusted with the difficult task of using legal language to explain their countries' aversion for international law.

Prior to the Herzliya Conference, Afek addressed the Israel Bar Association convention in Eilat on May 26. Here, too, he made some ludicrous claims as he absolved, in advance, Israeli soldiers who kill Palestinians.

"A soldier who is in a life-threatening situation and acts to defend himself (or) others (he) is responsible for, is receiving and will continue receiving full back-up from the Israeli army," he said .

The above assertion appears far more sinister once we remember Afek's views on what constitutes a "life-threatening situation", as he had articulated in Herzliya a few days later.

"Thousands of Gaza's residents (try) to breach the border fence," he said, with reference to the non-violent March of Return at the fence separating besieged Gaza from Israel.

The Gaza protesters "are led by a terrorist organization that deliberately uses civilians to carry out attacks," Afek said.

Afek sees unarmed protests in Gaza as a form of terrorism, thus concurring with an earlier statement made by then-Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, on April 8, 2018, when he declared that "there are no innocents in Gaza."

Israel's shoot-to-kill policy, however, is not confined to the Gaza Strip but is also implemented with the same degree of violent enthusiasm in the West Bank.

'No attacker, male or female, should make it out of any attack alive,' Lieberman said in 2015. His orders were followed implicitly, as hundreds of Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and Jerusalem for allegedly trying to attack Israeli occupation soldiers or armed illegal Jewish settlers.

Unlike democratic political systems everywhere, in Israel the occupation soldier becomes the interpreter and enforcer of the law.

Putting this policy into practice in Gaza is even more horrendous as unarmed protesters are often being killed by Israeli snipers from long distances. Even journalists and medics have not been spared the same tragic fate as the hundreds of civilians who were killed since the start of the protests in March 2018.

Last February, the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on Gaza's protests concluded that "it has reasonable grounds to believe that during the Great March of Return, Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, and must be immediately investigated by Israel."

In his attack on the ICC at the Herzliya Conference, Afek contended that "Israel is a law-abiding country, with an independent and strong judicial system, and there is no reason for its actions to be scrutinized by the ICC."

The Israeli General goes on to reprimand the ICC by urging it to focus on "dealing with the main issues for which it was founded."

Has Afek even read the Rome Statute? The first Article states that the ICC has the "power to exercise its jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concern, as referred to in this Statute."

Article 5 elaborates the nature of these serious crimes, which include: "(a) The crime of genocide; (b) Crimes against humanity; (c) War crimes; (d) The crime of aggression."

Israel has been accused of at least two of these crimes – war crimes and crimes against humanity – repeatedly, including in the February report by the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry.

Afek may argue that none of this is relevant to Israel, for the latter is not "a party to the Rome Statute," therefore, does not fall within ICC's legal jurisdiction.

Wrong again.

Article 12 of the Rome Statute allows for ICC's jurisdiction in two cases; first, if the State in which the alleged crime has occurred is itself a party of the Statute and, second, if the State where the crime has occurred agrees to submit itself to the jurisdiction of the court.

While it is true that Israel is not a signatory of the Rome Statute, Palestine has, since 2015, agreed to submit itself to the ICC's jurisdiction.

Moreover, in April 2015, the State of Palestine formally became a member of the ICC, thus giving the court jurisdiction to investigate crimes committed in the Occupied Territories since June 13, 2014. These crimes include human rights violations carried out during the Israeli war on Gaza in July-August of the same year.

Afek's skewed understanding of international law went unchallenged at the Herzliya Conference, as he was flanked by equally misguided interpreters of international law.

However, nothing proclaimed by Israel's top military prosecutor or his government will alter the facts. Israeli war crimes must not go unpunished; Israel's judicial system is untrustworthy and the ICC has the legal right and moral duty to carry out the will of the international community and hold to account those responsible for war crimes anywhere, including Israel.

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is an author and a journalist. He is athor of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle and his latest My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story . He can be reached at ramzybaroud@hotmail.com . Read other articles by Ramzy , or visit Ramzy's website .

[Jun 05, 2019] Trumpies should bear in mind that Gallagher's own fellow Seals testified against him that's how depraved this guy Trump is pardoning is.

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's eunuchs are still guarding and serving their master I see. And their master is a psychopath who is getting ready to pardon the tough guy kind of psychopath he admires. Of course the Orange psychopath doesn't consider the fact that this kind of thing , just like the Iraqi prison tortures , incentivizes the commission of war crimes by our opponents and allies, and in doing so puts US service members at greater risk. ..."
May 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

renfro, says: May 20, 2019 at 7:02 am GMT

@Peter Akuleyev

Trump's eunuchs are still guarding and serving their master I see. And their master is a psychopath who is getting ready to pardon the tough guy kind of psychopath he admires. Of course the Orange psychopath doesn't consider the fact that this kind of thing , just like the Iraqi prison tortures , incentivizes the commission of war crimes by our opponents and allies, and in doing so puts US service members at greater risk.

Here's Trump's hero ..

"One day, from his sniper nest, Chief Gallagher shot a girl in a flower-print hijab who was walking w/ other girls on the riverbank. She dropped, clutching her stomach, & the other girls dragged her away."

A mass murderer according to Senior Seals: "Would order needless risks, to fire rockets at houses for no apparent reason. He routinely parked an armored truck on a Tigris River bridge & emptied the truck's heavy machine gun into neighborhoods on twith no discernible targets."

"Platoon members said he spent much of his time in a hidden perch with a sniper rifle, firing three or four times as often as other platoon snipers. They said he boasted about the number of people he had killed, including women."

Two other snipers said, the chief shot an unarmed man in a white robe with a wispy white beard. They said the man fell, a red blotch spreading on his back."

Gallagher ordered a hatchet & a hunting knife" before 2017 deployment. He texted the man who made them (a Navy Seal veteran) shortly after arriving in Iraq: "I'll try and dig that knife or hatchet on someone's skull!"

May 2017, a SEAL medic was treating a wounded 15 y/o Islamic State fighter. "He's mine," Gallagher said. "Gallagher walked up without a word and stabbed the wounded teenager several times in the neck and once in the chest with his hunting knife, killing him."

He didn't even try to hide the murder of the 15 y/o. He brought other seals around minutes later & took a photo over the body. Later, he texted the photo to a fellow SEAL in California: "Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife."
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/23/us/navy-seals-crimes-of-war.html

Now Trumpies bear in mind that Gallagher's own fellow Seals testified against him that's how depraved this guy Trump is pardoning is.

Here's Gallagher if you live in a stand your ground state and run into him shoot the bastard, he'll have his hunting knife on him so you can claim self defense.

. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D64_hykW4AEqObU.jpg

[Jun 05, 2019] Military Intelligence? by Hugh O'Neill

Notable quotes:
"... " nothing to address poverty, homelessness, healthcare, low income, incarceration; nor does it address climate change Military spending diverts resources. If we want genuine socio-economic and climate justice, new thinking is essential" ..."
"... 'failure to do his utmost' ..."
Jun 05, 2019 | off-guardian.org
For no important reason, I was thinking about the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier, HMS "Queen Elizabeth II". This ship has been in the news, but for all the wrong reasons: her commander was recently removed by helicopter whilst anchored in the Forth, accused of having used the ship's car for personal use whilst in the US (maybe he should have used a helicopter?).

Even Lord West of Spithead (former head of the RN) expressed his bemusement at the style of management. But if this really is a question of misuse of public money, then it seems but a drop in several oceans compared with the bigger pictures – firstly of defence spending, secondly of defence strategy, and lastly of man-management.

Firstly, the cost to build these two 65,000T aircraft carriers is currently about $10 Billion (when it comes to such eye-watering amounts of money, the figures always expand because defence spending is notoriously adrift). This is however a bargain compared with US super-carriers (100,000T) which are nuclear-powered, cost about $15 Billion to build (and $3 Billion to de-commission).

The US fields about 10 such ships: they are quite defenceless (thus have to be escorted by various surface escorts and submarines) thus 5-6,000 men. The 2013 cost of clothing, training, feeding, paying such numbers put the daily running costs to USD $6.5 Million (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_R._Ford-class_aircraft_carrier). If the Royal Navy deems her Captain over-used the ship's car, then money must be tight.

But what of the aircraft the ship was built to carry? QEII is supposed to carry 36 F-35Bs (designed for US Marines) built by US firm, Lockheed-Martin.

The F-35 programme was 7 years behind schedule and $150 Billion over-budget (perfectly acceptable in defence spending!). Lockheed-Martin are not Boeing – and any reference to their 737 Max would be inappropriate – but when half remain grounded for lack of spares, then one (for-the-price-of-two) costs $300 million.

The 72 aircraft for two ships adds $11 Billion. (N.B. these are their off-the-shelf price, not their whole-of-life cost).

Secondly, QE II apparently now has 12 F-35Bs and will be attached to the US Marines. British taxpayers' money has not been well spent. I don't know how much a supersonic missile or torpedo costs, nor indeed a swarm of plastic drones, but such an expensive ship makes for a very juicy target.

The first aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, was launched in 1919 and technology has changed in 100 years, but not strategy. Carriers' vulnerability puts a serious counterweight to any 'prestige' they might bring to erstwhile superpowers; indeed, the UK's prostrated serfitude to the US destroys any last pretence of British Sovereignty.

All empires fall: losing one may be a misfortune, but to lose two is pure incompetence. Australia, Canada and NZ cling on like drowning men, weighed-down by oxymoronic military intelligence and misplaced political allegiance. Peace benefits Humanity. Wars profit Bankers.

As per the latest NZ Budget, our military will spend $5 Billion, doing " nothing to address poverty, homelessness, healthcare, low income, incarceration; nor does it address climate change Military spending diverts resources. If we want genuine socio-economic and climate justice, new thinking is essential".

Finally, man-management: the Royal Navy in 1757 executed Admiral Byng for 'failure to do his utmost'. Voltaire considered that this was the British way "pour encorager les autres". Is it likely that the removed commander will ever again do his utmost for King & Country?

British Secretary of Defense (Stupid Boy, Gavin Williamson) has walked the plank for breaching Cabinet duplicity, and PM May has been given a seat on the next helicopter. Napoleon said: Never interrupt the enemy when he is making a mistake.


andyoldlabour

Aircraft carrier = very large target.
Sink the carrier after it launches aircraft and where are the aircraft going to land?
Modern missile technology has made large ships obsolete.
William HBonney
Anti missile technology is devastatingly effective. If carriers are sitting ducks, you'd struggle to name the last one sunk.
harry law
An MIT security expert says that Israel's famed Iron Dome missile defense system is flawed, with a success rate of under five percent.

During the November 2012 conflict, a detailed review of a large number of photographs of Iron Dome interceptor contrails revealed that the rocket-defense system's success rate was very low -- as low as 5 percent or, perhaps, even less. A variety of media outlets have attributed the low casualty number to the supposed effectiveness of the Iron Dome system, quoting Israeli officials as saying it has destroyed 90 percent of the Hamas rockets it targeted. But close study of photographic and video imagery of Iron Dome engagements with Hamas rockets -- both in the current conflict and in the 2012 hostilities -- shows that the low casualties in Israel from artillery rocket attacks can be ascribed to Israeli civil defense efforts, rather than the performance of the Iron Dome missile defense system.
https://thebulletin.org/2014/07/the-evidence-that-shows-iron-dome-is-not-working/
Note this against Hamas 'Roman candles' not against ballistic missiles travelling at mach 10 [7,500 MPH]

mark
The last major naval engagement where US fleet carriers were under any serious threat was the invasion of the Philippines in 1944. Of course the Japanese were not equipped with anti ship missiles at the time. There were many instances of damage from aircraft in suicide attacks, but a single hit would not sink a fleet carrier. From memory I believe at least one smaller escort carrier was sunk in 1945.

I think several British carriers were sunk, one by a submarine early in the war, one off Norway in 1940 and the Ark Royal in 1941. There may have been others. Some scort carriers were also lost. Germany introduced the first anti ship missiles in 1943, the Fritz X and Henschel 293. They were very effective in a number of attacks off Italy, damaging the battleship Warspite and sinking a cruiser and a number of other targets, as well as the Italian battleship Roma as it was on its way to surrender.

In Korea, Vietnam and Iraq, opposing naval forces were so weak as to be virtually non existent. Anti ship missiles were used by Argentine forces in 1982 to sink two large vessels, the Coventry and Atlantic Conveyor, a merchant ship converted into a makeshift aircraft carrier. The last case occurred in 2006, when Hezbollah severely damaged and nearly sank a large Israeli warship. It appears that the missile actually failed to explode.

Countries like Iran and DPRK are now equipped with a large number of anti ship missiles of far greater sophistication than any previously employed in battle. There are surprises in every war, and no one can accurately predict what will occur until battle is joined. Experienced and competent commanders expected cavalry to play an important part in WW1. Many others doubted that armoured and mechanised forces would be effective in WW2, because of problems of supply and command and control, or that aircraft would be capable of sinking heavily armoured warships. But it seems reasonable to draw attention to the increasing vulnerability of large aircraft carriers.

Yarkob
I'd also struggle to name the last conflict in which a CVG was put under any threat at all, ..the new gen of AM (lasers) will be the nuts, but I'd still not like to be on board a ship these days in a "real" conflict.
andyoldlabour
The Japanese had 20 aircraft carriers sunk in WW", including the "unsinkable" Shinano. The US had 12 carriers sunk in that war, and the UK lost 8.
The last aircraft carrier to be sunk, was the IJN Amagi in Kure Harbour in July 1945.
William HBonney
So, seventy four years ago

Island nations need carriers, the threat is always from the sea.

Tim Jenkins
I think you'll find that Jamaica has more jet skis, than aircraft carriers . . .

Regardless, the biggest threats from the seas, were always the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, False Flag Pirates and good ole' Uncle $ham's navy,
on the hunt for corporate resources to thieve . . .

Perhaps you would like to stress your brain, (rather than arguing some mathematical stupidity) and give us all just one example of when Aircraft Carriers were used defensively, William ? Additionally, Bill, even friendly fire and silly lil' accidents with old munitions can immobilise an aircraft carrier, to the point where somebody like John McCain jumps ship ASAP, for example on the USS Forrestal

"I'm an old Navy pilot. I know when a crisis calls for all hands on deck,"
Sen. McCain said >>> records show otherwise !

Show some respect for others' intelligence.

mark
McCain had to be flown off the Forrestal. He was in serious danger of being lynched by his crewmates after his negligence caused around 130 dead.
William HBonney
I have great respect for the intelligence of others, but I fear my country could become a satellite of Russia.

The UK isn't Jamaica. It has more people, and a tradition of invention which has elevated its position in the world.

As to aircraft carriers, they are an offensive weapon (attack being the better part of defence) , but always part of a carrier group. The defense of the vessel dependent on the air power of her aircraft, and to a lesser extent the accompanying fleet.

The world is a dangerous place, don't take the freedoms we have in the UK for granted. If you doubt that, live in an undemocratic country. I do, and it makes me love my country more.

John
"My country had become a stale lite off Russia" fuck right off you're a puppet nation as it is you MSM led sissy
mark
The UK already is a satellite. It is a US satellite. It is more of a US satellite than the old GDR ever was of the Soviet Union.

The world certainly is a dangerous place. I'm sure that most Koreans, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, Yemenis, Palestinians, Iranians and Venezuelans would fully agree with you. It is a dangerous place largely because of the homicidal antics and military adventures of rogue terrorist regimes like the USA and its satellites like the UK as they rampage across the planet slaughtering, starving and immiserating tens of millions, like Nazi Germany on steroids. Which even now are simultaneously threatening further criminal wars of aggression against three of those countries.

You're certainly wise not to take freedoms for granted. They are ancient history. In the UK as in the USA, stringent censorship is being imposed and civil liberties are being shredded. Whistleblowers and dissidents who reveal evidence of numerous war crimes and atrocities are increasingly subject to persecution and intimidation by a corrupt and politicised judicial system, with a growing number of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. We are all subject to an Orwellian system of state snooping and surveillance. Torture has bee normalised, and we have a "Leader of the Free World" who is an enthusiastic advocate of torture, inheriting a long established global Gulag of concentration camps, torture chambers and secret prisons in a score of countries, including UK territory, where thousands of unfortunates have been and are being tortured and murdered on an industrial scale.

I agree with you that you live in an undemocratic country. If that makes you love your country more, good luck to you.

UreKismet
I dunno why they still bother with carriers, I realise the fleet bossfella likes to hang out on one, but if the navy is still any use for escorts or carrying troops etc which it likely isn't as sea is slow and planes do most of that stuff now, but anyway if the navy does need it's own aeroplanes for anything more than empire building I woulda thought it would be smarter to do what my old man did in ww2.

He flew an avengerMk2 in the english fleet air arm as escort for convoys up to Murmansk. They didn't use aircraft carriers I dunno why, prolly just not wanting to waste resources on commies, truth be told. Instead he and his cobbers were launched into the air by steam catapult off the foredeck of freighters.

They flew patrol looking out for nazis then landed their plane (which had floats) beside the 'mothership' and got craned aboard.
That would seem to me to be smarter as it doesn't require putting all yer eggs in one basket. As far as the old bastard was concerned it was better too, since the english navy appears to have learned bugger all from the battle of Jutland in the first half of the 20th century euro war where the english navy lost lost 3 battlecruisers, 3 armored cruisers, and 8 destroyers off the coast of Denmark in 1916.

Navy architects appear to have done nothing about protecting the cordite magazines from flash explosion in the 20+ year interregnum between the two blues, cause the HMS Hood had exactly the same design flaw of a bottleneck with inboard cordite distribution causing lax safety practices as the boats in the Jutland debacle, resulting in the 'mighty hood' going down a coupla minutes after first being hit by a german shell. The magazine blew up, 3 men survived and more than 1300 crew did not.

Then the ark royal, the one boat the old bugger did fly off early on in his ww2 gig, was sunk thanks to incredible stupidity and incompetence by its leadership.
No wonder all the kiwi pilots were only too happy to take the 'shit detail' the english navy offered of flying off freighters in the North Sea.

Building vast floating targets seems to me to have been more about admirals' penis envy than sensible strategic planning. Useful for a handful of years in the thousands of years old arseholes have been getting young men to kill each other, by the end of ww2 aircraft carriers had become surplus to needs and nothing has happened since then to alter that.
Same same goes for huge nuke subs, no matter how many kazillions is spent on making them invisible, the edge is lost in a matter of months and within a short time even small non-superpower navies know where all the genocidal, population-killing, nuke subs are. If USuk ever do decide in a fit of lunacy to attack Iran, I betcha the Iranians will knock off most of the big stuff (aircraft carriers, battleships and nuke subs) with a flotilla of craftily utilised inflatables in the first few days.

All that money literally billions every year, which could be used employing citizens to do constructive stuff within their communities gets blown in bribes, boats and bombs just so that scummy politicians and brainless navy bosses get to show off in the most facile dick measuring contest since Churchill needed a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers to try and meet Uncle Joe's challenge way back when. lol.

andyoldlabour
I have to correct you about no aircraft carriers being used on the Russian convoy operation, there were several.
They were mostly converted merchant ships, with decks around 500 feet long, and carried Hurricanes, Swordfish and Martlets.
I know this because my late uncle served on HMS Avenger.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Avenger_(D14)

http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/ESCORT/ACTIVITY.htm#.XPdqqo97mUk

http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/ESCORT/TRACKER.htm#.XPdr7I97mUk

UreKismet
Fair enough, my knowledge is confined to what the old man said. He was always whining about his back getting permanently buggered by the catapult.
In defense I will say that after checking the links that the so called aircraft carriers used on the Murmansk run all appear to be freighters converted into 'carriers' rather than purpose built ships.
I have a brother who lapped all that war stuff up who would most likely know more, the little I know was when in some sort of weird post his karking it curiosity I bought (but never actually put together ) a model of a fleet arm avenger Mk2 as far as I can work out he was in either 851 or 855 squadron but am not even sure of that.
William HBonney
Salisbury (military action by an antagonistic foreign power using WMD's), demonstrates what happens if a country is not resolute about its defence.

Sometimes that means building weapons systems capable of taking the consequences right up to the enemies coastline.

A carrier is only a 'sitting duck' if one considers it as a single vessel, but no navy would use them like that. They are an integrated weapons system, and kept well out of harms way. Typically, a carrier group would destroy the means to wage war on it long before any missiles were launched at it.

John
Well we spotted the liberal shill who believes every MSM story printed. Are you antonym in his new Jew profile? Probably
mark
Salisbury (false flag operation by out of control Spook Agencies) demonstrates what happens when we are ruled by half wits concocting transparent provocations as a pretext for aggression.
Yarkob
"Salisbury (military action by an antagonistic foreign power using WMD's), demonstrates what happens if a country is not resolute about its defence."

LOL

sorry, that's all your comment warranted. For a proper response, see: OffG, Craig Murray, MoA et al..

again, LOL

Northern
For a start, you're on the wrong website if you think your first statement won't go unchallenged.

All the Salisbury incident 'demonstrated' was that Cold War spy games are still very much a part of our psychopathic leader's toolbox. Everything else beyond that is unsubstantiated speculation of which we'll likely never know the truth and you'd have to be either a simpleton, or a blatant liar to suggest otherwise.

I won't bother with the rest of your post because arguing the pros and cons of a Carrier's military capabilities and application means I have to implicitly accept the terminological trick (pulled by both yourself above, our governments and the companies that build these things) that an aircraft carrier somehow qualifies as a 'defensive' weapon.

Tutisicecream
Ah "When I was a lad"

Be careful to be guided by this golden rule. Stick close to your desks and never go to sea, and you all may be rulers of the Queen's Navee!

When you realise how much money is poured into these HMS Sitting Ducks you realise just how far we have been duped when told there is never enough money for the NHS.

Hugh O'Neill
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGQ-wgPGTp8
Tut, your last paragraph reminded me of Eisenhower's "Humanity hanging from a cross of iron" speech from 1953. Things shave got steadily worse since then.
Not if but when
Military Intelligence?

I would argue, yes, there is a lot of intelligence, because one cannot be dumb stupid idiot when able to appropriate vast amount of vital resources to build plain criminal evil destructive instruments of death.

Not if but when

.. put the daily running costs to USD $6.5 Million

The ship broadside, if in Australia, can be used to promote/advertise racing and gambling.

Grafter
Why are we allowing this shit to happen ?
John
Because Brits are cowards and have had decades of being told to do a Gandhi aka fuck all in regards to getting change. Voting never changed a thing you asked for violence on the other hand does. Do you think our leaders would listen if they knew they had a good chance of having no head left?
Not if but when
.. what power(s) do 'we' have to prevent shit from -- any shit -- from happening?
harry law
This from the 'war nerd' describing how new missiles have made the carriers obsolete
"Every single change in technology in the past half a century has had "Stop building carriers!" written all over it. And nobody in the navy brass paid any attention.
The lesson here is the same one all of you suckers should have learned from watching the financial news this year: the people at the top are just as dumb as you are, just meaner and greedier. And that goes for the ones running the US surface fleet as much as it does for the GM or Chrysler honchos. "The purpose of the Navy," Vice Admiral John Bird, commander of the Seventh Fleet, tells me, "is not to fight." The mere presence of the Navy should suffice, he argues, to dissuade any attack or attempt to destabilize the region. From Yokosuka, Guam, and Honolulu
That's the kind of story people are still writing. It's so stupid, that first line, I won't even bother with it: "The purpose of the Navy is not to fight." No kidding. The Seventh Fleet covers the area included in that 2000 km range for the new Chinese anti-ship weapons, so I guess it's a good thing they're not there to fight". http://exiledonline.com/the-war-nerd-this-is-how-the-carriers-will-die/all/1/
Hugh O'Neill
Harry, thanks for the superb link: the war nerd takes no prisoners.
mark
In the next war, carriers will be more vulnerable to missile attack than battleships were to air attack in WW2. Imagine a 100,000 ton carrier sinking with its air group and 5-6,000 crew, its crippled nuclear reactors poisoning the ocean.
nwwoods
I understand that Japan recently committed to purchasing a fleet of F-35s, perhaps because they are by default optimized for kamikaze ops.
Hugh O'Neill
Nwwoods – Great response: financial kamikaze. Divine flatulence
mark
Perhaps they could supply the captain with a bicycle instead, painted the appropriate shade of navy blue, and save a bit of money.

These 65k ton carriers are the biggest ships ever operated by the Navy. Its battleships and fleet carriers of WW2 were 35,000 and 25,000 tons respectively. They might as well have been named HMS White Elephant I and II. One will be mothballed immediately (maybe they could sell it to the Chinese?) The other may operate with a much reduced complement of a handful of aircraft (if the F35s ever work.)

This is a ludicrous prestige project that will be seen as a national embarrassment as time goes by, like the scrapped Nimrod AEW. It reflects the delusions of our ruling elite ("What if we want to bomb North Korea?") and those of people like Admiral West.

To operate, aircraft carriers require an escort of 5-6 frigates and destroyers and a submarine, for anti aircraft and anti submarine defence. These won't be available. Britain has a grand total of 17 frigates and destroyers, 5 – 6 of which are out of commission undergoing refits at any one time. British frigates and destroyers are less well equipped than their foreign counterparts. Crewing even one of these ships will be a major headache. The personnel strength of the Navy is currently 29,000. Even the cost of fuel for operations is prohibitive. The US carriers have nuclear reactors which only require refuelling around once every fourteen years.

It would have made much more sense to buy a few extra frigates and destroyers instead. Maybe the odd small aircraft carrier of around 20,000 tons like the Invincible class, if they really wanted. Though most people think in any future wars large aircraft carriers against a half competent enemy would be little more than floating coffins, very vulnerable to the new class of anti ship missiles like the Yakhonts/ Sunburn. In recent times, they have only been used in modern colonial style warfare against the present day equivalent of the Zulus and the Fuzzy Wuzzies. Brave but not terribly well equipped fighting men who don't have so much as an Airfix model Spitfire for air defence. Aircraft carriers would be terribly vulnerable if used even against countries like Iran or North Korea.

And then there are the aircraft. I think the actual unit cost of the F35 comes in at something around $400 million a pop all in. Whether it will ever work is open to question. America has problems building aircraft that don't work. This thing has problems with its engines, which keep conking out in mid flight, with the oxygen system, which keeps failing with rather unfortunate consequences for the pilot, and the cannon, which won't fire because its computer won't work. It has wings which are too small for a good fighter, and it can't bomb anything if it faces any stronger opposition than a few tribesmen with AK47s. Apart from that, it's okay, though we probably can't afford more than a dozen of them. The previous F22 was a similar failure. The production line was closed down after 100 – odd of them had been made, though they were supposed to produce 1,000.

America used to produce some very good aircraft, like the F14/15/16/18. The F35 is supposed to replace them, but the new aircraft is grossly inferior to them all. They are talking about putting the F18 and A10 back into production. This is eerily reminiscent of the Luftwaffe in WW2, whose new aircraft projects like the Messerschmitt 210 and Heinkel 177 were flying death traps. They were forced to put obsolete aircraft like the Junkers 87 and the Heinkel 111 back into production till the end of the war, so that they had something to fight with, however inadequate.

Still, so long as Lockheed's profits are okay, I suppose that's the main thing. And Gavin Pugwash Williamson, or his successor, can posture and preen about how Britain rules the waves with HMS White Elephant and its dozen Flying Turkeys, even if they can't scrape a crew together for it. Why should England tremble?

Rhys Jaggar
HMS White Elephant was an electoral bung of Gordon Brown. Whose constituency built the damn thing?

Real warfare now is about blasting the ionosphere to create awful weather in enemy territory. It is releasing super pests onto other contitenrs to infest agricultural crops. It is engineering viruses to be more harmful and releasing them abroad. It is crashing global stock markets to wipe competitors out.

Aircraft carriers had their day. In about 1945 .

I do not want proxy wars either. Not in Ukraine, not in Syria, not in North Korea, not in Venezuela.

But all our corrupt officials and representatives think wasting trillions of our money on archaic overpriced ersatz masturbation toys is just fine and dandy.

It is not ok to sell their daughters into foreign prostitution though.

Oh no .

Mucho
By my estimations, the only way out of this mess is to buckle the machine and arrange mass withdrawal of labour. Crash the whole rotten lot of it
Maggie
Fantastic idea, however I think you will find that many workers don't even know what or who they are working for.
Pity we can't post a list of companies?
mark
The only problem with that is that they don't need the labour any more. The proles are surplus to requirements and can now be culled, as the Davos/ Bilderberg crew have decided. They aren't needed any more to dig coal, smelt steel ingots, or hammer rivets in shipyards.
Mucho
it's the only weapon we have, either that, or we remain eternally enslaved by the forces of evil
Mucho
Here is a link to a CIA document showing details of the effects of millimeter waves on biological structures. It is a translation of the original Soviet files from research done in 1977, declassified in 2012. This comes from the Fullerton Informer, who, by my estimation, is a truly great person, a beacon of light. 5G equals permanent exposure to this man made radiation, 24/7. This is an enormous threat to you and your family, wherever you are. TIME TO START TAKING ACTION AGAINST THIS EVIL
https://thefullertoninformer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/cia-millimeter-waves-1.pdf
wardropper
Re: aircraft carriers in general:
I sometimes feel that I could show up somewhere in the corridors of the Pentagon with a plan to recycle people's shirts and underwear cheaply into some sort of instant camouflage in the event of an "enemy" guided-missile attack upon one of "our" aircraft carriers, and there would be a high-ranking official there daft enough to fund me to the tune of billions of dollars to develop it.
Certifiable insanity is no stranger to the military environment of modern western government.
Ramdan
"When the Way governs the world, the proud stallions drag dung carriages. When the Way is lost to the world, war horses are bred outside the city."

"Weapons are ominous tools. They are abhorred by all creatures. Anyone who follows the Way shuns them."

"Those who advice the ruler on the Way, do not want the world subdued with weapons."
Tao Te Ching

We live in society that grew accustomed to war and violence as the sole mean to "solve" its conflicts. The irony of this is that now there is a hughe issue with bullying and cyber-bullying and people are still 'wondering' how was this ever possible in a, so called, civilized society.
A 'civilized society' that still debates what's the best (more economic and efficient) way to go to war, that is, the more efficient way to manslaughter .

wardropper
I think our main problem is that most people are, essentially, decent, whereas politicians are not.
And it's the politicians who make the decisions
Mucho
Welcome to the Age of the Stupid – we know virtually all the answers to our problems, but do the opposite for the benefit of a few thousand of Satan's agents
wardropper
That is extremely well-said.
And I am, myself, probably sometimes guilty of what you say too, although I do try not to be.
DiggerUK
With missile capabilities at the level they have now reached, aircraft carriers are as useless as WW2 battleships turned out to be in the 1940's.

Russia recently demonstrated the maximum tactical use they can be put to, when they sent their one remaining carrier to Syria. Against a smaller power they give you the advantage of air superiority when deployed as a 'pop up airfield', but against another major power they would be useless. The recent US sabre waving in the Gulf may impress the gormless, but even Iran has the missile capability to make them worthless.

As to the racket that is war, Major General Smedley Butler published this pamphlet in 1935 based on an after dinner speech he made. Not the finest writing, but well worth a read _
https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.pdf

SO.
The AK's not a carrier in the conventional sense so you shouldn't really consider it as such.

Whilst it's original function might have been considered to be a nuclear launch platform (there were 500kT nukes under it's deck) it's real purpose was as an area denial system designed to kill aircraft within it's engagement envelope.

As such, somewhat ironically the ancient old soviet aircraft carrier is probably the only thing afloat that could withstand a modern missile attack by itself.

mark
The AK also served another useful purpose, generating hysteria in the media, with Sid Scurvy, Ace Reporter of the Daily Bugle, warning how Putin was about to murder us all in our beds when it came within a couple of hundred of miles of the UJK coastline. Whilst simultaneously running pieces about how the thing was so clapped out it was about to sink.
DunGroanin
The Anglo-Imperialists (self loving white peoples) are prepared to go down fighting.. if they can't have it, neither can anyone else.

Time that the non- brain dead 5-eyes morons realused that we didn't win the second world war by outselves. There were many millions of Sub-continentals, Africans and Afro-Caribbeans as well Afro-Americans, Native Americans etc. AND the millions and millions of Russians, military and civilians, who actually stopped the Anglo-Imperialists proxy Nazi mercenaries and wiped out their military strength. Only than did the 'Allies' make a token effort at invasion.

Aircraft carriers are totally useless in modern warfare. They are visible from the sky and vulnerable to missiles – hypersonic and ballistic, never mind frogmen with limpets.

John
Can tell you Gott two thumbs down for the use of her word 'white'. Fucking skin colour pussies are to easy to scare
Jen
Let me be the first to say it!

Military intelligence? Does that even exist in the context of the British armed forces?

" Finally, man-management: the Royal Navy in 1757 executed Admiral Byng for 'failure to do his utmost' "

Yes, doing his utmost meant he should have arranged with the enemy to execute him.

Paul
Byng was the victim of politicians and the Admirality who were actually responsible for the failure to stop the French taking Menorca by sending his fleet late and ill- equipped. It was embarrassingly obvious to most involved that it was an unjust, vindictive and low life response. He was shot on the deck of his own ship. It was a typically British way of doing things, when in trouble, blame somebody else and punish them. Nobody at the top is ever to blame in Britain; it's a tradition that is still well maintained
mark
The powers that be seemed determined to uphold these traditions by treating Julian Assange as a latter day Admiral Byng.
mark
Then, as now, shit flows downhill.
Fair dinkum
Proof.
That humans are headed for extinction.
wardropper
Unless, of course, those who believe in the human spirit are right, and further evolution lies in that direction
It looks indeed as if our physical existence at least is headed nowhere – in its current form at any rate
Maggie
So Wardropper – It appears that Brave New World was actually predictive programming? And all these years I thought it was a fiction.
wardropper
I think we can safely relax, Maggie – somewhat.
It is certainly fiction.
So we have our fiction on one side, and our personal experience on the other.
What kind of cocktail we make of that is up to us, I reckon.

[May 25, 2019] The Belligerence Of Empire by Kenn Orphan

Highly recommended!
Note Firefox does not pickup the user name in Zero hedge anymore. So user names in comments were omitted... BTW comments from Zerohedge reflect very well the level of frustration and confusion of common Americans with the neoliberal social system. Neoliberal elites clearly lost most of the legitimacy in 2016.
While this is pretty poignant critique of American empire it does not ask and answer the key question: "What's next?" The crisis of neoliberalism and the end of cheap oil probably will eventually crush the US led global empire and dollar as the reserve currency. Although it probably will be much slower and longer process then many expect.
Are we talking about 20, 40 or 80 years here?
But what is the alternative to the neoliberal and the US dominated global neolinberal empire established after dissolution of the USSR in 1991? That's the question.
Notable quotes:
"... Empire understands nothing except ruthless expansion. It has no other raison d'etre. In the past this meant the violent acquisition of lands and territories by a militarized system where [miliraty] caste was very apparent and visible. But today the dealings of empire are far more duplicitous. The ruling order of this age expands empire via the acquisition of capital while using the military industrial complex to police its exploits. But there is an insidious social conditioning at work which has led the general public to where it is today, a state of "inverted totalitarianism" as political philosopher Sheldon Wolin explained. Indeed, capitalism has morphed into the unassailable religion of the age even among the working class. Its tenets are still viewed as sacrosanct. ..."
"... There is mass compliance to the dictates of the ruling class and this occurs most often without any prompting or debate whatsoever. In this dictatorship of money the poor are looked at with ridicule and contempt, and are often punished legally for their imposed poverty. ..."
"... Most Americans still believe they live in the greatest country on the planet. They believe the American military to be noble and that they always reluctantly go into or are forced into war. Indeed, both the Democrats and Republicans possess an uncanny ability to bridge their ideological distances when it comes to defending US militarism, the Pentagon and the war machine of imperialism. But this is tied to the defense of capitalism, the ruling class, and the ultimate reason for war: the protection of that class's global capital investments. ..."
"... Today Iran and Venezuela are once again in the crosshairs of the American Empire's belligerence. Their defiance to the dominant [neoliberal] socioeconomic order will simply not be tolerated by the global ruling caste, represented as the unquestioned "interests" of the United States. ..."
"... To be sure the American Empire, which has seldom seen a year without pillage of another nation or region, is now facing its greatest nemesis. Unheeded lessons of the past have made it thoroughly inoculated to its own demise. In short, it is drunk on its hubris and unable to grapple with its inevitable descent. ..."
"... The American Empire, one of the shortest lived in human history, has become the biggest threat to humanity ..."
"... But like all empires it will eventually fall. Its endless and costly wars on behalf of capital investments and profiteering are contributing to that demise ..."
"... The US Republic has come and gone - the Empire is failing rapidly despite massive spending to support it. Cecil Rhodes and his heirs dreamed of restoring Anglo American domination of the world yet despite all of the technology employed the US is losing grip. By sheer numbers (and a far more efficient dictatorship) China is moving to a dominant role. ..."
"... In the end, the elite has no problem to rebrand themselves any color it needs to take to rule again, and become totalitarian state. As it becomes in the Soviet Union and China. ..."
"... Another blame America article that fails to mention the International Banksters. They have the finger-pointing thingy down to an art form. ..."
"... How do you begin to change that? Most Americans have been brainwashed and zombified by Hollywood and MSM into revering and lionizing the military without question. The sheer amount of waste in the MIC is not only negligent, but criminal. By the time the sheep awaken, the empire will have run out of their money to pillage. The beast of empire requires new victims to feed off in order to sustain - it devours entire nations, pilfers resources and murders people. Is this really what the founding fathers wanted? ..."
"... Precisely right. It's as if we've painted ourselves into the proverbial corner ..."
May 23, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

" Capitalism's gratuitous wars and sanctioned greed have jeopardized the planet and filled it with refugees. Much of the blame for this rests squarely on the shoulders of the government of the United States. Seventeen years after invading Afghanistan, after bombing it into the 'stone age' with the sole aim of toppling the Taliban, the US government is back in talks with the very same Taliban. In the interim it has destroyed Iraq, Libya and Syria. Hundreds of thousands have lost their lives to war and sanctions, a whole region has descended into chaos, ancient cities -- pounded into dust."

– Arundhati Roy

"As naturally as the ruled always took the morality imposed upon them more seriously than did the rulers themselves, the deceived masses are today captivated by the myth of success even more than the successful are. Immovably, they insist on the very ideology which enslaves them. The misplaced love of the common people for the wrong which is done to them is a greater force than the cunning of the authorities. "

― Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments

"I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism ."

― Smedley Butler, War is a Racket

"It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence. And the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world, may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation, and our earthly habitat would be transformed into an inferno that even the mind of Dante could not imagine."

-- Martin Luther King, Jr., Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, 31 March 1968

Empire understands nothing except ruthless expansion. It has no other raison d'etre. In the past this meant the violent acquisition of lands and territories by a militarized system where [miliraty] caste was very apparent and visible. But today the dealings of empire are far more duplicitous. The ruling order of this age expands empire via the acquisition of capital while using the military industrial complex to police its exploits. But there is an insidious social conditioning at work which has led the general public to where it is today, a state of "inverted totalitarianism" as political philosopher Sheldon Wolin explained. Indeed, capitalism has morphed into the unassailable religion of the age even among the working class. Its tenets are still viewed as sacrosanct.

Violence is the sole language of empire. It is this only currency it uses to enforce its precepts and edicts, both at home and abroad. Eventually this language becomes internalized within the psyche of the subjects. Social and cultural conditioning maintained through constant subtle messaging via mass media begins to mold the public will toward that of authoritarian conformity. The American Empire is emblematic of this process. There is mass compliance to the dictates of the ruling class and this occurs most often without any prompting or debate whatsoever. In this dictatorship of money the poor are looked at with ridicule and contempt, and are often punished legally for their imposed poverty.

But the social conditioning of the American public has led toward a bizarre allegiance to its ruling class oppressors. Propaganda still works here and most are still besotted with the notion of America being a bastion of "freedom and democracy." The growing gap between the ultra-wealthy and the poor and the gutting of civil liberties are ignored. And blind devotion is especially so when it comes to US foreign policy.

Most Americans still believe they live in the greatest country on the planet. They believe the American military to be noble and that they always reluctantly go into or are forced into war. Indeed, both the Democrats and Republicans possess an uncanny ability to bridge their ideological distances when it comes to defending US militarism, the Pentagon and the war machine of imperialism. But this is tied to the defense of capitalism, the ruling class, and the ultimate reason for war: the protection of that class's global capital investments.

The persecution of Chelsea Manning, much like the case of Julian Assange, is demonstrative of this. It is a crusade against truth tellers that has been applauded from both sides of the American establishment, liberal and conservative alike. It does not matter that she helped to expose American war crimes. On the contrary, this is seen as heresy to the Empire itself. Manning's crime was exposing the underbelly of the beast. A war machine which targeted and killed civilians and journalists by soldiers behind a glowing screen thousands of miles away, as if they were playing a video game.

Indeed, those deadened souls pulling the virtual trigger probably thought they were playing a video game since this is how the military seduced them to serve in their ranks in the first place. A kind of hypnotic, addictive, algorithmic tyranny of sorts. It is a form of escapism that so many young Americans are enticed by given their sad prospects in a society that has denuded the commons as well as their future. That it was a war based on lies against an impoverished nation already deeply weakened from decades of American led sanctions is inconsequential....

... ... ...

Today Iran and Venezuela are once again in the crosshairs of the American Empire's belligerence. Their defiance to the dominant [neoliberal] socioeconomic order will simply not be tolerated by the global ruling caste, represented as the unquestioned "interests" of the United States. The imposed suffering on these nations has been twisted as proof that they are now in need of American salvation in the form of even more crippling sanctions, coups, neoliberal austerity and military intervention. As the corporate vultures lie in wait for the next carcass of a society to feed upon, the hawks are busy building the case for the continuation and expansion of capitalist wars of conquest.

Bolton and Pompeo are now the equivalent of the generals who carved up Numidia for the wealthy families of ancient Rome, with Trump, the half-witted, narcissistic and cruel emperor, presiding over the whole in extremis farce. Indeed, the bloated orange Emperor issued the latest of his decrees in his usual banal fashion, via tweet:

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!"

One can query when Iran, or any other nation has ever "threatened" the United States, but that question will never be asked by the corporate press who are also in service to Empire. They are, in fact, its mouthpiece and advocate. The US has at least 900 military bases and colonial outposts scattered around the planet, yet this is never looked at as imperialistic in the least by the establishment, including its media. Scores of nations lie in ruins or are besieged with chaos and misery thanks to American bellicosity , from Libya to Iraq and beyond. But the US never looks back in regret at any of its multiple forays, not even a few years back.

To be sure the American Empire, which has seldom seen a year without pillage of another nation or region, is now facing its greatest nemesis. Unheeded lessons of the past have made it thoroughly inoculated to its own demise. In short, it is drunk on its hubris and unable to grapple with its inevitable descent.

... ... ...

American Empire knows no other language sans brutality, deceit and belligerence...

... ... ...

The American Empire, one of the shortest lived in human history, has become the biggest threat to humanity ...

But like all empires it will eventually fall. Its endless and costly wars on behalf of capital investments and profiteering are contributing to that demise . After all, billions of dollars are spent to keep the bloated military industrial complex afloat in service to the ruling class while social and economic safety nets are torn to shreds...

Comments from The Belligerence Of Empire Zero Hedge

9 hours ago

Nowadays the US has a massive military and little else. And "when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail" - Wesley Clark, Former US General.

14 hours ago

Twaddle. Capitalism has lifted out of poverty more people around the globe than all other "successful" systems combined; and in a fraction of the time. Education. Health. Wealth. Not to mention Arts and Sciences.

Go demand a refund for your liberal education. And stop spreading lies.

11 hours ago (Edited)

Poppycock! Capitalism has traded real sovereign wealth for fiat debt backed funny money at the barrel of a gun! You assholes have been forcing otherwise healthy communities into poverty for decades so you could steal their resources and molest their children! Why? Because children are the only people impressed by your tiny d!cks!

The white male gaze that drives child sex tourism Feelings of disempowerment lead to vulnerable families, children

The organization described the average sex tourist as a middle-aged white male from either Europe or North America who often goes online to find the " best deals. " One particular Web site promised "nights of sex with two young Thai girls for the price of a tank of gas."

Sowmia Nair, a Department of Justice agent, said the Thai government often "turns a blind eye" to child sex tourism because of the country's economic reliance on the tourist trade in general . He also said police officers are often corrupt.

" Police have been known to guard brothels and even procure children for prostitution," Nair said. "Some police directly exploit the children themselves."

A report from the International Bureau for Children's Rights said the majority of child prostitutes come from poor families in northern Thailand, referred to as the "hill tribes." With limited economic opportunities and bleak financial circumstances, these families, out of desperation, give their children to "recruiters," who promise them jobs in the city and then force the children into prostitution.

Sometimes families themselves even prostitute their children or sell them into the sex trade for a minuscule sum of money.

This is not by accident! This is by design!

14 hours ago

Capitalism has nothing to do with this. For the average American the empire is a losing proposition.

13 hours ago (Edited)

Empire good. Emperor bad. Kingdom good. King bad. Country good. President bad. Village good. Idiot bad.

13 hours ago (Edited)

Empire is cancer. Especially the present one that leaves a trail of failed states and antangonism in its wake.

16 hours ago

We are part of a scientific dictatorship - the 'Ultimate Revolution' Huxley spoke of in 1962 where the oppressed willingly submit to their enslavement. Social conditioning - promoted by continuous propaganda stressing that the state is their protector, reinforced by endless 'terrorist threats' to keep the masses fearful is but one part of the system.

The state no longer has to use threats and fear of punishment to keep the masses under control - the masses have been convinced that they are better off as slaves and serfs than they were as free men.

The US Republic has come and gone - the Empire is failing rapidly despite massive spending to support it. Cecil Rhodes and his heirs dreamed of restoring Anglo American domination of the world yet despite all of the technology employed the US is losing grip. By sheer numbers (and a far more efficient dictatorship) China is moving to a dominant role.

18 hours ago

Capitalism and corporatism are not the same. When corporate interests effectively wield gov power, you have corporatism, not Capitalism.

14 hours ago

Corporatism=Fascism.

18 hours ago 'Muricanism is the gee-gaw of the chattering classes.

18 hours ago (Edited)

The US is its own worst enemy. They have no idea what they are doing. 2008 – "Oh dear, the global economy just blew up" Its experts investigate and conclude it was a black swan.

https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.52.41.png

It is a black swan if you don't consider debt. They use neoclassical economics that doesn't consider debt.

They can't work out why inflation isn't coming back and the real economy isn't recovering faster.

Look at the debt over-hang that's still left after 2008 in the graph above, that's the problem. The repayment on debt to banks destroy money pushing the economy towards debt deflation.

QE can't enter the real economy as so many people are still loaded up with debt and there are too few borrowers.

QE can get into the markets inflating them and the US stock market is now at 1929 levels. They have created another asset price bubble that is ready to collapse leading to another financial crisis.

We need a new scientific economics for globalisation, got any ideas?

What if we just stick some complex maths on top of 1920s neoclassical economics?

No one will notice.

They didn't either, but it's still got all its old problems.

The 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn't look at private debt, neoclassical economics.

What's the problem?

  1. The belief in the markets gets everyone thinking you are creating real wealth by inflating asset prices.
  2. Bank credit pours into inflating asset prices rather than creating real wealth (as measured by GDP) as no one is looking at the debt building up

1929 and 2008 look so similar because they are; it's the same economics and thinking.

https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.52.41.png

What was just a problem in the 1920s in the US is now global.

At 25.30 mins you can see the super imposed private debt-to-GDP ratios.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAStZJCKmbU&list=PLmtuEaMvhDZZQLxg24CAiFgZYldtoCR-R&index=6

The 1920s problem in the US is now everywhere, UK, US, Euro-zone, Japan and China.

20 hours ago (Edited)

Capitalism is based on darwinian economic competition driven by a desire to accumulate material wealth. When a capitalist becomes sufficiently rich, he can (and does) buy politicians and armies to do his bidding. Ironically, although capitalism is based on the assumption of competition, capitalists actually hate competition and harbor the urge to put competitors out of business. The true goal of a capitalists is monopoly-- as long as it is them.

Imperialism is a logical (and historically predictable) expansion of capitalism.

18 hours ago

Capitalism may not be the path to peace, but just about every other ism, including socialism and communism delivered worse.

Attacking capitalism for common failings is off base.

15 hours ago

Socialism and ultimately communism appear when capitalism goes rampant, and it is normal for the socium to embrace socialism when the inequality becomes too large.

In the end, the elite has no problem to rebrand themselves any color it needs to take to rule again, and become totalitarian state. As it becomes in the Soviet Union and China.

So don't mistake the people's desire for equal world with totalitarian capitalism masked as socialism.

14 hours ago

the real issue is NO GROUP OF HUMANS can be trusted will any form of power. ever. period.

so it goes that no "xyz"ism" will ever work out for the whole. yet humans are social animals and seek to be in groups governed by the very people that strive to lead that exhibit sociopathic tendencies, which are the worst possible leaders. how fuked up is that?

so how can that work? it does for a while. then we end up in the same spot every time, turmoil, the forth turning.

the luck of life is the period of time you live during, where and what stage of human turmoil the society is in...

21 hours ago (Edited)

" Capitalism's gratuitous wars and sanctioned greed have jeopardized the planet and filled it with refugees".

Capitalism did all that huh? It had nothing to do with corrupt politicians in bed with corporations and banks. Now they even have the military singing the same stupidity. Governments make these messes, not capitalism. Someone who risked their life for a corrupt government giving the pieces of **** that put him there a free pass by blaming it on capitalism. What a moron. When politicians hear this stupidity, it's like music to their ears. They know they've successfully shifted the blame to a simple ISM. Governments want to blame the very thing that will fix all of this, for the sake of self-preservation.

18 hours ago

Every system acts to centralise power, even anarchism. So you say it was wealth that enabled what was to follow but it was really power.. something every -ism will centralise and enable.

22 hours ago

Another blame America article that fails to mention the International Banksters. They have the finger-pointing thingy down to an art form.

16 hours ago

Really! Did you miss the Smedley Butler quote?

22 hours ago

Could you please distinguish between capitalism and political, monetary, fiscal, press, and legal aberrations that can occur in capitalist systems because of government sloth and malfeasance? Media monopoly, mass illegal immigration, and offshoring are not the essence of capitalism. And socialist systems can see hideous abuses.

Please read something more than **** and Jane adventures.

23 hours ago

"... is still the owner of the world's biggest nuclear arsenal."

===

Here is the list of all nine countries with nuclear weapons in descending order, starting with the country that has the most nuclear weapons at hand and ending with the country that has the least amount of nuclear weapons

http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/countries-with-nuclear-weapons/

23 hours ago

It is now building a $100 million dollar drone base in Africa...

====

China 'negotiates military base' in Djibouti | News | Al Jazeera

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2015/05/150509084913175.html

China is negotiating a military base in a strategic port of Djibouti, the president said, according to the AFP news agency. The move raises the prospect of US and Chinese bases side-by-side in the ...

China May Consider These Countries For Its Next Overseas ...

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphjennings/2017/10/10/china-is-most-likely-to-open-future-military-bases-in-these-3-countries/

Oct 10, 2017 · China and the small African nation of Djibouti reached an agreement in July to let the People's Liberation Army establish up its first overseas military base there. The base on Africa's east ...

China is building its first military base in Africa . America ...

https://www.theweek.com/articles/598367/china-building-first-military-base-africa-america-should-nervous

China is building its first military base in Africa . America should be very nervous. ... In Africa , China has found not just a market for money but for jobs and land -- crucial components of ...

23 hours ago (Edited)

Oh noes! 1 base in Africa.....meanwhile the empire has 800 outposts around the world and despite that, like a snowflake, is bitching about China's one.

Isn't it fascinating how the Chinese do not find it necessary to resort to retarded regime change projects and stoopid kikery to "win" influence? Easy peasy. Methinks the Anglo-Zionists can learn a trick or two from China.

23 hours ago

The empire of 800 outposts is puny compared to the 1960's and 1970's. I can provide the information if you'd like. Almost all the 800 have company sized or smaller contingents. Still, I'd like to see much of it dismantled. No world Policeman.

23 hours ago

The entire world is in favor of a more peaceful planet Earth, except the military-industrial complex. Ron Paul

War puts money in their pockets. Lots of money. It's in the trillions of dollars.

23 hours ago (Edited)

How do you begin to change that? Most Americans have been brainwashed and zombified by Hollywood and MSM into revering and lionizing the military without question. The sheer amount of waste in the MIC is not only negligent, but criminal. By the time the sheep awaken, the empire will have run out of their money to pillage. The beast of empire requires new victims to feed off in order to sustain - it devours entire nations, pilfers resources and murders people. Is this really what the founding fathers wanted?

Now you know why wars happen. If "we the people" can't stop this beast, another nation's military will.

21 hours ago

@BH II

Precisely right. It's as if we've painted ourselves into the proverbial corner. The only way out of the morass is to find men of very high character to correctly lead the way out. America needs a Socrates.

[May 22, 2019] The Great Power Game is On and China is Winning

Notable quotes:
"... As the Pentagon's strategic paper posits, China's overriding foreign policy goal is to squeeze America out of East Asia and force it back to the Hawaiian islands as its forward position in the Pacific. Thus would Hawaii cease to be America's strategic platform for projecting power into Asia and become merely a defensive position. If this strategic retreat were to happen, it would be one of the most significant developments in international relations since the end of World War II. ..."
"... None of your suggestions is likely to happen, absent defeat. America's trump card is the fiat dollar as world currency, defended by the full faith and power of an imperial global military, with its own economic inertia to the domestic economy as well. ..."
"... The most obvious step is to forge a genuine alliance with India. America can't take on China alone (although China's ineluctable demographic decline may make the US' relative decline in fortunes short-lived), and the world's largest democracy, and soon to be most populous nation, is an obvious counterweight to China, despite its still inefficient economy. ..."
"... The US has been trying to reverse this, but our patronizing attitude towards a proud country seeking great-power status has led to modest progress at best, and their defense relationship with Russia is stronger than with us. ..."
"... There is no countervailing force within the USA that is able to tame MIC appetites, which are constantly growing. In a sense the nation is taken hostage with no root for escape via internal political mechanisms (for all practical purposes I would consider neocons that dominate the USA foreign policy to be highly paid lobbyists of MIC.) ..."
"... Overlooked might be Germany's copycat foreign policy posturing too often hidden behind 'humanitarian' language. https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/projects/new-power-new-responsibility/the-paper/ ..."
"... Guess the parallel with the US 'New American Century' is not misplaced. Do you realize that Germany aims to leverage the EU for establishing its position as a 'World Player'. Do realize too that it tends to categorize other countries along the same zero sum power line of reasoning as the US "either with us or against us". ..."
"... This German foreign policy gave birth to the European Neighborhood Policy which exploited the US instigated coup to indenture Ukraine into a dependent NON-member state associated exclusively with the EU excluding normal economic relations with Russia. ..."
"... One of the most malign effects of Israeli and Saudi control of American politicians is the grotesque overemphasis on the Middle East in US foreign policy. Trump's trade fights to one side, it often seems as if we dismiss or ignore much of the rest of the world. This disproportion has been obvious and growing since the end of the last century, but at this point it's pathological. ..."
"... Well, it all depends on goals doesn't it. US foreign policy goals are to increase chaos and create international tension. Why? Because US foreign policy exists to feed military and intel contractors on the one hand and asserting power for the sake of asserting power with no overall strategy other the Great Game. ..."
May 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Great Power Game is On and China is Winning If America wants to maintain any influence in Asia, it needs to wake up. By Robert W. Merry May 22, 2019

President Donald J. Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, Thursday, November 9, 2017, in Beijing, People's Republic of China. ( Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead) From across the pond come two geopolitical analyses in two top-quality British publications that lay out in stark terms the looming struggle between the United States and China. It isn't just a trade war, says The Economist in a major cover package. "Trade is not the half of it," declares the magazine. "The United States and China are contesting every domain, from semiconductors to submarines and from blockbuster films to lunar exploration." The days when the two superpowers sought a win-win world are gone.

For its own cover, The Financial Times ' Philip Stephens produced a piece entitled, "Trade is just an opening shot in a wider US-China conflict." The subhead: "The current standoff is part of a struggle for global pre-eminence." Writes Stephens: "The trade narrative is now being subsumed into a much more alarming one. Economics has merged with geopolitics. China, you can hear on almost every corner in sight of the White House and Congress, is not just a dangerous economic competitor but a looming existential threat."

Stephens quotes from the so-called National Defense Strategy, entitled "Sharpening the American Military's Competitive Edge," released last year by President Donald Trump's Pentagon. In the South China Sea, for example, says the strategic paper, "China has mounted a rapid military modernization campaign designed to limit U.S. access to the region and provide China a freer hand there." The broader Chinese goal, warns the Pentagon, is "Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global pre-eminence in the future."

The Economist and Stephens are correct. The trade dispute is merely a small part of a much larger and even more intense geopolitical rivalry that could ignite what Stephens describes as "an altogether hotter war."

As the Pentagon's strategic paper posits, China's overriding foreign policy goal is to squeeze America out of East Asia and force it back to the Hawaiian islands as its forward position in the Pacific. Thus would Hawaii cease to be America's strategic platform for projecting power into Asia and become merely a defensive position. If this strategic retreat were to happen, it would be one of the most significant developments in international relations since the end of World War II.

America has been projecting significant power into Asia since the 1890s, when President William McKinley acquired Hawaii through annexation, then seized Guam and the Philippines in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. For good measure, he cleared the way for the construction of the Panama Canal and continued his predecessors' robust buildup of the U.S. Navy. President Theodore Roosevelt then pushed the Canal project to actual construction, accelerated the naval buildup, and sent his Great White Fleet around the world as a signal that America had arrived on the global scene -- as if anyone could have missed that obvious reality.

With the total victory over Japan in World War II, America emerged as the hegemon of Asia, with colonies, naval bases, carrier groups, and strategic alliances that made it foolhardy for any nation to even think of challenging our regional dominance. Not even the Vietnam defeat, as psychologically debilitating as that was, could undercut America's Asian preeminence.

Now China is seeking to position itself to push America back into its own hemisphere. And judging from the language of the National Defense Strategy, America doesn't intend to be pushed back. This is a clash of wills, with all the makings of an actual military conflict.

But if China represents the greatest potential threat to America's global position, making an eventual war likely (though not inevitable), why is Washington not acting like it knows this? Why is it engaging in so many silly military capers that undermine its ability to focus attention and resources on the China challenge? While the National Defense Strategy paper suggests that U.S. officials understand the threat, America's actions reveal an incapacity to grapple with this reality in any concentrated fashion.

Here's a general idea of what a U.S. foreign policy under Trump might look like if it was based on a clear recognition of the China threat:

Iran: Since the end of the Cold War, the sheer folly of Trump's Iran policy has been exceeded only by George W. Bush's Iraq invasion. Barack Obama bequeathed to his successor a rare gift in the Iran nuclear deal, which provided an opportunity to direct attention away from Tehran and toward America's position in East Asia. In no way did it serve America's national interest to stir up tensions with Iran while the far more ominous China threat loomed. A policy based on realism would have seized that opportunity and used the channels of communication forged through the nuclear deal to establish some kind of accommodation, however wary or tenuous. Instead, America under Trump has created a crisis where none need exist.

Personnel: While the Iran policy might be difficult to reverse, a reversal is imperative. And that means Trump must fire National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. While their bully boy actions on the global stage seem to mesh with Trump's own temperament, the president also appears increasingly uncomfortable with the results, particularly with regard to their maximum pressure on Iran, which has brought America closer than ever to actual hostilities. Whether Trump has the subtlety of mind to understand just how destructive these men have been to his broad foreign policy goals is an open question. And Trump certainly deserves plenty of blame for pushing America into a zone of open hostility with Iran. But he can't extricate himself from his own folly so long as he has Bolton and Pompeo pushing him toward ever more bellicosity in ever more areas of the world. He needs men around him who appreciate just how wrongheaded American foreign policy has been in the post-Cold War era -- men such as retired Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor and former Virginia senator Jim Webb. Bolton and Pompeo -- out!

Russia: Of all the developments percolating in the world today, none is more ominous than the growing prospect of an anti-American alliance involving Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran. Yet such an alliance is in the works, largely as a result of America's inability to forge a foreign policy that recognizes the legitimate geopolitical interests of other nations. If the United States is to maintain its position in Asia, this trend must be reversed.

The key is Russia, largely by dint of its geopolitical position in the Eurasian heartland. If China's global rise is to be thwarted, it must be prevented from gaining dominance over Eurasia. Only Russia can do that. But Russia has no incentive to act because it feels threatened by the West. NATO has pushed eastward right up to its borders and threatened to incorporate regions that have been part of Russia's sphere of influence -- and its defense perimeter -- for centuries.

Given the trends that are plainly discernible in the Far East, the West must normalize relations with Russia. That means providing assurances that NATO expansion is over for good. It means the West recognizing that Georgia, Belarus, and, yes, Ukraine are within Russia's natural zone of influence. They will never be invited into NATO, and any solution to the Ukraine conundrum will have to accommodate Russian interests. Further, the West must get over Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula. It is a fait accompli -- and one that any other nation, including America, would have executed in similar circumstances.

Would Russian President Vladimir Putin spurn these overtures and maintain a posture of bellicosity toward the West? We can't be sure, but that certainly wouldn't be in his interest. And how will we ever know when it's never been tried? We now understand that allegations of Trump's campaign colluding with Russia were meritless, so it's time to determine the true nature and extent of Putin's strategic aims. That's impossible so long as America maintains its sanctions and general bellicosity.

NATO: Trump was right during the 2016 presidential campaign when he said that NATO was obsolete. He later dialed back on that, but any neutral observer can see that the circumstances that spawned NATO as an imperative of Western survival no longer exist. The Soviet Union is gone, and the 1.3 million Russian and client state troops it placed on Western Europe's doorstep are gone as well.

So what kind of threat could Russia pose to Europe and the West? The European Union's GDP is more than 12 times that of Russia's, while Russia's per capita GDP is only a fourth of Europe's. The Russian population is 144.5 million to Europe's 512 million. Does anyone seriously think that Russia poses a serious threat to Europe or that Europe needs the American big brother for survival, as in the immediate postwar years? Of course not. This is just a ruse for the maintenance of the status quo -- Europe as subservient to America, the Russian bear as menacing grizzly, America as protective slayer in the event of an attack.

This is all ridiculous. NATO shouldn't be abolished. It should be reconfigured for the realities of today. It should be European-led, not American-led. It should pay for its own defense entirely, whatever that might be (and Europe's calculation of that will inform us as to its true assessment of the Russian threat). America should be its primary ally, but not committed to intervene whenever a tiny European nation feels threatened. NATO's Article 5, committing all alliance nations to the defense of any other when attacked, should be scrapped in favor of language that calls for U.S. intervention only in the event of a true threat to Western Civilization itself.

And while a European-led NATO would find it difficult to pull back from its forward eastern positions after adding so many nations in the post-Cold War era, it should extend assurances to Russia that it has no intention of acting provocatively -- absent, of course, any Russian provocations.

The Middle East: The United States should reduce its footprint in the region on a major scale. It should get out of Afghanistan, with assurances to the Taliban that it will allow that country to go its own way, irrespective of the outcome, so long as it doesn't pose a threat to the United States or its vital interests. U.S. troops should be removed from Syria, and America should stop supporting Saudi Arabia's nasty war in Yemen. We should make clear to Israel and the world that the Jewish state is a major U.S. ally and will be protected whenever it is truly threatened. But we should also emphasize that we won't seek through military means to alter the regional balance of power based on mere perceptions of potential future threats to countries in the region, even allies. The United States won't get drawn into regional wars unrelated to its own vital interests.

Far East: Once the other regional decks are cleared, America must turn its attention to Asia. The first question: do we wish to maintain our current position there, or can we accept China's rise even if it means a U.S. retreat or partial retreat from the region? If a retreat is deemed acceptable, then America should secure the best terms possible over a long period of tough and guileful negotiations. But if we decide to maintain regional dominance, then China will have to be isolated and deterred. That will mean a long period of economic tension and even economic warfare, confrontations over China's extravagant claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea and elsewhere, strong U.S. alliances with other Asian nations nurtured through deft and measured diplomacy, soaring technological superiority, and a continual upper hand in any arms race.

In this scenario, can war be averted? History suggests that may not be likely. But either way, America won't remain an Asian power if it allows itself to be pinned down in multiple nonstrategic spats and adventures around the world. Asia is today's Great Game and China is winning. That won't be reversed unless America starts playing.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century . MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Hide 27 comments 27 Responses to The Great Power Game is On and China is Winning

Fran Macadam, says: May 21, 2019 at 10:36 pm

None of your suggestions is likely to happen, absent defeat. America's trump card is the fiat dollar as world currency, defended by the full faith and power of an imperial global military, with its own economic inertia to the domestic economy as well. That allows U.S. legal decisions to have extra territorial scope as the real international power, not now irrelevant toothless international institutions like the UN.
Whine Merchant , says: May 22, 2019 at 12:02 am
Nice summary, Mr Merry. Even the most die-hard Trumpet can find something to disagree upon with their Dear Leader while supporting everything else he does, but this clear and succinct outline leaves no where for the Deplorables to hide. Coupled with the China trade war fiasco, thias is pretty grim.

Of course, come 2020, all will be forgiven by the GOP, and even one criticism with be blasted with a twitter assault.

Fazal Majid , says: May 22, 2019 at 12:22 am
The most obvious step is to forge a genuine alliance with India. America can't take on China alone (although China's ineluctable demographic decline may make the US' relative decline in fortunes short-lived), and the world's largest democracy, and soon to be most populous nation, is an obvious counterweight to China, despite its still inefficient economy.

Unfortunately our support for the treacherous Pakistanis has poisoned our relationship with India. In 1971, Nixon actually sent a carrier group in the Bay of Bengal to intimidate the Indians into stopping support for the Bangladeshis fighting a war of independence against the genocidal (West) Pakistan, and the Indians had to call on the Soviets to send nuclear submarines to deter that threat. Like all ancient nations, Indians have long memories. Ironically, that reckless action was in cahoots with China.

The US has been trying to reverse this, but our patronizing attitude towards a proud country seeking great-power status has led to modest progress at best, and their defense relationship with Russia is stronger than with us.

likbez , says: May 22, 2019 at 12:29 am
Great article. Thank you very much!

Pragmatic isolationism is a better deal then the current neocon foreign policy. Which Trump is pursuing with the zeal similar to Obama (who continued all Bush II wars and started two new in Libya and Syria.) Probably this partially can be explained by his dependence of Adelson and pro-Israeli lobby. But the problem is deeper then Trump: it is the power of MIC and American exceptionalism ( which can be viewed as a form of far right nationalism ) about which Andrew Bacevich have written a lot:

From the mid-1940s onward, the primacy of the United States was assumed as a given. History had rendered a verdict: we -- not the Brits and certainly not the Germans, French, or Russians -- were number one, and, more importantly, were meant to be. That history's verdict might be subject to revision was literally unimaginable, especially to anyone making a living in or near Washington, D.C.

If doubts remained on that score, the end of the Cold War removed them. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism, politicians, journalists, and policy intellectuals threw themselves headlong into a competition over who could explain best just how unprecedented, how complete, and how wondrous was the global preeminence of the United States.

Choose your own favorite post-Cold War paean to American power and privilege. Mine remains Madeleine Albright's justification for some now-forgotten episode of armed intervention, uttered 20 years ago when American wars were merely occasional (and therefore required some nominal justification) rather then perpetual (and therefore requiring no justification whatsoever).

"If we have to use force," Secretary of State Albright announced on morning television in February 1998, "it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future."

Back then, it was Albright's claim to American indispensability that stuck in my craw. Yet as a testimony to ruling class hubris, the assertion of indispensability pales in comparison to Albright's insistence that "we see further into the future."

In fact, from February 1998 down to the present, events have time and again caught Albright's "we" napping. The 9/11 terrorist attacks and the several unsuccessful wars of choice that followed offer prime examples. But so too did Washington's belated and inadequate recognition of the developments that actually endanger the wellbeing of 21st-century Americans, namely climate change, cyber threats, and the ongoing reallocation of global power prompted by the rise of China.

Rather than seeing far into the future, American elites have struggled to discern what might happen next week. More often than not, they get even that wrong.

Like some idiot savant, Donald Trump understood this. He grasped that the establishment's formula for militarized global leadership applied to actually existing post-Cold War circumstances was spurring American decline. Certainly other observers, including contributors to this publication, had for years been making the same argument, but in the halls of power their dissent counted for nothing.

Yet in 2016, Trump's critique of U.S. policy resonated with many ordinary Americans and formed the basis of his successful run for the presidency. Unfortunately, once Trump assumed office, that critique did not translate into anything even remotely approximating a coherent strategy. President Trump's half-baked formula for Making America Great Again -- building "the wall," provoking trade wars, and elevating Iran to the status of existential threat -- is, to put it mildly, flawed, if not altogether irrelevant.

His own manifest incompetence and limited attention span don't help.

There is no countervailing force within the USA that is able to tame MIC appetites, which are constantly growing. In a sense the nation is taken hostage with no root for escape via internal political mechanisms (for all practical purposes I would consider neocons that dominate the USA foreign policy to be highly paid lobbyists of MIC.)

In this limited sense the alliance of China, Iran, Russia and Turkey might serve as an external countervailing force which allows some level of return to sanity, like was the case when the USSR used to exist.

I agree with Bacevich that the dissolution of the USSR corrupted the US elite to the extent that it became reckless and somewhat suicidal in seeking "Full Spectrum Dominance" (which is an illusive goal in any case taking into account existing arsenals in China and Russia and the growing distance between EU and the USA.)

Piero , says: May 22, 2019 at 2:06 am
Your current foreign policy simply seems to reflect the astonishing degree of violence that permeates your society, when observing you Americans from a place like Hong Kong or China it's really frightening, I would be more scared to visit the US than Liberia or Sierra Leone, with those innumerable ( armed ) nutcases roaming your streets, you are by now used to it, and it saddens me, thinking of how grateful we should be for all you have done in the distant past for so many countries in the world
Fayez Abedaziz , says: May 22, 2019 at 2:30 am
The blockheads advising know nothing Trump about history and geo-politics don't care a whit about the American people or what is ten years down the road. These people, Bolton, Pompeo and the joke-Kushner- are ego/power lovers and are doing the opposite of a sane policy to every part of the globe.
How the hell do you goad and threaten Russia, for example, for no good reason and how do you threaten Russia, which, like the U.S., with the push of several buttons can turn any city in the world to ashes, in minutes.

The American people are not only dumb as a wall, they don't care about foreign policy and they don't wanna know. The're looking at celebrities and looking at their smart phones for fun and weirdness. The phones are smarter than them and they pay the price when clown Trump does things like trade wars and so on.

Yeah, the average American, what prizes they are, as in they look and say,

Is that the actress there on the 'news' oh, what's she wearing is that the 'genius' athlete, what does that smelly guy say today hey, let's order food delivered so we can watch and tomorrow to the sports bar and

Kent , says: May 22, 2019 at 6:32 am
This article forgets to mention why it would be in the American people's interest to be the hegemon of East Asia. I can't think of any reason myself. Anyone?
JR , says: May 22, 2019 at 7:11 am
Thanks for this article.

Overlooked might be Germany's copycat foreign policy posturing too often hidden behind 'humanitarian' language. https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/projects/new-power-new-responsibility/the-paper/

Guess the parallel with the US 'New American Century' is not misplaced. Do you realize that Germany aims to leverage the EU for establishing its position as a 'World Player'. Do realize too that it tends to categorize other countries along the same zero sum power line of reasoning as the US "either with us or against us".

This German foreign policy gave birth to the European Neighborhood Policy which exploited the US instigated coup to indenture Ukraine into a dependent NON-member state associated exclusively with the EU excluding normal economic relations with Russia.

The result is a thoroughly corrupt indebted Ukraine disenfranchising more than 60% of its population through imposing forced 'Ukrainization'.

Cavin , says: May 22, 2019 at 7:51 am
I agree with the article, but not the title. The article acknowledges two important points, but leaves out another.

First, it correctly acknowledges that our obsession with Iran is vastly disproportionate to the threat it poses. In fact, we would do well to scale back our adventurism in the Middle East. If China is winning in the Far East, it is largely because we have chosen to devote resources elsewhere.

Second, it correctly acknowledges that continued antagonizing of Russia by the West is needless. It is time to normalize relations with Russia, recognize its legitimate interest in having some buffer against the West, and repatriate Russian nationals who have recently immigrated to the West.

Third, the article fails to acknowledge that China, like Russia, is also entitled to some sphere of influence. And there is historic precedence for certain such claims. Those claims are tenuous when it comes to Japan and the Korean peninsula. But there is little reason why American Navy ships should be sailing right up to the borders of China, just as there is little reason why Chinese Navy ships should be sailing off the coast of Oregon. We also need to understand that provoking a trade war that slows the Chinese economy merely enhances the power of President Xi. Trump has given President Xi a massive political gift, and for no good reason. The trade imbalance is evidence of the strength of our economy, not a sign that we're losing out to China.

Grits Again , says: May 22, 2019 at 8:02 am
One of the most malign effects of Israeli and Saudi control of American politicians is the grotesque overemphasis on the Middle East in US foreign policy. Trump's trade fights to one side, it often seems as if we dismiss or ignore much of the rest of the world. This disproportion has been obvious and growing since the end of the last century, but at this point it's pathological.

If we are to compete effectively with China and other global players, if we are to have a balanced and effective foreign policy in general, we need to remove the Middle East blinders, get Israel and Saudi Arabia off our back, and start seeing the world as it is, rather than as Israel and Saudi Arabia pay our politicians to see it.

Collin , says: May 22, 2019 at 8:25 am
Simple questions: Why should we care? And how does all this soft power benefit the average citizens? And for all the China fears, they appear to react very rationally and avoid military conflicts.

Ok, it is true Chinese oil buying is probably keeping Iran in a better economic situation but again this seems more of a problem of Iran hawks not the average citizen. Honestly, I wish the US had more of treasury focused foreign policy and stop worrying about US power.

Mommsen the Younger , says: May 22, 2019 at 9:26 am
Excellent. Merry has it exactly. (Note: Have reread paragraph 9 several times and believe the copy editor fell asleep here)
Chris Cosmos , says: May 22, 2019 at 9:30 am
Well, it all depends on goals doesn't it. US foreign policy goals are to increase chaos and create international tension. Why? Because US foreign policy exists to feed military and intel contractors on the one hand and asserting power for the sake of asserting power with no overall strategy other the Great Game.

Any rational analysis of the past couple of decades forces us to come to that conclusion. The reason why this whole scheme is unlikely to fail in the short and medium term is US military involvement in 150 countries has brought much of the world under Washington's control–or at least their ruling elites. The best China can do is provide an alternative to the Empire and live in some sort of harmony with it because China has not shown any intention of competing militarily with the US. Iran is a key part of the Silk Road project and that is the strategic reason for the attempt to crush or destroy Iran that is central to the strategy. The US wants to keep China and Russia out of Europe–that, if you look at policy, seems to be the main contest.

HenionJD , says: May 22, 2019 at 9:30 am
The conflict with Iran has assumed heightened importance because,at 70 years old, John Bolton has to face the possibility that he might die without having started a war somewhere.
Thaomas , says: May 22, 2019 at 9:32 am
The author misses two other two other components of of a proper China "containment" policy: Immigration and trade policy. The US should be actively trying to attract immigration of skilled young workers and entrepreneurs (including from China) and encouraging university graduates from abroad to remain. The US ought to join the TPP in order to increase our leverage in negotiating reductions in Chinese restrictions on trade and investment.
Sid Finster , says: May 22, 2019 at 10:47 am
Why would Russia want to make a deal with the United States, which cannot be trusted to keep its word, or even to act rationally in pursuit of its own interests?
TheSnark , says: May 22, 2019 at 11:20 am
Generally a good article, but it misses an important point. While China and Russia do have natural spheres of influence, the countries within those natural spheres hate being there.

Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam are naturally within China's influence, but they don't trust the Chinese at all, and surely don't want China to dominate their countries. And given they way the Chinese empire treats Tibetan and Uigurs, they have good reason for that.

Similarly in Eastern Europe, where Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic States might be in Russian sphere, but they sure don't want to be. The fact is that NATO did not aggressively seek them out for membership, those small countries begged to join NATO out of their historical fear of Russia.

While recognizing such spheres of influence, do we want to abandon friendly, democratic countries to a hostile, autocratic power? The Cold War model of Finland give some hope for a compromise, but it won't be easy to implement outside of Finland.

david , says: May 22, 2019 at 1:41 pm
This article is another vivid illustration of how disoriented and narrow-minded when a typical intelligent and well-meaning American is talking about China. For examples:

1. The author has no problem acknowledging specific geopolitical interests to accommodate Russia or even Iran, but when he comes to China, he fails completely to mention any of the legitimate interests China has in East Asia.

2. The author repeats the nonsensical China haters' allegation about China's threat to America, and China's intention to push American out of East Asia.

3. The author resorts back to a typical zero-sum or even cold-war style mentality when talking about overall China strategy, without even considering the possibilities that China and America can co-exist in a friendly manner, where all the peaceful competition between the two countries ultimately translating into net positive results that benefit the people of both countries and the world.

Unfortunately, our so-called "experts" in China are consistently failing Americans badly, because they lack the knowledge and perspective to think from the other side of the coin.

Steve , says: May 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm
I scrolled for quite a bit before finding Thaomas' comment about TPP. Leaving it will prove to be one of the Trump's admin's greatest blunders (which is saying something) and any column about China strategy that omits it is incomplete.
hooly , says: May 22, 2019 at 2:01 pm
So why exactly should Russia be accommodated and be allowed its sphere of influence and a 'defense perimeter' and not China? I don't get it. And why should the USA be allowed the fruits of its aggression in the form of an annexed and brutally conquered Hawaii? why can't Uncle Sam be satisfied with San Diego as a naval base?

The USA has the Monroe Doctrine giving it dominion over the Western Hemisphere, and China holds the Mandate of Heaven granting it hegemony over everything else. Can't the Dragon and the Eagle get along on that basis??

Ken Zaretzke , says: May 22, 2019 at 2:06 pm
In terms of geography, China vitally needs Russia in order to close off a corridor through which Muslims will flow to China. Without that cooperation from Russia, China will be seriously hobbled by unassimilable and hostile migrants in its south. At least symbolically, this will cripple its superpower claims.

The U.S. would be stupid not to seek an alliance with Russia, given Russia's geographical strengths, which also includes its proximity to the Arctic and therefore a legal claim to the oil and gas buried there.

Geography is Russia's long-term strength, and not incidentally is a reason why trying militarily to force Putin to surrender Crimea could easily lead to nuclear war, which might begin with tactical (battlefield) Russian nukes aimed at NATO garrisons in eastern Europe.

China isn't fated to win its contest with the U.S. if it must depend on Russia in order to become an unquestioned superpower. We need Russia for strategic security as much as Russia needs us for economic growth.

fabian , says: May 22, 2019 at 2:47 pm
Nice summary. In my view the US (not Trump) make a big mistake to throw Russia in the arms of China. It's not only its geopolitical situation that is the problem but the fact the it gives China unlimited access to natural resources. In a generation, if things goes the way they do now, the only saving grace for the US will be a failure of this partnership. Because if it works, by the sheer force of gravity it will swallow Europe. But betting on the adversary's failure is not a good strategy.
workingdad , says: May 22, 2019 at 3:08 pm
eh, keeping pressure on Iran keeps Saudi Arabia happy which means they stay in our sphere; as opposed to China's.

Until Venezuala wants to become part of the Oil-for-dollars system or we all drive electric cars and only oil for remote work and emergency military expeditions then we need the Saudis on our side.

Un Citoyen </