Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

War is Racket

News Antiamericanism as a Blowback to American Empire Recommended Links Predator state Syria civil war Civil war in Ukraine American Imperialism
New American Militarism Media-Military-Industrial Complex Anatol Leiven on American Messianism  American Exceptionalism Neoconservatism as a US version of Neoliberalism The Deep State  
All wars are bankers wars Casino Capitalism Corporatism Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization National Security State Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Big Uncle is Watching You
Looting pays dividends to empire Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Hypocrisy of British ruling elite Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime   Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Globalization of Financial Flows
Fifth Column of Globalization Color revolutions Compradors NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions Diplomacy by deception Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism
EuroMaidan Victoria Nuland’s ‘Ukraine-gate’ The Far Right Forces in Ukraine as Trojan horse of neoliberalism Resurgence of ideology of neo-fascism Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law  The Grand Chessboard Machiavellism
Media domination strategy Media as a weapon of mass deception Developing Countries Hit Hardest by Brain Drain Republics are usually warlike and unscrupulous Politically Incorrect Political Humor American Imperialism Bookshelf Etc

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

Printer Friendly Version

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:


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

Home 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003

For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section

[Jul 07, 2020] War is no longer about winning. Endless conflict is the name of the game. Military defense contractors are the most influential of all lobbyists

Jul 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

450.org , Jul 7 2020 2:06 utc | 99

@96

War is no longer about winning. Endless conflict is the name of the game. Military defense contractors are the most influential of all lobbyists and so intertwined in government that it's truly & effectively fascist. Profit is the end, war is the means.


Jackrabbit , Jul 7 2020 2:28 utc | 102

Wait ... what?
<> <> <> <> <>

IMO Trump has started wars but the countries and peoples he picks on know that it's best not to respond too forcibly or they invite greater damage.

I'm surprised that moa commenters give any credence to the claims that portray Trump as peaceful/peace-loving. In addition to his belligerence, Empire front-man Trump has initiated a huge military build-up, ended long-standing peace treaties, and militarized space.

!!

Edward , Jul 7 2020 2:56 utc | 106

This is the standard Washington rhetoric that accompanies their coup attempts. It is a companion to the "moderate democracy" rhetoric about U.S. satellite governments like Saudi Arabia. The rhetoric tells you that these people have zero interest in democracy, honesty, or avoiding hypocrisy. Some of Bush's neocons are Biden Supporters; what a surprise.

Don Bacon , Jul 7 2020 3:13 utc | 108

@ Jackrabbit 102
re: Isn't USA effectively at war with Venezuela?. . .etc
Obviously you don't know jack about actual war, do you.
Or give us your creds?

Grieved , Jul 7 2020 4:28 utc | 109
I dropped back in to see what follows...imagine my deflation to find that people don't know what war is.

@108 Don Bacon

Precisely. No one who has ever experienced the tragedy of war will ever mistake the playground games of make-believe war with the real thing.

~~

That's the problem with the US administration, and its satraps and the many camp followers and court jesters who follow it. They don't know the difference between posturing war and waging war.

The difference is so profound that it calls for not only a new language but a new departure point of reference within one's soul even to begin to speak of such things.

The US will pursue the make-believe war it postures through in order to score points within its small group circle. But real war, should it ever come to touch it - and it will if it pursues its childishness too far - will shock it into total frozen fear the moment that it strikes.

Iran knew this, and had the human strength to test it and to prove it. Everything else, up to this point, was an accommodation by the world's nations to the posturing of the US for its own internal coherence. It was a matter of supporting the US ego rather than of being close to the event when that ego falls apart, with potentially explosive consequences.

But Iran had the strength of character to stand on its principles, and to proclaim its truth. And by the way, that stand is by no means done, despite what the trolls may suggest. Iran has barely begun its action to remove the US from Southwest Asia, and we will only see the footprints of its actions as we realize that the US has departed. And this will happen, regardless of the US narrative and its many parrots.

~~

I don't blame the US or any of its supporters for threatening war when all it really does is act as a nuisance and a spoiler in those few platforms left to it. Those it oppresses have so far mostly chosen to bear the insult rather than to make a fuss. But Iran has shown the way, and one should not expect many more of those oppressed to put up with the abuse from the US many more times.

What is clearly known is that the very last thing the US can do is go to war, in the real meaning of that term. The very last thing the US is capable of, is war. And the generals of all the nations of the world know this because they have seen the proof of it. Anyone who doesn't see the proof of it is behind the curve, and may well have license to comment here and elsewhere, but fortunately does not sit in the security councils of the nations of the world.

~~

If anyone wants to think that the US is "effectively" at war with another nation, then consider that Iran is absolutely "effectively" at war with the US, just as Hezbollah is beyond any doubt at war with Israel. And so what? When positions are "effectively" this or that, then they had better produce "effective" results. And it is only from these effective results that we can count the coup of the engagement. Hezbollah and Iran don't need to be told the difference between real attacks and propaganda attacks.

What they count is the real force.

Everything else is bluster. And I was 16 years old myself once, so in all humility I don't condemn this braggadocio, which I understand all too humanly.

But neither do I take it as real in the real world.

Don Bacon , Jul 7 2020 4:47 utc | 110
@ Grieved 109
Thanks for helping to deliver us from all that illusory make-believe on war from the deep thinkers who apparently man this place. And yes, Iran has shown the way, which includes its ability to put a serious hurt on US forces if attacked. We're talking about the possibility of lots of US dead bodies, military and dependents, men women and children, also sunken ships, and not just some supporting proxies and aerial bombing with the attendant publicity that suggests to some that genuine war exists, when it doesn't.
People need to get real.
Jackrabbit , Jul 7 2020 5:26 utc | 112

Trump is really no different than Clinton, GWBush, and Obama. Each a front-man for the Deep State/Empire. Each portrayed as well-meaning, peace-loving men that were FORCED! to war for all the right reasons. In that context, these Jedi mind-tricks fall flat:


!!
Mao , Jul 7 2020 5:52 utc | 113

With only four months left to the U.S. presidential elections, and the increasing likelihood of Donald Trump, the most pro-Israel President in history, losing, Israel has been trying to provoke Iran to start a war, so that it can drag the United State into it. This is not anything new. For over a decade Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to force the United States to go to war with Iran, and Israel itself almost attacked Iran three times between 2010 and 2011. But the with events of the last several months darkening the prospects of a second Trump term, Israel feels a new urgency for a war with Iran.

For over two years Israel tried to provoke Iran by attacking Iranian-backed Shiite forces in Syria, but Iran has opted not to retaliate. Since the attacks did not provoke Iran to retaliate, and also failed to dislodge Iran's military advisers and the Shiite forces that it trained, armed, and dispatched to Syria, Israel has seemingly turned to attacking Iran directly within its borders.

The events of past two months in Iran are indicative of Israel's new push for war. These events include large-scale infernos, explosions, and cyberattacks, all believed to have been carried out by Israel and its Iranian proxies, the "fake opposition" which is the part of the opposition that supports economic sanctions and military attacks against Iran, and has even allied itself with small secessionist groups that carry out terrorist attacks inside Iran.

https://original.antiwar.com/sahimi/2020/07/05/israel-is-trying-to-provoke-iran-to-start-a-war/

Mao , Jul 7 2020 6:23 utc | 114

In this video, Prof. Wolff talks about the breakdown of the capitalist system and outlines 4 major problems that the US has been faced with without for quite some time with no solution in sight: climate change, capitalism's intrinsic instability, systemic racism inherited from slavery, and lastly the lack of mechanisms to manage viruses.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HRWWRFyEc8

In this video, Prof. Wolff compares and contrasts the preparation for and management of COVID-19 with how the US has managed military preparedness and the handling of military confrontations and activities. It has succeeded at one and completely failed at the other. He explains why.

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

AskProfWolff: How the Fed Serves Capitalism
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reHa7VVnhT8

Richard Steven Hack , Jul 7 2020 6:36 utc | 115
Posted by: Grieved | Jul 7 2020 1:09 utc | 96 Prediction: The US may start a war but the US will not finish that war. Its opponent will end that war, by causing unacceptable losses to the US - something quite easily achieved, and already proved to the world by Iran in this very year of 2020.

I agree. The US can not defeat Iran, short of nuking Tehran, which is not in the cards for geopolitical reasons. However, the US can devastate much of Iran's civilian infrastructure, which, like most such infrastructures, can't run and hide. The US can also kill a million or two milllion Iranians, as it proved in Iraq.

All that will do, however, is merely guarantee that Iran will never surrender. Nor would Iran ever surrender in the first place. Which is why I tend to reference the upcoming war as the "New Thirty Years War". The clear example is the near twenty years we've spent in Afghanistan - which is vastly weaker than Iran. Each war - Vietnam, Afghanistan, and arguably Iraq - has lasted longer than the last and with failure as an outcome.

The US can keep attacking Iran from the air and sea for thirty years - but without ever defeating Iran. It will do so because the military-industrial complex will make profits every year from that war - and in the end, that's all that matters to the US (along with the

Only if the US tries a land invasion will the US lose a massive number of troops. But even that will come over time, albeit at a *much* higher rate than the US saw in either Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan. US annual casualties would probably be in the low to medium 5 digits per year, as opposed to the low 4 digits in most of those wars. In other words, four or five times the rate in Iraq. That's as compared with a hot war in North Korea which would see 50,000 US casualties in the first ninety days, or any war with China or Russia. See "United States military casualties of war" on Wikipedia. It's possible that casualties could rise to the level of WWI, if the war lasts five or ten years, or even WWII if it lasts twenty - or even higher if it lasts thirty.

Most people think the US will not try a land invasion. I've argued, however, that the *only* way to even attempt to prevent Iran from closing the Straits for the duration of the war will be for the US to put several score thousand Marines and US troops on Iran's shores to attempt to prevent launching of mines and anti-ship missiles. This would be difficult since Iran has a long Persian Gulf shoreline, Iran has fortified that shoreline, there are many places to launch weapons from that shoreline - and any such US troops would be subject to both conventional and guerrilla war by the Iranian military and perhaps a million or more Iranian Basij militia. Nonetheless, the US is likely to be dumb enough to try.

In any event, the US will eventually be forced to withdraw either because the US electorate would eventually tire of the war - although as Afghanistan proves, that could take a *very* long time, mostly depending on the casualty rate, however, as I indicateed - or because another "threat" takes precedence, which would likely mean either Russia or China.

"And the US will strain its mighty Wurlitzer to the utmost to declare victory as it retreats."

Yup. And the sad part is that the US electorate will probably believe that, then forget about the reality and be willing to commit to a new war within another ten years.

Jackrabbit , Jul 7 2020 6:36 utc | 116
Mao @Jul7 5:52 #113

increasing likelihood of Donald Trump, the most pro-Israel President in history, losing

1) The USA establishment are all pro-Israel.

2) Biden has proclaimed himself a Zionist.

3) In 2016 all the polls had Clinton ahead.

Fake populist outsiders (like Trump) have to be shown to defeat the establishment. That helps to sell them as being on the side of the people.

!!

Richard Steven Hack , Jul 7 2020 7:00 utc | 119
In addition to the above, the idea that because there's a difference between "war" and "conflicts before war" there is *no chance* of war is absurd.

Every war started with this sort of enmity between nations historically. As I've said before, with this level of enmity between the US and Iran, and arguably between the US and Russia, and the US and China, war is inevitable. With the latter two countries, such a war is likely to be nuclear - which is why it hasn't happened yet - that risk is *way* too high (although it can still happen if a miscalculation causes a conventional war, which then escalates into nuclear.)

A war with Iran doesn't have that risk. No nuclear power that I am aware of is going to enter the war on Iran's side and thus risk a nuclear war over Iran. Iran itself will not develop or use nuclear weapons. Israel *might* consider using nuclear weapons against Iran - that would be a*huge* mistake geopolitically and probably result in Israel's destruction by geopolitical means if not by military means. But neither Russia nor China are going to directly engage the US military to defend Iran. That would be stupid and putting their own national survival at risk for the benefit of another nation. As Percival Rose would say, "That ain't gonna happen."

The real problem for some people is cognitive dissonance. They can't emotionally accept the possibility of these wars occurring - so they don't. They are reduced to saying, "well, it hasn't happened...yet."

The "yet" is the operative term. There is no logical extension of that term to mean "never".

Jackrabbit , Jul 7 2020 7:03 utc | 120
Richard Steven Hack @Jul7 6:36 115

There are many other mistaken assumptions, such as:


!!
arby , Jul 7 2020 11:59 utc | 123

IMO, the word "WAR" means two sides are fighting.

What is plain to see is all of these "wars" are not wars but provocations, aggression from one side and bullying. In every case the other side does not want a war.

Interesting how the US has way upped its aggression on Venezuela without a peep from the people. This started off with some nonsense about an idiot named Guaido and is now full blown nastiness.

Digital Spartacus , Jul 7 2020 12:59 utc | 125

@120

Sadly they are not the only stooges. It beggars belief that people everywhere believe that they can elect someone to change the system in the country in which they reside. Political stripes have very little meaning as the differences are incremental at best. The bureaucracies necessary to keep the modern systems of governance afloat are staggeringly monolithic. Electing one individual, or party, or parties and presuming that the system will somehow be improved upon is a laughable fantasy. It leads to a continuous cycle of four years of initiatives to tear down the previous four years initiatives unless you're a second term government. But actual change is still the sole purview of the entrenched bureaucracy or "deep state" or whatever other label you prefer. To Jackrabbit's point, most decisions hinge on whether or not the bureaucracies in charge believe a war, a social change etc. can be implemented and a desired result achieved. It takes a finely developed sense of myopia to think that the only stooges are those of the political class. Says volumes about the people that put them there, and continues to suggest that they are electing "change".
As an aside, the Frank Zappa quote that "government is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex" remains potently poignant.

arby , Jul 7 2020 15:52 utc | 134

Calling what the US is doing to these countries "war" is like saying that Floyd was in a fight with the cop's knee.
Yes,there has been some very measured retaliation from some of the victims, but it amounts to Floyd saying he can't breathe.

PleaseBeleafMe , Jul 7 2020 16:11 utc | 135

@450 132
The provocations and responses of the formation of a war with Iran have been very interesting and I think that if Iran hadn't of shot down the Ukrainian airliner after their attack against the American base we may have already or continue to witness that war. As I see it there was a real hard on to go after Iran but word of the shoot down allowed the Don to pull back and let Iran suffer the black mark without escalation.
There are way too many itchy trigger fingers and pretexts for this and that can be easily engineered and sold to the masses. Helps Biden or whomever if he can blame the future cluster fuck on cleaning up donnies mess. I expect something expectedly unexpected in the coming months.

450.org , Jul 7 2020 16:59 utc | 139

@134

War is not a static proposition and its meaning and definition can and should change over time to fit the prevailing military strategies and economic paradigm of the day. We don't live and operate in an unassailable lexicon vacuum. War is not defined tautologically, meaning, war is not war. War is many things and can be fought on many dimensional fronts, meaning not just militarily.

Jackrabbit , Jul 7 2020 17:25 utc | 144

arby @Jul7 17:12 @141

I think war is a state of mind. That's why we talk about "the war on poverty" or a "propaganda war".

You might say that there is a "Cold War" but the number of acts of war is too numerous for that and targeted at multiple countries/peoples. It's more like a 'hybrid war' on everyone that opposes the New World Order that the AZ Empire seeks to impose on the planet.

Importantly, you can't prevent war if you only start thinking of it as 'war' when the shooting starts.

!!

[Jul 07, 2020] As for the timing of the likely pending Iran war,another consideration is the impact on financial markets.

Jul 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Schmoe , Jul 6 2020 3:27 utc | 85

As for the timing of the likely pending Iran war,another consideration is the impact on financial markets.

The market went into a mini panic last September when the Yemeni missiles hit the Saudi refineries because the Saudis withdrew ~$60n - $80b from repo markets. Some blame JP Morgan for that, but someone I know who works at the repo trading desk of the US branch of a large foreign bank was adamant it was the Saudi pullback and JP Morgan had nothing to do with it. I thought that the US withdrew Patriot batteries from the Gulf infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, that is an odd move given Iran could destroy those facilities.

[Jul 07, 2020] Saddam statue toppling vs toppling of statues in the USA

Jul 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

CitizenX , Jul 6 2020 18:49 utc | 114

..
"Three weeks into the war, Marine Sgt. Ed Chin got the order: Help the Iraqis celebrating in Baghdad's Firdos Square topple the statue of Saddam Hussein.

"My captain comes over and he's got like this package. He hands it to me and he's like, he tells me there's an American flag in there and when I get up there, you know, he's like, show the boys the colors," said Chin.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-decade-after-saddam-husseins-statue-falls-a-tale-of-two-memories/

I'll speak very slowly and simply just for you.

Are you seriously incapable of making a connection regarding the hypocrisy of the US Govt/US military wrapping an American Flag on the Saddam Statue and destroying it for a media photo op while cheering about it? And the condemnation of the US Govt declaring statues should not be destroyed?

Do you see no insanity regarding the US Regime illegally invading and destroying another Nation and its statues (war crime w/millions dead)? The very same Nation celebrating a "bad" Iraqi statue being destroyed is suddenly disgusted when its own statues are being destroyed by its own people?

My point is obvious if you can step back from your myopic view. The US is a mentally ill Nation ridden with hypocrisy. I personally do not put much merit into statues, cultural idolatry comes to mind, just as foolish as religious idolatry.

So what are your thoughts on the destruction of the Saddam statue sanctioned by the US govt and military?

dh , Jul 6 2020 21:40 utc | 125

@114 I expect V will be along at some point but here are my thoughts on the Saddam statue.....

The US is ridden with hypocrisy as you say ....no surprise there. The statue was actually pulled down by a rentamob of Iraqi Saddam haters while American troops high-fived each other.

They wouldn't see anything wrong with pulling the statue down because Saddam was a 'bad guy' and an American enemy.

Those same troops would probably not feel the same way about Confederate generals.....who just happened to be Americans who kept slaves and picked the losing side. They would be seen as major figures in American history.

That is how a lot of Americans would justify it. Of course it is rank hypocrisy..

[Jul 06, 2020] Provocation will eventuially make Iran deal dead, which is what the USA badly wants

Jul 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Deimetri , Jul 5 2020 19:53 utc | 32

Hi b,

What is your take on the rash of "accidents" that Iran has been suffering from, these past couple of weeks?


Et Tu , Jul 5 2020 23:07 utc | 56

@ Posted by: Deimetri | Jul 5 2020 19:53 utc | 32

Wanted to ask the same question, i am sure B will have something as soon as some facts are there to be dissected, seems for now that all we have to go by is the assumption it is either US or Israel dirty work, one that is hard to disagree with.

Iran will have to respond, 4 attacks in less than 2 weeks is really taking the piss and makes them look weak. Quite a reversal from the Iran that was seizing tankers, acting on its threats and dictating the tempo of escalation. Israel and US are only deterred by credible threats and the longer Iran waits, the more emboldened they will feel.

Perhaps Iran is more focused on investigations and searching through its own ranks for collaborators or traitors first, meaning it is still not sure who to hit back at. Is it the US or Israel, who is directly responsible for these attacks? What would be an appropriate response? Anything too overt could be counterproductive as there is no proof tying the explosions to anyone, much less anything concrete that Western media would publish that could justify Iran's actions.

Hezbollah has plenty of problems of its own as explained in B's Lebanon article... so not likely we'll see rocket showers on Israel any time soon on Iran's behalf. Seems those new tankers on the way to Venezuela could be targeted soon too... perhaps they are waiting for that as their pretext for escalation or retaliation?

Richard Steven Hack , Jul 6 2020 0:14 utc | 63

Posted by: Et Tu | Jul 5 2020 23:07 utc | 56

Iran will have to respond

I expect Iran to measure its response tit-for-tat. If these explosions are the result of computer intrusion, Iran will respond in cyberspace. If they are not - and I find it hard to believe they are, disrupting a centrifuge is one thing (and too clever by half), causing an explosion is another - then Iran or a proxy will have to respond in kind. As the article cited below states:


He said Israel was "bracing" for an Iranian response, likely via a cyberattack. In an April cyberattack attributed by western intelligence officials to Iran, an attempt was made to increase chlorine levels in water flowing to residential Israeli areas.

Probably BS by Israel and the US, but this sort of thing goes on all the time. Note that there was no explosions involved.

The problem is that covert operations require some planning, especially if hacking is involved. So Iran's response might be days, weeks or months delayed. Of course, it can respond more directly by using Iraqi Shia militias against US forces in Iraq, or allies like Hezbollah elsewhere. But that is a trap the US neocons have laid - anything Iran does can be used to justify further attacks. Even if Iran proves that these explosions were not accidents, they will not be believed. So anything Iran does which is not equally covert will be used to justify further aggression.

There really is no winning this game by Iran. Only if the US and Israel stops covert attacks - and that isn't going to happen.

Meanwhile, allegedly the EU has claimed Iran has now triggered the JCPOA dispute mechanism.

EU says Iran has triggered nuclear deal dispute mechanism

I don't know if this is true, but if so, it represents the final collapse of the JCPOA. The dispute mechanism has a specific time mechanism to which all parties must adhere. So within a short period of time, Iran will either be granted its sanctions relief as promised or the deal will end. The deal's snapback mechanism won't be applied, because Russia and China will veto that no matter the US does. The US has no standing, but will try anyway just for the propaganda value.

Once the JCPOA is finally declared dead, the US and Israel will escalate their aggression against Iran, because no one in the ignorant electorate in those countries will be told that the deal was ruined by Trump and the EU's spinelessness.

Without the JCPOA, the US can revert to the sort of warmongering it engaged in before the Iraq war - constantly escalating accusations that can never be proven false and an unending stream of propaganda justifying a war.

The *only* thing preventing an Iran war is Hezbollah's ability to derail the Israeli economy. The US and Israel have no choice but to find a solution to that problem. Whether they will succeed in that, and at what cost to Lebanon, is the question.

Historically, I don't think there has ever been this level of enmity between countries without a war resulting (other than between nuclear armed nations due to MAD.) It may take some years more to get the Iran war started, but it is inevitable.

And that recognition, contrary to Bagoom's claims, is *not* advocacy. An Iran war is going to be very bad for *everyone* except Israel, the neocons and the military-industrial complex.

[Jul 06, 2020] Third 'Mystery' Blast In Less Than A Week Rocks Iran Power Plant -

Notable quotes:
"... To review, starting over a week ago a massive explosion was observed lighting up the midnight sky outside Tehran, caught on film by local residents, which Iran's military dismissed as a gas leak explosion incident. But it was later revealed to have occurred at a ballistic missile development facility. ..."
"... And this past week, another reported "accident" occurred at Natanz nuclear complex. But that particular 'mystery' blast caused Iranian officials to lash out in anger Thursday, saying "hostile countries" like the US and Israel are near the point of crossing "red lines". Crucially, Iran also said there were no radioactive leaks as a result of the incident. ..."
Jul 06, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Third 'Mystery' Blast In Less Than A Week Rocks Iran Power Plant by Tyler Durden Sun, 07/05/2020 - 11:30 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

On Saturday an explosion ripped through a power plant in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, marking the third 'mystery' blast to hit the country in only under a week, and the fourth recently .

State media showed emergency crews on the scene of the daytime incident while a fire raged at the power plant. This followed days ago a huge blast which destroyed Sina hospital in northern Tehran, which killed 19 people and injured 14.

To review, starting over a week ago a massive explosion was observed lighting up the midnight sky outside Tehran, caught on film by local residents, which Iran's military dismissed as a gas leak explosion incident. But it was later revealed to have occurred at a ballistic missile development facility.

And this past week, another reported "accident" occurred at Natanz nuclear complex. But that particular 'mystery' blast caused Iranian officials to lash out in anger Thursday, saying "hostile countries" like the US and Israel are near the point of crossing "red lines". Crucially, Iran also said there were no radioactive leaks as a result of the incident.

Both US and Israeli media, including The New York Times and Times of Israel, have begun speculating that it could be part of a Mossad or CIA op to set back Iran's nuclear development .

The Jerusalem Post on Sunday asked in a headline and op-ed : Have four explosions pushed Iran farther away from a nuke?

Of the myriad fascinating questions surrounding the four recent, mysterious explosions in Iran, there is still one key issue that rises above the rest: Has any of this significantly distanced Iran further from a nuclear weapon?

The jury is still out, as there is so much that is unconfirmed. But to date, the early answer would need to be: probably not .

Since the IAEA's March report that the Islamic Republic crossed the threshold for having enough low-level enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb, the estimated time for Tehran to enrich enough of that uranium up to a weaponized level dropped from 12 months to as little as four months.

Most interestingly, an unnamed intelligence source said to be based in the Middle East told The New York Times this past week said of the mysterious incident at Natanz: "The blast was caused by an explosive device planted inside the facility."

The official added that the bombing "destroyed much of the aboveground parts of the facility where new centrifuges are balanced before they are put into operation."

Reports out of Iran's state media also suggest a possible cyber-attack, to which Tehran military officials say "they'll respond" if the attack did indeed originate from Iran's enemies like the US or Israel.

[Jul 05, 2020] Afghanistan and the Endless War Caucus by DANIEL LARISON

Looks like Liz Cheney words for Russians. Her action suggest growing alliance between Bush repoblicans and neolibral interventionaistsof the Democratic Party. The alliance directed against Trump.
Notable quotes:
"... As Boland explains, the amendment passed by the committee yesterday sets so many conditions on withdrawal that it makes it all but impossible to satisfy them: ..."
"... The longer that the U.S. stays at war in Afghanistan, the more incentives other states will have to make that continued presence more costly for the U.S. When the knee-jerk reaction in Washington to news of these bounties is to throw up obstacles to withdrawal, that gives other states another incentive to do more of this. ..."
"... Prolonging our involvement in the war amounts to playing into Moscow's hands. For all of their posturing about security and strength, hard-liners routinely support destructive and irrational policies that redound to the advantage of other states. This is still happening with the war in Afghanistan, and if these hard-liners get their way it will continue happening for many years to come. ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The immediate response to a story that U.S. forces were being targeted is to keep fighting a losing conflict.

Barbara Boland reported yesterday on the House Armed Services Committee's vote to impede withdrawal of U.S. from Afghanistan:

The House Armed Services Committee voted Wednesday night to put roadblocks on President Donald Trump's vow to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, apparently in response to bombshell report published by The New York Times Friday that alleges Russia paid dollar bounties to the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill U.S troops.

It speaks volumes about Congress' abdication of its responsibilities that one of the few times that most members want to challenge the president over a war is when they think he might bring it to an end. Many of the members that want to block withdrawals from other countries have no problem when the president wants to use U.S. forces illegally and to keep them in other countries without authorization for years at a time. The role of hard-liner Liz Cheney in pushing the measure passed yesterday is a good example of what I mean. The hawkish outrage in Congress is only triggered when the president entertains the possibility of taking troops out of harm's way. When he takes reckless and illegal action that puts them at risk, as he did when he ordered the illegal assassination of Soleimani, the same members that are crying foul today applauded the action. As Boland explains, the amendment passed by the committee yesterday sets so many conditions on withdrawal that it makes it all but impossible to satisfy them:

Crow's amendment adds several layers of policy goals to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, which has already stretched on for 19 years and cost over a trillion dollars. As made clear in the Afghanistan Papers, most of these policy goals were never the original intention of the mission in Afghanistan, and were haphazardly added after the defeat of al Qaeda. With no clear vision for what achieving these fuzzy goals would look like, the mission stretches on indefinitely, an unarticulated victory unachievable.

The immediate Congressional response to a story that U.S. forces were being targeted is to make it much more difficult to pull them out of a war that cannot be won. Congressional hawks bemoan "micromanaging" presidential decisions and mock the idea of having "535 commanders-in-chief," but when it comes to prolonging pointless wars they are only too happy to meddle and tie the president's hands. When it comes to defending Congress' proper role in matters of war, these members are typically on the other side of the argument. They are content to let the president get us into as many wars as he might want, but they are horrified at the thought that any of those wars might one day be concluded. Yesterday's vote confirmed that there is an endless war caucus in the House, and it is bipartisan.

The original reporting of the bounty story is questionable for the reasons that Boland has pointed out before, but for the sake of argument let's assume that Russia has been offering bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan. When the U.S. keeps its troops at war in a country for almost twenty years, it is setting them up as targets for other governments. Just as the U.S. has armed and supported forces hostile to Russia and its clients in Syria, it should not come as a shock when they do to the same elsewhere. If Russia has been doing this, refusing to withdraw U.S. forces ensures that they will continue to have someone that they can target.

The longer that the U.S. stays at war in Afghanistan, the more incentives other states will have to make that continued presence more costly for the U.S. When the knee-jerk reaction in Washington to news of these bounties is to throw up obstacles to withdrawal, that gives other states another incentive to do more of this.

Because the current state of debate about Russia is so toxic and irrational, our political leaders seem incapable of responding carefully to Russian actions. It doesn't seem to occur to the war hawks that Russia might prefer that the U.S. remains preoccupied and tied down in Afghanistan indefinitely.

Prolonging our involvement in the war amounts to playing into Moscow's hands. For all of their posturing about security and strength, hard-liners routinely support destructive and irrational policies that redound to the advantage of other states. This is still happening with the war in Afghanistan, and if these hard-liners get their way it will continue happening for many years to come.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter .

email

kouroi a day ago

One needs to mention the democratic deficit in the US. All the members voting yes are representatives, they represent the people in their constituencies, and presumably vote for what the majority in those constituencies would want, or past promises.

Any poll shows that Americans would rather have the troops brought back home, thank you very much. But this is not what their representatives are voting for. Talk about democracy!

Fran Macadam a day ago

For elite war profiteers and the politicians they own, the only war that is lost is one that ends. No lives matter.

chris chuba a day ago

And what's the logic, if you make an accusation against someone you don't like it must be true. Okay well then let's drone strike Putin. If you are going to be Exceptional and consistent, Putin did everything Soleimani did so how can Liz Cotton argue for a different punishment?
1. Killed U.S. troops in a war zone, 2. planning attacks on U.S. troops.

The entire Russian military plans for attacks all the time just like ours does but the Neocons have declared that we are the only ones allowed to do that. Verdict, death penalty for Putin.

kouroi chris chuba a day ago

If you have watched Oliver Stone's interview with Putin, it comes through that in fact there were at least three or four attempts to Putin's life...

William Toffan chris chuba 21 hours ago

Death penalty for Putin = Death Penalty for continental USA.

RBH 15 hours ago

So you can get into a war without Congressional approval, but you can't get out of one without Congressional approval. Gotcha.

Lavinia 10 hours ago • edited

Interesting, well reasoned article as usual from Mr. Larison. However, I have to say that I don't see why Russia would want the US in Afghanistan indefinitely. In primis, they have a strategic partnership with China (even though we've got to see how Russia will behave now when there is the India-China rift), and China has been championing the idea of rebuilding the Silk Road (brilliant idea if you ask me) so in this sense it's more reasonable to assume that they might be aiming to get stability in the region rather than keep it in a state of unrest (as to be strategic partners you need to have some kind of common strategy, or at least not a completely different strategy). In 2018 they (Russia) actually were trying to organise a mediation process which would have the Afghan Gvt. and the Talibans discuss before the US would retire the troops, and it was very significative as they managed to get all the parties sitting around a table for the very first time (even the US participated as an observer).

Secondly, Russia also has pretty decent relations with Iran (at least according to Iranian press, which seems to be realistic as Russia is compliant to the JCPOA, is not aggressive towards them, and they're cooperating in the Astana process for a political solution for Syria, for example), and it wouldn't be so if Russia would pursue a policy which would aim to keep the US in the Middle East indefinitely, as Iran's WHOLE point is that they want the US out of the region, so if Russia would be trying to keep the US in the Middle East indefinitely, that would seriously upset Iran.

Thirdly, Russia is one of the founders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which now includes most of the states in Central Asia, China, India and Pakistan. The association never made overt statements about their stance on the US's presence in the region; yet they've been hinting that they don't approve of it, which is reasonable, as it is very likely that those countries would all have different plans for the region, which might include some consideration for human and economic development rather than constant and never-ending militarisation (of course Pakistan would be problematic here, as the funds for the Afghan warlords get channeled through Pakistan, which receives a lot of US money, so I don't know how they're managing this issue).

Last but not least, I cannot logically believe that the Talibans, who've been coherent in their message since the late 70's ("we will fight to the death until the invaders are defeated and out of our national soil") would now need to be "convinced" by the Russians to defeat and chase out the invader. This is just NOT believable at all. Afghanistan is called the Graveyard of Empires for a reason, I would argue.

In any case I am pleased to see that at TAC you have been starting debunking the Russia-narrative, as it is very problematic - most media just systematically misrepresents Russia in order to justify aggressive military action (Europe, specifically Northern Europe, is doing this literally CONSTANTLY, I'm so over it, really). The misrepresentation of Russia as an aggressive wannabe-empire is a cornerstone of the pro-war narrative, so it is imperative to get some actual realism into that.

wynn an hour ago • edited

As if the Afghan freedom fighters need additional incentive to eliminate the invaders? In case Amerikans don't know, Afghans, except those on the US payroll, intensely despise Amerika and its 'godless' ways. Amerikans forces have been sadistic, bombing Afghan weddings, funerals, etc.

Even if the Russians are providing bounties to the Afghans, to take out the invaders, don't the Amerikans remember the 80s when Washington (rightfully) supported the mujahedin with funds, arms, Stinger missiles, etc.? Again, the US is on shaky ground because of the neocons.

Afghanistan is known through the ages to be the graveyard of empires. They have done it on their own shedding blood, sweat, and tears. Also, the Afghan resistance have been principled about Amerikans getting out before making deals.

Blood Alcohol wynn an hour ago

Same argument goes for the Iraqi people.

[Jul 04, 2020] The Return of the Anti-Antiwar Left by James W. Carden

Jul 01, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
Facebook Twitter Reddit Email

In her recently published memoir, Circle in the Darkness , the author and journalist Diana Johnstone recalls that only "a few decades ago, "the Left" was considered the center of opposition to imperialism, and champion of the right of peoples to self-determination."

Johnstone is part of a distinguished line of American expatriate writers, who, perhaps because of an objectivity conferred by distance, saw their country more clearly than many of their stateside contemporaries. Members of the club include William Pfaff who for many years wrote from Paris and the longtime Asia correspondent Patrick Lawrence . The Paris based Johnstone brings a moral clarity to matters of war and peace that is, alas, too often absent from most contemporary foreign affairs writing. Its near total absence on the Left during the Trump years should be cause for reflection, and concern.

As Johnstone recounts, after the Cold War liberals became bewitched by the prospect of waging wars for humanitarian ends. A generation of journalists and foreign policy experts including Samantha Power, Christiane Amanpour, Jamie Rubin, and Christopher Hitchens, would make the Balkans a proving ground for their liberal theories of preventative war, in the process throwing the ancient and venerable tradition of St. Augustine's Just War theory on the trash heap and paving the way for what was to follow in the coming decades, including Iraq II, Libya, Syria and a global drone war and a "targeted" assassination program.

At the time, Johnstone was one of the few who saw through the ruse, but, as she recalled, she couldn't get her articles published in the liberal press. According to Johnstone, Hitchens and Company saw to that. The wisdom of bombing Serbian civilians for 78 days in order to carve out a Muslim enclave in the middle of Europe (which in short order would be overrun by the Saudis, Albanian organized crime and human organ traffickers) was rarely questioned.

Indeed, among the bien-pensants , it was impermissible.

Today, skepticism of the mainstream narrative regarding both Russia and the war in Syria is likewise deemed out of bounds by the Left. It is fair to say that a 3 year non-scandal, Russiagate, ignited a cold war fever among liberals and self-styled progressives. Indeed, liberals who once took principled stands against the Iraq war, such as Tom Dispatch and Nation regular Bob Dreyfuss , transmogrified, after Trump's election, into frothing-at-the-mouth conspiracy theorists.

By my count, during the course of the three year Russiagate ordeal, Dreyfuss wrote at least 30 articles promoting the most ludicrous of the Russiagate conspiracies, among them that Russia was " hiding in your Facebook ," and that, variously, Paul Manafort, Felix Slater and/or General Michael Flynn would, somehow, bring down Trump. That Dreyfuss would prove so credulous in the face of what was so clearly an absurd distraction is perhaps not surprising given his past ties to Lyndon Larouche .

Others, even less discerning than Dreyfuss, but far, far hungrier for attention, have claimed that skeptics of the now discredited collusion conspiracy theory were themselves guilty of indulging in, you guessed it, conspiracy theories of their own.

And so, if in the writings of Dreyfuss, The New York Times' Michelle Goldberg, Mother Jones' David Corn, The Atlantic's Franklin Foer, New York magazine's resident dolt Jonathan Chait, and many more besides, we can see the emergence of the anti-anti-Cold War Left, there has also reemerged alongside it the very vocal and ravenously unscrupulous anti-antiwar Left. And it is on the issue of the Syrian war on which the anti-antiwar Left has coalesced, inexplicably arguing for the wholesale takeover of a secular police state by the very same Islamist radicals who, if given the chance, would turn around and immediately kill them on the grounds of apostasy.

In Syria, the protests that began in 2011 were quickly overtaken by armed jihadists whose motto was "Christians to Beirut, Alawis to the grave." Before he was murdered by Syrian rebels, the Jesuit missionary Father Frans vans der Lugt observed that "From the start the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels."

But many prominent voices in mainstream liberal media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and VICE turned a blind eye to the atrocities committed by the Islamist opposition in their hunger for a US-led regime change operation against Bashar al-Assad. And the war fever extended from the mainstream to the progressive Left.

On the pages and website of the New York Review of Books one searches for genuine antiwar voices in vain. Instead what you most likely will come across are screeds such as the one issued by Janine di Giovanni. In her rage for another US-led war in the Middle East, di Giovanni channelled the ghost of Joseph McCarthy and baselessly accused the antiwar journalist Max Blumenthal of, you guessed it, being in league with (who else?) the Russian government.

And then there is The Intercept, funded by a shadowy billionaire with ties to the US Agency for International Development, Pierre Omyidar. Under the editorship of former Nation managing editor Betsy Reed, The Intercept has given space to some of the most strident anti-antiwar voices including those of James Risen, Robert McKay and the British-born Mehdi Hasan. Hasan's enthusiasm for a jihadi victory over the socialist, multi-confessional Syrian state is perhaps not surprising given his past views in which he compared non-believers to "animals."

In an April 2018 column for The Intercept, Hasan penned a hysterical open letter to those he deemed "al-Assad apologists" for the crime of expressing skepticism regarding the latest round of accusations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime. "To those of you on the anti-war far left who have a soft spot for the dictator in Damascus: Have you lost your minds? Or have you no shame?," cried Hasan. What followed was a lengthy iteration of Assad's crimes and then, oddly, reassurances from Hasan that he too stands against no fly zones, arming the rebels and regime change wars.

So what, we might be forgiven to ask, was the point? It was simply a tedious exercise in moral preening. A speciality of the anti-antiwar Left.

Hasan's, example is instructive because, in his obvious opportunism and sly fanaticism , he exemplifies everything that a writer like Diana Johnstone is not and, by extension, much that is seriously wrong with the anti-antiwar Left.

Worryingly, the anti-antiwar Left is not going away. Indeed, it has some powerful allies-in-waiting should Joseph R. Biden win in November. In a recent interview with CBS , Biden protege and former deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken bemoaned the fact that the Obama administration's regime change efforts in Syria didn't go nearly far enough.

Indeed, Biden's foreign policy team is stacked from one end to the other with regime change and new cold war enthusiasts who, alas, will find plenty of support from the growing ranks of the anti-antiwar Left. Those who find this development more than mildly depressing might do worse than to take refuge in the work of genuine antiwar voices such as Diana Johnstone's. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: JAMES W. CARDEN

James W. Carden writes about foreign affairs from Washington, DC. His work has appeared in The American Conservative, American Affairs, The National Interest, and The Nation where he is a contributing writer.

[Jul 04, 2020] It's Time to Stop Defending the Status Quo of Foreign Policy Failure by Daniel L. Davis

Notable quotes:
"... These failures have not been merely "policy mistakes" but have had profound consequences for our country, both in terms of blood unnecessarily wasted and trillions of dollars irretrievably lost. The very last thing we should do is defend a failed status quo and subvert new thinking. McMaster does both in his essay. ..."
"... We had won all that was militarily winnable on the ground in Afghanistan by the summer of 2002 and we should have withdrawn. Instead, we have refused to accept reality for eighteen additional years and we have lost thousands of American service members and trillions of American tax dollars to finance permanent failure. ..."
"... our interests are far better served by being an exemplar to the world rather than trying to force it to behave a certain way. ..."
"... The time has come to admit our foreign policy theories of the past two decades have utterly failed in their objective. We have not been made safer because of them and the price continually imposed on our service members is unnecessary and unacceptably high. ..."
Jul 04, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

In February 1991 I fought as a green 2 nd Lieutenant under then-Captain H.R. McMaster, who would go on to win combat fame in 2005 Iraq and as Trump's National Security Advisor. I watched McMaster provide exceptional leadership of our unit prior to war and watched him perform brilliantly under fire during combat. It gives me no pleasure, therefore, to note that his most recent work in Foreign Affairs has to be one of the most flawed analyses I've ever seen.

McMaster's essay, " The Retrenchment Syndrome ," is an attempted take-down of a growing number of experts who argue American foreign policy has become addicted to the employment of military power. I, and other likeminded advocates, argue this military-first foreign policy does not increase America's security, but perversely undercuts it.

We advocate a foreign policy that elevates diplomacy, promotes the maintenance of a powerful military that can defend America globally, and seeks to expand U.S. economic opportunity abroad. This perspective takes the world as it is, soberly assesses America's policy successes and failures of the past decades, and recommends sane policies going forward that have the best chance to achieve outcomes beneficial to our country.

Adopting this new foreign policy mentality, however, requires an honest recognition that our existing approach -- especially since 9/11 -- has at times been catastrophically bad for America. The status quo has to be jettisoned for us to turn failure into success.

These failures have not been merely "policy mistakes" but have had profound consequences for our country, both in terms of blood unnecessarily wasted and trillions of dollars irretrievably lost. The very last thing we should do is defend a failed status quo and subvert new thinking. McMaster does both in his essay.

McMaster grievously mischaracterizes the positions of those who advocate for a sane, rational foreign policy. He tries to pin a pejorative moniker on restraint-oriented viewpoints via the term "retrenchment syndrome."

Advocates for a restrained foreign policy, he says, "subscribe to the romantic view that restraint abroad is almost always an unmitigated good." McMaster claims Obama's 2011 intervention in Libya failed not because it destabilized the country but because Washington didn't "shape Libya's political environment in the wake of Qaddafi's demise." And he claims Trump's desire to withdraw from Afghanistan "will allow the Taliban, al Qaeda, and various other jihadi terrorists to claim victory."

In other words, the only policy option is to keep doing what has manifestly failed for the past two decades. Just do it harder, faster, and deeper.

But the reality of the situation is rather different.

We had won all that was militarily winnable on the ground in Afghanistan by the summer of 2002 and we should have withdrawn. Instead, we have refused to accept reality for eighteen additional years and we have lost thousands of American service members and trillions of American tax dollars to finance permanent failure.

We should never have invaded Iraq in 2003. But once we realized the justification for the war had been wrong, we should have rapidly withdrawn our combat troops and diplomatically helped facilitate the establishment of an Iraqi-led state. Instead, we refused to acknowledge our mistake, fought a pointless eight-year insurgency, and then instead of allowing Iraq to solve its own problems when ISIS arose in 2014, unnecessarily went back to help Baghdad fight its battles.

Likewise, the U.S. continues to fight or support never-ending combat actions in Syria, Libya, Somalia, Niger, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and other lesser-known locations. There is no risk to American national security in any of these locations that engaging in routine and perpetual combat operations will solve.

Lastly, large portions of the American public -- and even greater percentages of service members who have served in forever-wars -- are against the continuation of these wars and do not believe they keep us safer. What would make the country more secure, however, is adopting a realistic foreign policy that recognizes the world as it truly is, acknowledges that the reason we maintain a world-class military is to deter our enemies without having to fight, and recognizing that our interests are far better served by being an exemplar to the world rather than trying to force it to behave a certain way.

The time has come to admit our foreign policy theories of the past two decades have utterly failed in their objective. We have not been made safer because of them and the price continually imposed on our service members is unnecessary and unacceptably high. It is time to abandon the status quo and adopt a new policy that is based on a realistic view of the world, an honest recognition of our genuinely powerful military, and realize that there are better ways to assure our security and prosperity.

Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who retired in 2015 after 21 years, including four combat deployments. Follow him @DanielLDavis1.

[Jul 04, 2020] The Return of the Neoliberal Interventionists and their alliance with Bush republicans by James W. Carden

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... As Johnstone recounts, after the Cold War liberals became bewitched by the prospect of waging wars for humanitarian ends. A generation of journalists and foreign policy experts including Samantha Power, Christiane Amanpour, Jamie Rubin, and Christopher Hitchens, would make the Balkans a proving ground for their liberal theories of preventative war, in the process throwing the ancient and venerable tradition of St. Augustine's Just War theory on the trash heap and paving the way for what was to follow in the coming decades, including Iraq II, Libya, Syria and a global drone war and a "targeted" assassination program." Carden ..."
"... Ah, for the good old days when lefties could be treated as a deluded minority rather than a vanguard party of globalist imperialists. pl ..."
"... . While the former's rise in the Democratic Party led to the exodus of Neoconservatives (former Trotskyists, Socialist and Marxists) to the Conservative movement, the latter is also moving the New Democrats to the Right, but the problem is that the current Political Right is mostly controlled by the Trumpists so these New Democrat types (Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff, Menendez, Biden etc.) are stuck between a hard place and a rock. In other words we are seeing the tight squeezing of the New Democrats (Wall-Street, Tech, humanitarian intervention) by the radical left (Green New Deal, UBI) and by the angry Trumpists. ..."
"... Recently Sanders and the Democratic Socialists expressed their opposition to Bibi's planned annexation of West-bank and adjacent Palestinian enclaves and threatened to to cut-off the military aid to Israel if Bibi moved on with his plan. ..."
"... Judging by my observation, the current trend is the alliance between the NeverTrumpers (The Lincoln project, The Right Pac) like Bill Kristol and the Reagan-to-Bush-43-neoconservatives (most of whom were Reagan Democrats in the late 70s and 80s themselves so nothing new for them) to push Trump out of office in their view before the RNC in Aug and to make room for the New Democrats and also to restore their previous 20+ years of reigning over the Republican Party. If their plan becomes successful, in the post 2020 election we will see a political configuration resembling the 90s and early 2000s with one major difference which is the introduction of several, in my opinion less that 10 seats in the House reserved for the far-Left socialist Democrats. ..."
"... And in terms of Foreign policy, everyone will get happy and the Blob/Borg think tank class in D.C. will see business as usual ..."
Jul 04, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"Only "a few decades ago, "the Left" was considered the center of opposition to imperialism, and champion of the right of peoples to self-determination."

Johnstone is part of a distinguished line of American expatriate writers, who, perhaps because of an objectivity conferred by distance, saw their country more clearly than many of their stateside contemporaries.

Members of the club include William Pfaff who for many years wrote from Paris and the longtime Asia correspondent Patrick Lawrence . The Paris based Johnstone brings a moral clarity to matters of war and peace that is, alas, too often absent from most contemporary foreign affairs writing. Its near total absence on the Left during the Trump years should be cause for reflection, and concern.

As Johnstone recounts, after the Cold War liberals became bewitched by the prospect of waging wars for humanitarian ends. A generation of journalists and foreign policy experts including Samantha Power, Christiane Amanpour, Jamie Rubin, and Christopher Hitchens, would make the Balkans a proving ground for their liberal theories of preventative war, in the process throwing the ancient and venerable tradition of St. Augustine's Just War theory on the trash heap and paving the way for what was to follow in the coming decades, including Iraq II, Libya, Syria and a global drone war and a "targeted" assassination program." Carden

---------------

Ah, for the good old days when lefties could be treated as a deluded minority rather than a vanguard party of globalist imperialists. pl

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/07/01/the-return-of-the-anti-antiwar-left/

exiled off mainstreet , 04 July 2020 at 03:36 PM

This is a serious article addressing a serious problem. If the "left" sells out on war issues as they have done the last 20 years or so, there is no pushback against the permanent war system. Those one-time leftists who have sold out are no longer really leftists, especially once they are relying on the corrupt permanent spy state for their information and support.

Polish Janitor , 04 July 2020 at 04:05 PM

Col Lang,

Interesting and correct observation. Allow me to throw in my own two cents with regards to the rise of what is defined as the "anti-Anti War left". I should note that there are eerily similar parralels between the rise of the New Left in the 60s that was the mix of socialist democrats, sexual revolutionaries, flower-power hippies, anti-imperialist/anti-war activists, and identitarianists (Huey Netwon, Cesar Chavez, MLK) etc. and today's BLM, Antifa, 'woke' types, third-gen feminists, broke millennials\

. While the former's rise in the Democratic Party led to the exodus of Neoconservatives (former Trotskyists, Socialist and Marxists) to the Conservative movement, the latter is also moving the New Democrats to the Right, but the problem is that the current Political Right is mostly controlled by the Trumpists so these New Democrat types (Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff, Menendez, Biden etc.) are stuck between a hard place and a rock. In other words we are seeing the tight squeezing of the New Democrats (Wall-Street, Tech, humanitarian intervention) by the radical left (Green New Deal, UBI) and by the angry Trumpists.

Just to give you one example, last week a prototype New Democrat and long time congressman (since 89) Elliot Engel of NY who fits well into this definition was defeated handily in the NY-16 primaries by the Democratic Socialists of America endorsed candidate, Jamal Bowman. Mr. Bowman, an African American is ideologically very similar to AOC, Tlaib, and Omar. He won on a platform of foreign policy endorsed by the left-zionists (ex-labor zionists) against the likudnik right-wing zionist of Engles' which is very interesting since, Engel has been known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and extremely pro-Israel and chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee recently.

Recently Sanders and the Democratic Socialists expressed their opposition to Bibi's planned annexation of West-bank and adjacent Palestinian enclaves and threatened to to cut-off the military aid to Israel if Bibi moved on with his plan.

Domestically, there are several seats up for re-election and especially two in Georgia and Arizona Senate whose pointed Republican candidates are in very shaky grounds versus their democratic challengers. What is clear is that the New Democrat platforms are no longer popular by the Democratic base and given recent events, it can be safely said that either the most law and order and Trumpian candidates will win or the Democratic socialists endorsed ones. So another problem for the New Dems.

Judging by my observation, the current trend is the alliance between the NeverTrumpers (The Lincoln project, The Right Pac) like Bill Kristol and the Reagan-to-Bush-43-neoconservatives (most of whom were Reagan Democrats in the late 70s and 80s themselves so nothing new for them) to push Trump out of office in their view before the RNC in Aug and to make room for the New Democrats and also to restore their previous 20+ years of reigning over the Republican Party. If their plan becomes successful, in the post 2020 election we will see a political configuration resembling the 90s and early 2000s with one major difference which is the introduction of several, in my opinion less that 10 seats in the House reserved for the far-Left socialist Democrats.

And in terms of Foreign policy, everyone will get happy and the Blob/Borg think tank class in D.C. will see business as usual as the Democratic Socialists will be "persuaded" to team up with the New Democrats with regards to sending Troops to conduct humanitarian intervention abroad (i.e. the Powell Doctrine) in exchange for domestic welfare programs, the NeverTrumpers and the Republican hawks (Cotton, Graham, Rubio, Cruz, etc.) will have war plans already written for them at AEI, Hudson and Heritage that focuses on China with the help of the New Democrats and probably the Far-left.


[Jul 03, 2020] The Iran Obsession Has Isolated the US

So former tank repairman decided again managed to make a make a mark in world diplomacy :-).
Notable quotes:
"... Mike Pompeo delivered an embarrassing, clownish performance at the U.N. on Tuesday, and his attempt to gain support for an open-ended conventional arms embargo on Iran was rejected the rest of the old P5+1: ..."
"... The Trump administration has abused our major European allies for years in its push to destroy the nuclear deal, and their governments have no patience with any more unilateral U.S. stunts. This is the result of two years of a destructive policy aimed solely at punishing Iran and its people. The administration's open contempt for international law and the interests of its allies has cost the U.S. their cooperation. ..."
"... Underscoring the absurdity of the Trump administration's arms embargo appeal were Pompeo's alarmist warnings that an end to the arms embargo would allow Iran to purchase advanced fighters that it would use to threaten Europe and India: ..."
"... This is a laughably unrealistic scenario. Even if Iran purchased advanced fighters, the last thing it would do is send them off on a suicide mission to bomb Italy or India. This shows how deeply irrational the Iran hawks' fearmongering is. Iran has already demonstrated an ability to launch precise attacks with drones and missiles in its immediate neighborhood, and it developed these capabilities while under the current embargo. ..."
"... The Secretary of State called on the U.N. to reject "extortion diplomacy." The best way to reject extortion diplomacy would be for them to reject the administration's desperate attempt to use America's position at the U.N. to attack international law. ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Mike Pompeo delivered an embarrassing, clownish performance at the U.N. on Tuesday, and his attempt to gain support for an open-ended conventional arms embargo on Iran was rejected the rest of the old P5+1:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Tuesday for an arms embargo on Iran to be extended indefinitely, but his appeal fell flat at the United Nations Security Council, where Russia and China rejected it outright and close allies of the United States were ambivalent.

The Trump administration is more isolated than ever in its Iran obsession. The ridiculous effort to invoke the so-called "snapback" provision of the JCPOA more than two years after reneging on the agreement met with failure, just as most observers predicted months ago when it was first floated as a possibility. As I said at the time, "The administration's latest destructive ploy won't find any support on the Security Council. There is nothing "intricate" about this idea. It is a crude, heavy-handed attempt to employ the JCPOA's own provisions to destroy it." It was never going to work because all of the other parties to the agreement want nothing to do with the administration's punitive approach, and U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA meant that it forfeited any rights it had when it was still part of the deal.

Opposition from Russia and China was a given, but the striking thing about the scene at the U.N. this week was that major U.S. allies joined them in rebuking the administration's obvious bad faith maneuver:

The pointedly critical tone of the debate saw Germany accusing Washington of violating international law by withdrawing from the nuclear pact, while Berlin aligned itself with China's claim that the United States has no right to reimpose U.N. sanctions on Iran.

The Trump administration has abused our major European allies for years in its push to destroy the nuclear deal, and their governments have no patience with any more unilateral U.S. stunts. This is the result of two years of a destructive policy aimed solely at punishing Iran and its people. The administration's open contempt for international law and the interests of its allies has cost the U.S. their cooperation.

Underscoring the absurdity of the Trump administration's arms embargo appeal were Pompeo's alarmist warnings that an end to the arms embargo would allow Iran to purchase advanced fighters that it would use to threaten Europe and India:

If you fail to act, Iran will be free to purchase Russian-made fighter jets that can strike up to a 3,000 kilometer radius, putting cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs.

This is a laughably unrealistic scenario. Even if Iran purchased advanced fighters, the last thing it would do is send them off on a suicide mission to bomb Italy or India. This shows how deeply irrational the Iran hawks' fearmongering is. Iran has already demonstrated an ability to launch precise attacks with drones and missiles in its immediate neighborhood, and it developed these capabilities while under the current embargo.

It has no need for expensive fighters, and it is not at all certain that their government would even be interested in acquiring them. Pompeo's presentation was a weak attempt to exaggerate the potential threat from a state that has very limited power projection, and he found no support because his serial fabrications about Iran have rendered everything he says to be worthless.

The same administration that wants to keep an arms embargo on Iran forever has no problem flooding the region with U.S.-made weapons and providing them to some of the worst governments in the world. It is these client states that are doing the most to destabilize other countries in the region right now. If the U.N. should be putting arms embargoes on any country, it should consider imposing them on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to limit their ability to wreak havoc on Yemen and Libya.

The Secretary of State called on the U.N. to reject "extortion diplomacy." The best way to reject extortion diplomacy would be for them to reject the administration's desperate attempt to use America's position at the U.N. to attack international law.

[Jul 01, 2020] Madcap Militarism- H.R. McMaster's Dishonest Attack on Restraint -

Notable quotes:
"... The purpose of McMaster's essay is to discredit "retrenchers" -- that's his term for anyone advocating restraint as an alternative to the madcap militarism that has characterized U.S. policy in recent decades. Substituting retrenchment for restraint is a bit like referring to conservatives as fascists or liberals as pinks : It reveals a preference for labeling rather than serious engagement. In short, it's a not very subtle smear, as indeed is the phrase madcap militarism. But, hey, I'm only playing by his rules. ..."
"... The militarization of American statecraft that followed the end of the Cold War produced results that were bad for the United States and bad for the world. If McMaster can't figure that out, then he's the one who is behind the times. ..."
"... While Hillary was very clear on her drive against Russia, Trump promised the opposite, so many people had hopes for something on that. Nevertheless, he also promised to go against China and JPCOA, which many people forgot or thought not likely. But lo and behold, with Trump we ended up having the worst of both worlds ..."
"... just because of Trump's rhetoric against military adventurism, I would have voted for him. I would have been wrong, so now I am now extremely weary of any promises on this direction, but still hoped for Tulsi... ..."
Jul 01, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Home / Articles / Realism & Restraint / Madcap Militarism: H.R. McMaster's Dishonest Attack On Restraint REALISM & RESTRAINT Madcap Militarism: H.R. McMaster's Dishonest Attack On Restraint

Anyone looking for new grand strategy won't find it in the retired general's latest 'think piece.' Gen. H.R. McMaster in 2013. By CSIS/Flickr

JUNE 29, 2020

|

12:01 AM

ANDREW J. BACEVICH

H.R. McMaster looks to be one of those old soldiers with an aversion to following Douglas MacArthur's advice to "just fade away."

The retired army three-star general who served an abbreviated term as national security adviser has a memoir due out in September. Perhaps in anticipation of its publication, he has now contributed a big think-piece to the new issue of Foreign Affairs. The essay is unlikely to help sell the book.

The purpose of McMaster's essay is to discredit "retrenchers" -- that's his term for anyone advocating restraint as an alternative to the madcap militarism that has characterized U.S. policy in recent decades. Substituting retrenchment for restraint is a bit like referring to conservatives as fascists or liberals as pinks : It reveals a preference for labeling rather than serious engagement. In short, it's a not very subtle smear, as indeed is the phrase madcap militarism. But, hey, I'm only playing by his rules.

Yet if not madcap militarism, what term or phrase accurately describes post-9/11 U.S. policy? McMaster never says. It's among the many matters that he passes over in silence. As a result, his essay amounts to little more than a dodge, carefully designed to ignore the void between what assertive "American global leadership" was supposed to accomplish back when we fancied ourselves the sole superpower and what actually ensued.

Here's what McMaster dislikes about restraint: It is based on "emotions" and a "romantic view" of the world rather than reason and analysis. It is synonymous with "disengagement" -- McMaster uses the terms interchangeably. "Retrenchers ignore the fact that the risks and costs of inaction are sometimes higher than those of engagement," which, of course, is not a fact, but an assertion dear to the hearts of interventionists. Retrenchers assume that the "vast oceans" separating the United States "from the rest of the world" will suffice to "keep Americans safe." They also believe that "an overly powerful United States is the principal cause of the world's problems." Perhaps worst of all, "retrenchers are out of step with history and way behind the times."

Forgive me for saying so, but there is a Trumpian quality to this line of argument: broad claims supported by virtually no substantiating evidence. Just as President Trump is adamant in refusing to fess up to mistakes in responding to Covid-19 -- "We've made every decision correctly" -- so too McMaster avoids reckoning with what actually happened when the never-retrench crowd was calling the shots in Washington and set out after 9/11 to transform the Greater Middle East.

What gives the game away is McMaster's apparent aversion to numbers. This is an essay devoid of stats. McMaster acknowledges the "visceral feelings of war weariness" felt by more than a few Americans. Yet he refrains from exploring the source of such feelings. So he does not mention casualties -- the number of Americans killed or wounded in our post-9/11 misadventures. He does not discuss how much those wars have cost , which, of course, spares him from considering how the trillions expended in Afghanistan and Iraq might have been better invested at home. He does not even reflect on the duration of those wars, which by itself suffices to reveal the epic failure of recent U.S. military policy. Instead, McMaster mocks what he calls the "new mantra" of "ending endless wars."

Well, if not endless, our recent wars have certainly dragged on for far longer than the proponents of those wars expected. Given the hundreds of billions funneled to the Pentagon each year -- another data point that McMaster chooses to overlook -- shouldn't Americans expect more positive outcomes? And, of course, we are still looking for the general who will make good on the oft-repeated promise of victory.

What is McMaster's alternative to restraint? Anyone looking for the outlines of a new grand strategy in step with history and keeping up with the times won't find it here. The best McMaster can come up with is to suggest that policymakers embrace "strategic empathy: an understanding of the ideology, emotions, and aspirations that drive and constrain other actors" -- a bit of advice likely to find favor with just about anyone apart from President Trump himself.

But strategic empathy is not a strategy; it's an attitude. By contrast, a policy of principled restraint does provide the basis for an alternative strategy, one that implies neither retrenchment nor disengagement. Indeed, restraint emphasizes engagement, albeit through other than military means.

Unless I missed it, McMaster's essay contains not a single reference to diplomacy, a revealing oversight. Let me amend that: A disregard for diplomacy may not be surprising in someone with decades of schooling in the arts of madcap militarism.

The militarization of American statecraft that followed the end of the Cold War produced results that were bad for the United States and bad for the world. If McMaster can't figure that out, then he's the one who is behind the times. Here's the truth: Those who support the principle of restraint believe in vigorous engagement, emphasizing diplomacy, trade, cultural exchange, and the promotion of global norms, with war as a last resort. Whether such an approach to policy is in or out of step with history, I leave for others to divine.

Andrew Bacevich, TAC's writer-at-large, is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.


kouroi2 days ago

Surveys show over and over that the Americans overwhelmingly share Dr. Bacevich's views. There was even hope that Trump will reign on the US military adventurism.

The fact that all this continues unabated and that the general is given space in the Foreign Affairs is in our face evidence of the glaring democratic deficit existent in the US, and that in fact democracy is nonexistent being long ago fully replaced by a de facto Oligarchy.

Doesn't matter what Dr. Bachevich writes or says or does. Unless and until the internal political issues in the US are not addressed, the world will suffer.

libertarianlwyr kouroi2 days ago

only idiots and fools were under any delusion that Trump would "reign in US military adventurism".

kouroi libertarianlwyr2 days ago

While Hillary was very clear on her drive against Russia, Trump promised the opposite, so many people had hopes for something on that. Nevertheless, he also promised to go against China and JPCOA, which many people forgot or thought not likely. But lo and behold, with Trump we ended up having the worst of both worlds...

and the tragedy is that even if Biden is elected, that direction will not be reversed, or not likely. While I cannot vote, just because of Trump's rhetoric against military adventurism, I would have voted for him. I would have been wrong, so now I am now extremely weary of any promises on this direction, but still hoped for Tulsi...

[Jul 01, 2020] Chagnon theorized that war, far from being the product of capitalist exploitation and colonization was in fact the true "state of nature."

Jul 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

Sean , says: June 30, 2020 at 12:58 pm GMT

There is no reason for US elite act as is being suggested, because the cake they get the lion's share of is growing and so even though inequality is growing, the economy is too and the common people are getting slightly better off.

If a country were in the hands of a tiny minority and they were to act in such a way and try steal all the wealth for themselves, then they would be overthrown by domestic enemies like Somoza was.

Chagnon theorized that war, far from being the product of capitalist exploitation and colonization was in fact the true "state of nature." He concluded that 1) "maximizing political and personal security was the overwhelming driving force in human social and cultural evolution," and 2) "warfare has been the most important single force shaping the evolution of political society in our species."

Everything in the last five years is a symptom of the US reacting to being bested by China.

I happen to think states that are even slightly nation-states have emergent qualities, like a nest of social insects that react as though there is central direction though none exists, and no state is closer to being alive than a democracy.

[Jul 01, 2020] Control freaks that cannot even control their own criminal impulses!

Highly recommended!
Jul 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

No Friend Of The Devil , says:

Control freaks that cannot even control their own criminal impulses!

...They suffer from god-complexes, since they do not believe in God, they feel an obligation to act as God, and decide the fates of over 7 billion people, who would obviously be better off if the PICs were sent to the Fletcher Memorial Home for Incurable Tyrants!

[Jul 01, 2020] Kosovo Indictment Proves Bill Clinton s Serbian War Atrocities - Defend Democracy Press by Jim Bovard

Notable quotes:
"... Clinton remains a hero in Kosovo where a statue of him was erected in the capital, Pristina. The Guardian newspaper noted that the statue showed Clinton "with a left hand raised, a typical gesture of a leader greeting the masses. In his right hand he is holding documents engraved with the date when NATO started the bombardment of Serbia, 24 March 1999." It would have been a more accurate representation to depict Clinton standing on a pile of corpses of the women, children, and others killed in the U.S. bombing campaign. ..."
"... Bill Clinton's 1999 bombing of Serbia was as big a fraud as George W. Bush's conning this nation into attacking Iraq. The fact that Clinton and other top U.S. government officials continued to glorify Hashim Thaci despite accusations of mass murder, torture, and body trafficking is another reminder of the venality of much of America's political elite. Will Americans again be gullible the next time that Washington policymakers and their media allies concoct bullshit pretexts to blow the hell out of some hapless foreign land? ..."
Jun 25, 2020 | www.defenddemocracy.press

President Bill Clinton's favorite freedom fighter just got indicted for mass murder, torture, kidnapping, and other crimes against humanity. In 1999, the Clinton administration launched a 78-day bombing campaign that killed up to 1500 civilians in Serbia and Kosovo in what the American media proudly portrayed as a crusade against ethnic bias. That war, like most of the pretenses of U.S. foreign policy, was always a sham.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci was charged with ten counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity by an international tribunal in The Hague in the Netherlands. It charged Thaci and nine other men with "war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture." Thaci and the other charged suspects were accused of being "criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders" and the indictment involved "hundreds of known victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities and include political opponents."

Hashim Thaci's tawdry career illustrates how anti-terrorism is a flag of convenience for Washington policymakers. Prior to becoming Kosovo's president, Thaci was the head of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), fighting to force Serbs out of Kosovo. In 1999, the Clinton administration designated the KLA as "freedom fighters" despite their horrific past and gave them massive aid. The previous year, the State Department condemned "terrorist action by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army." The KLA was heavily involved in drug trafficking and had close to ties to Osama bin Laden.

But arming the KLA and bombing Serbia helped Clinton portray himself as a crusader against injustice and shift public attention after his impeachment trial. Clinton was aided by many shameless members of Congress anxious to sanctify U.S. killing. Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CN) whooped that the United States and the KLA "stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values." And since Clinton administration officials publicly compared Serb leader Slobodan Milošević to Hitler, every decent person was obliged to applaud the bombing campaign.

Both the Serbs and ethnic Albanians committed atrocities in the bitter strife in Kosovo. But to sanctify its bombing campaign, the Clinton administration waved a magic wand and made the KLA's atrocities disappear. British professor Philip Hammond noted that the 78-day bombing campaign "was not a purely military operation: NATO also destroyed what it called 'dual-use' targets, such as factories, city bridges, and even the main television building in downtown Belgrade, in an attempt to terrorize the country into surrender."

Read also: From the very beginning: Α conscious plan to destroy Greece!

NATO repeatedly dropped cluster bombs into marketplaces, hospitals, and other civilian areas. Cluster bombs are anti-personnel devices designed to be scattered across enemy troop formations. NATO dropped more than 1,300 cluster bombs on Serbia and Kosovo and each bomb contained 208 separate bomblets that floated to earth by parachute. Bomb experts estimated that more than 10,000 unexploded bomblets were scattered around the landscape when the bombing ended and maimed children long after the ceasefire.

In the final days of the bombing campaign, the Washington Post reported that "some presidential aides and friends are describing Kosovo in Churchillian tones, as Clinton's 'finest hour.'" The Post also reported that according to one Clinton friend "what Clinton believes were the unambiguously moral motives for NATO's intervention represented a chance to soothe regrets harbored in Clinton's own conscience The friend said Clinton has at times lamented that the generation before him was able to serve in a war with a plainly noble purpose, and he feels 'almost cheated' that 'when it was his turn he didn't have the chance to be part of a moral cause.'" By Clinton's standard, slaughtering Serbs was "close enough for government work" to a "moral cause."

Shortly after the end of the 1999 bombing campaign, Clinton enunciated what his aides labeled the Clinton doctrine: "Whether within or beyond the borders of a country, if the world community has the power to stop it, we ought to stop genocide and ethnic cleansing." In reality, the Clinton doctrine was that presidents are entitled to commence bombing foreign lands based on any brazen lie that the American media will regurgitate. In reality, the lesson from bombing Serbia is that American politicians merely need to publicly recite the word "genocide" to get a license to kill.

Read also: Derrière l'affaire Benalla, la banalisation de la violence policière

After the bombing ended, Clinton assured the Serbian people that the United States and NATO agreed to be peacekeepers only "with the understanding that they would protect Serbs as well as ethnic Albanians and that they would leave when peace took hold." In the subsequent months and years, American and NATO forces stood by as the KLA resumed its ethnic cleansing, slaughtering Serb civilians, bombing Serbian churches and oppressing any non-Muslims. Almost a quarter-million Serbs, Gypsies, Jews, and other minorities fled Kosovo after Mr. Clinton promised to protect them. By 2003, almost 70 percent of the Serbs living in Kosovo in 1999 had fled, and Kosovo was 95 percent ethnic Albanian.

But Thaci remained useful for U.S. policymakers. Even though he was widely condemned for oppression and corruption after taking power in Kosovo, Vice President Joe Biden hailed Thaci in 2010 as the "George Washington of Kosovo." A few months later, a Council of Europe report accused Thaci and KLA operatives of human organ trafficking. The Guardian noted that the report alleged that Thaci's inner circle "took captives across the border into Albania after the war, where a number of Serbs are said to have been murdered for their kidneys, which were sold on the black market." The report stated that when "transplant surgeons" were "ready to operate, the [Serbian] captives were brought out of the 'safe house' individually, summarily executed by a KLA gunman, and their corpses transported swiftly to the operating clinic."

Despite the body trafficking charge, Thaci was a star attendee at the annual Global Initiative conference by the Clinton Foundation in 2011, 2012, and 2013, where he posed for photos with Bill Clinton. Maybe that was a perk from the $50,000 a month lobbying contract that Thaci's regime signed with The Podesta Group, co-managed by future Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, as the Daily Caller reported.

Clinton remains a hero in Kosovo where a statue of him was erected in the capital, Pristina. The Guardian newspaper noted that the statue showed Clinton "with a left hand raised, a typical gesture of a leader greeting the masses. In his right hand he is holding documents engraved with the date when NATO started the bombardment of Serbia, 24 March 1999." It would have been a more accurate representation to depict Clinton standing on a pile of corpses of the women, children, and others killed in the U.S. bombing campaign.

In 2019, Bill Clinton and his fanatically pro-bombing former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, visited Pristina, where they were "treated like rock stars" as they posed for photos with Thaci. Clinton declared, "I love this country and it will always be one of the greatest honors of my life to have stood with you against ethnic cleansing (by Serbian forces) and for freedom." Thaci awarded Clinton and Albright medals of freedom "for the liberty he brought to us and the peace to entire region." Albright has reinvented herself as a visionary warning against fascism in the Trump era. Actually, the only honorific that Albright deserves is "Butcher of Belgrade."

Clinton's war on Serbia was a Pandora's box from which the world still suffers. Because politicians and most of the media portrayed the war against Serbia as a moral triumph, it was easier for the Bush administration to justify attacking Iraq, for the Obama administration to bomb Libya, and for the Trump administration to repeatedly bomb Syria. All of those interventions sowed chaos that continues cursing the purported beneficiaries.

Bill Clinton's 1999 bombing of Serbia was as big a fraud as George W. Bush's conning this nation into attacking Iraq. The fact that Clinton and other top U.S. government officials continued to glorify Hashim Thaci despite accusations of mass murder, torture, and body trafficking is another reminder of the venality of much of America's political elite. Will Americans again be gullible the next time that Washington policymakers and their media allies concoct bullshit pretexts to blow the hell out of some hapless foreign land?

[Jun 28, 2020] Russian position for Start talks: "We don't believe the US in its current shape is a counterpart that is reliable, so we have no confidence, no trust whatsoever".

Highly recommended!
Jun 28, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

START. Talks began in Vienna with a childish stunt by the American side . I wouldn't expect any results: the Americans are fatally deluded . As for the Russians: " We don't believe the U.S. in its current shape is a counterpart that is reliable, so we have no confidence, no trust whatsoever ".Russian has a word for that: недоговороспособны and it's characterised US behaviour since at least this event (in Obama's time). Can't make an agreement with them and, even if you do, they won't keep it.

[Jun 26, 2020] Neocon foreign policy primer

Jun 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

Rahan , says: Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2020 at 5:21 am GMT

1) Allow CIA, corporations, media, to learn to topple nations
2) Use them to achieve geopolitical goals
3) Allow them to become self-directing and do the same to achieve corporate goals
4) They realize instead of your state using them, they can infiltrate and use the state
5) They realize they can topple your nation too for corporate goals
6) PROFIT

[Jun 25, 2020] Neocons in the USA is an epidemic worse then COVID-19: The number of 'evil players' is simply staggering, whether we want to admit it or not

Jun 25, 2020 | www.unz.com

Mustapha Mond , says: Show Comment June 23, 2020 at 3:11 pm GMT

@Emslander Hannah Arendt noted the 'banality of evil' long ago. It's pretty common, sad to say.

The military is filled with 'ordinary' people who apparently have no qualms about murdering anyone their 'superiors' point to and say, "Kill!" They are just following orders, after all.

The number of 'evil players' is simply staggering, whether we want to admit it or not. And yes, they DO drink watery beer and watch "Wheel of Fortune" and have bar-b-ques. John Wayne Gacy comes to mind immediately. Who knows who our neighbors really are, deep down inside?

As for naming names, gosh, I seem to have lost my DARPA personnel directory of evil geniuses, and my CIA directory of same as well.

(But as for who REALLY controls things and gives the orders, I think you may have nailed it with Sister Aimee. And she was HOT in her day, and apparently knew how to have a good time. Hallelujah, brother ..)

Mefobills , says: Show Comment June 23, 2020 at 6:16 pm GMT
@Mustapha Mond Good comment Mustapha.

The banality of evil is often not known until revisionist historians are able to make connections post facto. In the moment people do not have enough information to make informed decisions.

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Karl_Rove

"That's not the way the world really works anymore." He continued "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

For example, during the French Revolution most of the participants had no idea of what a Jacobian was.

Or, during the Bolshevik Revolution, most participants had no idea of who Kuhn and Loeb was.

Or, before WW1 was the machinations of the Milner Group known?

Or, before WW2, the machinations of Zionists to get Balfour.

Or, how Focus group had gotten to Churchill with loans.

Why the evil? It is usually hidden string pullers who are afraid of losing their vaunted position in ruling hierarchy. They may actually think they are doing good, because doing good is defined as "what is good for me, or my in-group."

[Jun 24, 2020] Neocons and the USA security

Notable quotes:
"... I see Geo has already pointed out the obvious absurdity that any of these criminal were in the least bit worried bout US security. If anything, they were overtly sacrificing US security on behalf of an enemy state. ..."
Jun 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Rurik says: Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2020 at 5:57 pm GMT 800 Words

Vice President Dick Cheney, who thought he was actually the man in charge.

he was. Contrast the chimp sitting in that classroom for 20 something minutes, as our nation was under attack with what Cheney was doing at the time..

https://www.youtube.com/embed/qjR0gGXV-04?feature=oembed

All were hawks who believed that the United States had the right to do whatever it considered necessary to enhance its own security,

I see Geo has already pointed out the obvious absurdity that any of these criminal were in the least bit worried bout US security. If anything, they were overtly sacrificing US security on behalf of an enemy state. Not sure why you write stuff like that Mr. G, unless you just expect people to ignore it as perfunctory tripe, but there are some, no doubt, who read those words and assume you are actually saying they care about the US. When you and I both know they don't.

Clinton and Obama were so-called liberal interventionists who sought to export something called democracy to other countries in an attempt to make them more like Peoria.

Nope.

They were and are both amoral, opportunistic zio-whores, whose only ideology is what's good for Clinton and Obama, respectively. Clinton didn't bomb Serbia out of some humanitarian love of freedom and democracy, and Obama didn't destroy Libya and Syria except to serve his zio-masters. Duh.

So the difference between neocons and liberal interventionists is one of style rather than substance. And, by either yardstick all-in-all, Trump looks pretty good,

I was telling my gal the other day, that Trump could be The One to End the Fed, by allowing Goldman Sachs and the rest of them to feast at the Treasury to their heart's content.

I reminded her of Jackson's quote about hurting ten thousand families, in order to save fifty thousand. And in a similar vein, Trump could be setting up the collapse of the ZUS economy, which will hurt hundreds of millions, but if he could collapse the dollar, he very well might save billions of people's lives.

"Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the Eternal God, I will rout you out."
– Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)

Nuland is most famous for her foul language when referring to the potential European role

I beg to differ, Mr. G.

I would posit that her most famous utterings were when she imperiously demanded that "Yats is our guy". IOW, the way she was promoting "democracy" in Ukraine, was by corrupting the system with 5 billions of tax payer lucre- to the point where she, *personally* could decide who- (Jewish banker) would be president in a nation thousands of miles away. That's how the ZUS promotes "democracy" in foreign lands. (and, I suspect that it was the way that call was leaked, that is the fount of all the rage at Russia, for "Russian hacking', breaking long-standing diplomatic protocols against exposing other nation's treachery and corruption to the 'little people').

Nuland's view . Russia to violate arms control treaties, international law, the sovereignty of its neighbors, and the integrity of elections in the United States and Europe

for Nuland to talk about 'International law and the 'integrity of European elections'.. is like Jerry Sandusky lecturing people on child welfare.

That strategy required consistent U.S. leadership at the presidential level,

OK, so not only Nuland but also John Bolton is screeching that Trump is the disaster of our times.

Not since John McCain has a mad dog Zionist insider been so full of hate for Trump. Hmm..

[Jun 24, 2020] No Security Council resolution authorized aggression against Yugoslavia. NATO's Operation Allied Force lasted 78 days.

Jun 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Robjil , says: Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2020 at 10:21 pm GMT

@Druid55 That is the western MSM sugared up version of what happened in Yugoslavia. Western MSM learned their lesson about being truthful about war when US and friends were in Vietnam.

Lies and lies only come from western MSM these days so wars and regime change games can go on with anyone noticing or caring.

Western MSM notifies their puppet readers that all the US and friends does is "humanitarian" stuff these days. Most puppet readers lap up this junk.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/natos-rape-of-yugoslavia/5375189

March 24, 1999 will go down in history as a day of infamy. US-led NATO raped Yugoslavia. Doing so was its second major combat operation.

It was lawless aggression. No Security Council resolution authorized it. NATO's Operation Allied Force lasted 78 days.

Washington called it Operation Noble Anvil. Evil best describes it. On June 10, operations ended.

From March 1991 through mid-June 1999, Balkan wars raged. Yugoslavia "balkanized" into seven countries. They include Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia.

Enormous human suffering was inflicted. Washington bears most responsibility.

[Jun 24, 2020] War is the health of the state" is true only to a certain limit. After that the bankruptcy is looming

Jun 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

onebornfree , says: Website Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2020 at 2:21 pm GMT

"So the difference between neocons and liberal interventionists is one of style rather than substance. And, by either yardstick all-in-all, Trump looks pretty good, but there has nevertheless been a resurgence of neocon-think in his administration. "

This "just" in: "War is the health of the state" Randolph Bourne https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randolph_Bourne

Agent76 , says: Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2020 at 2:22 pm GMT
Apr 27, 2017 This Is Already Putting an End to the Age of Globalization and Bankrupting the United States (2004)

For a major power, prosecution of any war that is not a defense of the homeland usually requires overseas military bases for strategic reasons. After the war is over, it is tempting for the victor to retain such bases and easy to find reasons to do so. February 26, 2015 The Neoconservative Threat To World Order

Scholars from Russia and from around the world, Russian government officials, and the Russian people seek an answer as to why Washington destroyed during the past year the friendly relations between America and Russia that President Reagan and President Gorbachev succeeded in establishing.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/02/26/neoconservative-threat-world-order-paul-craig-roberts/

[Jun 24, 2020] Why do our 'foreign interventionists,' our 'permanent war for globalist perpetual peace' crusaders, our Neocons, hate Russia so thoroughly and so centrally to their very beings?

Notable quotes:
"... First, our imperialists are the direct descendants intellectually, spiritually, and morally of the first WASP Empire, the first Anglo-Zionist Empire: the British Empire. And they have used their high IQs that are focused on grasping the One Ring to Rule Them All to locate where the Brit WASP Empire failed to achieve its goals, which allowed the collapse starting with World War 1. They are obsessed with that because they believe that if they can achieve what the Brit WASPs failed to achieve, then they can make the Anglo-Zionist Empire 2.0 as permanent as the Roman Empire – a Thousand Year Reich. ..."
"... And that is spiritually what all WASP imperialism, all Anglo-Zionist imperialism back to at least the Anglo-Saxon Puritans, is about: replacing the Roman Empire, which means replacing that which culturally led to, and was absolutely indispensable to, Christendom. ..."
"... Our 'foreign interventionists' have seen Russia under Putin rise from the ashes, and they intend to destroy Russia once and for all, so they then can reduce China and win The Great Game. And thus make Anglo-Zionist Empire greater than Roman Empire. ..."
"... The "foreign interventionists" want two things: Russia's mineral riches and its good gene pool (how do you think Middle Eastern Semites became blonde hair-blue eyed people who can easily blend into the West to undermine it from within in the first place to begin with?) ..."
Jun 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Jake , says: Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2020 at 12:18 pm GMT

Why do our 'foreign interventionists,' our 'permanent war for globalist perpetual peace' crusaders, our Neocons, hate Russia so thoroughly and so centrally to their very beings?

First, our imperialists are the direct descendants intellectually, spiritually, and morally of the first WASP Empire, the first Anglo-Zionist Empire: the British Empire. And they have used their high IQs that are focused on grasping the One Ring to Rule Them All to locate where the Brit WASP Empire failed to achieve its goals, which allowed the collapse starting with World War 1. They are obsessed with that because they believe that if they can achieve what the Brit WASPs failed to achieve, then they can make the Anglo-Zionist Empire 2.0 as permanent as the Roman Empire – a Thousand Year Reich.

And that is spiritually what all WASP imperialism, all Anglo-Zionist imperialism back to at least the Anglo-Saxon Puritans, is about: replacing the Roman Empire, which means replacing that which culturally led to, and was absolutely indispensable to, Christendom.

What they wish to redo and achieve that the Brit WASPs failed in is winning The Great Game: becoming total master of Eur-Asia. And that requires taking out Russia and China. In the 19th century, China was sicker than even the Ottoman Turkish Empire. To play the long game to destroy Russia, the Brit WASPs allied with the Turks to prevent Russia acting to push the Ottomans out of Europe. Brit WASP secret service in eastern Europe was focused on reducing Russia significantly right through the Bolshevik Revolution, even with Russia naively, stupidly allied with the British Empire in World War 1.

Our 'foreign interventionists' have seen Russia under Putin rise from the ashes, and they intend to destroy Russia once and for all, so they then can reduce China and win The Great Game. And thus make Anglo-Zionist Empire greater than Roman Empire.

Second, our Neocons are the spiritual and intellectual descendants not just of Trotskyites, but of all Russia-hating Jews with ties to Central and/or Eastern Europe. For them, Russia always is the evil that must be destroyed for the good of Jews.

Everything at its bedrock is about theology, is about the choice between Christ and Christendom or the Chaos of anti-Christendom.

Really No Shit , says: Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2020 at 1:13 pm GMT
The "foreign interventionists" want two things: Russia's mineral riches and its good gene pool (how do you think Middle Eastern Semites became blonde hair-blue eyed people who can easily blend into the West to undermine it from within in the first place to begin with?)

And they won't stop until they get what they want, by hook or crook!

[Jun 22, 2020] MoA community discussion of Bolton book

Notable quotes:
"... let us not forget that bolton threatened a un officials kids because they guy wasn't going along with the iraq war propaganda. ..."
"... Close -- the threatened official was Jose Bustani, at that time (2002) the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)as he had been for five years. ..."
"... Bustani had been working to bring Iraq and Libya into the organization, which would have required those two countries to eliminate all of their chemical weapons. ..."
"... The US, though, had other ideas -- chiefly invading and destroying both of those nations, and when Bustani insisted on continuing his efforts then Bolton threatened Bustani's adult children. ..."
Jun 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

pretzelattack , Jun 17 2020 21:49 utc | 14

let us not forget that bolton threatened a un officials kids because they guy wasn't going along with the iraq war propaganda.

Duncan Idaho , Jun 17 2020 22:03 utc | 15

Only with Late Stage Capitalism could we have a vicious war criminal write a book criticizing a psychopathic sociopath.
Anonymous , Jun 17 2020 22:06 utc | 16
The political establishment in Canada appeared dismayed at the prospect of Bolton as National Security Adviser. See these interviews with Hill + Knowlton strategies Vice-chairman, Peter Donolo, from 2018:

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/there-s-risk-trump-s-actions-are-driving-the-u-s-into-a-recession-peter-donolo~1342264
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/trade-wars-easy-to-start-not-so-easy-to-finish-peter-donolo~1365104

So Bolton gets in, Meng Wangzhou is detained in Vancouver on the US request (that's another story), and in time, Canada appoints a new Ambassador to China - Mr. Dominic Barton.

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

Then Bolton gets fired. 'Nuff said. Just to let everyone know that Bolton is well and truly hated, as a government official, in certain circles.

AntiSpin , Jun 17 2020 22:07 utc | 17
@ pretzelattack | Jun 17 2020 21:49 utc | 14

Close -- the threatened official was Jose Bustani, at that time (2002) the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)as he had been for five years.

Bustani had been working to bring Iraq and Libya into the organization, which would have required those two countries to eliminate all of their chemical weapons.

The US, though, had other ideas -- chiefly invading and destroying both of those nations, and when Bustani insisted on continuing his efforts then Bolton threatened Bustani's adult children.

Jpc , Jun 17 2020 22:32 utc | 18
Why was he appointment made in the first place anyone,?
Ian2 , Jun 17 2020 23:08 utc | 19
Jpc | Jun 17 2020 22:32 utc | 18:

My guess Trump went along with the tough guy image that Bolton projected in media and recommendations by others.

james , Jun 17 2020 23:13 utc | 20
let the lobbyists with the most money win... that's what defines the usa system, leadership and decision making process... no one in their right mind would support this doofus..
Jen , Jun 17 2020 23:40 utc | 21
At least the one saving grace about John Bolton's memoir is that it might be a tad closer to reality than Christopher Steele's infamous dossier and might prove valuable as a source of evidence in a court of law. Maybe Yosemite Sam himself should start quaking in his boots.
jen , Jun 17 2020 23:42 utc | 22
Jpc @ 18, Ian2 @ 19:

Personal interest on DJT's part? :-)

JC , Jun 17 2020 23:43 utc | 23
Posted by: Tower | Jun 17 2020 21:43 utc | 13

This is the most intelligent post so far.

Yes why not? If Obama awarded the Noble prize even before he begins serving his first term I can't see why Bolton not nominated now. America is a joke, not a banana republic. It deserves Obama, Trump, Bolton or Biden another stoopid joker.

Stoopid president elected by stoopid citizens

Don Bacon , Jun 17 2020 23:44 utc | 24
@ Jpc
When faced with Trump's behavior of employing warmongers, including several generals, some observers opined that Trump wanted people with contrasting opinions so that he could consider them and then say "no." He did more with Bolton eventually, sending him to Mongolia while he (Trump) went to Singapore (or somewhere over there).
A User , Jun 17 2020 23:47 utc | 25
re Ian2 | Jun 17 2020 23:08 utc | 19
who hazarded : My guess Trump went along with the tough guy image that Bolton projected in media and recommendations by others.
Not at all, if you go back to the earliest days of the orangeman's prezdency, you will see Trump resisted the efforts by Mercer & the zionist casino owner to give Bolton a gig.
He knew that shrub had problems with the boasts of Bolton and as his reputation was as an arsehole who sounded his own trumpet at his boss's expense orangeman refused for a long time. Trump believes the trump prezdency is about trump no one else.
Thing was at the time he was running for the prez gig trump was on his uppers, making a few dollars from his tv show, plus licensing other people's buildings by selling his name to be stuck on them. trump tower azerbnajan etc.
He put virtually none of his own money into the 'race' so when he won the people who had put up the dosh had power over him.
Bolton has always been an arse kisser to any zionist cause he suspects he can claw a penny outta, so he used the extreme loony end of the totally looney zionist spectrum to hook him (Bolton) up with a gig by pushing for him with trump.

It was always gonna end the way it did as Bolton is forever briefing the media against anyone who tried to resist his murderous fantasies. Trump is never gonna argue for any scheme that doesn't have lotsa dollars for him in it so he had plenty of run ins with Bolton who then went to his media mates & told tales.
When bolton was appointed orangey's stakes were at a really low ebb among DC warmongers, so he reluctantly took him on then spent the next 18 months getting rid of the grubby parasite.

div> Yosemite Sam did it better. I would prefer a Foghorn Leghorn-type character, for US diplomacy.

Posted by: Ribbit , Jun 18 2020 0:20 utc | 26

Yosemite Sam did it better. I would prefer a Foghorn Leghorn-type character, for US diplomacy.

Posted by: Ribbit | Jun 18 2020 0:20 utc | 26

Kristan hinton , Jun 18 2020 0:46 utc | 27
Real History: Candidate Trump praised Bolton and named him as THE number one Foreign Policy expert he (Trump) respected.

Imagine the mustachioed Mister Potatoe (sic) Head and zany highjinks!

Bolton and one of his first wives were regulars at Plato's Retreat for wife swapping orgies. The wife was not real keen on the behavior, but she allegedly found herself verbally and physically abused for objecting.

DannyC , Jun 18 2020 1:17 utc | 28
Trump is at fault for hiring him to appease the Zionist lobby. We all knew the guy was a warmonger and a scumbag. It's not a surprise. Trump surrounds himself with the worst people
jadan , Jun 18 2020 1:30 utc | 29
Did John Bolton put his personal interests above the will of congress in an attempt to extort the Ukrainian government? You're making a false equivalence. You seem to have a soft spot for Trump. Bolton is an in-your-face son of a bitch, but Trump, Trump is just human garbage.
Kay Fabe , Jun 18 2020 2:27 utc | 30
Pretty much a nothing burger if thats all he has got. Just a distraction. Trumps outrage just meant help Bolton sell some books. Lol. People are so easy to fool.

I still think Bolton managing the operations as COG in Cheneys old bunker. Coming out for a vacation while next phase is planned

Jackrabbit , Jun 18 2020 2:56 utc | 31
Kay Fabe @Jun18 2:27 #29
Pretty much a nothing burger if thats all he has got.

You underestimate the craftiness of this kayfabe.

The tiff with Bolton makes Trump look like a peace-loving moderate so that he's acceptable to Independent voters.

!!

Den lille abe , Jun 18 2020 3:03 utc | 32
Bolton is just another American arsehole. Nothing new. When they do not get their way, the y always turn on their superiors, or those in charge. Bolton is just another "Anhänger" personal gain is what motivates him.
He should have been a blot on his parents bedsheets or at least a forced abortion, but unfortunately that did not happen...
Piotr Berman , Jun 18 2020 3:53 utc | 33
The self-appointed Deep State has pretty much thwarted him (Trump) and his voters.

Posted by: bob sykes | Jun 17 2020 20:55 utc | 11

Trump thwarted Trump. Before he got elected, Trump mentioned his admiration of Bolton more than once. Voters of Trump elected a liar and an incoherent person -- at time, incomprehensible, a nice bonus. But it is worth noticing that Trump never liked being binded by agreement, like, say, an agreement to pay money back to creditors, or whatever international agreement would restrict USA from doing what they damn please.

Superficially, it is mysterious why Trump made an impression that he wants to negotiate with North Korea with some agreement at the end. Was he forced to make a mockery from the negotiation by someone sticking knife to his back?

Some may remember that Trump promised to abolish Affordable Care Act and replace it with "something marvelous". The latest version is that he will start thinking about it again after re-election. If you believe that...

Granted, Trump is more sane than Bolton, but just a bit, unlike Bolton he has some moments of lucidity.

In conclusion, I would advocate to vote for Biden. If you need a reason, that would be that Biden never tweets, or if he does, it is forgettable before the typing is done. Unlike the hideous Trumpian productions.

jason , Jun 18 2020 3:55 utc | 34
"men fit to be shaved," Tiberius, on Bolton and Friedman.

he is the best & brightest we have. when a dreadful mouth is called for. his insights into the Trump WH are probably as deep as his knowledge of VZ, Iran, Cuba, etc. he's a useful idiot, a willing fool. like Trump, he's the verbal equivalent of the cops on the street, in foreign "policy." another abusive father figure

reading the imperial steak turds - an American form of reading the tea leaves or goat livers or chicken flight or celestial what have you. an emperor craps out a big hairy one like Bolton and the priests and hierophants and lawyers and scribes come for a long, close up inspection and fact-gathering smell of another steaming pile of gmo-corn-and-downer-cow-fed, colon cancer causing, Kansas feed-lot raised, grade A Murkin BEEF. guess what they in their wisdom find? Trump stinks.

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 4:20 utc | 35
Scotch Bingeington @ 6 -- "Take a look at his face. It's obvious to me that even John Bolton does not enjoy being John Bolton. That mouth, it's drooping to an absurd degree. Comparable to Merkel's face, come to think of it.

At last, someone who notices physionomy!

That face drips with false modesty, kind of trying to make his face say, "... look at harmless old me..."

That walrus bushiness points at an attempt to hide, to camouflage his true thoughts, his malevolence.

That pretended stoop, with one hand clutching a sheaf of briefing papers, emulating the posture of deferential court clerks, speaks to a lifetime of a snake in the grass "fighting" from below for things important to himself.

But those of us who have been around the block a couple times will know to watch our backs around this type. Poisoned-tipped daggers are their fave weapons, and your backs are their fave "battle space". LOL

This statement by Jeffrey Sachs may as well also describe America's leadership crisis: "At the root of America's economic crisis lies a moral crisis: the decline of civic virtue among America's political and economic elite."

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 5:29 utc | 36
GeorgeV @ 8 -- "It's like standing on a street corner watching two prostitutes calling each other a whore! How low has the US sunk."

And the US "leadeship" sends these types out to lecture other peoples on "values"? on how to become "normal nations"? on how to "contain" old civilisations such as Iran, Russia, China?

It is axiomatic that the stupid do not know they are stupid. Same goes for morals. The immoral do not know they are immoral. Or, perhaps, as Phat Pomp-arse shows, they know they are immoral, but do not care. Which makes one rightly guess that people like Bolt-On and him must be depraved.

Yes, it may take centuries before the leadership in this depraved Exceptionally Indispensable Nation to become truly normal again.

snake , Jun 18 2020 5:38 utc | 37
Of course, Trump actually campaigned to leave Afghanistan and Syria, and he was elected to do so. The self-appointed Deep State has pretty much thwarted him and his voters. by: bob sykes 11

I wondered about He King claims that Trump actually attempted to do those awful things, . .. , I looked for evidence to prove the claim.. I asked just about every librarian I could find to please show me evidence that confirms the deep state over rode Mr. Trump's actual attempt to remove USA anything from Afghanistan and Syria. thus far, no confirming or supporting facts have been produced. to support such a claim. Mr. Trump could easily have tweeted to his supporters something to the effect that the damn military, CIA, homeland security, state department, foreign service, federal reserve, women's underwear association and smiley Joe's hamburger stand in fact every militant in the USA governed America were holding hands, locked in a conspiracy to block President Trumps attempt to remove USA anything from Afghanistan or Syria.. If Mr. Trump has asked for those things, they would have happened. The next day there would have been parties in the streets as the militant agency heads began rolling as Mr. Trump fired them each and everyone.. No firings happened, the party providers were disappointed, no troops, USA contractors or privatization pirates left any foreign place.. as far as I can tell. 500 + military bases still remain in Europe none have been abandoned.. and one was added in Israel. BTW i heard that Mr. Trump managed to get 17 trillion dollars into the hands of many who are contractors or suppliers to those foreign operations. I can't say I am against Trump, but i can ask you to show me some evidence to prove your claim.

Jackrabbit , Jun 18 2020 5:50 utc | 38
snake @Jun18 5:38 #36

As always, watch what they do, not what they say.

Trump is the Republican Obama. A faux populist 'insider' who pretends to be an 'outsider'.

Trump was selected to be the nationalist President that meets the challenge from Russia and China. And serves all the usual interests while doing so.

Americans fools keep electing these establishment stooges and then wonder why nothing seems to get any better.

!!

Mao , Jun 18 2020 6:25 utc | 39
Sack cartoon: Trump's 'swamp'

https://www.startribune.com/sack-cartoon-trump-s-swamp/401964365/

https://www.startribune.com/sack-cartoon-the-swamp/420668223/

Mao , Jun 18 2020 6:39 utc | 40
Trump searches for new slogan as he abandons Keep America Great amid George Floyd and covid turmoil

The president has taken to inserting the term 'Transition to Greatness' into his remarks. His 2016 slogan was 'Make America Great Again'. After election he polled audiences on whether to go with 'Keep America Great'. He told CPAC this year and said at the State of the Union 'The Best is Yet to Come'. Tweaks come as he trails Biden in new NBC and CNN polls, as the nation struggles with the coronavirus and protests over police violence.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8398993/Donald-Trump-searches-new-slogan-amid-cratering-polls-against-Joe-Biden.html

Mao , Jun 18 2020 6:44 utc | 41
Rudy W. Giuliani @RudyGiuliani

Ukrainian police seize $6 Million in bribes paid to kill the new case into crooked Burisma.

This money is a Followup to the multi-millions in bribes Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and President Poroshenko earned to leverage their offices to kill the original case.

All covered up!

https://twitter.com/RudyGiuliani/status/1273298170966159366

Ghost Ship , Jun 18 2020 7:28 utc | 42
Christian J. Chuba @ 3
goals that you consider important are different from personal interests.

What personal interests has Trump actually advanced during his time as president. Leaving out the fake allegations, I'm hard put to think of any. If you look at Trump's actual behaviour rather than his bullshit or the bullshit aimed at him, I'm also hard put to think of anything illegal he's done while in office that wasn't done by previous administrations.
Mao , Jun 18 2020 7:41 utc | 43
US President Donald Trump sought help from Xi Jinping to win the upcoming 2020 election, "pleading" with the Chinese president to boost imports of American agricultural products, according to a new book by former national security adviser John Bolton. The accusations were included in an excerpt from The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, which is set to be released on June 23. Bolton also wrote that Trump demonstrated other "fundamentally unacceptable behaviour", including privately expressing support for China's mass interment of Uygur Muslims and other ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang.*This video has been updated to fix a spelling mistake.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agk61kyDS1k

Yeah, Right , Jun 18 2020 8:35 utc | 44
@42 Mao I'm struggling to see how "pleading" with any country for it to purchase more US goods is "fundamentally unacceptable behaviour" from a US President.

Pleading to Xi for China to give, say, Israel preferential access to markets, sure.

Down South , Jun 18 2020 9:56 utc | 45
The Saker takes an interesting look at this "spontaneous or popular" revolt taking place in America

https://thesaker.is/what-kind-of-popular-revolution-is-this/#comments

Mao , Jun 18 2020 10:35 utc | 46
The Saker:

I have lived in the United States for a total of 24 years and I have witnessed many crises over this long period, but what is taking place today is truly unique and much more serious than any previous crisis I can recall. And to explain my point, I would like to begin by saying what I believe the riots we are seeing taking place in hundreds of US cities are not about. They are not about:

* Racism or "White privilege"
* Police violence
* Social alienation and despair
* Poverty
* Trump
* The liberals pouring fuel on social fires
* The infighting of the US elites/deep state

They are not about any of these because they encompass all of these issues, and more.

It is important to always keep in mind the distinction between the concepts of "cause" and "pretext". And while it is true that all the factors listed above are real (at least to some degree, and without looking at the distinction between cause and effect), none of them are the true cause of what we are witnessing. At most, the above are pretexts, triggers if you want, but the real cause of what is taking place today is the systemic collapse of the US society.

https://www.unz.com/tsaker/the-systemic-collapse-of-the-us-society-has-begun/

Steve , Jun 18 2020 10:57 utc | 47
The only time I'd be interested in anything Bolton had to say is if he were saying it from the docket at The Hague
Matt , Jun 18 2020 11:40 utc | 48
Don't really want to take sides between those two odious characters, but I think there's a difference in what the paper is saying.

One is about someone pursuing policy goals they favour, the other "personal interest". From what I have seen so far, Bolton's main definition of Trump's "personal interest" is his chances for re-election (rather than any personal business interest).

I think Bolton was happy for Trump to pursue the policy goals he favoured, at least when they coincided with Bolton's!

Tadlak Davidovitsh , Jun 18 2020 12:04 utc | 49
In modern Italy, mentioning Jupiter (Jove) and the ox (Bove) in the same sentence usually implies a demand that the two be treated the same.
450.org , Jun 18 2020 12:07 utc | 50
How many people have cashed in on Trump so far? Countless numbers of them. An ocean of them. Scathing books about Trump is one way to cash in on thr Trump effect, and the authors, many of whom don't even write the book themselves, get promoted and their books promoted in the mainstream media and elsewhere.

There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to Trump. We know everything there is to know about Trump. Some of us knew everything there was to know about him before he became POTUS. And yet, there he is, sitting like the Cheshire Cat in the Oval Office, untouchable and beyond reproach. Meanwhile, even more scathing books are in the pipeline because there's money, so much money, to be made don't you know.

Bolton is a shitbird every bit as much as Trump is and in fact an argument can be made Bolton is even worse and even more dangerous than Trump because if Bolton had his druthers, Iran would be a failed state right about now and America would be bogged down in a senseless money-making (for the defense contractors owned by the extractive wealthy elite) quagmire in Iran just as it was in Iraq and still is in Afghanistan.

Colbert is all into the Bolton book because he and his staff managed to secure an interview with Bolton. Bolton, of course, has agreed to this because it's a great way to promote his book to the likes of Cher who is the perfect example of the demographic Colbert caters to with his show. Some of the commercials during Colbert's show last night? One was an Old Navy commercial where they bragged about how they're giving to the poor. The family they used for the commercial, the recipients of this beneficence, was a black family. Biden is proud of Old Navy because don't you know, poor and black are one and the same. In otherwords, there are no poor people except black people. No, that's not racist. Not at all. Also, another commercial during Colbert's show was for the reopening of Las Vegas amidst the spreading pandemic. This is immediately after a segment where Colbert is decrying Republican governors for opening southern states too early. The hypocritical irony is so stark, you can cut it with a chainsaw.

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 12:24 utc | 51
Mao @ 45 quoting The Saker -- ".... the real cause of what is taking place today is the systemic collapse of the US society."

And the cause of American societal collapse has been corrupt US leadership.

In my 50 years of studying American society, I have learned to watch what US leaders do, not what they preach. More profitable is to look at what declassified US documents tell us about the truth, not what the presstitudes of the day pretend to dish up. Also, what other world leaders might, in a candid moment, tell us about America.

450.org , Jun 18 2020 12:30 utc | 52
@50
And the cause of American societal collapse has been corrupt US leadership.

I would argue that this is a symptom or a feature versus the root of the problem. Afterall, a system that allows for creeping entrenched endemic corruption, is a crappy system. It's the system that's the root of this and it's not just isolated to the United States. It's civilization itself that's the root and what enabled civilization -- the spirit in our genes as Reg asserts.

450.org , Jun 18 2020 12:47 utc | 53
@4
I'm fully expecting the Dem "left" to try and praise the monsterous Bolton for "going against Trump", as they did with war criminal Mad Dog Matis and Bush. Bolton has to be one of the most evil mass murders on the face of the Earth. The world will be an infinitely better place when he and his ilk like Netanyahu, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Chertoff..etc finally go back to hell.

I agree. They would, because they already have and continue to do so, coddle and provide apologia for any and all monsters who decry Trump. Hell, I'm convinced they would clamor for Derek Chauvin's exoneration if he vocally decried Trump. Chauvin would make the rounds on the media circuit excoriating Trump and telling the world, contritely of course, that it was Trump who made him do it and now he sees the error of his ways. He'd be on Morning Joe and Chris Cuomo's and Don Lemon's shows not to mention Ari Melber and Anderson Cooper and Lawrence O'Donnell. The conservatives and their networks, who have provided apologia for Chauvin thus far, would now be his worst enemy. Colbert and Kimmel would have him on and guffawing with him asking him how it felt to choke the life out of someone, laughing all the way so long as he hates Trump and tells the world how much he hates Trump.

This world is an insane asylum, especially America. All under the banner and aegis of progress. And to think, humanity wants to export this madness to space and the universe at large. Any intelligent life that would ever make its way to Planet Earth, if ever, would be well-advised to exterminate the species human before it spread its poison to the universe at large. Not that that is possible, but just in case the .000000000001% chance of that does miraculously manifest.

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 12:48 utc | 54
Mao @ 42

Concerning Trump "pleading" with Xi, it is only right for a leader to request others to buy more US farm produce. We have only Bolton's word that the request was a plea. We also have only Bolton's word that the request / plea was to seek "help from Xi Jinping to win the upcoming 2020 election". Too early to believe Bolton. Wait till we see the meeting transcripts.

Bolton also alleged that Trump exhibited "fundamentally unacceptable behaviour" concerning the Uygurs. Again, only Bolton's word. Even so, saying it is "unacceptable behavior" presumes that China does wrong to incarcerate Uygurs. If not, ie, China either does not incarcerate them, or if China has good moral grounds to do so, then Bolton is wrong to disagree with his boss for uttering the right sentiment. Judging by how the anglo-zios shout about China's "crime", I tend to think the opposite just might be the truth, and that says that Bolton is simply mudslinging to sell books; score brownie points with the anglo-zios, virtue-signalling for his next gig.

Sabine , Jun 18 2020 12:56 utc | 55
so is Trump or Biden the Yeltsin of the US? And who is gonna be the US version of Putin? Mr. Cotton from Arkansas?
vk , Jun 18 2020 13:00 utc | 56
The American people must decide if Trump is anti-China or Xi's bff. He can't be both at the same time.
murgen23 , Jun 18 2020 13:04 utc | 57
I don't see a contradiction with both sentences.

NYT writes Bolton direct US policy to fit his own political agenda,
while Bolton emphasizes Trump direct US policy in the way that pocket him most money.

Politician Bolton is consistent with his politician job (like it or not), Trump is corrupted.

This is how I understand.

450.org , Jun 18 2020 13:14 utc | 58
@56, I would argue that if one person could be both at the same time, that one person would be Donald Trump. He's already proven, like Chauncey Gardner, he can walk on water. Seriously, that excellent movie, Being There , starring the incomparable Peter Sellers, was about Donald Trump's ascension to the Oval Office.

There Are No Limits Except The Limits We Invent And Impose

augusto , Jun 18 2020 13:44 utc | 59
Using this 'quod licet jovi ...' the author apparently knows quite a bit of Latin, the dead language!
But seriously, the nomination of Bolton who had always behaved like 2nd rate advisor, a 3rd rate mcarthist cold warrior was a surprise to me. Such a short sighted heavily biased person could be, yes, chosen a Minister or advisor in a banana Republic but was picked up by the United states.
One can only conclude such a choice was driven by very specific interests of the deep state.They needed a bulldog and got it for one year and half and threw the stinky perro soon as the job was done.
BM , Jun 18 2020 14:05 utc | 60
And the cause of American societal collapse has been corrupt US leadership.
I would argue that this is a symptom or a feature versus the root of the problem.
Posted by: 450.org | Jun 18 2020 12:30 utc | 52

The primary cause of corrupt leadership is corrupt and corruption-accepting population.

Without a population that is fundamentally corrupt and immoral, corrupt leadership is unstable. Conversely - and this is important to recognise as the same phenomenon - democracy cannot exist if the population accepts and takes for granted corruption, as the two are mutually exclusive. In other words if you root out the corrupt leadership without dealing with the mentality of the population, the corruption will quickly come back and any democratic experiment will collapse very quickly.

There is one important qualifier - an overwhelming external influence (since WWII always the USA, either directly or as secondary effect) can leverage latent corruption so that it becomes more exaggerated than it normally would be.

Down South , Jun 18 2020 14:48 utc | 61
What is clear from only this account of the crucial role of big money foundations behind protest groups such as Black lives Matter is that there is a far more complex agenda driving the protests now destabilizing cities across America. The role of tax-exempt foundations tied to the fortunes of the greatest industrial and financial companies such as Rockefeller, Ford, Kellogg, Hewlett and Soros says that there is a far deeper and far more sinister agenda to current disturbances than spontaneous outrage would suggest.

https://m.journal-neo.org/2020/06/16/america-s-own-color-revolution/

michael888 , Jun 18 2020 15:53 utc | 62
Bolton pretended to be President, screwing up negotiations with his Libya Model talk, threatening Venezuela (and anywhere generally) and directing fleets all over the world (including Britain's to capture that Iranian oil tanker). Vindman revered "Ambassador" Bolton because he was keeping the Ukraine corruption in Americans (and Ukrainian Americans') hands, and daring the Russians to "start" WWIII. Bolton might have been a bit more bearable if he had ever been elected, but was happy to see him go. Trump seemed mystified by him.
juliania , Jun 18 2020 16:29 utc | 63
b has presented us (knowingly or not, but I wouldn't put it past him) with the Socratic question of the presumed identity between the morality of the State and personal morality, as best encountered in Plato's dialogue, 'The Republic' ['Politeia' in the Greek] That dialogue begins by examining personal morality, but changes to an examination of what would bring into being a perfect state. In doing the latter, however, it is how to create public spirited persons, in the best sense, which is the actual concern, and the conversation ranges far and wide, becoming more and more complex.

I've always thought that to consider the perfect state had to be an impossibility if the individual, the person him or herself isn't up to the task - and that is the point of the Politeia enterprise. Like the ongoing relay race on horseback that is happening at the same time in the Piraeus, the passing of the argument one person to another that happens in the dialogue demonstrates that what is most crucial for the state as well as for the individual is personal integrity.

I take as an example the message of Saker's essay, linked by Down South and commented on above by others. Saker is pointing out that the protests have been seized upon by the anti-Trumpists who have been disrupting things from the beginning of his administration. But he also says:

"My personal feeling is that Trump is too weak and too much of a coward to fight his political enemies"

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? The discussion of different kinds of states, which we often have here pursued, or the discussion of what makes a person able to function in one or another state? I don't think Plato was saying that Greece had it made, that Greece needed to throw its weight around more to be great. He's pointing out that it had lost greatness, the same way every empire loses when it forgets that individual spark that is in a single person, his virtue. And the sad thing is it all comes down to the education of our young people in the values, the virtues that apply both to his own personal life and to the life of the state.

At its heart, the protests which are beginning, only beginning, and which are peaceful, may be politeia vs. republic, the 'polis' itself against 'things political'. A new and true enlightenment, multipolar.

karlof1 , Jun 18 2020 16:39 utc | 64
BM @60--

Corruption's been a fact of life in North America ever since it was "discovered." Bernard Bailyn captured it quite well in his The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century , that is during the very first stages of plantation, with most corruption taking place in Old England then exported to the West. Even the Founders were corrupt, although they didn't see themselves as such. Isn't Adam & Eve's corruption detailed in Genesis merely an indicator of a general human trait that needs to be managed via culture? That human culture has generally failed to contain and discipline corruption speaks volumes about both. John Dos Passos in his opus USA noted that everyone everywhere was on the "hustle"--from the hobo to the banker. "Every child gots to have its own" are some of the truest lyrics ever written. Will humanity ever transcend this major failure in its nature?

Allen Edmundson , Jun 18 2020 23:30 utc | 65
Who is behind the claim that China is imprisoning vast numbers of Uighurs in concentration camps and what evidence has been presented? See the Greyzone for its recent report on this.

Edmundson

Jpc , Jun 18 2020 23:39 utc | 66
Thanks to all of you for your insights on Bolton.
I still don't see anything to explain why he got a second gig in the Whitehouse.
Or anything that he did that enhanced US security long term.
And another guy who dodged active service.
Strange angry dude,!
Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 19 2020 14:47 utc | 67
Pat Lang believes that Bolton has breached a law requiring US Officials with access to Top Secret Stuff to submit personal memoirs for scrutiny before publishing. Col Lang is awaiting similar approval for a memoir of his own and thinks Bolton didn't bother waiting for the Official OK.
There's a diverse range of comments. Most commentators like the idea of Bolton being tossed in the slammer. Others speculate that as a Swamp Creature, Bolton will escape prosecution. It's interesting that no-one has asked to see the publisher's copy of the USG's signed & dated Approval To Publish document, relevant to Bolton's book.
arby , Jun 19 2020 19:34 utc | 68
Jut a little thread on Bolton and his book.

It is amazing the way these clowns sit around and talk about countries and people as if they were so much dirt. The arrogance and power is disgusting.

link

[Jun 21, 2020] Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace'.

Highly recommended!
Jun 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Christian J. Chuba , Jun 21 2020 14:18 utc | 78

Re: the Nuremberg trials , I became fascinated by the writings of Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace' . This is when one country sets up an environment for war against another country. I'll grant you that this is vague but if this is applicable at all how is this not an accurate description of what we are doing against Iran and Venezuela?

In both cases, we are imposing a full trade embargo (not sanctions) on basic civilian necessities and infrastructures and threatening the use of military force. As for Iran, the sustained and unfair demonization of Iranians is preparing the U.S. public to accept a ruthless bombing campaign against them as long overdue. We are already attacking the civilian population of their allies in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon.

How Ironic that the country that boasts that it won WW2 is now guilty of the very crimes that it condemned publicly in court.

[Jun 19, 2020] The USG' s definition of Dictator

Highly recommended!
Jun 19, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Cyndy Tyler L RNY 8 hours ago

The USG' s definition of Dictator.

DICTATOR, Noun: Someone who does not let American CEOs dictate how their country is run

[Jun 15, 2020] Full Special Investigation - Donald Trump vs The Deep State

Highly recommended!
This is an amazing video. highly recommended
Notable quotes:
"... Firstly your definition of 'deep state' is too limited, it includes the bureaucracy, much of the judiciary, banks and other financial institutions, and the major political parties. It is not restricted only to the intelligence agencies. It is not a US-specific issue, but a global one. For the deep state exists everywhere, and is often more powerful in commonwealth countries, such as here in apathetic Australia. ..."
"... When the CIA kills Kennedy you know you've got problems... And whilst agents in the CIA probably did not pull the trigger - their "assets" did... If you don't believe me spare me your tiresome ignorant replies and go and do some research... ..."
"... " We were warned about the Military Industrial Complex, Sadly the Government Media Complex, has done way more damage, and will be much harder to overcome" ~ Dr. Mike Savage 2008 ..."
Jun 15, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Sky News Australia In this Special Investigation Sky News speaks to former spies, politicians and investigative journalists to uncover whether US President Donald Trump is really at war with "unelected Deep State operatives who defy the voters".


Cee Zee , 7 months ago

Was it not for Trump, we would never have had a clue just how evil and corrupt the fbi, cia, leftist media and big tech giants are!

Tron Javolta , 6 months ago

George Soros, The clintons, The royal family, The Rothschild's, the Federal reserve as a whole, The modern Democrat, cia, fbi, nsa, Facebook, Google, not to mention all the faceless unelected bureaucrats who create and push policies that impact our every day lives. This, my lads, is the deep state. They run our world and get away with whatever they want until someone in their circle loses their use (Epstein)

k-carl Manley , 1 month ago

JFK was right: dismantle the CIA and throw the remaining dust to the wind - same for the traitorous leaders in the FBI!

Nick Krikorian , 7 months ago

The deep state killed JFK

Joe Mamma , 1 week ago

The deep state is real and they are powerful and have an evil agenda!

Joe Graves , 1 month ago

Anyone that says a "deep state" doesn't exist in America, is part of the American deep state.

ceokc13 , 3 days ago (edited)

The Cabal owns the US intelligence agencies, the media, and Hollywood. That's how all these big name corrupted figure heads aren't in prison for their crimes. The Clinton email scandal is a prime example. This is much bigger than the USA... it's effects are world wide.

Francis Gee , 1 week ago (edited)

The Four Stages of Ideological Subversion: 1 - Demoralization 2 - Destabilization 3 - Crisis 4 - Normalization Are you not entertained? The above is "their" roadmap. Learn what it means and spread this far & wide, as that will be the means by which to end this.

TheConnected Chris , 1 day ago

President JFK on April 17, 1961: "Today no war has been declared--and however fierce the struggle may be, it may never be declared in the traditional fashion. Our way of life is under attack. Yet no war has been declared, no borders have been crossed by marching troops, no missiles have been fired. If the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self-discipline of combat conditions, then I can only say that no war ever posed a greater threat to our security. If you are awaiting a finding of 'clear and present danger,' then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent. It requires a change in outlook, a change in tactics, a change in missions--by the government, by the people, by every businessman or labor leader, and by every newspaper. For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match." thoughts: by saying, 'conducts the Cold War' did he directly call out the CIA???

Fact Chitanda , 2 weeks ago

The secret services are only one arm of the deep state. Its bigger than them!

David Stanley , 3 days ago

Most troubling now it is known about the deep state: is Trump a double agent just another puppet just giving the appearance of working against the deep state?

Miroslav Skoric , 2 months ago

"I' never saw corruption" said the blind monkey "I never heard any corruption " said the deaf monkey The mute monkey,of course said nothing.

Franco Lust , 2 months ago

Thank you Australians for having rhe courage to speak out for us Patriots!!! We know the Deep State Cabal retaliated with the fires. We love you guys from 💖💗

Always Keen , 7 months ago

Drain that swamp!

joe wood , 2 days ago

Found and cause all wars. Mislead both sides .

Peter Kondogonis , 1 month ago (edited)

Well done Skynews. THE DEEP STATE IS REAL. I woke up 10+ years ago. Turn off the TV for 1-2 years to study and awaken. Make a start on learning with David ickes Videos and books. WWG1 WGA

silva lloyd , 1 month ago

"How does democracy survive" We don't live in a democracy. The English isles and commonwealth are a constitutional monarchy, America is a republic.

Rhsheeda Russell , 5 days ago

And President Trump was right. Senator Graham is a sneaky, lying, sloth who enjoys his status and takes taxpayers money to do nothing.

Jerry Kays , 1 day ago

Before I go and pass this on to as many as I can get to follow it I just wanted to commend those that produced this and I hope that it gets fuller dissemination because it is such a rare truth in such a time of utter deceit by most all of the MSM (Main Stream Media) that this country I reside in uses to supposedly inform the American people ...what a crock! Thank You, Australia for making this available (but beware, the Five Eyes are always very active in related matters to this) ... This has been welcome confirmation of what many of us have known and attempted to tell others for about 5 years now. Sadly, I doubt that has or will help very much, The System is so corrupted from top to bottom ... IMnsHO and E.

Jonathan King , 7 months ago (edited)

Firstly your definition of 'deep state' is too limited, it includes the bureaucracy, much of the judiciary, banks and other financial institutions, and the major political parties. It is not restricted only to the intelligence agencies. It is not a US-specific issue, but a global one. For the deep state exists everywhere, and is often more powerful in commonwealth countries, such as here in apathetic Australia.

GB3770 , 1 month ago (edited)

When the CIA kills Kennedy you know you've got problems... And whilst agents in the CIA probably did not pull the trigger - their "assets" did... If you don't believe me spare me your tiresome ignorant replies and go and do some research...

BassBreath100 , 2 months ago

" We were warned about the Military Industrial Complex, Sadly the Government Media Complex, has done way more damage, and will be much harder to overcome" ~ Dr. Mike Savage 2008

Scocasso Vegetus , 1 month ago (edited)

14:20 I met a guy from Canada in the early 2000s, a telephone technician, told me about when he worked at the time for the government telephone company in the early 80s. He was given a really strange job one day, to go do some work in the USA. Some kind of repair work that required someone with experience and know-how, but apparently someone from out-of-country, he guesses, because there certainly must have been many people in the USA who could have done it, he figured. He flew down to oregon, then was driven for hours out into the middle of nowhere in navada, he said. They came to a small building that was surrounded by fencing etc. Nothing interesting. Nothing else around, he said, as far as he could see. They went in, and pretty much all that was there was an elevator. They went in, and he said, he didn't know how many floors down it went, or how fast it was moving, but seemed to take quite sometime, he figured about 8 stories down, was his guess, but he didn't know. He was astounded to see that there was telephone recording stuff in there about the size of two football-fields. He said they were recording everything. He said, even at that time, it was all digital, but they didn't have the capacity to record everything, so it was set up to monitor phone calls, and if any key words were spoken, it would start recording, and of course it would record all phone calls at certain numbers. "So, who knows what they've got in there today, he said" back in the early 2000s. So, imagine what they've got there today, in the 2020s. I didn't know whether or not to believe this story, until I saw a doc about all of the telephone recording tapes they have in storage, rotting away, which were used to record everyone's phone calls onto magnetic tape. Literally tonnes and tonnes of tapes, just sitting there in storage now, from the 1970s, the pre-digital days. They've always been doing it. They're just much better at it today than ever. Now they can tell who you are by your voice, your cadence, your intonation, etc. and record not just a call here and there, but everything.

cuppateadee , 3 days ago

Assange got banged up because he exposed war crimes by this lot on film Chelsea Manning also. They are heroes.

Shaun Ellis , 7 months ago

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world he didnt exist" Credit the --- Usual Suspects ---- That's the playbook of the "Deep State"

Cheryl Lawlor , 2 weeks ago

Even Obama said, "the CIA gets what the CIA wants." Even he wouldn't upset them.

NeXus Prime , 1 week ago

The last guy (denying the deep state's existence) was lying. When someone shakes their head when talking in the affirmative you can be 100% sure it is a lie (micro expressions 101).

zetayoru , 1 month ago

JFK said he wanted to expose a deeper and more sinister group. And when he was moving closer to it, he got killed.

adolthitler , 1 week ago

Yuri Bezmenov will tell you the deepstate has too much power. Yuri was right about much.

Ed P , 3 weeks ago

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

Shirley van der Heijden , 1 month ago

Evil never is satisfied!

The Vault , 5 days ago

https://www.facebook.com/kyle.darbyshire/posts/1085832538454860

Bitcoin Blockchain , 1 day ago


Bitcoin Blockchain
1 day ago
1950–1953:	Korean War United States (as part of the United Nations) and South Korea vs. North Korea and Communist China
1960–1975:	Vietnam War	United States and South Vietnam vs. North Vietnam
1961: Bay of Pigs Invasion	United States vs. Cuba
1983: Grenada United States intervention
1989: U.S.Invasion of Panama	United States vs. Panama
1990–1991: Persian Gulf War United States and Coalition Forces vs. Iraq
1995–1996: Intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina	United States as part of NATO acted as peacekeepers in former Yugoslavia
2001–present: Invasion of Afghanistan	United States and Coalition Forces vs. the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to fight terrorism
2003–2011: Invasion of Iraq The United States and Coalition Forces vs. Iraq
2004–present: War in Northwest Pakistan United States vs. Pakistan, mainly drone attacks
2007–present: Somalia and Northeastern Kenya	United States and Coalition forces vs. al-Shabaab militants
2009–2016: Operation Ocean Shield (Indian Ocean) NATO allies vs. Somali pirates
2011: Intervention in Libya	U.S. and NATO allies vs. Libya
2011–2017: Lord's Resistance Army U.S. and allies against the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda
2014–2017: U.S.-led Intervention in Iraq U.S. and coalition forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
2014–present: U.S.-led intervention in Syria U.S. and coalition forces against al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Syria
2015–present: Yemeni Civil War Saudi-led coalition and the U.S., France, and Kingdom against the Houthi rebels, Supreme Political Council in Yemen, and allies
2015–present: U.S. intervention in Libya
Ken Martin , 5 months ago

Deep State is the "Wealthy Oligarchy", an "International Mafia" who controls the Central Bank (a privacy owned banking system which controls the worlds currencies). The Wealthy Oligarchy "aka Deep State" controls most all Democratic countries, and controls the International Media. In the United States, both the Republican and Democrat parties are controlled by the Wealthy Oligarchy aka Deep State.

pharcyde110573 , 6 months ago (edited)

A beautifully crafted and delivered discourse, impressive! As a Londoner I have become increasingly interested in Sky News Australia, you are a breath of fresh air and common sense in this world of ever growing liberal media hysteria!

Gord Pittman , 22 hours ago

I have to laugh at the people, including our supposedly unbiased and intelligent media, who said the Russia thing was the truth when it was nothing but a conspiracy theory. Everything else was a conspiacy theory according to the dems ans the mainstream media..

joe wood , 1 week ago

CIA did 9-11 with bush cabal pulling strings

Joseph Hinton , 1 month ago

Wall Street and the banksters control the CIA. One can imagine the ramifications of control of the world via the moneyed interests backed by James Bond and the Green Berets, the latter, under control of the CIA.

Karen Reaves , 2 weeks ago (edited)

Every nation has the same deep state. CIA Mossad MI6 and CCP protect the deep state like one big Mafia. Thank you Sky News. outofshadows.org

killtheglobalists , 2 days ago (edited)

Deep State Powers have been messing with your USA long before your War of Independence . Your Founding Fathers knew , why do you think they wrote your Constitution that way. Now everyone is always crying about something but fail to realize you gave your freedoms away over time . The Deep State never left it just disguised itself and continued to regain control under a new face or ideaology. Follow the money . "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."― Edmund Burke

Kauz , 1 week ago

Timothy Leary gives the CIA TOTAL CREDIT for sponsoring and initiating, the entire consciousness movement and counter-culture events of the 1960's.

Sierra1 Tngo , 2 weeks ago

After the John F. Kennedy assassination the took full power,those who are in power now are the descendants of the criminals who did it,some of their sons just have a different last name but they are the same family,like George Bush and John Kerry are cousins but different last name and the list goes and goes.

iwonka k , 3 hours ago

Council on Foreign Relation is more Deep State than CIA and FBI . The two worked for CFR. CFR tel president whom to appoint to what positions. Nixon got a list of 22 deep state candidates for top US position and all were hired. Obama appointed 11 from the list. Kissinger is behind the scenes strings puller also.

R Tarz , 2 months ago

Thanks Sky and Peter for bringing this to the mainstream attention, it really is time! Wished you had aired John Kiriakou,s other claims off child sex trafficking to the elites which has been corroborated by so many other sources now and is the grossest deformity of this deep state which you can see footage of trump talking about. I am amazed and greatful to see Trump has done more about this than all other presidents in the last 20 years. Lets end this group. All we need to do is shine the light on them

Adronicus -IF- , 2 months ago

The CIA are only an intelligence and operations functioning part of the deep state its much more complex and larger than just the CIA. The British empire controls the deep state they always have it is just a modern version of the old East India Company controlled by the same families with the same ideology. https://theduran.com/the-origins-of-the-deep-state-in-north-america/

John Doe , 1 month ago

It's funny how for decades "the people" were crying on their knees about how bad every president was n how corrupt n controlled they were. Now you've got a president with no special interest groups publicly calling out the deep state n ur still bitching. U know you've got someone representing the people when the cia n fbi r out to get him. In 50 years trump will be looked back at with the likes of Washington, Lincoln n jfk. Once the msm smear campaign is out of everyone's brain.

Nicholas Napier , 2 months ago (edited)

When they start spying on people within the United States and when they used in National Defense authorization act that gave them a lot of power since after 911 to give them more power now they have Homeland Security which is the next biggest threat to the United States it can be abused and some of these people have a higher security clearance than the president.... they're not under control the NSA is one of them you don't mention in here either one is about the more that you don't even know about that they don't have names are acronyms that we knew about that's why the American people have been blindsided by this overtime they've been giving all this money to do things... allocation of money they gathered to do this and now Congress itself doesn't know temperature of Schumer when you caught him saying to see I can get back at you three ways to Sunday I mean he's got some words in this saying to the president of usa donald trump... basically threatening the President right there.. you can see it's alive and well when Congress is immune from prosecution from anything or anyone....

itsmemuffins , 7 months ago

"I think in light of all of the things going on, and you know what I mean by that: the fake news, the Comeys of the world, all of the bad things that went on, it's called the swamp you know what I did," he asked. "A big favor. I caught the swamp. I caught them all. Let's see what happens. Nobody else could have done that but me. I caught all of this corruption that was going on and nobody else could have done it."

msciciel14therope , 1 month ago

there is no big secret that CIA is deeply involved in drug smuggling operations...i remember interview with ex marine colonel who said that he was indirectly involved in such operations in panama...

Vaclav Haval , 6 days ago

The Deep State (CIA, NSA, FBI, and Israeli Mossad) did 9/11.

Wilf Jones , 1 week ago

Super Geek Zuckerberg was made a CIA useful Idiot ... I mean agent , lol .

Chubs Fatboy , 2 weeks ago

Attempting to infiltrate News rooms😆😅😂 all those faces you see in the MSM are all working for Cia. In 1967 one of the 3 letter agencys bragged about having a reporter working in 1 of the 3 letter news channel!

Rue Porter , 1 day ago

Wow this was really good. It's funny you showed a clip from abc of kouriakow and it reminded me how much the news in america has been propagandized and just fake. I'm 38 and it's sad that these days the news is unpatriotic. Well most . Ty sky news Australia

peemaster Bjarne , 1 week ago

Why no mention of what facilitates the surveilance? Telecom infrastructure is a nations nerve system and the powergrid its bloodsystem. Who controls them? That is where you find the head of the deep state!

richard bello , 2 weeks ago

What people aren't aware of is that Facebook YouTube Twitter Instagram Google maps and Google search are all NSA CIA and DIA creations and CEO's are only highly paid operatives who are not the creators but the face of a product and what better way to collect all of your information is by you giving it to them

AussieMaleTuber , 7 months ago (edited)

More please? A subject for another installment regarding the Deep State could be Banking, Federal Reserves and Fiat currencies. Later, another video could be Russia's success at expelling the Deep State in 2000 after it took them over (for a 2nd time) in 1991. Be cognizant, the Deep State initially had for a short time from 1917 via 'it's' 'Bolshivics,' orchestrated the creation of the Soviet Union through the Bolshivic take over of Russia from it's independence minded and Soveriegn Czarist led Eastern Orthodox State. Now, President Trump is preventing a similar Deep State take-over by Intelligence agencies, Corporations and elected political thugs as bad as Leon Trotsky and V I Lennin were to the Russian Czar. The Soviets soon after their (1917) take-over went Rogue on the Deep State and therefore the Soviet Union was independent until The Deep State orchestrated it's downfall and anexation of it's substantial wealth and some territory (1991). More, more, more please Sky News, this video was great!

Trevor Pike , 2 months ago

Amazing, Sky News is the ONLY TV News Service in Australia Trying to deliver true news. Australia's ABC news are CIA Deep State Shills and propagandists - Sarah Ferguson Especially - see her totally CIA scripted Four Corners Report on the Russia Hoax. John Gantz IS a Deep State Operative Liar.

Michael Small , 1 month ago

Isnt it time to see TERM LIMITS in Co gress and to realign our school education to teach the real history of these unites states? End the control of Congress and watch the agencies fall in step with OUR Conatitution. No one should ever be allowed in Congress or any other elected position of trust if they are not a devout Constitutionalist. Anyone who takes the oath to see w the people and fails to so so should be charged with TREASON and removed immediately. Is there a DEEP STATE? Damn right there is and has been for many decades. Where is our sovereignty? Where is the wealth of a capitalist nation? Why so much poverty and welfare and why do communists and socialist get away with damaging our country, state or communities. Yes, there has been a deep state filled with criminals who all need to be charged, tried and executed for TREASON.

Barry Atkins , 7 months ago (edited)

The CIA and Australias Federal police have One main Job/activity to feed their Populations with Propaganda & Lies to give them their Thoughts & Opinions on Everything using their psyOps through MSM News & Programming...you prolly beLIEve this informative News Story as well. : (

price , 7 months ago

Sky news is owned by rupert Murdoch...the same guy that owns fox news. Nuff said😘

Marie Hurst , 6 days ago

These people denying a deep state with such straight faces are psychopaths. Unwittingly, or maybe not, Schumer made liars of them with his comment to Maddow

Debbie Kirby , 7 months ago

President Trump is correct. He knows exactly what's going on. The 3 letter agencies are up to no good and work against the fabric of our nation's founding fathers. It's despicable behavior. Just one example is John Brennan (CIA Director) and Barack Hussein Obama's Terror Tuesdays. Read all about it on the internet now before it's permanently removed. Thank you for creating this video.

James dow , 1 week ago

When was the last time we ever witnessed an American President openly abused continually attacked over manufactured news treated with absolutely no respect for him or the office his family unfairly attacked and misrepresented etc, etc, that's right never, which proves he threatens the existence of the deep state as discussed. He should declare Martial Law Hang the consequences and remove every single deep state player everywhere. Foreign influence? read Israel.

mary rosario , 5 days ago

People are so fixated on trumps outspoken Sometimes outrageous demeanor which in my opinion it's just being really honest and yes he can Be rude at times but when you look at the facts He's the only one that has gone against the deep state! those are the real devils dressed up in sheep's clothing! Wake up!

evan c , 2 weeks ago

You are missing the point. It goes further then intelligence agency working against the people. It's the ultra rich literally trillionaires like the rothchilds that control the cia etc. That is who trump is fighting. The globalists line gates soros etc.

[Jun 13, 2020] Korea is just another distraction: false conflicts with China, North Korea, Russia and Iran are needed to keep support for MIC and Security State which cost 1.2 trillion a year

Highly recommended!
The saying "War is racket" means not only that conquered nations are loots, but the the USA taxpayers will be looted as well
Jun 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Kay Fabe , Jun 13 2020 0:10 utc | 35
Just another distraction.

Heck US aircraft carriers used to visit HK quite often until recently, even after the hand over. They anchored in the harbor while thousands of sailors headed to the Wanchai bars, although after the hand over they anchored in a less visible part of the harbor. China didn't have a problem.

I doubt China sweats a couple of aircraft carriers when we have large bases in Japan and South Korea, not to mention Guam.

False conflicts with China, North Korea, Russia and Iran are needed to keep support for MIC and Security State which cost 1.2 trillion a year.

If the US were serious about confronting China there would be sanctions and not tariffs. China and US are partners. We sell them chips that they put in our electronics and sell to us, so we can spy on our people, and they test out our social control technology on their own people. They clothe us, sell cheap API's for drugs and they invest in treasuries and other US assets and we educate their young talent and give them access to our research and technology and fund some of their own research and share numerous patents

[Jun 10, 2020] What is a Vassal State?

Jun 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Christian J Chuba , Jun 10 2020 18:35 utc | 13

What is a Vassal State? ... visited a Neocon website putting on the warpaint against China and posters accused China of oppressing their vassal states and it got me thinking, what is a fair definition of a vassal state. This is what I came up with.

A Vassal state: Needs are subordinate to the wants of the master, not allowed to make their own choices, not allowed to leave the relationship on their own, they are expendable.

N. Korea, are they a vassal state of China? I don't see any of these attributes. N. Korea depends on China many times but the master state needs the vassal more than the vassal needs the master.

Iraq is a vassal state of the U.S. (I had many choices, too many) Recently, they needed a waiver from Pompeo to buy electricity from Iran, talk about humiliating. We ignored multiple requests to leave and threatened to impose a trade embargo and freeze their bank accounts if they pushed the issue but told they 'could' bring up the issue later. We them more than they need us for as long as we must have military bases close to Iran and the ability to kill Iraqis we don't like. If we leave, we will leave Iraq in ruins rather than allow them to have unfettered trade with Iran.

[Jun 08, 2020] Trump is completely right when he says Powell is an complete hack and fraud who helped scam the US people into the Iraq war

Jun 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Jun 7 2020 21:28 utc | 34

Powell on Sunday aimed a broad critique at Trump's approach to the military, a foreign policy he said was causing "disdain" abroad, and a president he portrayed as trying to amass excessive power.

"We have a Constitution and we have to follow the Constitution, and the president has drifted away from it," Powell said. Trump also, he said, "lies about things."

Trump responded swiftly on Twitter, mocking Powell and calling the retired four-star general "a real stiff" who got the U.S. into wars after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S.

Colin Powell, a real stiff who was very responsible for getting us into the disastrous Middle East Wars, just announced he will be voting for another stiff, Sleepy Joe Biden. Didn't Powell say that Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction?" They didn't, but off we went to WAR!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2020


Kadath , Jun 7 2020 22:08 utc | 37

Credit when credit is due, Trump is completely right when he says Powell is an complete hack and fraud who helped scam the US people into the Iraq war. Years after his UN appearance Powell's own chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson, admitted that he and Powell knew that the fix was in to attack Iraq and the information they were presenting to the UN was falsified, i.e. they knowingly lied to the UN to start a war, a war crime (was of aggression)! Rather than do the honourable thing and resign in protest and go public with the truth they stayed quite and obey their illegal orders, presumably reasoning that a competently managed crime would be less damaging then an incompetently managed crime. As it turns out though, Powell was an utterly incompetent Secretary of State who was outmaneuvered at every stage of the conflict by the mad dog crazies in the administration that he thought he was controlling. in the end, all Powell's shameful behaviour accomplished was to destroy his honour and leave him forever known as a war criminal (even if the UN is too cowardly to charge him as such). So, seeing Powell and the lamestream media try to croon about him as some sort of moral authority is laughable and Trump is right to rub all of Powell's crimes right in his face.

Trisha , Jun 8 2020 0:16 utc | 46
Not to forget (as a Vietnam Vet, I can't) that Maj. Colin Powell - after a cursory investigation into the massacre at My Lai - drafted a response on Dec. 13, 1968 stating - among other lies - that "[it] is the fact that relations between Americal soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent" while denying any pattern of wrong-doing.

Powell was simply protecting other murderous gang members (especially his bosses) from justice, thus becoming another un-indicted accessory to murder. The gods are not interested in justice, though, and he roams free.

Sunny Runny Burger , Jun 8 2020 2:09 utc | 47
Wow I wish I had know that little tidbit back then when I watched the full uninterrupted UN broadcasts from the Security Council before the war. He pretty much managed to get the US a free pass with his testimony of lies. I believed him and so did a lot of other people. Now his whitewash of My Lai is even on his Wikipedia page. Thank you Trisha.

Several years earlier I got to know about My Lai during relatively brief military education (non-US but NATO) on the rules of the Geneva Convention, it was used as the prime example of when to resist and disobey unlawful orders (I have to wonder if it still is).

If there had been a free press they should have shouted this little fact at the top of their lungs while mocking the US, maybe someone somewhere did but I never heard any mention of it, not even from any of all the people I knew that were opposing the war and who never seemed to have anything substantive to say (a bit like BLM: who isn't against murder and particularly murder committed by "cops"? There's a serious communication problem going on).

I find this so strange that I'm starting to wonder if I have an extremely selective memory. Did anyone here learn about this at the time? Not counting anyone who already knew it well before that time.

[Jun 03, 2020] Internet Users Who Call For Attacking Other Countries Will Now Be Enlisted In The Military Automatically

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
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.

If you would like to complain about something on our site, take it up with God.

Unlike other satire sites, everything we post is 100% verified by Snopes.com.

[Jun 03, 2020] RussiaGate for neoliberal Dems and MSM honchos is the way to avoid the necessity to look into the camera and say, I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming. ..."
"... Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Mar 30, 2019 7:51:28 PM | link

Here is an insightful read on Trump's (s)election and Russiagate that I think is not OT

Taibbi: On Russiagate and Our Refusal to Face Why Trump Won

The take away quote

" Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming.

Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ."

As a peedupon all I can see is that the elite seem to be fighting amongst themselves or (IMO) providing cover for ongoing elite power/control efforts. It might not be about private/public finance in a bigger picture but I can't see anything else that makes sense

[Jun 02, 2020] According to the standards set by the Trump administration when the Guaido coup first launched, the video footage of these protests is full justification for a foreign nation to directly intervene and remove Trump from office by force right now.

Trump's threat to deploy the military here is an excessive and dangerous one. Mark Perry reports on the reaction from military officers to the president's threat:
Jun 02, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Senior military officer on Trump statement: "So we're going to tell our soldiers that we're redeploying them from the Middle East to the midwest? What do we think they're going to say, 'yeah, sure, no problem?' Guess again."

-- Mark Perry (@markperrydc) June 2, 2020

Feral Finster35 minutes ago • edited

According to the standards set by the Trump administration when the Guaido coup first launched, the video footage of these protests is full justification for a foreign nation to directly intervene and remove Trump from office by force right now.

[Jun 02, 2020] So we're going to tell our soldiers that we're redeploying them from the Middle East to the midwest? What do we think they're going to say, 'yeah, sure, no problem?' Guess again."

Trump's threat to deploy the military here is an excessive and dangerous one. Mark Perry reports on the reaction from military officers to the president's threat:
Jun 02, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Senior military officer on Trump statement: "So we're going to tell our soldiers that we're redeploying them from the Middle East to the midwest? What do we think they're going to say, 'yeah, sure, no problem?' Guess again."

-- Mark Perry (@markperrydc) June 2, 2020

Earlier in the day yesterday, audio has leaked in which the Secretary of Defense referred to U.S. cities as the "battlespace." Separately, Sen. Tom Cotton was making vile remarks about using the military to give "no quarter" to looters. This is the language of militarism.

It is a consequence of decades of endless war and the government's tendency to rely on militarized options as their answer for every problem. Endless war has had a deeply corrosive effect on this country's political system: presidential overreach, the normalization of illegal uses of force, a lack of legal accountability for crimes committed in the wars, and a lack of political accountability for the leaders that continue to wage pointless and illegal wars. Now we see new abuses committed and encouraged by a lawless president, but this time it is Americans that are on the receiving end. Trump hasn't ended any of the foreign wars he inherited, and now it seems that he will use the military in an llegal mission here at home.

Megan San hour ago

The military is the only American institution that young people still have any real degree of faith in, it will be interesting to see the polls when this is all over with.

[Jun 01, 2020] This is one war party -- war party, imperial party of militarism, conquest and killing of civilians

Highly recommended!
Jun 01, 2020 | www.antiwar.com

Antiwar.com contributing editor Danny Sjursen appeared for an extensive interview with Jimmy Dore:

https://youtu.be/VfmWC1bYUrc

[May 31, 2020] We Are Combat Vets, and We Want America to Reboot Memorial Day by Matthew Hoh and Danny Sjursen

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In recent years, U.S. troops were killed not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also Syria, Kenya, Somalia, Yemen, and Niger. Few Americans could locate these countries on a map; fewer knew its soldiers fought there. Additionally, Pentagon pilots and proxies killed people in Libya, Pakistan, and elsewhere in West Africa without losing a single soldier. ..."
"... The campaigns in Somalia and Yemen best expose the absurd casualty inequity of modern American warfare. In the former, only a few U.S. service members have been killed in an 18-year intervention. Conversely, hundreds of thousands of Somalis died or were displaced as a direct or indirect result (an exacerbated famine , for example) of a largely U.S.-catalyzed war. In Yemen, just one American soldier died in combat, compared to more than 100,000 locals -- including 85,000 children starved to death -- in a terror campaign the Saudis couldn't wage without U.S. complicity . ..."
"... With unemployment sky-rocketing to Great Depression rates, and income inequality at Gilded Age levels , both holidays now "celebrate" egregious blood and treasure disparity. For example, sifting through the Department of Labor's statistics reveals that some 8,000 contractors have been killed in America's war zones. That outnumbers U.S. military fatalities. Since Washington has progressively privatized and outsourced its wars, perhaps Americans should also observe a Mercenary Memorial Day. ..."
"... Faced with unrecognizable brands of war, most people substitute nostalgia and myth. Grappling with war's reality has implications that are too disturbing. Far simpler and more satisfying is to commemorate long past sacrifices at Normandy and Iwo Jima, rather than more confounding losses in Niger and Iraq. The temptation persists even as the last World War II veterans pass; old notions of what combat is ..."
"... The United States has lost its ethical and strategic way. Riddled with a virus that has now killed more Americans than the Revolutionary, Mexican, Spanish, Indian, Philippine, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Afghan Wars combined , this nation requires serious soul-searching. Reimagining its bookended summer celebrations might be a good start; but it won't be easy. ..."
May 25, 2020 | www.motherjones.com

Pandemic or no, resilient Americans will celebrate Memorial Day together. Be it through Zoom or spaced six feet apart from ten or less loved ones at backyard cookouts, folks will find a way. In these peculiar gatherings, is it still considered cynical to wonder if people will spare much actual thought for American soldiers still dying abroad -- or question the utility of America's forever wars? Etiquette aside, we think it's obscene not to.

Just as the coronavirus has exposed systemic rot, this moment also reveals how obsolete common conceptions of U.S. warfare truly are -- raising core questions about the holiday devoted to its sacrifices. The truth is that today's " way of war " is so abstract, distant, and short on (at least American) casualties as to be nearly invisible to the public. With little to show for it, Washington still directs bloody global campaigns, killing thousands of locals. America has no space on its calendar to memorialize these victims: even the children among them.

"Just as the coronavirus exposed much internal systemic rot, this moment also reveals how obsolete common conceptions of U.S. warfare truly are."

Eighteen years ago, as a cadet and young marine officer, we celebrated the first post-9/11 Memorial Day -- both brimming with enthusiasm for the wars we knew lay ahead. In the intervening decades, for individual yet strikingly similar reasons, we ultimately chose paths of dissent. Since then, we've penned critical editorials around Memorial Days. These challenged the wars' prospects , questioned the efficacy of the volunteer military, and encouraged citizens to honor the fallen by creating fewer of them.

Little has changed, except how America fights. But that's the point: outsourcing combat to machines, mercenaries, and militias rendered war so opaque that Washington wages it absent public oversight or awareness -- and empathy. That's the formula for forever war.

In recent years, U.S. troops were killed not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also Syria, Kenya, Somalia, Yemen, and Niger. Few Americans could locate these countries on a map; fewer knew its soldiers fought there. Additionally, Pentagon pilots and proxies killed people in Libya, Pakistan, and elsewhere in West Africa without losing a single soldier.

The campaigns in Somalia and Yemen best expose the absurd casualty inequity of modern American warfare. In the former, only a few U.S. service members have been killed in an 18-year intervention. Conversely, hundreds of thousands of Somalis died or were displaced as a direct or indirect result (an exacerbated famine , for example) of a largely U.S.-catalyzed war. In Yemen, just one American soldier died in combat, compared to more than 100,000 locals -- including 85,000 children starved to death -- in a terror campaign the Saudis couldn't wage without U.S. complicity .

No one wants to see American troops killed, but a death disparity so stark stretches classic definitions of combat. Yet for locals, it likely feels a whole lot like "real" war on the business end of U.S. bombs and bullets.

So this year, given the stark reality that even a deadly pandemic -- and pleas for global ceasefire -- hasn't slowed Washington's war machine, it's reasonable to question the very concept of Memorial Day. There are also important parallels with Labor Day -- the holiday bookend to today's seasonal kick off. Just as memorializing America's obscenely lopsided battle deaths is increasingly indecent, a federal holiday devoted to a labor movement the government has aggressively eviscerated is deeply troubling.

With unemployment sky-rocketing to Great Depression rates, and income inequality at Gilded Age levels , both holidays now "celebrate" egregious blood and treasure disparity. For example, sifting through the Department of Labor's statistics reveals that some 8,000 contractors have been killed in America's war zones. That outnumbers U.S. military fatalities. Since Washington has progressively privatized and outsourced its wars, perhaps Americans should also observe a Mercenary Memorial Day.

Widening the aperture unveils thousands more "non-combat" -- but war-related -- uniformed deaths in desperate need of memorializing. From 2006-2018 alone , 3,540 active-duty service members took their own lives -- just a fraction of the 15-20 daily veteran suicides -- and another 640 died in accidents involving substance-abuse. Each death is unique, but studies demonstrate that the combined effects of PTSD and moral injury -- these wars' " signature wound " -- contributed to this massive loss of life. On a personal level, at least four soldiers under our commands took their own lives, as have several friends. These are real folks who left behind real loved ones.

Faced with unrecognizable brands of war, most people substitute nostalgia and myth. Grappling with war's reality has implications that are too disturbing. Far simpler and more satisfying is to commemorate long past sacrifices at Normandy and Iwo Jima, rather than more confounding losses in Niger and Iraq. The temptation persists even as the last World War II veterans pass; old notions of what combat is die with them.

The United States has lost its ethical and strategic way. Riddled with a virus that has now killed more Americans than the Revolutionary, Mexican, Spanish, Indian, Philippine, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Afghan Wars combined , this nation requires serious soul-searching. Reimagining its bookended summer celebrations might be a good start; but it won't be easy.

In a new take on an old tradition, perhaps it's proper to not only pack away the whites, but don black as a memorial to a republic in peril.

Matthew Hoh is a member of the advisory boards of Expose Facts, Veterans For Peace and World Beyond War. He previously served in Iraq with a State Department team and with the U.S. Marines. He is a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy.

Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army officer and contributing editor at antiwar.com . He served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at West Point. He is the author of a memoir of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge .

[May 30, 2020] Cutting our excessive defense budget post-COVID-19 will be difficult. Here's how to do it by Gordon Adams

Sound like wishful thinking. Looks like cutting US military budget is impossible as "Full spectrum Dominance" doctrine is still in place and neocons are at the helm of the USA foreign policy. COVID-19 or not COVID-19.
May 29, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org

The other day an aerospace industry analyst asked me whether I thought the defense budget would start to go down, courtesy of the huge cost of dealing with the pandemic and the massive deficits the nation faces. I said it was unlikely and he agreed.

This is not the conventional wisdom in DC. Some national security analysts and advocates for higher defense budgets have warned that the defense budget is now under siege . Critics of the Pentagon and its spending are equally convinced that the pandemic opens the door to necessary, deep, sensible cuts in defense in order to fund the mountain of debt and take care of pressing needs for income, employment, health care, global warming, and other major threats to the well-being of Americans.

Whatever the nation's strategy, critics argue, the pandemic has changed the face of the threat to America. COVID-19 is an invisible, lethal threat to human security, a viral neutron bomb that spares buildings but kills their occupants.

Congress has appropriated more than 20 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, so far, to cope with this threat. Additional funds for the military, ironically, have become a "rounding error" in this spending -- little more than $10 billion of the more than $4 trillion appropriated to date. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper warned about the likelihood of defense cuts and wanted more funds for the Pentagon, but Rep. Adam Smith, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee said there was no way defense would get more funds through the pandemic bills.

So it looks bad for defense, and good for the advocates of cuts. But not so fast. Yes, it is true; history shows that defense budgets do decline. It happens, predictably, when we get out of a war – World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War. Even when we left Iraq in 2011, the budget went down.

There is a secret ingredient in defense budget reductions: they seem to happen, as well, when the politics of deficit reduction appear. Defense also declined after Korea because a fiscal conservative, Eisenhower, was in office, with five virtual stars on his shoulders, making it possible to put a lid on the budgetary appetites of the services.

In fact, in 1985, well before the end of the Cold War, Congress, focused on the deficit, passed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, which was then was reinforced in the 1990 Budget Enforcement Act that set hard spending limits on domestic and defense spending. It had to cover both parts of discretionary spending or Congress could not agree. It was 17 years before the defense budget began to rise .

Put the end of war together with a dollop of deficit reduction and defense budgets will go down. They become the caboose, rather than the engine, of the budgetary train. But beware of what you ask for. The price of constraints on defense has been constraints on domestic spending, as the nation has learned over the past three decades. In fact, the Budget Control Act of 2011 constrained domestic spending, while allowing defense to escape almost unscathed, thanks to war supplementals.

When attention shifts to debates over priorities and deficits, it opens the door to a real discussion about defense. But they do not ensure cuts. While the military services may not see their appetite for real growth of 3-5 percent fulfilled, it is unlikely to decline very much.

There is a floor under the defense budget. But you need to change the level of analysis to see it and look at who actually makes defense budget decisions and why they make the decisions they do. It's about something I called the "Iron Triangle."

We all like to think that strategy drives defense budgets. For the most part, however, defense decisions are made inside a political system involving constant, relatively closed interaction between the military services, the Congress, and the community and industry beneficiaries of defense spending.

In outline, budget planners in the military services start with last year's budget and graft on new funds, rarely giving up a program, a mission, or part of the force. This dynamic points the budgets upwards over time. Secretaries and under-secretaries work to add preferences and projects, like national missile defense, to the services' budget plans. On top of that, presidents have made promises, adding such things as bomber funds (Reagan) and space forces (Trump) the services do not want.

Then there is the second leg of the triangle: Congress. For all their efforts to cut Pentagon waste, progressive members do not drive defense decisions in the Congress. The defense authorizers and appropriators do. The associated committees are dominated by defense spending advocates, deeply interested in the outcomes, encouraged by industry campaign contributions and community lobbying. These outside interests are the third leg of the triangle. Contracts and community-based impacts give them a deep stake in the outcomes.

This system is not a conspiracy; it is a visible part of American politics, similar in shape to the players in farm price supports or health care policy. But it is a system that operates somewhat separately from and parallel to the politics of deficit reduction and has a major impact on the content and levels of the defense budget. And its work bakes a kind of sclerosis into efforts to have a broader debate over spending priorities.

The politics of the Iron Triangle will set limits on the defense budget debate making deep cuts unlikely. So what might be the options to end-run this system? Politics, of course. If the advocates of deeper defense reductions want to change America's spending and budgeting priorities, they will need to join forces with advocates of a "new, new deal" in America -- one that would put priority on the national health system, infrastructure investment, climate change, immigration, and educational reform. Only a very large, very deep coalition has a chance of overcoming the inertia imposed by the Iron Triangle.

And that coalition will need to focus on Joe Biden. The president is the key actor here, particularly at the start of an administration. As Bill Clinton learned, the first months are critical to changing overall budget priorities, before the departments, including Defense, can begin the Iron Triangle dance.

Even then, major cuts in defense budgets are an uphill fight. The opening for a broader priorities debate has been provided by the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcome depends significantly on bringing this kind of focus to actions over the next seven months.

[May 30, 2020] Imperialism undercuts democracy by furthering inequalities among its citizens: Corruption becomes endemic, not only abroad but at home.

May 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Norogene , May 29 2020 23:02 utc | 115

lysias @ 109
... Here is a fine quote from Wolin's book (page 264) which illustrates the point (please excuse the length of this quote):

A twofold moral might be drawn from the experience of Athens: that it is self-subverting for democracy to subordinate its egalitarian convictions to the pursuit of expansive politics with its corollaries of conquest and domination and the power relationships they introduce. Few care to argue that, in political terms, democracy at home is advanced or improved by conquest abroad.

As Athens showed and the United States of the twenty-first century confirmed, imperialism undercuts democracy by furthering inequalities among its citizens. Resources that might be used to improve health care, education, and environmental protection are instead directed to defense spending, which, by far, con- sumes the largest percentage of the nation's annual budget. Moreover, the sheer size and complexity of imperial power and the expanded role of the military make it difficult to impose fiscal discipline and accountability. Corruption becomes endemic, not only abroad but at home. The most dangerous type of corruption for a democracy is measured not in monetary terms alone but in the kind of ruthless power relations it fosters in domestic politics. As many observers have noted, politics has become a blood sport with partisanship and ideological fidelity as the hallmarks. A partisan judiciary is openly declared to be a major priority of a political party; the efforts to consolidate executive power and to relegate Congress to a supporting role are to some important degree the retrojection inwards of the imperial thrust.

Second, if Athens was the first historical instance of a confrontation between democracy and elitism, that experience suggests that there is no simple recipe for resolving the tensions between them. Political elites were a persistent, if uneasy and contested, feature of Athenian democracy and a significant factor in both its expansion and its demise. In the eyes of contemporary observers, such as Thucydides, as well as later historians, the advancement of Athenian hegemony de- pended upon a public-spirited, able elite at the helm and a demos will- ing to accept leadership. Conversely, the downfall of Athens was attributed to the wiles and vainglory of leaders who managed to whip up popular support for ill-conceived adventures. As the war dragged on and frustration grew, domestic politics became more embittered and fractious: members of the elite competed to outbid each other by pro\posing ever wilder schemes of conquest.

In two attempts (411–410 and 404–403) elites, abetted by the Spartans, succeeded in temporarily abolishing democracy and installing rule by the Few.

...and while I am at it: lysias @ 106

Let's deconstruct what you've said. Even if he resisted arrest (by what degree was he resisting?) that is not cause for applying deadly force on someone. Clearly he was restrained and was going no where. Furthermore, the application of restraint should be one that ought not induce death in someone with a previous health condition. By your rationale, you have no business of walking the streets if you are not an able-bodied person and that death by restraint by a police officer is excusable if you happen to be in bad health.

Although you don't explicitly say it, somehow it feels like you are saying that he had it coming to him when you write "Floyd had a lengthy criminal record." Does that mean just because he had a lengthy record he deserved to be roughed up like that? This sounds like victim blaming, which is something commonly done in this country to continue to oppress people who have no power.

[May 30, 2020] The arseholes arguing for getting into conflicts do so only for the opportunities for personal benefit conflicts create

May 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

A User , May 30 2020 3:47 utc | 160

re Norogene | May 30 2020 3:09 utc | 155
"But, of course, you need to protect your country which means maintaining a defense force. " Yet I cannot think of a single instance of a conflict amerika has gotten into that wasn't a case of amerika kicking off the action with some particularly egregious act.

eg On the instances I have raised this with amerikans, many have told me they consider Pearl Harbour to be an instance of amerika being the innocent party, they had no idea that FDR had instigated a blockade of Japan long before which was starving Japanese people or that Pearl Harbour wasn't amerikan soil, it was an illegally occupied nation and the Japanese attack had been careful to only bomb and strafe the occupying force.

No nation needs a defense force if the true will of the citizens of a country was what steered that nation, since as you said, most humans the world over prefer to live and let live.

When I worked as a public servant it took me about 5 seconds to suss that those bureaucrats promoting change didn't have a real interest in change apart from the opportunity for promotion change can promote.

This is equally true of war, the arseholes arguing for getting into conflicts do so only for the opportunities for personal benefit conflicts create. Since no war has ever advantaged the masses it is safe to say left up to the people, no wars would always be their first preference.

[May 29, 2020] A huge portion of the Pentagon's budget goes toward preparing for war with China -- and, frankly, provoking war as well.

May 29, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

Despite the economic ravages of the pandemic, the Pentagon continues to demand the lion's share of the U.S. budget. It wants another $705 billion for 2021, after increasing its budget by 20 percent between 2016 and 2020.

This appalling waste of government resources has already caused long-term damage to the economic competitiveness of the United States. But it's all the money the Pentagon is spending on "deterring China" that might prove more devastating in the short term.

The U.S. Navy announced this month that it was sending its entire forward-deployed sub fleet on "contingency response operations" as a warning to China. Last month, the U.S. Navy Expeditionary Strike Group sailed into the South China Sea to support Malaysia's oil exploration in an area that China claims. Aside from the reality that oil exploration makes no economic sense at a time of record low oil prices, the United States should be helping the countries bordering the South China Sea come to a fair resolution of their disputes, not throwing more armaments at the problem.

There's also heightened risk of confrontation in the Taiwan Strait, the East China Sea, and even in outer space . A huge portion of the Pentagon's budget goes toward preparing for war with China -- and, frankly, provoking war as well.

What does this all have to do with the Great Disentanglement?

The close economic ties between the United States and China have always represented a significant constraint on military confrontation. Surely the two countries would not risk grievous economic harm by coming to blows. Economic cooperation also provides multiple channels for resolving conflicts and communicating discontent. The United States and Soviet Union never had that kind of buffer.

If the Great Disentanglement goes forward, however, then the two countries have less to lose economically in a military confrontation. Trading partners, of course, sometimes go to war with one another. But as the data demonstrates , more trade generally translates into less war.

There are lots and lots of problems in the U.S.-China economic relationship. But they pale in comparison to World War III.

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus , where this article originally appeared.

[May 28, 2020] US Public Remain the Tacit Accomplice in America's Dead End Wars Common Dreams Views by Andrew Bacevich

May 25, 2020 | www.commondreams.org
by Los Angeles Times US Public Remain the Tacit Accomplice in America's Dead End Wars Honor the fallen, but not every war they were sent to fight by Andrew Bacevich 19 Comments A U.S. soldier fires an anti-tank rocket during a live-fire exercise in Zabul province, Afghanistan, in July 2010. (Photo: U.S. Army /flickr/cc) Not least among the victims claimed by the coronavirus pandemic was a poetry recital that was to have occurred in March at a theater in downtown Boston.

I had been invited to read aloud a poem, and I chose "On a Soldier Fallen in the Philippines," written in 1899 by William Vaughn Moody (1869-1910). You are unlikely to have heard of the poet or his composition. Great literature, it is not. Yet its message is memorable.

The subject of Moody's poem is death, a matter today much on all our minds. It recounts the coming home of a nameless American soldier, killed in the conflict commonly but misleadingly known as the Philippine Insurrection.

In 1898, U.S. troops landed in Manila to oust the Spanish overlords who had ruled the Philippines for more than three centuries. They accomplished this mission with the dispatch that a later generation of U.S. forces demonstrated in ousting regimes in Kabul and Baghdad. Yet as was the case with the Afghanistan and Iraq wars of our own day, real victory proved elusive.

Back in Washington, President McKinley decided that having liberated the Philippines, the United States would now keep them. The entire archipelago of several thousand islands was to become an American colony.

McKinley's decision met with immediate disfavor among Filipinos. To oust the foreign occupiers, they mounted an armed resistance. A vicious conflict ensued, one that ultimately took the lives of 4,200 American soldiers and at least 200,000 Filipinos. In the end, however, the United States prevailed.

Denying Filipino independence was the cause for which the subject of Moody's poem died.

Long since forgotten by Americans, the war to pacify the Philippines generated in its day great controversy. Moody's poem is an artifact of that controversy. In it, he chastises those who perform the rituals of honoring the fallen while refusing to acknowledge the dubious nature of the cause for which they fought. "Toll! Let the great bells toll," he writes,

Till the clashing air is dim,
Did we wrong this parted soul?
We will make it up to him.
Toll! Let him never guess
What work we sent him to.
Laurel, laurel, yes.
He did what we bade him do.
Praise, and never a whispered hint
but the fight he fought was good;

In actuality, the fight was anything but good. It was ill-advised and resulted in great evil. "On a Soldier Fallen in the Philippines" expresses a demand for reckoning with that evil. Americans of Moody's generation rejected that demand, just as Americans today balk at reckoning with the consequences of our own ill-advised wars.

Yet the imperative persists. "O banners, banners here," Moody concludes,

That he doubt not nor misgive!
That he heed not from the tomb
The evil days draw near
When the nation robed in gloom
With its faithless past shall strive.
Let him never dream that his bullet's scream
went wide of its island mark,
Home to the heart of his darling land
where she stumbled and sinned in the dark.

At the end of the 19th century, the United States stumbled and sinned in the dark by waging a misbegotten campaign to advance nakedly imperial ambitions. At the beginning of the 21st century, new wars became the basis of comparable sin. The war of Moody's time and the wars of our own have almost nothing in common except this: In each instance, through their passivity disguised as patriotism, the American people became tacitly complicit in wrongdoing committed in their name.

It is no doubt too glib by half to claim that today, besieged by a virus, we are reaping the consequences caused by our refusal to reckon with past sins. Yet it is not too glib to argue that the need for such a reckoning remains. Have we wronged the departed souls of those who died -- indeed, are still dying -- in Afghanistan and Iraq? The question cries out for an answer. In our cacophonous age, it just might be that we will find that answer in poetry.

Andrew Bacevich Andrew J. Bacevich , a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, is the author of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History , which has just been published by Random House. He is also editor of the book, The Short American Century (Harvard Univ. Press) , and author of several others, including: Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (American Empire Project) ; Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War , The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War , The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (American Empire Project) , and The Long War: A New History of U.S. National Security Policy Since World War II . © 2019 Los Angeles Times

[May 26, 2020] America, Kissinger, and the Overexpansion Trap by Daniel Larison

May 26, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

As a general rule, the more that hawks harp on the need to preserve U.S. "credibility," the weaker their argument for armed aggression.

We will fight them over there so we do not have to face them in the United States of America," George W. Bush said in a 2007 speech to the American Legion, in a labored defense of his disastrous foreign policy record.

This is one of the better-known and more ridiculous rationalizations for both the endless "war on terror" and for the Iraq war. The Bush administration conflated these two very different conflicts and pretended that an aggressive, illegal invasion of Iraq had something to do with defending the United States. There is absolutely no reason to think that having U.S. forces fighting in Iraq in 2003 or 2007 or 2020 has made Americans the least bit more secure, but this is the official line that we are still being fed today. Many of us could see long ago that this was false, but the toxic legacy of the myth that aggression brings security remains with us even now.

This myth that aggression brings security is certainly not unique to the U.S., but over the last several decades our government has been one of its most prominent promoters. It is the myth that has distorted our counterterrorism and counterproliferation policies for most of my lifetime, and it continues to provide fodder to advocates of preventive war against Iran, North Korea, and any other adversary that they think might possibly pose a threat in the distant future.

The practical consequences of believing this myth are overexpansion and overreach. Once you accept that your security is contingent on going on the offensive against potential threats, you begin to lose the ability to calculate costs and benefits rationally. Instead, you begin to see every nuisance as an intolerable menace. That encourages increasingly reckless and destructive policies as you lash out against anything and everything that you think might be a danger to you. As a result, you exhaust yourself, alienate your allies, and drive other states to band together to protect themselves from you. The U.S. has not quite reached that last stage, but it is heading in that direction.

Great powers fall into the trap of overexpansion again and again. These states make this costly error because they embrace myths that encourage them to fight in places that don't matter and to make commitments that they don't have to make. Even though expansion inflicts significant damage on the state that engages in it, advocates of aggressive policies never stop insisting that expansion brings security. The U.S. has been going through a period of overexpansion for almost twenty years, and the costs of continue to mount. At the same time, there is tremendous resistance in Washington to anything even resembling retrenchment.

Jack Snyder wrote the classic study of the myths behind great power overexpansion, Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition , thirty years ago. When he concluded his book, the Soviet Union still existed and he had some reason to believe that the United States had learned from its disastrous intervention in Vietnam. Snyder's work is arguably more relevant now than it was then. However, the last thirty years of U.S. foreign policy show that he was far too optimistic about the U.S. government's ability to learn from its past excesses and failures.

Snyder argued that "American intervention in the Vietnam War was a clear case of strategic overextension." He added that it is "difficult to explain in terms of any Realist criteria, judging either from hindsight or from information available at the time."

U.S. intervention in Vietnam was fueled by ideology and the misguided belief that U.S. "credibility" elsewhere would be jeopardized if the U.S. did not keep fighting there. This argument made no sense when it was made, and our allies at the time rejected it. As Snyder puts it, "American allies denied that American credibility was at stake in Vietnam, but American decision makers insisted that it was." As usual, the people invoking "credibility" then were just looking for an excuse to legitimize their reckless policy. It is a common claim put forward by promoters of empire, and it usually doesn't have the slightest connection to the real world.

That is why it is discouraging but also very revealing that a new study of Henry Kissinger by Barry Gewen essentially endorses Kissinger's preposterous rationalizations for continued U.S. involvement in Vietnam and the escalation of the war into neighboring Cambodia. According to John Farrell's review of The Inevitability of Tragedy , Gewen accepts the standard Cold War-era arguments for some of the worst policies of the Nixon administration:

He takes on the "war crimes" arraignments in chapters on Chile and Southeast Asia, concluding that the threat posed by Chilean socialism to hemispheric tranquillity generally absolved the United States for helping to foster a bloody coup, and that the Cold War necessity of preserving U.S. "credibility" and "prestige" justified Nixon's callous choice of four more years of war in Southeast Asia.

As a general rule, the more that hawks harp on the "need" to preserve "credibility," the weaker the argument for U.S. involvement in a conflict is. It is only when there are no obvious vital interests at stake that hawks are reduced to summoning the mystical spirits of reputation and resolve in a séance, and they do this because they have no other arguments left. The sad thing is that this mumbo-jumbo continues to hold sway in our foreign policy debates. It is used to override correct assessments of costs and benefits by pretending that the U.S. risks suffering an enormous loss if it "fails" to intervene in some strategic backwater. Yesterday, it was Vietnam, and today we hear much the same thing about Afghanistan.

There is no worse reason to fight a war than the preservation of supposed "credibility." For one thing, fighting an unnecessary war always does more damage to a nation's reputation and strength than avoiding it. Even if the U.S. managed to "win" such a war in a limited fashion, it would not be worth the losses incurred. There is virtually nothing more debilitating to a great power than an inability to extricate itself from a mistaken commitment. There is nothing more foolish than persisting in such a commitment when there is an opportunity to get out.

One of the themes of the new study of Kissinger is that tragedy is unavoidable in this world. That may be true as a general observation, but the terrible thing about continued U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was that it was entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, because of the ideological blinders of our leaders and the flaws of our political culture the war continued and expanded even further for many more years under Nixon. The U.S. was merely prolonging the inevitable by refusing to leave a war that it had no business fighting, and there was nothing realistic or wise about this.

When Snyder wrote Myths of Empire , he could plausibly argue that "America's 'imperial overstretch' has been moderate and self-correcting," but after almost two decades of continuous desultory warfare in Afghanistan and almost three decades of being engaged in hostilities in Iraq that verdict is no longer credible. Snyder was interested to explain both "America's Cold War penchant for limited overexpansion and also its ability to learn from its mistakes," but thirty years on there is no need to explain America's ability to learn from mistakes because it has almost completely atrophied.

If we were to update Myths of Empire today, we would have to say that the elements of democratic government that were supposed to protect the United States against the failings of other systems have been waning. The "more open debate on foreign policy issues" that Snyder found in the post-Vietnam era turned out to be narrower and more closed than he supposed. He concluded that "the use of myths of empire to justify the Gulf War shows that democratic scrutiny of strategic assertions is still needed."

What we have learned over the last thirty years is that Congress has mostly functioned as a willing rubber stamp for whatever the executive wants to do, and its scrutiny of presidential assertions about foreign threats is woefully lacking. It turns out that Snyder's judgment that "there was no overexpansion, no disproportion between strategic costs and benefits" after the Gulf War was premature. It was not evident in 1991, but we can see now that the costs of that intervention were much higher than they seemed at the time. The U.S. embarked then on what would prove to be a three-decade entanglement in the affairs of Iraq, and each time that there was a chance of extricating ourselves from it one president after another used the myths of empire to keep our forces there indefinitely.


Tradcon 12 days ago

I can think of no better way of building credibility than fighting embarrassingly long wars that leave the nations we fight in worse off and our actual enemies stronger, can't you?
Feral Finster 12 days ago
It's called an "excuse". Any excuse will do for a bully looking to start a fight.
L RNY 12 days ago
Maybe I am wrong but this is my opinion. The strongest warmongerers have been the neocons and the neoliberals (which in the case of foreign military intervention are interchangeable) who are closely linked with AIPAC and Isael. If the US has an existential threat then its usually plain for all to see but I will concede that the media has been politicized and does not present objective factual news to the public. As an example, Breitbart, Trump and others have been warning about China for decades but many politicians have major business dealings ( bribes, payoffs, business dealings for their son and relatives, etc) with China so they deflected to Russia whenever military or economic concerns about China could not be hushed up. It was reported long before BushII went into Iraq that the US and Israel had a plan for regime change in 7 middle eastern countries which has always led me to believe that our military interventionism in the middle east is not based on the US interest but in fact are proxy wars for US allies Israel / Saudi (and other middle east allies) intentions at regime change in Iran. This is where Kissinger should not be missed nor his supporters. It took a long time to switch the American consciousness away from Russia toward China. Identifying foreign lobbyists or lobbyists for a foreign country are easy because they must be disclosed to the Federal Govt. However, the US needs to take a close look at its domestic lobbies, its internal corruption, its internal conflicts of interest and its internal loyalties of those who are employees of the federal govt or have capabilities to influence decision making of the federal govt. It appears that we will never be able to extricate ourselves (ie USA) from foreign military intervention in the middle east as long as we have powerful and wealthy middle eastern allies using their influence to engage the US in proxy wars on its behalf.
TheSnark 12 days ago • edited
That author says: "you begin to see every nuisance as an intolerable menace".

That says it all.

kouroi 12 days ago
The polls, where the desires of hoi poloi are captured, consistently show that US "citizens" do not want military engagements and do not feel their security threatened all the time. Enjoy your oligarchical run Republic.
Alan Vanneman 11 days ago
Nothing Dan writes is without value, but I think he fails to recognize the extent to which policymakers are worried about, not the credibility of the U.S., but that of the "Establishment", of their own "right" to be in charge, to be important and to have vast resources at their disposal. Ever since the end of the Cold War, the "military-intellectual complex"--the Pentagon, the military suppliers, the intelligence community and its myriad of contractors, the various think tanks, etc.--have all been seeking an excuse for their continued existence. The real purpose of the invasion of Iraq was to create a ground for a massive US overseas military commitment to replace NATO as a source for funding and promotions. This enterprise has sadly dovetailed with the desires of the "Wilsonians" of the Democratic Party. The domestic scene, after all, is clotted and congested. There's so much more room to do good overseas! The strength of the Peace movement was significantly vitiated first by the end of the draft (shrewd move, Mr. Nixon!) and then by the end of the Cold War, for which Ronald Reagan deserved significant credit. Democrats proved sadly susceptible to treating the Defense budget as an unlimited pork barrel. Since the Republicans were buying, why not dig in? And, of course, pressure from AIPAC made voting for a "firm" policy in the Middle East a political no-brainer.

[May 25, 2020] Gangster politics at the age of Trump: Lack of principle itself becomes a principle.

May 25, 2020 | logosjournal.com

Originally from: Gangster Politics Logos Journal by by Stephen Eric Bronner

Gangster politicians like to think that they are slick. They talk slang and curse a lot, grab a girl's ass (or worse), insist that they never read a book, thumb their noses at intellectual elites, boast about their high IQs, and proclaim their "street smarts." They also view themselves both as victims of their critics' malice and "great men" alone capable of curing the nation's ills.

They make their base feel the same: they are despised and yet the real Americans! Their belief in the boss is unwavering. Only he can make America great again.

Those who oppose his policies are traitors and the threats they pose are serious -- and, if they are not serious, then they must be made serious. History teaches what might become necessary in order to teach them a lesson. The Reichstag Fire of 1933 and the (staged) assassination of Sergei Kirov in 1934 were the dramatic events that led Hitler and Stalin to justify attacks on enemies, renegades, and supposed traitors to the state. Gangster politicians under internal pressure pray for a crisis, or what Trump once forecast as a "major event," in order to rally the troops and clean house.

Gangster politics requires no ideology. Lack of principle itself becomes a principle.

The great man must do what must be done: if that means lying, reneging on deals, shifting gears, rejecting transparency, and whatever else, then so be it. That he can employ the double standard is a given.

Big talk takes the place of diplomacy and, if the bluster doesn't work then America alone -- or, better, the boss alone -- can rely on "fire and fury" whenever and wherever he likes.

Traditionalists employed jingoistic rhetoric and wrapped themselves in the flag. The gangster politician talks like a schoolyard bully and salutes himself.

Gangster politicians of times past had subordinates swear an oath of loyalty not to the state but to them. Yesterday's "America! Love it or leave it!" has today turned into: "Trump! Love him -- or shut up!"

[May 25, 2020] Gangster Politics by Stephen Eric Bronner

Notable quotes:
"... Contemporary films and television shows constantly depict the CIA, corrupt politicians and greedy corporate interests as interwoven. But these usually appear as either the work of rogue individuals (who must be brought into line) or an always vague and unalterable "system" that demands utter cynicism as the only appropriate response. ..."
May 25, 2020 | logosjournal.com

In The Communist Manifesto , Marx and Engels referred to the state as "the executive committee of the ruling class." Reflecting the collective capitalist interest in maintaining its accumulation process, capable of forging compromises among competing sectors of its own and other classes, this committee was also meant to enforce legal norms, contracts, and other rules of the game.

If necessary, indeed, it would even subordinate individual capitalist interests to the collective interests of the class. The executive committee might foster imperialist ambitions and declare war. But it might also call for redistributive legislation to foster demand even though no individual capitalist would want to pay higher taxes to cover the cost. Recalcitrant elements of the ruling class and protestors from below require punishment. Fascist states easily get carried away in that regard. Banana republics usually exhibit bureaucratic gangster tendencies. In a capitalist democracy, however, things are supposedly different: its executive committee should jail Al Capone and marginalize corruption. The lines between legal and illegal business transactions are blurring and the term "political mafia" is taking on a whole new meaning. [1]

Gangster politics has little in common with the interests of petty criminals, white collar crooks, 'Crips and 'Bloods, and the like. Vast sums are at stake: so, for example, roughly 82.8% of benefits from the 2017 tax bill are being funneled into the portfolios of the top 1%, [2] and the corporate tax rate is being dropped from 35% to 21%. The boss knows where his bread is buttered. That the godfather should get his cut goes without saying: Trump's family will make upwards of "tens of millions of dollars" from his tax legislation. [3] And with the "ca-ching!" (that sweet sound of the cash register) comes the "bling" (the payoffs, the hush-money, and the gifts) along with the "glitz" of the porno stars, the third-rate actresses, the models, and the rest.

Gangster politics hovers between the authoritarian and the democratic. The boss and his posse receive their perks for a reason. Gangster politics immunizes capitalist society from class contradictions that have become too acute or demands from below that have grown too onerous. Its representatives are not exactly fascists. They don't rely on paramilitary forces, concentration camps, official censorship, or explicit ideals of a racially pure society. Sleaze is the ethos of gangster politics. Its style and tone insinuate themselves into existing institutions such as the town meeting, the mass rally, media, electoral debates, and the use of legislative tricks, and legal minutiae. Gangster politicians know how to "game" the system. Their populist rhetoric is window dressing. The old "bicycle mentality" of the petty bourgeoisie holds sway, namely, push up and kick down.

Gangsters have long been identified with capitalists, cops, and state officials. Balzac noted that every great fortune hides a great crime. Upton Sinclair and Frank Norris made the connection as did Ibsen. But, perhaps most notoriously, Bert Brecht saw the gangster ethos uniting capitalists, imperialists, and militarists in a host of plays beginning with The Three Penny Opera . Contemporary films and television shows constantly depict the CIA, corrupt politicians and greedy corporate interests as interwoven. But these usually appear as either the work of rogue individuals (who must be brought into line) or an always vague and unalterable "system" that demands utter cynicism as the only appropriate response.

Gangster politics is not a structured institutional formation, as often argued, [4] but rather a semi-legal adaptation to legal forms of governance. It arises when the gangster's clients sense danger. Memories still linger concerning the economic crisis of 2008. [5] Banks are still over-extending unfavorable loans, stocks have been erratic, insider trading is the rule of the day and the "average guy" is panicking as capital becomes centralized in ever fewer hands. Production requires an ever smaller yet more educated working class; consumption is inordinately skewed to the wealthy; and the class question increasingly turns on how best to disempower working people, those living below the poverty line, women, citizens of color, and immigrants

Enforcing gerrymandering, curtailing voting rights, privatizing the prison system, access peddling, and accruing unlimited donations for electoral campaigns are effective tactics that border on the illegal. Right-wing control over an increasingly centralized media helps deflect criticisms and divide the disenfranchised and exploited. The audience has been primed. The boss' mass base detests his critics. Environmentalists, immigrants, people of color, uppity women, decadent gays and the transgendered infuriate the "good citizens" of America clinging to outworn traditions in small towns as well as evangelicals and retrograde (white) sectors of the industrial working class. They despair over loss of jobs, government "waste" and "welfare chiselers," moral decline, and (above all) the loss of their cultural privileges. They look back to a time when "men were men," "America was great!" and "happy days" followed one another non-stop.

Elites nod approvingly, though they have different priorities: de-regulation, lower taxes, fewer welfare policies, and cuts in the "costs of doing business." Oligarchic tendencies are built into capitalism and, as they expand, their exploitative impact on workers and the urban poor become more intense. That is where gangster politics enters the mainstream. Corporate elites require protection from progressive forces. [6] Their leaders must often choose between authoritarianism with profits as against democracy with costs. Thy always assume that they can control their enforcer. Once in office, however, the parvenu begins exercising power in his own interest. Donald Trump turned on mainstream Republicans, who pandered to the Tea Party early in the Obama presidency, just as Hitler turned on his former patron, Fritz von Papen, and his "cabinet of the barons" in 1933. It was the same with General Pinochet who was installed by the traditional conservative Eduard Frei following the fall of Salvador Allende's democratic regime in Chile in 1973. Other examples are available.

Gangster politics has its own logic. Traditionalists like to believe that the conflict is between "them and us." For the political gangster, however, the struggle is between "them and me." The only fixed rule is -- don't cross the boss! And, if only for this reason, he chooses to be feared rather than loved. He taunts his subordinates, publicly humiliates them, throws them under the bus, and perhaps even fires them a few days before their retirement. Cabinet officials and agency directors require no expertise or security clearance, [7] all that counts is loyalty to the boss. But, then, loyalty is a one-way street. Internal security advisers, press secretaries, cabinet secretaries, chiefs of staff, assistants, agency directors, White House attorneys, and deputies of all stripes come and go. Trump's administration has already had a turnover rate of 34%, more than triple that of the Obama presidency. [8] Confusion and chaos proliferate. There is a sense in which the goal of gangster politics is what Franz Neumann termed "the stateless state." It serves a concrete purpose: everyone knows who is in charge of everything.

Gangster politicians like to think that they are slick. They talk slang and curse a lot, grab a girl's ass (or worse), insist that they never read a book, thumb their noses at intellectual elites, boast about their high IQs, and proclaim their "street smarts." They also view themselves both as victims of their critics' malice and "great men" alone capable of curing the nation's ills. They make their base feel the same: they are despised and yet the real Americans! Their belief in the boss is unwavering. Only he can make America great again. Those who oppose his policies are traitors and the threats they pose are serious -- and, if they are not serious, then they must be made serious. History teaches what might become necessary in order to teach them a lesson. The Reichstag Fire of 1933 and the (staged) assassination of Sergei Kirov in 1934 were the dramatic events that led Hitler and Stalin to justify attacks on enemies, renegades, and supposed traitors to the state. Gangster politicians under internal pressure pray for a crisis, or what Trump once forecast as a "major event," in order to rally the troops and clean house.

Gangster politics requires no ideology. Lack of principle itself becomes a principle.

The great man must do what must be done: if that means lying, reneging on deals, shifting gears, rejecting transparency, and whatever else, then so be it. That he can employ the double standard is a given. Big talk takes the place of diplomacy and, if the bluster doesn't work then America alone – or, better, the boss alone – can rely on "fire and fury" whenever and wherever he likes. Traditionalists employed jingoistic rhetoric and wrapped themselves in the flag. The gangster politician talks like a schoolyard bully and salutes himself. Gangster politicians of times past had subordinates swear an oath of loyalty not to the state but to them. Yesterday's "America! Love it or leave it!" has today turned into: "Trump! Love him –or shut up!"

... ,,, ,,

References

[1] Herbert Marcuse, 1974 Paris Lectures at Vincennes University eds. Peter-Erwin Jansen and Charles Reitz (Published by the Marcuse Archives).

[2] Dylan Matthews, "The Republican tax bill got worse: now the top 1% gets 83% of the gains,"VOX, December 18, 2017, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/18/16791174/republican-tax-bill-congress-conference-tax-policy-center

[3] Louis Jacobson, "How much does the Trump family have to gain from GOP tax bills?"PolitiFact, November 27, 2017,http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/nov/27/lloyd-doggett/how-much-does-trump-family-have-gain-gop-tax-bills/

[4] The term "gangster state" has been used often, and there are a number of different interpretations of the phenomenon ie. Katherine Hirschfeld, Gangster States: Organized Crime, Kleptocracy and Political Collapse (New York: Palgrave, 2015); Charles Tilly, "State Formation as Organized Crime" in eds. Peter Evans et. al (Bringing the State Back In (New York: Cambridge University press, 1985); Michael Hirsh, "Gangster States" in http://www.newsweek.com/gangster-state-166356Paul Craig Roberts, "Gangster State America: Where is America's Democracy?" https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/05/06/gangster-state-america-paul-craig-roberts-2/;

[5] Gretchen Morgenstern and Joshua Rosner, Reckles$ Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon (New York: Henry Holt, 2011).

[6] Note the discussion in Stephen Eric Bronner, The Bitter Taste of Hope: Ideals, Ideologies and Interests in the Age of Obama (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2017), 1ff.

[7] Max Greenwood, "At least 30 White House officials, Trump appointees lack full clearances: report," The Hill, February 9, 2018http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/373220-at-least-30-white-house-officials-trump-appointees-lack-full#.Wn7-uVrZvb8.facebook

[8] Jeremy Berke, "REX TILLERSON IS OUT -- here are all the casualties of the Trump administration so far," Business Insider, March 13, 2018 http://www.businessinsider.com/who-has-trump-fired-so-far-james-comey-sean-spicer-michael-flynn-2017-7/#rob-porter-1 ; New York Times (February 13, 2018).

[9] Nicholas Confessore and Karen Yourish, "$2 Billion Worth of Free Media for Donald Trump," New York Times , March 15, 2016https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/upshot/measuring-donald-trumps-mammoth-advantage-in-free-media.html


Stephen Eric Bronner is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of Global Relations for the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University. His most recent work is
The Bitter Taste of Hope: Ideals, Ideologies and Interests in the Age of Obama.

[May 24, 2020] Trump is mostly concerned with giving handouts to the MIC because he thinks "the economy" is based on jobs in the MIC since that is what they tell him is where US manufacturing is now based

May 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , May 23 2020 19:01 utc | 7

Trump is mostly concerned with giving handouts to the MIC because he thinks "the economy" is based on jobs in the MIC since that is what they tell him is where US manufacturing is now based.
Posted by: Kali | May 23 2020 18:16 utc | 2

To a degree, it is true. However, the problem with MIC as an economic stimulant is rather pitiful multiplier effect. For starters, the costs are hopelessly bloated. Under rather watchful Putin, Russia does its piece of arms race at a very small fraction of American costs. By the same token, pro-economy effects of arms spending in USA are seriously diluted -- the spending is surely there, but the extend of activity is debatable For example, in aerospace, there is a big potential for civilian applications of technologies developed for the military. Scant evidence in Boeing that should be a prime beneficiary. The fabled toilet seat (that cost many thousands of dollars) similarly failed to find civilian applications. Civilians inclined to overpriced toilets, like Mr. Trump himself, rely on low-tech methods like gold-plating.

A wider problem is shared by entire GOP: aversion to any government programs, and least of all industry promoting programs, that could benefit ordinary citizens. This is the exclusive domain of the free market! Once you refuse to consider that, only MIC remains, plus some boondogles like interstate highways. Heaven forfend to improve public transit or to repair almost-proverbial crumbling dams and bridges.


Charles D , May 23 2020 19:19 utc | 11

We have to ask cui bono - who benefits from a new nuclear arms race? General Electric, Boeing, Honeywell International, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman et al. No one else really. Since these corporations also own the Congress and have zillions to fund Trump's re-election, they will probably get the go-ahead to spend the rest of the world into oblivion.
vk , May 23 2020 19:42 utc | 12
Apart from the obvious fact that the MIC is the only viable engine of propulsion of the American "real economy" (a.k.a. "manufacturing"), there's the more macabre fact that, if we take Trump's administration first military papers into consideration, it seems there's a growing coterie inside the Pentagon and the WH that firmly believes MAD can be broken vis-a-vis China.

Hence the "Prompt Global Strike" doctrine (which is taking form with the commission of the new B-21 "Raider" strategic bomber, won by Northrop Grumman), the rise of the concept of "tactical nukes" (hence the extinction of the START, and the Incirlik Base imbroglio post failed coup against Erdogan) and, most importantly, the new doctrine of "bringing manufacture back".

The USA is suffering from a structural valorization problem. The only way out is finding new vital space through which it can initiate a new cycle of valorization. The only significant vital space to be carved out in the 21st Century is China, with its 600 million-sized middle class (the world's largest middle class, therefore the world's largest potential consumer market). It won two decades with the opening of the ex-Soviet vital space, but it was depleted in the 2000s, finally exploding in 2006-2008.

How many decades does the Americans think they can earn by a hypothetical unilateral destruction of China?

DontBelieveEitherPr , May 23 2020 19:58 utc | 15
Having a treaty that limits power (in this case nuclear) on the same level for the US and any other country is simply totally against the ideology of US Superority/Exeptionalism.
That seems to be the driving (psychological and ideological) factor behind this charade.
And like this sick ideology always ends: It too will backfire.

@gepay: another problem is people that disagree with Bernhard on COVID, but then use this disagreement to not read his artciles anymore.
So many people only want to read what they want to hear, and run away at the first real different view.
The narcissism, that our neoliberal societies inducded in its people the last decade shows.. And seeing both sides and everything in between is not possible anymore for a majority it seems.
And living in a bubble is so comforting and easy in todays world. On MSM and on Alt Media alike.

bevin , May 23 2020 20:33 utc | 19
"...that may well fit Trump's plans of pushing all arms control regimes into oblivion."
It's not just arms control regimes, as the WHO business showed. This is the Roy Cohn agenda showing up again- the old GOP objection to the UN and all other international organisations. It is pure ideology-the US has gained immensely from dominating the organisations of which it is a part, leaving them makes no sense at all.

As to 'spending China to oblivion". This only works when every Pentagon dollar spent forces China or Russia to spend a dollar themselves. In such a contest the richest country wins. But that only works in the context of pre-nuclear warfare. With the nuclear deterrent it becomes possible to opt out of all the money wasting nonsense represented by the Pentagon budget, sit back and say, as the Chinese diplomat evidently did, "Just try it."
Which adds up to the conclusion that it is wholly irrational of the United States to denounce treaties designed to reduce the likelihood of nuclear weapons being used: it is to the advantage of Washington that other powers, potential rivals, are forced to build up conventional forces because they are bound by treaty not to rely on nuclear weapons.
So, again: pure ideology designed for domestic consumption and advanced by the most reactionary elements in American society- the Jesse Helms good ol' boys who make the neo-cons look almost human.

Piotr Berman , May 23 2020 20:38 utc | 21
He likes economic war (against everybody), they want actual war. Laguerre | May 23 2020 20:17 utc

Trump has a primitive mercantile mind. There is nothing inherently wrong about mercantilism, but a primitive version of anything tends to be mediocre at best. Thus he loves war that give profit, like Yemen where natives are bombed with expensive products made in USA (and unfortunately, also UK, France etc., but the bulk goes to USA). Then he loves wars the he thinks will give profit, like "keeping oil fields in Syria". Some people told him that oil fields are profitable (although they can go bankrupt just like casinos).

Privately, I think that Trump wanted to make a war with Iran, but the generals explained him what kind of disaster that would be.

One difference is that Democrats are aligned with uber Zionist of slightly less rabid variety than Republicans. A bit like black bears vs grizzlies. Unfortunately, like in the animal kingdom, when the push comes to shove, black bears defer to grizzlies, so on the side of Palestinians etc. there is no difference.

Jen , May 23 2020 21:17 utc | 24
Billingslea's "spending ... into oblivion" statement reflects the belief, still widespread among US neocon political / military elites, that the Soviet Union was brought down and destroyed by its attempts to keep up with US military spending throughout the 1980s. This alone tells us how steeped in past fantasy the entire US political and military establishment must be. Compared to Rip van Winkle, these people are comatose.

Spending the enemy into oblivion may be "tried and true" practice but only when the enemy is much poorer than yourself in arms production and in one type of weapons manufacture. That certainly does not apply to either Russia or China these days. Both nations think more strategically and do not waste precious resources in parading and projecting military power abroad, or rely almost exclusively on old, decaying technologies and a narrow mindset obsessed with always being top dog in everything.

[May 24, 2020] Unable to communicate in Arabic and with no relevant experience or appropriate educational training

Highly recommended!
I wouldn't hold my breath for the slightest change in that status quo any time soon.
May 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

anonymous [400] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 12:34 pm GMT

Unable to communicate in Arabic and with no relevant experience or appropriate educational training

Seems rather typical of those making policy, not knowing much about the area they're assigned to. If a person did know Arabic and had an understanding of the culture they wouldn't get hired as they'd be viewed with suspicion, suspected of being sympathetic to Middle Easterners. How and why these neocons can come back into government is puzzling and one wonders who within the establishment is backing them. Judging by the quotes her father certainly seems deranged and not someone to be allowed anywhere near any policy making positions.
Flynn also seems to be a dolt what with his 'worldwide war against radical Islam'. Someone should clue him in that much of this radical Islam has been created and stoked by the US who hyped up radical Islam, recruiting and arming them to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. Bin Laden was there, remember? Flynn, a general, is unaware of this? Islamic jihadists are America's Foreign Legion and have been used all over the Muslim world, most recently in Syria. Does this portend war with Iran? Possibly, but perhaps Trump wouldn't want to go it alone but would want the financial support of other countries. They've probably war-gamed it to death and found it to be a loser.

[May 23, 2020] With a national election lurking on the horizon we will no doubt be hearing more about Exceptionalism from various candidates seeking to support the premise that the United States can interfere in every country on the planet because it is, as the expression goes, exceptional.

May 23, 2020 | www.unz.com

Realist , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 12: 22 pm GMT

With a national election lurking on the horizon we will no doubt be hearing more about Exceptionalism from various candidates seeking to support the premise that the United States can interfere in every country on the planet because it is, as the expression goes, exceptional.

That is correct and that is because it works the majority of Americans are stupid.
Do you see a solution suggested here?

Realist , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 12:27 pm GMT

It is also an unfortunate indication that the neoconservatives, pronounced dead after the election of Trump, are back and resuming their drive to obtain the positions of power that will permit endless war, starting with Iran.

The neocons never went anywhere. Trump is a minion of the Deep State and staffs his administration accordingly.

Realist , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 12:32 pm GMT
@BL

My point is simple and ineluctable, whatever our demerits, our great republic is supposed to weed out psychopaths like Brennan long before they get as close as he has to destroying the whole shebang.

Never happens all administrations are full of psychopaths.

Hiram of Tyre , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 1:19 pm GMT
Frankly nothing new. Every Empire sought to rule the world and committed a long list of atrocities in the process. "The empire on which the sun never sets", in reference to the British Empire (the one currently still ruling the world), comes from Xerxes' "We shall extend the Persian territory as far as God's heaven reaches. The sun will then shine on no land beyond our borders." as he invaded Greece.

That said, a word on the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski Doctrine and their Pentagon world map would be on point here

[May 23, 2020] 'Rhetorical hyperbole' and NOT FACT: Court rejects OAN suit over MSNBC host Rachel Maddow's claim about 'Russian propaganda'

Court defined Madcow as professional liar, not a news source
Notable quotes:
"... "the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America" ..."
"... "really literally paid Russian propaganda." ..."
"... "the Kremlin's official propaganda outlet" ..."
"... "utterly and completely false. ..."
"... "has never been paid or received a penny from Russia or the Russian government," ..."
"... "news and opinions," ..."
"... "makes it more likely that a reasonable viewer would not conclude that the contested statement implies an assertion of objective fact." ..."
May 23, 2020 | www.rt.com
A US judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit by One America News Network against MSNBC over Rachel Maddow's claims that OAN was "literally" Russian propaganda, ruling that her segment was merely "an opinion" and "exaggeration." OAN sued the liberal talk show host and MSNBC for defamation, demanding over $10 million in damages, back in September 2019. The lawsuit was based on the July 22 episode of The Rachel Maddow Show, where Maddow launched a scathing broadside against the conservative television network, labeling it "the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America" and "really literally paid Russian propaganda."

In the segment, Maddow cited a story by The Daily Beast's Kevin Poulsen about OAN's Kristian Rouz, who has previously contributed to Sputnik as a freelance author. Toeing the general US mainstream line on the Russian media, be it Sputnik or RT, Poulsen branded the Russian news agency "the Kremlin's official propaganda outlet" and said Rouz was once on its "payroll." Shortly after MSNBC's star talent peddled the claim, OAN rejected the allegations as "utterly and completely false. " The outlet, which is owned by the Herring Networks, a small California-based family company, said that it "has never been paid or received a penny from Russia or the Russian government," with its only funding coming from the Herring family.

In their bid to win the case, Maddow herself, MSNBC, Comcast Corporation and NBCUniversal Media did not address the accusation itself - namely, that her claim about OAN was false - but opted to invoke the First Amendment, insisting that the rant should be protected as free speech.

Siding with Maddow, the California district court defined Maddow's show as a mix of "news and opinions," concluding that the manner in which the progressive host blurted out the accusations "makes it more likely that a reasonable viewer would not conclude that the contested statement implies an assertion of objective fact." h

The court said that while Maddow "truthfully" related the story by the Daily Beast, the statement about OAN being funded by the Kremlin was her "opinion" and "exaggeration" of the said article.

While the legal trick helped Maddow to get off the hook without ever trying to defend her initial statement, conservative commentators on social media wasted no time in pointing out that dodging a payout to OAN literally meant admitting that Maddow was not, in fact, news.

[May 22, 2020] No US president who can withdraw the USA from the Forever Wars

Highly recommended!
But may be coronavirus can. Although Perfumed Princes of Pentagon and MIC with it neocon fifth column will fiercely resist.
May 22, 2020 | www.unz.com

Nikolai Vladivostok , says: Website Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 6:21 am GMT

I've long since concluded, there is no president who can withdraw the US from the Forever Wars. Obama couldn't. Trump can't. Biden/Harris/Oprah/Gabbard/Pence won't.

There are a half-dozen permanent US policies that Americans don't get to vote on, and the Permawar is one of them.

Anon [151] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 6:36 am GMT
My God, Buchanan, I am staggered by the arrogance of this column. Where in the name of all that's holy did you ever get the idea that America has the right to impose on anyone, from Afghans through to Venezuelans, your (perceived) systems of thought, values and democracy? How many American soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan can even speak the local language? Understand the local customs? None!!! They swan around in their sunglasses and battle gear thinking that they are they return of the Terminator and wander why the locals absolutely hate their collective guts! It's time that you collectively learned that America is NOT the world's sheriff and that, as Benjamin Franklin said "A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still".
animalogic , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 7:00 am GMT
Pat is not entirely wrong -- he hints at the explanation for failure:
"As imperialists, we Americans are conspicuous failures.

Moreover, with us, the national interest inevitably asserts itself."
As Imperialists there has never been anything but the (Elite) "national interest".
In short, these so called "losing" wars have been wars of aggression -- ie "bad" wars. All Pat's talk of conversion, democracy etc is just so much nonsense.

swamped , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 8:14 am GMT
"While we can defeat our enemies in the air and on the seas and in cyberspace, we cannot persuade them to embrace secular democracy and its values any more than we can convert them to Christianity" although they might be better persuaded to convert to Christianity – traditional Christianity – than to embrace secular democracy and its "values".

Why would anyone want to embrace homosexuality, transgenderism, rad-feminism, opioids, prozac, inequality, broken homes, mass shootings, mountainous debt, corrupt media, puppet politicians & the rest of the filth & perversion that passes for "values" in secular democracies like America or Western Europe?

Indeed, why would anyone in these decadent countries even want to defend these venal "values", let alone try to spread them around the world like the Chinese plague?
No, "they are not trying to change us" but maybe they should.

Donald Duck , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 10:07 am GMT
As the British and French ultimately found out it costs more to run an empire than to loot it. So the long retreat ensues. One would have thought that the Americans might have learned this from history, but no! After all they were "the exceptional people, they stood taller than the others and saw further." Errrm, no they didn't. Like their forbears they got bogged down as well getting into debt which was only bailed out by their insistence that they would not convert the dollar into gold.

Human nature and stupidity has got a long track-record and it isn't going to end anytime soon.

paranoid goy , says: Website Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 12:30 pm GMT
The writer, and most commenters' are still under the erroneous belief that AMerica goes to war in places then AMerica wins or loses or wastes lives or kill children. This is the saddest part of the Yankee war machine: Americans joining the Army because they think theya re joining the fight to defend the American Dream.

You-all are corporate gunmonkeys, fighting and killing and burning and bombing, not in the name of freedom or apple pie, but in the name of Gulf Oil, Goldman Sachs, Citicorp, JPMorgan, Monsanto, PHBBillington, whatever Devil Rumsfeld calls his sack of shit these days .

America has not won any war anywhere, even their civil war was mostly just clearing the land for the banks. That is because it is not America at war, she just supplies the cannon fodder. And cannons. And radiactive scrapmetal to make bullets to mow down women and children in the name of Investor Confidence.
But then, that is what your Zionist bible tells you to do, isn't it?

Realist , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 1:26 pm GMT

What Does Winning Mean in a Forever War?

Winning a war is not in the interest of the Deep State. Being at war makes the Deep State more wealthy and powerful not winning at war.

Realist , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 1:30 pm GMT
@Anon

I just don't think the US has the immoral fortitude to engage in genocide, so it's hopeless trying to "win."

If by the US you mean most of the people you may be right. But the people in the US have no say in the actions of the US government which is controlled by psychopaths.

anonymous [400] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 1:49 pm GMT
Afghanistan is hardly even a country as the average American might define one. There's really nothing to "win"; we only occupy. The infrastructure is primitive so it's not cost effective to try to take whatever natural resources they may have, if any, so there's nothing they have that we want. The Taliban were not "ousted". In the face of massive firepower they split up and scattered; they're still there. After all, the US has been negotiating with them for a peace deal of some sort hasn't it? "Democracy crusades" is just a propaganda fig leaf to bamboozle stupid Americans. It's amazing that there's people who actually believe stuff like that but PT Barnum had it right. "Eventually, we give up and go home". That's because they live there and we don't. "They apparently have an inexhaustible supply of volunteers" willing to fight and die. They don't want foreign robo-soldiers pointing guns at them in their own country. We have our own version, it's called "Remember the Alamo", men who stood their ground against the odds.
Amerimutt Golems , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 2:03 pm GMT
@Anon

If a country is not willing to do that, and I would hope the United States is not willing to do that, then they (we) should go home and leave the Afghans to murder each other without our assistance. If they return to supporting terrorism or go whole hog in producing opium, perhaps the US should decapitate their entire government and let the next batch of losers give governing a try. I just don't think the US has the immoral fortitude to engage in genocide, so it's hopeless trying to "win."

The growth in opium cultivation correlates with CIA activities in the area and the $3 billion from American taxpayers which financed Mujahideen 'terrorism' against the Russians and their local proxies just to avenge the fall of Saigon.

In 1980 Afghanistan accounted for about only 5% of total world heroin production. This was mainly for the local market and neighbor Iran.

That is how you get forever wars.

Rurik , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 3:04 pm GMT

They refuse to surrender and submit because it is their beliefs, their values, their faith, their traditions, their tribe, their God, their culture, their civilization, their honor that they believe they are fighting for in what is, after all, their land, not ours.

If I may..

another way of looking at this, and I feel a profound respect for the Afghans, and only wish we were made of the same mettle. If only ((they)) could say of us..

They refuse to surrender and submit because it is their beliefs, their values, their faith, their traditions, their tribe, their God, their culture, their civilization, their honor that they believe they are fighting for in what is, after all, their land, not (((ours)))).

They are not trying to change ((((us. We))) are trying to change them. And they wish to remain who they are.

IOW, we white Westerners, have proved willing to surrender and submit to all of it. Without nary a peep of protest. Even as ((they)) send us around the globe to kill people like these Afghans, for being slightly inconvenient to their agenda. [And so the CIA can reconstitute its global heroin trafficking operation$.]

If only history would look back on this epic moment, at the last Death throes of the West, and say of whitey, that he refused to surrender his values and faith and traditions and tribe and God, and culture and civilization and honor.. to ((those)) who would pervert his values, and mock his faith, and trash his traditions, and exterminate his tribe, while mocking his God, and poisoning his culture, and destroying his civilization and all because at the end of the day, he had no honor.

These men may be backwater, illiterate villagers,

but at least they have enough mettle and honor, to tell the Beast that they would rather die killing as many of the Beast's stupid goons as they're able, than ever sacrifice their sacred honor- or lands or sovereignty, or the destinies of their children – over to the fiend, which is more than I can say for Western "man".

They are not trying to change us. We are trying to change them. And they wish to remain who they are.

Would that the Swedish people had a Nano-shred of the blood-honor of an Afghan, Barbara Spectre would be pounding sand.

Historically, the Afghans are fundamentalist, tribal and impervious to foreign intervention.

Obviously, there is a great deal we need to learn from them.

What will the Taliban do when we leave?

They will not give up their dream of again ruling the Afghan nation and people. And they will fight until they have achieved that goal and their idea of victory: dominance.

Um.. Pat. Whose land is it anyways? Is it such a horror that Afghans should be dominant in Afghanistan ?

The Taliban was welcomed into most of the regions it governed, because they drove out local war lords who often treated the villager's children as their sex toys, and the foreign (CIA) opioid growers and traffickers. And it was the Taliban that put an end to all of that. They're harsh, but they're effective, and that is their land, not ours.

Also, the Taliban offered to turn over Osama Bin Laden, if the West could provide a shred of proof that he had anything whatsoever to do with 9/11. (he didn't ; ) But the West had zero proof, (as the FBI admits to this day), that they have zero proof that ties Bin Laden to 9/11.

And n0w that we all know 9/11 was an Israeli false flag, intended to use the American military as their bitch, to burn down 'seven nations in five years' .. that the Jewish supremacists wanted destroyed, our whole pretext for being over there has been a sham from day one. Duh.
.
.
.
.
I remember long ago when I had a subscription to National Geographic and this photo came out, I cut the picture out, and stuck it somewhere to look at- it was so visceral and haunting.

Leave them alone. I don't care how many Jews at the WSJ demand whitey has to stay and die for Israel. (Afghanistan is on Iran's border, and that's why we have to stay, to menace all those anti-Semites over there, trying to gas all the Jews and make soap).

Good on Trump for calling out the ((WSJ)).

follyofwar , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 3:42 pm GMT
@paranoid goy I very much doubt if many are joining the military to "defend the American Dream." Most are more practical and are joining to escape poverty, even if it might cost them their lives. Recruiters will now be inundated with volunteers since there are no jobs in the covid depression.
Exile , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 4:15 pm GMT
If the neo-con clown car Trump has permitted to run foreign policy since his election gets us into a war with Iran and/or Venezuela before November, will Pat still be stumping for him, or will we see the return of non-election-year Pat?
VinnyVette , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 4:46 pm GMT
Excellent question Pat! Unfortunately there is no answer, we've been at "forever war" seemingly forever, and the whole point as Eisenhower so preciently warned us is THE objective.
Priss Factor , says: Website Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 5:36 pm GMT
It's not 'forever war'. It is Empire. Empire exists to continue and expand. War is about win or lose. Empire is about keep and dominate.

US wars are not to win and then depart. It is to keep occupying and controlling.

And US is rich enough to buy off the local elites as collaborators forever.

Marshal Marlow , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 1:56 am GMT
@Anon

If they return to supporting terrorism

The thing is that the Afghan government wasn't supporting terrorism. Rather, it had no on-going control anywhere except the cities, which made the tribal areas useful hideouts / bases for a raft of groups.

I well remember the prelude to the invasion where the US was demanding that its government (which merely happened to be Taliban that year) hand over OBL in 72hrs. The truth was that the US knew Afghanistan didn't have the capability to do that and it merely wanted to use OBL as an excuse to invade and continue the encirclement of the old soviet states.

[May 22, 2020] Having a sense of history, de Gaulle saw that colonialism had been a moment in history that was past. His policy was to foster friendly relations on equal terms with all parts of the world, regardless of ideological differences. I think that Putin's concept of a multipolar world is similar. It is clearly a concept that horrifies the exceptionalists

Notable quotes:
"... Mr. de Gaulle like other "leaders" of colonial powers did understand that the moment of overt coercive relations of colonialism had passed and that colonialism to remain qualitatively the same, required covert coercive relations facilitated by the complicity of local "elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest. ..."
May 22, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

Herman , May 17, 2020 at 09:00

Interesting comparison between the aspirations of De Gaulle and Putin.

"Having a sense of history, de Gaulle saw that colonialism had been a moment in history that was past. His policy was to foster friendly relations on equal terms with all parts of the world, regardless of ideological differences. I think that Putin's concept of a multipolar world is similar. It is clearly a concept that horrifies the exceptionalists."

Agree with Johnstone.

OlyaPola , May 19, 2020 at 11:55

"Having a sense of history, de Gaulle saw that colonialism had been a moment in history that was past. "

Mr. de Gaulle like other "leaders" of colonial powers did understand that the moment of overt coercive relations of colonialism had passed and that colonialism to remain qualitatively the same, required covert coercive relations facilitated by the complicity of local "elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest.

The exceptions to such strategies lay within constructs of settler colonialism which were addressed primarily through warfare – "The United States of America", Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia, Indonesia, Algeria, Kenya, Rhodesia, Mozambique, Angola refer – to facilitate such future strategies.

"I think that Putin's concept of a multipolar world is similar."

As outlined elsewhere the concept of a multi-polar world is not synonymous with the concept of colonialism except for the colonialists who consistently seek to encourage such conflation through myths of we-are-all-in-this-togetherness.

[May 21, 2020] The neoliberal globalization myth fostered the delusion of labour in which Western societies could prosper from the ideas and computer startups, while the dirty work of actually making things is left to low-wage countries. One result: a drastic shortage of face masks

Notable quotes:
"... In France, confinement has been generally well accepted as necessary, but that does not mean people are content with the government -- on the contrary. Every evening at eight, people go to their windows to cheer for health workers and others doing essential tasks, but the applause is not for President Macron. ..."
"... What we have witnessed is the failure of what used to be one of the very best public health services in the world. It has been degraded by years of cost-cutting. In recent years, the number of hospital beds per capita has declined steadily. Many hospitals have been shut down and those that remain are drastically understaffed. Public hospital facilities have been reduced to a state of perpetual saturation, so that when a new epidemic comes along, on top of all the other usual illnesses, there is simply not the capacity to deal with it all at once. ..."
"... The neoliberal globalization myth fostered the delusion that advanced Western societies could prosper from their superior brains, thanks to ideas and computer startups, while the dirty work of actually making things is left to low-wage countries. One result: a drastic shortage of face masks. The government let a factory that produced masks and other surgical equipment be sold off and shut down. Having outsourced its textile industry, France had no immediate way to produce the masks it needed. ..."
"... In late March, French media reported that a large stock of masks ordered and paid for by the southeastern region of France was virtually hijacked on the tarmac of a Chinese airport by Americans, who tripled the price and had the cargo flown to the United States. There are also reports of Polish and Czech airport authorities intercepting Chinese or Russian shipments of masks intended for hard-hit Italy and keeping them for their own use. ..."
"... The Covid–19 crisis makes it just that much clearer that the European Union is no more than a complex economic arrangement, with neither the sentiment nor the popular leaders that hold together a nation. For a generation, schools, media, politicians have instilled the belief that the "nation" is an obsolete entity. But in a crisis, people find that they are in France, or Germany, or Italy, or Belgium -- but not in "Europe." The European Union is structured to care about trade, investment, competition, debt, economic growth. Public health is merely an economic indicator. For decades, the European Commission has put irresistible pressure on nations to reduce the costs of their public health facilities in order to open competition for contracts to the private sector -- which is international by nature. ..."
"... Scapegoating China may seem the way to try to hold the declining Western world together, even as Europeans' long-standing admiration for America turns to dismay. ..."
"... The countries that have suffered most from the epidemic are among the most indebted of the EU member states, starting with Italy. The economic damage from the lockdown obliges them to borrow further. As their debt increases, so do interest rates charged by commercial banks. They turned to the EU for help, for instance by issuing eurobonds that would share the debt at lower interest rates. This has increased tension between debtor countries in the south and creditor countries in the north, which said nein . Countries in the eurozone cannot borrow from the European Central Bank as the U.S. Treasury borrows from the Fed. And their own national central banks take orders from the ECB, which controls the euro. ..."
"... The great irony is that "a common currency" was conceived by its sponsors as the key to European unity. On the contrary, the euro has a polarizing effect -- with Greece at the bottom and Germany at the top. And Italy sinking. But Italy is much bigger than Greece and won't go quietly. ..."
"... A major paradox is that the left and the Yellow Vests call for economic and social policies that are impossible under EU rules, and yet many on the left shy away from even thinking of leaving the EU. For over a generation, the French left has made an imaginary "social Europe" the center of its utopian ambitions. ..."
"... Russia is a living part of European history and culture. Its exclusion is totally unnatural and artificial. Brzezinski [the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Carter administration's national security adviser] spelled it out in The Great Chessboard : The U.S. maintains world hegemony by keeping the Eurasian landmass divided. ..."
"... But this policy can be seen to be inherited from the British. It was Churchill who proclaimed -- in fact welcomed -- the Iron Curtain that kept continental Europe divided. In retrospect, the Cold War was basically part of the divide-and-rule strategy, since it persists with greater intensity than ever after its ostensible cause -- the Communist threat -- is long gone. ..."
"... The whole Ukrainian operation of 2014 [the U.S.–cultivated coup in Kyiv, February 2014] was lavishly financed and stimulated by the United States in order to create a new conflict with Russia. Joe Biden has been the Deep State's main front man in turning Ukraine into an American satellite, used as a battering ram to weaken Russia and destroy its natural trade and cultural relations with Western Europe. ..."
"... I think France is likelier than Germany to break with the U.S.–imposed Russophobia simply because, thanks to de Gaulle, France is not quite as thoroughly under U.S. occupation. Moreover, friendship with Russia is a traditional French balance against German domination -- which is currently being felt and resented. ..."
"... "Decades of indoctrination in the ideology of "Europe" has instilled the belief that the nation-state is a bad thing of the past. The result is that people raised in the European Union faith tend to regard any suggestion of return to national sovereignty as a fatal step toward fascism. This fear of contagion from "the right" is an obstacle to clear analysis which weakens the left and favors the right, which dares be patriotic." ..."
"... Since WWII the US has itself been occupied by tyrants, using Russophobia to demand power as fake defenders. ..."
"... " French philosophy .By constantly attacking, deconstructing, and denouncing every remnant of human "power" they could spot, the intellectual rebels left the power of "the markets" unimpeded, and did nothing to stand in the way of the expansion of U.S. military power all around the world " ..."
"... From her groundbreaking work on the NATO empire's sickening war on sovereign Serbia, the dead end of identity politics and trans bathroom debates, to her critique of unfettered immigration and open borders, and her dismissal of the absurd Russsiagate baloney, better than anyone else, Johnstone has kept her intellect carefully honed to the real genuine kitchen table bread and butter issues that truly matter. She recognized before most of the world's scholars the perils of rampant inequality and saw the writing on the wall as to where this grotesque economic system is taking us all: down a dystopian slope into penury and police-state heavy-handedness, with millions unable to come up with $500 for an emergency car repair or dental bill. ..."
"... The mask competition and fiasco shows the importance of a country simply making things in their own country, not on the other side of the world, it's not nationalism it's just a better way to logistically deliver reliable products to the citizens. ..."
"... Some hold that they never departed, but mutated tools including CFA zones and "intelligence" relations in furtherance of "changing" to remain qualitatively the same. Just as "The United States of America" is a system of coercive relations not synonymous with the political geographical area designated "The United States of America", the colonialism of former and present "colonial powers" continues to exist, since the "independence" of the colonised was always, and continues to be, framed within linear systems of coercive relations, facilitated by the complicity of "local elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest, and the acquiescence of "local others" for myriad reasons. ..."
"... After reading Circle in the Darkness, I have ordered and am now reading her books on Hillary Clinton (Queen of Chaos) and the Yugoslav wars (Fool's Crusade), which are very worthwhile and important. I would recommend that her many articles over the years, appearing in such publications such as In These Times, Counterpunch and Consortium News, be reprinted and published together as an anthology. Through Circle in the Darkness, we have Diana Johnstone's "Life", but it would be good also to have her "Letters". ..."
"... Mr. de Gaulle like other "leaders" of colonial powers did understand that the moment of overt coercive relations of colonialism had passed and that colonialism to remain qualitatively the same, required covert coercive relations facilitated by the complicity of local "elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest. ..."
May 21, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

In France, confinement has been generally well accepted as necessary, but that does not mean people are content with the government -- on the contrary. Every evening at eight, people go to their windows to cheer for health workers and others doing essential tasks, but the applause is not for President Macron.

Macron and his government are criticized for hesitating too long to confine the population, for vacillating about the need for masks and tests, or about when or how much to end the confinement. Their confusion and indecision at least defend them from the wild accusation of having staged the whole thing in order to lock up the population.

What we have witnessed is the failure of what used to be one of the very best public health services in the world. It has been degraded by years of cost-cutting. In recent years, the number of hospital beds per capita has declined steadily. Many hospitals have been shut down and those that remain are drastically understaffed. Public hospital facilities have been reduced to a state of perpetual saturation, so that when a new epidemic comes along, on top of all the other usual illnesses, there is simply not the capacity to deal with it all at once.

The neoliberal globalization myth fostered the delusion that advanced Western societies could prosper from their superior brains, thanks to ideas and computer startups, while the dirty work of actually making things is left to low-wage countries. One result: a drastic shortage of face masks. The government let a factory that produced masks and other surgical equipment be sold off and shut down. Having outsourced its textile industry, France had no immediate way to produce the masks it needed.

Meanwhile, in early April, Vietnam donated hundreds of thousands of antimicrobial face masks to European countries and is producing them by the million. Employing tests and selective isolation, Vietnam has fought off the epidemic with only a few hundred cases and no deaths.

You must have thoughts as to the question of Western unity in response to Covid–19.

In late March, French media reported that a large stock of masks ordered and paid for by the southeastern region of France was virtually hijacked on the tarmac of a Chinese airport by Americans, who tripled the price and had the cargo flown to the United States. There are also reports of Polish and Czech airport authorities intercepting Chinese or Russian shipments of masks intended for hard-hit Italy and keeping them for their own use.

The absence of European solidarity has been shockingly clear. Better-equipped Germany banned exports of masks to Italy. In the depth of its crisis, Italy found that the German and Dutch governments were mainly concerned with making sure Italy pays its debts. Meanwhile, a team of Chinese experts arrived in Rome to help Italy with its Covid–19 crisis, displaying a banner reading "We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree, flowers of the same garden." The European institutions lack such humanistic poetry. Their founding value is not solidarity but the neoliberal principle of "free unimpeded competition."

How do you think this reflects on the European Union?

The Covid–19 crisis makes it just that much clearer that the European Union is no more than a complex economic arrangement, with neither the sentiment nor the popular leaders that hold together a nation. For a generation, schools, media, politicians have instilled the belief that the "nation" is an obsolete entity. But in a crisis, people find that they are in France, or Germany, or Italy, or Belgium -- but not in "Europe." The European Union is structured to care about trade, investment, competition, debt, economic growth. Public health is merely an economic indicator. For decades, the European Commission has put irresistible pressure on nations to reduce the costs of their public health facilities in order to open competition for contracts to the private sector -- which is international by nature.

Globalization has hastened the spread of the pandemic, but it has not strengthened internationalist solidarity. Initial gratitude for Chinese aid is being brutally opposed by European Atlanticists. In early May, Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the Springer publishing giant, bluntly called on Germany to ally with the U.S. -- against China. Scapegoating China may seem the way to try to hold the declining Western world together, even as Europeans' long-standing admiration for America turns to dismay.

Meanwhile, relations between EU member states have never been worse. In Italy and to a greater extent in France, the coronavirus crisis has enforced growing disillusion with the European Union and an ill-defined desire to restore national sovereignty.

Corollary question: What are the prospects that Europe will produce leaders capable of seizing that right moment, that assertion of independence? What do you reckon such leaders would be like?

The EU is likely to be a central issue in the near future, but this issue can be exploited in very different ways, depending on which leaders get hold of it. The coronavirus crisis has intensified the centrifugal forces already undermining the European Union. The countries that have suffered most from the epidemic are among the most indebted of the EU member states, starting with Italy. The economic damage from the lockdown obliges them to borrow further. As their debt increases, so do interest rates charged by commercial banks. They turned to the EU for help, for instance by issuing eurobonds that would share the debt at lower interest rates. This has increased tension between debtor countries in the south and creditor countries in the north, which said nein . Countries in the eurozone cannot borrow from the European Central Bank as the U.S. Treasury borrows from the Fed. And their own national central banks take orders from the ECB, which controls the euro.

What does the crisis mean for the euro? I confess I've lost faith in this project, given how disadvantaged it leaves the nations on the Continent's southern rim.

The great irony is that "a common currency" was conceived by its sponsors as the key to European unity. On the contrary, the euro has a polarizing effect -- with Greece at the bottom and Germany at the top. And Italy sinking. But Italy is much bigger than Greece and won't go quietly.

The German constitutional court in Karlsruhe recently issued a long judgment making it clear who is boss. It recalled and insisted that Germany agreed to the euro only on the grounds that the main mission of the European Central Bank was to fight inflation, and that it could not directly finance member states. If these rules were not followed, the Bundesbank, the German central bank, would be obliged to pull out of the ECB. And since the Bundesbank is the ECB's main creditor, that is that. There can be no generous financial help to troubled governments within the eurozone. Period.

Is there a possibility of disintegration here?

The idea of leaving the EU is most developed in France. The Union Populaire Républicaine, founded in 2007 by former senior functionary François Asselineau, calls for France to leave the euro, the European Union, and NATO.

The party has been a didactic success, spreading its ideas and attracting around 20,000 active militants without scoring any electoral success. A main argument for leaving the EU is to escape from the constraints of EU competition rules in order to protect its vital industry, agriculture, and above all its public services.

A major paradox is that the left and the Yellow Vests call for economic and social policies that are impossible under EU rules, and yet many on the left shy away from even thinking of leaving the EU. For over a generation, the French left has made an imaginary "social Europe" the center of its utopian ambitions.

" Europe" as an idea or an ideal, you mean.

Decades of indoctrination in the ideology of "Europe" has instilled the belief that the nation-state is a bad thing of the past. The result is that people raised in the European Union faith tend to regard any suggestion of return to national sovereignty as a fatal step toward fascism. This fear of contagion from "the right" is an obstacle to clear analysis which weakens the left and favors the right, which dares be patriotic.

Two and a half months of coronavirus crisis have brought to light a factor that makes any predictions about future leaders even more problematic. That factor is a widespread distrust and rejection of all established authority. This makes rational political programs extremely difficult, because rejection of one authority implies acceptance of another. For instance, the way to liberate public services and pharmaceuticals from the distortions of the profit motive is nationalization. If you distrust the power of one as much as the other, there is nowhere to go.

Such radical distrust can be explained by two main factors -- the inevitable feeling of helplessness in our technologically advanced world, combined with the deliberate and even transparent lies on the part of mainstream politicians and media. But it sets the stage for the emergence of manipulated saviors or opportunistic charlatans every bit as deceptive as the leaders we already have, or even more so. I hope these irrational tendencies are less pronounced in France than in some other countries.

I'm eager to talk about Russia. There are signs that relations with Russia are another source of European dissatisfaction as "junior partners" within the U.S.–led Atlantic alliance. Macron is outspoken on this point, "junior partners" being his phrase. The Germans -- business people, some senior officials in government -- are quite plainly restive.

Russia is a living part of European history and culture. Its exclusion is totally unnatural and artificial. Brzezinski [the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Carter administration's national security adviser] spelled it out in The Great Chessboard : The U.S. maintains world hegemony by keeping the Eurasian landmass divided.

But this policy can be seen to be inherited from the British. It was Churchill who proclaimed -- in fact welcomed -- the Iron Curtain that kept continental Europe divided. In retrospect, the Cold War was basically part of the divide-and-rule strategy, since it persists with greater intensity than ever after its ostensible cause -- the Communist threat -- is long gone.

I hadn't put our current circumstance in this context. US-backed, violent coup in Ukraine, 2014.

The whole Ukrainian operation of 2014 [the U.S.–cultivated coup in Kyiv, February 2014] was lavishly financed and stimulated by the United States in order to create a new conflict with Russia. Joe Biden has been the Deep State's main front man in turning Ukraine into an American satellite, used as a battering ram to weaken Russia and destroy its natural trade and cultural relations with Western Europe.

U.S. sanctions are particularly contrary to German business interests, and NATO's aggressive gestures put Germany on the front lines of an eventual war.

But Germany has been an occupied country -- militarily and politically -- for 75 years, and I suspect that many German political leaders (usually vetted by Washington) have learned to fit their projects into U.S. policies. I think that under the cover of Atlantic loyalty, there are some frustrated imperialists lurking in the German establishment, who think they can use Washington's Russophobia as an instrument to make a comeback as a world military power.

But I also think that the political debate in Germany is overwhelmingly hypocritical, with concrete aims veiled by fake issues such as human rights and, of course, devotion to Israel.

We should remember that the U.S. does not merely use its allies -- its allies, or rather their leaders, figure they are using the U.S. for some purposes of their own.

What about what the French have been saying since the G–7 session in Biarritz two years ago, that Europe should forge its own relations with Russia according to Europe's interests, not America's?

At G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, Aug. 26, 2019. (White House)

I think France is likelier than Germany to break with the U.S.–imposed Russophobia simply because, thanks to de Gaulle, France is not quite as thoroughly under U.S. occupation. Moreover, friendship with Russia is a traditional French balance against German domination -- which is currently being felt and resented.

Stepping back for a broader look, do you think Europe's position on the western flank of the Eurasian landmass will inevitably shape its position with regard not only to Russia but also China? To put this another way, is Europe destined to become an independent pole of power in the course of this century, standing between West and East?

At present, what we have standing between West and East is not Europe but Russia, and what matters is which way Russia leans. Including Russia, Europe might become an independent pole of power. The U.S. is currently doing everything to prevent this. But there is a school of strategic thought in Washington which considers this a mistake, because it pushes Russia into the arms of China. This school is in the ascendant with the campaign to denounce China as responsible for the pandemic. As mentioned, the Atlanticists in Europe are leaping into the anti–China propaganda battle. But they are not displaying any particular affection for Russia, which shows no sign of sacrificing its partnership with China for the unreliable Europeans.

If Russia were allowed to become a friendly bridge between China and Europe, the U.S. would be obliged to abandon its pretensions of world hegemony. But we are far from that peaceful prospect.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune , is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century" (Yale). Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist . His web site is Patrick Lawrence . Support his work via his Patreon site .


Josep , May 19, 2020 at 02:04

It recalled and insisted that Germany agreed to the euro only on the grounds that the main mission of the European Central Bank was to fight inflation, and that it could not directly finance member states.

I once read a comment elsewhere saying that, back in 1989, both Britain (under Margaret Thatcher) and the US objected to German reunification. Since they could not stop the reunification, they insisted that Germany accept the incoming euro. A heap of German university professors jumped up and protested, knowing fully well what the game was: namely the creation of a banker's empire in Europe controlled by private bankers.

Thorben Sunkimat , May 20, 2020 at 13:45

France and Britain rejected the german reunification. The americans were supportive, even though they had their demands. Mainly privatisation of german public utilities. After agreeing to those demands the americans persuaded the british and pressured the french who agreed to german reunification after germany agreed to the euro.

So why did france want the euro?

The German central bank crashed the European economy after reunification with high interest rates. This was because of above average growth rates mainly in Eastern Germany. Main function of the Bundesbank is to keep inflation low, which is more important to them than anything else. Since Germany's D Mark was the leading currency in Europe the rest of Europe had to heighten their interest rates too, witch lead to great economic problems within Europe. Including France.

OlyaPola , May 21, 2020 at 05:30

"namely the creation of a banker's empire in Europe controlled by private bankers."

Resort to binaries (controlled/not controlled) is a practice of self-imposed blindness. In any interactive system no absolutes exist only analogues of varying assays since "control" is limited and variable. In respect of what became the German Empire this relationship predated and facilitated the German Empire through financing the war with Denmark in 1864 courtesy of the arrangements between Mr. von Bismark and Mr. Bleichroder. The assay of "control of bankers" has varied/increased subsequently but never attained the absolute.

It is true that finance capital perceived and continues to perceive the European Union as an opportunity to increase their assay of "control" – the Austrian banks in conjunction with German bank assigning a level of priority to resurrecting spheres of influence existing prior to 1918 and until 1945.

One of the joint projects at a level of planning in the early 1990's was development of the Danube and its hinterland from Regensburg to Cerna Voda/Constanta in Romania but this was delayed in the hope of curtailment by some when NATO bombed Serbia in 1999 (Serbia not being the only target – so much for honesty-amongst-theives.)

This project was resurrected in a limited form primarily downstream from Vidin/Calafat from 2015 onwards given that some states of the former Yugoslavia were not members of the European Union and some were within spheres of influence of "The United States of America".

As to France, "Vichy" and Europa also facilitated the resurrection of finance capital and increase in its assay of control after the 1930's, some of the practices of the 1940's still being subject to dispute in France.

mkb29 , May 18, 2020 at 16:33

I've always admired Diana Johnstone's clear headed analyses of world/European/U.S./ China/Israel-Palestine/Russia/ interactions and the motivation of its "players". She has given some credence to what as been known as French rationalism and enlightenment. (Albeit as an American expat) Think Descartes, Diderot, Sartre , and She loves France in her own rationalist-humanist way.

Linda J , May 18, 2020 at 13:21

I have admired Ms. Johnstone's work for quite awhile. This enlightening interview spurs me to get a copy of the book and to contribute to Consortium News.

Others may be interested in the two-part video discovered yesterday featuring Douglas Valentine's analysis of the CIA's corporate backers and their global choke-hold on governments and their influencers in every region of the world.

Part 1
see:youtu(dot)be/cP15Ehx1yvI

Part 2
see:youtu(dot)be/IYvvEn_N1sE

worldblee , May 18, 2020 at 12:26

Not many have the long distance perspective on the world, let alone Europe, that Diana Johnstone has. Great interview!

Drew Hunkins , May 18, 2020 at 11:03

"Decades of indoctrination in the ideology of "Europe" has instilled the belief that the nation-state is a bad thing of the past. The result is that people raised in the European Union faith tend to regard any suggestion of return to national sovereignty as a fatal step toward fascism. This fear of contagion from "the right" is an obstacle to clear analysis which weakens the left and favors the right, which dares be patriotic."

Bingo! A marvelous point indeed! Quick little example -- Bernard Sanders should have worn an American flag pin on his suit during the 2020 Dem primary campaign.

chris , May 18, 2020 at 04:46

A very good analysis. As an American who has relocated to Spain several years ago, I am always disappointed that discussions of European politics always assume that Europe ends at the Pyrenees. Admittedly, Spanish politics is very complicated and confusing. Forty years of an unreconstructed dictatorship have left their mark, but the country´s socialist, communist and anarchic currents never went away. I like to say that the country is very conservative, but at least the population is aware of what is going on.

Perhaps what Ms. Johnston says about the French being just worn out, with no stomach for more violent conflict also applies to the Spanish since their great ideological struggle is more recent. The American influence during the Transition (which changed little – as the expression goes: The same dog but with a different collar) was very strong, and remains so. Even so, there is popular support for foreign and domestic policies independent of American and neoliberal control, but by and large the political and economic powers are not on board. I do not think Spain is willing to make a break alone, but would align itself with an European shift away from American control.

As Ms. Johnston says, Europe currently lacks leaders willing to take the plunge, but we will see what the coming year brings.

Sam F , May 17, 2020 at 17:45

Thank you Diana, these are valuable insights. Since WWII the US has itself been occupied by tyrants, using Russophobia to demand power as fake defenders.

1. Waving the flag and praising the lord on mass media, claiming concern with human rights and "Israel"; while
2. Subverting the Constitution with large scale bribery, surveillance, and genocides, all business as usual nowadays.
In the US, the form of government has become bribery and marketing lies; it truly knows no other way.

It may be better that Russia and China keep their distance from the US and maybe even the EU:
1. The US and EU would have to produce what they consume, eventually empowering workers;
2. Neither the US nor EU are a political or economic model for anyone, and should be ignored;
3. Neither the US nor EU produces much that Russia and China cannot, by investing more in cars and soybeans.

It will be best for the EU if it also rejects the US and its "neolib" economic and political tyranny mechanisms:
1. Alliance with Russia and China will cause substantial gains in stability and economic strength;
2. Forcing the US to abandon its "pretensions of world hegemony" will soon yield more peaceful prospects; and
3. Isolating the US will force it to improve its utterly corrupt government and society, maybe 40 to 60 years hence.

Drew Hunkins , May 17, 2020 at 15:40

" French philosophy .By constantly attacking, deconstructing, and denouncing every remnant of human "power" they could spot, the intellectual rebels left the power of "the markets" unimpeded, and did nothing to stand in the way of the expansion of U.S. military power all around the world "

Brilliant. Exactly right. This was the progenitor to our contemporary I.D. politics which seems to be solely obsessed with vocabulary, semantics and non-economic cultural issues while rarely having a critique of corporate capitalism, militarism, massive inequality and Zionism. And it almost never advocates for robust economic populist proposals like Med4All, U.B.I., debt jubilee, and the fight for $15.

Drew Hunkins , May 17, 2020 at 15:10

The book is phenomenal. I posted a customer review over on Amazon for this stupendous work. Below is a copy of my review:

(5 stars) One of the most important intellects pens her magisterial lasting legacy
Reviewed in the United States on March 31, 2020

Johnstone's been an idol of mine ever since I started reading her in the 1990s. She's clearly proved her worthiness over the decades by bucking the mainstream trend of apologetics for corporate capitalism, neoliberalism, globalism and imperialistic militarism her entire career and this astonishing memoir details it all in what will likely be the finest book of 2020 and perhaps the entire decade.

Her writing style is beyond superb, her grasp of the overarching politico-socio-economic issues that have rocked the world over the past 60 years is as astute and spot-on as you will find from any global thinker. She's right up there with Michael Parenti, James Petras, John Pilger and Noam Chomsky as seminal figures who have documented and brought light to tens of thousands (millions?) of people across the globe via their writings, interviews and speaking engagements.

Johnstone has never been one to shy away from controversial topics and issues. Why? Simple, she has the facts and truth on her side, she always has. Circle in the Darkness proves all this and more, she marshals the documentation and lays it out as an exquisite gift for struggling working people around the world.

From her groundbreaking work on the NATO empire's sickening war on sovereign Serbia, the dead end of identity politics and trans bathroom debates, to her critique of unfettered immigration and open borders, and her dismissal of the absurd Russsiagate baloney, better than anyone else, Johnstone has kept her intellect carefully honed to the real genuine kitchen table bread and butter issues that truly matter. She recognized before most of the world's scholars the perils of rampant inequality and saw the writing on the wall as to where this grotesque economic system is taking us all: down a dystopian slope into penury and police-state heavy-handedness, with millions unable to come up with $500 for an emergency car repair or dental bill.

Whenever she comes out with a new article or essay I immediately drop everything and devour it, often reading it twice to let her wisdom really soak in. So too Circle of Darkness is an extremely well written beautiful work that will scream out to be re-read every few years by those with a hunger to know exactly what was going on since the Korean War era through today regarding liberal thought, neocon and neoliberal dominance with its capitalist global hegemony and the take over of Western governments by the parasitic financial elite.

There will never be another Diana Johnstone. Circle in the Darkness will stand as her lasting legacy to all of us.

Bob Van Noy , May 17, 2020 at 14:43

"As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it" ~Albert Einstein

Many Thanks CN, Patrick Lawrence, and Joe Lauria. Once again I must commend CN for picking just the appropriate response to our contemporary dilemma.

The quote above leads Diana Johnstone's new book and succinctly describes both the universe and our contemporary experience with our digital age. President Kennedy and Charles de Gaulle of France would agree that colonialism was past and that a new world (geopolitical) approach would become necessary, but that philosophy would put them against some great local and world powers. Each of them necessarily had different approaches as to how this might be accomplished. They were never allowed to present their specific proposals on a world stage. Let's hope a wiser population will once again "see" this possibility and find a way to resolve it

Aaron , May 17, 2020 at 14:18

Well over the span of all of those decades, the consistent, inexorable theme seems to be a trend of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, a small number of individuals, not really states, gaining wealth and power, so everybody else fights over the crumbs, blaming this or that party, alliance, event or whatever, but behind it all there are two flower gardens, indeed the rich are all flowers of their golden garden, and the poor are all flowers of their garden.

It's like the Europeans and the 99 percent in America have all fallen for the myth of the American dream, that if we are just allowed more free, unfettered economic opportunity, it's just up to us to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and become a billionaire.

The mask competition and fiasco shows the importance of a country simply making things in their own country, not on the other side of the world, it's not nationalism it's just a better way to logistically deliver reliable products to the citizens.

AnneR , May 17, 2020 at 13:42

Regarding French colonialism – as I recall the French were especially brutal in their forced withdrawal from Algeria, both toward Algerians in their homeland and to Algerians within France itself.

And the French were hardly willing, non-violent colonialists when being fought by the Vietnamese who wanted to be free of them (quite rightly so).

As for the French in Sub-Saharan Africa – they have yet to truly give up on their presumed right to have troops within these countries. They did not depart any of their colonies happily, willingly – like every other colonial power, including the UK.

And, as for WWII – she seems, in her reminiscences, to have mislaid Vichy France, the Velodrome roundups of French Jews, and so on ..

Ms Johnstone clearly has been looking backwards with rose-tinted specs on when it comes to France.

Randal Marlin , May 18, 2020 at 13:00

There may be some truth to AnneR's claim that Ms Johnstone has been looking with rose-tinted specs when it comes to France, but it is highly misleading for her to talk about "the French" regarding Algeria. I spent 1963-64 in Aix-en-Provence teaching at the Institute for American Universities and talked with some of the "pieds-noirs," (French born in Algeria).

After French President Charles de Gaulle decided to relinquish French control over Algeria, having previously reassured the colonial population that "Je vous ai compris" ("I have understood you"), there followed death threats to many French colonizers who had to flee Algeria immediately within 24 hours or get their throats slit – "La valise ou le cercueil" (the suitcase or the coffin).

In the fall of 1961, I saw Parisian police stations with machine-gun armed men behind concrete barriers, as an invasion by the colonial French paratroopers against mainland France was expected. The "Organisation Armée Secrète," OAS, (Secret Armed Organization) of the colonial powers, threatened at the time to invade Paris.

As an aside, giving a sense of the anger and passion involved, when the death of John F.Kennedy in November 1963 was announced in the historic, right-wing café in Aix, Les Deux Garçons, a huge cheer went up when the media announcer proclaimed "Le Président est assassinée. Only, that was because they thought de Gaulle was the president in question. A huge disappointment when they heard it was President Kennedy. To get a sense of the whole situation regarding France and Algeria I recommend Alistair Horne's "A Savage War of Peace."

OlyaPola , May 19, 2020 at 11:23

"They did not depart any of their colonies happily"

Some hold that they never departed, but mutated tools including CFA zones and "intelligence" relations in furtherance of "changing" to remain qualitatively the same. Just as "The United States of America" is a system of coercive relations not synonymous with the political geographical area designated "The United States of America", the colonialism of former and present "colonial powers" continues to exist, since the "independence" of the colonised was always, and continues to be, framed within linear systems of coercive relations, facilitated by the complicity of "local elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest, and the acquiescence of "local others" for myriad reasons.

Despite the "best" efforts of the opponents and partly in consequence of the opponents' complicity, the PRC and the Russian Federation like "The United States of America" are not synonymous with the political geographical areas designated as "The People's Republic of China and The Russian Federation", are in lateral process of transcending linear systems of coercive relations and hence pose existential threats to "The United States of America".

The opponents are not complete fools but the drowning tend to act precipitously including flailing out whilst drowning; encouraging some to dispense with rose- tinted glasses, despite such accessories being quite fashionable and fetching.

OlyaPola , May 20, 2020 at 04:32

" .. their colonies "

Perception of and practice of social relations are not wholly synonymous. A construct whose founding myths included liberty, egality and fraternity – property being discarded at the last moment since it was judged too provocative – experienced/experiences ideological/perceptual oxymorons in regard to its colonial relations, which were addressed in part by rendering their "colonies" department of France thereby facilitating increased perceptual dissonance.

Like many, Randal Marlin draws attention below to the perceptions and practices of the pied-noir, but omits to address the perceptions and practices of the harkis whom were also immersed in the proselytised notion of departmental France, and to some degree continue to be.

This understanding continues to inform the practices and problems of the French state.

Lolita , May 17, 2020 at 12:05

The analysis is very much inspired from "Comprendre l'Empire" by Alain Soral.

Dave , May 17, 2020 at 11:27

Do not fail to read this interview in its entirety. Ms Johnstone analyzes and describes many issues of national and global importance from the perspective of an USA expat who has spent most of her career in the pursuit of what may be termed disinterested journalism. Whether one agrees or disagrees in whole or in part the perspectives she presents, particularly those which pertain to the demise (hopefully) of the American Empire are worthy of perusal.

Remember that this is not a polemic; it's a memoir of a lifetime devoted to reporting and analyzing and discussion of most of the significant issues confronting global and national politics and their social ramifications. And a big thanks to Patrick Lawrence and Consortium News for posting the interview.

PEG , May 17, 2020 at 09:11

Diana Johnstone is one of the most intelligent, clear-minded and honest observers of international politics today, and her book "Circle in the Darkness" – which expands on the topics and insights touched on in this interview – is certainly among the best and most compelling books I have ever read, putting the events of the last 75 years into objective context and focus (normally something which only historians can do, if at all, generations after the fact).

After reading Circle in the Darkness, I have ordered and am now reading her books on Hillary Clinton (Queen of Chaos) and the Yugoslav wars (Fool's Crusade), which are very worthwhile and important. I would recommend that her many articles over the years, appearing in such publications such as In These Times, Counterpunch and Consortium News, be reprinted and published together as an anthology. Through Circle in the Darkness, we have Diana Johnstone's "Life", but it would be good also to have her "Letters".

Herman , May 17, 2020 at 09:00

Interesting comparison between the aspirations of De Gaulle and Putin.

"Having a sense of history, de Gaulle saw that colonialism had been a moment in history that was past. His policy was to foster friendly relations on equal terms with all parts of the world, regardless of ideological differences. I think that Putin's concept of a multipolar world is similar. It is clearly a concept that horrifies the exceptionalists."

Agree with Johnstone.

OlyaPola , May 19, 2020 at 11:55

"Having a sense of history, de Gaulle saw that colonialism had been a moment in history that was past. "

Mr. de Gaulle like other "leaders" of colonial powers did understand that the moment of overt coercive relations of colonialism had passed and that colonialism to remain qualitatively the same, required covert coercive relations facilitated by the complicity of local "elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest.

The exceptions to such strategies lay within constructs of settler colonialism which were addressed primarily through warfare – "The United States of America", Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia, Indonesia, Algeria, Kenya, Rhodesia, Mozambique, Angola refer – to facilitate such future strategies.

"I think that Putin's concept of a multipolar world is similar."

As outlined elsewhere the concept of a multi-polar world is not synonymous with the concept of colonialism except for the colonialists who consistently seek to encourage such conflation through myths of we-are-all-in-this-togetherness.

[May 21, 2020] The War State The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963 by Michael Swanson

Paperback: 430 pages Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 16, 2013)
This period is the period when the CIA gradually became a political force able and willing to act acted on its own initiative. Which culminated in the assassination of JFK.
Notable quotes:
"... When I say 'they' I mean the Military Industrial Complex. I have no doubt that John Kennedy was stabbed in the back by treasonous elements within his own country. It's hard for me to tell how extensive this conspiracy really went and into what areas of the Military Industrial Complex. The CIA and the Joint Chiefs Of Staff are on the suspect list though. There was no love lost between President Kennedy and the military and intelligence establishments. Mr. Swanson tells how Robert Kennedy was concerned that the military brass might kill his brother during the ominous Cuban Missile Crisis. ..."
"... And as a consumer of what must be in excess of 3-400 books on this subject, I can say this is quite simply the best one-volume analysis of U.S. defense policy 1945 - 1964 that has been produced. ..."
"... While Preparata's Conjuring Hitler presents Montagu Norman and Bank of England as financing the rise of the Third Reich as the initiation of the modern military-intelligence age, and Stephen Kinzer's The Brothers introduces Dulles & Dulles as the twin inventors of America's role as stage manager, Michael Swanson raises the curtain on Eisenhower's finale, the introduction of the Colossus astride Washington ..."
"... David Martin's signal work uncovering the termination of the first Secretary of Defense James Forrestal for resisting the Truman-Marshall military steroid injection, itself inextricably entwined with the Acheson-enabled Korean War. ..."
"... The National Security Act of 1947 and its follow-on codas, the 1948 plausible deniability agreement and 1949 amendments, lead to the SAC/ICBM buildup, the preamble to Northwoods and the dream of a first strike. ..."
May 20, 2020 | www.amazon.com

Today when you factor in the interest on the national debt from past wars and total defense expenditures the United States spends almost 40% of its federal budget on the military. It accounts for over 46% of total world arms spending. Before World War II it spent almost nothing on defense and hardly anyone paid any income taxes. You can't have big wars without big government. Such big expenditures are now threatening to harm the national economy. How did this situation come to be?

In this book you'll learn how in the critical twenty years after World War II the United States changed from being a continental democratic republic to a global imperial superpower. Since then nothing has ever been the same again. In this book you will discover this secret history of the United States that formed the basis of the world we live in today.

By buying this book you will discover:

In this book you will discover this secret history of the United States that formed the basis of the world we live in today.


Jeff Marzano 5.0 out of 5 stars Good Overview Of The Cold War , May 10, 2018

Good Overview Of The Cold War

This book provides a good overview of the so called Cold War I thought.

I read this book as part of my ongoing research about the assassination of President Kennedy. At this point in my research I need to move past the nuts and bolts of the assassination like how many times JFK was shot and things like that. Those aren't the most important questions. The important issues are who wanted John Kennedy dead and why and how were they able to do something like that. There had to be some major reasons why they would commit such a monumental crime. And those reasons are revealed in books like this somewhere.

When I say 'they' I mean the Military Industrial Complex. I have no doubt that John Kennedy was stabbed in the back by treasonous elements within his own country. It's hard for me to tell how extensive this conspiracy really went and into what areas of the Military Industrial Complex. The CIA and the Joint Chiefs Of Staff are on the suspect list though. There was no love lost between President Kennedy and the military and intelligence establishments. Mr. Swanson tells how Robert Kennedy was concerned that the military brass might kill his brother during the ominous Cuban Missile Crisis.

Some of those generals like Curtis 'Bombs Away' Lemay lost their marbles during World II I think. Lemay didn't seem to understand what nuclear weapons really are. Lemay seemed to speak about the use of nuclear weapons in World War II terms like they were just another type of bomb.

Near the end of the book Mr. Swanson mentions some things Jackie Kennedy said her husband John was planning to do:

  1. Attend a peace summit in Moscow.
  2. Remove J. Edgar Hoover as the director of the FBI.
  3. Replace Dean Rusk in the State Department.
  4. Get control of the government's policy in Vietnam.

That list right there is an excellent starting point for understanding some of the many reasons why the War State wanted John Kennedy dead.

Mr. Swanson talks about an important government directive called NSC-68. This National Security Council directive labelled any country that refused to bow to the will of the United States a communist sympathizer. And any country that got on that list was then subject to the CIA's evil machinations.

Some authors such as the great Fletcher Prouty felt the entire Cold War was a myth that was fabricated by the War State to justify their own existence.

For me the assassination of President Kennedy and the quagmire in Vietnam confirm that hypothesis. Those are two historical realities which indicate that the War State had flown off the rails.

LCH Burris 5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful February 8, 2016
Masterful

Having studied this period of history for over 45 years, as a history major in exactly this subject at University.

And as a consumer of what must be in excess of 3-400 books on this subject, I can say this is quite simply the best one-volume analysis of U.S. defense policy 1945 - 1964 that has been produced. The bulk of it presents facts known to students of the period, plus certain additional lesser-known facts revealed by recent declassifications in both the US and Russia.

However, it re-analyzes these facts to produce a masterful synthesis more clearly stated here than I have seen in any other volume.

The only complaint is that the book should be more fully footnoted -- not only to source some of the factual statements, but also to explain the author's chain of reasoning from the source to the statement -- as well as be re-published with a proper index and bibliography. In a sense, the author has under-rated himself. Properly footnoted and indexed, this would be not merely an excellent popular read but a work of scholarship with which students of the field would have to reckon from now on.

Bob Valdez 4.0 out of 5 stars How the US came to be influenced by the military-industrial complex , September 28, 2015
How the US came to be influenced by the military-industrial complex

This book is a pretty well done tome about how the military-industrial complex came to be. The overall layout is much like a history book but if the reader is patient it begins to unfold with some level of comfort after a few dozen pages. The properly told story is long overdue and it probably will not have wide acceptance but that is the overall sign of our times. The author does not go into enough detail to tie in today's US government administration and how deep the corruption has grown.

If you wish to be an informed voter or just a more informed citizen, reading such books as this one will help bring you around to becoming a bit better enlightened. Read, recognize, respond. All comes in time.

Phil Dragoo 5.0 out of 5 stars Ike named it; it buried JFK; Swanson reveals it July 23, 2019
Ike named it; it buried JFK; Swanson reveals it.

Verified Purchase Ike named it -- it buried JFK

Michael Swanson's The War State is a keystone work in understanding modern America's lone superpower position.

While Preparata's Conjuring Hitler presents Montagu Norman and Bank of England as financing the rise of the Third Reich as the initiation of the modern military-intelligence age, and Stephen Kinzer's The Brothers introduces Dulles & Dulles as the twin inventors of America's role as stage manager, Michael Swanson raises the curtain on Eisenhower's finale, the introduction of the Colossus astride Washington .

The War State punctuates Robert Wilcox' Target: Patton, the removal of the threat of premature end to the Cold War, and David Martin's signal work uncovering the termination of the first Secretary of Defense James Forrestal for resisting the Truman-Marshall military steroid injection, itself inextricably entwined with the Acheson-enabled Korean War.

The National Security Act of 1947 and its follow-on codas, the 1948 plausible deniability agreement and 1949 amendments, lead to the SAC/ICBM buildup, the preamble to Northwoods and the dream of a first strike.

The Vietnam War fought over the dead body of the thirty-fifth president is examined in John Newman's two editions of JFK and Vietnam, and the sequence of subsequent research works, all adding to Douglas Horne's view of JFK's War with the National Security Establishment, as well as James Douglass' eerie scene through a glass darkly, JFK and the Unspeakable.

We are gifted with Michael Swanson's concise and unitized depiction of the threat President Eisenhower succeeded in naming January 1961 despite repeated attempts to airbrush the indictment from history.

Why are we faced with unending war in Afghanistan against a shadowy enemy first introduced by April Glaspy's invitation to Saddam Hussein echoing Acheson's omission of Korea in the January 1950 Press Club speech?

Why do towers fall in unprecedented fashion defying laws of physics?

As Litvinenko and Felshtinsky's Blowing Up Russia reveals Putin as the rebranding mastermind of Golitsyn and Bezemov, and Xi Jinping rides the dragon into the fifth millenium, Oceania's capital remains in the orbit of the Pentagon and Langley and the constellation of corporations involved in Gerard Colby and Charlotte Dennett's Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil.

Michael Swanson pulls the construct from the mist and plants it front and center in the dramatic end of the Republic and the bulletins from the frontlines of Big Brother's proxy wars in the nonaligned quadrangle.

It isn't personal -- it's business.

SkyNet and The Matrix and the gigantic digital nemeses of Person of Interest are mere terms of art.

The military-industrial complex is as real as LBJ's heart attack -- and exposed in The War State.

[May 20, 2020] McGovern Turn Out The Lights, Russiagate Is Over by Ray McGovern

Highly recommended!
It is not. Forces behind Russiagate are intact and still have the same agenda. CrowdStrike was just a tool. As long as Full Spectrum Dominance dourine is alive, Russiagate will flourish in one form or another
Notable quotes:
"... The need for a scapegoat to blame for Hillary Clinton's snatching defeat out of the jaws victory also played a role; as did the need for the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex (MICIMATT) to keep front and center in the minds of Americans the alleged multifaceted threat coming from an "aggressive" Russia. (Recall that John McCain called the, now disproven , "Russian hacking" of the DNC emails an "act of war.") ..."
"... Though the corporate media is trying to bury it, the Russiagate narrative has in the past few weeks finally collapsed with the revelation that CrowdStrike had no evidence Russia took anything from the DNC servers and that the FBI set a perjury trap for Gen. Michael Flynn. There was already the previous government finding that there was no collusion between Trump and Russia and the indictment of a Russian troll farm that supposedly was destroying American democracy with $100,000 in Facebook ads was dropped after the St. Petersburg defendants sought discovery. ..."
"... Given the diffident attitude the Security State plotters adopted regarding hiding their tracks, Durham's challenge, with subpoena power, is not as formidable as were he, for example, investigating a Mafia family. ..."
"... Meanwhile, the corporate media have all been singing from the same sheet since Trump had the audacity a week ago to coin yet another "-gate" -- this time "Obamagate." Leading the apoplectic reaction in corporate media, Saturday's Washington Post offered a pot-calling-the-kettle-black pronouncement by its editorial board entitled "The absurd cynicism of 'Obamagate"? ..."
"... So if we dug in and found large payments from George Soros or Mrs Clinton to these 'journalists', what crime could they be accused of? No crimes, I don't think. ..."
"... There never was anything to Russiagate. It was always just politics. I knew that from the beginning. There was, however, a lot of something to the torture scandal. Obama said "We are not going to look back." And now Gina Haspel, one of the chief torturers, partly responsible for destroying the torture tapes, despite a court order to preserve them, is now head of the CIA. ..."
"... Drain the Swamp my ***. He's started by firing all the IG's? Trump "looking back," not forward. He could start by investigating Gina Haspel. ..."
"... For example, Foglesong argued that "a vital factor in the revival of the crusade in the 1970s was the need to expunge doubts about American virtue instilled by the Vietnam War, revelations about CIA covert actions, and the Watergate scandal." ..."
"... By tracing American representations of Russia over the last 130 years, Foglesong illuminated three of the strongest notions that have informed American attitudes toward Russia: (1) a messianic faith that America could inspire sweeping overnight transformation from autocracy to democracy; (2) a notion that despite historic differences, Russia and America are very much akin, so that Russia, more than any other country, is America's "dark double;" (3) an extreme antipathy to "evil" leaders who Americans blame for thwarting what they believe to be the natural triumph of the American mission. These expectations and emotions continue to effect how American journalists and politicians write and talk about Russia. "My hope," Foglesong concluded, "is that by seeing how these attitudes have distorted American views of Russia for more than a century, we may begin to be able to escape their grip." ..."
May 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Ray McGovern via ConsortiumNews.com,

Seldom mentioned among the motives behind the persistent drumming on alleged Russian interference was an over-arching need to help the Security State hide their tracks.

The need for a scapegoat to blame for Hillary Clinton's snatching defeat out of the jaws victory also played a role; as did the need for the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex (MICIMATT) to keep front and center in the minds of Americans the alleged multifaceted threat coming from an "aggressive" Russia. (Recall that John McCain called the, now disproven , "Russian hacking" of the DNC emails an "act of war.")

But that was then. This is now.

Though the corporate media is trying to bury it, the Russiagate narrative has in the past few weeks finally collapsed with the revelation that CrowdStrike had no evidence Russia took anything from the DNC servers and that the FBI set a perjury trap for Gen. Michael Flynn. There was already the previous government finding that there was no collusion between Trump and Russia and the indictment of a Russian troll farm that supposedly was destroying American democracy with $100,000 in Facebook ads was dropped after the St. Petersburg defendants sought discovery.

All that's left is to discover how this all happened.

Attorney General William Barr, and U.S. Attorney John Durham, whom Barr commissioned to investigate this whole sordid mess seem intent on getting to the bottom of it. The possibility that Trump will not chicken out this time, and rather will challenge the Security State looms large since he felt personally under attack.

Writing on the Wall

Given the diffident attitude the Security State plotters adopted regarding hiding their tracks, Durham's challenge, with subpoena power, is not as formidable as were he, for example, investigating a Mafia family.

Plus, former NSA Director Adm. Michael S. Rogers reportedly is cooperating. The handwriting is on the wall. It remains to be seen what kind of role in the scandal Barack Obama may have played.

But former directors James Comey, James Clapper, and John Brennan, captains of Obama's Security State, can take little solace from Barr's remarks Monday to a reporter who asked about Trump's recent claims that top officials of the Obama administration, including the former president had committed crimes. Barr replied:

"As to President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement, based on the information I have today, I don't expect Mr. Durham's work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man. Our concerns over potential criminality is focused on others."

In a more ominous vein, Barr gratuitously added that law enforcement and intelligence officials were involved in "a false and utterly baseless Russian collusion narrative against the president. It was a grave injustice, and it was unprecedented in American history."

Meanwhile, the corporate media have all been singing from the same sheet since Trump had the audacity a week ago to coin yet another "-gate" -- this time "Obamagate." Leading the apoplectic reaction in corporate media, Saturday's Washington Post offered a pot-calling-the-kettle-black pronouncement by its editorial board entitled "The absurd cynicism of 'Obamagate"?

The outrage voiced by the Post called to mind disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok's indignant response to criticism of the FBI by candidate Trump, in a Oct. 20, 2016 text exchange with FBI attorney Lisa Page:

Strzok: I am riled up. Trump is a f***ing idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer.

Strzok -- I CAN'T PULL AWAY, WHAT THE F**K HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY

Page -- I don't know. But we'll get it back. We're America. We rock.

Strzok -- Donald just said "bad hombres"

Strzok -- Trump just said what the FBI did is disgraceful.

Less vitriolic, but incisive commentary came from widely respected author and lawyer Glenn Greenwald on May 14, four days after Trump coined "Obamagate": ( See "System Update with Glenn Greenwald -- The Sham Prosecution of Michael Flynn").

For a shorter, equally instructive video of Greenwald on the broader issue of Russia-gate, see this clip from a March 2019 Democracy Now! -sponsored debate he had with David Cay Johnston titled, "As Mueller Finds No Collusion, Did Press Overhype Russiagate? Glenn Greenwald vs. David Cay Johnston":

https://www.youtube.com/embed/qdYw6jk3TTA

(The entire debate is worth listening to). I found one of the comments below the Democracy Now! video as big as a bummer as the commentator did:

"I think this is one of the most depressing parts about the whole situation. In their dogmatic pushing for this false narrative, the Russiagaters might have guaranteed Trump a second term. They have done more damage to our democracy than Russia ever has done and will do ." (From "Clamity2007")

In any case, Johnston, undaunted by his embarrassment at the hands of Greenwald, is still at it, and so is the avuncular Frank Rich -- both of them some 20 years older than Greenwald and set in their evidence-impoverished, media-indoctrinated ways.

... ... ...


Uncle Frank, 40 seconds ago

So if we dug in and found large payments from George Soros or Mrs Clinton to these 'journalists', what crime could they be accused of? No crimes, I don't think.

But when journalists are revealed to be issuing paid-for propaganda/lies mixed with their own internal opinions, and their publisher allows it to be presented as if it were reporting rather than opinion, said writers, editors, and publishers are relegated to obscurity and derision.

Their work will never be taken seriously again by anyone who wasn't already brain-washed.

They don't get that, I guess.

QABubba, 47 minutes ago (Edited)

There never was anything to Russiagate. It was always just politics. I knew that from the beginning. There was, however, a lot of something to the torture scandal. Obama said "We are not going to look back." And now Gina Haspel, one of the chief torturers, partly responsible for destroying the torture tapes, despite a court order to preserve them, is now head of the CIA.

General Flynn was so involved with Turkey he should have been registered as a foreign agent.

And as I have said before, the real crime was laundering Russian Mafia/Heroin money through Deutsche Bank into New York real estate. It is curious that Turkey is also a huge transport spot for heroin into the EU. And France and other EU nations have a migrant population that lives off the drug trade.

Drain the Swamp my ***. He's started by firing all the IG's? Trump "looking back," not forward. He could start by investigating Gina Haspel.

1911A1, 55 minutes ago

Operation Mockingbird

The MSM disinformation campaign with consistent common talking points is not difficult to see with a little discernment. The bigger question is has this happened organically or is there a larger agency manipulating the public discourse?

Question_Mark, 43 minutes ago

4AM secure drop from Senior Executive Services ( SES ) is a threat to our democracy.

Our greatest responsibility is to serve our [insert name of community here] community.

1surrounded2, 1 hour ago

" It remains to be seen what kind of role in the scandal Barack Obama may have played. "

Come on, Ray, I know you are not that stupid, but you ARE that libtarded.

Obama's very obvious role in all of this: KINGPIN .

Moribundus, 3 hours ago

Amazon.com The American Mission and the 'Evil Empire' The Crusade for a Free Russia Since 1881 (8580000721935) Foglesong,

"By 1905," Foglesong stated, "this fundamental reorientation of American views of Russia had set up a historical pattern in which missionary zeal and messianic euphoria would be followed by disenchantment and embittered denunciation of Russia's evil and oppressive rulers." The first cycle, according to Foglesong, culminated in 1905, when the October Manifesto, perceived initially by Americans as a transformation to democracy, gave way to a violent socialist revolt. Foglesong observed similar cycles of euphoria to despair during the collapse of the tsarist government in 1917, during the partial religious revival of World War II, and during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s

Crucial to Foglesong's analysis was how these cycles coincided with a contemporaneous need to deflect attention away from America's own blemishes and enhance America's claim to its global mission.

For example, Foglesong argued that "a vital factor in the revival of the crusade in the 1970s was the need to expunge doubts about American virtue instilled by the Vietnam War, revelations about CIA covert actions, and the Watergate scandal."

By tracing American representations of Russia over the last 130 years, Foglesong illuminated three of the strongest notions that have informed American attitudes toward Russia: (1) a messianic faith that America could inspire sweeping overnight transformation from autocracy to democracy; (2) a notion that despite historic differences, Russia and America are very much akin, so that Russia, more than any other country, is America's "dark double;" (3) an extreme antipathy to "evil" leaders who Americans blame for thwarting what they believe to be the natural triumph of the American mission. These expectations and emotions continue to effect how American journalists and politicians write and talk about Russia. "My hope," Foglesong concluded, "is that by seeing how these attitudes have distorted American views of Russia for more than a century, we may begin to be able to escape their grip."

Moribundus, 3 hours ago

America's imperialism rules: Never to admit a fault or wrong; never to accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time; blame that enemy for everything that goes wrong; take advantage of every opportunity to raise a political whirlwind.

Kidbuck, 5 hours ago

Trump hasn't engaged in a fight in his life. He's a sissy at heart wants to negotiate. He can't even do that right. He's caved on nearly every campaign promise he made. The only thing his administration fights for is their salary and their retirement. Hillary still waddles free and farts in his general direction.

ChaoKrungThep, 4 hours ago

Trump the Mafia punk, like his dad, and draft dodger like his German grand dad. Barr, old CIA asset from the Clinton-Mena coke smuggling op. This crappy crew is running their masters' game in front of the redneck rabble who are dumber than their mutts.

Save_America1st, 9 hours ago

Geez...how far behind can most of these assholes be after all these years????

For one...there was no "Russia-gate". It was all a hoax from the beginning, and anyone with a few functioning brain cells knew that from the start.

And as of about 3 years ago we have all known this as "Obamagate" for the most part...we all knew the corruption of the hoax totally led up to O-Scumbag.

And now as of the recent disclosures it is a total fact.

Haven't most of you been watching Dan Bongino for over 2 years now and haven't you read his books? Haven't you been reading Sarah Carter and John Soloman among others for nearly 3 years now???

Surely, you haven't been just sitting around sucking leftist media **** for over 3 years, right???????? I'm sure you haven't.

So why is this article even necessary on ZeroHedge?????

We already knew and have known the truth since before even the 2016 election. Drop it.

Posa, 9 hours ago

So funny. The 85 Year old "American century' is palpably disintegrating before our very eyes. In particular the Deep State permanent bureaucracy is completely untethered and facing what seems to be a Great Reckoning in the form of Barr- Durham. Cognitve Derangement prevails in the press and spills overto the body politic. The country teeters a slo-mo Civil War. Meanwhile, The dollar is disintegrating and we seem to face an economic abyss, the Terminal Depression. Real "last Days of Rome" stuff.

BaNNeD oN THe RuN, 5 hours ago (Edited)

The Israeli dual citizens like Adelson and Mercer bought the Presidency.

Mossad was the organization handling the mole Seth Rich.

Blaming Russia also worked for those 2 groups because it deflected attention away from (((them))).

Ray McGovern, being ex-intel, must know this to be true.

LetThemEatRand, 11 hours ago

Russiagate. The supposed target of said coup d'etat just Presided over the largest bailout of banks ever by a factor of five or more. Trump supporters are asleep for the bailout, Trump haters are asleep for the bailout. Let's fight about transgender bathrooms and Russiagate, shall we?

yojimbo, 8 hours ago

I glance at the MSM, so here is a Guardian article along strongly TDS lines https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/19/will-donald-trump-end-up-in-prison-arwa-mahdawi

It's projection again, implying Obama gate is fake, like Russiagate actually was.. Tough to even want to get through!

[May 18, 2020] Pundits with undisclosed funding from arms manufacturers urge 'stronger force posture' to counter China by Eli Clifton

May 14, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org

The Trump administration's efforts to blame China for COVID-19's rising death toll in the U.S. have not been backed up by intelligence assessments, but it has not stopped Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from making the baseless assertion that the virus originated in a Chinese lab or the Trump campaign from attacking the presumptive Democratic nominee, former vice president Joe Biden, as too weak on China. But there may be more than political opportunism at play. Weapons manufacturers stand to reap huge profits if they can stoke a new cold war between the U.S. and China.

Those overlapping interests were on display last week when The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by two former Trump administration officials claiming, "The Covid-19 pandemic has convinced many that the U.S. must fundamentally change its policy toward China. Shifting course is necessary, but it won't be achieved with a few policy tweaks."

"That's because," they added, "the pandemic's political and economic effects are bringing about a more assertive Chinese grand strategy."

There are at least two big problems with this op-ed.

First, there's no actual evidence or explanation provided about COVID-19 "bringing about a more assertive Chinese grand strategy" but the authors plow forward with their theory that "Beijing was cruising to global domination" unchallenged.

Second, both of the op-ed's authors have undisclosed conflicts of interest that might motivate their prescription for a new U.S. grand strategy centered on, among other things, "maritime and aerospace power."

The authors, Elbridge Colby (who served as assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development from 2017-2018) and A. Wess Mitchell (who served as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs from 2017-2019), are both employed by institutions that receive considerable funding from weapons manufacturers.

The Wall Street Journal describes Colby and Mitchell as "principals of the Marathon Initiative," an entity that has no website and about which there is little public information other than that it was formed on May 7, 2020 according to the Washington, DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

The Marathon Initiative shares an address with the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) where Mitchell serves as vice chairman and received $227,500 in compensation in 2017 . Donors to CEPA include a defense industry who's who: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Bell Helicopter, and BAE Systems.

Mitchell's co-author, Colby, also appears to have benefited financially from funding originating from arms manufacturers.

Colby is a senior adviser at WestExec Advisors, which does not disclose its client list. But one of the company's co-founders, Obama Defense Department appointee Michèle Flournoy, told The Intercept back in 2018 that "we help tech firms who are trying to figure out how to sell in the public sector space, to navigate the DOD, the intel community, law enforcement ."

And from 2014 to 2017 and 2018 to 2019 Colby worked at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) which counts Northrop Grumman as one of its biggest donors (contributing more than $500,000 between October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019) as well as contributions from Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Bell Helicopter, BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Boeing and DynCorp.

None of this is to say that Colby and Mitchell don't genuinely believe that COVID-19's spread and China's lack of transparency about the virus's initial outbreak justifies the military-heavy strategies they propose.

But when the op-ed concludes, "The West must recognize that it will either pay now or pay later to contain China. Paying now is likely to produce a more tolerable bill," it's worth noting that weapons manufacturers and defense contractors, who have helped finance the authors' careers in the Beltway, will be the ones sending that bill to taxpayers.

[May 17, 2020] Why U.S. Must Be Prosecuted for Its War Crimes Against Iraq by Eric Zuesse

May 16, 2020 | astutenews.com
The reason why the U.S. Government must be prosecuted for its war-crimes against Iraq is that they are so horrific and there are so many of them, and international law crumbles until they become prosecuted and severely punished for what they did. We therefore now have internationally a lawless world (or "World Order") in which "Might makes right," and in which there is really no effective international law, at all. This is merely gangster "law," ruling on an international level. It is what Hitler and his Axis of fascist imperialists had imposed upon the world until the Allies -- U.S. under FDR, UK under Churchill, and U.S.S.R. under Stalin -- defeated it, and established the United Nations. Furthermore, America's leaders deceived the American public into perpetrating this invasion and occupation, of a foreign country (Iraq) that had never threatened the United States; and, so, this invasion and subsequent military occupation constitutes the very epitome of "aggressive war" -- unwarranted and illegal international aggression. (Hitler, similarly to George W. Bush, would never have been able to obtain the support of his people to invade if he had not lied, or "deceived," them, into invading and militarily occupying foreign countries that had never threatened Germany, such as Belgium, Poland and Czechoslovakia. This -- Hitler's lie-based aggressions -- was the core of what the Nazis were hung for, and yet America now does it.)

As Peter Dyer wrote in 2006, about "Iraq & the Nuremberg Precedent" :

Invoking the precedent set by the United States and its allies at the Nuremberg trial in 1946, there can be no doubt that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a war of aggression. There was no imminent threat to U.S. security nor to the security of the world. The invasion violated the U.N. Charter as well as U.N. Security Council Resolution #1441.

The Nuremberg precedent calls for no less than the arrest and prosecution of those individuals responsible for the invasion of Iraq, beginning with President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleez[z]a Rice, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

Take, for example, Condoleezza Rice, who famously warned "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." (That warning was one of the most effective lies in order to deceive the American public into invading Iraq, because President Bush had had no real evidence, at all, that there still remained any WMD in Iraq after the U.N. had destroyed them all, and left Iraq in 1998 -- and he knew this; he was informed of this; he knew that he had no real evidence, at all: he offered none; it was all mere lies .)

So, the Nuremberg precedent definitely does apply against George W, Bush and his partners-in-crime, just as it did against Hitler and his henchmen and allies.

The seriousness of this international war crime is not as severe as those of the Nazis were, but nonetheless is comparable to it .

On 15 March 2018, Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies headlined at Alternet "The Staggering Death Toll in Iraq" and wrote that "our calculations, using the best information available, show a catastrophic estimate of 2.4 million Iraqi deaths since the 2003 invasion," and linked to solid evidence, backing up their estimate.

On 6 February 2020, BusinessInsider bannered "US taxpayers have reportedly paid an average of $8,000 each and over $2 trillion total for the Iraq war alone" , and linked to the academic analysis that supported this estimate. The U.S. regime's invasive war, which the Bush gang perpetrated against Iraq, was also a crime against the American people (though Iraqis suffered far more from it than we did).

On 29 September 2015, I headlined "GALLUP: 'Iraqis Are the Saddest & One of the Angriest Populations in the World'," and linked to Gallup's survey of 1,000 individuals in each of 148 countries around the world, which found that Iraq had the highest "Negative Experience Score." That score includes "sadness," "physical pain," "anger," and other types of misery -- and Iraq, after America's invasion, has scored the highest in the entire world, on it, and in the following years has likewise scored at or near the highest on "Negative Experience Score." For example: in the latest, the 2019, Gallup "Global Emotions Report" , Iraq scores fourth from the top on "Negative Experience Score," after (in order from the worst) Chad, Niger, and Sierra Leone. (Gallup has been doing these surveys ever since 2005, but the first one that was published under that title was the 2015 report, which summarized the 2014 surveys' findings.) Of course, prior to America's invasion, there had been America's 1990 war against Iraq and the U.S. regime's leadership and imposition of U.N. sanctions (which likewise were based largely on U.S.-regime-backed lies , though not totally on lies like the 2003 invasion was), which caused massive misery in that country; and, therefore, not all of the misery in Iraq which showed up in the 2015 Global Emotions Report was due to only the 2003 invasion and subsequent military occupation of that country. But almost all of it was, and is. And all of it was based on America's rulers lying to the public in order to win the public's acceptance of their evil plans and invasions against a country that had never posed any threat whatsoever to Americans -- people residing in America . Furthermore, it is also perhaps relevant that the 2012 "World Happiness Report" shows Iraq at the very bottom of the list of countries (on page 55 of that report) regarding "Average Net Affect by Country," meaning that Iraqis were the most zombified of all 156 nationalities surveyed. Other traumatized countries were immediately above Iraq on that list. On "Average Negative Affect," only "Palestinian Territories" scored higher than Iraq (page 52). After America's invasion based entirely on lies, Iraq is a wrecked country, which still remains under the U.S. regime's boot, as the following will document:

Bush's successors, Obama and Trump, failed to press for Bush's trial on these vast crimes, even though the American people had ourselves become enormously victimized by them, though far less so than Iraqis were. Instead, Bush's successors have become accessories after the fact, by this failure to press for prosecution of him and his henchmen regarding this grave matter. In fact, the "Defense One" site bannered on 26 September 2018, "US Official: We May Cut Support for Iraq If New Government Seats Pro-Iran Politicians" , and opened with "The Trump administration may decrease U.S. military support or other assistance to Iraq if its new government puts Iranian-aligned politicians in any 'significant positions of responsibility,' a senior administration official told reporters late last week." The way that the U.S. regime has brought 'democracy' to Iraq is by threatening to withdraw its protection of the stooge-rulers that it had helped to place into power there, unless those stooges do the U.S. dictators' bidding, against Iraq's neighbor Iran. This specific American dictator, Trump, is demanding that majority-Shiite Iraq be run by stooges who favor, instead, America's fundamentalist-Sunni allies, such as the Saud family who own Saudi Arabia and who hate and loathe Shiites and Iran. The U.S. dictatorship insists that Iraq, which the U.S. conquered, serve America's anti-Shiite and anti-Iranian policy-objectives. "The U.S. threat, to withhold aid if Iran-aligned politicians occupy any ministerial position, is an escalation of Washington's demands on Baghdad." The article went on to quote a "senior administration official" as asserting that, "if Iran exerts a tremendous amount of influence, or a significant amount of influence over the Iraqi government, it's going to be difficult for us to continue to invest." Get the euphemisms there! This article said that "the Trump administration has made constraining Iran's influence in the region a cornerstone of their foreign policy." So, this hostility toward Iran must be reflected in Iraq's policies, too. It's not enough that Trump wants to destroy Iran like Bush has destroyed Iraq; Trump demands that Iraq participate in that crime, against Iraq's own neighbor. This article said that, "There have also been protests against 'U.S. meddling' in the formation of a new Iraqi government, singling out Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk for working to prevent parties close to Iran from obtaining power." McGurk is the rabidly neconservative former high G.W. Bush Administration official, and higher Obama Administration official, who remained as Trump's top official on his policy to force Iraq to cooperate with America's efforts to conquer Iran. Trump's evil is Obama's evil, and is Bush's evil. It is bipartisan evil, no matter which Party is in power. Though Trump doesn't like either the Bushes or Obamas, all of them are in the same evil policy-boat. America's Deep State remains the same, no matter whom it places into the position of nominal power. The regime remains the same, regardless.

On April 29th, the whistleblowing former UK Ambassador Craig Murray wrote :

Nobody knows how many people died as a result of the UK/US Coalition of Death led destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and, by proxy, Syria and Yemen. Nobody even knows how many people western forces themselves killed directly. That is a huge number, but still under 10% of the total. To add to that you have to add those who died in subsequent conflict engendered by the forced dismantling of the state the West disapproved of. Some were killed by western proxies, some by anti-western forces, and some just by those reverting to ancient tribal hostility and battle for resources into which the country had been regressed by bombing.

You then have to add all those who died directly as a result of the destruction of national infrastructure. Iraq lost in the destruction 60% of its potable drinking water, 75% of its medical facilities and 80% of its electricity. This caused millions of deaths, as did displacement. We are only of course talking about deaths, not maiming.

UK's Prime Minister Tony Blair should hang with the U.S. gang, but who is calling for this? How much longer will the necessary prosecutions wait? Till after these international war-criminals have all gone honored to their graves?

Although the International Criminal Court considered and dismissed possible criminal charges against Tony Blair's UK Government regarding the invasion and military occupation of Iraq, the actual crime, of invading and militarily occupying a country which had posed no threat to the national security of the invader, was ignored, and the conclusion was that "the situation did not appear to meet the required threshold of the Statute" (which was only "Willful killing or inhuman treatment of civilians" and which ignored the real crime, which was "aggressive war" or "the crime of aggression" -- the crime for which Nazis had been hanged at Nuremberg). Furthermore, no charges whatsoever against the U.S. Government (the world's most frequent and most heinous violator of international law) were considered. In other words: the International Criminal Court is subordinate to, instead of applicable to, the U.S. regime. Just like Adolf Hitler had repeatedly made clear that, to him, all nations except Germany were dispensable and only Germany wasn't, Barack Obama repeatedly said that "The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation" , which likewise means that every other nation is "dispensable." The criminal International Criminal Court accepts this, and yet expects to be respected.

The U.S. regime did "regime change" to Iraq in 2003, and to Ukraine in 2014 , and tried to do it to Syria since 2009 , and to Yemen since 2015, and to Venezuela since 2012, and to Iran since 2017 -- just to mention some of the examples. And, though the Nuremberg precedent certainly applies, it's not enforced. In principle, then, Hitler has posthumously won WW II.

Hitler must be smiling, now. FDR must be rolling in his grave.

The only way to address this problem, if there won't be prosecutions against the 'duly elected' (Deep-State-approved and enabled) national leaders and appointees, would be governmental seizure and nationalization of the assets that are outright owned or else controlled by America's Deep State. Ultimately, the Government-officials who are s'elected' and appointed to run the American Government have been and are representing not the American people but instead represent the billionaires who fund those officials' and former officials' careers . In a democracy, those individuals -- the financial enablers of those politicians' s'electoral' success -- would be dispossessed of all their assets, and then prosecuted for the crimes that were perpetrated by the public officials whom they had participated in (significantly funded and propagandized for) placing into power. (For example, both Parties' Presidential nominees are unqualified to serve in any public office in a democracy.)

Democracy cannot function with a systematically lied-to public . Nor can it function if the responsible governmental officials are effectively immune from prosecution for their 'legal' crimes, or if the financial string-pullers behind the scenes can safely pull those strings. In America right now, both of those conditions pertain, and, as a result, democracy is impossible . There are only two ways to address this problem, and one of them would start by prosecuting George W. Bush.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .

[May 13, 2020] Dramatic change of direction for Syrian envoy

Highly recommended!
This is MIGA in action...
Notable quotes:
"... former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell admitted in a TV interview he views that the US should be in the business of "killing Russians and Iranians covertly" ). ..."
"... Ironically, Jeffrey's official title has been Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL, but apparently the mission is now to essentially "give the Russians hell". His comments were made Tuesday during a video conference hosted by the neocon Hudson Institute : ..."
"... He also emphasized that the Syrian state would continue to be squeezed into submission as part of long-term US efforts (going back to at least 2011) to legitimize a Syria government in exile of sorts. This after the Trump administration recently piled new sanctions on Damascus. As University of Oklahoma professor and expert on the region Joshua Landis summarized of Jeffrey's remarks: "He pledged that the United States will continue to deny Syria - international funding, reconstruction, oil, banking, agriculture & recognition of government." ..."
May 13, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Washington now says it's all about defeating the Russians . While it's not the first time this has been thrown around in policy circles (recall that a year after Russia's 2015 entry into Syria at Assad's invitation, former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell admitted in a TV interview he views that the US should be in the business of "killing Russians and Iranians covertly" ).

And now the top US special envoy to region, James Jeffrey, has this to say on US troops in Syria :

"My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians."

Ironically, Jeffrey's official title has been Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL, but apparently the mission is now to essentially "give the Russians hell". His comments were made Tuesday during a video conference hosted by the neocon Hudson Institute :

Asked why the American public should tolerate US involvement in Syria, Special Envoy James Jeffrey points out the small US footprint in the fight against ISIS. "This isn't Afghanistan. This isn't Vietnam. This isn't a quagmire. My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians."

He also emphasized that the Syrian state would continue to be squeezed into submission as part of long-term US efforts (going back to at least 2011) to legitimize a Syria government in exile of sorts. This after the Trump administration recently piled new sanctions on Damascus. As University of Oklahoma professor and expert on the region Joshua Landis summarized of Jeffrey's remarks: "He pledged that the United States will continue to deny Syria - international funding, reconstruction, oil, banking, agriculture & recognition of government."

"My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians."

Special US envoy to Syria - James Jeffery

He pledged that the United States will continue to deny Syria - international funding, reconstruction, oil, banking, agriculture & recognition of government. https://t.co/MSAkQqAmdh

-- Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) May 12, 2020

But no doubt both Putin and Assad have understood Washington's real proxy war interests all along, which is why last year Russia delivered it's lethal S-300 into the hands of Assad (and amid constant Israeli attacks). But no doubt both Putin and Assad have understood Washington's real proxy war interests all along, which is why last year Russia delivered it's lethal S-300 into the hands of Assad (and amid constant Israeli attacks).

As for oil, currently Damascus is well supplied by the Iranians, eager to dump their stock in fuel-starved Syria amid the global glut. Trump has previously voiced that part of US troops "securing the oil fields" is to keep them out of the hands of Russia and Iran.

* * *

Recall the CIA's 2016 admission of what's really going on in terms of US action in Syria:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/OJ3fTFHQ0KA

[May 06, 2020] McMaster and the Myths of Empire by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Myths of Empire ..."
May 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
| Ethan Paul dismantles H.R. McMaster's "analysis" of the Chinese government and shows how McMaster abuses the idea of strategic empathy for his own ends:

But the reality is that McMaster, and others committed to great power competition, is actually playing the role of Johnson and McNamara. This shines through clearest in McMaster's selective, and ultimately flawed, application of strategic empathy.

Just as Johnson and McNamara used the Joint Chiefs as political props, soliciting their advice or endorsement only when it could legitimize policy conclusions they had already come to, McMaster uses strategic empathy as a symbolic exercise in self-validation. By conceiving of China's perspective solely in terms of its tumultuous history and the Communist Party's pathological pursuit of power and control, McMaster presents only those biproducts of strategic empathy that confirm his policy conclusions (i.e. an intuitive grasp of China's apparent drive to reassert itself as the "Middle Kingdom" at the expense of the United States).

McMaster calls for "strategic empathy" in understanding how the Chinese government sees the world, but he then stacks the deck by asserting that the government in question sees the world in exactly the way that China hawks want to believe that they see it. That suggests that McMaster wasn't trying terribly hard to see the world as they do. McMaster's article has been likened to Kennan's seminal article on Soviet foreign policy at the start of the Cold War, but the comparison only serves to highlight how lacking McMaster's argument is and how inappropriate a similar containment strategy would be today. Where Kennan rooted his analysis of Soviet conduct in a lifetime of expertise in Russian history and language and his experience as a diplomat in Moscow, McMaster bases his assessment of Chinese conduct on one visit to Beijing, a superficial survey of Chinese history, and some boilerplate ideological claims about communism. McMaster's article prompted some strong criticism along these lines when it came out:

I have heard from other colleagues that several CN scholars met w/ McMaster before he wrote this (while working on his book) and corrected him on many issues. He apparently ignored all of their views. This is what we face people: a simple, deceptive narrative is more seductive.

-- Michael D. Swaine (@Dalzell60) April 20, 2020

McMaster's narrative is all the more deceptive because he claims to want to understand the official Chinese government view, but he just substitutes the standard hawkish caricature. Near the end of the article, he asserts, "Without effective pushback from the United States and like-minded nations, China will become even more aggressive in promoting its statist economy and authoritarian political model." It is possible that this could happen, but McMaster treats it as a given without offering much proof that this is so. McMaster makes a mistake common to China hawks that assumes that every other great power must have the same missionary, world-spanning goals that they have. Suppose instead that the Chinese government is not interested in that, but has a more limited strategy aimed at securing itself and establishing itself as the leading power in its region.

Paul does a fine job of using McMaster's earlier work on the Vietnam War to expose the flaws in his thinking about China. McMaster has often been praised for his criticism of the military's top leaders over their role in running the war in Vietnam, but this usually overlooks that McMaster was really arguing for a much more aggressive war effort. He faulted the Joint Chiefs for "dereliction" because they didn't insist on escalation. Paul observes:

McMaster's tale of Vietnam is, counterintuitively, one of enduring confidence in the U.S.'s ability to do good in the world and conquer all potential challengers, if only it finds the will to overcome the temptations of political cowardice and stamp out bureaucratic ineptitude. This same message runs through McMaster's tale about China: "If we compete aggressively," and "no longer adhere to a view of China based mainly on Western aspirations," McMaster says, "we have reason for confidence."

McMaster would have the U.S. view China in the worst possible light as an implacable adversary. Following this recommendation will guarantee decades of heightened tensions and increased risks of conflict. McMaster's dangerous China hawkishness calls to mind something that Jim Mattis said about him regarding a different issue when they served together in the Trump administration: "Oh my God, that moron is going to get us all killed." His aggressiveness towards China is not driven by an assessment of the threat from China, but comes from his tendency to advocate for aggressive measures everywhere.

As Paul notes, McMaster is minimizing the dangers and risks that his preferred policy of confrontation entails. In that respect, he is making the same error that American leaders made in Vietnam:

Like Johnson and McNamara before him, McMaster is misleading both the public and himself about the costs, consequences, and likelihood for success of the path he is committed to pursuing, and in so doing is laying the groundwork for yet another national tragedy.

McMaster's China argument is reminiscent of other arguments made by imperialists in the past, and he relies on many of the same shoddy assumptions that they did. Like British Russophobes in the mid-19th century, McMaster decided on a policy of aggressive containment and then searched for rationalizations that might justify it. Jack Snyder described this in his classic study Myths of Empire thirty years ago:

Russia is portrayed as a unitary, rational actor with unlimited aims of conquest, but fortunately averse to risk and weak if stopped soon enough. (p. 168)

McMaster uses the same "paper tiger image" to portray China as an unstoppable aggressor that can nonetheless be stopped at minimal risk. He wants us to believe that China is at once implacable but easily deterred, insatiable but quick to back off under pressure. We have seen the same contradictory arguments from hawks on other issues, but it is particularly dangerous to promote such a misleading image of a nuclear-armed major power. about the author Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter .

[May 05, 2020] 50 Years Of Unhinged, Televised Presidential Warmongering by Jim Bovard

Notable quotes:
"... Presidential determinations based on secret (and often false) information were sufficient to legally absolve any killings or calamities abroad. ..."
"... In 1999, Clinton unilaterally attacked Serbia, killing up to 1,500 Serb civilians in a 78 day bombing campaign justified to force the Serb government to embrace human rights and ethnic tolerance. Serbia had taken no aggression against the United States, but that did not deter Clinton from bombing Serb marketplaces, hospitals, factories, bridges, and the nation's largest television station (which was supposedly guilty of broadcasting anti-NATO propaganda). The House of Representatives took a vote and failed to support Clinton's war effort, and 31 congressmen sued Clinton for violating the War Powers Act. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit after deciding that the congressmen did not have legal standing to sue. Most of the U.S. media ignored dead Serb women and children and instead portrayed the bombing as a triumph of American benevolence. ..."
"... In 2011, Obama decided to bomb Libya because the U.S. disapproved of its ruler, Muammar Gaddafi. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton notified Congress that the White House "would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission." Plagiarizing the Bush administration, the Obama administration indicated that congressional restraints would be "an unconstitutional encroachment on executive power." ..."
May 03, 2020 | libertarianinstitute.org
Fifty years ago, President Richard Nixon popped up on national television on a Thursday night to proudly announce that he invaded Cambodia. At that time, Nixon was selling himself as a peacemaker, promising to withdraw U.S. troops from the Vietnam War. But after the sixth time that Nixon watched the movie "Patton," he was overwhelmed by martial fervor and could not resist sending U.S. troops crashing into another nation.

Presidents had announced military action prior to Nixon's Cambodia surprise but there was a surreal element to Nixon's declaration that helped launch a new era of presidential grandstanding. Ever since then, presidents have routinely gone on television to announce foreign attacks that almost always provoke widespread applause -- at least initially.

Back in 1970, congressional Democrats were outraged and denounced Nixon for launching an illegal war. In his televised speech, Nixon also warned that "the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy will threaten free nations and free institutions throughout the world." Four days after Nixon's speech, Ohio National Guard troops suppressed the anarchist threat by gunning down thirteen antiwar protestors and bystanders on the campus of Kent State University, leaving four students dead.

Three years after Nixon's surprise invasion, Congress passed the War Powers Act which required the president to get authorization from Congress after committing U.S. troops to any combat situation that lasted more than 60 days. Congress was seeking to check out-of-control presidential war-making. But the law has failed to deter U.S. attacks abroad in the subsequent decades.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton launched a missile strike against Sudan after U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by terrorists. The U.S. government never produced any evidence linking the targets in Sudan to the terrorist attacks. The owners of the El-Shifa Pharmaceutical Industries plant -- the largest pharmaceutical factory in East Africa -- sued for compensation after Clinton's attack demolished their facility. Eleven years later, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit effectively dismissed the case: "President Clinton, in his capacity as commander in chief, fired missiles at a target of his choosing to pursue a military objective he had determined was in the national interest. Under the Constitution, this decision is immune from judicial review." Presidential determinations based on secret (and often false) information were sufficient to legally absolve any killings or calamities abroad.

In 1999, Clinton unilaterally attacked Serbia, killing up to 1,500 Serb civilians in a 78 day bombing campaign justified to force the Serb government to embrace human rights and ethnic tolerance. Serbia had taken no aggression against the United States, but that did not deter Clinton from bombing Serb marketplaces, hospitals, factories, bridges, and the nation's largest television station (which was supposedly guilty of broadcasting anti-NATO propaganda). The House of Representatives took a vote and failed to support Clinton's war effort, and 31 congressmen sued Clinton for violating the War Powers Act. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit after deciding that the congressmen did not have legal standing to sue. Most of the U.S. media ignored dead Serb women and children and instead portrayed the bombing as a triumph of American benevolence.

After the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush acted entitled to attack anywhere to "rid the world of evil." Congress speedily passed an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) which the Bush administration and subsequent presidents have asserted authorizes U.S. attacks on bad guys on any square mile on earth. Congressional and judicial restraints on Bush administration killing and torturing were practically nonexistent.

Bush's excesses spurred a brief resurgence of antiwar protests which largely vanished after the election of President Barack Obama, who quickly received a Nobel Peace Prize after taking office. That honorific did not dissuade Obama from bombing seven nations, often based on secret evidence accompanied by false denials of the civilian casualties inflicted by American bombings of weddings and other bad photo ops.

In 2011, Obama decided to bomb Libya because the U.S. disapproved of its ruler, Muammar Gaddafi. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton notified Congress that the White House "would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission." Plagiarizing the Bush administration, the Obama administration indicated that congressional restraints would be "an unconstitutional encroachment on executive power." Obama "had the constitutional authority" to attack Libya "because he could reasonably determine that such use of force was in the national interest," according to the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. Yale professor Bruce Ackerman lamented that "history will say that the War Powers Act was condemned to a quiet death by a president who had solemnly pledged, on the campaign trail, to put an end to indiscriminate warmaking."

On the campaign trail in 2016, Donald Trump denounced his opponent as "Trigger Happy Hillary" for her enthusiasm for foreign warring. But shortly after taking office, Trump reaped his greatest inside-the-Beltway applause for launching cruise missile strikes against the Syrian government after allegations the Assad regime had used chemical weapons.

The following year, the Trump administration joined France and Britain in bombing Syria after another alleged chemical weapons attack. Several officials with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons leaked information showing that the chemical weapons accusations against the Syria government were false or contrived but that was irrelevant to the legality of the U.S. attack.

Why? Because the Justice Department ruled that President Trump could "lawfully" attack Syria "because he had reasonably determined that the use of force would be in the national interest." That legal vindication for attacking Syria cited a Justice Department analysis on Cambodia from 1970 that stated that presidents could engage U.S. forces in hostilities abroad based on a "long continued practice on the part of the Executive, acquiesced in by the Congress." The Justice Department stressed that "no U.S. airplanes crossed into Syrian air-space" and that "the actual attack lasted only a few minutes." So the bombs didn't count? If a foreign government used the same argument to shrug off a few missiles launched at Washington D.C., no one in America would be swayed that the foreign regime had not committed an act of war. But it's different when the U.S. president orders killings.

In the decades since Nixon's Cambodia speech, presidents have avoided repeating his reference to America being perceived as "a pitiful, helpless giant." But too many presidents have repeated his refrain that failing to bomb abroad would mean that "our will and character" were tested and failed. Unfortunately, the anniversary of Nixon's invasion of Cambodia passed with little or no recognition that the unchecked power of American presidents remains a grave threat to world peace.

About Jim Bovard Jim Bovard is the author of Public Policy Hooligan (2012), Attention Deficit Democracy (2006), Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (1994), and 7 other books. He is a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, and other publications. His articles have been publicly denounced by the chief of the FBI, the Postmaster General, the Secretary of HUD, and the heads of the DEA, FEMA, and EEOC and numerous federal agencies.

[May 05, 2020] Five eyes, the anglosphere intel and propaganda warriors are the best in the world

Notable quotes:
"... When the people who made fake claims about Iraq's WMD, about Russiagate, about Iran's danger, are claiming that the thing isn't manmade, then either it's not manmade or it's US-made and the claim is a lie (what we expect from US intelligence agencies) and a cover-up. ..."
May 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , May 4 2020 20:57 utc | 35

In many Ways, Trump reminds me of a Hitler/Stalin admirer. He demands certain results; if you don't supply them, at least Trump will just fire you instead of having you shot or sent to the Gulag -- Evidence of the many IG firings as this article notes .

The daily lies and bald-faced propaganda is at the point where many are aware but still all too many remain oblivious or are Brown Shirts in all but outward appearance. Pompeo would be a perfect example of a clone if Hitler had a PR spokesperson spewing lies daily for the press & public to digest without any thinking. Imagine Hitler with Twitter.

None of the above is meant to denigrate; rather, it's to put them into proper perspective. I invite barflies to click here and just look at the headlines of the posted news items--that site's biggest failing was to omit similar criticism of Obama, Clinton, and D-Party pukes in general, although that doesn't render today's headlines false.

Will the coming Great Depression 2.0 be global or confined to NATO nations? As with the first Great Depression, it will be restricted to being Trans-Atlantic for that's where the dollar zone and Neoliberalism overlap. The emerging dollar-free Eurasian trade zone


Peter AU1 , May 4 2020 21:32 utc | 42

karlof1

Many of Goering's quotes are very accurate as to human nature. US took in Nazi and Japanese scientists. It wouldn't have left the propaganda behind. Goering's quote about taking people to war - nazi's were obviously very good at it as the Germans fought until the very end. US peasants will likely do the same.

Peter AU1 , May 4 2020 21:51 utc | 47
The anti China crap filling the MSM is anglosphere in origin. Five eyes, the anglosphere intel and propaganda warriors will be in it up to their eyeballs.
Clueless Joe , May 4 2020 21:52 utc | 48
When the people who made fake claims about Iraq's WMD, about Russiagate, about Iran's danger, are claiming that the thing isn't manmade, then either it's not manmade or it's US-made and the claim is a lie (what we expect from US intelligence agencies) and a cover-up. That said, odds are on the former, as far as I'm concerned. The absolutely sure thing is that it's not the Chinese who crafted it.
H.Schmatz , May 4 2020 22:05 utc | 49
@Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 4 2020 21:52 utc | 48

Indeed, this is the pattern, as happened with Skripals and Litvinenko, must be an anglo thing.

"The best defesne is a good attack"

[May 05, 2020] Is War With China Inevitable

Dec 13, 2013 | www.zerohedge.com
Submitted by Brandon Smith of Alt-Market blog ,

As a general rule, extreme economic decline is almost always followed by extreme international conflict. Sometimes, these disasters can be attributed to the human survival imperative and the desire to accumulate resources during crisis. But most often, war amid fiscal distress is usually a means for the political and financial elite to distract the masses away from their empty wallets and empty stomachs.

War galvanizes societies, usually under false pretenses . I'm not talking about superficial "police actions" or absurd crusades to "spread democracy" to Third World enclaves that don't want it. No, I'm talking about REAL war: war that threatens the fabric of a culture, war that tumbles violently across people's doorsteps. The reality of near-total annihilation is what oligarchs use to avoid blame for economic distress while molding nations and populations.

Because of the very predictable correlation between financial catastrophe and military conflagration, it makes quite a bit of sense for Americans today to be concerned. Never before in history has our country been so close to full-spectrum economic collapse, the kind that kills currencies and simultaneously plunges hundreds of millions of people into poverty. It is a collapse that has progressed thanks to the deliberate efforts of international financiers and central banks. It only follows that the mind-boggling scale of the situation would "require" a grand distraction to match.

It is difficult to predict what form this distraction will take and where it will begin, primarily because the elites have so many options. The Mideast is certainly an ever-looming possibility. Iran is a viable catalyst. Syria is not entirely off the table. Saudi Arabia and Israel are now essentially working together, forming a strange alliance that could promise considerable turmoil -- even without the aid of the United States. Plenty of Americans still fear the Al Qaeda bogeyman, and a terrorist attack is not hard to fabricate. However, when I look at the shift of economic power and military deployment, the potential danger areas appear to be growing not only in the dry deserts of Syria and Iran, but also in the politically volatile waters of the East China Sea.

China is THE key to any outright implosion of the U.S. monetary system. Other countries, like Saudi Arabia, may play a part; but ultimately it will be China that deals the decisive blow against the dollar's world reserve status. China's dollar and Treasury bond holdings could be used as a weapon to trigger a global sell-off of dollar-denominated assets. China has stopped future increases of dollar forex holdings, and has cut the use of the dollar in bilateral trade agreements with multiple countries. Oil-producing nations are shifting alliances to China because it is now the world's largest consumer of petroleum. And, China has clearly been preparing for this eventuality for years. So, given these circumstances, how can the U.S. government conceive of confrontation with the East? Challenging one's creditors to a duel does not usually end well. At the very least, it would be economic suicide. But perhaps that is the point. Perhaps America is meant to make this seemingly idiotic leap.

Here are just some of the signs of a buildup to conflict...

Currency Wars And Shooting Wars

In March 2009, U.S. military and intelligence officials gathered to participate in a simulated war game , a hypothetical economic struggle between the United States and China.

The conclusions of the war game were ominous. The participants determined that there was no way for the United States to win in an economic battle with China. The Chinese had a counterstrategy to every U.S. effort and an ace up their sleeve – namely, their U.S. dollar reserves, which they could use as a monetary neutron bomb, a chain reaction that would result in the abandonment of the dollar by exporters around the world . They also found that China has been quietly accumulating hard assets (including land and gold) across globe, using sovereign wealth funds, government-controlled front companies, and private equity funds to make the purchases. China could use these tangible assets as a hedge to protect against the eventual devaluation of its U.S. dollar and Treasury holdings, meaning the losses on its remaining U.S. financial investments was acceptable should it decide to crush the dollar.

The natural response of those skeptical of the war game and its findings is to claim that the American military would be the ultimate trump card and probable response to a Chinese economic threat. Of course, China's relationship with Russia suggests a possible alliance against such an action and would definitely negate the use of nuclear weapons (unless the elites plan nuclear Armageddon). That said, it is highly likely that the U.S. government would respond with military action to a Chinese dollar dump, not unlike Germany's rise to militarization and totalitarianism after the hyperinflationary implosion of the mark. The idea that anyone except the internationalists could "win" such a venture, though, is foolish.

I would suggest that this may actually be the plan of globalists in the United States and their counterparts in Asia and Europe. China's rise to financial prominence is not due to its economic prowess. In fact, China is ripe with poor fiscal judgment calls and infrastructure projects that have gone nowhere. But what China does have on its side are massive capital inflows from global banks and corporations, mainly based in the United States and the European Union. And, it has help in the spread of its currency (the Yuan) from entities like JPMorgan Chase and Co. The International Monetary Fund is seeking to include China in its global basket currency, the SDR, which would give China even more leverage to use in breaking the dollar's reserve status. Corporate financiers and central bankers have made it more than possible for China to kill the dollar , which they openly suggest is a "good thing."

Is it possible that the war game scenarios carried out by the Pentagon and elitist think-tanks like the RAND Corporation were not meant to prevent a war with China, but to ensure one takes place?

The Senkaku Islands

Every terrible war has a trigger point, an event that history books later claim "started it all." For the Spanish-American War, it was the bombing of the USS Maine. For World War I it was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. For U.S. involvement in World War I, it was the sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-Boat. For U.S. involvement in World War II, it was the attack on Pearl Harbor. For Vietnam, it was the Gulf of Tonkin Incident (I recommend readers look into the hidden history behind all of these events). While the initial outbreak of war always appears to be spontaneous, the reality is that most wars are planned far in advance.

As evidence indicates, China has been deliberately positioned to levy an economic blow against the United States. Our government is fully aware what the results of that attack will be, considering they have gamed the scenario multiple times. And, by RAND Corporation's own admission, China and the United States have been preparing for physical confrontation for some time, centered on the concept of pre-emptive strikes . Meaning, the response both sides have exclusively trained for in the event of confrontation is to attack the other first!

The seemingly simple and petty dispute over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea actually provides a perfect environment for the pre-emptive powder keg to explode.

China has recently declared an "air defense zone" that extends over the islands, which Japan has already claimed as its own. China, South Korea and the United States have all moved to defy this defense zone. South Korea has even extended its own air defense zone to overlap China's .

China has responded with warnings that its military aircraft will now monitor the region and demands that other nations provide it with civilian airline flight paths. China has also stated that it plans to create MORE arbitrary defense zones in the near future.

The U.S. government under Barack Obama has long planned a military shift into the Pacific, which is meant specifically to counter China's increased presence. It's almost as if the White House knew a confrontation was coming .

The shift is now accelerating due to the Senkaku situation, as the U.S. transfers submarine-hunting jets to Japan while pledging full support for Japan should war ignite.

And most recently, the Japanese press has suggested that war between the two countries could erupt as early as January .

China, with its limited navy, has focused more of its energy and funding into advanced missile technologies -- including "ship killers," which fly too low and fast to be detected with current radar. This is the same strategy of cheap compact precision warfare being adopted by countries like Syria and Iran, and it is designed specifically to disrupt tradition American military tactics.

Currently, very little diplomatic headway has been made or attempted in regards to the Senkaku Islands. The culmination of various ingredients so far makes for a sour stew.

All that is required now is that one trigger event -- that one ironic "twist of fate" that mainstream historians love so much, the spark that lights the fuse. China could suddenly sell a mass quantity of U.S. Treasuries, perhaps in response to the renewed debt debate next spring. The United States could use pre-emption to take down a Chinese military plane or submarine. A random missile could destroy a passenger airliner traveling through the defense zone, and both sides could blame each other. The point is nothing good could come from the escalation over Senkaku.

Why Is War Useful?

What could possibly be gained by fomenting a war between the United States and China? What could possibly be gained by throwing America's economy, the supposed "goose that lays the golden eggs", to the fiscal wolves? As stated earlier, distraction is paramount, and fear is valuable political and social capital.

Global financiers created the circumstances that have led to America's probable economic demise, but they don't want to be blamed for it. War provides the perfect cover for monetary collapse, and a war with China might become the cover to end all covers. The resulting fiscal damage and the terror Americans would face could be overwhelming. Activists who question the legitimacy of the U.S. government and its actions, once considered champions of free speech, could easily be labeled "treasonous" during wartime by authorities and the frightened masses. (If the government is willing to use the Internal Revenue Service against us today, just think about who it will send after us during the chaos of a losing war tomorrow.) A lockdown of civil liberties could be instituted behind the fog of this national panic.

Primarily, war tends to influence the masses to agree to more centralization, to relinquish their rights in the name of the "greater good", and to accept less transparency in government and more power in the hands of fewer people. Most important, though, is war's usefulness as a philosophical manipulation after the dust has settled.

After nearly every war of the 20 th and 21 st century, the subsequent propaganda implies one message in particular: National sovereignty, or nationalism, is the cause of all our problems. The establishment then claims that there is only one solution that will solve these problems: globalization. This article by Andrew Hunter , the chairman of the Australian Fabian Society, is exactly the kind of narrative I expect to hear if conflict arises between the United States and China.

National identity and sovereignty are the scapegoats, and the Fabians (globalist propagandists) are quick to point a finger. Their assertion is that nation states should no longer exist, borders should be erased and a one-world economic system and government should be founded. Only then will war and financial strife end. Who will be in charge of this interdependent one world utopia? I'll give you three guesses...

The Fabians, of course, make no mention of global bankers and their instigation of nearly every war and depression for the past 100 years; and these are invariably the same people that will end up in positions of authority if globalization comes to fruition. What the majority of people do not yet understand is that globalists have no loyalties to any particular country, and they are perfectly willing to sacrifice governments, economies, even entire cultures, in the pursuit of their "ideal society". "Order out of chaos" is their motto, after all. The bottom line is that a war between China and the United States will not be caused by national sovereignty. Rather, it will be caused by elitists looking for a way to END national sovereignty. That's why such a hypothetical conflict, a conflict that has been gamed by think tanks for years, is likely to be forced into reality.

[May 04, 2020] There is a disconnect between what average people feel as threats to their security and what the Beltway does

May 04, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

"There is a disconnect between what average people feel as threats to their security and what the Beltway does," said Khanna, "I don't dismiss traditional challenges. Obviously you have Russian aggression in Ukraine and Georgia, and Russian election interference. Obviously, you have the rise of China authoritarian capitalism and their foray into Africa and their potential disruption of the navigation of the seas."

Khanna said his constituents understand the challenges posed by Russia and China, but they want the country to balance these priorities against the need to prepare for future pandemics, the effects of climate change and the risks posed by cyberattacks and emerging technologies.

For years, the former threats have dominated American national security strategy - and federal spending priorities. "We have a $740 billion Pentagon budget," Khanna said. "That's $130 billion more than where Obama had it. To put that into context, that $130 billion could triple the NIH budget" and boost funds for the CDC and FEMA.

"In other words, if Trump had put that money into our public health, we would not have had this pandemic to the extent that we have," he continued. "We would have had testing earlier. We possibly could have had a faster track to a cure or to a vaccine."

Concern over this programmatic imbalance could also dog passage of the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act. Khanna said that progressives are likely to withhold support if the bill does not "show very compelling reasons" spending increases are tied directly to fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Asked if he thought moderate Democrats could join with Republicans to force the bill through the House, Khanna replied that he was "not dismissing" the possibility but warned that they would be "writing off a lot of the progressive base and the independent base."

Khanna says that he has learned from last year, when all the measures passed by the House were stripped out in conference with the Republican-controlled Senate. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on us. We're not going to pass a bill without an iron commitment that they're going to keep some of those top priorities." Included in his list are prohibitions for any unauthorized war with North Korea and with Iran, both passed last year by the House and stripped by the Senate.

Khanna hopes the House will serve as a proving ground for new ideas about the relationship between military spending and the nation's safety. "We need to have a new approach to national security in the 21st century," he said. "We need people in our generation who are not derivative thinkers, recycling what they learned from the Cold War, but who are willing to be original."

"I don't underestimate the status quo," Khanna concluded. "We can be optimistic and then end up defaulting to the same thinking and same people. But I'm hopeful that this crisis really will make us re-examine some of these questions."

"That's our challenge."

The entire interview with Rep. Khanna is available here on Press The Button starting at 10pm tonight.

Joe Cirincione is the president and Zack Brown a policy associate at Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation.

[May 04, 2020] Masks Over Missiles New Rules for Pentagon Funding Could Mean No New ICBMs The National Interest

May 04, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

Representative Ro Khanna (D.-CA) recently laid down some new rules for the Pentagon budget: Fund public health over weapons; freeze defense programs at current levels; resist Senate pressure to cave on House priorities; and develop a "modern, expansive definition of national security that includes the risk of pandemics and climate change." High on his list of possible cuts are the massive increases for new nuclear weapons proposed by President Donald Trump, including a freeze on the new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

High on his list of possible cuts are the massive increases for new nuclear weapons proposed by President Donald Trump, including a freeze on the new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). He will also press for sound national security policies to be included in the annual Pentagon spending bill and for the House leadership to defend these priorities.

"One place we're looking is to limit the modernization of ICBMs," he said in an interview on the national security podcast, Press The Button . Instead, Khanna wants Congress to "put that money into coronavirus research, or vaccine research, or developing manufacturing capacity for masks. I think those types of red lines are not only possible but would be politically very popular."

Khanna's views carry great weight with his colleagues and within national security circles. Serving his second term in the House, he is the first vice-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus , a member of the House Armed Services Committee , and was co-chair for Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign.

His opposition to the new missile comes just weeks after the U.S. Air Force announced it seeks to accelerate the missile program marked by cost overruns and a controversial bidding process that left Northrop Grumman as the sole contractor. The new missile could cost as much as $150 billion . Air Force program managers are speeding "to get things awarded on contract as quickly as possible," noted budget expert Todd Harrison, "so that becomes harder to reverse if there's a new administration."

Khanna called the land-based leg of the nuclear triad "one of the greatest threats of nuclear war," noting that former Secretary of Defense James Mattis once testified to their "false alarm danger." He said he is working with another former defense secretary, William Perry, who has termed these missiles "some of the most dangerous weapons in the world," and called for their phase-out.

Khanna's new rules could thwart the furious lobbying by defense contractors for billions of dollars in the next COVID aid package. He says these funds should be put into more critical areas and that defense contractors should get "not a dime." "We should not be increasing funding for industries that don't need it, that aren't critical to coronavirus, that aren't critical to our national security, that are just going to the defense industrial base," Khanna said. "It's just not the priority right now."

Khanna picked up some heavyweight support for this position when Rep. Adam Smith (D.-WA), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, announced last Wednesday that he, too, was opposed to new funds for defense contractors.

"The defense [budget] last year was $738 billion," said Smith. "I'm not saying that there aren't needs within the Department of Defense, I'm saying they have a lot of money and ought to spend that money to meet those needs." A letter by 62 national organizations to the House leadership last week also opposed any additional funds to the Pentagon this year.

This opposition by a leader of the Progressive Caucus and by the highest-ranking national security Democrat in Congress, moreover, comes amid growing calls for a fundamental rethink of U.S. national security in response to the pandemic.

... ... ...

For years, the former threats have dominated American national security strategy - and federal spending priorities. "We have a $740 billion Pentagon budget," Khanna said. "That's $130 billion more than where Obama had it. To put that into context, that $130 billion could triple the NIH budget" and boost funds for the CDC and FEMA.

"In other words, if Trump had put that money into our public health, we would not have had this pandemic to the extent that we have," he continued. "We would have had testing earlier. We possibly could have had a faster track to a cure or to a vaccine."

Concern over this programmatic imbalance could also dog passage of the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act. Khanna said that progressives are likely to withhold support if the bill does not "show very compelling reasons" spending increases are tied directly to fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Asked if he thought moderate Democrats could join with Republicans to force the bill through the House, Khanna replied that he was "not dismissing" the possibility but warned that they would be "writing off a lot of the progressive base and the independent base."

Khanna says that he has learned from last year, when all the measures passed by the House were stripped out in conference with the Republican-controlled Senate. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on us. We're not going to pass a bill without an iron commitment that they're going to keep some of those top priorities." Included in his list are prohibitions for any unauthorized war with North Korea and with Iran, both passed last year by the House and stripped by the Senate.

Khanna hopes the House will serve as a proving ground for new ideas about the relationship between military spending and the nation's safety. "We need to have a new approach to national security in the 21st century," he said. "We need people in our generation who are not derivative thinkers, recycling what they learned from the Cold War, but who are willing to be original."

"I don't underestimate the status quo," Khanna concluded. "We can be optimistic and then end up defaulting to the same thinking and same people. But I'm hopeful that this crisis really will make us re-examine some of these questions."

"That's our challenge."

The entire interview with Rep. Khanna is available here on Press The Button starting at 10pm tonight.

[May 03, 2020] Obama's Muslim Brotherhood Strategy, the 'War' Against Jihadism, and Russia's Syria Intervention Parts 1 and 2 Russian Eu

May 03, 2020 | gordonhahn.com

by Gordon M. Hahn

Part 1: The Obama Administration and the Muslim Brotherhood at Home

Introduction

Under a misguided illusion that Islamists can be regarded as moderates worthy of partnership with democracies and other civilized states in the war against jihadism, the Barack Obama administration has undertaken a series high-stakes, ideologically-driven and naive policy gambits driven by the U.S. president's dangerous sympathy for Islam. In and of itself such a sympathy is not necessarily a problem if it is moderate and indirectly influences a few, non-strategic policies. However, when it becomes the ideological foundation for U.S. foreign policy and strategy across the Muslim world, it is downright dangerous and a potentially catastrophic miscalculation. The upshot of Obama's miscalculation has been the simultaneous destabilization of whole regions of the world, the weakening of key allies, the alienation of potential ones, and the possibility that for the first time since World War Two the West and Eurasia will be riven by violence, terrorism and war.

The catastrophic failure of Obama's pro-Islamic foreign policy is shaping the perceptions and calculus of friends, enemies, foes, and 'frenemies' alike. For great powers, his policies offer risks and opportunities but, more importantly, they demand a complete re-thinking of what U.S. foreign policy goals are and a rapid policy response to the picture that comes out of such re-thinking. This has become especially true when it comes to the single great power the expanse of which stretches along the most of the Muslim world's northern periphery – Russia. Therefore, Moscow is in the grips of a major revamping and reinvigoration of its foreign policy activity along its southern periphery. In each case the need to do so can be reasonably argue to have been necessitated by American mistakes and failures–from South and Central Asia in the east to North Africa in the west.

Here I will focus on the most recent cases of the Arab Spring and demonstrate that the Obama administration has attempted to make alliances with Islamists as a buffer against global jihadism and a battering ram for destroying secular authoritarian regimes in the Muslim world despised by many liberals and the left, despite their use as a bulwark against radical political Islam. In three key cases of the so-called Arab Spring–Egypt, Libya, and Syria–the Obama administration has supported the radical global Islamist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The Egyptian case is well-known and will not be discussed here.

The pro-MB policy has been a fundamental miscalculation for several reasons. First, it assumed that democratic, moderately Islamic states led by the MB would follow secular authoritarian regimes. Instead, as the short-lived MB regime in Egypt demonstrated, an Islamist MB regime is no better and likely much worse than secular, even military-led regimes. The rise of Islamist authoritarianism after the fall of secular regimes is even better demonstrated by the upper hand that jihadist totalitarian groups have in the chaos of post-secular regimes across those parts of the Muslim world thrown into chaos with the help of U.S. policy.

Second, it assumed an impermeable line between the global Islamist revolutionary movement, led by groups such as the MB and Hizb ut-Tahrir Islami (HTI), and the global jihadi revolutionary movement, led by the Islamic State or IS (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) and Al Qa`ida (AQ). The former type of group is often a half-way house for radicalized Muslims heading towards the path of jihad. Like their jihadi counterparts, the MB and other radical Islamist revolutionary groups favor a global caliphate based on the rule of Shariah law. The difference lies in the strategies and tactics for getting there. By backing the MB, the U.S. facilitated jihadi agitation and propaganda, recruiting, and arms acquisition fueling the global jihadi revolutionary movement.

Part 1: The Obama Administration and the Muslim Brotherhood at Home

There is a logic President Obama's policy bias in favor of the MB. President Obama's biographical and radical leftist background lends him a great pro-Muslim feeling that often attains absurd proportions. After all, he spent many of his most formative childhood years in Indonesia, went to a madrassah school there, and stated in his autobiography that the most beautiful sound he ever heard is the Islamic azan or call to prayer. The president apparently believes that Islam and Muslims have been an instrumental part of America since its founding. In his 2009 Cairo speech, which the administration claimed sparked the MB-led Egyptian revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in September 2012, President Obama claimed to "know" that "Islam has always been a part of America's story" (www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-cairo-university-6-04-09). In a 2010 speech marking the end of Ramadan, Obama asserted: "Islam has always been part of America" (www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/08/11/statement-president-occasion-ramadan). In February 2015 he stated: "Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding" ( http://cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/obama-islam-has-been-woven-fabric-our-country-its-founding ). In short, President Obama has a bias in favor of Islam–indeed, a hyper-empathy that goes over the line into fantasy. Given these realities, it might be expected that this sentiment would be reflected in the American President's foreign policy. In fact, it is.

There is now a boat load of evidence that the Obama administration has brought in officials and advisors from radical Muslim circles–in particular those from groups fronting for, or tied to the MB–who espouse Islamist, anti-semitic, and anti-American points of view similar to those MB proposes. Until Hillary Clinton's resignation as US Secretary of State, MB links connected two high-ranking Obama administration officials: Clinton's chief of staff Huma Abedin and current special assistant to the National Security Council Chief of Staff for the military's Islamic chaplain program Mehdi K. Alhassani. The specific link is the Muslim World League (MWL), indicted for financing Al Qa`ida (AQ) front groups. MWL successor groups have been officially designated terrorist organizations by both the State Department and the United Nations (Aaron Klein, "White House aide linked to al-Qaida funder," Counter Jihad Report , 9 May 2014, http://counterjihadreport.com/tag/mehdi-k-alhassani/ ).

A link between these two and MB is the Muslim Student Association (MSA) with branches in hundreds of universities across America. The nationwide umbrella organization MSA has extensive proven ties to the MB ("The Muslim Students Association and and the Jihadi Network," Terrorism Awareness Project, 2008 http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/Articles/MSA%20and%20Jihad%20Network%20v5b-1.pdf ). The MSA's official anthem restates MB's credo:

Allah is our objective

The Prophet is our leader

The Quran is our law

Jihad is our way

Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.

Abedin served on the board of the MSA at George Washington University in 1997 ( http://shoebat.com/2014/05/03/distribution-list-smoking-gun-benghazi-email-included-muslim-brotherhood-agent/ ). The GWU MSA was founded by Muslim Brotherhood activists with start-up funding provided by the Saudi Arabian charity the Muslim World League or MWL founded in Mecca in 1962. From 2005 to 2006 Alhassani was the GWU MSA's president (Aaron Klein, "White House aide linked to al-Qaida funder," Counter Jihad Report , 9 May 2014, http://counterjihadreport.com/tag/mehdi-k-alhassani/ ). In 2001 AQ in the Arabian Peninsula's American leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who inspired Fort Hood jihadist Nidal Malik Hasan, became the chaplain for the GWU MSA chapter ( http://shoebat.com/2014/05/03/distribution-list-smoking-gun-benghazi-email-included-muslim-brotherhood-agent/ ).

Huma worked with Abdullah Omar Naseef on the editorial board of her father's Saudi-financed think tank, the Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA). Huma was there from 2002-2008, and Naseef was there from December 2002 – December 2003. Naseef left the JMMA editorial board at a time when various charities led by Naseef's MWL were declared illegal terrorism fronts worldwide, including by the U.S. and U.N. Naseef is still the MWL's secretary-general. Huma's mother, Saleha, is the editor of the IMMA's Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (JMMA), the publication of Syed's institute ( http://shoebat.com/2014/05/03/distribution-list-smoking-gun-benghazi-email-included-muslim-brotherhood-agent/ ). Its latest issue (Vol. 35, Issue 4, 2015) features the lead article "Muslims in Western Media: New Zealand Newspapers' Construction of 2006 Terror Plot at Heathrow Airport and Beyond," a study of alleged Islamophobia, in which the institute specializes ( www.tandfonline.com/toc/cjmm20/current ). Saleha Abedin is also a MWL representative.

The MWL and its various offshoots, including the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) and Al Haramain, have been accused of having terrorist ties. Al Haramain was declared a terror-financing front organization by the U.S. and U.N. with direct ties to Osama bin Laden and banned both in the U.S. and worldwide. The Anti-Defamation League accuses the MWL of proselytizing a "fundamentalist interpretation of Islam around the world through a large network of charities and affiliated organizations" and notes that "several of its affiliated groups and individuals have been linked to terror-related activity." In 2003, U.S. News and World Report documented "a blizzard of Wahhabist literature" accompanied MWL's donations ( http://shoebat.com/2014/05/03/distribution-list-smoking-gun-benghazi-email-included-muslim-brotherhood-agent/ ).

Both Abedin and Alhassani were links in the Obama's administration's strategic communications (propaganda) operation to pin the 11 September 2012 Bengazi attack that killed the US ambassador to Libya and three CIA operatives on an Internet film instead of an AQ affiliate's attack. In an email obtained under a Judicial Watch lawsuit sent to Alhassani and other officials from Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser for strategic communication sent an email to Alhassani and several other administration officials three days after the three days after the Benghazi attack indicating the need to "underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy." Another email indicates that US Ambassador to the UN Susana Rice was prepped on the Saturday before her Sunday tour of talk shows where she repeated the video story and other elements cantained in the email's talking points (See p. 14 of the PDF of several documents at, http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/1919_production-4-17-14.pdf#page=14 ).

An Egyptian newspaper claimed in December 2012 that six Muslims in particular have direct ties to the MB or are even MB members. Four are adiminstration officials or semi-officials, and three of these deserve scrutiny: assistant secretary for policy development at the Homeland Security Department (HSD) Arif Alikhan; HSD Advisory Council member Mohammed Elibiary; and U.S. special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference Rashad Hussain ( www.investigativeproject.org/3608/dawud-walid-the-quran-and-jews and Ahmed Shawki, "A man and 6 of the Brotherhood in the White House!," Rose El-Youssef, 22 December 2012, www.rosa-magazine.com/News/3444/%D8%B1%D8%AC%D9%84%D9%886-%D8%A5%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%81%D9%89-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%B6 ). To be sure, the Egyptian article appears to be overstated in claiming these persons' MB membership. The piece was likely part of a strategic communications operation carried out by opponents of the MB regime that overthrew Mubarak and backed the post-MB Egyptian government of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi counter-revolution. Nevertheless, the Obama administration's appointment of these officials or plenipotentiaries as well as several other Muslim-American leaders -- in particular, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) president Imam Mohamed Magid and and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) co-founder Salam al-Marayati -- is disturbing given their indirect MB associations and MB-like Islamist political and theological views.

The biggest knock against DHS assistant secretary for policy development Arif Alikhan has been the endorsement by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of his appointment. CAIR has defended terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah as liberation movements. It also was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas terrorism funding case, and several of its former officials have been convicted of terrorism-related charges. A lesser rap is that Alikhan attended a fundraiser for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) just days before his appointment. MPAC has a similar history of defending Hamas ( http://www.jihadwatch.org/2009/07/new-dhs-official-linked-to-muslim-public-affairs-council-which-calls-hizballah-a-liberation-movement ). The Egyptian publication claimed that Alikhan is a founder of the World Islamic Organization (WIO), which it characterizes as a Brotherhood "subsidiary" ( www.investigativeproject.org/3869/egyptian-magazine-muslim-brotherhood-infiltrates# ). These indictments of Alikhan seem less than convincing as evidence of MB ties.

Much more disturbing was the appointment in 2010 to the DHS Advisory Council (HSAC) member of Mohammed Elibiary, released from his position in September 2014 amidst reports of a coverup involving his misuse of secret documents ( http://freebeacon.com/issues/controversial-dhs-adviser-let-go-amid-allegations-of-cover-up/ ). Before his HSAC appointment Elibiary was known to have publicly praised the MB's leading philosopher Sayyid Qutb, the leader of Iran's Islamist revolution Ayatollah Khomeini, and a radical New York imam Siraj Wahhaj, who was an unindicted co-conspiratr in the World Trade bombing case and was a defense character witness for the jihadist 'Blind Sheikh' Omar Abdel Rahman ( www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/mohamed-elibiary-homeland-security/ and www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/712.pdf ).

While on the HSAC Elibiary was caught having tweeted that it is "onevitable that the caliphate returns" ( http://freebeacon.com/national-security/senior-dhs-adviser-brags-inevitable-that-caliphate-returns/ ). His tweets were later used by ISIL for propaganda and recruitment purposes ( http://freebeacon.com/national-security/isil-celebrates-dhs-advisers-anti-american-tweets-on-return-of-caliphate/ ). Echoing his appointer, Pressident Obama, Elibiary claimed in November 2013 that America is "an Islamic country with an Islamically compliant constitution" and that the Muslim Brotherhood poses no threat to the U.S. ( http://freebeacon.com/national-security/dhs-adviser-tweets-america-an-islamic-country/ ).

The funding for Elibiary's own community organizing activity has been shrouded in secrecy. He is co-founder, president and CEO of the Freedom and Justice Foundation (FJF), founded in November 2002 "to promote government relations and "interfaith community relations for the organized Texas Muslim community." The IRS revoked the FJF's nonprofit status in May 2010 for failure to file the requisite forms that would have revealed its source of funding. Moreover, his FJF has never filed a Texas Franchise Tax Public Information Report. He also has ties to CAIR. The North Texas Islamic Council (NTIC) or Texas Islamic Council (TIC) is a FJF affiliate, and Elibiary is a registered NTIV agent for the NTIC. One of the NTIC's directors is H. Mustafaa Carroll, who is the executive director of CAIR's Houston chapter. Elibiary has described the writings of Qutb, the chief ideologist of the MB and a major source for global Islamist and jihadist revolutionaries alike, as having ""the potential for a strong spiritual rebirth that's truly ecumenical allowing all faiths practiced in America to enrich us and motivate us to serve God better by serving our fellow man more" ( www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/712.pdf ).

According to an investigation by the Washington Free Beacon, Elibiary was at the center of a scandal involving the "inappropriate disclosure of sensitive law enforcement documents" resulting from his access to DHS's secure HS-SLIC system, according to a DHS letter. The case has been "shrouded in mystery, with various officials providing unclear and at times contradictory answers about whether DHS ever properly investigated." The allegation was that Elibiary "inappropriately accessed classified documents from a secure site and may have attempted to pass them to reporters." As part of his role on the HSAC, Elibiary "was provided access to a network containing sensitive but unclassified information," according to the July 2014 DHS letter U.S. congressman Louis Gohmert (Republican from Texas). DHS claimed that its 2011 investigation "found no credible information" that Elibiary "disclosed or sought to disclose 'For Official Use Only' information to members of the media." Nor did DHS "find any indication that he sought to disclose any other internal OHS [Office of Homeland Security] information to anyone apart from official use of information within the scope of his role for the Homeland Security Advisory Council," according to the letter states.

However, DHS's denials are contradicted by documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Judicial Watch, which indicate that there was never a proper investigation into Elibiary's actions. In a September 2013 letter DHS informed Judicial Watch in fact that it could not find investigation records connected to the matter. This conflicting information suggests a cover up of the fact that there was no investigation, as congressman Gohmert notes, and that Elibiary was let go from the HSAC to lock in the cover up. Terrorism expert Patrick Poole concluded that any DHS investigation that might have occurred was "phony," since it failed to contact him and his source, which led to the first public allegations of Elibiary's misuse of documents. "(W)hen DHS couldn't provide a single email or document in response to the Judicial Watch FOIA to prove this investigation ever took place, the jig was up," Poole noted ( http://freebeacon.com/issues/controversial-dhs-adviser-let-go-amid-allegations-of-cover-up/ ; see also www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/mohamed-elibiary-homeland-security/ ).

President Obama's originally appointed Rashad Hussain as his special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). In February 2015 Hussain was promoted to the position of director of the U.S. State Department's Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (www.jewsnews.co.il/2015/02/26/obama-appoints-muslim-brotherhood-linked-muslim-to-head-center-for-strategic-counterterrorism-communications/). Hussain previously served on Critical Islamic Reflections program organizing committee with the founder of Zaytuna College, Imam Zaid Shakir ( http://www.yale.edu/cir/2004/about.html ). Shakir's co-founder is Hamza Yusuf, who has said that jihadist Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, convicted in the Al Qa`ida conspiracy to bomb New York landmarks in the 1990s, was tried unjustly ( www.investigativeproject.org/2778/ipt-profiles-hamza-yusuf ).

Speaking at a MSA conference in 2004 Hussain condemned the U.S. Justice Department for "politically motivated persecutions" in prosecuting the soon-to-be convicted terrorism supporter Sami Al-Arian, a University of South Florida computer engineering professor. He also called the legal process "sad commentary on our legal system," "a travesty of justice," and "atrocious" (www.politico.com/story/2010/02/islam-envoy-retreats-on-terror-talk-033210#ixzz0g5R9A5gl). One wonders what legal system Hussain would prefer to the American system of justice. In 2006 the good professor pleaded guilty to one count of "(c)onspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian jihadist organization, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a U.S. State Department 'Specially Designated Terrorist organization'" and was sentenced to 57 months in prison (www.investigativeproject.org/profile/100/sami-al-arian). The judge in the case said there was evidence that Al-Arian served on PIJ's governing board. Al-Arian successfully had lied about his ties to the terrorist group for ten years. For his part, Hussain lied in 2006 about the fact that he made the noted 2004 remarks condemning the Justice Department for 'persecutions', only to be forced to admit he had lied after being subjected to media scrutiny in the wake of his appointment. (www.investigativeproject.org/1809/how-are-these-not-considered-lies). According to the watchdog group Global Mulsim Brotherhood Watch, Hussain has a long record of attending MB-tied conferences, including a May 2009 conference organized by MB-tied groups like the MSA (www.globalmbwatch.com/2010/02/20/breaking-news-rashad-hussain-admits-making-controversial-comments-and-asking-for-deletion/).

In addition such to appointments, Obama administration grant-giving has rewarded radical Muslims, including open anti-Semites. Director of the Michigan branch of MB front group CAIR, Dawud Walid, has traveled abroad at least twice on U.S State Department funds, using a 2010 trip to Mali to criticize America's treatment of Muslims after 9/11. But it gets worse. In a 25 May 2012 sermon at the Islamic Organization of North America mosque in Warren, Michigan, Walid asked rhetorically: "Who are those who incurred the wrath of Allah?" Walid answered: "They are the Jews, they are the Jews." He also has stated: "One of the greatest social ills facing American today is Islamophobia, and anti-Muslim bigotry. And if you trace the organizations and the main advocates and activists in Islamophobia in America, you will see that all those organizations are pro-Israeli occupation organizations and activists." Walid's anti-American bias is reflected in his view that the 2009 shooting death of a Detroit imam was unjust, despite the imam's refusal of police orders to lay down his weapon and surrender and his fire at police first ( www.investigativeproject.org/3608/dawud-walid-the-quran-and-jews ).

Obama's ties to Muslims with anti-American and radical leanings predate his election to the presidency. The Obama campaign's Muslim outreach adviser Mazen Asbahi was forced to resign in August 2008 after Wall Street Journal article unmasked his indirect radical and MB ties. In 2000, Asbahi served on the board of the Islamic investment fund Allied Assets Advisors Fund (AAAF), a Delaware-registered trust. Asbahi also has been a frequent speaker before several U.S.-based groups that scholars associate with the MB. AAAF is a subsidiary of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), which receives funding from the government of Saudi Arabia and holds the title to many U.S. mosques in the U.S. NAIT promotes fundamentalist Islam compatible with both the ideology of MB and Saudi Arabian Wahhabism. Other AAAF board members at the time included one Jamal Sayid, the imam at a fundamentalist mosque in Illinois the Bridgeview Mosque in Bridgeview, Ill., outside Chicago. Sayid served on the AAAF board until 2005. The Justice Department designated the imam an unindicted co-conspirator in a 2007 racketeering trial of several alleged Hamas fund-raisers, which ended in a mistrial. Sayid has been identified as a leading Hamas member in numerous news reports since 1993. (www.wsj.com/articles/SB121797906741214995 and http://www.globalmbwatch.com/2008/08/06/breaking-news-obama-advisor-resigns-after-wall-street-journal-report/ ). Asbahi reportedly has connections to two other MB-linked organizations, the Institute For Social Policy And Understanding and SA Consulting. One of the latter's three managers is Omer Totonji, the apparent son of Iraqi-born U.S. Muslim Brotherhood founder Ahmed Totonji (www.globalmbwatch.com/2008/08/01/breaking-news-obama-top-muslim-adviser-part-of-two-more-organizations-tied-to-us-muslim-brotherhood/).

The White House's 'go to' imam is Mahomed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), to which Asbahi also has ties (www.globalmbwatch.com/2008/08/01/breaking-news-obama-top-muslim-adviser-part-of-two-more-organizations-tied-to-us-muslim-brotherhood/). Although Magid has been involved in outreach to Jews at the US Holocaust Museum and the gay community, he has also awarded an American Muslim who has verbally attacked Jews on an Islamist ideo-theological basis. Magid is often invited to attend administration speeches on US Middle East policy at the State Department, has advised the FBI and the Justice Department to criminalize defamation of Islam, and is a member of the Department of Homeland Security's Countering Violent Extremism Working Group. He also advises other federal agencies. In 2012 Magid's ISNA organized a "Diversity Forum" at which Magid gave a diversity award to CAIR Michigan branch director Dawud Walid, just weeks after Walid's sermon at the Islamic Organization of America (IOA) mosque in Warren, Michigan, in which he claimed Jews had incurred the wrath of Allah (www.investigativeproject.org/3608/dawud-walid-the-quran-and-jews and https://pjmedia.com/blog/obamas-shariah-czar-mohamed-magid-hands-diversity-award-to-jew-hater-dawud-walid ).

Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) co-founder and director Salam al-Marayati is a frequent White House visitor and administration consultant (www.mpac.org/programs/government-relations.php). Marayati has said that Israel should have been added to the "suspect list" for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks ( http://theblacksphere.net/2013/04/devout-muslims-in-key-positions-in-the-white-house/ ). MPAC has stated Muslims should be "confronting a nation of cowards," speaking of the United States in the words of former U.S. Attorney General ( www.mpac.org/programs/government-relations/ferguson-confronting-a-nation-of-cowards.php ). Marayati's MPAC spokeswoman in 2007, one Edina Lekovic, was editor of Al-Talib: The Muslim News Magazine at UCLA , for its July 1999 issue which praised Osama bin Laden as a "glorious mujahed" and in 2007 lied on national television about it, for which she was later fully exposed by Investigative Project director Stephen Emerson (www.investigativeproject.org/293/ms-lekovica-dozen-printing-mistakes). By the early 2000s, if not much during Ms Lekovic's years at UCLA, the UCLA MSA was engaged in Islamist and anti-Semitic propaganda and agitation, including support for the publication (www.discoverthenetworks.org/Articles/MSA%20and%20Jihad%20Network%20v5b-1.pdf). CAIR was affiliated with the university paper, with its southern California chapter's director sitting on Al-Talib 's editorial board (www.investigativeproject.org/271/mpac-cair-and-praising-osama-bin-laden). The UCLA MSA was also intimately involved with the newspaper's publishing and protest activity attacking Jews (www.discoverthenetworks.org/Articles/MSA%20and%20Jihad%20Network%20v5b-1.pdf and www.danielpipes.org/blog/2003/06/cairs-legal-tribulations ).

Given all of the above, it is certainly not unreasonable to suspect that President Obama's Cairo speech was intended to lend support to the world's most powerful MB branch -- that in Egypt. The Obama administration's warm support for Egypt's MB-led revolution and short-lived regime and cold shoulder to Gen. Sisi's government is well-known and speaks for itself.

Part 2: The Obama Administration and the MB Abroad

Abroad, President Obama's sympathy for semi-Islamist, MB-like elements at home was soon reflected in his foreign policy. In 2011 Obama issued a secret directive called Presidential Study Directive-11, or PSD-11, which, according to the Washington Times, outlined a strategy for backing the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East as a strategy for supporting reform and blocking jihadism's advances in the region ( https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/3/inside-the-ring-muslim-brotherhood-has-obamas-secr/ ).

It appears to have been the foundation of the Obama administration's overall strategy in the Middle East and North Africa and the war against jihadism. It would be evident in the administration's policy failures in Egypt, Libya, Iraq, and Syria. Those failures would influence U.S. relations with allies and competitors, especially the other major powers in the region – Russia and Turkey – putting them on a collision course as they attempted a region in free-fall collapse as a result, for the most part, of American policies.

Egypt

The Obama administration first encouraged the MB-led overthrow of Hosni Mubarak's secular Arab nationalist regime in Egypt, and then openly supported the new MB 'democracy.' Thus, the U.S. was backing the overthrow of the leader who had repressed the MB in the wake of the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in October 1981, in which the some MB members were involved but not the main actors. Thus, President Obama invited MB leader and new Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to the White House, a strong endorsement from any U.S. president. After President Obama's November 2012 meeting with the MB's now Egyptian President Morsi, Obama told his aides that he "sensed an engineer's precision with surprisingly little ideology" (www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/world/middleeast/egypt-leader-and-obama-forge-link-in-gaza-deal.html?pagewanted=1&_r=4&src=un&feedurl=http:/json8.nytimes.com/pages/world/middleeast/index.jsonp&pagewanted=all&). This was at a time when the Israeli incursion in Gaza was at its peak and Egyptian MB officials were issuing the most harsh and sometimes jihadist and racist statements in relation to Israel and Jews. Just days before Obama met with Morsi, the latter declared in Cairo's Al-Azhar mosque: "The leaders of Egypt are enraged and are moving to prevent the aggression on the people of Palestine in Gaza. We in Egypt stand with Gaza," he said. "[W]e are with them in one trench, that he who hits them, hits us; that this blood which flows from their children, it, it is like the blood flowing from the bodies of our children and our sons, may this never happen." At the same time, the chairman of Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party, Saad Katatni was making threats of jihad against Israel: "We are with you (Gaza) in your jihad. We have come here to send a message from here to the Zionist entity, to the Zionist enemy. And we say to them, Egypt is no longer. Egypt is no longer after the revolution a strategic treasure for you. Egypt was and still is a strategic treasury for our brothers in Palestine; a strategic treasure for Gaza; a strategic treasure for all the oppressed" (www.investigativeproject.org/3827/obama-administration-oversells-morsi).

MB officials and its official website in fact issued a series of anti-Semitic and jihadi calls. During one MB-organized protest at the time, preacher Muhammad Ragab called on Muslims "to raise the banner of jihad against the tyrannical, invading and wicked sons of apes and pigs [i.e., the Jews], and to unite against the enemies of Allah." MB website articles described "Zionists" as "apes and pigs," "scum of the earth," "prophet murderers," or "infidels." For example, MB General Guide Dr. Muhammad Badi issued various jihidist and anti-Semitic calls and motifs, including a quote of the hadith of "the rocks and the trees" – a well-known Islamic antisemitic motif–also found in Hamas's founding charter–according to which the Muslims will fight and kill the Jews before the Day of Judgment. The MB also repeatedly thanked God for the deaths of Israeli civilians during the killed by rockets (www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/6836.htm).

The Obama administration has never criticized the Egyptian MB or any other MB branch for pro-Hamas and pro-jihad rhetoric whether from Morsi, Katatni, or their 'ikhwan' associates. In addition, he nor any U.S. official ever threatened sanctions as the new MB regime allowed Islamist elements to attack Coptic Christians, and he was reluctant to support the overthrow of the MB regime and the return to power of the now military-backed Arab nationalist rule under Gen. Sisi.

Indeed, when confronted by a journalist on the issue, then State Department spokeswoman and architect of State's remarkably similarly failed Ukraine policy, Victoria Nuland responded: "Well, I'm obviously not, from this podium, going to characterize the Egyptian view, nor am I going to speak for them and characterize our private diplomatic conversations. We all agree on the need to de-escalate this conflict, and the question is for everybody to use their influence that they have to try to get there" (www.investigativeproject.org/3827/obama-administration-oversells-morsi). This pro-MB policy orientation was mirrored in the events in Libya and elsewhere that soon followed.

Libya

The administration then directly intervened to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi regime in Libya–another country with a considerable MB presence–in violation of a UN resolution limiting NATO action to establishing a no-fly zone backed by Russia by its abstention in the UN Security Council vote. The overthrow of Qaddafi first led to minimal change after elections and eventually anarchy and a civil war, which rages to this day. The parliamentary elections of July 2012 saw National Transition Council president Mustafa Abdul Jalil's party take the most votes, but Jalil represented limited change having been the economic advisor of Qaddafi's son. The elections also provided an opening for the MB, which finished in second place. But these elections failed in strengthening regime or consolidating democracy, and the country soon melted down into civil war, with jihadi elements supplementing the Islamist trend represented by the MB.

The Obama administration pattern of supporting MB and, unwittingly through it, jihadi elements such as AQ first emerged in Libya in 2011. In the words of the Citizens' Commission on Benghazi (CCB) -- founded in September 2013 and including among its members former US Congressman Peter Hoekstra and numerous former CIA and military officers -- the Obama administration "switched sides in the war on terrorism" ( www.aim.org/benghazi/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CCB-Interim-Report-4-22-2014.pdf ). CCB member and former CIA officer Clare Lopez concludes that "the Qaddafi opposition was led by the Muslim Brotherhood and the fighting militia was dominated by al-Qaida. That's who we helped" ( http://counterjihadreport.com/tag/mustafa-abdul-jalil/ ).

A December 2015 FOIA release of emails of then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton show that from the outset of protests in Libya the Obama administration was aware of AQ's presence in the U.S. backed opposition and anti-Qaddafi rebels' war crimes and had sent special ops trainers inside Libya from nearly the start of the protests, and concerned regarding oil access for Western firms, Qaddafi's gold and silver reserves and his plans for a gold-backed currency that might weaken Western currencies. Thus, Clinton's unofficial advisor and envoy to the region, Sidney Blumenthal refers in one email to "an extremely sensitive source" who confirmed that British, French, and Egyptian special ops forces were training the Libyan rebels along the Egyptian-Libyan border and in Benghazi's suburbs within a month of the first ant-Qaddafi protests which began in Benghazi in mid-February 2011. By March 27 what was repeatedly being referred to as a popular revolt involved foreign agents "overseeing the transfer of weapons and supplies to the rebels" of the National Libyan Council (NLC) opposition front, including "a seemingly endless supply of AK47 assault rifles and ammunition." Blumenthal then notes that "radical/terrorist groups such as the Libyan Fighting Groups and Al Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) are infiltrating the NLC and its military command." Moreover, Blumenthal reported to her that "one rebel commander stated that his troops continue to summarily execute all foreign mercenaries captured in the fighting." The commander was using a label–'foreign mercenaries'–used by opposition forces for the black Libyans favored under his regime and apparently was not referring to the Western special forces training and backing the rebels, whose atrocities of Libyan blacks were well-documented at the time by human rights groups the U.S. government often cites. Furthermore, Blumenthal states that the stories of Qaddafi's forces engaging in mass rape and his distributing Viagra to encourage them were only rumors, and yet these rumors became a charge leveled officially by Clinton in a State Department statement, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice at the UN itself, and numerous Western officials and media. The claims were shown in July 2011 by Amnesty International to have been very likely false and initiated by the rebels ( www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/01/06/new-hillary-emails-reveal-true-motive-for-libya-intervention/ with links to original sources). The above-mentioned CCB investigation, based on interviews with sources in U.S. intelligence agencies and the military, concludes that the U.S. facilitated delivery of weapons and military support to Libyan rebels from the MB who were linked to AQ, including the AQ cell that undertook the Bengazi consulate attack that killed U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and three CIA operatives.( www.aim.org/benghazi/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CCB-Interim-Report-4-22-2014.pdf ).

A New York Times investigation confirms the interpretation supported by the recently disclosed documents and CCB investigation. Secretary of State Clinton, whose ear Huma Abedin had, provided the pivotal support convincing the president first to back a UN resolution on a no-fly zone and disabling Qaddafi's command and control. Clinton also led the push inside the administration to upgrade from that policy to one of pursuing a rebel victory and a strategy of letting its allies supply weapons to the rebels and knowingly and willfully exceed the UN resolution's legal writ. Almost immediately after the UN resolution's adoption and well before Qadaffi was killed, the U.S. was providing assistance that went far beyond that necessary to secure a no-fly zone. According to former CIA Director, General David Petraeus, the United States was then already providing "a continuing supply of precision munitions, combat search and, and surveillance." Throughout spring 2011, the Obama administration looked the other way as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates supplied the rebels with lethal weapons, according to the Defense Secretary Robert Gates and others, and Clinton knew and was ostensibly "concerned that Qatar, in particular, was sending arms only to militias from the city of Misurata and select Islamist brigades." The State Department's Libya policy adviser Daniel Shapiro acknowledged to the NYT that the goal no longer was enforcing a no-fly zone but "winning" and "winning quickly enough," the latter goal perhaps connected with U.S. domestic politics and the presidential election little more than a year away. US State Department's Policy Planning Director Anne-Marie Slaughter confirmed in the NYT article that the U.S. "did not try to protect civilians on Qaddafi's side" (Jo Becker and Scott Shane, "The Libya Gamble, Part 1: Hillary Clinton's 'Soft Power' and a Dictator's Fall," New York Times , 27 February 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/us/politics/hillary-clinton-libya.html?emc=edit_th_20160228&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=59962778&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=%2ASituation%20Report&_r=0).

Clinton was unusually interested–on "the activist side"–in having the U.S. take part, if a clandestine part in the supply of weapons to "secular" Libyan rebels "to counter Qatar" and the threat of lost influence. However, senior military officials, such as NATO's supreme allied commander, Adm. James G. Stavridis and Obama's national security adviser Tom Donilon warned that there were signs, "flickers." of Al Qaeda within the opposition and the administration would not be able to ensure that weapons would not fall into Islamist extremists's hands. This was a 'flicker' of the tragedies in Benghazi and Syria yet to come(Becker and Scott Shane, "The Libya Gamble, Part 1: Hillary Clinton's 'Soft Power' and a Dictator's Fall").

The CCB and the NYT also concluded that Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi had communicated to the U.S. his willingness to resign and depart from Libya and that the U.S. facilitated the delivery of arms to Libyan MB rebels tied to AQ in the person of its North African affiliate, AQ in Maghreb or AQIM. Moreover, the investigation found that the U.S. ignored Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's called for a truce and expressed a readiness to abdicate shortly after the 2011 Libyan revolt began but was ignored or rebuffed by U.S. officials leading to "extensive loss of life (including four Americans), chaos, and detrimental outcomes for U.S. national security objectives across the region" ( www.aim.org/benghazi/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CCB-Interim-Report-4-22-2014.pdf ). There was another plan supported by State Department policy planning director Slaughter to have Qaddafi step down in favor of one his sons, but this was also rejected by Clinton in favor of supporting the rebels to victory and violating international law established by the UN resolution (Becker and Scott Shane, "The Libya Gamble, Part 1: Hillary Clinton's 'Soft Power' and a Dictator's Fall").

The CCB's broader conclusions about the Islamist revolution in U.S. counter-jihadism policy is backed up by revelations from other newly disclosed documents regarding the debacle in Syria. The Obama administration's MB policy in Libya–which was already getting out of control and would turn Libya into a failed state, a jihadi and in particular IS stronghold, and a main source of Europe's refugee deluge–would be applied to Syria as well with even more disastrous results. Documents show that the U.S. administration was well aware that no later than October 2012 weapons of the formerly Qaddafi-led Lybian army were being sent from Libyan MB and AQ rebels to the increasingly jhadist-dominated Syrian opposition.

Obama, the MB, and Jihadists in Syria

When the Syrian revolt began in Daraa on March 18, 2011, the Syrian MB only existed abroad, having been exiled by Hafez al-Assad, Bashar's father and predecessor. However, its support abroad translated into strength in the original opposition alliance, the Syrian National Council (Oct. 2, 2011-Nov. 11, 2012) or SNC, backed and 'weaponized,' literally speaking, by the West, Turkey, and the Arabs. Turkey and Qatar sponsored the Syrian MB's strong representation on the SNC, though traditionally different Syrian MB factions have had ties in Saudi Arabia and Iraq as well and more radical Salafists were stronger at home in 2011-2013 in contrast to the MB's dominance in Syria from 1979-1982 (www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2014/01/syria-muslim-brotherhood-past-present.html#). At a conference hosted by Turkey in Istanbul in October 2011, the Syrian MB became a co-founder of the SNC, which it came to dominate politically if not numerically ( http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=48370 ). Exiled Syrian MB members comprise a quarter of the SNC's 310 members, and the MB constitutes the most cohesive, well-organized and influential bloc within the SNC. Moreover, another Islamist group within the SNC, the 'Group of 74' consists of former MB members ( http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=48370 ; http://carnegie-mec.org/publications/?fa=48334 ; and www.stratfor.com/sample/analysis/more-divisions-among-syrian-opposition ).

The MB is far more clever and deceptive than some other Islamist and all jihadist groups. It attempts to portray a moderate face and join alliances that function as fronts for its activity and vehicles for its rise to power. Thus, the SNC platform professed the goal of creating a full-fledged democracy, with full individual and groups rights and freedoms, elections, and the separation of powers ( http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=48370 ). It also allowed more moderate SNC leaders to assume the mantle of leadership to present a moderate face to foreign sponsors. This is openly acknowledged by MB leaders in the SNC. Former Muslim Brotherhood leader Ali Sadr el-Din Bayanouni, the SNC's fourth most powerful leader, stated that SNC Chairman Burhan Ghalioun was chosen because he "is accepted in the West and at home and, to prevent the regime from capitalizing on the presence of an Islamist at the top of the SNC" ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk6KTU1zoTE ). In 2012 liberal members began resigning from the council precisely because they saw it functioning as a liberal front for the MB ( http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/03/14/200546.html ). One of the SNC's few secular members claimed in February 2012 that more than half of the council consisted of Islamists ( http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-syria-opposition-idUKTRE81G0VM20120217 ).

The SNC joined the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces when the coalition was founded in November 2012 but withdrew from it in January 2014 when the latter agreed to enter into talks on a ceasefire and peaceful transition sponsored by the West and Russia in Geneva. By then both the council and the coalition had been long overtaken by the Al-Qa`ida-tied Jabhat al-Nusrah and other such groups as well as by the Islamic State (IS). The National Council is also heavily influenced by the MB. Its first president (November 2012-April 2103), Moaz al-Khatib, was the former imam of the historical Sunni Umayyad Mosque, a converted Christian church which houses the remains of St. John the Baptist and is situated in the heart of old Damascus. One of his two vice presidents was Suheir Atassi, ostensibly a secularist, and Khatib has at times promised equal rights for Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, Christians and Kurds alike, prompting optimism in the West at the time that he could be a strong counter to the growing jihadization of the Free Syria Army (FSA). However, Katib is a MB sympathizer if not clandestine operative, a declared follower of the MB's chief theologian Yusuf al-Qardawi, whom he calls "our great imam." In accordance with Islamist taqqiya -- the right to lie to non-Muslims in order to further the Islamic cause -- when communicating in Arabic, Katib's statements become more radical. He has supported the establishment of a Shariah-law based stated and his Darbuna.net website has included articles, including some of his own, which express anti-Semitic, anti-Western, and anti-Shia views ( http://foreignpolicy.com/2012/11/14/islamist-in-chief/ ). Moreover, Katib has demonstrated just how much the differences between Islamist groups such as the MB and jihadists groups like AQ and IS are differences over strategy and tactics, not the goal of restoring the caliphate and globalizing radical Islamic influence if not rule. He has also called on the U.S. to reconsider its 2012 decision to declare the AQ-allied Jabhat al-Nusrah as a terrorist organization, refusing to denounce JN and emphasizing its value as an ally in the struggle against the Assad regime (www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2012/1212/For-newly-recognized-Syrian-rebel-coalition-a-first-dispute-with-US-video and http://www.sharnoffsglobalviews.com/assad-opposition-094/ ).

It is important to remember that the dividing lines between secular and Islamist groups such as the MB and even moreso those between Islamist groups like the MB and jihadi groups like AQ and IS on the ground in Syria are fluid and porous. The events in Libya demonstrated the dangers of these intersections, and now failed results would be repeated inside the Syria opposition with support for 'moderates' and Islamists leading to support for jihadists.

Recently disclosed U.S. government documents reveal the extent to which -- already by at least mid-2012 -- the Obama administration along with its European and Sunni allies were supplying financial, weapons, and training support to the SNC in its efforts to overthrow the Baathist and Alawite-led regime of Bashar al-Assad. Moreover, the documents show that the weapons were not only going to the MB-dominated SNC but also to the Al Qa`ida (AQ) Iraqi affiliate, the forerunner to ISIS. In fact, an August 2012 Defense Department/Defense Information Agency (DIA) document, which would have been based on data from the preceding months up to a year before mid-2012, emphasized that Salafists, in particular MB and AQ's affiliate in Iraq 'Al Qaida in Iraq' or AQI already dominated the Syrian opposition forces. The same document undermines the neo-con argument that if the U.S. had intervened in Syria early on– say, in 2011 -- there would have been little opportunity for jihadi groups like AQI and IS to dominate the forces fighting the Assad regime. But already in early 2012 if not sooner, elements from AQ's group in the region, AQI, immediately moved from Iraq to back the opposition in Syria, AQI already had been present in Syria for years as part of its operations in Iraq. Moreover, its strongholds were in the eastern regions of Iraq, and the religious and tribal leaders there came out strongly in support for the opposition to Syria's secular regime ( www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf ). Therefore, AQI would have had no trouble recruiting for the fight against Assad regardless of Western actions. One needs only recall the already existing AQI presence and the open desert terrain and porous border between western Iraq and eastern Syria.

One DoD/DIA document states that weapons were being sent from the port of Bengazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and Borj Islam in Syria beginning from October 2011–that is, before the SNC was even founded, meaning Western support actually began quite early on (www.judicialwatch.org/document-archive/pgs-1-3-2-3-from-jw-v-dod-and-state-14-812/). The document is heavily redacted (blacked out) and does not indicate who organized the weapons shipments. However, the detailed knowledge of the reasons why specific ports were selected and specific ships used suggests that U.S. intelligence, likely the CIA, organized the shipments. The document states: " The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo " ( www.judicialwatch.org/document-archive/pgs-1-3-2-3-from-jw-v-dod-and-state-14-812/ ). This shows that U.S. intelligence was already on the ground before October 2011. Moreover, this demonstrates that early Western actions in the form of supplying weapons especially, only strengthened AQI's recruitment and development potential both in Iraq and Syria, helping to produce the Islamic State. I include extended excerpts from the most relevant newly released documents at the end of this article. One document warned of "dire consequences," most of which are blacked out, but one potential consequence is not redacted: the "renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena" ( www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf ).

The interpretation that the Obama administration intentionally or unintentionally aided and abetted AQ and the rise of its successor organization ISIS (IS) is supported by the U.S. administration's second-ranking official. On 2 October 2015 U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden let the cat out of the big when he was asked the question–"In retrospect do you believe the United States should have acted earlier in Syria, and if not why is now the right moment?"– at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Biden answered:

The answer is 'no' for 2 reasons. One, the idea of identifying a moderate middle has been a chase America has been engaged in for a long time. We Americans think in every country in transition there is a Thomas Jefferson hiding beside some rock – or a James Madison beyond one sand dune. The fact of the matter is the ability to identify a moderate middle in Syria was – there was no moderate middle because the moderate middle are made up of shopkeepers, not soldiers – they are made up of people who in fact have ordinary elements of the middle class of that country. And what happened was – and history will record this because I'm finding that former administration officials, as soon as they leave write books which I think is inappropriate, but anyway, (laughs) no I'm serious – I do think it's inappropriate at least , you know, give the guy a chance to get out of office. And what my constant cry was that our biggest problem is our allies – our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends – and I have the greatest relationship with Erdogan, which I just spent a lot of time with – the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world . Now you think I'm exaggerating – take a look. Where did all of this go? So now what's happening? All of a sudden everybody's awakened because this outfit called ISIL which was Al Qaeda in Iraq, which when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space in territory in eastern Syria, work with Al Nusra who we declared a terrorist group early on and we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. So what happened? Now all of a sudden – I don't want to be too facetious – but they had seen the Lord. Now we have – the President's been able to put together a coalition of our Sunni neighbors ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrXkm4FImvc&feature=youtu.be&t=1h31m57s ).

This illegal activity is at least one if not the main reason behind the Obama administration's deception of the American people regarding the murder of US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three CIA agents in September 2012 in Benghazi. Indeed, the above-mentioned document and other recently released DoD documents confirm that within hours of the attack, the entire US government, including those who were at the forefront in claiming the incident was a political demonstration that took place in reaction to a film denigrating Islam–President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and US National Security advisor (then US rep to the UN) Susan Rice–was in fact a carefully planned terrorist attack carried out by an AQ affiliate in Libya and facilitated by the U.S. president's favorite Islamist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, which was also dominant within the 'moderate' wing of the Syrian opposition and Free Syrian Army. Indeed, the recent congressional hearings into the Benghazi terrorist attack demonstrated that within a day of the attack Clinton told her daughter and the Egyptian ambassador to the US that it was a terrorist attack carried out by a AQ affiliate as described in the document not by a 'demonstration' protesting film as she told the American people and the relatives of the the CIA agents killed in the attack.

At the same time, the military and intelligence communities are in virtual mutiny over the Obama administration's failure to recognize the growing IS and overall jihadi threat and the risk of growing that threat by continuing the failed MB and other policies the administration pursues in the MENA region. The military's policy revolt underscores the fact and gravity of the policy to supply weapons to Syria's MB- and eventually jihadist-infested 'moderate' opposition to the Assad regime. In a January 2016 London Review of Books article, investigative journalist Seymour M. Hersh uncovered major dissent and opposition within the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) over Obama's policy of supplying weapons to MB elements in Syria. Hersh found: "Barack Obama's repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are 'moderate' rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him" – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon's Joint Staff. Moreover, the Pentagon critics' opposition centered on the administration's unwarranted "fixation on Assad's primary ally, Vladimir Putin." Another less likely accurate aspect of their critique holds that "Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn't adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington's anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped" ( www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n01/seymour-m-hersh/military-to-military ).

In my view, Obama is captive to anything but 'Cold War thinking.' Rather, he is willing prisoner of his excessive sympathy for Islam, to his MB strategy, and to his perhaps/perhaps not unconscious association of Putin with the dreaded Republican and conservative white male so detested by the Democratic Party and American left from which the president hails. That association has been unintentionally reinforced by Putin's attempt to wear the mantle of defender of traditional values, Christianity and, as strange as it may seem to come, Western civilization. However, Hersh's other findings are well-taken.

According to Hersh, the top brass's resistance began in summer of 2013–more than a year since the CIA, the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar began to ship guns and goods from Libya via Turkey and sea to Syria for Assad's toppling. A joint JCS-DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) "highly classified," "all-source" intelligence estimate foresaw that the Assad regime's fall would bring chaos and very possibly Syria's takeover by jihadists was occurring in much of Libya. Hersh's source, a former JCS senior adviser, said the report "took a dim view of the Obama administration's insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups." The assessment designated Turkey a "major impediment" to the policy since Ankara had "co-opted" the "covert US programme to arm and support the moderate rebels fighting Assad," which "had morphed into an across-the-board technical, arms and logistical programme for all of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State." Moderates had "evaporated" and the Free Syrian Army was "a rump group stationed at an airbase in Turkey." The estimate concluded, according to Hersh and his source, that "there was no viable 'moderate' opposition to Assad, and the US was arming extremists" ( www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n01/seymour-m-hersh/military-to-military ).

DIA Director (2012-14) Lieutenant General Michael Flynn confirmed that his agency had sent a steady stream of warnings to the "civilian leadership" about the "dire consequences of toppling Assad" and the jihadists' control of the opposition. Turkey was not working hard enough to stem the flow of foreign fighters and weapons across its border and "was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria," Flynn says. "If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic" Flynn told Hersh. But the DIA's analysis, he says, "got enormous pushback" from the Obama administration: "I felt that they did not want to hear the truth." Hersh's former JCS adviser concurred, saying: "Our policy of arming the opposition to Assad was unsuccessful and actually having a negative impact." "The Joint Chiefs believed that Assad should not be replaced by fundamentalists. The administration's policy was contradictory. They wanted Assad to go but the opposition was dominated by extremists. So who was going to replace him? To say Assad's got to go is fine, but if you follow that through – therefore anyone is better. It's the 'anybody else is better' issue that the JCS had with Obama's policy" ( www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n01/seymour-m-hersh/military-to-military ).

In September 2015 more than 50 intelligence analysts at the U.S. military's Central Command lodged a formal complaint that their reports on IS and AQ affiliate 'Jabhat al-Nusrah' or JN–some of which were briefed to the president–were being altered inappropriately by senior Pentagon officials. In some cases, "key elements of intelligence reports were removed" in order to alter their thrust. The CENTCOMM analysts' complaint was sent in July to the Defense Department and sparked a DoD inspector general's investigation (www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/09/09/exclusive-50-spies-say-isis-intelligence-was-cooked.html). This was likely done in response to explicit requests or at least implicit signaling coming from White House officials on what and what is not politically correct in the president's mind. Thus, the analysts' complaint alleges that the reports were altered to depict the jihadi groups as weaker than analysts had assessed in an attempt by CENTCOM officials to adhere to the Obama administration's line that the U.S. is winning the battle against ISIS and JN (www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/09/09/exclusive-50-spies-say-isis-intelligence-was-cooked.html). This would correlate with the motive behind the Bengazi coverup as well, as the terrorist attack occurred at the peak of the 2012 presidential campaign when the president was stumping on slogans that he had destroyed AQ.

Perhaps in response to the growing tensions, President Obama threw the intelligence agencies under the bus in September 2014 days after the US authorized itself to begin bombing Syria. He claimed that it was the intelligence agencies who "underestimated what was taking place in Syria" – a euphemism for the growing power of IS. He did this in August (www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/09/statement-president-iraq) and again in September ( http://thehill.com/policy/defense/219123-obama-intel-underestimated-isis and http://time.com/3442254/obama-u-s-intelligence-isis/ ). In turn, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has begun an investigation and hearings on the intel redactions (www.nationalreview.com/article/424000/house-investigates-alleged-doctoring-isis-intel-joel-gehrke), and Obama's former DIA chief, General Michael Flynn, has urged that the investigation begin "at the top" ( http://hotair.com/archives/2015/11/24/former-obama-dia-chief-intel-probe-should-focus-on-white-house/ and http://thehill.com/policy/defense/219123-obama-intel-underestimated-isis ).

But matters in the Obama administration are even worse. After illegally running guns to AQ and then IS and thereby strengthening history's greatest terrorist threat emanating from a non-state actor, the administration facilitated IS's financing by failing to bomb both the IS-controlled oil wells and the hundred-long truck convoys that transported the oil to market across the open desert in open daylight. Although in October 2014 a U.S. State Department, deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Julieta Valls Noyes, claimed the sale of IS fuel was one of the US's "principal concerns" and air strikes against them were "a viable option", nothing was ever done (www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/war-on-isis-us-planning-to-bomb-oil-pipelines-to-halt-jihadists-funding-9813980.html). According to former Obama administration CIA director Mike Morell's statement on November 24th, the administration refused to bomb oil wells which IS took control of because of the potential environmental damage ( www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/11/25/obamas-former-cia-director-reveals-real-reason-admin-declined-to-hit-islamic-state-oil-wells/ ).

One reason claimed for not attacking the truck convoys was that the drivers of the trucks ferrying oil from Mosul, Iraq to the Turkish border for sale–more about NATO member Turkey's role below–were not IS members but rather civilians. Only after Russia's military intervention and bombing of the IS oil convoys, along with France's doing the same after the November 13th Paris attacks, did the U.S. carry out its first sorties against the IS oil convoys on 17 November 2015. In advance of the first U.S. attack on the convoys, U.S. forces dropped leaflets warning the truck drivers (and any mujahedin accompanying them) of the impending raid ( www.wsj.com/articles/french-airstrikes-in-syria-may-have-missed-islamic-state-1447685772 ). It remains unclear how the U.S. knew the drivers were not IS members, whether this is in fact true, whether this necessarily exonerates them, and whether it is possible to defeat an extremist insurgency under such legal structures.

However, the perfidy of Obama's MB policy was far greater than simply the usual political correctness and naivete`of the president and his milieu or the resulting policy failures in Egypt, Libya Syria and Iraq. By looking the other way and even facilitating the flow of weapons to rebels, the Obama administration was flirting with violating U.S. anti-terrorism laws. The administration persisted in funneling arms to MB and other 'moderate' elements, when it was obvious to any moderately informed analyst that it would be impossible to control the flow of weapons in the murky circles and dark networks essence of frequently intersecting Islamist and jihadist organizations.

The administration's main partner in this gambit–NATO member Turkey–would raise similar and even more troubling issues.

Part 3: Obama's America, Erdogan's Turkey and the 'War Against' Jihadism in Syria and Iraq is forthcoming later in March .

[May 02, 2020] EU should consider 'flexible' Russia sanctions

May 02, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al April 28, 2020 at 10:18 am

I'm posting this for entertainment purposes:

Euractiv: EU should consider 'flexible' Russia sanctions over Ukraine: report
https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/eu-should-consider-flexible-russia-sanctions-over-ukraine-report/

The EU should reconsider its 'all or nothing' approach on sanctions imposed on Russia for its role in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, as well as its annexation of Crimea, a new report from the International Crisis Group suggests. The Brussels-based think tank calls for the easing of certain sanctions in exchange for Russian progress towards peace in Ukraine.

"Inflexible sanctions are less likely to change behaviour," said Olga Oliker, Europe and Central Asia programme director. "Because of that, we urge considering an approach that would allow for the lifting of some sanctions in exchange for some progress, with a clear intent to reverse that rollback of sanctions if the progress itself is reversed."

.A major roadblock in the implementation of the Minsk deal has been the sequence of events supposed to bring an end to the conflict that has so far claimed more than 13,000 lives.

Kyiv wants to first regain control over its border with Russia before local elections in the war-torn region can be held, while Moscow believes that elections must come first
####

Door. Horse. Barn. Bolted.

The Intentional Critics Grope is yet again a $/€ short in the reality department.

You would think the Editor Gotev (the last two paras by him) would mention that the Minsk agreement clearly states elections come first and that Kiev has singularly refuse the other conditions of the agreement, but that really would be asking too much. From a professional journalist.

It's the same shit we got with the US-North Korea 4 point nuclear agreement where de-nuclearization of the region is the final stage yet it didn't take Washington and ball-licking corporate media to parrot 'denuclearization' as the first point as suddently decided by the Ovum Orifice.*

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agreed_Framework

Mark Chapman April 28, 2020 at 1:24 pm
They try it on again about every six months, just to see if the Russian negotiators have changed and if the new ones are dimwitted. I'm sure it is crystal clear to the Kremlin that if it gave Ukraine back exclusive control of the border, it would (a) call up troops and set up a cordon to make it impossible for eastern Ukraine to be reinforced, and (b) launch an all-out military push to re-take the breakaway regions. The west would then shout "Safe!!!", and the game would be over – Ukraine is (almost) whole again, praise Jeebus. There would be a propaganda storm that Russia was 'trying to meddle in the peace process' while Kuh-yiv rooted out and either imprisoned or executed all the 'rebel' leaders, and the west – probably the USA – would provide 'peacekeepers' to give Ukraine time to restore its complete control over the DNR and LPR. Then, presto! no elections required, we are all happy Ukrainians!

They knew 'inflexible sanctions were less likely to change behaviors' when they first agreed to impose them – but they were showing their belly to Washington, and don't know how to stop now. Serves them right if they are losing revenue and market share.

Mark Chapman April 29, 2020 at 8:42 am
I don't think Russia is very interested, beyond polite diplomatic raising of the eyebrows, in relaxing of sanctions under conditions the EU is careful to highlight could be reapplied in a trice, as soon as anyone was upset with Russia's performance. Because that moment would be literally only a moment away. The UK can be counted on to register blistering outrage at the drop of a hat, and while its influence on the EU will soon be limited, dogs-in-the-manger like Poland can always be relied upon to throw themselves about in an ecstasy of victimhood. It would be impossible to set up any sort of dependable supply chain, as the interval between orders would never be known with any degree of certainty. Fuck the EU. Russia is better off to press on as it has been doing. The EU has to buy oil and gas from Russia because the logistics and price of American supplies make them economically non-competitive, and best to just leave it there. The EU will bitch, but it will continue to buy, whereas any other commerce would be subject to theatrical hissy fits.

[May 01, 2020] Coutriers and coutisans vs neocon blobsters and blobstresses in State Department and elsewhere

Blobsters are simply prostitute to the military industrial complex. No honesty, no courage required (Courage is replaced with arrogance in most cases.) Pompeo is a vivid example of this creatures of Washington swamp.
Notable quotes:
"... historically courtiers themselves led their troops on the battlefield and considered it a question of honor for one or both of their oldest sons pursuing a military career, while Renaissance courtesans were among the most intellectual and educated women of their epoch. Neither is true for blobsters and blobstresses. ..."
"... In French and (I think) most other romance languages, the words for courtier and courtesan are the same. Something to think about. ..."
May 01, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Alex (the one that likes Ike) 13 hours ago

Courtiers and courtesans. That's rich.

On the other hand, though, historically courtiers themselves led their troops on the battlefield and considered it a question of honor for one or both of their oldest sons pursuing a military career, while Renaissance courtesans were among the most intellectual and educated women of their epoch. Neither is true for blobsters and blobstresses.

LFM Alex (the one that likes Ike) 5 hours ago
In French and (I think) most other romance languages, the words for courtier and courtesan are the same. Something to think about.

[Apr 29, 2020] Trump, despite pretty slick deception during his election campaign, is an typical imperialist and rabid militarist. His administration continuredand in some areas exceeded the hostility of Obama couse against Russia

Highly recommended!
One of trademarks of Trump administration is his that he despises international law and relies on "might makes right" principle all the time. In a way he is a one trick pony, typical unhinged bully.
In a way Pompeo is the fact of Trump administration foreign policy, and it is not pretty
Apr 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Passer by , Apr 29 2020 17:32 utc | 7
It is mostly, though not only, Trump related or libertarian pseudo "alt media" behind "just the flu" theories or "China unleashed virus to attack US".

There is a small military/zionist cabal at the White House that is pushing for that information war in order to prop up the dying US empire as well as US oligarhic business interests, and to secure Trump reelection prospects.

It is enough to see how Zerohedge have been turned into full blown imperialist media with many "evil China" outbursts every day.

Beware of Trumptards infiltrating alt media to prop up the dying US Empire and its business interests.

Trump is the biggest US imperialist for the last 30 years. He made a good job at deceiving many anti-system voices.

His WTO attacks are too part of US efforts to take over the organisation. His has no problem with international institutions as long as they are US empire controlled (such as OPCW, WADA, etc.)

Trump-tards and related libertarians (Zerohedge etc.) made their choice on the side of global US imperialism (driven by their hidden racism, hence the evil "chinks" making a good enemy) and are now the enemy of the multipolar world.

Trump is scum. He turned on Russia and Assange after he got into the White House and did far more against Russia than even Obama. I say that as someone who initially made the mistake to support him.

[Apr 29, 2020] Even a Pandemic Can't Kill Threat Inflation

Notable quotes:
"... The US behaves this way because increasingly its the military that forms the primary lever of US power. They need to create a sense of fear to justify the $1T that the military-industrial-security-intelligence complex consumes every year with zero real-world benefit for the poor tax-payers who are given no choice but to fund it. ..."
"... Oh no... imagine a nation-state exerting regional control over a regional issue without us being involved! The horror! The HORROR! ..."
"... Neocons never saw a country they didn't want to invade, nor any event beyond our national borders which was not a threat, nor any thing happening within our borders that did not justify a military escalation. Sadly, instead of remaining ex- Trotskyites on the fringe, they have become the mainstream in certain circles, mostly centering on the Pentagon and Congress. ..."
"... Unfortunately the US has forgotten that it was once a weak military power and that only through lengthy diplomatic negotiations would they have any real chance of achieving its commercial and political goals. Now that the US has massive military power successive administrations have been blindly seduced in to thinking that using military power is a rational substitute for diplomacy. ..."
"... Imagine all the nice things America could have if its defense budget were only, say, $300 billion dollars, i.e. still larger than any other country's . The $400 billion saved would buy a lot of ventilators and PPE, among other things. ..."
Apr 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

here have been news reports in the last few days that have portrayed fairly routine behavior by other states as an attempt to "take advantage" of the U.S. during the pandemic. The incidents in question are consistent with how these states were behaving before the outbreak. For example, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that China continues increasing its control in the Spratly and Paracel islands. This is something that the Chinese government has been doing for decades before now, but this is how it was described in the article:

In recent weeks, Beijing has conducted operations to gain more of a foothold in the Spratly and Paracel island chains in the South China Sea, emblematic of China's attempts to assert its influence around the world.

In other words, China continued a policy in its own backyard that it has been pursuing since before the turn of the century, but because it is happening at the same time as the pandemic it is treated as somehow more menacing than before. How asserting territorial claims on their doorstep is "emblematic" of asserting influence "around the world" is left to the reader's imagination. This is not just a problem of strange framing in media reports. U.S. officials are promoting the idea that other states are "taking advantage" by simply doing the same things they have done many times in the past:

While some of the operations might have been planned before the pandemic swept the globe, U.S. officials said American rivals like China are capitalizing on the Trump administration's diverted attention and the strains on its military.

"Beijing is a net beneficiary of global attention diverted towards the pandemic rather than military activities in the South China Sea," said Navy Capt. Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Indo-Pacific Command, Honolulu.

Claims like this raise an obvious question: what would the U.S. have been doing to discourage this behavior if there were no pandemic? As far as I can tell, there is nothing that the U.S. could or should be doing that would make China less likely to pursue its claims in the South China Sea. The U.S. conducts so-called "freedom of navigation" operations (FONOPs) all the time, but this has had no effect on anything China does. If the U.S. is not able to conduct these operations right now, that doesn't invite more aggressive behavior from China because the FONOPs weren't deterring anything in the first place. That strongly suggests that the U.S. is wasting its time and resources on operations that serve no purpose.

The claim here that adversaries are using the coronavirus timeout to test US will is silly; they're calling military activity that would've occurred anyway a test. What we're really seeing is that presence patrols said to be vital to deterrence are an expensive waste of time. pic.twitter.com/RzNBpHUm16

-- Ben Friedman (@BH_Friedman) April 17, 2020

Similarly, recent "harassment" of U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf by Iranian boats is more proof that the U.S. did not "restore deterrence" with Iran when it assassinated Soleimani at the start of the year. That shows that the administration's Iran policy continues to backfire. If adversaries are supposed to be taking advantage of a distracted U.S., the Iranian example doesn't support that because the administration remains obsessively focused on Iran even now. The Pentagon started drawing up plans for massive escalation last month :

Last month, the Pentagon began drafting plans for a major escalation against the Iran-backed factions -- namely the hardline Kataeb Hezbollah -- blamed for the rockets.

"Washington told us they'd simultaneously hit 122 targets in Iraq if more Americans died," a top Iraqi official said.

If tensions between the U.S. and Iran remain high, that is a consequence of earlier American escalation. It is not happening because the U.S. is preoccupied by the pandemic.

All of the incidents cited in these reports pose no serious threat to the U.S. or our military, and were it not for the pandemic they would be seen as fairly typical and predictable behavior from all of these governments. The only reason that these activities are being portrayed as "tests" of U.S. "resolve" is that our interests have been inflated so absurdly over the decades that anything these governments do in their own immediate neighborhood is viewed as a challenge. As we rightly focus on the threat from the pandemic here at home, we should expect to hear more exaggerated warnings about minor foreign nuisances as supporters of a bloated military budget seek to justify unnecessary missions and deployments.


threats etc 9 days ago

""Beijing is a net beneficiary of global attention diverted towards the pandemic rather than military activities in the South China Sea," said Navy Capt. Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Indo-Pacific Command, Honolulu."

Capt. Kafka (his real name, I assume) is too polite to add that Beijing has also been a net beneficiary of global attention having been diverted by twenty years of pointless, botched Middle East wars that only benefited Saudi Arabia and Israel , and that that is, oh I don't known, maybe a hundred times more important factor in causing our neglect of real American national security issues than the past few months of coronavirus botches.

john 9 days ago
Yes funny thing we an actual threat right here in river city and we are being told to ignore it and get out and go to ball games and go shopping. Meanwhile 10,000 miles from our shores some souped up Chris Crafts got a little to near to our ships.
chris chuba 9 days ago
The 'Iranian harassment' is especially foolish theater of the absurd.

1. It took place in 'international waters in the north Arabian Gulf', you mean the Persian Gulf, that would be very close to Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran. You could say near the Iranian coastline.

2. The video they released showed the IRGC speedboat running parallel to the ship going about 15 mph with its machine gun pointing safely straight into the air.

A made for FOX headline.

PAX 8 days ago
... I doubt these communist billionaires will risk losing everything on a war with the U.S.and its allies.

The Middle East is an unstable cauldron largely of our own making as directed by insatiable Bibi and his gallant crew who are courageously prepared to fight to the last American.

Biden will likely be even more subservient to this group. If he picks their darling Kamala Harris - even more so. Wash your hands and carefully avoid contact with the NYT. & MSM in general. .

Gary Sellars 8 days ago • edited
When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like nail.

The US behaves this way because increasingly its the military that forms the primary lever of US power. They need to create a sense of fear to justify the $1T that the military-industrial-security-intelligence complex consumes every year with zero real-world benefit for the poor tax-payers who are given no choice but to fund it.

rayray Gary Sellars 8 days ago
@Gary Sellars

That is well said, Gary. And the stakes for that justification get higher as the military must get more and more money in an economy and zeitgeist that has less and less of it to spare...until we get this kind of farce.

Old Man Shadow 8 days ago
Oh no... imagine a nation-state exerting regional control over a regional issue without us being involved! The horror! The HORROR!

WHY AREN'T YOU ALL HORRIFIED, DAMN IT?!?!

rayray 8 days ago
A quote I never thought I would post...but it's making more and more sense: "It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need, and our air force has to have a bake-sale to buy a bomber."
HenionJD 8 days ago
Apparently, the so somebody must think Trump administration is easily distracted. C'mon....the impeachment, the pandemic, hostile news coverage...you can only expect so much from these folks.
David Naas 8 days ago
Neocons never saw a country they didn't want to invade, nor any event beyond our national borders which was not a threat, nor any thing happening within our borders that did not justify a military escalation. Sadly, instead of remaining ex- Trotskyites on the fringe, they have become the mainstream in certain circles, mostly centering on the Pentagon and Congress.

But, hey, what would all those Generals do if they didn't have any Military-Industrial Complex corporation board of directors to sit on after they "retire".

PR Doucette 7 days ago
Unfortunately the US has forgotten that it was once a weak military power and that only through lengthy diplomatic negotiations would they have any real chance of achieving its commercial and political goals. Now that the US has massive military power successive administrations have been blindly seduced in to thinking that using military power is a rational substitute for diplomacy. The current Trump administration approach to foreign policy is a total failure as it seems to be based on nothing more than bravado and pathetic threats of using military force to attempt to influence international outcomes.

If the US wants international approval and support, it is only going to be able to be rebuilt if the US stops pretending that every treaty, international organization and agreement is biased against the US and should be withdrawn from and instead return to the more proactive approach of diplomacy.

Jon Lester 7 days ago
I've thought all along, if we're expecting a manufacturing renaissance in this country and a big increase in exports, and China wants to secure some of the shipping lanes we'll need on their own dime, why not just let them?
West_of_the_Cascades 7 days ago
Imagine all the nice things America could have if its defense budget were only, say, $300 billion dollars, i.e. still larger than any other country's . The $400 billion saved would buy a lot of ventilators and PPE, among other things.
Foreign Affairs contributor West_of_the_Cascades 7 days ago
"The $400 billion saved would buy a lot of ventilators and PPE"

No go. If we cut back to $300 billion we couldn't keep sacrificing American lives and money for Saudi Arabia and Israel. The ventilators and PPE you mention would only benefit Americans. What we do for Saudi Arabia and Israel is far more important than that. Indeed, cutting our defense budget necessarily entails bigotry and antisemitism because its practical effect would be to deny the Jewish and Muslim heartlands full access to American money and blood.

Cutting the defense budget and husbanding resources for our own use would also undermine American credibility, because geopolitical competitors are invariably impressed and deterred when a Great Power fritters away its resources on client states rather than defending the lives and wealth of its own people.

[Apr 28, 2020] To end endless wars, I support 75% military spending cuts

This amount of money would end COVID-19 epidemic really quickly
Apr 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
blues , Apr 26 2020 21:26 utc | 31
Howie Hawkins -- Peace and Freedom Party 2020

I am a retired Teamster in Syracuse, New York, who joined the civil rights, antiwar, and environmental movements as a teenager in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s. In 1984, I co-founded the Green Party. In 2010, I was the first U.S. candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal in the first of three campaigns for New York governor that won Green Party ballot lines.

To end the climate crisis, I have detailed an Ecosocialist Green New Deal to create 38 million new jobs, 100% clean energy, and zero carbon emissions by 2030.

To end poverty and economic insecurity, I propose an Economic Bill of Rights: job guarantee, guaranteed minimum income, affordable housing, improved Medicare for all, tuition-free public education pre–K to college, and secure retirement by doubling Social Security.

To end endless wars, I support 75% military spending cuts, U.S. troops home, diplomacy, international law, human rights, and a Global Green New Deal.

To end the new nuclear arms race, I favor no first use, minimum credible deterrent, and ratification of the new Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty.

I support unions, $20 minimum wage, worker co-ops, public banks, public energy, public railroads, progressive taxation, net neutrality, internet privacy, ending mass surveillance, no nukes, no fracking, abortion rights, student and medical debt relief, decriminalizing drugs, ending mass incarceration, police under community control, immigrant amnesty, African-American reparations, Indian and Mexican-American treaty rights, whistleblower and political prisoner pardons, and presidential elections by National Popular Vote using Ranked-Choice Voting. [Ranked Choice Voting is a huge fraud -- which many well-meaning people fall for]
// ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So --

HowieHawkins20 -- Account suspended -- Twitter suspends accounts which violate the Twitter Rules

You catching on yet?

[Apr 26, 2020] Militarization in a Time of Pandemic Crisis by Henry Giroux and Ourania Filippakou

Apr 24, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

We live at a time when the terrors of life suggests the world has descended into darkness. The COVID-19 crisis has created a dystopian nightmare which floods our screens and media with images of fear. Bodies, doorknobs, cardboard packages, plastic bags, and the breath we exhale and anything else that offers the virus a resting place is comparable to a bomb ready to explode resulting in massive suffering and untold deaths. We can no longer shake hands, embrace our friends, use public transportation, sit in a coffee shop, or walk down the street without experiencing real anxiety and fear. We are told by politicians, media pundits, and others that everyday life has taken on the character of a war zone.

The metaphor of war has a deep sense of urgency and has a long rhetorical history in times of crisis. Militarization has become a central feature of the pandemic age and points to the dominance of warlike values in society. More specifically, Michael Geyer defines it as the 'contradictory and tense social process in which civil society organizes itself for the production of violence' (Geyer, 1989: 9). Geyer was writing about the militarization of Europe between 1914-1945, but his description seems even more relevant today. This is clear in the way right-wing politicians such as Trump promote the increasing militarization of language, public spaces, and bodies. Terms such as 'war footing', 'mounting an assault', and 'rallying the troops' have been normalized in the face of the pandemic crisis. At the same time, the language of war privileges the proliferation of surveillance capitalism, the defense of borders, and the suspension of civil liberties.

As the virus brings the engines of capitalism to a halt, the discourse of war takes on a new significance as a medical term that highlights the struggles to grapple with underfunded public health care systems, the lack of resources for testing, the surge towards downward mobility, expanding unemployment and the ongoing, heart-wrenching, efforts to provide protective essentials for front line and emergency workers. At the heart of this epic tragedy is an understated political struggle to reverse and amend decades of a war waged by neoliberal capitalism against the welfare state, essential social provisions, public goods, and the social contract. The failure of this oppressive death-dealing form of casino capitalism can be heard as Arundhati Roy observes in:

the stories of overwhelmed hospitals in the US, of underpaid, overworked nurses having to make masks out of garbage bin liners and old raincoats, risking everything to bring succor to the sick. About states being forced to bid against each other for ventilators, about doctors' dilemmas over which patient should get one and which left to die.

The language of war is used by the mandarins of power to both address the indiscriminate viral pandemic that has brought capitalism to its knees and to reinforce and expand the political formations and global financial system that are incapable of dealing with the pandemic. Rather than using rage, emotion, and fear to sharpen our understanding of the conditions that abetted this global plague and what it might mean to address it and prevent it in the future, the ruling elite in a number of right wing countries such as the U.S. and Brazil use the discourse of war either to remove such questions from public debate or dismisses them as acts of bad faith in a time of crisis. Amartya Sen is right in arguing that '[o]vercoming a pandemic may look like fighting a war, but the real need is far from that'.

Instead the language of war creates an echo chamber produced in both the highest circles of power and the right-wing cultural apparatuses that serve to turn trauma, exhaustion, and mourning into a fog of conspiracy theories, state repression, and a deepening abyss of darkness that ' serves the ends of those in power' . Edward Snowden is right in warning that governments will use the pandemic crisis to expand their attack on civil liberties, roll back constitutional rights, repress dissent and create what he calls an ' architecture of oppression' . He writes :

As authoritarianism spreads, as emergency laws proliferate, as we sacrifice our rights, we also sacrifice our capability to arrest the slide into a less liberal and less free world. Do you truly believe that when the first wave, this second wave, the 16th wave of the coronavirus is a long-forgotten memory, that these capabilities will not be kept? That these datasets will not be kept? No matter how it is being used, what' is being built is the architecture of oppression.

There is no doubt that the Covid-19 crisis will test the limits of democracy worldwide. Right-wing movements, neo-Nazis, authoritarian politicians, religious fundamentalists and a host of other extremists are energized by what Slavoj Zizek calls the 'ideological viruses [lying] dormant in our societies'. These include closing of borders, the quarantining of so-called enemies, the claim that undocumented immigrants spread the virus, the demand for increased police power, and the rush by religious fundamentalists to relegate women to the home to assume their 'traditional' gendered role.

On the economic level and under the cover of fear, the U.S. in particular, is transferring what Jonathan Cook refers to as:

huge sums of public money to the biggest corporations. Politicians controlled by big business and media owned by big business are pushing through this corporate robbery without scrutiny – and for reasons that should be self-explanatory. They know our attention is too overwhelmed by the virus for us to assess intentionally mystifying arguments about the supposed economic benefits, about yet more illusory trickle-down.

This constitutes a politics of 'opportunistic authoritarianism' and is already in play in a number of countries that are using the cover of enforcing public health measures to enforce a range of anti-democratic policies and wave of repression. The pandemic has made clear that market mechanisms cannot address the depth and scope of the current crisis. The failure of neoliberalism not only reveals a profound sense of despair and moral void at the heart of casino capitalism, but also makes clear that the spell of neoliberalism is broken and as such is in the midst of a legitimation crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has both made clear that the neoliberal notion that all problems are a matter of individual responsibility and that each of us are defined exclusively by our self-interest has completely broken down as the effects of neoliberalism's failure to deal with the pandemic unfold in shortages in crucial medical equipment, lack of testing, and failed public health services, largely due to austerity measures.

One consequence the failed neoliberal state is an uptake in levels of oppression in order to prevent the emergence of massive protests movements and radical forms of collective resistance. The suspension of civil rights, repression of dissent, upending of constitutional liberties, and the massive use of state surveillance in the service of anti-democratic ends has become normalized. Many of the countries driven by austerity policies and a culture of cruelty are using the pandemic crisis as a way shaping their modes of governance by drawing from what activist Ejeris Dixon calls elements of a ' fascist emergency playbook' . These include :

Use the emergency to restrict civil liberties -- particularly rights regarding movement, protest, freedom of the press, a right to a trial and freedom to gather. Use the emergency to suspend governmental institutions, consolidate power, reduce institutional checks and balances, and reduce access to elections and other forms of participatory governance. Promote a sense of fear and individual helplessness, particularly in relationship to the state, to reduce outcry and to create a culture where people consent to the power of the fascist state; Replace democratic institutions with autocratic institutions using the emergency as justification. Create scapegoats for the emergency, such as immigrants, people of color, disabled people, ethnic and religious minorities, to distract public attention away from the failures of the state and the loss of civil liberties .

The evidence for the spread of this ideological virus and its apparatuses and polices of repression are no longer simply dormant fears of those fearful of the rise of authoritarian movements and modes of governance. For instance, Viktor Orbán, Hungary's prime minister passed a bill that gave him 'sweeping emergency powers for an indefinite period of time .The measures were invoked as part of the government's response to the global pandemic'. What is becoming obvious is that the pandemic crisis produces mass anxiety that enables governments to turn a medical crisis into a political opportunity for leaders across the globe to push through dictatorial powers with little resistance.

For instance, as Selam Gebrekidan observes : 'In Britain, ministers have what a critic called 'eye-watering' power to detain people and close borders. Israel's prime minister has shut down courts and begun an intrusive surveillance of citizens. Chile has sent the military to public squares once occupied by protesters. Bolivia has postponed elections'. In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte, who has flagrantly violated civil rights in the past, was given emergency powers by the congress. Under the cloak of invoking public health measures because of the threat posed by the coronavirus plague, China has broken up protests in Hong Kong and arrested many of its leaders. In the United States, Trump's Justice Department has asked Congress 'for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies -- part of a push for new powers that comes as the coronavirus spreads through the United States'.

In the U.S. Trump blames the media for spreading fake news about the virus, attacks reporters who ask critical questions, packs the courts with federal sycophants, dehumanizes undocumented immigrants by labeling them as carriers of the virus, and claims that he has 'total authority' to reopen the economy, however dangerous the policy, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. In this instance, Trump markets fear to endorse elements of white supremacy, ultra-nationalism, and social cleansing while unleashing the mobilizing passions of fascism. He supports voter suppression and has publicly stated that making it easier to vote for many Americans such as blacks and other minorities of color would mean 'you would never have a Republican elected in this country again'. In the midst of economic hardships and widespread suffering due to the raging pandemic, Trump has tapped into a combination of fear and a cathartic cruelty while emboldening a savage lawlessness aimed at the most vulnerable populations. How else to explain his calling the coronavirus the ' Chinese virus' , regardless of the violence it enables by right wingers against Asian-Americans, or his call to reopen the economy to hastily knowing that thousands could die as a result, mostly the elderly, poor, and other vulnerable.

Militarizing the Media and the Politics of Pandemic Pedagogy

In the age of the pandemic, culture has been militarized. Donald Trump and the right-wing media in the United States have both politicized and weaponized the coronavirus pandemic. They have weaponized it by using a state of emergency to promote Trump's political attacks on critics, the press, journalists, and politicians who have questioned his bungling response to the pandemic crisis. They have politicized it by introducing a series of policies under the rubric of a state of exception that diverts bailout money to the ruling elite, militarizes public space, increases the power of the police, wages attacks on undocumented immigrants as a public health threat, and promotes voter suppression. In addition Trump has further strengthened the surveillance state, fired public servants for participating in the impeachment process, and initially claimed that the virus was a hoax perpetuated by the media and Democrats who were trying to undermine Trump's re-election.

Trump's language of dehumanization coupled with his appalling ignorance and toxic incompetence appears as a perfect fit for the media spectacle that he has made a central feature of his presidency. Trump's 'anti-intellectualism has been simmering in the United States for decades and has now fully boiled over' and when incorporated as a central feature of the right-wing social media becomes 'a tremendously successful tool of hegemonic control, manipulation, and false consciousness'. Trump's apocalyptic rhetoric appears to match the tenor of the moment as there is a surge in right-wing extremism, anti-Semitism, explosive racism, and a culture of lies, immediacy, and cruelty. What we are witnessing as the pandemic intensifies in the United States, and in some other countries across the globe, is the increasing threat of authoritarian regimes that both use the media to normalize their actions and wage war against dissidents and others struggling to preserve democratic ideas and principles.

Given his experience in the realms of Reality TV and celebrity culture, Trump is driven by mutually reinforcing registers of spectacular fits of self-promotion, joy in producing troves of Orwellian doublespeak, and the ratings his media coverage receives. One of the insults he throws out at reporters in his coronavirus briefings is that their networks have low ratings as if that is a measure of the relevance of the question being asked. Unlike any other president, Trump has used the mainstream media and social media to mobilize his followers, attack his enemies, and produce a twitter universe of misinformation, lies, and civic illiteracy. He has championed the right-wing media by both echoing their positions on a number of issues and using them to air his own. The conservative media such as Fox News has been enormously complicitous in justifying Trump's call for the Justice Department to dig up dirt on his political rivals, including the impeachable offense of extorting the Ukrainian government through the promise to withhold military aid if they did not launch an investigation into his political rival, Joe Biden. Moreover, they have supported his instigation of armed rebellions via his tweets urging his followers to liberate Minnesota, Michigan, and Virginia by refusing to comply with stay-at-home orders and social distancing restrictions . Ironically, he is urging anti-social distancing protests that violate his own federal guidelines.

Trump has used the police powers of the state, especially ICE to round up children and separate them from their parents at the border. Placing loyalty above expertise, he surrounds himself with incompetent sycophants, and makes policy decisions from his gut, often in opposition to the advice of public health experts. All of this is echoed and supported by the conservative and right wing eco-system, especially Fox News, Breitbart News, and what appears to be a legion of right wing commentators such as Rush Limbaugh, who falsely claimed the virus is a common cold and Laura Ingraham, who deceitfully compared Covid-19 to the flu. Fox News not only produced conspiracy theories such as the claim the virus was the product of the 'deep state' and was being used by Democrats to prevent Trump from being re-elected, it also produced misinformation about the virus and represented what 74 journalism professors and leading journalists described as ' a danger to public health' . Like most authoritarians, Trump does everything to control the truth by flooding the media with lies, denouncing scientific evidence, and critical judgment as fake news. The latter is a direct attack on the free press, critical journalists, and the notion that the search for the truth is crucial to any valid and shared notion of citizenship.

The crisis of politics is now matched by a mainstream and corporate controlled digital media and screen culture that revels in political theater, embraces ignorance, fractured narratives, and racial hysteria (cf. Butsch, 2019). In addition, it authorizes and produces a culture of sensationalism designed to increase ratings and profits at the expense of truth. As a disimagination machine and form of pandemic pedagogy, it undermines a complex rendering of social problems and suppresses a culture of dissent and informed judgments. This pandemic pedagogy functions so as to shape human agency, desire, and modes of identification both in the logic of consumerism while privileging a hyper form of masculinity and legitimating a friend/enemy distinction. We live in an age in which theater and the spectacle of performance empty politics of any moral substance and contribute to the revival of an updated version of fascist politics. Thoughtlessness has become a national ideal as the corporate controlled media mirror the Trump administration demand that reality be echoed rather than be analyzed, interrogated and critically comprehended. Politics is now leaden with bombast, words strung together to shock, numb the mind, and images overwrought with self-serving sense of riotousness and anger. Trump shamelessly reinforces such a politics by showing propaganda videos at presidential news conferences.

What is distinct about this historical period, especially under the Trump regime, is what Susan Sontag has called a form of aesthetic fascism with