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

Ambrose Bierce

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

Tacitus, Agricola

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

Jean-Paul Sartre, The Devil and the Good Lord

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

ZNet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

War. How sweet it can be.

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


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[Nov 09, 2019] In Ukraine victory, top U.N. court rejects Moscow's bid to block case by Stephanie van den Berg

Nationalist troops atrocities might be exposed in the process.
Nov 09, 2019 | uk.reuters.com
FILE PHOTO: Judges at the UN's highest court are seen during a hearing in a case launched by Ukraine which alleges Moscow is funding pro-Russian separatist groups in Ukraine, in The Hague, Netherlands June 3, 2019. REUTERS/Eva Plevier

Reading a summary of the ruling, Presiding Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf said conditions had been met for the case to be heard in full, with the 16-judge panel rejecting Russian objections by a large majority.

The International Court of Justice found that on the basis of anti-terrorism and anti-discrimination treaties signed by both countries it has jurisdiction to hear the case over Russia's alleged support for separatists in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

At a hearing in June, Moscow had asked judges to dismiss the suit, saying Kiev was using it as pretext for a ruling on the legality of Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Addressing that point, Yusuf said Ukraine had not asked the court to rule "on the status of Crimea or on violations of the rules of international law" other than those contained in the United Nations anti-discrimination and anti-terrorism treaties.

Kiev says Russia's support for separatist forces violated a U.N. convention banning the funding of terrorist groups.

[Nov 09, 2019] Israel's Last War by Gilad Atzmon

Notable quotes:
"... Until now, Iran has restrained itself despite constant aggression from Israel, but this could easily change. "The result could be a counterstrike by Iran, using cruise missiles that penetrate Israel's air defenses and smash into targets like the Kiryah, Tel Aviv's equivalent of the Pentagon. Israel would retaliate massively against Hezbollah's headquarters in Beirut as well as dozens of its emplacements along the Lebanese border. And then, after a day of large-scale exchanges, the real war would begin " ..."
Nov 06, 2019 | www.unz.com

Last War Gilad Atzmon November 6, 2019 1,100 Words 59 Comments Reply Listen ॥ ■ ► RSS

In my 2011 book, The Wandering Who , I elaborated on the possible disastrous scenario in which Israel is the nucleus of a global escalation over Iran's emerging nuclear capabilities. I concluded that Israel's PRE Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PRE-TSS) would be central to such a development. "The Jewish state and the Jewish discourse in general are completely foreign to the notion of temporality. Israel is blinded to the consequences of its actions, it only thinks of its actions in terms of short-term pragmatism. Instead of temporality, Israel thinks in terms of an extended present."

In 2011 Israel was still confident in its military might, certain that with the help of America or at least its support, it could deliver a mortal military blow to Iran. But this confidence has diminished, replaced by an existential anxiety that might well be warranted. For the last few months, Israeli military analysts have had to come to terms with Iran's spectacular strategic and technological abilities. The recent attack on a Saudi oil facility delivered a clear message to the world, and in particular to Israel, that Iran is far ahead of Israel and the West. The sanctions were counter effective: Iran independently developed its own technology.

Former Israeli ambassador to the US, and prolific historian, Michael Oren, repeated my 2011 predictions this week in the Atlantic and described a horrific scenario for the next, and likely last, Israeli conflict.

Oren understands that a minor Israeli miscalculation could lead to total war, one in which missiles and drones of all types would rain down on Israel, overwhelm its defences and leave Israeli cities, its economy and its security in ruins.

Oren gives a detailed account of how a conflict between Israel and Iran could rapidly descend into a massive "conflagration" that would devastate Israel as well as its neighbours.

In Israel, the term "The War Between the Wars ," refers to the targeted covert inter-war campaign waged by the Jewish State with the purpose of postponing, while still preparing for, the next confrontation, presumably with Iran. In the last few years Israel has carried out hundreds of 'war between the wars' strikes against Iran-linked targets in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Oren speculates that a single miscalculation could easily lead to retaliation by Iran. "Israel is girding for the worst and acting on the assumption that fighting could break out at any time. And it's not hard to imagine how it might arrive. The conflagration, like so many in the Middle East, could be ignited by a single spark."

Until now, Iran has restrained itself despite constant aggression from Israel, but this could easily change. "The result could be a counterstrike by Iran, using cruise missiles that penetrate Israel's air defenses and smash into targets like the Kiryah, Tel Aviv's equivalent of the Pentagon. Israel would retaliate massively against Hezbollah's headquarters in Beirut as well as dozens of its emplacements along the Lebanese border. And then, after a day of large-scale exchanges, the real war would begin "

Oren predicts that rockets would "rain on Israel" at a rate as high as 4,000 a day. The Iron Dome system would be overwhelmed by the vast simultaneous attacks against civilian and military targets throughout the country. And, as if this weren't devastating enough, Israel is totally unprepared to deal with precision-guided missiles that can accurately hit targets all across Israel from 1000 miles away.

Ben Gurion International Airport would be shut down and air traffic over Israel closed. The same could happen to Israel's ports. Israelis that would seek refuge in far away lands would have to swim to safety .

In this scenario, Palestinians and Lebanese militias might join the conflagration and attack Jewish border communities on the ground while long-range missiles from Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran land. Before long, Israel's economy would cease to function, electrical grids severed and damaged factories and refineries would spew toxic chemicals into the air.

In the Shoah scenario Oren describes, "Millions of Israelis would huddle in bomb shelters. Hundreds of thousands would be evacuated from the border areas as terrorists attempt to infiltrate them. Restaurants and hotels would empty, along with the offices of the high-tech companies of the start-up nation. The hospitals, many of them resorting to underground facilities, would quickly be overwhelmed, even before the skies darken with the toxic fumes of blazing chemical factories and oil refineries."

Oren predicts that Israel's harsh response to attack, including a violent put down of likely West Bank and Gaza protests, would result in large scale civilian casualties and draw charges of war crimes.

As Oren states, he did not invent this prediction, it is one of the similar scenarios anticipated by Israeli military and government officials.

If such events occur, the US will be vital to the survival of the Jewish State by providing munitions, diplomatic, political, and legal support, and after the war, in negotiating truces, withdrawals, prisoner exchanges and presumably 'peace agreements.' However, the US under the Trump administration is somewhat unpredictable, especially in light of the current impeachment proceedings against Trump.

In 1973 the US helped save Israel by providing its military with the necessary munitions. Will the US do so again? Do the Americans have the weapons capability to counter Iran's ballistics, precision missiles and drones? More crucially, what kind of support could America provide that would lift the spirits of humiliated and exhausted Israelis after they emerge from underground shelters having enduring four weeks without electricity or food and see their cities completely shattered?

This leads us to the essential issue. Zionism vowed to emancipate the Jews from their destiny by liberating the Jews from themselves. It vowed to bring an end to Jewish self-destruction by creating a Jewish safe haven. How is it that just seven decades after the founding of the Jewish state, the people who have suffered throughout their history have once again managed to create the potential for their own disaster?

ORDER IT NOW

In The Wandering Who I provide a possible answer: "Grasping the notion of temporality is the ability to accept that the past is shaped and revised in the light of a search for meaning. History, and historical thinking, are the capacity to rethink the past and the future." Accordingly, revisionism is the true essence of historical thinking. It turns the past into a moral message, it turns the moral into an ethical act. Sadly this is exactly where the Jewish State is severely lacking. Despite the Zionist promise to introduce introspection, morality and universal thinking to the emerging Hebrew culture, the Jewish State has failed to break away from the Jewish past because it doesn't really grasp the notion of the 'past' as a dynamic elastic ethical substance.


A123 , says: November 8, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMT

Everyone understands that a minor Iranian miscalculation could lead to total war. One in which nuclear bombs would rain down on Iran leaving its cities, economy, and security in ruins.

The sociopath, Ayatollah Khameni is detached from reality and may be willing to take such risks. However, there is no reason to believe that The Iranian military or civilian population will embrace certain suicide. It is quite likely that the IRGC would decide that it is time for another revolution and end the theocracy, rather than die following the dubious commands of a deranged Ayatollah.
____

The whole theory about a prolonged conflict falls apart once accurate facts are applied to the situation. Iranian al'Hezbollah has large numbers of Katyusha pattern rockets, but very few precision weapons. And to provide human shields for these weapons, almost all of them are in a limited number of urban centers.

The facts are clear, even if Gilad chooses to ignore them in favor of his personal fantasies. Iranian al'Hezbollah would lose badly in a total forces engagement. The nuclear incineration of their rear echelons would leave forward forces totally defenseless against overwhelming Israeli air superiority.

-- Would there be Israeli civilian casulities? Certainly.
-- Would Lebanon become uninhabitable? Yes.
-- Would Ayatollah Khameni perish when Israeli nukes Tehran? Absolutely.
______

There is no possible scenario where Iran "wins" if they launch a substantial first strike. And, the Iranian military understands this as fact.

Fran Taubman , says: November 8, 2019 at 2:34 pm GMT
@A123 It is really fun when Gilad gets off Epstein and rape stuff and ventures into wars and Israeli security. The generals have kept Gilad up to date on the latest and the greatest.
He is so out to lunch in his desire to see Israel panic and loose the next war facing horrible casualties because it makes his point about how the Jews are doomed unless they cease being Jews.

He really believes that he can solve the problem and change our destiny if we all read "Wondering
Who"

In The Wandering Who I provide a possible answer: "Grasping the notion of temporality is the ability to accept that the past is shaped and revised in the light of a search for meaning. History, and historical thinking, are the capacity to rethink the past and the future." Accordingly, revisionism is the true essence of historical thinking. It turns the past into a moral message, it turns the moral into an ethical act. Sadly this is exactly where the Jewish State is severely lacking. Despite the Zionist promise to introduce introspection, morality and universal thinking to the emerging Hebrew culture, the Jewish State has failed to break away from the Jewish past because it doesn't really grasp the notion of the 'past' as a dynamic elastic ethical substance.

I wonder what it is like to wish death and destruction on a people and a country to prove your point and call yourself an unemotional Athenian.

No Jews in the headline another slow thread.

Gilad Atzmon , says: November 8, 2019 at 2:51 pm GMT
@A123 As you may have noticed, in the Israeli apocalyptic scenarios the Jewish state doesn't put into play the Samson option.. it is slightly less genocidal than yourself .. you may want to ask yourself why
Rev. Spooner , says: November 8, 2019 at 4:05 pm GMT
Israel is making a terrible mistake. The oft touted "Sampson Option" is a bogus option as Bibi, Benny Gatz and/or any other Israeli leader knows it will be suicide if they use this option. Because even if they emerge from the bunkers days later after using nuclear bombs against Iran, Syria, Lebanon and other European capitals ( Samson option targets Europe ) they will be greeted with hostility and will have no sanctuary.

Three times in world history the Jews were rescued by the Persians.
Believe it or not.

Miro23 , says: November 8, 2019 at 4:52 pm GMT

However, the US under the Trump administration is somewhat unpredictable, especially in light of the current impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Not at all unpredictable with regards to Israel. Trump and Congress would use the last cent of US taxpayer's money and the last drop of Anglo blood to save the place. Trump is Israel's US Viceroy and Congress is its Colonial Parliament.

Israel's real nightmare starts when US nationalists toss out the colonialists, and Israel has to find a way live on its own resources.

Sulu , says: November 8, 2019 at 5:07 pm GMT
I have to think that considering the failure of military intelligence agencies in the past that no one has any real idea how close Iran is to getting the bomb. But even if they get numbers of them and have a means to deliver them on target it simply would mean that Iran and Israel are in a standoff. I can understand how Israel would not want Iran to have the bomb but in reality how much difference would it make? It would only be relevant if the two countries had already blundered into war and things were entering a final disastrous stage. Then it would simply mean both countries would be destroyed instead of just one.
Also, not being a military man am I naive in thinking Iran might be able to buy nuclear weapons on the black market? From North Korea, perhaps? I have got to suspect Israel will be faced with two options. Either fight Iran sooner, before they get nukes. Or they will simply have to accept that Iran is going to be a nuclear power. It's pretty obvious that Israel has been trying to get America to fight their war for them. But Trump has been reluctant to do so. No wonder the Jews are chomping at the bit to find some way to get rid of him. 2020 should prove to be an interesting year.
Tom Verso , says: November 8, 2019 at 5:45 pm GMT
This analysis leaves out two very significant historic military facts:

1) The 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon aka the "33 Day War" where in:

"Hezbollah inflicted more Israeli casualties per Arab fighter in 2006 than did any of Israel's state opponents in the 1956, 1967, 1973, or 1982 Arab-Israeli interstate wars, and is generally acknowledge that Israel flat out lost that war and de facto sued for a cease fire.

(see: "U.S. Department of Defense. The 2006 Lebanon Campaign and the Future of Warfare: Implications for Army and Defense Policy." Kindle Edition.)

2) The Syrian army is currently the only army in the world that has multi-front, contiguous multi-year 'combined arms' (i.e. army, armor, artillery and air force) combat experience .

Further, the leader of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah in a recent interview pointed out that Hezbollah fighting along side of the Syrian Army these past five years, now has experience in offensive warfare. In 2006 they fought strictly defensively.

In short, if an Israeli war comes again, given the experience of the Syrian and Hezbollah armies and Syria acquiring state of the art air defense system (S 300, etc), Iranian missiles may very well be the least of Israel's worries.

Indeed, before Iran launches missiles, Hezbollah and Syria may move to take back Shebaa Farms and Golan Heights.

To my mind: Israel and American militaries are "paper Tigers". Israel has never fought a combined arms war for a sustained period of time against an equally matched military. And the US not since Korea. Their victories have always been overwhelming an inferior force.

Gilad Atzmon , says: November 8, 2019 at 6:10 pm GMT
@AaronB For me the fact that the Jewish state indulges itself in apocalyptic and genocidal fantasies is really a glimpse into to tribal mind.. as far as I can tell this pre traumatic stress points at severe form of projection .. Israeli politicians and commentators attribute their own symptoms to their neighbours ..
Colin Wright , says: November 8, 2019 at 6:55 pm GMT
@Rev. Spooner ' Three times in world history the Jews were rescued by the Persians.
Believe it or not.'

The Persians more or less created 'the Jews.' At any rate, a religion recognizable as Judaism first appeared in the wake of the Persian conquests.

However, when did the Persians 'rescue' the Jews?

They allowed the creation of an autonomous Jewish state in Palestine when they overran that place around the beginning of the seventh century AD -- but that only lasted for about twenty years anyway.

So what are the three times?

Tom Verso , says: November 8, 2019 at 7:43 pm GMT
@A123 If I may: I don't know for sure what G Atzmon meant by the Samson Option; but, I have come across this express before and I took it to mean that Israel will go to nuclear war even if means the destruction of the Jewish State. That is, like Samson who destroyed his enemies by killing himself; Israel nuec's Iran and Iran nuce's Israel (kills enemies and itself).

This should not be taken lightly. While it would be totally irrational for most states to take the Samson Option, it is to my mind a plausible option for Israel. For even if the Jewish State is destroyed, the Jewish Nation i.e. the Jewish people around the world will survive and continue on as they have these thousands of years. But, they will be free of what they perceive as their arch enemy i.e. Iran and other Moslems. They survived the metaphoric Holocaust and they will survive a literal one. The Jewish State may be destroyed but not the Jewish People.

Altai_3 , says: November 8, 2019 at 9:35 pm GMT
This is something not enough people comment on. Israel's military is not a mini US military, it has serious problems and takes losses and casualties in contexts that would be shocking for another Western country that spends as much per capita for it's military.

This is why Israel having nuclear weapons irks me so much, the more it can't rely on it's conventional military, the more they'll lean into their nuclear deterrent, increasing the probability of it's use. (Not dissimilar to the situation with Pakistan vis-a-vis India, though in that case, India has nukes too)

Adrian , says: November 8, 2019 at 10:06 pm GMT
@Tom Verso The Samson Option
The Samson Option.jpg
Author Seymour Hersh
Country United States
Language English
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Random House
Publication date
1991
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 362 pp
ISBN 0-394-57006-5
OCLC 24609770
Dewey Decimal
355.8/25119/095694 20
LC Class UA853.I8 H47 1991
The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy is a 1991 book by Seymour Hersh. It details the history of Israel's nuclear weapons program and its effects on Israel-American relations. The "Samson Option" of the book's title refers to the nuclear strategy whereby Israel would launch a massive nuclear retaliatory strike if the state itself was being overrun, just as the Biblical figure Samson is said to have pushed apart the pillars of a Philistine temple, bringing down the roof and killing himself and thousands of Philistines who had gathered to see him humiliated.

According to The New York Times, Hersh relied on Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli government employee who says he worked for Israeli intelligence, for much of his information on the state of the Israeli nuclear program. However, Hersh confirmed all of this information with at least one other source.[1] Hersh did not travel to Israel to conduct interviews for the book, believing that he might have been subject to the Israeli Military Censor. Nevertheless, he did interview Israelis in the United States and Europe during his three years of research.[1]

Colin Wright , says: November 8, 2019 at 10:31 pm GMT
@Fran Taubman ' If you study it, can be pretty scary. It is not just Israel. Also who wants another North Korea blackmail game?'

You mean something like the Samson option?

Anyway, the whole discussion is silly. No nation -- and that included Imperial Japan in 1945, when the chips were down -- chooses self-immolation. They always give way. Iran isn't a threat to Israel because Iran's not going to commit national suicide, and 'the Samson Option' is bullshit as well, because six million Jews aren't going to commit national suicide either.

Zionists such as yourself only choose to think otherwise about Iran -- in spite of the absence of any historical evidence at all -- because it justifies your own pathological aggression towards a nation that is (a) a thousand miles away, and (b) poses no serious threat to Israel whatsoever.

Try not attacking literally everyone you can think of. That might help. I mean, fuck -- Israel is the only state in modern history that has attacked literally every single one of her neighbors, and several more besides. Since 1948, she's attacked Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Tunisia, and even the United States. What's up?

Art , says: November 8, 2019 at 10:41 pm GMT

Despite the Zionist promise to introduce introspection, morality and universal thinking to the emerging Hebrew culture, the Jewish State has failed to break away from the Jewish past because it doesn't really grasp the notion of the 'past' as a dynamic elastic ethical substance.

The Jews are always long-term losers because they teach their children that they have always been and will forever be victims of humanity. Jew children are traumatized at an immature young age – they are mentally damaged by the thought that humanity wants to kill them and do them harm. This notion is inculcated deep in the Jew child's psyche. These poor children can never escape what has been implanted. (For three thousand years, generation after generation, Jew culture has been abusing their children with dreadful thoughts.)

Nine out of ten adult Jews are triggered into thoughts of doom by any criticism of Israel – their reactions are visceral, and a pure reflex coming out of their brainstem.

Jews cannot be introspective because of what elder Jews have implanted in them in their youth. Their rational emotional systems have been short-circuited.

I have seen intelligent Jews on this forum flirt with empathy for Palestinians – only to fall back into mindless reflexive support of whatever Israel does.

Art , says: November 8, 2019 at 11:14 pm GMT
@Art

Jews Are Feeling Guilty: They Should Be. Their Influence Has Been Cancerous to America
Gilad Atzmon Wed, Nov 6, 2019

It has become an institutional Jewish habit to examine how much Jews are hated by their host nations and how fearful Jews are of their neighbours. Jewish press outlets reported yesterday that "9 out of 10 US Jews worry about anti-Semitism."

. . .

As Haartez writer Ari Shavit wrote back in 2003: "The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish " Maybe some Jews now understand that the Zionist shift from a 'promised land' to the Neocon 'promised planet' doesn't reflect well on the Jews as a group.

https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/jews-are-feeling-guilty-they-should-be-their-influence-has-been-cancerous-america/ri27813

Miro23 , says: November 8, 2019 at 11:40 pm GMT
@AaronB

Any separation of one group from another is a tribe. Any identity whatsoever is a tribe – because identity sets you apart. The moment you define yourself you are tribal, because definitions distinguish one thing from another.

The issue is that some people are not particularly tribal (i.e. Westerners) and they are open to multiculturalism – i.e. proposition nations. However, proposition nations are very much non-tribalist places and need non-tribalism to survive.

If tribalists talk multiculturalism and proposition nations (i.e. use deception) while practicing tribalism, they quickly overwhelm these societies – which is where the US is today with regards to Jewish tribalists.

What does a Jewish tribalist elite do next? And what does a (subjected) majority do next?

renfro , says: November 9, 2019 at 12:49 am GMT

Michael Oren, repeated my 2011 predictions this week in the Atlantic and described a horrific scenario for the next, and likely last, Israeli conflict.

The purpose of Oren's Atlantic article was to create alarm in the DC political corridors .."warning' that if the US doesnt 'soon help Israel' with its Iran enemy there will be chaos and dead bodies galore .
Its propaganda but 'true' propaganda 'if' Israel were to attack Iran on their own but they wont .they aren't capable of it alone.
They are running this same propaganda articles/warnings in Europe, saying Europe needs to 'do something' about Iran Now!
Its basically a blackmail and scare ploy because they don't think Trump will do it for them .and of course if Israel starts a war it will be because Trump/US deserted them like he/we did the Kurds and they were 'forced' to try and defend the world against Iran 'all alone' and Israel isn't to blame for the mess lol.

What Israel will do is try to start a war on Hezbollah 'first, as Hezbollah would be their most immediate and dangerous threat , severely crippling Israel right at the onset of any war with Iran.
They will claim that Iran directed attacks on Israel and so the US should step in because its an attack by Iran.

If we had anyone in DC that wasn't bought off by Jewish 'benjamin's ' they would be laughing their asses off at this typical Jewish tactic.

Ash Williams , says: November 9, 2019 at 2:10 am GMT
@A123

Everyone understands that a minor Iranian miscalculation could lead to total war. One in which nuclear bombs would rain down on Iran leaving its cities, economy, and security in ruins.

The sociopath, Ayatollah Khameni is detached from reality and may be willing to take such risks. However, there is no reason to believe that The Iranian military or civilian population will embrace certain suicide. It is quite likely that the IRGC would decide that it is time for another revolution and end the theocracy, rather than die following the dubious commands of a deranged Ayatollah.

Kristol, you're drunk. Turn off the computer and go to bed, you shmuck.

renfro , says: November 9, 2019 at 4:49 am GMT
@Colin Wright

She has us all to herself

That was the goal.
Remember the Zios in Rumsfeld's pentagon stressing how the US must dump 'old Europe"?
Even a non genius like me could figure that out .old Europe might be too much of a 'restraining ' influence on the US.
The Jews hate Europe anyway ..just like they hate Russia.

Some interesting things popped up this week .Vindman , main testifier against Trump on Ukraine is a Ukraine Jew, Solderman,Trump's main man on Ukraine is a Jew, also has now testified against Trump, their attorney is also a Jew ..they all have issued statements about how the plucky "little Ukraine is fighting against Russia for the US and world" and needs our aid and so on. Exactly the same wording and bullshit spin the Jews use about Israel "fighting Iran to protect the US and world interest".
Plain to me the Uber Jews are trying to set up the Ukraine as a Israel satellite and weight on Russia's flank.

I read Vindman's testimony to congress ..something is very off about the guy. he sounded numerous times like he lost his script. He's, in his own words, a fanatical supporter of Ukraine . I don't like Trump but I think the Ukraine deal to impeach him is a set up ..and its not coming mainly from the CIA ,its coming from the Nat Sec Council that Vindman works for.

https://apps.npr.org/documents/document.html?id=6543468-Alexander-Vindman-Testimony

ziogolem , says: November 9, 2019 at 5:28 am GMT
The Andinia Plan (and others like it) gives Israel almost a "reset" button, making the Samson Option a disturbing possibility.

"Holiday camps" with hundreds of thousands of empty houses, a military landing strip, a submarine base
https://www.globalresearch.ca/does-israel-have-a-patagonia-project-in-argentina/5624434

A Palestinian sees for herself what these Israeli tourists are about
http://www.kawther.info/K20040416A.html
http://www.kawther.info/wpr/2009/01/30/israeli-war-criminals-in-patagonia

It seems that the Argentinian elite are reliant on Israeli (and US) armed support
https://steemit.com/informationwar/@renny-krieger/the-military-invasion-of-argentina-english-version

It is terrifying to think that in the event Israel be run by psychopaths, they might sacrifice another "6 million", while securing themselves a new Zion.

On the other hand, a peaceful transfer of the occupation of Palestine to Patagonia (and elsewhere), without the trigger of war, would be a possible path to peace in the Middle East (not so ideal for Patagonia though).

What would it take for either outcome to pass? I fear the former is far more likely than the latter.

Not Raul , says: November 9, 2019 at 5:31 am GMT
@Altai_3 I agree.

Israel is much more likely to be the next country to use atomic weapons than Iran.

They reached their limit in the 2006 Lebanon War with just over a hundred fatalities.

It's hard to imagine the Israelis losing even half as many as they did in 1973 (somewhat less than 3000) before pushing the button.

anon [113] Disclaimer , says: November 9, 2019 at 5:35 am GMT
@renfro

I don't like Trump but I think the Ukraine deal to impeach him is a set up ..and its not coming mainly from the CIA ,its coming from the Nat Sec Council .

Have you heard of –
Growing Indicators of Brennan's CIA Trump Task Force
by Larry C Johnson
https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/11/growing-indicators-of-brennans-cia-trump-task-force-by-larry-c-johnson.html

They were out to get him a year before he was elected;

[Nov 09, 2019] UN says 12,800 13,000 killed since April 2014. That's not enough. So Congress bought a pile of Javelin AT munitions

Nov 09, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

shinola , November 8, 2019 at 3:26 pm

From the Medium article "John Bolton's Old Rivals Say Trump Should Be Very, Very Worried"

"I don't think dirt-digging would offend Bolton. What would offend Bolton is interrupting military supplies to a country in a deadly battle with Russia. Doing something that for whatever reason appeases Putin," Thielmann said."

The country referred to is Ukraine. I guess I've missed all the msm articles detailing all those deadly clashes between Russian & Ukrainian military units along with casualty figures and all that. I suppose I need to pay closer attention (or something).

Misty Flip , November 8, 2019 at 5:46 pm

UN says 12,800–13,000 killed since April 2014. So Congress bought a pile of Javelin AT munitions, the ones with a top attack flight profile that will place a high explosive shape-charge of molten copper through tops of young Russian tank commanders' heads, who are sons of Putin's base, if there was a mechanized push further into Ukraine. [The political tolerance window for which is narrowing.]

Our benevolent leader said, "Hold-on. You gotta first get your FBI to clear my campaign and come up with some trumped-up charges against my political opponent. My FBI won't do it." Congressional impoundment, solicitation of a bribe for personal gain, and abuse of power. In any case, Ukraine's getting a smaller pile of missiles until next year, so, gross incompetent moves, both domestic and abroad.

Darthbobber , November 8, 2019 at 8:43 pm

You recall that the Obama administration opposed giving Ukraine any lethal assistance?

Congress has just come up with an excellent method of giving the Russians a lot of free Javelins if there were a serious fight. Which there continues to be no sign of.

Darthbobber , November 8, 2019 at 8:38 pm

The great bulk of (pro-government) Ukrainian casualties occurred in the course of ill-advised and poorly conducted offensives against the breakaway republics. When it only defends, the Ukrainian side doesn't suffer casualties. Because nobody attacks it.

[Nov 06, 2019] Manufacturing Fear and Loathing, Maximizing Corporate Profits! A Review of Matt Taibbi's Hate Inc. Why Today's Media Makes Us

Notable quotes:
"... "Manufacturing Consent," Taibbi writes, "explains that the debate you're watching is choreographed. The range of argument has been artificially narrowed long before you get to hear it" (p. 11). ..."
"... Americans were held captive by the boob tube affords us not only a useful historical image but also suggests the possibility of their having been able to view the television as an antagonist, and therefore of their having been able, at least some of them, to rebel against its dictates. Three decades later, on the other hand, the television has been replaced by iPhones and portable tablets, the workings of which are so precisely intertwined with even the most intimate minute-to-minute aspects of our lives that our relationship to them could hardly ever become antagonistic. ..."
"... The massive political revolution was, going all the way back to 1989, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and then of the Soviet Union itself -- and thus of the usefulness of anti-communism as a kind of coercive secular religion (pp. 14-15). ..."
"... our corporate media have devised -- at least for the time being -- highly-profitable marketing processes that manufacture fake dissent in order to smother real dissent (p. 21). ..."
"... And the smothering of real dissent is close enough to public consentto get the goddam job done: The Herman/Chomsky model is, after all these years, still valid. ..."
"... For Maddow, he notes, is "a depressingly exact mirror of Hannity . The two characters do exactly the same work. They make their money using exactly the same commercial formula. And though they emphasize different political ideas, the effect they have on audiences is much the same" (pp. 259-260). ..."
Nov 06, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Matt Taibbi's Hate Inc . is the most insightful and revelatory book about American politics to appear since the publication of Thomas Frank's Listen, Liberal almost four full years ago, near the beginning of the last presidential election cycle.

While Frank's topic was the abysmal failure of the Democratic Party to be democratic and Taibbi's is the abysmal failure of our mainstream news corporations to report news, the prominent villains in both books are drawn from the same, or at least overlapping, elite social circles: from, that is, our virulently anti-populist liberal class, from our intellectually mediocre creative class, from our bubble-dwelling thinking class. In fact, I would strongly recommend that the reader spend some time with Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? (2004) and Listen, Liberal! (2016) as he or she takes up Taibbi's book.

And to really do the book the justice it deserves, I would even more vehemently recommend that the reader immerse him- or herself in Taibbi's favorite book and vade-mecum , Manufacturing Consent (which I found to be a grueling experience: a relentless cataloging of the official lies that hide the brutality of American foreign policy) and, in order to properly appreciate the brilliance of Taibbi's chapter 7, "How the Media Stole from Pro Wrestling," visit some locale in Flyover Country and see some pro wrestling in person (which I found to be unexpectedly uplifting -- more on this soon enough).

Taibbi tells us that he had originally intended for Hate, Inc . to be an updating of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent (1988), which he first read thirty years ago, when he was nineteen. "It blew my mind," Taibbi writes. "[It] taught me that some level of deception was baked into almost everything I'd ever been taught about modern American life .

Once the authors in the first chapter laid out their famed propaganda model [italics mine], they cut through the deceptions of the American state like a buzz saw" (p. 10). For what seemed to be vigorous democratic debate, Taibbi realized, was instead a soul-crushing simulation of debate. The choices voters were given were distinctions without valid differences, and just as hyped, just as trivial, as the choices between a Whopper and a Big Mac, between Froot Loops and Frosted Mini-Wheats, between Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, between Marlboro Lites and Camel Filters. It was all profit-making poisonous junk.

"Manufacturing Consent," Taibbi writes, "explains that the debate you're watching is choreographed. The range of argument has been artificially narrowed long before you get to hear it" (p. 11). And there's an indisputable logic at work here, because the reality of hideous American war crimes is and always has been, from the point of view of the big media corporations, a "narrative-ruining" buzz-kill. "The uglier truth [brought to light in Manufacturing Consent ], that we committed genocide of a fairly massive scale across Indochina -- ultimately killing at least a million innocent civilians by air in three countries -- is pre-excluded from the history of the period" (p. 13).

So what has changed in the last thirty years? A lot! As a starting point let's consider the very useful metaphor found in the title of another great media book of 1988: Mark Crispin Miller's Boxed In: The Culture of TV . To say that Americans were held captive by the boob tube affords us not only a useful historical image but also suggests the possibility of their having been able to view the television as an antagonist, and therefore of their having been able, at least some of them, to rebel against its dictates. Three decades later, on the other hand, the television has been replaced by iPhones and portable tablets, the workings of which are so precisely intertwined with even the most intimate minute-to-minute aspects of our lives that our relationship to them could hardly ever become antagonistic.

Taibbi summarizes the history of these three decades in terms of three "massive revolutions" in the media plus one actual massive political revolution, all of which, we should note, he discussed with his hero Chomsky (who is now ninety! -- Edward Herman passed away in 2017) even as he wrote his book. And so: the media revolutions which Taibbi describes were, first, the coming of FoxNews along with Rush Limbaugh-style talk radio; second, the coming of CNN, i.e., the Cable News Network, along with twenty-four hour infinite-loop news cycles; third, the coming of the Internet along with the mighty social media giants Facebook and Twitter.

The massive political revolution was, going all the way back to 1989, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and then of the Soviet Union itself -- and thus of the usefulness of anti-communism as a kind of coercive secular religion (pp. 14-15).

For all that, however, the most salient difference between the news media of 1989 and the news media of 2019 is the disappearance of the single type of calm and decorous and slightly boring cis-het white anchorman (who somehow successfully appealed to a nationwide audience) and his replacement by a seemingly wide variety of demographically-engineered news personæ who all rage and scream combatively in each other's direction. "In the old days," Taibbi writes, "the news was a mix of this toothless trivia and cheery dispatches from the frontlines of Pax Americana . The news [was] once designed to be consumed by the whole house . But once we started to be organized into demographic silos [italics mine], the networks found another way to seduce these audiences: they sold intramural conflict" (p. 18).

And in this new media environment of constant conflict, how, Taibbi wondered, could public consent , which would seem to be at the opposite end of the spectrum from conflict, still be manufactured ?? "That wasn't easy for me to see in my first decades in the business," Taibbi writes. "For a long time, I thought it was a flaw in the Chomsky/Herman model" (p. 19).

But what Taibbi was at length able to understand, and what he is now able to describe for us with both wit and controlled outrage, is that our corporate media have devised -- at least for the time being -- highly-profitable marketing processes that manufacture fake dissent in order to smother real dissent (p. 21).

And the smothering of real dissent is close enough to public consentto get the goddam job done: The Herman/Chomsky model is, after all these years, still valid.

Or pretty much so. Taibbi is more historically precise. Because of the tweaking of the Herman/Chomsky propaganda model necessitated by the disappearance of the USSR in 1991 ("The Russians escaped while we weren't watching them, / As Russians do ," Jackson Browne presciently prophesied on MTV way back in 1983), one might now want to speak of a Propaganda Model 2.0. For, as Taibbi notes, " the biggest change to Chomsky's model is the discovery of a far superior 'common enemy' in modern media: each other. So long as we remain a bitterly-divided two-party state, we'll never want for TV villains" (pp. 207-208).

To rub his great insight right into our uncomprehending faces, Taibbi has almost sadistically chosen to have dark, shadowy images of a yelling Sean Hannity (in lurid FoxNews Red!) and a screaming Rachel Maddow (in glaring MSNBC Blue!) juxtaposed on the cover of his book. For Maddow, he notes, is "a depressingly exact mirror of Hannity . The two characters do exactly the same work. They make their money using exactly the same commercial formula. And though they emphasize different political ideas, the effect they have on audiences is much the same" (pp. 259-260).

And that effect is hate. Impotent hate. For while Rachel's fan demographic is all wrapped up in hating Far-Right Fascists Like Sean, and while Sean's is all wrapped up in despising Libtard Lunatics Like Rachel, the bipartisan consensus in Washington for ever-increasing military budgets, for everlasting wars, for ever-expanding surveillance, for ever-growing bailouts of and tax breaks for and and handouts to the most powerful corporations goes forever unchallenged.

Oh my. And it only gets worse and worse, because the media, in order to make sure that their various siloed demographics stay superglued to their Internet devices, must keep ratcheting up levels of hate: the Fascists Like Sean and the Libtards Like Rachel must be continually presented as more and more deranged, and ultimately as demonic. "There is us and them," Taibbi writes, "and they are Hitler" (p. 64). A vile reductio ad absurdum has come into play: "If all Trump supporters are Hitler, and all liberals are also Hitler," Taibbi writes, " [t]he America vs. America show is now Hitler vs. Hitler! Think of the ratings! " The reader begins to grasp Taibbi's argument that our mainstream corporate media are as bad as -- are worse than -- pro wrestling. It's an ineluctable downward spiral.

Taibbi continues: "The problem is, there's no natural floor to this behavior. Just as cable TV will eventually become seven hundred separate twenty-four-hour porn channels, news and commentary will eventually escalate to boxing-style, expletive-laden, pre-fight tirades, and the open incitement to violence [italics mine]. If the other side is literally Hitler, [w]hat began as America vs. America will eventually move to Traitor vs. Traitor , and the show does not work if those contestants are not eventually offended to the point of wanting to kill one another" (pp. 65-69).

As I read this book, I often wondered about how difficult it was emotionally for Taibbi to write it. I'm just really glad to see that the guy didn't commit suicide along the way. He does describe the "self-loathing" he experienced as he realized his own complicity in the marketing processes which he exposes (p. 2). He also apologizes to the reader for his not being able to follow through on his original aim of writing a continuation of Herman and Chomsky's classic: "[W]hen I sat down to write what I'd hoped would be something with the intellectual gravitas of Manufacturing Consent ," Taibbi confesses, "I found decades of more mundane frustrations pouring out onto the page, obliterating a clinical examination" (p. 2).

I, however, am profoundly grateful to Taibbi for all of his brilliantly observed anecdotes. The subject matter is nauseating enough even in Taibbi's sparkling and darkly tragicomic prose. A more academic treatment of the subject would likely be too depressing to read. So let me conclude with an anecdote of my own -- and an oddly uplifting one at that -- about reading Taibbi's chapter 7, "How the News Media Stole from Pro Wrestling."

On the same day I read this chapter I saw that, on the bulletin board in my gym, a poster had appeared, as if by magic, promoting an upcoming Primal Conflict (!) professional wrestling event. I studied the photos of the wrestlers on the poster carefully, and, as an astute reader of Taibbi, I prided myself on being able to identify which of them seemed be playing the roles of heels , and which of them the roles of babyfaces .

For Taibbi explains that one of the fundamental dynamics of wrestling involves the invention of crowd-pleasing narratives out of the many permutations and combinations of pitting heels against faces . Donald Trump, a natural heel , brings the goofy dynamics of pro wrestling to American politics with real-life professional expertise. (Taibbi points out that in 2007 Trump actually performed before a huge cheering crowd in a Wrestlemania event billed as the "battle of the billionaires." Watch it on YouTube! https://youtu.be/5NsrwH9I9vE -- unbelievable!!)

The mainstream corporate media, on the other hand, their eyes fixed on ever bigger and bigger profits, have drifted into the metaphorical pro wrestling ring in ignorance, and so, when they face off against Trump, they often end up in the role of inept prudish pearl-clutching faces .

Taibbi condemns the mainstream media's failure to understand such a massively popular form of American entertainment as "malpractice" (p. 125), so I felt more than obligated to buy a ticket and see the advertised event in person. To properly educate myself, that is.

... ... ...


Steve Ruis , November 5, 2019 at 8:13 am

I have stopped watching broadcast "news" other than occasional sessions of NPR in the car. I get most of my news from sources such as this and from overseas sources (The Guardian, Reuters, etc.). I used to subscribe to newspapers but have given them up in disgust, even though I was looking forward to leisurely enjoying a morning paper after I retired.

I was brought up in the positive 1950's and, boy, did this turn out poorly.

Dao Gen , November 5, 2019 at 8:59 am

Matt Taibbi is an American treasure, and I love his writing very much, but we also need to ask, Why hasn't another Chomsky (or another Hudson), an analyst with a truly deep and wide-ranging, synthetic mind, appeared on the left to take apart our contemporary media and show us its inner workings? Have all the truly great minds gone to work for Wall Street? I don't have an answer, but to me the pro wrestling metaphor, while intriguing, misses something about the Fourth Estate in America, if it indeed still exists. And that is, except for radio, there is a distinct imbalance between the two sides of the MSM lineup. On the corporate liberal side of the national MSM team you have five wrestlers, but on the conservative/reactionary side you have only the Fox entry. Because of this imbalance, the corruption, laziness, self-indulgence, and generally declining interest in journalistic standards seems greater among the corporate liberal media team, including the NYT and WaPo, than the Fox team.

I'm not a fan of either Maddow (in her current incarnation) or Hannity, but Hannity, perhaps because he thinks he's like David, often hustles to refute the discourse of the corporate liberal Goliath team. Hannity obviously does more research on some topics than Maddow, and, perhaps because he began in radio, he puts more emphasis on semi-rationally structured rants than Maddow, who depends more on primal emotion, body language, and Hollywood-esque fear-inducing atmospherics.

I'd wager that in a single five-minute segment there will often be twice as many rational distinctions made in a Hannity rant than in a Maddow performance. In addition, for the last three years Hannity has simply been demonstrably right about the fake Russiagate propaganda blitz while Maddow has been as demonstrably wrong from the very beginning as propaganda industry trend-setter Adam Schiff. So for at least these last three years, the Maddow-Hannity primal match has been a somewhat misleading metaphor. The Blob and the security state have been decisively supporting (and directing?) the corporate liberal global interventionist media, at least regarding Russia and the permanent war establishment, and because the imbalance between the interventionist and the non-interventionist MSM, Russia and Ukraine are being used as a wedge to steadily break down the firewalls between the Dem party, the intel community, and the interventionist MSM. If we had real public debates with both sides at approximately equal strength as we did during the Vietnam War, then even pro wrestling-type matches would be superior to what we have now, which is truthy truth and thoughtsy thought coming to us from the military industrial complex and monopolistic holding companies. If fascism is defined as the fusion of the state and corporations, then the greatest threat of fascism in America may well be coming from the apparent gradual fusion of the corporate liberal MSM, the Dem party elite, and the intel community. Instead of an MSM wrestling match, we may soon be faced with a Japanese-style 'hitori-zumo' match in which a sumo wrestler wrestles with only himself. Once these sumo wrestlers were believed to be wrestling with invisible spirits, but those days are gone . http://kikuko-nagoya.com/html/hitori-zumo.htm

coboarts , November 5, 2019 at 9:59 am

"If we had real public debates" and if they were even debates where issues entered into contest were addressed point by point with evidence

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg , November 5, 2019 at 10:03 am

Today's Noam Chomksy? Chomsky was part of the machine who broke ranks with it. His MIT research was generously funded by the Military Industrial Complex. Thankfully, enough of his latent humanity and Trotskyite upbringing shone through so he exposed what he was part of. So I guess today that's Chris Hedges, though he's a preacher at heart and not a semiotician.

neighbor7 , November 5, 2019 at 10:04 am

Thank you, Dao Gen. An excellent analysis, and your final image is usefully haunting.

a different chris , November 5, 2019 at 12:11 pm

> In addition, for the last three years Hannity has simply been demonstrably right about the fake Russiagate propaganda blitz while Maddow has been as demonstrably wrong

Eh. Read whats-his-name's (Frankfurter?) book On Bullshit . You are giving Hannity credit for something he doesn't really care about.

jrs , November 5, 2019 at 12:21 pm

I don't believe the media environment as a whole leans corporate Dem/neoliberal.

T.V. maybe, but radio is much more right wing than left (yes there is NPR and Pacifica, the latter with probably only a scattering of listerners but ) and it's still out there and a big influence, radio hasn't gone away. So doesn't the right wing tilt of radio kind of balance out television? (not necessarily in a good way but). And then there is the internet and I have no idea what the overall lean of that is (I mean I prefer left wing sites, but that's purely my own bubble and actually there are much fewer left analysis out there than I'd like)

Self Affine , November 5, 2019 at 9:05 am

Also,

Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

by Sheldon S. Wolin

Critical deep analysis of not just the media but the whole American political enterprise and
the nature of our "democracy".

DJG , November 5, 2019 at 9:20 am

The whole review is good, but this extract should be quoted extensively:

While Frank's topic was the abysmal failure of the Democratic Party to be democratic and Taibbi's is the abysmal failure of our mainstream news corporations to report news, the prominent villains in both books are drawn from the same, or at least overlapping, elite social circles: from, that is, our virulently anti-populist liberal class, from our intellectually mediocre creative class, from our bubble-dwelling thinking class.

In short, stagnation and self-dealing at the top. What could possibly go wrong?

Yves Smith Post author , November 5, 2019 at 11:51 am

Are you serious? Maddow called Trump a traitor and accused him of betrayal in Russiagate, and was caught out when that fell apart. This was pointed out all over the MSM .

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/03/27/rachel-maddows-deep-delusion-226266

https://www.salon.com/2018/07/17/rachel-maddow-hits-the-panic-button-after-trump-putin-summit-this-is-the-worst-case-scenario/

Carolinian , November 5, 2019 at 9:52 am

This is great stuff. Thanks.

One quibble: the author says

Three decades later, on the other hand, the television has been replaced by iPhones and portable tablets

and then goes on to spend most of the article talking about television. I'd say television is still the main propaganda instrument even if many webheads like yours truly ignore it (I've never seen Hannity's show or Maddow's–just hear the rumors). Arguably even newspapers like the NYT have been dumbed down because the reporters long to be on TV and join the shouting. And it's surely no coincidence that our president himself is a TV (and WWE) star. Mass media have always been feeders of hysteria but television gave them faces and voices. Watching TV is also a far more passive experience than surfing the web. They are selling us "narratives," bedtime stories, and we like sleepy children merely listen.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield , November 5, 2019 at 9:54 am

This rave review has inspired me to add this to my to-read non-fiction queue. Currently reading William Dalrymple's The Anarchy, on the rise of the East India Company. Next up: Matt Stoller's Goliath. And then I'll get to Taibbi. Probably worth digging up my original copy of Manufacturing Consent as well, which I read many moons ago; time for a re-read.

Susan the Other , November 5, 2019 at 12:32 pm

almost every page of mine is dog-eared and marked along the edge with exclamation points

urblintz , November 5, 2019 at 1:41 pm

May I suggest Stephen Cohen's "War with Russia?" if it's not already on your list? In focusing on the danger emerging from the new cold war, seeded by the Democrats, propagated by corporate media (which he thinks is more dangerous than the first), Cohen clarifies the importance of diplomacy especially with one's nuclear rivals.

Imagine that

shinola , November 5, 2019 at 9:56 am

Support your local book store!

Off The Street , November 5, 2019 at 9:57 am

Us rubes knew decades ago about pro wrestling. There was a regional circuit and the hero in one town would become the villain in another town. The ones to be surprised were like John Stossel, who got a perforated eardrum from a slap upside the head for his efforts at in-your-face journalism with a wrestler who just wouldn't play along with his grandstanding. Somewhere, kids cheered and life went on.

The Historian , November 5, 2019 at 10:01 am

Ah, Ancient Athens, here we come – running back to repeat your mistakes! Our MSM media has decided that when we are not at our neighbor's throats, we should be at each other's throats!

teacup , November 5, 2019 at 10:11 am

I was watching old clips of the 'Fred Friendly Seminars' on YouTube. IMHO any channel that produced a format such as this would be a ratings bonanza. Imagine a round table with various media figures (corporate) left, (corporate) right, and independent being refereed by a host-moderator discussing topics in 'Hate, Inc.'. In wrestling it's called a Battle Royale. The Fourth Estate in a cage match!

@ape , November 5, 2019 at 10:12 am

And the smothering of real dissent is close enough to public consentto get the goddam job done: The Herman/Chomsky model is, after all these years, still valid.

This is important, if people don't want to be naive about what democracy buys. Democracy in the end is a ritual system to determine which members of an elite would win a war without actually having to hold the war. Like how court functions to replace personal revenge by determining (often) who would win in a fight if there were one, and the feudal system replaced the genocidal wars of the axial age with the gentler warfare of the middle ages which were often ritual wars of the elite that avoided the full risk of the earlier wars.

That, I think, is important -- under a democracy, the winner should be normally the winner of the avoided violent conflict to be sustainable. Thus, it's enough to get most people to consent to the solution, using the traditional meaning of consent being "won't put up a fight to avoid it". If the choices on the table are reduced enough, you can get by with most people simply dropping out of the questions.

Qui tacet consentire videtur, ubi loqui debuit ac potuit

It shouldn't be a surprise that we've moved to "faking dissent" -- it's the natural evolution of a system where a lot of the effective power is in the hands of tech, and not just as in the early 20th century, how many workers you have and how many soldiers you can raise.

If you don't like it, change the technology we use to fight one another. We went from tribes to lords when we switch from sticks to advanced forged weapons, and we went from feudalism to democracy when we had factories dropping guns that any 15 year old could use (oversimplifying a bit). Now that the stuff requires expertise, you'd expect a corresponding shift in how we ritualize our conflict avoidance, and thus the organization of how we control communication and how we organize our rituals of power.

Aka, it's the scientists and the engineers who end up determining how everything is organized, and people never seem to bother with that argument, which is especially surprising that even hard-core Marxists waste their time on short-term politics rather than the tech we're building.

I'd be curious whether Taibbi thought about the issue of the nature of the technology and whether there are technological options on the horizon which drive the conflict in other directions. If we had only kept the laws on copyright and patent weaker, so that the implementation of communicative infrastructure would have stayed decentralized

Susan the Other , November 5, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Tabby's "manufacturing fake consent" was really the whole punchline – the joke's on us. Hunter S. Thompson, another of Taibbi's heroes, is, along with Chomsky, speaking to us through MT. Our media is distracting us from social coherence. Another thing it is doing (just my opinion) is it is overwhelming us to the point of disgust. Nobody likes it. And we protect ourselves by tuning it out. Turning it off. Once the screaming lunatics marginalize themselves by making the whole narrative hysterical, we just act like it's another family fight and we're gonna go do something else. When everyone is screaming, no one is screaming.

Jerry B , November 5, 2019 at 10:26 am

I have tried to read Hate Inc. and Taibbi's Griftopia but one of my main issues with Taibbi's writing is his lack of notes, references, or bibliography, etc. in his books. In skimming Hate Inc. it seems like a book I would enjoy reading, however my personal value system is that any book without footnotes, endnotes, citations, or at minimum a bibliography is just an opinion or a story. At least Thomas Frank's Listen Liberal has a section for End Notes/References at the end of the book. Again just my personal values.

Sbbbd , November 5, 2019 at 10:45 am

Another classic in the genre of manufactured consent through media from the age of radio and Adolf Hitler:

"The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception", in the book Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer.

Joe Well , November 5, 2019 at 11:04 am

I am from Greater Boston, far, far from flyover country (which I imagine begins in Yonkers NY), but I sure grew up with pro wrestling as part of the schoolyard discourse. I certainly knew it was as much of a family affair as Disney on Ice and have trouble believing he thought otherwise though I will not impugn his honesty. I am very grateful to the author for taking the time to write this, but is it possible for a male who grew up in the US to be as deeply embedded in the MSNBC demo as he claims to be?

Seriously, how is it possible for a male raised in the US to not at least have some working familiarity with pro wrestling? My family along with my community was very close to the national median income–do higher income boys really not learn about WWF and WWE?

Seriously, rich kids, what was childhood like? I know you had music lessons and sports camps, what else? Was it really that different?

Carolinian , November 5, 2019 at 11:59 am

And it's not just the US. See the British WWE movie: Fighting With My Family.

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

Yves Smith Post author , November 5, 2019 at 12:03 pm

Sorry, my blue collar, lifetime union member brother says your view is horseshit. All the knows about WWE and WWF is that they are big-budget fakery and that's why they are of no interest.

amfortas the hippie , November 5, 2019 at 1:38 pm

aye. in my blue to white collar( and back to blue to no collar) upbringing, wrestling was never a thing. it was for the morons who couldn't read. seen as patently absurd by just about everyone i knew. and this in klanridden east texas exurbia
wife's mexican extended familia oth luche libre is a big thing that all and sundry talked about at thanksgiving. less so these days possibly due to the hyperindiviualisation of media intake mentioned
(and,btw, in my little world , horseshit is a good thing)

BlueStater , November 5, 2019 at 11:11 am

Even allowing for my lefty-liberal bias, I do not see how it is possible to equate Fox Noise and MSNBC, or Hannity and Maddow, as "both-sides" extremists. Fox violates basic professional canons of fairness and equity on a daily basis. MSNBC occasionally does, but is quick to correct errors of fact. Hannity is a thuggish outer-borough New York schmuck without much education or knowledge of the world. Maddow is an Oxford Ph.D. and Rhodes Scholar. It is one of the evil successes of the right-wing news cauldron to have successfully equated these two figures and organizations.

Yves Smith Post author , November 5, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Huh? MSNBC regularly makes errors of omission and commission with respect to Sanders. They are still pushing the Russiagate narrative. That's a massive, two-year, virtually all the time error they have refused to recant.

The blind spots of people on the soi-disant left are truly astonishing.

semiconscious , November 5, 2019 at 1:08 pm

'Hannity is a thuggish outer-borough New York schmuck without much education or knowledge of the world. Maddow is an Oxford Ph.D. and Rhodes Scholar '

oh, well, then – end of conversation! i mean, god knows, it'd be a cold day in hell before a rhodes scholar, or even someone married to one, would ever lead us astray down the rosy neoliberal path to hell, while, at the same time, under the spell of trump derangement syndrome, actually attempt to revive the mccarthy era, eh?

Summer , November 5, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Actual drugs are being used to hinder debate as well as emotional drugs like hate.
They can't trust agency to be removed by words and images alone – the stakes are too high.
Now all of you go take a feel good pill and stop complaining!

McWatt , November 5, 2019 at 1:02 pm

I would like to know if Matt is doing any book signings any where around the states for this new title?

David , November 5, 2019 at 1:15 pm

I've been impressed with Taibbi's work, what I've read of it, but ironically this very article contains a quote from him which exemplifies the problem: his casual assertion that the US committed "genocide" in Indochina. Even the most fervent critics of US policy didn't say this at the time, for the very good reason that there was no evidence that the US tried to destroy a racial, religious, ethnic or nationalist group (the full definition is a lot more complex and demanding than that). He clearly means that the US was responsible for lots of deaths, which is incontestable. But the process of endless escalation of rhetoric, which this book seems to be partly about, means that everything now has to be described in the most extreme, absurd or apocalyptic tones, and at the top of your voice, otherwise nobody takes any notice. So any self-respecting war now has to be qualified as "genocide" or nobody will take any notice.

[Nov 06, 2019] It is a story of ripping the US taxpayer and the Ukrainian customer off for the benefit of a few corruptioners, American and Ukrainian

Nov 06, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Teamtc321 , 3 hours ago link

Obama Bin Biden and the crooked clan need to get back in the game somehow so they can rip off another 3 billion in US tax payer loans. What were they up to 44 Billion in fraudulent loans to Ukraine?

Interesting how they want to Impeach Trump over Ukraine, don't you think?

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/plundering-ukraine-corrupt-american-democrats

Oleg, you followed Biden story from its very inception. Biden is not the only Dem politician involved in the Ukrainian corruption schemes, is he?

Indeed, John Kerry, the Secretary of State in Obama's administration, was his partner-in-crime. But Joe Biden was number one. During the Obama presidency, Biden was the US proconsul for Ukraine, and he was involved in many corruption schemes. He authorised transfer of three billion dollars of the US taxpayers' money to the post-coup government of the Ukraine; the money was stolen, and Biden took a big share of the spoils.

It is a story of ripping the US taxpayer and the Ukrainian customer off for the benefit of a few corruptioners, American and Ukrainian. And it is a story of Kiev regime and its dependence on the US and IMF. The Ukraine has a few midsize deposits of natural gas, sufficient for domestic household consumption. The cost of its production was quite low; and the Ukrainians got used to pay pennies for their gas. Actually, it was so cheap to produce that the Ukraine could provide all its households with free gas for heating and cooking, just like Libya did. Despite low consumer price, the gas companies (like Burisma) had very high profits and very little expenditure.

After the 2014 coup, IMF demanded to raise the price of gas for the domestic consumer to European levels, and the new president Petro Poroshenko obliged them. The prices went sky-high. The Ukrainians were forced to pay many times more for their cooking and heating; and huge profits went to coffers of the gas companies. Instead of raising taxes or lowering prices, President Poroshenko demanded the gas companies to pay him or subsidise his projects. He said that he arranged the price hike; it means he should be considered a partner.

Burisma Gas company had to pay extortion money to the president Poroshenko. Eventually its founder and owner Mr Nicolai Zlochevsky decided to invite some important Westerners into the company's board of directors hoping it would moderate Poroshenko's appetites. He had brought in Biden's son Hunter, John Kerry, Polish ex-President Kwasniewski; but it didn't help him.

Poroshenko became furious that the fattened calf may escape him, and asked the Attorney General Shokin to investigate Burisma trusting some irregularities would emerge. AG Shokin immediately discovered that Burisma had paid these 'stars' between 50 and 150 thousand dollar per month each just for being on the list of directors. This is illegal by the Ukrainian tax code; it can't be recognised as legitimate expenditure.

At that time Biden the father entered the fray. He called Poroshenko and gave him six hours to close the case against his son. Otherwise, one billion dollars of the US taxpayers' funds won't pass to the Ukrainian corruptioners. Zlochevsky, the Burisma owner, paid Biden well for this conversation: he received between three and ten million dollars, according to different sources.

AG Shokin said he can't close the case within six hours; Poroshenko sacked him and installed Mr Lutsenko in his stead. Lutsenko was willing to dismiss the case of Burisma, but he also could not do it in a day, or even in a week. Biden, as we know, could not keep his trap shut: by talking about the pressure he put on Poroshenko, he incriminated himself. Meanwhile Mr Shokin gave evidence that Biden put pressure on Poroshenko to fire him, and now it was confirmed. The evidence was given to the US lawyers in connection with another case, Firtash case.

[Nov 03, 2019] No true war is bad

Nov 03, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

by John Quiggin on October 13, 2019 On Facebook, my frined Timothy Scriven pointed to an opinion piece by classics professor Ian Morris headlined In the long run, wars make us safer and richer It's pushing a book with the clickbaity title War! What is it Good For? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots .". Timothy correctly guessed that I wouldn't like it.

Based on the headline, I was expecting a claim along the lines "wars stimulate technological progress" which I refuted (to my own satisfaction at any rate) in Economics in Two Lessons" . But the argument is much stranger than this. The claim is that war, despite its brutality created big states, like the Roman empire, which then delivered peace and prosperity.

For the classical world at 100 CE or so, the era on which Morris is an expert, that argument seemed pretty convincing. As the famous Life of Brian sketch suggests, Roman rule delivered a lot of benefits to its conquered provinces.

The next 1900 years or so present a bit of a problem, though. There have been countless wars in that time, and no trend towards bigger states. On the contrary two or three dozen states (depending on how you count them) now occupy the territory of the former Roman Empire.

You could cut the number down a bit by treating the European Union as a new empire, but then you have an even bigger problem. The EU was not formed through war, but through a determination to avoid it. Whatever you think about the EU in other respects, this goal has been achieved.

Morris avoids the problem by a "no true Scotsman" argument. He admits in passing that the 1000 years of war following the high point of Rome had the effect of breaking down larger, safer societies into smaller, more dangerous ones, but returns with relief to the era of true wars, in which big states always win. That story works, roughly, until 1914, when the empires he admires destroyed themselves, killing millions in the process.

After that, the argument descends into Pinker-style nonsense. While repeating the usual stats about the decline in violent deaths, Morris mentions in passing that a nuclear war could cause billions of deaths. He doesn't consider the obvious anthropic fallacy problem – if such a war had happened, there would not be any op-eds in the Washington Post discussing the implications for life expectancy.

I haven't read the book, and don't intend to. If someone can't present a 700 word summary of their argument without looking silly, they shouldn't write opinion pieces. But, for what its worth, FB friends who have read it agree that it's not very good.


William Meyer 10.13.19 at 12:31 pm (no link)

I have not read the book in question, so I don't know if the author made this point: "Since violence or implicit violence is how we overcome essentially all collective action problems as humans, war probably does belong in the human toolkit." Obviously it would be better if we could find more and better alternatives to war, and remove the obvious glitches in the alternatives (e.g., representative democracy, single-party states, etc.) we have tried in the past. So I find it odd as I get old that so little energy/research/academic effort is devoted by the human race to finding better means of collective decision making. Clearly our current abilities in this field are completely inadequate. I ponder if this is because we are incapable of doing better by some inherent flaw in our makeup or if it is because, as in some many areas of life, the wicked work tirelessly to maintain the systems that enrich and empower them. I suspect I'll never find out.
Omega Centauri 10.13.19 at 4:33 pm (no link)
There might be a case to be made for empire building conquest advancing human society. I think it was primarily by forcing the mixing of cultures which otherwise would have been relatively isolated from each other. Also empires tended to create safe internal trade routes, the Silk Road was made possible by the Mongol empire.

At least the authors of books about such empires like to state that over a timespan of centuries that empire creation was a net positive.

Orange Watch 10.13.19 at 7:07 pm (no link)
Tim Worstall and Dipper's suggestion that the EU is borne of war is mostly just a failure to take Morris's claim on its unsophisticated face and instead assume it contains subtle complexity that is obviously missing if you read the article itself:

This happened because about 10,000 years ago, the winners of wars began incorporating the losers into larger societies. The victors found that the only way to make these larger societies work was by developing stronger governments; and one of the first things these governments had to do, if they wanted to stay in power, was suppress violence among their subjects.

For the EU to have been a result of war in the sense that Morris means, it would have to have been forcibly formed in 1945 by the US/UK/Russia forcibly incorporating Europe into it. When Morris states "wars make us stronger and richer" he very simply means wars of conquest are long-term net positives. He doesn't mean something subtle about nations banding together to forestall further war; he bluntly means conquerors gluing together their conquests into empires and then liberally applying boot leather to necks.

Mark Brady 10.13.19 at 7:56 pm (no link)
John Quiggin is, of course, well aware of this quotation, but some of you may not.

"Though some of them would disdain to say that there are net benefits in small acts of destruction, they see almost endless benefits in enormous acts of destruction. They tell us how much better off economically we all are in war than in peace. They see "miracles of production" which it requires a war to achieve. And they see a postwar world made certainly prosperous by an enormous "accumulated" or "backed up" demand. In Europe they joyously count the houses, the whole cities that have been leveled to the ground and that "will have to be replaced." In America they count the houses that could not be built during the war, the nylon stockings that could not be supplied, the worn-out automobiles and tires, the obsolescent radios and refrigerators. They bring together formidable totals.

"It is merely our old friend, the broken-window fallacy, in new clothing, and grown fat beyond recognition. This time it is supported by a whole bundle of related fallacies. It confuses need with demand."

Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson, Chapter 3, "The Blessings of Destruction."

Alex SL 10.13.19 at 8:37 pm (no link)
On one side, AFAIK the last few centuries of war in Europe have indeed seen a reduction of the number of states. Yes, the trend was partly reversed since 1914, but never to the degree of splintering that existed in the middle ages.

On the other side, even the widely accepted cases of supposedly 'beneficial' empires such as the Romans bringing the Pax Romana and the Mongols allowing far-reaching trade and travel need to be seen against the devastation they caused to make their victories possible. The Romans, for example, committed genocide in Gaul and Carthage, and they enslaved millions.

Best case argument in my eyes is that a very successful war is beneficial because it stops continuous smaller wars, which is still not exactly the same as a general "war is beneficial". Why not just create institutional arrangements that avoid wars between small nations in the first place?

fran6 10.13.19 at 9:26 pm (no link)
Here's another personality who's also unfazed by the evils of war (although, she does wish more folks were "kind" to each other):

https://www.youtube.com/embed/EsWSh8kPMfg?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Barry 10.13.19 at 10:40 pm ( 18 )
Tim Worstall: "The EU came into existence in 1992, neatly coinciding with the Yugoslav unpleasantnesses."

You might want to look at the time between then and WWII.

You also might want to check the membership in the EU in 1992, and see which state(s) were not in it (hint – Yugoslavia).

John Quiggin 10.13.19 at 11:36 pm ( 19 )
Stephen @11 Say what? Are you suggesting that the Soviet bloc was part of the EU? As both your comment and Tim Worstall's unwittingly illustrate, the fact that the EU has been entirely peaceful since its creation (by contrast with non-EU Europe) is not because Europeans suddenly became pacifists.
Salazar 10.14.19 at 12:39 am ( 20 )
Sorry if I have a hard time getting Morris' argument, but: towards the end, be seems to be saying the world requires a "Globocop" like the US to ensure its prosperity. But how does that relate to his wider point about the benefits of war? Does Morris believe the hegemon owes it to itself, and to the rest of the world, to wage permanent war?
Tabasco 10.14.19 at 1:23 am ( 21 )
"the EU has been entirely peaceful since its creation"

Spain and Portugal are still arguing the 200+ year border dispute over Olivenza/Olivença, but it hasn't reached Kashmir levels (yet).

Ed 10.14.19 at 2:34 am ( 22 )
Morris sold out. This was evident in his book comparing the progress of China and Europe, though that book made excellent points in between the fluff and is well worth reading. But he is well versed enough in Chinese history to be aware of the ultimate example of armies conquering and bringing peace to a large area, which happens repeatedly in Chinese history.

Actually, Chinese history itself shows that the opposite argument has more support, that instead of war being valuable because one powerful country will conquer a large area and bring peace to it, its valuable because competition between states who are worried about other states getting a jump on them turns out to be valuable to progress. Large continental empires, including the Roman one as well, tended to stagnate in terms of culture and technology and become correct.

MFB 10.15.19 at 7:18 am (no link)
Well, the opinion-piece was published on Jeff Bezos' blog. Oligarchs are naturally in favour of centralised power and therefore of empires (so long as they are at the apex thereof, which they usually are). The best way to build an empire is through war.

Of course, the author has to say "despite Hitler, Stalin and Mao", for ideological reasons. Actually, Hitler built his empire largely through the threat of war rather than through war itself; once he had actually started the war, he antagonised three more powerful empires than his own and his empire was then crushed. As for Stalin, he actually did various double-back-somersaults to avoid getting into wars, and the "empire" which he built in Eastern Europe as a result of winning a war he didn't want did not sustain itself. And of course Mao didn't start any wars at all -- his name just had to be thrown in for reactionary reasons.

It is true that the Spanish, Portuguese, French and British empires were built upon war. But where are they now? The United States fought a lot of wars against its indigenous people, but frankly it would still have been a global superpower if it had simply sidestepped most of them, at least from about 1865 onward.

An interesting question: can it be that a professor of Classics doesn't actually have to understand the concept of evidence-based argument in any case, because everything has already been said on the subject and all you have to do is cherry-pick other people's statements? Because that seems to be how that silly article reads.

And yes, the whole thing reeks of the better angels propaganda. Let's not forget, by the way, that various members of the EU -- Britain, France, Italy et al -- have launched brutally murderous wars elsewhere, and the fact that they don't fight among themselves doesn't make them peaceful or moral entities.

Neville Morley 10.15.19 at 9:47 am (no link)
@TheSophist #25: that was mentioned as a joke rather than self-publicity, but if you're really interested: The Roman Empire: roots of imperialism (Pluto Press, 2020). Obviously books about the Roman Empire are ten a penny; my main claim for this one, besides its being less apologetic and/or gung-ho than most, is that I try to integrate the historical reality with its reception, i.e. how people have subsequently deployed Rome as an example or model.
Bill Benzon 10.15.19 at 12:44 pm (no link)
Maybe the Roman Empire delivered on peace, but prosperity is a bit more complicated. Some years ago David Hays wrote a book on the history of technology. One of the things he did was make a back-of-the-envelope estimate of material welfare at different levels of development. He concluded that, while civilization has always been a good deal for the elite, it's been rather iffy for peasants and workers. It's only during the Industrial Evolution that the standard of living at the lower end of society rose above that of hunter-gatherers. So, the prosperity delivered by the Roman Empire went mostly to the elite, not the peasantry.

I've excerpted the relevant section of Hays's book .

steven t johnson 10.16.19 at 8:06 pm (no link)
Peter Erwin@43 wanted the Nazis to roll right up to the eastern border of Poland, etc. etc. So did Hitler. And although I'm quite reluctant to read minds, especially dead one, I will nevertheless guarantee the move into the Baltics was seen as a blow to his plans, even if accepted for temporary advantage. You must always see who hates Stalin for beating Hitler, and those rare few who object to his real crimes.

And, Erwin thinks Chinese troops being in Korea with permission is an aggression, while US troops closing on Chinese borders is not. The US still isn't out of Korea, but China is, but he can't figure out who the aggressor is.

Really, Peter Erwin really says it all. The maddest ant-Communist propaganda is now official.

MFB 10.17.19 at 9:02 am (no link)
I don't want to unnecessarily dump on Peter Erwin, because I don't believe in kicking disadvantaged children, but if he reads the original post he will notice that it was talking about international wars, not civil wars. I'll admit the invasion of Finland (and of the Baltic states and Poland) but those were fairly obviously ways of strengthening the USSR's position in order to discourage a German invasion, and all took place within the boundaries of the former Russian Empire which Stalin undoubtedly saw as the default position.

As to Mao, he didn't start the Korean war (as Erwin unwillingly admits) and all the other wars except for the invasion of Vietnam were civil wars since they entailed moving into Chinese-controlled territory which had broken away during the main civil war. I'll admit that Vietnam was a problem, but then, since Mao had been dead for some time by then, it's would be hard for Erwin to blame him except for the fact that Erwin clearly lives on Planet Bizarro.

Z 10.17.19 at 9:05 am (no link)
@John Quiggin The claim is that war, despite its brutality created big states, like the Roman empire, which then delivered peace and prosperity

I don't think this is an intellectually generous summary of the arguments, as presented in the article.

The author himself summarizes it as "war made states, and states made peace", and if it is indeed true that the author often speaks of "larger, more organized societies" there is a strong implication that for a society to be "large" in the sense discussed in the article, it is not really necessary that it be territorially very wide (the most clear cut indication of that is that the author refers to the European states of the 1600s as "big, settled states" while they all were geographically tiny at the time). So the point of the author, if interpreted with intellectual honesty, seems to me to be twofold: 1) that war has been a crucial factor in the formation of complex, organized states and societies and 2) that these complex, organized states and societies brought with them so many positive things that the wars required to form them were worth it.

The second point is pure Pinker. I consider it logically meaningless, myself (it ultimately relies on the concept that History proceeds like an individual who is choosing a pair of shoes) and morally repugnant (it is not hard to see who will be pleased to have a rhetorical tool that can justify any atrocity by the long term gains it will provide humanity – indeed, it is instructive in that respect to read SS internal papers on when and why children should be executed with their parents, and how to select people for that task: contrary to what could be guessed, the manual recommends the soldiers who appear to have a strong sense of empathy and morality, with the idea that they will those who will most strongly endorse the "by doing this abominable act, we are sacrificing ourselves on behalf of future generations" thesis).

The first point, however, appears to me to be broadly correct descriptively. Extracting an interesting thesis out of it requires much more work than is indicated by the article, however (I consider Ertman's Birth of the Levianthan an example of that kind of extra work done successfully).

Z 10.17.19 at 9:30 am ( 52 )
@John Quiggin Lots of people predicted, along the lines of your post, that with the external threat of the USSR gone, and the US pulling back, the old warlike Europe would reassert itself.

I think what we may call the "wide military context thesis" runs rather like this: because of the experience of WWII and the Cold War, modern industrial states have amassed enormous military power while at the same time knowing that they can experience total destruction if they enter into a military conflict with a state of comparable military might. As a consequence, peace dominates between them. So France is not at war with the United Kingdom or Germany, certainly in part because they are all (for now) members of the EU but also in part for the same reason Japan is not at war with South Korea and Russia not at war with China.

Personally, I think it would be absurd to claim that the EU has played no role in the pacification of Western Europe in the second half of the twentieth century, but I think it would be equally absurd to deny the role of other factors that plainly play a major role in the equally remarkable pacification of other regional areas in the absence of an economical and political unification process (rise in prosperity, rise in education, aging populations, increased military power ).

otpup 10.19.19 at 10:51 pm ( 68 )
@7, Omega
Not really wanting to get into the "do empires benefit civilization by promoting trade" argument, but having just read Lost Enlightenment, nothing in that lengthy tome suggests the Silk Road city states gain any special advantage from the Mongol invasion. In fact, quite the opposite. After the Mongols (in part for reasons preceeding the conquest), Central Asia never regained its pre-eminence (it had actually not just been a facilitator of trade but also a center of manufacture, culture, scientific progress). Maybe the trade routes hobbled along as trade routes but the civilization that was both built by and facilitated trade did not rebound. Most empires seem to get that there is wealth to be had from involvement in trade, they don't always know how to keep the gold goose alive.
LFC 10.20.19 at 9:10 pm (no link)
"War made states and states made peace" is a riff on Charles Tilly's line "war made the state and the state made war."

[Nov 02, 2019] Time to Extricate From Ukraine by Doug Bandow

Notable quotes:
"... In excess of 13,000 people, mostly Ukrainians, are known to have died in this war, and some two million have been forced from their homes. The economy of eastern Ukraine has collapsed. Ukraine has suffered through painful economic dislocation and political division. Meanwhile, several hundred Russians are believed to have been killed fighting in the Donbass. Western sanctions have damaged Russia's weak economy. And although the majority of Crimeans probably wanted to join Russia, opposition activists and journalists have been abducted, brutalized, and/or imprisoned. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been closed and Tartars have been persecuted. ..."
"... Even though the overall idea of ending the sponsoring of the conflict by Washington is plausible there are a number of shortcomings in the article to put it mildly. I realize though that the author has to make Washington look innocent and Russia look bad to escape the danger of being stigmatized as a pro-Russian traitor. ..."
"... I understand why you want to thread the needle. After the invasions, having to add more failure or at the very least recognition of dysfunction to our foreign policy choices and consequences is a bitter pill. But as you note had the US and the EU seriously had the desire to add the Ukraine into the western European sphere of influence, they could have offered a better deal on oil - they didn't. ..."
"... I think we have got to stop accusing the then existing government of corruption. As your own article states, the history of unstable governance with accompanying "corruption" seems a staple and nonunique. ..."
"... And as is the case in developing countries, what we call corruption is a cultural staple of how business and affairs are conducted. Whatever the issues, the Ukrainian public was not overly beset by the results so as to spontaneously riot. ..."
"... How the civil unrest spun out of control the second time in ten years, can be linked directly to US and EU involvement. ..."
Oct 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Capt. Matthew McCoy, commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team during international weapons training near Yavoriv, Ukraine, in 2017. (Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)/U.S. Army

Recently Ukraine has been thrown into the spotlight as Democrats gear up to impeach President Donald Trump. More important, though, is its role in damaging America's relations with Russia, which has resulted in a mini-Cold War that the U.S. needs to end.

Ukraine is in a bad neighborhood. During the 17th century, the country was divided between Poland and Russia, and eventually ended up as part of the Russian Empire. Kiev then enjoyed only the briefest of liberations after the 1917 Russian Revolution, before being reabsorbed by the Soviet Union. It later suffered from a devastating famine as Moscow confiscated food and collectivized agriculture. Ukraine was ravaged during Germany's World War II invasion, and guerrilla resistance to renewed Soviet control continued for years afterwards.

In 1991, the collapse of the U.S.S.R. gave Ukraine another, more enduring chance for independence. However, the new nation's development was fraught: GDP dropped by 60 percent and corruption burgeoned. Ukraine suffered under a succession of corrupt, self-serving, and ineffective leaders, as the U.S., Europe, and Russia battled for influence.

In 2014, Washington and European governments backed a street putsch against the elected, though highly corrupt, pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. The Putin government responded by annexing Crimea and backing separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine's Donbass region. Washington and Brussels imposed economic sanctions on Russia and provided military aid to Kiev.

The West versus Russia quickly became a "frozen" conflict. Moscow reincorporated Crimea into Russia, from which it had been detached in 1954 as part of internal Soviet politics. In the Donbass, more than a score of ceasefires came and went. Both Ukraine and Russia failed to fulfill the 2016 Minsk agreements, which sought to end the conflict.

In excess of 13,000 people, mostly Ukrainians, are known to have died in this war, and some two million have been forced from their homes. The economy of eastern Ukraine has collapsed. Ukraine has suffered through painful economic dislocation and political division. Meanwhile, several hundred Russians are believed to have been killed fighting in the Donbass. Western sanctions have damaged Russia's weak economy. And although the majority of Crimeans probably wanted to join Russia, opposition activists and journalists have been abducted, brutalized, and/or imprisoned. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been closed and Tartars have been persecuted.

The most important geopolitical impact has been to poison Russia's relations with the West. Moscow's aggressions against Ukraine cannot be justified, but the U.S. and Europe did much to create the underlying suspicion and hostility. Recently declassified documents reveal the degree to which Western officials misled Moscow about their intention to expand NATO. Allied support for adding Georgia and Ukraine, which would have greatly expanded Russian vulnerability, generated a particularly strong reaction in Moscow. The dismemberment of Serbia with no consideration of Russia's interests was another irritant, along with Western support for "color revolutions" elsewhere, including in Tbilisi. The ouster of Yanukovych finally triggered Putin's brutal response.

Washington and Brussels apparently did not view their policies as threatening to Russia. However, had Moscow ousted an elected Mexican president friendly to America, while inviting the new government to join the Warsaw Pact, and worked with a coalition of Central American states to divert Mexican trade from the U.S., officials in Washington would not have been pleased. They certainly wouldn't have been overly concerned about juridical niceties in responding.

This explains (though does not justify) Russia's hostile response. Subsequent allied policies then turned the breach in relations into a gulf. The U.S. and European Union imposed a series of economic sanctions. Moreover, Washington edged closer to military confrontation with its provision of security assistance to Kiev. Moscow responded by challenging America from Syria to Venezuela.

It also began moving towards China. The two nations' differences are many and their relationship is unstable. However, as long as their antagonism towards Washington exceeds their discomfort with each other, they will cooperate to block what they see as America's pursuit of global hegemony.

Why is the U.S. entangled in the Ukrainian imbroglio? During the Cold War, Ukraine was one of the fabled "captive nations," backed by vigorous advocacy from Ukrainian Americans. After the Soviet Union collapsed, they joined other groups lobbying on behalf of ethnic brethren to speed NATO's expansion eastward. Security policy turned into a matter of ethnic solidarity, to be pursued irrespective of cost and risk.

To more traditional hawks who are always seeking an enemy, the issue is less pro-Ukraine than anti-Russia. Mitt Romney, the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nominee, improbably attacked Russia as America's most dangerous adversary. Hence the GOP's counterproductive determination to bring Kiev into NATO. Originally Washington saw the transatlantic alliance as a means to confront the Soviet menace; now it views the pact as a form of charity.

After the Soviet collapse, the U.S. pushed NATO eastward into nations that neither mattered strategically nor could be easily protected, most notably in the Balkans and Baltics. Even worse were Georgia and Ukraine, security black holes that would bring with them ongoing conflicts with Russia, possibly triggering a larger war between NATO and Moscow.

Ukraine never had been a matter of U.S. security. For most of America's history, the territory was controlled by either the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union. Washington's Cold War sympathies represented fraternal concerns, not security essentials. Today, without Kiev's aid, the U.S. and Europe would still have overwhelming conventional forces to be brought into any conflict with Moscow. However, adding Ukraine to NATO would increase the risk of a confrontation with a nuclear armed power. Russia's limitations when it comes to its conventional military would make a resort to nuclear weapons more likely in any conflict.

Nevertheless, George W. Bush's aggressively neoconservative administration won backing for Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO and considered intervening militarily in the Russo-Georgian war. However, European nations that feared conflict with Moscow blocked plans for NATO expansion, which went into cold storage. Although alliance officials still officially backed membership for Ukraine, it remains unattainable so long as conflict burns hot with Russia.

In the meantime, Washington has treated Ukraine as a de facto military ally, offering economic and security assistance. The U.S. has provided $1.5 billion for Ukrainian training and weapons, including anti-tank Javelin missiles. Explained Obama administration defense secretary Ashton Carter: "Ukraine would never be where it is without that support from the United States."

Equally important, the perception of U.S. backing made the Kiev government, headed by President Petro Poroshenko, less willing to pursue a diplomatic settlement with Russia. Thus did Ukraine, no less than Russia, almost immediately violate the internationally backed Minsk accord.

Kiev's role as a political football highlights the need for Washington to pursue an enduring political settlement with Russia. European governments are growing restless; France has taken the lead in seeking better relations with Moscow. Germany is unhappy with U.S. attempts to block the planned Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky has campaigned to end the conflict.

Negotiators for Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe recently met in Minsk to revive the agreement previously reached in the Belarus capital. They set an election schedule in the contested east, to be followed by passage of Ukrainian legislation to grant the region greater autonomy and separatists legal immunity. Despite strong opposition from nationalists, passage is likely since Zelensky's party holds a solid legislative majority.

Many challenges remain, but the West could aid this process by respecting Russian security concerns. The U.S. and its allies should formally foreclose Ukraine's membership in the transatlantic alliance and end lethal military aid. After receiving those assurances, Moscow would be expected to resolve the Donbass conflict, presumably along the lines of Minsk: Ukraine protects local autonomy while Russia exits the fight. Sanctions against Russia would be lifted. Ukrainians would be left to choose their economic orientation, since the country would likely be split between east and west for some time to come. The West would accept Russia's control of Crimea while refusing to formally recognize the conquest -- absent a genuinely independent referendum with independent monitors.

Such a compromise would be controversial. Washington's permanent war lobby would object. Hyper-nationalistic Ukrainians would double down on calling Zelensky a traitor. Eastern Europeans would complain about appeasing Russia. However, such a compromise would certainly be better than endless conflict.

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


cka2nd 12 hours ago

I credit Mr. Bandow for his largely fair and accurate description of the events in Ukraine of five years ago, and for his ultimate policy proposal for the US to extricate itself from its close involvement in the area. However, I'm a little confused by what exactly the author means by "Moscow's aggressions against Ukraine" and "Putin's brutal response" (aside from the treatment of dissidents and journalists as he specifically mentioned) to the Maidan Revolution.

Was it aggressive and brutal for Russia to support separatists in the Donbass who were facing the prospect of legal discrimination and violence by a criminal, neo-fascist government in Kiev, not to mention de-industrialization, the gutting of the agriculture sector and the forced economic migration of an enormous number of its young workers (assuming that Ukraine's economic deal with the EU followed the script of every other Easter European's country's deal with the EU)? If Yanukovych had fled to the Donbass and proclaimed himself still the freely elected (though certainly corrupt) President of the nation, Russia's support for the region would have even had a shiny brass legal fig leaf, wouldn't it?

As for the supposed "conquest" of Crimea, that's a rather strong word to use considering that all of two members of the Ukrainian military were killed, and 60-80 of them detained, while 15,000 defected to Russia. Compared to the violence in Kiev and Odessa, what happened in Crimea almost qualifies as a bloodless coup. But then Mr. Bandow shies away from using the word "hegemony" to describe the foreign policy of the United States, figuratively putting the word in the mouths of those bad men (which they are) in Moscow and Beijing. It's a pity that Mr. Bandow felt the need to make linguistic concessions to the foreign policy establishment in what was otherwise a useful and balanced piece.

minsredmash 9 hours ago
Even though the overall idea of ending the sponsoring of the conflict by Washington is plausible there are a number of shortcomings in the article to put it mildly. I realize though that the author has to make Washington look innocent and Russia look bad to escape the danger of being stigmatized as a pro-Russian traitor.
EliteCommInc. 8 hours ago
I understand why you want to thread the needle. After the invasions, having to add more failure or at the very least recognition of dysfunction to our foreign policy choices and consequences is a bitter pill. But as you note had the US and the EU seriously had the desire to add the Ukraine into the western European sphere of influence, they could have offered a better deal on oil - they didn't.

I think we have got to stop accusing the then existing government of corruption. As your own article states, the history of unstable governance with accompanying "corruption" seems a staple and nonunique.

And as is the case in developing countries, what we call corruption is a cultural staple of how business and affairs are conducted. Whatever the issues, the Ukrainian public was not overly beset by the results so as to spontaneously riot.

How the civil unrest spun out of control the second time in ten years, can be linked directly to US and EU involvement.

https://washingtonsblog.com...

https://thewashingtonstanda...

It is a deeply held belief that democracy is a system that by definition a generally acceptable path forward. That belief is false as democracy is still comprised of human beings. And democracy in their hands is no "cure all". It can be a turbulent and jerky bureaucratic maze process that pleases no one and works over time.

The US didn't accomplish it without violence until after more than 130 years, when the native populations were finally subdued. And as for a system that embodied equal treatment to similar circumstance -- we are still at it. But a violent revolution every ten years certainly isn't the most effective road to take.
-----------------

Why we insistent on restarting the cold war is unclear to me save that it served to create a kind of strategic global clarity Though what that means would troublesome because Russia's ole would now be as a developing democratic state as opposed to a communist monolith. And that means unfettered from her satellites and empowered by more capital markets her role as adversary would be more adroit. As time after time, Ores Putin has appeared the premier diplomat for peace and stability in situations in which the US was engaged or encouraging violence.(the Ukraine). I certainly don't think that our relations with Russia or China are a to be kumbaya love fests, there is still global competition and there's no reason to pretend it would be without tensions. But seriously, as a democratic/capital market player -- there really was no way to contain Russia.
----------------------

Given what we experienced during 2007 --- corruption comes in a mryiad of guises.

timoth3y 7 hours ago • edited
The Ukraine situation is complex to be certain, but ending military aid and letting Russia clean up seems like a bad idea.

This week we saw Russian forces occupy US bases abandoned when Trump ordered our troops to withdraw from the Turkish border. And now the author is arguing we should do something similar in the Ukraine.

When did Russian appeasement become so important to conservative foreign policy?

kouroi timoth3y 3 hours ago
Mate, Russians were in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government. US troops are there illegally (no Congress mandate, no international mandate, no invitation). US is an occupying, destabilizing, terrorist protecting force in Syria and Americans should look beyond their self esteem before commenting on this "shameful" retreat. US does not have the right to put its troops wherever it fancies.

This win or loose mentality will be the death of you. Who do you think is threatening the US, when it has the biggest moats protecting its shores? The only thing that is happening is that the hegemonic role, that of controlling everyone's economy for its own elites benefit is being denied.

This is what you are complaining mate, the the rich Americans cannot get richer? Do you think they will share with you, or that, like the good English boys of the past, you will not be able to land a job with East India Co. and despoil the natives for a while?

Doug Wallis 6 hours ago
If the US were smart then they would lead some sort of negotiation where eastern Europe and Ukraine and Russia were allowed only mutually agreed defensive weapons systems. A demilitarization of say 200 miles on each side of the Russia border. The strategy should be to encourage trade between Eastern Europe and Russia where Russia has influence but is not threatening. It may be slow to build that trust but the real question is whether the US and Europe and NATO want peace with Russia or whether they are using fear of Russia to keep eastern Europe united with the US and Europe. This may be the case but the future will have China as a greater threat than Russia (China will even be a threat to Russia). Any shift in Russian relations will take decades of building trust on both sides.
tweets21 6 hours ago
Good article and excellent history of facts. If I recall during the last Bush administration W hosted a Putin and his then spouse, at a visit at his ranch. Putin informed W," the Ukraine belongs to Russia. end of sentence.
Disqus10021 5 hours ago
The author forgot the critical role of Sevastopol in the Crimea. It is Russia's only warm water port and there was no way that it was going to allow this area to become a NATO naval base. Secretary of State Clinton and her sidekick for Ukraine, Victoria Nuland should have known this before they started supporting the overthrow of the pro-Russia government in Kiev.

If you look at a historical atlas, you won't find an independent country called Ukraine before 1991. When my parents were born, near what is now called Lviv, the area was called Galicia and Lemberg was its provincial capital. A gold medal issued in 1916 in honor of Franz Josef's 85th birthday noted that he was the Kaiser of Austria, Hungary, Galicia and Lodomeria.

When the old Soviet Union agreed to allow East and West Germany to reunify, it was with the understanding that NATO would not extend membership to former Soviet block countries and that there would be no NATO bases in these areas either. NATO and the US broke their oral commitment to Russia a few years later.

The US should get out of the business of trying to spread democracy in third world countries and interfering in the affairs of foreign governments. We can't afford to be the policeman of the world. We don't even have the ability to make many of our own central cities safe for Americans. Think Baltimore, St. Louis, New Orleans and Detroit, all four of which appear on Wikipedia's list of the 50 murder capitals of the world (per thousand population).

kouroi Disqus10021 3 hours ago
It is not for the sake of spreading democracy mate, but to control those economies for the benefit of US economic elite.
Sid Finster 4 hours ago
"This explains (though does not justify) Russia's hostile response."

For the love of Pete, will TAC quit with offering limited concessions to the neocon position in an attempt to appear "serious" and "reasonable".

The United States formented an armed coup in Ukraine spearheaded by Nazis.

[Oct 31, 2019] The Militarization Of Everything

Notable quotes:
"... But militarism is more than thuggish dictators, predatory weaponry, and steely-eyed troops. There are softer forms of it that are no less significant than the "hard" ones. In fact, in a self-avowed democracy like the United States, such softer forms are often more effective because they seem so much less insidious, so much less dangerous. ..."
"... But who can object to celebrating " hometown heroes " in uniform, as happens regularly at sports events of every sort in twenty-first-century America? Or polite and smiling military recruiters in schools ? Or gung-ho war movies like the latest version of Midway , timed for Veterans Day weekend 2019 and marking America's 1942 naval victory over Japan, when we were not only the good guys but the underdogs? ..."
"... Roughly two-thirds of the federal government's discretionary budget for 2020 will, unbelievably enough, be devoted to the Pentagon and related military functions, with each year's "defense" budget coming ever closer to a trillion dollars ..."
"... The U.S. military remains the most trusted institution in our society, so say 74% of Americans surveyed in a Gallup poll. ..."
"... A state of permanent war is considered America's new normal. ..."
"... America's generals continue to be treated, without the slightest irony, as "the adults in the room." ..."
"... The media routinely embraces retired U.S. military officers and uses them as talking heads to explain and promote military action to the American people. ..."
"... America's foreign aid is increasingly military aid. ..."
"... In that context, consider the militarization of the weaponry in those very hands, from .50 caliber sniper rifles to various military-style assault rifles. ..."
"... Paradoxically, even as Americans slaughter each other and themselves in large numbers via mass shootings and suicides (nearly 40,000 gun deaths in 2017 alone), they largely ignore Washington's overseas wars and the continued bombing of numerous countries. ..."
"... 9. Even as Americans "support our troops" and celebrate them as "heroes," the military itself has taken on a new " warrior ethos " that would once -- in the age of a draft army -- have been contrary to this country's citizen-soldier tradition , especially as articulated and exhibited by the "greatest generation" during World War II. ..."
"... Democracy shouldn't be about celebrating overlords in uniform. A now-widely accepted belief is that America is more divided, more partisan than ever, approaching perhaps a new civil war , as echoed in the rhetoric of our current president. Small wonder that inflammatory rhetoric is thriving and the list of this country's enemies lengthening when Americans themselves have so softly yet fervently embraced militarism. ..."
Oct 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Militarization Of Everything by Tyler Durden Wed, 10/30/2019 - 23:10 0 SHARES

Authored by William Astore via TomDispatch.com,

Killing Me Softly with Militarism - The Decay of Democracy in America

When Americans think of militarism , they may imagine jackbooted soldiers goose-stepping through the streets as flag-waving crowds exult ; or, like our president , they may think of enormous parades featuring troops and missiles and tanks, with warplanes soaring overhead. Or nationalist dictators wearing military uniforms encrusted with medals, ribbons, and badges like so many barnacles on a sinking ship of state. (Was Donald Trump only joking recently when he said he'd like to award himself a Medal of Honor?) And what they may also think is: that's not us. That's not America. After all, Lady Liberty used to welcome newcomers with a torch, not an AR-15 . We don't wall ourselves in while bombing others in distant parts of the world, right?

But militarism is more than thuggish dictators, predatory weaponry, and steely-eyed troops. There are softer forms of it that are no less significant than the "hard" ones. In fact, in a self-avowed democracy like the United States, such softer forms are often more effective because they seem so much less insidious, so much less dangerous. Even in the heartland of Trump's famed base, most Americans continue to reject nakedly bellicose displays like phalanxes of tanks rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue.

But who can object to celebrating " hometown heroes " in uniform, as happens regularly at sports events of every sort in twenty-first-century America? Or polite and smiling military recruiters in schools ? Or gung-ho war movies like the latest version of Midway , timed for Veterans Day weekend 2019 and marking America's 1942 naval victory over Japan, when we were not only the good guys but the underdogs?

What do I mean by softer forms of militarism? I'm a football fan, so one recent Sunday afternoon found me watching an NFL game on CBS. People deplore violence in such games, and rightly so, given the number of injuries among the players, notably concussions that debilitate lives. But what about violent commercials during the game? In that one afternoon, I noted repetitive commercials for SEAL Team , SWAT , and FBI , all CBS shows from this quietly militarized American moment of ours. In other words, I was exposed to lots of guns, explosions, fisticuffs, and the like, but more than anything I was given glimpses of hard men (and a woman or two) in uniform who have the very answers we need and, like the Pentagon-supplied police in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, are armed to the teeth. ("Models with guns," my wife calls them.)

Got a situation in Nowhere-stan? Send in the Navy SEALs. Got a murderer on the loose? Send in the SWAT team. With their superior weaponry and can-do spirit, Special Forces of every sort are sure to win the day (except, of course, when they don't, as in America's current series of never-ending wars in distant lands).

And it hardly ends with those three shows. Consider, for example, this century's update of Magnum P.I. , a CBS show featuring a kickass private investigator. In the original Magnum P.I. that I watched as a teenager, Tom Selleck played the character with an easy charm. Magnum's military background in Vietnam was acknowledged but not hyped. Unsurprisingly, today's Magnum is proudly billed as an ex-Navy SEAL.

Cop and military shows are nothing new on American TV, but never have I seen so many of them, new and old, and so well-armed. On CBS alone you can add to the mix Hawaii Five-O (yet more models with guns updated and up-armed from my youthful years), the three NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) shows, and Blue Bloods (ironically starring a more grizzled and less charming Tom Selleck) -- and who knows what I haven't noticed? While today's cop/military shows feature far more diversity with respect to gender, ethnicity, and race compared to hoary classics like Dragnet , they also feature far more gunplay and other forms of bloody violence.

Look, as a veteran, I have nothing against realistic shows on the military. Coming from a family of first responders -- I count four firefighters and two police officers in my immediate family -- I loved shows like Adam-12 and Emergency! in my youth. What I'm against is the strange militarization of everything, including, for instance, the idea, distinctly of our moment, that first responders need their very own version of the American flag to mark their service. Perhaps you've seen those thin blue line flags, sometimes augmented with a red line for firefighters. As a military veteran, my gut tells me that there should only be one American flag and it should be good enough for all Americans. Think of the proliferation of flags as another soft type of up-armoring (this time of patriotism).

Speaking of which, whatever happened to Dragnet 's Sergeant Joe Friday, on the beat, serving his fellow citizens, and pursuing law enforcement as a calling? He didn't need a thin blue line battle flag. And in the rare times when he wielded a gun, it was .38 Special. Today's version of Joe looks a lot more like G.I. Joe, decked out in body armor and carrying an assault rifle as he exits a tank-like vehicle, maybe even a surplus MRAP from America's failed imperial wars.

Militarism in the USA

Besides TV shows, movies, and commercials, there are many signs of the increasing embrace of militarized values and attitudes in this country. The result: the acceptance of a military in places where it shouldn't be , one that's over-celebrated, over-hyped , and given far too much money and cultural authority, while becoming virtually immune to serious criticism.

Let me offer just nine signs of this that would have been so much less conceivable when I was a young boy watching reruns of Dragnet :

1. Roughly two-thirds of the federal government's discretionary budget for 2020 will, unbelievably enough, be devoted to the Pentagon and related military functions, with each year's "defense" budget coming ever closer to a trillion dollars . Such colossal sums are rarely debated in Congress; indeed, they enjoy wide bipartisan support.

2. The U.S. military remains the most trusted institution in our society, so say 74% of Americans surveyed in a Gallup poll. No other institution even comes close, certainly not the presidency (37%) or Congress (which recently rose to a monumental 25% on an impeachment high). Yet that same military has produced disasters or quagmires in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and elsewhere. Various "surges" have repeatedly failed. The Pentagon itself can't even pass an audit . Why so much trust?

3. A state of permanent war is considered America's new normal. Wars are now automatically treated as multi-generational with little concern for how permawar might degrade our democracy. Anti-war protesters are rare enough to be lone voices crying in the wilderness.

4. America's generals continue to be treated, without the slightest irony, as "the adults in the room." Sages like former Secretary of Defense James Mattis ( cited glowingly in the recent debate among 12 Democratic presidential hopefuls) will save America from unskilled and tempestuous politicians like one Donald J. Trump. In the 2016 presidential race, it seemed that neither candidate could run without being endorsed by a screaming general ( Michael Flynn for Trump; John Allen for Clinton).

5. The media routinely embraces retired U.S. military officers and uses them as talking heads to explain and promote military action to the American people. Simultaneously, when the military goes to war, civilian journalists are "embedded" within those forces and so are dependent on them in every way. The result tends to be a cheerleading media that supports the military in the name of patriotism -- as well as higher ratings and corporate profits.

6. America's foreign aid is increasingly military aid. Consider, for instance, the current controversy over the aid to Ukraine that President Trump blocked before his infamous phone call, which was, of course, partially about weaponry . This should serve to remind us that the United States has become the world's foremost merchant of death, selling far more weapons globally than any other country. Again, there is no real debate here about the morality of profiting from such massive sales, whether abroad ($55.4 billion in arms sales for this fiscal year alone, says the Defense Security Cooperation Agency) or at home (a staggering 150 million new guns produced in the USA since 1986, the vast majority remaining in American hands).

7. In that context, consider the militarization of the weaponry in those very hands, from .50 caliber sniper rifles to various military-style assault rifles. Roughly 15 million AR-15s are currently owned by ordinary Americans. We're talking about a gun designed for battlefield-style rapid shooting and maximum damage against humans. In the 1970s, when I was a teenager, the hunters in my family had bolt-action rifles for deer hunting, shotguns for birds, and pistols for home defense and plinking. No one had a military-style assault rifle because no one needed one or even wanted one. Now, worried suburbanites buy them, thinking they're getting their " man card " back by toting such a weapon of mass destruction.

8. Paradoxically, even as Americans slaughter each other and themselves in large numbers via mass shootings and suicides (nearly 40,000 gun deaths in 2017 alone), they largely ignore Washington's overseas wars and the continued bombing of numerous countries. But ignorance is not bliss. By tacitly giving the military a blank check, issued in the name of securing the homeland, Americans embrace that military, however loosely, and its misuse of violence across significant parts of the planet. Should it be any surprise that a country that kills so wantonly overseas over such a prolonged period would also experience mass shootings and other forms of violence at home?

9. Even as Americans "support our troops" and celebrate them as "heroes," the military itself has taken on a new " warrior ethos " that would once -- in the age of a draft army -- have been contrary to this country's citizen-soldier tradition , especially as articulated and exhibited by the "greatest generation" during World War II.

What these nine items add up to is a paradigm shift as well as a change in the zeitgeist. The U.S. military is no longer a tool that a democracy funds and uses reluctantly. It's become an alleged force for good, a virtuous entity, a band of brothers (and sisters), America's foremost missionaries overseas and most lovable and admired heroes at home. This embrace of the military is precisely what I would call soft militarism. Jackbooted troops may not be marching in our streets, but they increasingly seem to be marching unopposed through -- and occupying -- our minds.

The Decay of Democracy

As Americans embrace the military, less violent policy options are downplayed or disregarded. Consider the State Department, America's diplomatic corps, now a tiny , increasingly defunded branch of the Pentagon led by Mike Pompeo (celebrated by Donald Trump as a tremendous leader because he did well at West Point). Consider President Trump as well, who's been labeled an isolationist, and his stunning inability to truly withdraw troops or end wars. In Syria, U.S. troops were recently redeployed, not withdrawn, not from the region anyway, even as more troops are being sent to Saudi Arabia. In Afghanistan, Trump sent a few thousand more troops in 2017, his own modest version of a mini-surge and they're still there, even as peace negotiations with the Taliban have been abandoned. That decision, in turn, led to a new surge (a " near record high ") in U.S. bombing in that country in September, naturally in the name of advancing peace. The result: yet higher levels of civilian deaths .

How did the U.S. increasingly come to reject diplomacy and democracy for militarism and proto-autocracy? Partly, I think, because of the absence of a military draft. Precisely because military service is voluntary, it can be valorized. It can be elevated as a calling that's uniquely heroic and sacrificial. Even though most troops are drawn from the working class and volunteer for diverse reasons, their motivations and their imperfections can be ignored as politicians praise them to the rooftops. Related to this is the Rambo-like cult of the warrior and warrior ethos , now celebrated as something desirable in America. Such an ethos fits seamlessly with America's generational wars. Unlike conflicted draftees, warriors exist solely to wage war. They are less likely to have the questioning attitude of the citizen-soldier.

Don't get me wrong: reviving the draft isn't the solution; reviving democracy is. We need the active involvement of informed citizens, especially resistance to endless wars and budget-busting spending on American weapons of mass destruction. The true cost of our previously soft (now possibly hardening) militarism isn't seen only in this country's quickening march toward a militarized authoritarianism. It can also be measured in the dead and wounded from our wars, including the dead, wounded , and displaced in distant lands. It can be seen as well in the rise of increasingly well-armed, self-avowed nationalists domestically who promise solutions via walls and weapons and "good guys" with guns. ("Shoot them in the legs," Trump is alleged to have said about immigrants crossing America's southern border illegally.)

Democracy shouldn't be about celebrating overlords in uniform. A now-widely accepted belief is that America is more divided, more partisan than ever, approaching perhaps a new civil war , as echoed in the rhetoric of our current president. Small wonder that inflammatory rhetoric is thriving and the list of this country's enemies lengthening when Americans themselves have so softly yet fervently embraced militarism.

With apologies to the great Roberta Flack , America is killing itself softly with war songs.

hoytmonger , 12 minutes ago link

"Police who deployed explosives and armored vehicles to flush out a man –who'd stolen two belts and a shirt from a Greenwood Village Walmart– from the house of Leo and Alfonsia Lech, are not required to compensate the couple for destroying their home, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday."

https://www.rt.com/usa/472224-police-explode-house-zero-compensation/

charlie_don't_surf , 3 minutes ago link

Those police destroyed a house worth well over 200K since it's in metro Denver...and all to apprehend a punk that shoplifted less than $100 of merchandise...something terribly wrong, all the govt units, local on up are high on the arrogance of power with impunity.

[Oct 30, 2019] Here Are the Giuliani-Ukraine Notes Few Have Seen RealClearInvestigations

Oct 30, 2019 | www.realclearinvestigations.com

In addition to the fired Shokin's claim that President Poroshenko warned him not to investigate Burisma because it was not in the Bidens' interest, the notes say, the prosecutor also said he "was warned to stop" by the then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt .

The State Department declined to explain this assertion about Pyatt, who was ambassador to Ukraine from 2013 to 2016 and now is Ambassador to Greece. The Biden presidential campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Recounting Shokin's version of events, the notes say he "was called into Mr. Poroshenko's office and told that the investigation into Burisma and the Managing Director where Hunter Biden is on the board, has caused Joe Biden to hold up one billion dollars in U.S. aid to Ukraine." Poroshenko later told Shokin that "he had to be fired as the aid to the Ukraine was being withheld by Joe Biden," the Giuliani interview notes say.

Trump has claimed that Vice President Biden pressured the Ukrainian government to fire Shokin because he was investigating his son's employer.

"I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that's really unfair," the president said, referring to Shokin in his July 25 phone call with Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky. That call triggered the current impeachment crisis after a CIA whistleblower alleged that Trump had pressured the Ukrainian leader to investigate Biden in return for military aid.

A Politico investigation in 2017 found that officials in Poroshenko's government helped Hillary Clinton allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, notably Paul Manafort, who before joining the Trump campaign was a political consultant for ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Poroshenko's administration insisted at the time that Ukraine stayed neutral in the race.

[Oct 30, 2019] How Long Can the Israeli Goliath Last

Oct 30, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Following a short artillery and air engagement with Syria over raids by exiled Palestinian guerillas, Egypt mobilized against her nemesis in 1967. President Nasser sent six divisions to the Sinai, removed the UN peacekeeping force, and closed the Straits of Tiran south of Israel. Israel struck first, fearing annihilation.

As Israeli historian Martin Van Creveld states in The Transformation of War , "for six glorious days war was Israel and Israel was war." The result was a smashing victory for the Israelis , who lost around 800 soldiers, as opposed to 20,000 for Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. The Sinai peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights were added to Israel's territory.

Compare this short war with another conflict that played out in 2006. For 34 days, Israel battled Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in response to the Shia terrorist group's killing and capturing of several Israeli soldiers in cross-border raids. Israel launched a massive air and artillery campaign, followed by a ground invasion in late July. When the ceasefire was signed on August 14, both sides claimed victory, but as John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt noted in The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy , "it was clear to most independent experts" that "Hezbollah had come out ahead in the fight." The IDF chief of staff resigned, and an Israeli government investigation rebuked the planning and handling of the campaign, stating that the military had "pursued goals that were not clear and could not be achieved."

Worse still, the air, artillery, and naval campaign killed an estimated 1,183 Lebanese (a third of them children) and devastated the country's infrastructure. These actions drew strong condemnation from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for causing "destruction on a catastrophic scale." During the last three days of the war, the IDF fired over one million cluster bombs into southern Lebanon, "saturating the area." The leader of an IDF rocket unit called these actions "insane and monstrous."

War can still be won by being nasty and short, as shown in the first Gulf War, but time is not on the side of the powerful. Escalation by a powerful state against a poorly equipped adversary almost always works to the advantage of the weaker side. Van Creveld compares this situation to an adult who "administers a prolonged, violent beating to a child in a public place." Observers will sympathize with the child and intervene, regardless of its prior behavior.

With the Palestinians, the position of weakness is even more extreme. Israel dominates the lives of 3.8 million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, controlling air, land, and sea access, in a situation that's been compared to "living in a cage" by Swedish foreign minister Jan Eliasson. Despite numerous American attempts to secure Palestinian statehood and resolve the conflict, the present situation seems worse than ever.

The Trump administration, on the other hand, has made it clear that Israel will be supported through thick and thin. And the world has slowly but surely begun to take notice. The BDS movement (Boycott, Divest, Sanction), initially confined to college campuses and Palestine, spilled into the national news when Democratic lawmakers Ilhan Omar and Rashida Talib spearheaded a movement opposing bills aimed at criminalizing support of BDS. Some Republicans, namely Senator Rand Paul, have opposed those bills, too, on free speech grounds.

Recently, after the congresswomen were denied entry to Israel because of their support of BDS, liberal Jewish journalist Peter Beinart defended their stance. Speaking on a CNN panel , he openly sympathized with the plight of the Palestinians, claiming their treatment by Israel constitutes an "indefensible denial of basic human rights." Fellow panelists attempted to tie support for Palestine to terrorism, a common tactic. But terrorism in that part of the world is nothing new. Israel's defenders tend to forget or are ignorant of the fact that beginning in 1937, the militant Zionist group Irgun was responsible for placing bombs in buses and large crowds. One of its leaders during Israel's war for independence, future prime minister Menachem Begin, was referred to by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol simply as "the terrorist."

Modern Israel is no longer a weak state in danger of annihilation. The IDF is highly motivated, trained, and funded. Emboldened by the financial and moral backing of the United States and powerful lobbying groups, its treatment of Palestinians and other enemies has become steadily more severe.

With recent elections still contested , it remains to be seen whether these policies will continue. But militarily, Israel's position is not tenable. You can win at the tactical level and rack up a higher body count, but still lose the war. As frequent TAC contributor and military historian William S. Lind notes, "in the 3,000 years that the story of David and Goliath has been told, how many listeners have identified with Goliath?"

Jeff Groom is a former Marine officer. He is the author of American Cobra Pilot: A Marine Remembers a Dog and Pony Show (2018). Follow him on Twitter @BigsbyGroom .

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Zsuzsi Kruska 10 hours ago

Israel will last as long as Wash. extorts money from our wages and supports it. Without the US taxpayer, Israel wouldn't exist, both from its beginning to right now.
Sid Finster 10 hours ago
Hell, take away American support and watch all official sympathy for Israel everywhere evaporate.
ThaomasH 10 hours ago
I think the lack of sympathy for Israel is not that it s the "Goliath" of this story but that it is allowing settlers to live in the Occupied Territories.
hooly 9 hours ago
So TAC is standing with the Palestinians now I see. Will it stand with those other Davids, the intersectional allies of the BDS crowd too? namely Black Lives Matter, illegal Latino migrants, the LGBTQ+ community, and other assorted SJW types?
Jeff Z 7 hours ago
We are now in the end times; when it comes to Israel, all is in the hands of the Lord. As the nations of the earth seek to attack and destroy Israel, they fall into ruin: look at the entire Muslim world; look at what's happening to Europe. Most of all, look at the astonishing rise and continued power of Donald Trump, the man who recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Pick your side and accept your fate accordingly.
Kent 7 hours ago

"Escalation by a powerful state against a poorly equipped adversary almost always works to the advantage of the weaker side."

I don't always buy this. For me this only works if the powerful state is in the wrong. And sadly, in this situation, Israel is deeply in the wrong.

But what does happen is over time, the weak becomes slowly stronger. Because they are always studying their enemies. They are learning their tactics and how to defeat them. This may take decades, but eventually the weak become the strong.

This is why it is always best to quickly offer a hand of friendship to a vanquished enemy. If you don't, you'll eventually trade places.

[Oct 29, 2019] Asia Times China's financial threat to the 2020 US election Article

Oct 29, 2019 | www.asiatimes.com
Henry 4 days ago ,

The author seems to be writing an interesting fiction, reminds one of a Hollywood movie about a Russian oligarch at the behest of a senior Russian government official, attempting to engineer wall street crash.

Taking out a newspaper advertisement with proper representation to state one's case can't be compared with the US funded National Endowment for Democracy's funding of Hong Kong's increasingly violent rioting.

tinhatter Henry 4 days ago ,

Is the NED something like the China's interference in the NBA ?

Henry tinhatter 4 days ago ,

This is like apple and orange, not comparable. China did not interfere in NBA's affairs, just reacting to her citizens uproar against the infamous now deleted tweet. Thus many Chinese Chinese sponsors pulled out. This is no different to sponsors pulling out of US athletes endorsements from time to time when there are scandals.
Whereas NED is US intelligence cover for interference in targeted countries like Ukraine, Venezuela, Iran and many Islamic countries around the world, to advance US political agenda.

tinhatter daggo77 4 days ago ,

And in breaking news. 39 Britons have been found dead in a container trying to be smuggled fromt eh failed UK state to the successful state run by the CCP.
Did I get that the right-way round ?

Mustafa 4 days ago ,

Who is this guy? Does he think this is CNN?

Is he smoking a heretofore unheard of narcotic?

Let me set the stage.

This is a paper or news site about asia. It is written in English? What does this tell you? The audience ostensibly consists of westerners (or educated people from asia or elsewhere) who want to read an alternative to the drivel and rubbish that's propagated in copious quantities by the scat factories of the west and their zionist-oligarch dominated news conglomerates...

Who is interfering in elections? Does china name some loser guaido as president of venezuela or support terrorists in syria? Is china sanctioning (with financial warfare)the whole world including their own allies? You must have no modicum of shame to come up with this absolute smorgasbord of rancid festering bollocks that you think is befitting of "reporting." You are bettet off taking a sabbatical and never coming back... i would tell you all of this to your face with the utmost respect that i could muster before i vomited...

Presidents come and go... the empire, deep state bureaucrats, and their slavish dual-state minions such as yourself will march on no matter what until your rotten seed perpetuate the corruption and degeneracy passed down through your genes. That xyz is president makes zero difference in deterring the momentum of evil that lurks within the diseased sociopaths such as yourself.

You are an unmitigated disgrace to true journalism and do a grave disservice to this site's reputation.

pooi-hoong chan Mustafa 4 days ago ,

Bill Gertz is not a journalist. He is a bullshitter. He constantly spews out lies, fake news, propaganda and BS against China.

M Henri Day pooi-hoong chan 2 days ago ,

"Bill Gertz is not a journalist. He is a bullshitter." Alas, pooi-hong chan, these two professions are in many cases equivalent....

Henri

AsianInvestor Mustafa 4 days ago • edited ,

CIA uses fake identities for the propaganda articles. If a nation is building close ties with China, automatically an author with a name from that nation appears. They also have groups posting propaganda under a single fake name. There are only a few genuine Asian CIA hacks making a living off the CIA.

USA is heading for multiple recessions possibly a depression unless they change their current anti China policies.

Bianca AsianInvestor 4 days ago ,

In fact, in military, fake identities for information warfare are assigned to one person, so that it multiplies the effect. To keep track of these "personas" per each real person, and their postings -- a "persona" data bases are needed to keep track of their activities. And unfortunately , there are always some technicians who are more then happy to talk about it.

Deuxieme Bianca 4 days ago ,

Yes. just google Operation Earnest Voice. It's a project by Pentagon that let one person control several of these "personas"

Mustafa AsianInvestor 4 days ago ,

It would not surprise me if he worked for the CIA... this organization is, by its mission, embedded into all public spheres...

What is worrisome is that the cia has no accountability to anyone. It is one great example of deep state operator. Also, cia is heavily infiltrated by mossad. In other words, cia is a parallel drug traffickers organization that dabbles in news, democracy promotion, torture, coups, blackmail, assasibation, rendition...

It is accountable to no one ... their actions are conducted in secrecy and cannot be scrutinized... the president can't control them... these organizations are a manifest example of why this article is a huge fallacy dressed up in cured excrement.

Huashen 4 days ago • edited ,

These people are outrageously shameless in their assertion that they can openly interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, like the recent bills passed by the US House of Representatives in support of the Blackshirts of HK, but they would not brook any interference from China in their election, not that it's true at all.
This is a good example of how the US apply its Orwellian ideology of "American Exceptionalism" - "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" - George Orwell's "Animal Farm."

Lee Sky 4 days ago ,

Another guy cashing in on the evil China fad, pathetic. It is the US who conducts financial warfare by imposing illegal sanctions and restrictions on other countries using the dominance of the dollar in international trade.

Bianca 4 days ago ,

If it is so easy to have a country's financial system snd stock markets manipulated -- how do know that our own financial sharks are not already manipulating market to enrich them selves , while making it appear that everything is fine? Or that they are not crashing markets in order to profit?
There is something not right about a country with financial and market systems living off the fumes of news cycle?

Look at how many times West attacked Russian financial systems
and markets, blocking whole companies and financial institutions -- yet nothing crashed. Currency lost some value helping exports, while those earning in dollars simply had more money to spend domestically. And by placing sanctions kn European food products -- they shot up to the first place globally in wheat production.

I am wondering if the difference is Russia's large currency and gold reserves. As opposed US economy that sits atop a large debt bubble? Than anything can spook it.

Deuxieme 4 days ago • edited ,

Bill Gertz is running out of stuff to bad mouth China. He is eager to make some money now that he's been fired by Washington Free Beacon for having some shady deals with the Chinese billionaire fugitive Guo who is the subject covered in his reporting.
Maybe Gertz can tell us who China wants to be elected by staging these financial influence campaign? Gertz is sounding utterly ridiculous now.

Bapa aku 4 days ago ,

american are losers, foreign influence here and there, well thanks to your own foreign policies bombing here and there and regime change everywhere, you sow what you get. if you don't want foreign influence. just build a great wall and extend it to these. not only no 5G, ditch all comunications including mail

Bobserver 4 days ago • edited ,

This is a nonsense article. Lots of hypotheticals with no proof presented of China's intention or cases of actually trying to influence any American election.

This is more how Western countries behave with their Machivellian modus operandi overthrowing governments in Eastern Europe, Latin America, etc. This author and American officials are merely voicing what the USA is already capable of doing rather than what China has in place.

In fact there is a debate among Chinese officials and think tanks that they might want Trump to have a second term because as the USA p@sses off many countries including those allied with the USA that might help China down the line.

Bianca 4 days ago ,

Wait a minute -- Russia wants Trump to be reelected, and China wants him to lose?

With US creating legislation for the whole world -- our sanctions whose enforcement is imposed in others -- means that other people must have the right to elect the president? How can the world accept such financial burden on others with no right to vote.

Remember America next time you vote for sanctions, tariffs etc. -- no taxation without representation. Global presidents must be elected globally!

MD6888 4 days ago ,

Bill Gertz is a Washington-based national security journalist and author of Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China's Drive for Global Supremacy

007's imaginary script writer. LOL!

Alex 4 days ago ,

There's no need for the Chinese to rely on 'covert' operation to influence the election's outcome. For instance, if China just cancels the buying of the agricultural goods from the US that it has dealt with Trump in what is being called the partial deal from the trade war, it would be already enough to influence in the election. Lol!

[Oct 29, 2019] Chile: The poster boy of neoliberalism who fell from grace

Notable quotes:
"... The brother of the current Chilean president, scions of one of the richest families in Chile, became famous for introducing, as Minister of Labor and Social Security under Pinochet, a funded system of pensions where employees make compulsory contributions from their wages into one of several pension funds, and after retirement receive pensions based on investment performance of such funds. Old-age pensions thus became a part of roulette capitalism. But In the process, the pension funds, charging often exorbitant fees, and their managers became rich. ..."
"... José Piñera had tried to "sell" this model to Yeltsin's Russia and to George Bush's United States, but, despite the strong (and quite understandable) support of the financial communities in both countries, he failed. Nowadays, most Chilean pensioners receive $200-$300 per month in a country whose price level (according to International Comparison Project, a worldwide UN- and World Bank-led project to compare price levels around the world) is about 80% of that of the United States. ..."
"... the combined wealth of Chilean billionaires' (there were twelve of them) was equal to 25% of Chilean GDP. The next Latin American countries with highest wealth concentrations are Mexico and Peru where the wealth share of billionaires is about half (13 percent of GDP) of Chile's. But even better: Chile is the country where billionaires' share, in terms of GDP, is the highest in the world (if we exclude countries like Lebanon and Cyprus) where many foreign billionaires simply "park" their wealth for tax reasons. The wealth of Chile's billionaires, compared to their country's GDP, exceeds even that of Russians. [Graph] ..."
"... Such extraordinary inequality of wealth and income, combined with full marketization of many social services (water, electricity etc.), and pensions that depend on the vagaries of the stock market has long been "hidden" from foreign observers by Chile's success in raising its GDP per capita. ..."
"... if there Is no social justice and minimum of social cohesion, the effects of growth will dissolve in grief, demonstrations, and yes, in the shooting of people. ..."
Oct 29, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne

, October 26, 2019 at 01:42 PM
https://glineq.blogspot.com/2019/10/chile-poster-boy-of-neoliberalism-who.html

October 26, 2019

Chile: The poster boy of neoliberalism who fell from grace

It is not common for an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development county to shoot and kill 16 people in two days of socially motivated riots. (Perhaps only Turkey, in its unending wars against the Kurdish guerrilla, comes close to that level of violence.) This is however what Chilean government, the poster child of neoliberalism and transition to democracy, did last week in the beginning of protests that do not show the signs of subsiding despite cosmetic reforms proposed by President Sebastian Piñera.

The fall from grace of Chile is symptomatic of worldwide trends that reveal the damages causes by neoliberal policies over the past thirty years, from privatizations in Eastern Europe and Russia to the global financial crisis to the Euro-related austerity. Chile was held, not the least thanks to favorable press that it enjoyed, as a exemplar of success. Harsh policies introduced after the overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973, and the murderous spree that ensued afterwards, have been softened by the transition to democracy but their essential features were preserved. Chile indeed had a remarkably good record of growth, and while in the 1960-70s it was in the middle of the Latin American league by GDP per capita, it is now the richest Latin American country. It was of course helped too by high prices for its main export commodity, copper, but the success in growth is incontestable. Chile was "rewarded" by the membership in the OECD, a club of the rich nations, the first South American country to accede to it.

Where the country failed is in its social policies which somewhat bizarrely were considered by many to have been successful too. In the 1980s-90s, the World Bank hailed Chilean "flexible" labor policies which consisted of breaking up the unions and imposing a model of branch-level negotiations between employers and workers rather than allowing an overall umbrella union organization to negotiate for all workers. It was even more bizarrely used by the World Bank as a model of transparency and good governance, something that the transition countries in Eastern Europe should have presumably copied from Chile. The brother of the current Chilean president, scions of one of the richest families in Chile, became famous for introducing, as Minister of Labor and Social Security under Pinochet, a funded system of pensions where employees make compulsory contributions from their wages into one of several pension funds, and after retirement receive pensions based on investment performance of such funds. Old-age pensions thus became a part of roulette capitalism. But In the process, the pension funds, charging often exorbitant fees, and their managers became rich.

José Piñera had tried to "sell" this model to Yeltsin's Russia and to George Bush's United States, but, despite the strong (and quite understandable) support of the financial communities in both countries, he failed. Nowadays, most Chilean pensioners receive $200-$300 per month in a country whose price level (according to International Comparison Project, a worldwide UN- and World Bank-led project to compare price levels around the world) is about 80% of that of the United States.

While Chile leads Latin America in GDP per capita, it also leads it terms of inequality. In 2015, its level of income inequality was higher than in any other Latin American country except for Colombia and Honduras. It exceeded even Brazil's proverbially high inequality. The bottom 5% of the Chilean population have an income level that is about the same as that of the bottom 5% in Mongolia. The top 2% enjoy the income level equivalent to that of the top 2% in Germany. Dortmund and poor suburbs of Ulan Bataar were thus brought together.

Chilean income distribution is extremely unequal. But even more so is its wealth distribution. There, Chile is an outlier even compared to the rest of Latin America. According to the Forbes' 2014 data on world billionaires, the combined wealth of Chilean billionaires' (there were twelve of them) was equal to 25% of Chilean GDP. The next Latin American countries with highest wealth concentrations are Mexico and Peru where the wealth share of billionaires is about half (13 percent of GDP) of Chile's. But even better: Chile is the country where billionaires' share, in terms of GDP, is the highest in the world (if we exclude countries like Lebanon and Cyprus) where many foreign billionaires simply "park" their wealth for tax reasons. The wealth of Chile's billionaires, compared to their country's GDP, exceeds even that of Russians.
[Graph]

Such extraordinary inequality of wealth and income, combined with full marketization of many social services (water, electricity etc.), and pensions that depend on the vagaries of the stock market has long been "hidden" from foreign observers by Chile's success in raising its GDP per capita.

But the recent protests show that the latter is not enough. Growth is indispensable for economic success and reduction in poverty. But it is not enough: if there Is no social justice and minimum of social cohesion, the effects of growth will dissolve in grief, demonstrations, and yes, in the shooting of people.

-- Branko Milanovic

[Oct 29, 2019] Russian Defense Minister Publishes Evidence Of US Oil Smuggling From Syria by Saker

Images removed...
Oct 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

10/29/2019

Via The Saker blog,

Translated by Leo, bold and italics added for emphasis.

Source: https://ria.ru/20191026/1560247607.html

MOSCOW, October 26, 2019 – RIA Novosti – The Russian Ministry of Defense has published satellite intelligence images , showing American oil smuggling from Syria.

Image 1: Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic as of October 26, 2019.

According to the ministry, the photos confirm that "Syrian oil, both before and after the routing defeat of the Islamic State terrorists in land beyond the Euphrates river , under the reliable protection by US military servicemen, oil was actively being extracted and then the fuel trucks were massively being sent for processing outside of Syria."

Image 2: Daman oil gathering station, Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 42 km east of Deir ez-Zor, August 23, 2019.

Here, in a picture of the Daman oil gathering station (42 kilometers east of the Deir-ez-Zor province), taken on August 23, a large amount of trucks were spotted. "There were 90 automotive vehicles, including 23 fuel trucks," the caption to the image said.

In addition, on September 5, there were 25 vehicles in the Al-Hasakah province, including 22 fuel trucks. Three days later, on September 8, in the vicinity of Der Ez-Zor, 36 more vehicles were recorded (32 of them were fuel trucks). On the same day, 41 vehicles, including 34 fuel trucks, were in the Mayadin onshore area.

Image 3: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Al-Hasakah province, 8 km west of Al-Shaddadi, September 5, 2019.

As the official representative of the Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov noted, the Americans are extracting oil in Syria with the help of equipment, bypassing their own sanctions.

Igor Konashenkov:

"Under the protection of American military servicemen and employees of American PMCs, fuel trucks from the oil fields of Eastern Syria are smuggling to other states. In the event of any attack on such a caravan, special operations forces and US military aircraft are immediately called in to protect it," he said.

According to Konashenkov, the US-controlled company Sadcab , established under the so-called Autonomous Administration of Eastern Syria , is engaged in the export of oil, and the income of smuggling goes to the personal accounts of US PMCs and special forces.

The Major General added that as of right now, a barrel of smuggled Syrian oil is valued at $38, therefore the monthly revenue of US governmental agencies exceeds $30 million.

Image 4: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 10 km east of Mayadin, September 8, 2019.

"For such a continuous financial flow, free from control and taxes of the American government, the leadership of the Pentagon and Langley will be ready to guard and defend oil fields in Syria from the mythical 'hidden IS cells' endlessly," he said.

According to Konashenkov, Washington, by holding oil fields in eastern Syria, is engaged in international state banditry.

Image 5: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 14 km east of Mayadin, September 8, 2019.

The reason for this activity, he believes, "lies far from the ideals of freedom proclaimed by Washington and their slogans on the fight against terrorism."

Igor Konashenkov:

"Neither in international law, nor in American legislation itself – there is not and cannot be a single legal task for the American troops to protect and defend the hydrocarbon deposits of Syria from Syria itself and its own people, " the representative of the Defense Ministry concluded.

A day earlier, the Pentagon's head, Mark Esper declared that the United States is studying the situation in the Deir ez-Zor region and intends to strengthen its positions there in the near future "to ensure the safety of oil fields."


Sirdirkfan , 5 minutes ago link

The Ruskies are mad - Trump is stopping them from taking the oil, it belongs to the Kurds for their revenue and if US wants to help them have it so what....US is staying to secure those oilfields against ISIS taking it again!

If everyone listened to the President when he talks there wouldn't be any spin that anyone could get away with.

Arising , 7 minutes ago link

Trump's The Art of the Steal - New chapter just added

Fish Gone Bad , 15 minutes ago link

War is used to take resources from people who can not protect it adequately.

punjabiraj , 15 minutes ago link

The oil is on Kurdish land. This part of Syria is just a small sector of Kurdish territory that has been stolen from them by dividing it between four "countries", each of which has oil. This is why the territory was stolen and why the Kurds have become the world's best fighters.

Putin brokered a deal to stop Turkey wiping the Kurds by having their fighting force assimilate with the Syrian military and required Russian observers access to ensure the Turks keep their word and not invade to wipe all the Kurd civilians in order to also take their Syrian oil.

So the corrupt US generals get caught in the act. Their senators and reps on the payroll are going to need some more of that fairy tale PR for POTUS to read to us at bedtime.

If we are to believe that this is to protect the oil fields then the oil revenue should be going to Syria, even though the Kurds are on the land. Follow the money to find the truth because there is no one you can trust on this stage.

Bernard_2011 , 15 minutes ago link

America is not stealing Syria's oil, they are "protecting it".

haruspicio , 22 minutes ago link

MSM are simply not covering this story. Or the other story about the supposed gas attack at Douma where evidence was adulterated and/or ignored completely under US pressure.

Expect the same from MH17.

WTF is going on with our leaders and corporate MSM....can no one in a leadership position distinguish between lies and the truth? Or fantasy and reality? Where are the 'journalists' who will stand up and tell the truth in MSM? They no longer exist.

Chain Man , 25 minutes ago link

18 wheel fuel trucks around here hold 10K gal. 50 truck loads 500K of un processed oil if it's true? I though they just got there. but no telling who might steal under those conditions.

Bernard_2011 , 25 minutes ago link

If the caliphate is 100% eliminated as Trump likes to say, then what does Trump need to "protect" the oil fields from?

It's like he's just parroting whatever BS the deep state is telling him to say.

NiggaPleeze , 24 minutes ago link

The Orange Satan is the Deep State. Or, a product of it.

Orange Satan is protecting the oil from Syrians. It rightly belongs to the Globalists, not the local peasants!

Roger Casement , 27 minutes ago link

That was August. this is now. The Russians must have really wanted that oil to finance their occupation. Trump is preventing ISIS from using the oil as their piggy bank.

You're welcome.

jjames , 26 minutes ago link

no, trump is trying to starve the syrian people.

OliverAnd , 25 minutes ago link

The irony of course is that from the same oil fields the Turks were doing the exact same in cooperation with ISIS and now the US is doing it alone.

NiggaPleeze , 23 minutes ago link

Russians really want Syria to have their own soil. But the Globalist Orange Satan is stealing it to finance his Globalist Evil Empire.

After all, nothing spells Globalism like a Global Empire.

OliverAnd , 29 minutes ago link

Wasn't Erdogan doing the same not too long ago? Shortly after Erdogan became close friends with Putin. Does this mean Trump and Putin will become close friends as well? Or is this simply a common practice between two people who undeservingly place relatives in government positions? First Turkey hands over Al Baghdadi (he received medical treatment in Southern Turkey in a private clinic owned by Erdogan's daughter guarded by MIT agents) so that they can continue to commit genocide against Kurds in Turkey and Syria... and now the US is stealing Syrian oil like how the Turks initially were doing. What a mess and a disappointment. Hopefully Erdogan visits DC and unleashes his security guards beating any person freely walking the streets while Trump smiles and describes him as a great leader.

Joe A , 29 minutes ago link

War is a racket.

Manipuflation , 31 minutes ago link

So be it Ed Harley. What you're asking for has a powerful price .

IronForge , 31 minutes ago link

Since when did PLUNDERING OTHER NATION-STATES become included in the Serviceman's Oath or the Officer's Oath of Office?

expatch , 32 minutes ago link

Watch in coming weeks as the tanker convoys are proven to be rogue operations from an out of control CIA / Cabal network. Trump removed the troops, and now Russia is shining a light on it.

KuriousKat , 27 minutes ago link

No coincidence another article on ZH brung attention to the Ukrainian wareehouse arsos..12 in 2 yrs..2017-2018 where stored munition were carted away...not to fight rebels n Donbass but sold to Islamic groups in Syria..it was one of Bidens pals..one keeps the wars going while the others steal siphon of resources..whatever isn't nailed down..I've never seen anything like this..Democrats are truly CRIME INC

KuriousKat , 34 minutes ago link

w/o that oil..Syria can never reconstruct itself..Usually in a War or ,after that is, the victors help rebuild..what we see is pillaging and salting the earth and walk away.. as the Romans did to enemies like Carthage..it will resemble Libya ...a shambles

sbin , 39 minutes ago link

Simple destroy every tanker truck not authorized by Syrian government.

Remember the giant line of ISIS trucks going to Turkey US couldn't find but Russia had no problem destroying.

Some "jahhadi" should use those TOW missles and MAN pads to deal with foreign invaders.

Demologos , 45 minutes ago link

So the smuggling is protected by air cover and special forces? Light up the fields using some scud missiles. I'm sure Iran or Iraq have a few they could lend Syria. Can't sell it if its burning.

Guderian , 51 minutes ago link

Brits and Americans have pillaged, as any other empire, wherever they conquered.

After WW1 the 'Allies' robbed Germany of all foreign currency and its entire gold. This triggering hyperinflation and mega crisis.

During WW2 central bank gold was pillaged from countries that were 'liberated' across Europe.

In more recent history, the gold of Iraq, Ukraine and Libya was flown to Fort Knox.

All well documented.

This is common practice by empires. Just please stop pretending you were the good guys , spreading freedom and democracy, because that's really a mockery and the disgusting part of your invasions.

Dzerzhhinsky , 33 minutes ago link

During WW2 central bank gold was pillaged from countries that were 'liberated'.

Exactly, that's where the US got its 8,000 tons of gold. Before WWII, the US had 2000 tons of gold, after WWII it had 8,000 tons. Even today the US always steals the gold of the countries it "liberates"

Minamoto , 1 hour ago link

The USA reduced to common thievery...! How pathetic can a country become?

San Pedro , 26 minutes ago link

...and don't forget the billions and billion and billons the oooobama gave Iran in the fake "Iran Nuke Deal"!!

punjabiraj , 56 minutes ago link

This is a breach of our official secrets laws. This is none of the American peoples business like everything else we do in the deep state.

Any more articles like this and you will all be sharing a cell in solitary like we do with the whistle blowers and their anti-satanic consciences.

All devil worshipers say Aye.

gvtlinux , 1 hour ago link

Help me understand why the USA would want to smuggle oil from Syria. When the USA has more oil than all of the middleast.

Now I can see why Russia would blame the USA if smuggling Oil from Syria. Russia needs that oil really bad. So to get the USA away from the Syrian oil fields they would of course create a reason for the rest of the world that the USA is Dishonerable and must not be trusted with Syrian oil. It is just too obvious to me, what Russia is trying to accomplish.

Demologos , 58 minutes ago link

Huh? The US is stealing the oil to deprive the Syrian people energy they need to rebuild the country we destroyed. This is collective punishment of Syrians because they won't overthrow Assad.

Collective punishment is a crime against humanity according to international law. There's your impeachable offense. But don't worry, that kind of crime is ok with Shifty Schiff and the rest of the Israel ***-kissers in Congress.

God above wins , 48 minutes ago link

Most people in the US still erroneously think our gov has good intentions. At least Trump showed us the real intention of staying in Syria.

Omen IV , 40 minutes ago link

The US is NOT stealing the oil - the American Military have become PIRATES - no different than Somali Red Sea Pirates or looters in Newark stealing diapers and TV's

they probably do it in Black Face !

what a miserable excuse for a country

nuerocaster , 18 minutes ago link

No taxes, regulations, royalties. The muscle is already on payroll.

KekistanisUnite , 1 hour ago link

This is nothing new. We've been stealing oil from dozens of countries for the past 75 years since WWII. The only difference is that Trump is being blatant about it which in a way is weirdly refreshing.

spoonful , 1 hour ago link

Like Janis Joplin once sang - Get it While You Can https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju9yFA1S7K8

[Oct 28, 2019] The recent events in Syria, in which 'a quarter of the country was freed in a week' is not only a victory for Assad, but the defeat of the 'military strategy to establish the supremacy of financial capitalism'.

Oct 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

dh-mtl , Oct 27 2019 15:04 utc | 8

Last week, Thierry Meyssan posted an excellent paper ( https://www.voltairenet.org/article208007.html), in which he states that the recent events in Syria, in which 'a quarter of the country was freed in a week' is not only a victory for Assad, but the defeat of the 'military strategy to establish the supremacy of financial capitalism'. These events mark the overturning of the world order that has been in place since the end of WWII.

What I find remarkable is how quickly the old order has been overturned. The old order was initially a bi-polar world, which evolved, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, into a Uni-Polar World Order under the control of 'financial capitalism' (i.e. the 'Globalists', also referred to as 'international financial elites', 'Anglo-Zionists', the 'Davos Crowd', etc.). Arguably the Uni-Pole's power peaked in the early 2000s after the creation of the EU and the eastern expansion of NATO. The first cracks in the Uni-Pole's hegemonic power appeared in 2003 with the fiasco in Iraq, and in 2008 with the Global Financial Crisis. But even as late as 2015, when Obama dismissed Russia's entry into Syria as nothing but Russia stepping into a quagmire, the 'Globalists' could foresee no opposing force that would prevent them from consolidating their Uni-Polar World Order into an enduring world-wide system of 'Global Governance' through a 'Rules-based International Order' under the 'Globalists' control and enforced by the U.S. and NATO. But now, as Meyssan suggests, only four years later, the Uni-Polar World Order has been toppled.

In its place a 'Multi-Polar World' order is emerging. I would like to suggest that the outlines of this emerging order are as follows:
1. The dominant pole of this Multi-polar World is that led by the alliance of Russia and China. Spanning Eurasia from the Pacific to the Mediterranean, this pole includes the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Eurasian Economic Union, and includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, and possibly, in the future, Turkey.

2. The second pole will be the remnants of the 'Globalist' empire, stripped, however, of Europe (ex. U.K.) and any Asian representation, i.e. the U.S., U.K., Israel and likely Canada.

3. A third group consists of countries that are currently either occupied militarily by the U.S. or are part of NATO, but are either economically dependent on China or are in economic competition with the U.S. This includes most of Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the GCC countries (KSA, UAE, etc.). These countries cannot be considered as poles by themselves, for while some of them may have the economic weight to be considered a pole, such as Germany and Japan, they lack the geo-political weight. These countries are likely to try to escape from their status as American ('Globalist') vassals and become independent nations dealing equitably with all the poles of the new Multi-Polar World. In my view, it is unlikely that the EU will survive the birth of this new-world order in its current form. At best it is likely to revert back to a European free trade area, in which each country will recapture its sovereignty and its own currency.

4. A fourth group consists of countries that, while not being a part of the Russia/China pole will be under its wing, with Russia providing military, political and geo-political support, and China providing economic support. This group includes countries which are currently either under threat from the 'Globalists' (ie. Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, etc.), are in turmoil due to exploitation by the 'Globalists' (ie. Chile, Argentina, Brazil, etc.) or are outright failed states (most of Africa). Under the protection of Russia and China, they will once again have a chance to overcome the anarchy of the past 20 or so years and to return to peaceful development.

5. A fifth group consists of what will likely end up as secondary poles of the Multi-Polar World. These are countries that today are both independent and have the geo-political and economic weight to continue to function independently. This group includes the likes of India and the ASEAN countries.

Uncertain is the time that it will take for this emerging order to stabilize. In my view, this depends to a great extent on whether Trump survives impeachment and wins in 2020. If he does then the emergence of the Multi-Polar World Order could be quite quick and painless, as it is aligned with the policies that Trump has been espousing from the beginning of his presidential campaign in 2015. To 'Make America Great Again' requires that the U.S. recover its sovereignty and redevelop its industrial power. After all, a countries wealth, and thus its power, is what it produces, and a country that doesn't produce as much as it consumes will, in the end, consume itself. To redevelop its industrial power the U.S. needs to isolate itself, as Trump is attempting to do behind a wall of tariff barriers and a devalued currency. The Multi-Polar World Order will allow the U.S. the opportunity it needs isolate, and then rebuild, itself. One must remember that it was the isolation of the U.S. in the 19th and early 20th centuries that enabled the U.S. to become so powerful in the first place.

If, on the other hand, Trump is either overthrown by the 'Globalists' or defeated in 2020 then the emergence of the Multi-Polar World Order will be fraught with conflict. The 'Globalists' will fight it every step of the way, using all tools at their disposal, and particularly the military muscle of the U.S. and NATO. For the 'Globalists' the Multi-Polar World Order means the dispossession of their power and wealth. However, I believe that will simply be a case of the losers continuing to fight long after the war has been lost. It is only a question of how much time that it will take, and death and destruction that will occur, before the U.S. and NATO are exhausted.

The emergence of the Multi-Polar World Order, once it stabilizes, is likely to usher in a new era of peace and human development, similar to that which the world experienced in the decades following WWII.


Chris Cosmos , Oct 27 2019 15:32 utc | 14

I agree with dh-mtl that we are entering a multi-polar world but that is happening because of the deep corruption and divisions within the Washington Deep State. Still, the imperial forces are formidable and should any faction get full control of them an expansion of current wars is very possible. Trump is trying to fashion and has been trying to fashion a coalition but he's failed and is failing. Media narratives, in the USA, always represent the interests of the factions in power and they are all against Trump. This election is critical to world history. Will we get a restoration with Biden (or Buttigieg) or Pence or will we start moving in a new direction with Warren or Sanders? If the latter then the Deep State may move in a new direction and begin to negotiated with Russia/China. If Trump then more chaos.
dh-mtl , Oct 27 2019 16:09 utc | 23
john | Oct 27 2019 15:53 utc | 19

Sorry John, the quote that you posted was not taken from Thierry Meyssan, but is my original work. I only quoted from Meyssan in the first paragraph.

The decades after WW2 may have spawned the CIA and their dirty tricks, but in spite of this, the stand off between the U.S. and Russia, the bi-polar world, ensured a level of peace and stability that lasted until the fall of the Soviet Union. These decades were undoubtedly on of the greatest eras of human development that mankind has experienced.

Vasco da Gama , Oct 27 2019 19:01 utc | 63
dh-mtl@8 (and Circe)

I think those 5 categories are pretty much spot on. They also appear to be in sync with Russia's envisioned relation with the main elements of those categories, as they develop in practice. China's positioning looks more obscure though, but that must be due to lack of information on my part more than anything else. What Russia initiates, China consolidates in its broad strokes, but i am missing how coherent the details where the space of action actually overlaps between the two.

The switch between the first and second category members from the previous status quo appears to be settled along with tolerable levels of conflict. Circe won't like to hear it, but in my opinion, we have Trump to thank for that, not because he intended for the switch, but because he stresses on the US economical system the main effective capitalist contradiction: productive vs financial capital. The tumultuous social and psychological state of the US, attest to that contradiction despite emerging as very heated but apparently distant themes (immigration, gender issues, the personality and conduct of the president, etc..), Circe would have us believe it is all kabuki. I believe it is real, commonly misanalysed but very very real.

What I have yet to see though is the multi-polar trend to take root. Obvious signs would be Germany and Europe in general of course, but at best as a block of sovereigns, and for that, Frankfurt will have to surrender before the remaining capitals. That may actually come about as production takes the main stage, and this could be very sudden.

This is obvious positive thinking. An anecdote:
Once I super glued the tip of my finger. I had a box cutter nearby and I just thought - I simply must use it as a razor blade to scrap the glue out, movements perpendicular to the blade, and I'll be fine - whatever I do just don't move along the .... zaaaat - here's the scar. The point being: as soon as the wrong thought crossed my mind, my hand simply ignored the "don't do" part of the thinking and obeyed the rest.

Keep thinking positive!

[Oct 27, 2019] Here s Why Trump s Secure Syria s Oil Plan Will Prove Practically Impossible

Notable quotes:
"... The below analysis is provided by " Ehsani " -- a Middle East expert, Syrian-American banker and financial analyst who visits the region frequently and writes for the influential geopolitical analysis blog, Syria Comment . ..."
"... An M1 Abrams tank at the Udairi Range Complex in Kuwait, via Army National Guard/Military Times. ..."
Oct 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Here's Why Trump's "Secure Syria's Oil" Plan Will Prove Practically Impossible by Tyler Durden Sat, 10/26/2019 - 23:30 0 SHARES

The below analysis is provided by " Ehsani " -- a Middle East expert, Syrian-American banker and financial analyst who visits the region frequently and writes for the influential geopolitical analysis blog, Syria Comment .

Much has been debated since President Trump tweeted that "The U.S has secured the oil" in Syria. Is this feasible? Does it make any sense? The below will explain how and why the answer is a resounding NO .

An M1 Abrams tank at the Udairi Range Complex in Kuwait, via Army National Guard/Military Times.

Al-Omar and Conoco fields are already secured by Kurdish-led SDF and U.S forces. Some of the oil from these fields was being sold through third parties to Syria's government by giving it in crude form and taking back half the quantity as refined product (the government owns the refineries).

Syria's government now has access to oil fields inside the 32km zone (established by the Turkish military incursion and subsequent withdrawal of Kurdish forces). Such fields can produce up to 100K barrels a day and will already go a long way in terms of meeting the country's immediate demand. So the importance of accessing oil in SDF/U.S hands is not as pressing any longer.

SDF/U.S forces can of course decide to sell the oil to Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) but Syria's government now has control over the border area connecting Syria to KRG territory through both Yaaroubia and Al-Mallkiya.

The Syrian government also now has control over supply of electricity. This was made possible by taking control of the Tishreen and Furat dams. Operating those fields needs electric power supply and the state is now the provider.

me title=

Securing and operating these fields also entails paying salaries to those operating the fields. International companies would be very reluctant to get involved without legal backing to operate the fields.

"Securing the oil" therefore can only mean preventing the Syrian state from accessing al-Omar/Conoco only (not oil in the north) . It's unlikely anything can be sold or transported.

And let's not forget "securing" this oil would need ready air cover, and all for what?

me title=

SDF composition included Arab fighters and tribes who accepted Kurds in leadership since they had American support and key cities in north. Many of those Arabs are already switching and joining the Syrian Army. "Securing" oil for benefit of the Kurds is likely to antagonize the Arab fighters and tribes in the region.

Preventing rise of ISIS is likely to entail securing support of the region's Arabs and tribes more than that of the Kurds. This Kurd/Arab issue is yet another reason why President Trump's idea of "securing" the oil for the benefit of the Kurds just doesn't make sense nearly on every level .


kanoli , 54 minutes ago link

"Securing the oil" means "Denying Assad government access to the oil." I don't think they care if the pumps are running or not.

comissar , 3 hours ago link

The psychopaths destroyed the last secular country in the ME. Same with Lybia. Now all we get are extremists on all sides. Mossad doing what it knows best, bringing chaos for the psychopaths.

Teja , 9 hours ago link

By withdrawing from Northern Kurdistan and by making an exception for the oil fields, Genius President Trump just told the world a number of things:

Of course, the European allies (except Turkey) are still refusing to learn from this experience. "Duck and cover until November 2020" is their current tactics. Not sure if this is a good idea.

Turkey has learned to go their own ways, but I don't think it is a good idea to create ever more enemies at one's borders. Greece, Armenia, the Kurdish regions, Syria, Cyprus, not sure how their stance is towards Iran. Reminds me of Germany before both World Wars. Won't end well.

Chochalocka , 9 hours ago link

Pretty hilarious how some see ****.

"America/The US", a label, is actually just a location on a map and is not a reference to the actual identities of those who start wars for profit.

Also it is hilarious to use that label as if an area of the planet is or has attacked another area. Land can not attack itself, ever, just as guns don't kill people, people kill people.

Trump is not claiming posession of oil in syria by leaving some troops behind. Just as he did not declare war, nor start any EVER. Every conflct on earth has it's roots with very specific individuals, none of whom are even related to Trump.

Syria was a conflicting mess before he took office and he is dutifully attempting to pull US soldiers out of a powder keg of nonsense he wants no part of. Nor does any sane American want more conflict in battles we can't afford, in countries we'll never even visit.

Like I said before, Trump can't just abruptly yank all our troops. It's simply not that simple. And for those pretending he is doing syria a disservice, I dare any one of you to go there yourselves and see if you bunch of complete dipshits can do better. Who knows, maybe you'll find the love of your life, ******* idiots.

2stateshmoostate , 7 hours ago link

There is no one on this planet more owned and controlled by Juice and Israel than Trump. He does and says what he is told to do and say. All scripted.

wdg , 10 hours ago link

First, the US invades Syria in violation of the Geneva Convention on War making it an international criminal. Then it funds and equips the most vile terrorists on the planet which leads to the killing of thousands of innocent Syrians. And now it has decided to stay and steal oil from Syria. The US is now the Evil American Empire owned and run by crooks, gangsters and mass murderers. The Republic is dead along with morality, justice and freedom.

Brazen Heist II , 10 hours ago link

Don't forget the sanctions it levies on Syria, in an attempt to prevent recovery and re-construction from said crimes of attempted regime change.

Truth Eater , 10 hours ago link

Let's limit the culprits to: The Obama regime... and not all the US. This is why these devils need to be brought to trial and their wealth clawed out of their hiding places to pay reparations to some of the victims.

wdg , 9 hours ago link

The US has been an Evil American Empire for a long time, since at least the Wilson administration, and Republican or Democrat...it make little difference. World wars, the Fed, IRS, New Deal, Korea, Vietnam, War OF Terror, assassinations, coups, sanctions, Big Pharma, Seeds of Death and Big Agri...and the list goes on and on. Please understand that America is not great and one day all Americans will have to account for what their country did in their name. If you believe in the Divine, then know that their will be a reckoning.

Shemp 4 Victory , 9 hours ago link

The Obama regime was merely a continuation of the Chimpy Bush regime, which was merely a continuation of the Clinton regime, which was merely a continuation of the Pappy Bush regime, which was merely a continuation... etc.

NorwegianPawn , 10 hours ago link

More chinks in the petrodollar armor will be the outcome of this. The credibility of murica is withering away as every day passes. Iraqi pressure upon foreign troops there to leave and/or drawdown further will also make this venture even more difficult to manage.

The Kurds may not be the smartest with regards to picking allies, but even they may by now have learned that sticking to murica any longer will destroy any semblance of hope for any autonomy status whatsoever once the occupants have left. Likewise, the Sunni tribes around this area don't want to become another Pariah group once things revert to normal.

Assad will eventually retake all his territory and this is speeding up the process of eventual reconciliation in Syria.

Fluff The Cat , 10 hours ago link

They've spent far more on these wars than they've made back by stealing other countries' resources. Trillions wasted in exchange for mere billions in profit, to say nothing of the massive loss of life and destruction incurred.

americanreality , 9 hours ago link

Well the profit was privatized while the losses were picked up by the taxpayers. So, success!

G-R-U-N-T , 12 hours ago link

'The below analysis is provided by " Ehsani " -- a Middle East expert, Syrian-American banker and financial analyst who visits the region frequently and writes for the influential geopolitical analysis blog, Syria Comment .'

this quote was my first red flag.

so POTUS outsmarts Erdongan, takes out ISIS leader BAGHDADI along with Erdongan MIT agents meeting with him. sorry, Ehsani, i think your full of sh*t.

CoCosAB , 12 hours ago link

CIA & MOSSAD LLC friends ISIS is just the excuse the american an israeli terrorists used and use in order to keep trying to remove Assad from the Government.

They just can't accept defeat and absolute failure. What's worse than an american/israeli terrorist destroyed ego?!

punjabiraj , 12 hours ago link

All info needs verification. US sources are not trustworthy including anyone where money originates from the usual fake info instigators/ players.

POTUS is so misled by the deep state MIC /CIA/ FBI et al and their willing fake media cohorts that he agreed to give the White Helmets more public money for more fake movies, as has been properly proven and widely reported.

Either they have taken control of his mind with a chip insert or they have got his balls to the knife.

The false flags have been discredited systematically and only a very brainwashed or a very frightened person would believe anything from the same source until after a thorough scourge is proven successfully undertaken.

It is evident that even the last hope department has been got at by the money-power.

If they can do 9/11 and get away with it, as they have, then they will stop at nothing to remain entrenched.

Tiritmenhrta , 13 hours ago link

Where is oil, there has to be ******* US military, business as usual...

looks so real , 12 hours ago link

90% of oil is traded in U.S. dollars if that stops living standards will drop in the U.S.. We dropped from 97% look how bad its now with 7% imagine going down to 50% life would be unlivable here.

Jerzeel , 11 hours ago link

Well US would have to learn to live within their means like other countries who dont have the world reserve currency & petrodollar

americanreality , 9 hours ago link

Exorbitant privilege. Paging Charles DeGaulle..

donkey_shot , 13 hours ago link

...meanwhile, both according to russia today as well as the (otherwise lying rag of a newspaper) guardian , the russian government seems to take a different position to the views expressed here by "a middle east expert".

russian state media is reporting that US troops are in the process of taking control of syrian oil fields in the deir el-zour region and have described such actions as "banditry". the crux of the matter is this: if the US were not actually illegally taking control of Syrian oil, then Russia would not be reporting this. Contrary to western mainstream media, Russian sources have repeatedly shown themselves to be factual.

https://www.rt.com/newsline/471940-lavrov-pompeo-russia-us-syria/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/26/russia-us-troops-syria-oil-isis

surfing another appocalypse , 13 hours ago link

Shame the "withdrawl" from Syria is tainted with "securing the oil". US doesnt need that oil at all. So Orwellian! Unless the Kurds somehow get rights to it.

Arising , 13 hours ago link

Preventing rise of ISIS is likely to entail securing support of the region's Arabs and tribes more than that of the Kurds. This Kurd/Arab issue is yet another reason why President Trump's idea of "securing" the oil for the benefit of the Kurds just doesn't make sense nearly on every level .

Trump is securing the oil not for the Kurds or anything in the middle east- his doing it as a response to the media backlash he received when he announced he's abandoning the Kurds.

donkey_shot , 13 hours ago link

this is nonsense. thinking of the kurds and their interests is the absolutely last thing on trump`s mind: what counts for trump is how he is viewed by his voter base, no more, no less.

[Oct 26, 2019] Declassified Documents: Obama Ordered CIA To Train ISIS

Oct 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

CharlieSeattle , says: October 25, 2019 at 9:35 pm GMT

2012 Classified U.S. Report: ISIS Must Rise To Power
Posted on May 23, 2015 by Sean Adl-Tabatabai

http://yournewswire.com/2012-classified-u-s-report-isis-must-rise-to-power/

Conservative government watchdog Judicial Watch have published formerly classified documents from the U.S. Department of Defence which reveals the agencies earlier views on ISIS, namely that they were a desirable presence in Eastern Syria in 2012 and that they should be "supported" in order to isolate the Syrian regime.

Levantreport.com reports:
Astoundingly, the newly declassified report states that for "THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY [WHO] SUPPORT THE [SYRIAN] OPPOSITION THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME ".
The DIA report, formerly classified "SECRET//NOFORN" and dated August 12, 2012, was circulated widely among various government agencies, including CENTCOM, the CIA, FBI, DHS, NGA, State Dept., and many others.

The document shows that as early as 2012, U.S. intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a U.S. strategic asset.

CharlieSeattle , says: October 25, 2019 at 9:36 pm GMT
Declassified Documents: Obama Ordered CIA To Train ISIS
Posted on May 28, 2015 by Carol Adl

http://yournewswire.com/declassified-documents-obama-ordered-cia-to-train-isis/

Government watchdog Judicial Watch published more than 100 pages of formerly classified documents from the U.S. Department of Defense and the State Department.

The documents obtained through a federal lawsuit, revealed the agencies earlier views on ISIS, namely that they were a desirable presence in Eastern Syria in 2012 and that they should be "supported" in order to isolate the Syrian regime.

The U.S. intelligence documents not only confirms suspicions that the United States and some of its coalition allies had actually facilitated the rise of the ISIS in Syria – as a counterweight to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad- but also that ISIS members were initially trained by members and contractors of the Central Intelligence Agency at facilities in Jordan in 2012.

HEREDOT , says: October 25, 2019 at 9:55 pm GMT
When I say Isis, I immediately think of Obama, Hillary, Mc Cain. These are the most despicable psychopaths who have resigned from humanity.

[Oct 26, 2019] Secret Jordan base was site of covert aid to insurgents targeting Assad

Oct 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

CharlieSeattle , says: October 25, 2019 at 9:33 pm GMT

WND EXCLUSIVE
BLOWBACK! U.S. TRAINED ISLAMISTS WHO JOINED ISIS

Secret Jordan base was site of covert aid to insurgents targeting Assad
Published: 06/17/2014 – By Aaron Klein

http://www.wnd.com/2014/06/officials-u-s-trained-isis-at-secret-base-in-jordan/

[MORE]
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Since publication, this story has been corrected to clarify that the fighters trained in Jordan became members of the ISIS after their training.]

JERUSALEM – Syrian rebels who would later join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials.

The officials said dozens of future ISIS members were trained at the time as part of covert aid to the insurgents targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The officials said the training was not meant to be used for any future campaign in Iraq.
The Jordanian officials said all ISIS members who received U.S. training to fight in Syria were first vetted for any links to extremist groups like al-Qaida.

In February 2012, WND was first to report the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country's northern desert region.
That report has since been corroborated by numerous other media accounts.
Last March, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported Americans were training Syrian rebels in Jordan.

Quoting what it said were training participants and organizers, Der Spiegel reported it was not clear whether the Americans worked for private firms or were with the U.S. Army, but the magazine said some organizers wore uniforms. The training in Jordan reportedly focused on use of anti-tank weaponry.

The German magazine reported some 200 men received the training over the previous three months amid U.S. plans to train a total of 1,200 members of the Free Syrian Army in two camps in the south and the east of Jordan.

Britain's Guardian newspaper also reported last March that U.S. trainers were aiding Syrian rebels in Jordan along with British and French instructors.

Reuters reported a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department declined immediate comment on the German magazine's report. The French foreign ministry and Britain's foreign and defense ministries also would not comment to Reuters.

[Oct 25, 2019] Hundreds of Islamic State fighters, both Syrian and foreign, were covertly evacuated by US, UK and Kurdish forces from the besieged city of Raqqa last month and freed to "spread out far and wide across Syria and beyond

Oct 25, 2019 | www.unz.com

barr , says: October 22, 2019 at 1:47 am GMT

Hundreds of Islamic State fighters, both Syrian and foreign, were covertly evacuated by US, UK and Kurdish forces from the besieged city of Raqqa last month and freed to "spread out far and wide across Syria and beyond".

Although reports on the convoy surfaced at the time, BBC journalists Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati have revealed the details in their documentary Raqqa's Dirty Secret.

Their investigation describes how the convoy carrying 250 fighters, 3,500 family members, and lorry loads of arms and possessions, was arranged for October 12th by local officials in meetings attended by a western officer.

During a visit to Syria in mid-October, The Irish Times was told not only about the evacuation but also that senior Islamic State commanders and their families, 45 people in all, had been airlifted out of Raqqa by a US helicopter and flown to the Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

Fighters escaping Raqqa were said to have been given passage across the desert to join comrades battling the Syrian army and its allies in Deir al-Zor.

Among the people the BBC team interviewed for the exposé were drivers paid by the Islamic State to drive the buses and trucks carrying the evacuees. According to driver Abu Fawzi, men, women and children wore suicide vests and the trucks had been booby-trapped in case "something went wrong".

The convoy contained 50 trucks, 13 buses, and more than 100 of the fighters' own vehicles. Although it had been agreed they would take only personal weapons, they filled 10 trucks with arms and ammunition.

Three-day convoy

It had also been stipulated that no foreigners would leave, but drivers told the BBC that French, Turkish, Azerbaijani, Pakistani, Yemeni, Saudi, Chinese, Tunisian and Egyptians had joined the exodus. The only restriction observed was a ban against flags and banners.

Whenever it passed through a village or hamlet, fighters warned frightened bystanders they would return, a villager called Muhanad told the BBC, "running a finger across their throats".

Two Humvees led the convoy into the desert where the going was rough. Coalition aircraft and drones hovered above, dropping flares after dark to light the way. When the motorcade reached Islamic State-held territory, fighters and civilians departed with their arms and possessions and drivers returned home.

The BBC investigation compelled Col Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, to admit to the deal. He told the team: "We didn't want anyone to leave. But this goes to the heart of our strategy 'by, with and through' local leaders on the ground.

His statement on foreign fighters contradicted information given to the BBC by drivers and people along the route as well as a statement about strategy made by US defence secretary James Mattis in May.

"Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home . . . We are not going to allow them to do so," said Mattis.
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/middle-east/isis-fighters-smuggled-out-of-raqqa-by-us-uk-and-kurds-bbc-claims-1.3293105

[Oct 24, 2019] Empire Interventionism Versus Republic Noninterventionism by Jacob Hornberger

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state and with the adoption of a pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy. When that happened, the U.S. government assumed the duty to fix the wrongs of the world. ..."
"... That's when U.S. officials began thinking in terms of empire and using empire-speak. Foreign regimes became "allies," "partners," and "friends." Others became "opponents," "rivals," or "enemies." Events thousands of miles away became threats to "national security." ..."
"... The results of U.S. imperialism and interventionism have always been perverse, not only for foreigners but also for Americans. That's how Americans have ended up with out-of-control federal spending and debt that have left much of the middle class high and dry, unable to support themselves in their senior years, unable to save a nest egg for financial emergencies, and living paycheck to paycheck. Empire and interventionism do not come cheap. ..."
"... There is but one solution to all this chaos and mayhem -- the dismantling, not the reform, of the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the vast empire of foreign and domestic military bases, and the NSA, along with an immediate end to all foreign interventionism. A free, peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society necessarily entails the restoration of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist foreign policy to our land. ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

The chaos arising from U.S. interventionism in Syria provides an excellent opportunity to explore the interventionist mind.

Consider the terminology being employed by interventionists: President Trump's actions in Syria have left a "power vacuum," one that Russia and Iran are now filling. The United States will no longer have "influence" in the region. "Allies" will no longer be able to trust the U.S. to come to their assistance. Trump's actions have threatened "national security." It is now possible that ISIS will reformulate and threaten to take over lands and even regimes in the Middle East.

This verbiage is classic empire-speak. It is the language of the interventionist and the imperialist.

Amidst all the interventionist chaos in the Middle East, it is important to keep in mind one critically important fact: None of it will mean a violent takeover of the U.S. government or an invasion and conquest of the United States. The federal government will go on. American life will go on. There will be no army of Muslims, terrorists, Syrians, ISISians, Russians, Chinese, drug dealers, or illegal immigrants coming to get us and take over the reins of the IRS.

Why is that an important point? Because it shows that no matter what happens in Syria or the rest of the Middle East, life will continue here in the United States. Even if Russia gets to continue controlling Syria, that's not going to result in a conquest of the United States. The same holds true if ISIS, say, takes over Iraq. Or if Turkey ends up killing lots of Kurds. Or if Syria ends up protecting the Kurds. Or if Iran continues to be controlled by a theocratic state. Or if the Russians retake control over Ukraine.

It was no different than when North Vietnam ended up winning the Vietnamese civil war. The dominoes did not fall onto the United States and make America Red. It also makes no difference if Egypt continues to be controlled by a brutal military dictatorship. Or that Cuba, North Korea, and China are controlled by communist regimes. Or that Russia is controlled by an authoritarian regime. Or that Myanmar (Burma) is controlled by a totalitarian military regime. America and the federal government will continue standing.

America was founded as a limited government republic, one that did not send its military forces around the world to slay monsters. That's not to say that bad things didn't happen around the world. Bad things have always happened around the world. Dictatorships. Famines. Wars. Civil wars. Revolutions. Empires. Torture. Extra-judicial executions. Tyranny. Oppression. The policy of the United States was that it would not go abroad to fix or clear up those types of things.

All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state and with the adoption of a pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy. When that happened, the U.S. government assumed the duty to fix the wrongs of the world.

That's when U.S. officials began thinking in terms of empire and using empire-speak. Foreign regimes became "allies," "partners," and "friends." Others became "opponents," "rivals," or "enemies." Events thousands of miles away became threats to "national security."

That's when U.S. forces began invading and occupying other countries, waging wars of aggression against them, intervening in foreign wars, revolutions, and civil wars, initiating coups, destroying democratic regimes, establishing an empire of domestic and foreign military bases, and bombing, shooting, killing, assassinating, spying on, maiming, torturing, kidnapping, injuring, and destroying people in countries all over the world.

The results of U.S. imperialism and interventionism have always been perverse, not only for foreigners but also for Americans. That's how Americans have ended up with out-of-control federal spending and debt that have left much of the middle class high and dry, unable to support themselves in their senior years, unable to save a nest egg for financial emergencies, and living paycheck to paycheck. Empire and interventionism do not come cheap.

The shift toward empire and interventionism has brought about the destruction of American liberty and privacy here at home. That's what the assassinations, secret surveillance, torture, and indefinite detentions of American citizens are all about -- to supposedly protect us from the dangers produced by U.S. imperialism and interventionism abroad. One might call it waging perpetual war for freedom and peace, both here and abroad.

There is but one solution to all this chaos and mayhem -- the dismantling, not the reform, of the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the vast empire of foreign and domestic military bases, and the NSA, along with an immediate end to all foreign interventionism. A free, peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society necessarily entails the restoration of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist foreign policy to our land.

[Oct 24, 2019] Joltin' Jack Keane wants your kids to fight Russia and Syria over Syrian oil by Colonel Patrick Lang

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Whilst the are absorbing that part of their country the battle of Iblib will restart. After that they can move their attention south and southeast, al-Tanf and the oilfields. I can't see how the US will be able to stop them but at least they will have time to plan their exit. ..."
"... At the moment the Syrian Government has enough oil, it is getting it from Iran via a steady stream of SUEZMAX tankers. The cost, either in terms of money or quid pro quo, is unknown. ..."
"... For those who have wondered as to why the DC FedRegime would fight over the tiny relative-to-FUKUS's-needs amount of oil in the Syrian oilfields. It is clearly to keep the SAR hobbled, crippled and too impoverished to retake all its territory or even to restore social, civic and economic functionality to the parts it retains. FUKUS is still committed to the policy of FUKUSing Syria. ..."
"... This President appears at times to recognize the reality of nation states and the meaning of national sovereignty. He needs to understand that on principle, not merely on gut instinct. President Trump's press conference today focused in one section on a simple fact -- saving the lives of Americans. Gen. Jack Keane, Sen. Lindsay Graham, and other gamers who think they are running an imperial chessboard where they can use living soldiers as American pawns, are a menace. Thanks Col. Lang for calling out these lunatics. ..."
"... During the 2016 election, Jack Keane and John Bolton were the two people Trump mentioned when asked who he listens to on foreign affairs/military policy. ..."
"... The crumbling apart is apparent. I don't know in what delusional world can conceive that 200 soldiers in the middle of the desert can deny Syria possession of their oil fields or keep the road between Bagdad and Damascus cut. All the West's Decision Makers can do is threaten to blow up the world. ..."
"... Corporate Overlords imposed austerity, outsourced industry and cut taxes to get richer, but the one thing for certain is that they can't keep their wealth without laws, the police and the military to protect them. ..."
"... Latin America is burning too - although the elites here have plundered and imposed structural plunder for too long. No matter where you are it .. Chile poster of the right, or Ecuador, Peru, etc ..."
"... Did you notice the Middle East Monitor article on October 21 reporting that the UAE has released to Iran $700 million in previously frozen funds? ..."
"... Yet in early September, Sigal Mandelker, a senior US Treasury official, was in the UAE pressing CEOs there to tighten the financial screws on Iran. The visit was deemed a success. During this visit she was quoted as saying that the Treasury has issued over 30 rounds of curbs targeting Iran-related entities. That would include targeting shipping companies and banks. ..."
"... It depends on who will be the democratic ticket .. will it mobilize the basis? I think the compromise candidate is Warren, but she looks to me a lot like John Kerry, Al Gore.. representing the professional, college educated segment of society, and that doesn't cut it. ..."
"... Trump is far from consistent. This is the man who attacked Syria twice on the basis of lies so transparent that my youngest housecat would have seen through them, and who tried and failed to leave Syria twice, then said he was "100%" for the continued occupation of Syria. ..."
"... He could have given the order to leave Syria this month, but Trump did not. Instead, he simply ordered withdrawal to a smaller zone of occupation, and that under duress. ..."
"... The Great Trumpian Mystery. I don't pretend to understand but I'm intrigued by his inconsistent inconsistencies. https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/03/17/trump-mysteries-inconsistent-inconsistencies/ ..."
"... It probably should come as no surprise to us that Trump is having small, but not no, success in getting the ship to alter course - too many deeply entrenched interests with no incentive to recognize their failures and every incentive to stay the course by removing, or at least handicapping the President who was elected on a platform of change. ..."
"... Whether the country elected the right man for the job remains to be seen. At times he appears to be his own worst enemy and his appointments are frequently topsy-- turvy to the platform he ran on but he does have his moments of success. He called off the dumb plan to go to war with Iran, albeit at 20 minutes to mid night and he is trying hard against the full might of the Borg to withdraw from Syria in accord with our actual interests. Trumps, alas, assumed office with no political friends, only enemies with varying degrees of Trump hate depending on how they define their political interests. ..."
"... Keane manipulated Trump by aggravating his animosity towards Iran, more specifically, his animosity towards Obama's JCPOA. I doubt Trump can see beyond his personal animus towards Obama and his legacy. He doesn't care about Iran, the Shia Crescent, the oil or even the jihadis any more than he cares about ditching the Kurds. This administration doesn't need a national security advisor, it needs a psychiatrist. ..."
"... IMO Trump cares about what Sheldon Adelson wants and Adelson wants to destroy Iran: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sCW4IasWXc Note the audience applause ..."
"... The difference between the reality that we perceive and the way it is portrayed in the media is so stark that sometimes I am not sure whether it is me who is insane or the world - the MSM and the cool-aid drinking libtards whose animosity against Trump won't let them distinguish black from white. Not that they were ever able to understand the real state of affairs. Discussions with them have always been about them regurgitating the MSM talking points without understanding any of it. ..."
"... "This administration doesn't need a national security advisor, it needs a psychiatrist." I think TTG speaks the truth. ..."
"... On Monday, 21 October, president Trump "authorized $4.5 million in direct support to the Syria Civil Defense (SCD)", a/k/a the White Helmets, who have been discussed here on SST before-- https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-press-secretary-89/ ..."
"... TTG IMO you and the other NEVER Trumpers are confused about the presence in both the permanent and appointed government of people who while they are not loyal to him nevertheless covet access to power. A lot of neocons and Zionists are among them. ..."
"... ANDREW BACEVICH: First of all, I think we should avoid taking anything that he says at any particular moment too seriously. Clearly, he is all over the map on almost any issue that you can name. I found his comment about taking the oil in that part of Syria, as if we are going to decide how to dispose of it, to be striking. And yet of course it sort of harkens back to his campaign statement about the Iraq war, that we ought to have taken Iraq's oil is a way of paying for that war. So I just caution against taking anything he says that seriously. ..."
"... That said, clearly a recurring theme to which he returns over and over and over again, is his determination to end what he calls endless wars. He clearly has no particular strategy or plan for how to do that, but he does seem to be insistent on pursuing that objective. And here I think we begin to get to the real significance of the controversy over Syria in our abandonment of the Kurds ..."
"... the controversy has gotten as big as it is in part because members of the foreign policy establishment in both parties are concerned about what an effort to end endless wars would mean for the larger architecture of U.S. national security policy, which has been based on keeping U.S. troops in hundreds of bases around the world, maintaining the huge military budget, a pattern of interventionism. Trump seems to think that that has been a mistake, particularly in the Middle East. I happen to agree with that critique. And I think that it is a fear that he could somehow engineer a fundamental change in U.S. policy is what really has the foreign policy establishment nervous. ..."
"... we created the problems that exist today through our reckless use of American military power. ..."
"... He let them roll him, just like Obama and so many others. Just a different set of rollers. ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"Joltin" Jack Keane, General (ret.), Fox Business Senior Strategery Analyst, Chairman of the Board of the Kagan run neocon "Institute for the Study of War" (ISW) and Graduate Extraordinaire of Fordham University, was on with Lou Dobbs last night. Dobbs appears to have developed a deep suspicion of this paladin. He stood up to Keane remarkably well. This was refreshing in light of the fawning deference paid to Keane by all the rest of the Fox crew.

In the course of this dialogue Keane let slip the slightly disguised truth that he and the other warmongers want to keep something like 200 US soldiers and airmen in Syria east of the Euphrates so that they can keep Iran or any other "Iranian proxy forces" from crossing the Euphrates from SAG controlled territory to take control of Syrian sovereign territory and the oil and gas deposits that are rightly the property of the Syrian people and their government owned oil company. The map above shows how many of these resources are east of the Euphrates. Pilgrims! It is not a lot of oil and gas judged by global needs and markets, but to Syria and its prospects for reconstruction it is a hell of a lot!

Keane was clear that what he means by "Iranian proxy forces" is the Syrian Arab Army, the national army of that country. If they dare cross the river, to rest in the shade of their own palm trees, then in his opinion the air forces of FUKUS should attack them and any 3rd party air forces (Russia) who support them

This morning, on said Fox Business News with Charles Payne, Keane was even clearer and stated specifically that if "Syria" tries to cross the river they must be fought.

IMO he and Lindsey Graham are raving lunatics brainwashed for years with the Iran obsession and they are a danger to us all. pl

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/military/graham-fox-news-star-showed-trump-map-change-his-mind-n1069901

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


Fred , 23 October 2019 at 04:54 PM

If only General Keane was as willing to defend America and America's oil on the Texas-Mexico border. Or hasn't anyone noticed that Mexico just a lost a battle with the Sinaloa drug cartel?
Harlan Easley , 23 October 2019 at 05:35 PM
I view them as selling their Soul for a dollar. Keane comes across as dense enough to believe his bile but Graham comes across as an opportunist without any real ideology except power.
JohninMK , 23 October 2019 at 05:43 PM
Its probably one step at a time for the Syrians, although the sudden move over the past couple of weeks must have been a bit of a God given opportunity for them.

Whilst the are absorbing that part of their country the battle of Iblib will restart. After that they can move their attention south and southeast, al-Tanf and the oilfields. I can't see how the US will be able to stop them but at least they will have time to plan their exit.

As I posted in the other thread, the Syrian Government is the only real customer for their oil and the Kurds already have a profit share agreement in place, so the US, if they allow any oil out, will effectively be protecting the fields on behalf of Assad. Surely not what Congress wants?

At the moment the Syrian Government has enough oil, it is getting it from Iran via a steady stream of SUEZMAX tankers. The cost, either in terms of money or quid pro quo, is unknown.

walrus , 23 October 2019 at 06:42 PM
I think this might be President Putin's next problem to solve. As far as I know, there is no legal reason for us to be there, not humanitarian, not strategic not even tactical. We simply are playing dog-in-the-manger.

My guess is that we will receive an offer to good to refuse from Putin.

different clue , 23 October 2019 at 06:54 PM
For those who have wondered as to why the DC FedRegime would fight over the tiny relative-to-FUKUS's-needs amount of oil in the Syrian oilfields. It is clearly to keep the SAR hobbled, crippled and too impoverished to retake all its territory or even to restore social, civic and economic functionality to the parts it retains. FUKUS is still committed to the policy of FUKUSing Syria.

Why is the Champs Elise' Regime still committed to putting the F in UKUS?
(I can understand why UKUS would want to keep France involved. Without France, certain nasty people might re-brand UKUS as USUK. And that would be very not nice.)

prawnik said in reply to different clue... , 24 October 2019 at 11:25 AM
Because France wants to be on the good side of the United States, and as you indicate, the United States is in Syria to turn that country into a failed state and for no other reason.
Decameron , 23 October 2019 at 07:03 PM
A good antidote for Joltin' Jack Keane's madness would be for Lou Dobbs and other mainstream media (MSM) to have Col Pat Lang as the commentator for analysis of the Syrian situation. Readers of this blog are undoubtedly aware that Col. Lang's knowledge of the peoples of the region and their customs is a national treasure.

This President appears at times to recognize the reality of nation states and the meaning of national sovereignty. He needs to understand that on principle, not merely on gut instinct. President Trump's press conference today focused in one section on a simple fact -- saving the lives of Americans. Gen. Jack Keane,
Sen. Lindsay Graham, and other gamers who think they are running an imperial chessboard where they can use living soldiers as American pawns, are a menace. Thanks Col. Lang for calling out these lunatics.

Stephanie , 23 October 2019 at 07:06 PM
In WWI millions of soldiers died fighting for imperial designs. They did not know it. They thought they were fighting for democracy, or to stop the spread of evil, or save their country. They were not. Secret treaties signed before the war started stated explicitly what the war was about.

Now "representatives" of the military, up to and including the Commander in Chief say it's about conquest, oil. The cards of the elite are on the table. How do you account for this?

Babak Makkinejad -> Stephanie... , 23 October 2019 at 08:48 PM
Men are quite evidently are in a state of total complete and irretrievable Fall, all the while living that particular Age of Belief.
Jackrabbit , 23 October 2019 at 07:39 PM
During the 2016 election, Jack Keane and John Bolton were the two people Trump mentioned when asked who he listens to on foreign affairs/military policy.
VietnamVet , 23 October 2019 at 07:47 PM
Colonel,

The crumbling apart is apparent. I don't know in what delusional world can conceive that 200 soldiers in the middle of the desert can deny Syria possession of their oil fields or keep the road between Bagdad and Damascus cut. All the West's Decision Makers can do is threaten to blow up the world.

Justin Trudeau was elected Monday in Canada with a minority in Parliament joining the United Kingdom and Israel with governments without a majority's mandate. Donald Trump's impeachment escalates. MbS is nearing a meat hook in Saudi Arabia. This is not a coincidence. The Elites' flushing government down the drain succeeded.

Corporate Overlords imposed austerity, outsourced industry and cut taxes to get richer, but the one thing for certain is that they can't keep their wealth without laws, the police and the military to protect them. Already California electricity is being cut off for a second time due to wildfires and PG&E's corporate looting. The Sinaloa shootout reminds me of the firefight in the first season of "True Detectives" when the outgunned LA cops tried to go after the Cartel. The writing is on the wall, California is next. Who will the lawmen serve and protect? Their people or the rich? Without the law, justice and order, there is chaos.

Mk-ec said in reply to VietnamVet... , 24 October 2019 at 07:40 PM
Latin America is burning too - although the elites here have plundered and imposed structural plunder for too long. No matter where you are it .. Chile poster of the right, or Ecuador, Peru, etc
Harper , 23 October 2019 at 07:49 PM
No doubt that Keane and his ilk want endless war and view Trump as a growing obstacle. Trump is consistent: He wanted out of JCPOA, and after being stalled by his national security advisors, he finally reached the boiling point and left. The advisors who counseled against this are all gone. With Pompeo, Enders and O'Brien as the new key security advisors, I doubt Trump got as much push back. He wanted out of Syria in December 2018 and was slow-walked. Didn't anyone think he'd come back at some point and revive the order to pull out? The talk with Erdogan, the continuing Trump view that Russia, Turkey, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia should bear the burden of sorting out what is left of the Syria war, so long as ISIS does not see a revival, all have been clear for a long time.

My concern is with Lindsey Graham, who is smarter and nastier than Jack Keane. He is also Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and may hold some blackmail leverage over the President. If the House votes up impeachment articles, Graham will be overseeing the Senate trial. A break from Trump by Graham could lead to a GOP Senate stampede for conviction. No one will say this openly, as I am, but it cannot be ignored as a factor for "controlling" Trump and keeping as much of the permanent war machine running as possible.

Thoughts?

Babak Makkinejad -> Harper... , 23 October 2019 at 08:52 PM
Trump has committed the United States to a long war against the Shia Crescent. He has ceded to Turkey on Syrian Kurds, but has continued with his operations against SAR. US needs Turkey, Erdogan knows that. Likewise in regards to Russia, EU, and Iran. Turkey, as is said in Persian, has grown a tail.
Tidewater said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 24 October 2019 at 01:14 PM
Did you notice the Middle East Monitor article on October 21 reporting that the UAE has released to Iran $700 million in previously frozen funds?

Yet in early September, Sigal Mandelker, a senior US Treasury official, was in the UAE pressing CEOs there to tighten the financial screws on Iran. The visit was deemed a success. During this visit she was quoted as saying that the Treasury has issued over 30 rounds of curbs targeting Iran-related entities. That would include targeting shipping companies and banks.

It was also reported in September that in Dubai that recent US Treasury sanctions were beginning to have a devastating effect. Iranian businessmen were being squeezed out. Even leaving the Emirates. Yet only a few days ago--a month later-- there are now reports that Iranian exchange bureaus have suddenly reopened in Dubai after a long period of closure.

Also, billions of dollars in contracts were signed between Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE during Putin's recent visit to the region. It seems to me that this is real news. Something big seems to be happening. It looks to me as if there could be a serious confrontation between the Trump administration and MBZ in the offing.

Do you have an opinion on the Iranian situation in Dubai at the moment?

Lars said in reply to Harper... , 23 October 2019 at 09:10 PM
I have my doubt that Sen. Graham will lead any revolt, but if it starts to look like Trump will lose big next year, there will be a stampede looking like the Nile getting through a cataract.

They will not want to go down the tube with Trump. I still maintain that there is a good reason for him to resign before he loses an election or an impeachment. It will come down to the price.

Jack said in reply to Lars... , 24 October 2019 at 09:30 AM
Lars,

Lose big to whom in the next election? Biden got 300 people to show up for his rally in his hometown of Scranton and he is supposedly the front runner. Bernie got 20,000 to show up at his rally in NY when he was endorsed by The Squad and Michael Moore. Do you think the Dem establishment will allow him to be the nominee?

Trump in contrast routinely can fill up stadiums with 30,000 people. That was the indicator in the last election, not the polls. Recall the NY Times forecasting Hillary with a 95% probability of winning the day before the election.

As Rep. Al Green noted , the only way the Democrats can stop him is for the Senate to convict him in an impeachment trial. Who do you believe are the 20 Republican senators that will vote to convict?

Lars said in reply to Jack... , 24 October 2019 at 02:05 PM
Trump barely won the last time and while he currently has wide support in the GOP, it is not nearly as deep as his cultists believe. When half the country, and growing, want him removed, there is trouble ahead. Republicans are largely herd animals and if spooked, will create a stampede.

You can tell that there are problems when his congressional enablers are not defending him on facts and just using gripes about processes that they themselves have used in the past. In addition to circus acts.

I realize that many do not want to admit that they made a mistake by voting for him. I am not so sure they want to repeat that mistake.

Mk-ec said in reply to Lars... , 24 October 2019 at 08:20 PM
It depends on who will be the democratic ticket .. will it mobilize the basis? I think the compromise candidate is Warren, but she looks to me a lot like John Kerry, Al Gore.. representing the professional, college educated segment of society, and that doesn't cut it.
Jack said in reply to Lars... , 24 October 2019 at 09:29 PM
Lars,

It's not a question if he barely won. The fact is he competed with many other Republican candidates including governors and senators and even one with the name Bush. He was 1% in the polls in the summer of 2016 and went on to win the Republican nomination despite the intense opposition of the Republican establishment. He then goes on to win the general election defeating a well funded Hillary with all her credentials and the full backing of the vast majority of the media. That is an amazing achievement for someone running for public office for the first time. Like him or hate him, you have to give credit where it's due. Winning an election for the presidency is no small feat.

There only two ways to defeat him. First, the Senate convicts him in an impeachment trial which will require at least 20 Republican senators. Who are they? Second, a Democrat in the general election. Who? I can see Bernie with a possibility since he has enthusiastic supporters. But will the Democrat establishment allow him to win the nomination?

Diana C said in reply to Harper... , 24 October 2019 at 08:37 AM
We're no longer having to listen to Yosemite Sam Bolton. His BFF Graham is left to fight on his own. I don't think Trump feels the need to pay that much attention to Graham. He didn't worry about him during the primary when Graham always seemed to be on the verge of crying when he was asked questions.
prawnik said in reply to Harper... , 24 October 2019 at 11:28 AM
Trump is far from consistent. This is the man who attacked Syria twice on the basis of lies so transparent that my youngest housecat would have seen through them, and who tried and failed to leave Syria twice, then said he was "100%" for the continued occupation of Syria.

He could have given the order to leave Syria this month, but Trump did not. Instead, he simply ordered withdrawal to a smaller zone of occupation, and that under duress.

Congratulations are hardly in order here.

Patrick Armstrong -> prawnik... , 24 October 2019 at 05:06 PM
The Great Trumpian Mystery. I don't pretend to understand but I'm intrigued by his inconsistent inconsistencies. https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/03/17/trump-mysteries-inconsistent-inconsistencies/
Flavius said in reply to Harper... , 24 October 2019 at 01:21 PM
What the Colonel calls the Borg is akin to an aircraft carrier that has been steaming at near flank speed for many years too long, gathering mass and momentum since the end of Cold War I.

With the exception of Gulf War I, none of our interventions have gone well, and even the putative peace at the end of GUlf War I wasn't managed well because it eventuated in Gulf War Ii which has been worst than a disaster because the disaster taught the Borg nothing and became midwife to additional disasters.

It probably should come as no surprise to us that Trump is having small, but not no, success in getting the ship to alter course - too many deeply entrenched interests with no incentive to recognize their failures and every incentive to stay the course by removing, or at least handicapping the President who was elected on a platform of change.

Whether the country elected the right man for the job remains to be seen. At times he appears to be his own worst enemy and his appointments are frequently topsy-- turvy to the platform he ran on but he does have his moments of success. He called off the dumb plan to go to war with Iran, albeit at 20 minutes to mid night and he is trying hard against the full might of the Borg to withdraw from Syria in accord with our actual interests. Trumps, alas, assumed office with no political friends, only enemies with varying degrees of Trump hate depending on how they define their political interests.

With that said, I doubt very much whether the Republicans in the Senate will abandon Trump in an impeachment trial. Trump's argument that the process is a political coup is arguably completely true, or certainly true enough that his political base in the electorate will not tolerate his abandonment by Republican politicians inside the Beltway. I think there is even some chance that Trump, were he to be removed from office by what could be credibly portrayed as a political coup, would consider running in 2020 as an independent. The damage that would cause to the Republican Party would be severe, pervasive, and possibly fatal to the Party as such. I doubt Beltway pols would be willing to take that chance.

The Twisted Genius , 23 October 2019 at 11:33 PM
I don't think Keane or Trump are focused on the oil. Keane just used that as a lens to focus Trump on Iran. That's the true sickness. Keane manipulated Trump by aggravating his animosity towards Iran, more specifically, his animosity towards Obama's JCPOA. I doubt Trump can see beyond his personal animus towards Obama and his legacy. He doesn't care about Iran, the Shia Crescent, the oil or even the jihadis any more than he cares about ditching the Kurds. This administration doesn't need a national security advisor, it needs a psychiatrist.
Fourth and Long -> The Twisted Genius ... , 24 October 2019 at 12:01 PM
In case you missed this piece in Newsweek: https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-us-has-plan-send-tanks-troops-secure-syria-oil-fields-amid-withdrawal-1467350

No idea here who the un-named pentagon "official" might be, but sounds as thought Gen Keane may not be all alone in his soup.

Artemesia said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 24 October 2019 at 04:17 PM
IMO Trump cares about what Sheldon Adelson wants and Adelson wants to destroy Iran: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sCW4IasWXc Note the audience applause
Decepiton , 24 October 2019 at 04:40 AM
We massacred two hundred ruskies in the battle of khasham. What can they do.
MSB said in reply to Decepiton... , 24 October 2019 at 03:21 PM
And in response, Russia killed and captured hundreds of US Special forces and PMC's alongside SAS in East Ghouta . It is said that the abrupt russian op on East Ghouta was a response to the Battle of Khasham.

http://freewestmedia.com/2018/04/11/skripal-affair-real-reason-is-capture-of-200-sas-soldiers-in-ghouta/
https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201805211064652345-syrian-army-foreign-military-presence/
http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news--analysis/a-real-h-o-t-war-with-russia-is-underway-right-now

http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news--analysis/confirmation-that-us-uk-special-ops-are-in-syria-some-captured

ancientarcher , 24 October 2019 at 11:19 AM
Colonel, thanks for spelling it out so clearly.

The difference between the reality that we perceive and the way it is portrayed in the media is so stark that sometimes I am not sure whether it is me who is insane or the world - the MSM and the cool-aid drinking libtards whose animosity against Trump won't let them distinguish black from white. Not that they were ever able to understand the real state of affairs. Discussions with them have always been about them regurgitating the MSM talking points without understanding any of it.

While it will always be mystifying to me why so many people on the street blindly support America fighting and dying in the middle east, the support of the MSM and the paid hacks for eternal war is no surprise. I hope they get to send their children and grandchildren to these wars. More than that, I hope we get out of these wars. Trump might be able to put an end to it, and not just in Syria, if he wins a second term, which he will if he is allowed to contest the next election. There is however a chance that the borg will pull the rug from under him and bar him from the elections. Hope that doesn't come to pass.

Larry Kart , 24 October 2019 at 11:39 AM
"This administration doesn't need a national security advisor, it needs a psychiatrist." I think TTG speaks the truth.
David said in reply to Linda... , 24 October 2019 at 04:39 PM
No, they just have to sit there and be an excuse to fly Coalition CAPs that would effectively prevent SAA from crossing the Euphrates in strength. Feasible until the SAA finishes with Idlib and moves some of its new Russian anti-aircraft toys down to Deir Ezzor.
robt willmann , 24 October 2019 at 12:46 PM
On Monday, 21 October, president Trump "authorized $4.5 million in direct support to the Syria Civil Defense (SCD)", a/k/a the White Helmets, who have been discussed here on SST before-- https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-press-secretary-89/
turcopolier , 24 October 2019 at 01:34 PM
TTG IMO you and the other NEVER Trumpers are confused about the presence in both the permanent and appointed government of people who while they are not loyal to him nevertheless covet access to power. A lot of neocons and Zionists are among them.
The Twisted Genius -> turcopolier ... , 24 October 2019 at 02:54 PM
Colonel Lang, I am well aware of the power seekers who gravitate towards Trump or whoever holds power not out of loyalty, but because they covet access to power. The neocons and Zionists flock to Trump because they can manipulate him to do their bidding. That fact certainly doesn't make me feel any better about Trump as President. The man needs help.
turcopolier -> The Twisted Genius ... , 24 October 2019 at 05:15 PM
TTG

you are an experienced clan case officer. You do not know that most people are more than a little mad? Hillary is more than a little nuts. Obama was so desperately neurotically in need of White approval that he let the WP COIN generals talk him into a COIN war in Afghanistan. I was part of that discussion. All that mattered to him was their approval. FDR could not be trusted with SIGINT product and so Marshall never gave him any, etc., George Bush 41 told me that he deliberately mis-pronounced Saddam's name to hurt his feelings. Georgie Junior let the lunatic neocons invade a country that had not attacked us. Trump is no worse than many of our politicians, or politicians anywhere. Britain? The Brexit disaster speaks for itself, And then there is the British monarchy in which a princeling devastated by the sure DNA proof that he is illegitimate is acting like a fool. The list is endless.

The Twisted Genius -> CK... , 24 October 2019 at 05:21 PM
CK, the people surrounding Trump are largely appointees. Keane doesn't have to be let into the WH. His problem is that those who would appeal to his non-neocon tendencies are not people he wants to have around him. Gabbard, for instance, would be perfect for helping Trump get ourselves out of the ME, is a progressive. Non-interventionists are hard to come by. Those who he does surround himself with are using him for their own ideologies, mostly neocon and Zionist.
oldman22 ,