American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism

News Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism New American Militarism Super Imperialism Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA America and the Imperial Project American Exceptionalism
The Grand Chessboard Wolfowitz Doctrine "Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Neoconservatism US Department of Imperial Expansion Wolfowitz Doctrine Looting pays dividends to empire
Technological imperialism War and Venture Capitalism Predator state Civil war in Ukraine Media domination strategy Transnational Corporations never let a good crisis go to waste US Department of Imperial Expansion
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Note: Partially based on Wikipedia article American imperialism (which avoids discussion neoliberalism as the "imperial method used for the building modern US empire).


Introduction

American imperialism is the economic/financial (as well as  military and cultural) dominance of the United States over other countries. It is based on neoliberalism, so it more properly can be called "neo-imperialism"

Neoliberalism and associated with it a new type of empire (the USA neoliberal empire)  was not an accident, it was a development that while started in the USA took roots in many countries, including such diverse as  Chile (Pinochet), GB (Thatcher), China (Deng Xiaoping was a neoliberal reformer),  Russia (Yeltsin gang), and many other countries. Since the late 1970s, a shift of economic activity from the production of goods and non-financial services to finance has been adopted as mean to escape diminishing return on capital.  The oil crisis of the 1970s was probably another factor in the decision of the elite (and it was decision, a conscious choice, not an accident) to switch to neoliberal policies. 

"American empire" consists of vassal states and colonies. Vassal state that have some degree of independence is essentially a codename for NATO. All other states are colonies. An international financial elite (Davos crowd) which BTW consider the USA and NATO as a enforcer, a tool for getting what they want, much like Bolsheviks considered Soviet Russia to be such a tool. The last thing they are concerned is the well-being of American people.

During its history which starts around 70th (with the first major success the Pinochet's coup de etat in Chile, which was supported by the USA), neoliberalism undergone several stages of development:

The implosion of the entire global banking/mortgage industry in 2008 has essentially delegitimized neoliberalism central mantra about self-regulating market (which was a fake to begin with) and thus made it far less attractive as an economic and social model which the U.S. has been pleased to espouse as the royal road to prosperity for decades.

The implosion of the entire global banking/mortgage industry in 2008 has essentially delegitimized neoliberalism central mantra about self-regulating market (which was a fake to begin with)  and thus made it far less attractive as an economic and social model which the U.S. has been pleased to espouse as the royal road to prosperity for decades.

Also the neoliberal Pax Americana and the neoliberal version of global capitalism are increasingly contested by China, with the help of India, Russia, and Brazil (Carl Schmitt’s War on Liberalism The National Interest )

In different ways, Xi Jinping’s China, Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Narendra Modi’s India represent an alternative economic model, in which free markets and state capitalism are blended under strong executive rule.

In other words 2008 signified the "end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end" of Washington Consensus, if we use Churchill's words. But in now way it means that period of neoliberal revolutions came ot the end. Inertia and the level of technological and cultural dominance of the USA and its allies (G7) is such that even after bankruptcy as an ideology, neoliberalism continues to its world expansion and claims new victims among "resource nationalists" or simply "not neoliberal enough" regimes. After 2008 Libya, Syria and Ukraine were successfully "regime changed". I think Ukraine, which was a neoliberal state even before EuroMaidan is a special case and much of EuroMaidan events were connected with the desire to "put Russia in place" by Washington (and its European poodles) as well as century old Germany desire to expand its market and dominance into Ukraine.   

If we assume that Marxism as a political philosophy was dead around 1960-1970 when it became evident that working class does not represent the new dominant class able to take power and govern in a new social system as well as the fact that Communist Party political dominance is unable to secure higher standard of living for people then advanced capitalist societies,  and never will, and that The Iron Law of Oligarchy  is applicable to the USSR even more, not less that to any Western country. Still it took 20 years for the USSR to collapse after the USA elite bought part of The USSR nomenclature and organized a quite coup installing puppet neoliberal Yeltsin regime (sold as a "victory of democracy" to lemmings by Western propaganda machine). Using neoliberal advisors from Harvard (aka "Harvard mafia") it instituted "shock therapy" which instantly pushed 90% of population of the  xUSSR region into object poverty very and also enriched beyond imagination few multinationals who were will full support of Yeltsin regime to steal assets and natural resources for pennies on dollar (using Russian fifth column as an intermediary). Essentially looting of the USSR area was one of key factors which ensured recovery and quick growth of the USA economy in late 90th which was interrupted only by the dot-com crysy of 2000.

I would assume that neoliberalism is probably twice more resilient the communism, so 50-60 years since it became clear that the economic doctrine of neoliberalism is a pseudoscientific joke and its political doctrine is an eclectic mix masking financial slavery masked with the smokescreen of propaganda about "entrepreneur class" and "shareholder value"  the first sign of decay might be a reasonable estimate ot its eventual lifetime.  Much depends on the dynamics of the price of oil, as globalization and thus forces of neoliberalism are inherently dependent on cheap hydrocarbons. High prices or relative scarcity that affects transcontinental trade might damage neoliberalism and undermine the fifth column that support it in.

Also high cost of hydrocarbons means "end of growth", and neoliberalism financial scheme based on cheap credit. It might implode in the environment of slow, or close to zero growth.

That means that consistent price of oil, say, over 120 is a direct threat to neoliberal project in the USA. Even with prices over $100 the major neoliberal economics  entered the stage of "secular stagnation". It also makes the US military which is the largest consumer of oil in the USA much more expensive to run and increase the costs of  neoliberal "wars for regime change", essentially curtailing neoliberal expansion. Or at least making it more difficult. The same is true about financiering of color revolutions, which as a new type of neoliberal conquests of other countries, also require some cash, although not at the scale of "boots on the ground".

It is possible to lower the oil price, as happened at the end of 2014, but the question is how long this period will last. 

At this point ideology of neoliberalism as an ideology is completely discredited and its fake nature is evident to large part of global elite (which probably never have any illusions from the very beginning) as well, which is more dangerous, large part of middle class. It still is supported by pure military and financial power of the USA and its allies as well as technological superiority of the West in general. So only postulates of neoliberalism, especially as for free market absolutization, started to be questioned.  And partically revised (increased financial regulation is one example). This form of neoliberalism with the core ideology intact but modified one of several postulates can be called post-neoliberalism.

The USA still remains the most powerful country in the world with formidable military, and still behave as a word hegemon and the only source of justice ignoring US and other International organization, unless it if convenient to them. But as Napoleon noted "You can do anything with bayonets, but you can't sit on them". Running aggressive foreign policy on a discredited ideology and relying on blunt propaganda is a difficult undertaking as resistance mounts and bubble out in un-anticipated areas (Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk in Ukraine are recent example, when neoliberal color revolution, which was performed by few thousands trained by the West far right militants, including openly neo-fascist squads, led to civil war in the country).

Still, unfortunately, Libya, Syria  and Ukraine, were not probably a swan song of muscular enforcement of neoliberal model on other countries. While sponsored by the USA and allies anti-Putin putsch in Russia (aka white revolution") failed, events in Libya and Ukraine prove the neoliberalism sill can launch and win offensives (aka color revolutions). At the cost of plunging the country into economic and political chaos including civil war.  

Rule of financial oligarchy also gradually comes under some (although very limited) scrutiny in the USA. Some measures to restrict appetites of financial oligarchy were recently undertaken in Europe (bank bonuses limitations).

HFT and derivatives still remain off-reach for regulators despite JP Morgan fiasco in May 2012 in London branch. Trade loss was around two billions, decline of bank value was around $13bn (The Guardian) At this stage most people around the world realized that as Warren Buffett's right-hand man Charlie Munger quipped in his CNBC interview Trusting banks to self-regulate is like trusting to self-regulate heroin addicts. At the meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) heads of states in the spring of 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the death of “the Washington Consensus” — the famous list of market-liberalizing policy prescriptions that guided the previous 20 or 30 years of neoliberal expansion into third world countries  (Painter 2009).

Prominent economists in the United States and elsewhere pointed out that after decades of reform, market-liberalizing policies had not produced the promised benefits for either economic growth or social welfare of countries were those policies were applied (Stiglitz 2002, 2006; Rodrik 2006). These criticisms further undermined the legitimacy of neoliberal governance, exactly the same way as similar criticism undermined socialist model of the USSR and Eastern Europe. The problem is that while socialist experiment could be compared with the Western countries capitalism achievement, here there is no alternative model with which to compare.

Still a backlash directed at the USA is mounting even from the former loyal vassals. Even the UK elite starts to display the behavior that contradict its role of the obedient US poodle. The atmosphere is which the USA is considered "guilty" of pushing though the throats of other countries a utopia that harmed them is a different atmosphere for the US oligarchy that the role of it accustomed to.  Now the US oligarchy has found itself in USSR nomenklatura shoes and eventually might be called to answer for their global actions which similar to Opium Wars of the British can be called Dollar Wars.

Everybody is now aware of the substantial costs that the modern financial system has imposed on the real economy, especially in developing countries,  and no amount of propaganda and brainwashing can hide this simple fact.

Standard of living was rising slowly and after 2008 mostly stopped to rise and started to detiorate reflecting higher energy prices and the level on indebtness of many countries (Greece, Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, Ukraine, etc).   So the key promise of neoliberalism that "trickle down" from super rich will be enough to sustain better standard of living for all proved to be a confidence game.

It is questionable that the "financial innovations" of the last three-four decades can compensate for those huge costs and that they warrants those costs. Shocks generated within the financial system and transformation of economies imposed by international financial oligarchy as the core of neoliberal elite, implies that the rule of financial oligarchy creates negative externalities for societies and that some types of financial activities and some financial structures should be treated like an organized crime (in other words as purely parasitic, extortionist type of players).

Still this stage preserves several attributes of previous stage and first of all push for globalization and aggressive foreign policy. While economic crisis of 2008 destroyed legitimacy of ideology of neoliberalism, neoliberalism as an ideology continue to exists as a cult, much like communism as an ideology continues to exist, despite the failure of the USSR. And being phony ideology from the very beginning, a smokescreen for  the revanchism of financial oligarchy, it still can be promoted by unrelenting propaganda machine of the same forces which put it into mainstream albeit with les efficiency.  

So far no viable alternatives emerged, and inertia is still strong, as strong as G7 block with the USA as the head of the block. Like in 20th failure of neoliberalism led to rise of nationalism, especially in Europe (France, Hungary, Ukraine). In some countries, such as Ukraine, the net result of neoliberal revolution was establishing a far right regime which has uncanny similarities to the régimes which came to power in 30th such as Franko regime in Spain.  The phase of neoliberal dominance still continues, it is just the central idea of neoliberalism, the fake idea of self-regulating markets that was completely discredited by the crisis of 2008. Actually it was discredited before during Great Depression, but the generation that remembered this lesson is now extinct (it looks like it takes approximately 50 years for humanity to completely forget the lessons of history ;-).

Latin America, once paragon of a neoliberal revolution (Chile, Argentina, Mexico, etc), is now dominated by left-wing governments elected on explicitly anti-neoliberal platforms. Around the world, economists and policymakers now come to consensus that excessive reliance on unregulated financial markets and the unrestrained rule of financial oligarchy was the root cause of the current worldwide financial crisis. That created a more difficult atmosphere for the USA financial institutions to operate abroad. Several countries are now trying to limit role of dollar as the world currency (one of the sins Saddam Hussein paid the price).

Also internal contradictions became much deeper and the neoliberal regime became increasingly unstable even in the citadel of neoliberalism -- the USA. Like any overstretched empire it became hollow within with stretches on potholes ridden roads and decaying infrastructure visible to everyone. Politically, the Republican Party became a roadblock for any meaningful reform (and its radical wing -- the tea party even sending its representatives to Congress), the Party that is determined to rather take the USA the road of the USSR, then change its ideology. All this points to the fact that neoliberalism as an socio-economic doctrine is following the path of Bolshevism.

But its media dominance of neoliberalism paradoxically continues unabated. And this is despite the fact that after the crisis of 2008, the notion that finance mobilizes and allocates resources efficiently, drastically reduces systemic risks and brings significant productivity gains for the economy as a whole became untenable. We can expect that like was the case with Catholicism in middle ages and Bolshevism in the USSR, zombie phase of neoliberalism can last many decades (in the USSR, "zombie" state lasted two decades, say from 1970 to 1991, and neoliberalism with its emphasis on low human traits such as greed and supported by military and economic power of the USA, is considerably more resilient then Bolshevism). As of 2013 it is still supported by elites of several major western states (such as the USA, GB, Germany, France), transnational capital (and financial capital in particular) and respective elites out of the sense of self-preservation. That means that is it reasonable to expect that its rule in G7 will continue (like Bolshevism rule in the USSR in 70th-80th) despite probably interrupted by bursts of social violence (Muslim immigrants in Europe are once such force).

In the US, for example, income and wealth inequality continue to increase, with stagnating middle-class earnings, reduced social mobility, and an allegedly meritocratic higher education system, generously supported by tax exemptions, has been turned into the system whose main beneficiaries are the children of the rich and successful. Superimposed on this class divide is an increasingly serious intergenerational divide, and increases level of unemployment of young people, which make social atmosphere somewhat similar to the one in Egypt, although the pressure from Muslim fundamentalists is absent.

More and more neoliberalism came to be perceived as a ruse intended to safeguard the interests of a malignantly narcissistic empire (the USA) and of rapacious multinationals. It is now more and more linked with low-brow cultural homogeneity, social Darwinism, encroachment on privacy, mass production of junk, and suppression of national sentiments and aspiration in favor of transnational monopolies. It even came to be associated with a bewildering variety of social ills: rising crime rates, unemployment, poverty, drug addiction, prostitution, organ trafficking, and other antisocial forms of conduct.

While ideology of neoliberalism is by-and-large discredited, the global economic institutions associated with its rise are not all equally moribund. For example, the global economic crisis of 2008 has unexpectedly improved the fortunes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization long famous for the neoliberal policy conditions attached to its loans that served to incorporate countries into a global neoliberal economic system. In 2008, a cascade of financial crises in Eastern Europe and Iceland fattened the IMF’s dwindling loan portfolio.

World Trade Organization (WTO), the key US-used and abused universal opener of markets to US corporations and investments is in worse shape then IMF, but still is viable too. The Doha round of negotiations is stalled, mostly due to irresolvable disputes between developed and developing countries. Consequently, the current crisis of neoliberalism raises many important questions about the future path of the current international institutions promoting the neoliberal order. But still Russia joined WTO in 2012 which means that this organization got a new lease of life.

Nonetheless, that "neoliberalism in name only" is still a powerful global "brand" which the U.S. seeks to maintain at all costs for macro geopolitical reasons (The Great Crash, 2008: A Geopolitical Setback for the West , Foreign Affairs)

The financial and economic crash of 2008, the worst in over 75 years, is a major geopolitical setback for the United States and Europe. Over the medium term, Washington and European governments will have neither the resources nor the economic credibility to play the role in global affairs that they otherwise would have played. These weaknesses will eventually be repaired, but in the interim, they will accelerate trends that are shifting the world's center of gravity away from the United States.

A brutal recession is unfolding in the United States, Europe, and probably Japan -- a recession likely to be more harmful than the slump of 1981-82. The current financial crisis has deeply frightened consumers and businesses, and in response they have sharply retrenched. In addition, the usual recovery tools used by governments -- monetary and fiscal stimuli -- will be relatively ineffective under the circumstances.

This damage has put the American model of free-market capitalism under a cloud. The financial system is seen as having collapsed; and the regulatory framework, as having spectacularly failed to curb widespread abuses and corruption. Now, searching for stability, the U.S. government and some European governments have nationalized their financial sectors to a degree that contradicts the tenets of modern capitalism.

Much of the world is turning a historic corner and heading into a period in which the role of the state will be larger and that of the private sector will be smaller. As it does, the United States' global power, as well as the appeal of U.S.-style democracy, is eroding.

Hegemony of the USA and its allies

The USA was and probably will remain the center of neoliberalism and firmly established as most important and the most powerful promoter of the doctrine (in some case, like with Serbia, Iraq and Libya, on the tips of bayonets).

After the dissolution of the USSR the US elite felt that "everything is permitted" and essentially started to pursue global Roman style imperial policy. The USA military forces are active over most of the globe: about 226 countries have US military troops, 63 of which host American bases, while only 46 countries in the world have no US military presence. This is a projection of military power that makes the Roman, British, and Soviet empires pale in comparison. In his 1919 essay, "The Sociology of Imperialisms," Joseph Schumpeter wrote of Rome during its years of greatest expansion.

There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest-why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted.

The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors, always fighting for a breathing-space. The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, and it was manifestly Rome's duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs.*

As G. John Ikenberry, professor of geopolitics at Georgetown University noted in Foreign Affairs:

The new grand strategy [initiated by the Bush administration]…. begins with a fundamental commitment to maintaining a unipolar world in which the United States has no peer competitor. No coalition of great powers without the United States will be allowed to achieve hegemony. Bush made this point the centerpiece of American security policy in his West Point commencement address in June: "America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenges-thereby making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace."

…The United States grew faster than the other major states during the decade [of the 1990s], it reduced military spending more slowly, and it dominated investment in the technological advancement of its forces. Today, however, the new goal is to make these advantages permanent-a fait accompli that will prompt other states to not even try to catch up. Some thinkers have described the strategy as "breakout," in which the United States moves so quickly to develop technological advantages (in robotics, lasers, satellites, precision munitions, etc.) that no state or coalition could ever challenge it as global leader, protector and enforcer ("America's Imperial Ambition," Foreign Affairs, October 2002).

Perhaps one of extreme expressions of this neo-Roman imperial policy became that book by The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives by Zbigniew Brzezinski. This is how Brzezinski views the (supposedly sovereign) nations of Central Asia (sited from Amazon review by "A Customer" Jan 3, 2002 as pawns in a greater game for geopolitical domination:

The quote "... the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together." (The Grand Chessboard p.40) is probably the most revealing. Just ponder the meaning of these statements in a post-9-11 world:

To most Americans the people of the world and other nations are just that -- people, just like us, with a right to self-determination. To Brzezinski, they are merely pawns on a chessboard. At the same time, despite the fact that the analogy are not perfect, Rome fell, Napoleon fell, Hitler fell, USSR fell. Countries with too aggressive foreign policy ultimately self-destruct, because they over-extend their own countries resources to the point when people wellbeing drops to the levels of some colonies. The USA have over million people with the security clearance. So in a way it is becoming a copy-cat of the USSR. And while the US military is busy fighting for oil interests all around the world, those wars were launched by borrowing money and it's unclear who will pay the bills.

Neoliberalism beginning as ideology start was pretty modest. It was never considered a "right" ideology, ideology for which people are ready to fight and die. It was just an "ideology of convenience", an eclectic mix of mutually incompatible and incoherent mosaic of various ideologies (including some ideas of Trotskyism and national socialism) that served as useful tool to counter communist ideology. This is the tress of Friedman pretty weak opus "Capitalism and Freedom" -- which can be considered to be close analog of Communist Manifesto for neoliberalism. It also was useful for fighting some Keynesian excesses. Only later it become favorite ideology of financial oligarchy.

So in fight against "Godless communism" which does not respect private property and used "all-powerful" state, it idealized private property ownership, the role of "free" (as in free shooting) market and stressed the necessity to control the size of the government. As a tools to fight communist ideology those were reasonably effective tools. But at some point this deeply flawed, but useful for the specific purpose framework went out of control and became the cult of the deified markets and explicitly stated the necessary of diminishing the role of the state to minimum to ensure the high level of inequality the new neoliberal elite strived for (note not optimizing for a given historical conditions and technology available, but unconditionally diminishing to the point of elimination). Reagan famous phase "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem." is a perfect example of how to "Throw out the baby with the bath water". But the meaning is more sinister: it meant "throw out of the water middle class".

That happened when financial oligarchy understood that a tool created for fighting communism is perfectly suitable for fighting elements of "New Deal". And it proved to be pretty effective in dismantling of set of regulations of financial sector that were the cornerstone of "New Deal". That was a very smooth ride "deregulatory" ride until 2008. But after 2008 the USA (citadel of neoliberalism) faces the set of problems that at least on the surface look similar to the problem that USSR faced before its disintegration, although the USA still have much more favorable conditions overall and disintegration is not among the current threats. Among them:

Still there are important difference with Marxism: despite extremely flawed to the point of being anti-scientific neoliberal ideology is still supported by higher standard of living of population in selected Western countries (G7). If also can rely on five important factors:

  1. Military dominance of the USA and NATO. There are very few countries in the globe without explicit or implicit USA military presence.
  2. Financial dominance of USA and its allies. The role of dollar as world currency and the role of USA controlled global financial institutions such as World Bank and IMF
  3. Technological dominance of USA and G7. Continuing brain drain from "Third world" and xUSSR countries to G7 countries.
  4. Cultural dominance of the USA (although this is gradually diminishing as after 2008 countries started of assert their cultural independence more vigorously).
  5. Ideological dominance, neoliberalism as yet another major civic religion

Military dominance of USA and NATO

The American society and the U.S. armaments industry today are different then it was when Dwight Eisenhower in his farewell speech (Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation) famously warned Americans to beware the "military-industrial complex." See also The Farewell Address 50 Years Later. The major opponent, the USSR left the world scene, being defeated in the cold war. That means that currently the USA enjoy world military dominance that reminds the dominance of Roman Empire.

The USA now is the world's greatest producer and exporter of arms on the planet. It spends more on armed forces than all other nations combined -- while going deeply into debt to do so.

The USA also stations over 500,000 troops, spies, contractors, dependents, etc. on more than 737 bases around the world in 130 countries (even this is not a complete count) at a cost of near 100 billions a year. The 2008 Pentagon inventory includes 190,000 troops in 46 nations and territories, and 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. In just Japan, the USA have 99,295 people who are either members of US forces or are closely connected to US. The only purpose is to provide control over as many nations as possible.

Funny but among other thing the Pentagon also maintain 234 golf courses around the world, 70 Lear Jet airplanes for generals and admirals, and a ski resort in the Bavarian Alps.

Military dominance of the USA and NATO were demonstrated during Yugoslavia bombing and then invasion of Iraq. It's clear the Yugoslavia bombing would be out of question if the USSR existed.

Neoliberalism and militarism

Under neoliberalism, markets are now fused with the logic of expansion and militarization is the most logical was of securing expansion, improving global positions, and the ordering of social relations in a way favorable to the transnational elite.

Under neoliberal regime the United States is not only obsessed with militarism, which is shaping foreign policy , but wars have become real extension of the politics, the force that penetrates almost every aspect of daily life. Support of wars became a perverted version of patriotism.

As Henry A. Giroux noted in his interview to Truth-out (Violence is Deeply Rooted in American Culture), paradoxically in the country of "advanced democracy" schools and social services are increasingly modeled after prisons. Four decades of neoliberal policies have given way to an economic Darwinism that promotes a politics of cruelty.

Police forces are militarized. Popular culture endlessly celebrating the spectacle of violence. The Darwinian logic of war and violence have become addictive, a socially constructed need. State violence has become an organizing principle of society that has become the key mediating force that now holds everyday life together. State violence is now amplified in the rise of the punishing state which works to support corporate interests and suppress all forms of dissent aimed at making corporate power accountable. Violence as a mode of discipline is now enacted in spheres that have traditionally been created to counter it. Airports, schools, public services, and a host of other public spheres are now defined through a militarized language of "fight with terrorism", the language of discipline, regulation, control, and order. Human relations and behaviors are dehumanized making it easier to legitimate a culture of cruelty and politics of disposability that are central organizing principles of casino capitalism.

The national news became a video game, a source of entertainment where a story gains prominence by virtue of the notion that if it bleeds it leads. Education has been turned into a quest for private satisfactions and is no longer viewed as a public good, thus cutting itself off from teaching students about public values, the public good and engaged citizenship. What has emerged in the United States is a civil and political order structured around the criminalization of social problems and everyday life. This governing-through-crime model produces a highly authoritarian and mechanistic approach to addressing social problems that often focuses on the poor and minorities, promotes highly repressive policies, and places emphasis on personal security, rather than considering the larger complex of social and structural forces that fuels violence in the first place.

The key reference on the topic is the book The New American Militarism (2005) by Andrew Bacevich. Here is one Amazon review:

In his book The New American Militarism (2005), Andrew Bacevich desacralizes our idolatrous infatuation with military might, but in a way that avoids the partisan cant of both the left and the right that belies so much discourse today. Bacevich's personal experiences and professional expertise lend his book an air of authenticity that I found compelling. A veteran of Vietnam and subsequently a career officer, a graduate of West Point and later Princeton where he earned a PhD in history, director of Boston University's Center for International Relations, he describes himself as a cultural conservative who views mainstream liberalism with skepticism, but who also is a person whose "disenchantment with what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the present Bush administration and its groupies, is just about absolute." Finally, he identifies himself as a "conservative Catholic." Idolizing militarism, Bacevich insists, is far more complex, broader and deeper than scape-goating either political party, accusing people of malicious intent or dishonorable motives, demonizing ideological fanatics as conspirators, or replacing a given administration. Not merely the state or the government, but society at large, is enthralled with all things military.

Our military idolatry, Bacevich believes, is now so comprehensive and beguiling that it "pervades our national consciousness and perverts our national policies.

" We have normalized war, romanticized military life that formally was deemed degrading and inhuman, measured our national greatness in terms of military superiority, and harbor naive, unlimited expectations about how waging war, long considered a tragic last resort that signaled failure, can further our national self-interests. Utilizing a "military metaphysic" to justify our misguided ambitions to recreate the world in our own image, with ideals that we imagine are universal, has taken about thirty years to emerge in its present form.

It is this marriage between utopians ends and military means that Bacevich wants to annul.

How have we come to idolize military might with such uncritical devotion? He likens it to pollution: "the perhaps unintended, but foreseeable by-product of prior choices and decisions made without taking fully into account the full range of costs likely to be incurred" (p. 206). In successive chapters he analyzes six elements of this toxic condition that combined in an incremental and cumulative fashion.

  1. After the humiliation of Vietnam, an "unmitigated disaster" in his view, the military set about to rehabilitate and reinvent itself, both in image and substance. With the All Volunteer Force, we moved from a military comprised of citizen-soldiers that were broadly representative of all society to a professional warrior caste that by design isolated itself from broader society and that by default employed a disproportionate percentage of enlistees from the lowest socio-economic class. War-making was thus done for us, by a few of us, not by all of us.
  2. Second, the rise of the neo-conservative movement embraced American Exceptionalism as our national end and superior coercive force as the means to franchise it around the world.
  3. Myth-making about warfare sentimentalized, sanitized and fictionalized war. The film Top Gun is only one example of "a glittering new image of warfare."
  4. Fourth, without the wholehearted complicity of conservative evangelicalism, militarism would have been "inconceivable," a tragic irony when you consider that the most "Christian" nation on earth did far less to question this trend than many ostensibly "secular" nations.
  5. Fifth, during the years of nuclear proliferation and the fears of mutually assured destruction, a "priesthood" of elite defense analysts pushed for what became known as the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). RMA pushed the idea of "limited" and more humane war using game theory models and technological advances with euphemisms like "clean" and "smart" bombs. But here too our "exuberance created expectations that became increasingly uncoupled from reality," as the current Iraq debacle demonstrates.
  6. Finally, despite knowing full well that dependence upon Arab oil made us vulnerable to the geo-political maelstroms of that region, we have continued to treat the Persian Gulf as a cheap gas station. How to insure our Arab oil supply, protect Saudi Arabia, and serve as Israel's most important protector has always constituted a squaring of the circle. Sordid and expedient self interest, our "pursuit of happiness ever more expansively defined," was only later joined by more lofty rhetoric about exporting universal ideals like democracy and free markets, or, rather, the latter have only been a (misguided) means to secure the former.

Bacevich opens and closes with quotes from our Founding Fathers. In 1795, James Madison warned that "of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other." Similarly, late in his life George Washington warned the country of "those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."

Financial dominance

With dollar role as the primary world reserve currency the USA still rides on its "Exorbitant privilege". But there are countervailing forces that diminish dollar importance, such a euro. Financial dominance under neoliberalism became the primary tool of ensuring the control over the nations. See Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism

US and Western banks dominate the globe with New York and London as two world financial centers.

Things little changed after 2008 despite the fact that the US economy in entered a deep debt crisis, which is amplified by the level of destruction of real economy by offshoring and outsourcing achieved under the umbrella of neoliberalism during previous four decades. While the USA remains the sole super power its imperial problems now reached such a level that they may start to affect the foreign policy. Troubles of organizing an invasion in Syria are probably symptomatic. It proved to be more difficult undertaking that similar invasion of Iraq a decade earlier.

Economic troubles have important side effect: the ideological dominance, achieved by the USA during 1989 till 2008 is now under attack. There are a lot of skeptic and in a way neoliberalism goes the way of Marxism with the major difference that there were probably some sincere followers of Marxism at least during the first 30 years of its development.

Centrality of transnational financial flows (including emerging countries debt) and financial oligarchy in neoliberal regime

Since the late 1970s, there was a radical shift of economic activity from the production of goods and non-financial services to finance with the rapid growth since then of the share of financial profits in total corporate profits. Also reflective of this process of "financialisation of the Economy" was the explosive growth of private debt as a proportion of gross domestic product, and the piling of layers upon layers of claims with the existence of instruments like options, futures, swaps, and the like, and financial entities like hedge funds and structured investment vehicles.

With financialisation, the financial masturbation -- speculation directed on making money within the financial system, bypassing the route of commodity production, increasingly became the name of the game. Using Marxist terminology the general formula for capital accumulation, M-C-M', in which commodities are central to the generation of profits, was replaced by M-M', in which money simply begets more money with no relation to production.

This is related to the reason which brought on the financialization of the economy in the forefront: beginning with the sharp recession of 1974-75, the US economy entered a period of slow economic growth, high unemployment/underemployment and excess capacity. That happened after around 25 years of spectacular ascent following the second world war. So financialisation was thought a s a remedy to this "permanent stagnation" regime. And for a while it performed this function well, although it was done by "eating the host".

Finance under any neoliberalism-bound regime can be best understood as a form of warfare, and financial complex (typically large Western banks as locals are not permitted, unless specially protected by remnants of the nation state) as an extension of military-industrial complex. Like in military conquest, its aim is to gain control for occupying country of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute putting the country in debt and using dominance of dollar as world reserve currency. This involves dictating laws to vassal countries (imposing Washington consensus, see below) and interfering in social as well as economic planning using foreign debt and the necessity to service the foreign loans as a form of Gosplan.

The main advantage of neoliberalism in comparison with the similar practice of the past is the conquest is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight. Actually following s successful attack of neoliberalism and conquest of the country by neoliberal elite Russian economy was devastated more then during WWII, when Hitler armies reached banks of Volga river and occupies half of the country.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states alone, but by a cosmopolitan financial class and international financial institutions such as World bank and IMF with full support of major western banks serving as agencies of western governments. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.

Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial "Trojan horse" strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance profits via privatization and protect finance capital from the population to allow "the miracle of compound interest" to siphon most of the revenue out of the country. Some tiny share of this revenue is paid to compradors within the national elite. In good years such tactic keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow. This "paradise for rentiers" last until they eat into the core and cause deindustrialization and severe debt crisis. Eventually they do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.

Technological dominance

The globalist bloc of Western countries led by the USA achieved hegemony in the end of the twentieth century because it managed to become the center of technological progress and due to this acquired a commanding influence over industrial production and social life around the world, including the ability to provide rewards and impose sanctions. One or the reason of technical backwardness of the USSR just before the dissolution were technical sanctions imposed by the West via COCOM. As most of global corporations belong to G7 this lead to "natural" technological hegemony of this block. As Thatcher used to say "There is no alternatives", although she meant there is no alternatives to neoliberalism, not to Western technology from G7 nations. Only recently Asian countries started to challenge this status quo in some areas.

Global corporation managed to create a situation in which the same goods are used in most countries of the globe. Western brand names dominate. American and European airliners, Japanese, American and German cars, Korean and American smartphones, Chinese and American PCs, etc.

China became world factory and produces lion share of goods sold under Western brands.

Dominance in Internet and global communications

The debate about the USA dominance in internet and global communications reemerged in June 2008 due to revelations make about existence of the Prism program and similar program by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism" in his article Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL. The NSA's infrastructure wasn't built to fight Al Qaeda. It has a far greater purpose, one of which is to keep the USA as the last superpower.

The USA has capabilities of intercepting of lion share of global internet traffic and with allies tries to intercept all the diplomatic communication during major conferences and trade talk in direct violation of Vienna protocols. Latin American countries were one of the recent victims of this activity during trade talks with the USA. There were reports about snooping on UN personnel communications in NYC.

Here is an interesting comment of user MelFarrellSr in The Guardian discussion of the article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):

Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...

We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet, whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.

We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know how we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.; make no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don't currently have, they will very soon…

These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an all-encompassing plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the enforcement of several different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of policy...

They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.

Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the program must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?

Here's why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism, really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss of the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.

Remember the "Two to Three Hop" scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…

The following link shows how connected the world is… http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm

We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed Forces; initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…

"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.

"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol)."

http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa091598.htm

There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not without one hell of a fight...

Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they economically control all of us...

Pretty good bet they win...

That includes industrial espionage:

EntropyNow:

Or industrial espionage?

Absolutely. See EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT report dated 11 July 2001 (Note it was before the 9/11 attack in the US).

7. Compatibility of an 'ECHELON' type communications interception system with Union law

7.1. Preliminary considerations
7.2. Compatibility of an intelligence system with Union law

7.2.1. Compatibility with EC law
7.2.2. Compatibility with other EU law

7.3. The question of compatibility in the event of misuse of the system for industrial espionage
7.4. Conclusion

EntropyNow -> StrawBear

The fact that they snoop on us all constantly, that's the problem. I agree that the indiscriminate surveillance is a problem. However, with such vast powers in the hands of private contractors, without robust legal oversight, it is wide open to abuse and interpretation. I believe we need to pull the plug and start again, with robust, independent, legal oversight, which respects fundamental international human rights laws In the US, the NDAA is a law which gives the government the right to indefinitely detain US citizens, without due process, without a trial, if they are suspected to be associated with 'terrorists'. Now define 'terrorism'?

Section 1021b is particularly worrying, concerning "substantial support." It is wide open to interpretation and abuse, which could criminalize dissent and even investigative journalism. See Guardian's excellent article by Naomi Wolf, 17 May 2012::

As Judge Forrest pointed out:

"An individual could run the risk of substantially supporting or directly supporting an associated force without even being aware that he or she was doing so. In the face of what could be indeterminate military detention, due process requires more."

In an excellent episode of Breaking the Set Feb 7 2013 Tangerine Bolen (Founder and Director, Revolutiontruth) stated that 'Occupy London' was designated a 'terrorist group" officially. There are independent journalists and civil liberty activists being targeted by private cyber security firms, which are contractors for the DOD, they are being harassed and intimidated, threatening free speech and liberty for everyone, everywhere. As Naomi Wolf concludes:

"This darkness is so dangerous not least because a new Department of Homeland Security document trove, released in response to a FOIA request filed by Michael Moore and the National Lawyers' Guild, proves in exhaustive detail that the DHS and its "fusion centers" coordinated with local police (as I argued here, to initial disbelief), the violent crackdown against Occupy last fall.

You have to put these pieces of evidence together: the government cannot be trusted with powers to detain indefinitely any US citizen – even though Obama promised he would not misuse these powers – because the United States government is already coordinating a surveillance and policing war against its citizens, designed to suppress their peaceful assembly and criticism of its corporate allies."

MadShelley

It seems to me that potential terrorist threats come in two sorts: the highly organised and funded groups that could commit catastrophic destruction, and the local schmucks that are really just old-fashioned losers-with-a-grudge adopting an empowering ideology.

The first group would be immensely cautious with their communications, and fall outside this sort of surveillance. The second group, if Boston and Woolwich are any evidence, are not effectively detected by these measures.

It appears very clear to me that this is runaway state power, predictably and transparently deflected with cries of "terrorism". And, perhaps most worrying, that definition of terrorism is now as wide as the state requires. Anything that embarrasses or exposes the evils of our states, including rendition, torture, and all manner of appalling injustice, is classified as a matter of 'national security', which must not be exposed lest it aid the enemy.

I know Orwell's name gets tossed around too much... but Jesus! I really hope we're not bovine enough to walk serenely into this future.

General_Hercules

...The NSA's infrastructure wasn't built to fight Al Qaeda. It has a far greater purpose, one of which is to keep the USA as the last superpower and moral authority for the rest of the time humanity has in this world.

All this muck is hurting bad. Obama is having a tough time from all sides. All the moralists think he is a villain doing everything he promised to change. All the secret society members think he is a clown who has spilled out every secret that was painstakingly put together over decades....

Cultural dominance

The temples of neoliberalism are malls and airports ;-). And they are build all over the glone is a very similar fashion. A drunk person accidentally transfered from New Jersey to, say Kiev and put in one of mjor malls can never tell the difference :-).

English became the major international language. Both language of technology and commerce. Much like Latin was before.

In developing countries goods are sold at considerable premium (up to 100%) but generally everything that can be bought in the USA now can be bought say in Kiev. Of course affordability is drastically different, but for elite itis not a problem. That create another opportunity for the top 1% to enjoy very similar, "internationalized" lifestyle all over the globe.

Hollywood films dominate world cinemas. American computer games dominate gaming space. In a way the USA culturally is present in any country. It was amazing how quickly remnants of communist ideology were wipes out in the xUSSR countries (Globalization, ethnic conflict and nationalism Daniele Conversi - Academia.edu):

Contrary to the globalists or ideologues of globalization (Steger 2005), both Marxists and liberals have highlighted the ' pyramidal ' structure underlying globalization. This metaphor applies well to cultural dissemination.

An elite of corporate, media, and governmental agencies sits at the pyramid' s top level, small regional intermediary elites sit immediately below, while the overwhelming majority of humans are pushed well down towards the pyramid' s bottom. In the realm of ' global culture ' , this looks like a master-servant relationship with much of the world at the boot-licking end. Whether such a relationship really exists, or is even practical, this metaphorical dramatization can nevertheless help to understand collective self-perceptions. The consequences in the area of ethnic conflict are significant. Such a hierarchical structure makes it impossible for global exchanges to turn into egalitarian relationships based on evenly balanced inter-cultural communication and dialogue.

On the contrary, cultural globalization is not reflected in a genuine increase of inter-personal, inter-ethnic and inter-cultural contacts. As I shall argue, in most public areas ' cultural globalization ' really means the unreciprocated, one-way flow of consumerist items from the US media and leisure machine to the rest of the world.

This top-down distribution ensures that a few individuals and groups, nearly all in the USA, firmly establish the patterns of behaviour and taste to be followed by the rest of mankind. Is this congruent with the view that there is a form of ' global centralization ' in cultural-legal matters leaning towards Washington, DC? As for a supposed ' global culture ', the symbolic capital would ideally be located in Hollywood, rather than Washington.

In fact, the term ' Hollywoodization ' insinuates a media-enforced hierarchical structure with immediate symbolic resonance. It also offers a more cultural, perhaps less sociological, focus than the Weberian concept of bureaucratic ' McDonaldization ' (Ritzer 1996).

Competing terminologies include ' Disneyfication ' / ' Disneyization ' , with its stress on extreme predictability and the infantilization of leisure (Bryman 2004), 'Walmarting ' as the streamlining of the retail sector (Fishman 2005, Morrow 2004), or earlier Cold War terms like ' Coca-Colonization ' (Wagnleitner 1994). We previously saw how the term ' McGuggenization ' has been used to indicate art-related cultural franchising and other forms of Americanization in the Basque Country (McNeill 2000).

All these equally refer to socio-economic trends originated in the USA and are hence forms of Americanization. However, ' Hollywoodization ' has broader implications for ethnic relations and nationalist conflicts.

In practice, Hollywood-inspired simplifications have become the daily staple for millions of peoples around the world in their leisure time. In the area of ethnicity, ' Hollywoodization ' has been elevated to the only known reality and the unique source of information about the outside world for increasing numbers of people, not only in the USA. Thus, the world is more likely to get its stereotypes of the Brits from US movies like The Patriot or Saving Private Ryan than via British productions.Similarly, most of the world is likely to see Scotland through the lenses of US-made Braveheart , as the larger public can barely afford any access to Scottish cultural productions.

This monopoly of global stereotyping and ethnic imagery has serious implicationsf or the spread and continuation of ethnic conflict.

The tools of primary socialization were once under firm control of the family, either nuclear or extended. They were subsequently assumed by the state in the industrialization ' phase ' , notably with post-1789 mass militarization and compulsory schooling (Conversi2007, 2008).

Under neo-liberal globalization, primary socialization has been seized by unaccountable cash-driven corporations and media tycoons. This has further reduced the space of inter-generational transmission and family interaction. If a community can no longer socialize its children according to its culture and traditions, then the very bases of local, regional, and national continuity are all visibly at stake. This threat to a group's survival is often seized upon by patriots and ethno-nationalists, whose political programs are founded on providing a new sense of social cohesion and security – even if the targets are often hapless and unprotected minorities.

That is partly how nationalism and xenophobia have expanded in tandem with globalization. Ethno-nationalism not only persisted through change, but is perceived by many as a response to the growth of globalization, providing a prêt-à-porter hope for national resistance and resilience. By depending on Hollywood as unique conveyor of ' globalization ', inter-ethnic interaction is inevitably undermined. In some instances, international communication has practically evaporated.

... ... ...

I have described, and subsequently dismissed, the profit-oriented ideology that globalization, intended as Mcdonaldization and Hollywoodization, can contribute to better international understanding. On the contrary, it has ushered in a process of planetary cultural and environmental destruction, while hampering inter-ethnic communication and fostering human conflict. The notion of cultural security, so central to international relations and peaceful coexistence, has undergone unprecedented challenges.

...Insofar as cultural globalization is understood as uni-dimensional import of standardized cultural icons, symbols, practices, values, and legal systems from the United States, it can simply be re-described as Americanization (rather than Westernization in the broad sense), or ' globalization by Americanization ' (Hilger 2008). This is of central importance for the study of ethnic conflict.

In fact, the outcome is scarce hybridization, amalgamation, and metissage . Rather than providing an inter-cultural bridge, this unilateral drive has often eroded the basis for mutual understanding, impeding inter-ethnic, inter-cultural, and international interaction. Given the current vertical, pyramidal structure of the ' cultural world order ' , the opportunity of distinctive groups to communicate directly and appreciate each other's traditions has decreased, except in the virtual area of long-distance communication. For an increasing number of individuals, an American mass consumer culture remains the only window on the world. Hence, to know and appreciate one ' s neighbours has become an ever-arduous task. To recapitulate my point, wherever cultural globalization appears as synonymous with Americanization, it engenders conflicts on a variety of levels.

Because the process is one-way and unidirectional, the result is unlikely to be a fusion between cultures or, evenless, the blending of ethnic groups. Contrary to the globalist utopia, the imposition of more and more American icons means less and less possibility for direct inter-ethnic encounter and communication among nations. Together with the collapse of state legitimacy, this substantially contributes to the spread of ethnic conflict and nationalism.

Incorporation of "globalist" parts of national élites as second class citizens of the transnational ruling class

Another aspect of cultural power of neoliberalism is that it accepts national elites (on some, less favorable then "primary" elites conditions) as a part of a new transnational elite, which serves as the dominant class. By class, following classic Marxism we mean a group of people who share a common relationship to the process of social production and reproduction, positioned in the society relationally on the basis of social power.

The struggle between descendant national fractions of dominant groups and ascendant transnational fractions has often been the backdrop to surface political dynamics and ideological processes in the late 20th century. These two fractions have been vying for control of local state apparatuses since the 1970s.

Trans national fractions of local elites swept to power in countries around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. They have captured the "commanding heights" of state policymaking: key ministries and bureaucracies in the policymaking apparatus - especially Central Banks, finance and foreign ministries - as key government branches that link countries to the global economy.

They have used national state apparatuses to advance globalization and to pursue sweeping economic restructuring and the dismantling of the old nation-state–based Keynesian welfare and developmentalist projects.

They have sought worldwide market liberalization (following the neoliberal model), and projects of economic integration such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and the European Union. They have promoted a supra-national infrastructure of the global economy, such as the World Trade Organization, as we discuss below.

In this new, transnational social system transnational corporations are intermixed with nation-states which they have special privileges. And the state itself now serves not the people of the country (which historically were upper classes) but primarily service the interests of the transnational corporations (and, by extension, narrow strata of "comprador" elite, much like aristocracy of the past). It is now extension and projection of corporate power ("What is good for GE is good for America"). Both the transactional elite (and first of all financial oligarchy) and transnational corporation enjoy tremendous privileges under such a regime (corporate socialism, or socialism for the rich). Like Bolshevik state was formally dictatorship of proletariat but in reality was dictatorship of the elite of an ideological sect called Communist Party (so called nomenklatura), transformed nation-states like the USA, GB, France, Russia, etc now to various degrees look like dictatorships of transnational elite (transnational bourgeoisie like Marxist would say ;-) while formally remaining sovereign democratic republics. Like with Communist Parties in various countries that does not excuse antagonism or even open hostilities.

That does not eliminates completely the elites competition and for example the EU elite put a knife in the back of the US elite by adopting the euro as completing with the dollar currency (so much about transatlantic solidarity), but still internalization of elites is a new and important process that is more viable that neoliberal ideology as such. Also for any state national elite is not completely homogeneous. While that is a significant part of it that favor globalization (comprador elite or lumpen elite) there is also another part which prefer national development and is at least semi-hostile to globalism. Still the comprador part of the elite represents a very important phenomenon, a real fifth column of globalization, the part that makes globalization successful. It plays the role of Trojan horse within nation states and the name "fifth column" in this sense is a very apt name. This subversive role of comprador elite was clearly visible and well documented in Russian unsuccessful "white revolution" of 2011-2012: the US supported and financed project of "regime change" in Russia. It is also clearly visible although less well documented in other "color revolutions" such as Georgian, Serbian, and Ukrainian color revolutions. comrade Trotsky would probably turn in his coffin if he saw what neoliberal ideologies made with his theory of permanent revolution ;-).

Propaganda victory of neoliberalism over Marxism and New Deal capitalism

As professor David Harvey noted in his A Brief History of Neoliberalism neoliberal propaganda has succeeded in fixating the public on a peculiar definition of "freedom" that has served as a smoke screen to conceal a project of speeding upper class wealth accumulation. In practice, the neoliberal state assumes a protective role for large and especially international corporations ("socialism for multinationals") while it sheds as much responsibility for the citizenry as possible.

The key component of neoliberal propaganda (like was the case with Marxism) was an economic theory. Like Marxism it has three components

For more information see

Ideological dominance, neoliberalism as yet another major civic religion

There is no question that neoliberalism emerged as another major world civic religion. It has its saints, sacred books, moral (or more correctly in this case amoral) postulates and the idea of heaven and hell.

Neoliberalism shares several fundamental properties with high demand religious cults. Like all fundamentalist cults, neoliberalism reduces a complex world to a set of simplistic dogmas (See Washington Consensus). All of society is viewed through the prism of an economic lens. Economic growth, measured by GDP, is the ultimate good. The market is the only and simultaneously the perfect mechanism to achieve this goal. Neoliberalism obsession with materialism have become normalized to the degree that it is hard to imagine what American society would look like in the absence of these structural and ideological features of the new and militant economic Darwinism that now holds sway over the American public. The mantra is well known: government is now the problem, society is a fiction, sovereignty is market-driven, deregulation and commodification are the way to a bright future, and the profit is the only viable measure of the good life and advanced society. Public values are a liability, if not a pathology. Democratic commitments, social relations, and public spheres are disposables, much like the expanding population of the unemployed and dispossessed. Any revolt is the threat to the neoliberal regime of truth and should be dealt with unrestrained cruelty. The market functions best with minimal or no interference from government or civil society and those who don't agree will be taken by police to the proper reeducation camps. All governments with possible exception of the US government should be minimized to allow unrestricted dominance of global corporations. The genius of neoliberalism as a cult, was its ability to cloak the US pretences of world hegemony in an aura of scientific and historical inevitability. Which again makes it very similar and in a way superior to Marxism as a cult. The collapse of the Soviet Union was the supreme, heaven sent validation of Margaret Thatcher's claim that there was no alternative. There is only one blessed road to prosperity and peace and outside it there is no salvation, nor remission from sins.

The great economic historian Karl Polanyi observed, "The idea of a self-adjusting market implied a stark utopia." And neoliberalism was a stunning utopia of economic determinism, one even more ambitious than that of Marx.

With all the big questions thus settled, history appeared to be at an end. There was one and only one route to prosperity and peace. All that was required was to make sure the model was correctly applied and all would be well. We all settled into our assigned roles. Capitalists retreated to the role of technocrats, eschewing risk themselves while shifting and spreading it throughout society. The rest of us were relegated to the roles not of citizens, but of consumers. Using our homes as ATMs, we filled our lives with Chinese-made goods, oblivious to the looming environmental and social costs of a runaway, unregulated consumer-driven society. Only a marginalized few questioned the basic economic structure. It was the era of homo economicus, humans in service to the economy.

Now that perfect machinery lies in pieces all around us and the global economic free fall shows no signs of ending any time soon. The fundamental reasons underlying the collapse aren't all that difficult to discern. Central to the whole neoliberal project was the drive to rationalize all aspects of human society. Relentless efforts to cut costs and increase efficiency drove down the living standards of the vast majority, while the diminution of government and other non-commercial institutions led to increasing concentration of wealth at the very top of society. As high paying jobs in the industrial and technical sectors moved from developed countries to low wage export-based economies in the developing world, capacity soon outstripped demand and profits in the real economy began to sag. Not content with declining earnings, wealthy elites began to search for investments offering higher returns. If these couldn't be found in the real economy, they could certainly be created in the exploding financial sector.

Once consigned to the unglamorous world of matching those with capital to invest with those with enterprises seeking to grow, finance became the powerful new engine of economic growth. No longer stodgy, bankers and brokers became sexy and glamorous. Exotic new financial instruments, called derivatives, traded on everything from commodities to weather.

This speculative frenzy was supported by a central bank only too happy to keep credit extremely cheap. Debt exploded among consumers, businesses and government alike. Creating new debt became the source of even more exotic investment vehicles, often bearing only the most tenuous of connections to underlying assets of real value, with unwieldy names such as "collateralized debt obligations" and "credit default swaps."

All the debt and the shuffling of fictional wealth hid the underlying rot of the real economy. It was a house of cards just waiting for the slight breeze that would send it all crashing down. And a collapse in housing prices in 2008 laid bare the economic contradictions.

The fundamental contradiction underlying much that confronts us in the age of crises is an economic and social system requiring infinite growth within the confines of a finite planet. Any vision seeking to replace neoliberalism must take this contradiction into account and resolve it. The overriding market failure of our time has nothing to do with housing. It's the failure to place any value on that which is truly most essential to our survival: clean air and water, adequate natural resources for the present and future generations, and a climate suitable for human civilization.

No such new vision is currently in sight. That this leaves everyone, neoliberals and their foes alike, in a state of uncertainty and doubt is hardly surprising. The seeming triumph of neoliberalism was so complete that it managed to inculcate itself in the psyches even of those who opposed it.

We find ourselves unsure of terrain we thought we knew well, sensing that one era has ended but unsure as to what comes next. We might do well to embrace that doubt and understand its power to free us. Our doubt allows us to ask meaningful questions again and questioning implies the possibility of real choice. Removing the intellectual straitjacket of neoliberal orthodoxy opens up the space necessary to reconsider the purpose of an economy and its proper role in a decent human society and to revisit the old debate over equity versus efficiency. It calls into question the assumption most central to homo economicus; that all humans act only to maximize their own interests.

It seems clear that the world emerging over the coming decades will look quite different from the one we now inhabit. Of necessity it will evolve in ways we can't fully understand just yet. Old battle lines, such as the ones between capitalism and socialism, will likely fade away. Both of those models arose in a world of abundant and cheap fossil fuels and within the confines a planet with a seemingly endless capacity to absorb the wastes of our conspicuous consumption. New battle lines are already beginning to take shape.

The Revolution is Upon Us The Age of Crisis and the End of Homo Economicus Logos

I think that like is the case with Marxism, the staying power of neoliberalism is that propose the religion picture of world with its "creation history", saints, and way of salvation. In a way it plays the role similar to the role of Catholicism in middle ages (aka Dark Ages). The greed of catholic clergy in Middle ages (trade in indulgencies) is a match of the greed of neoliberals( with financial derivates replacing indulgencies ;-). It is equally hostile to any attempts to analyze it, with the minor difference that heretics that question the sanctity of free market are not burned at the stake, but ostracized. It support "new Crusades" with the same mechanism of "indulgences" for small countries that participate.

The level of hypocrisy is another shared trait. The great irony is that the USA, the world's leading proponent of neoliberalism (with the US President as a Pope of this new religion), systematically is breaking the rules when it find it necessary or convenient. With high deficit spending and massive subsidizing of defense spending and financial sector, the United States has generally use a "do as I say, not as I do" approach. And with the amount of political appointee/lobbyists shuttling back and forth between business and government, Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" looks more and more like a crushing fist of corporatist thugs. It involves dogmatic belief that the society is better off when ruled by a group of wealthy financiers and oligarchs, than by a group of professional government bureaucrats and politicians with some participation of trade unions.

The USA also dominates the cultural scene:

The United States' position as the leading maker of global culture has been basically unchallenged for the last century or so, especially in the Western world. Yet the economic power of the Western world is waning even as new nations, with new models of economic and social life, are rising. Might one -- or several -- of these nations like China, India or Brazil become new centers of global culture?

I believe that the answer to this question for the foreseeable future is "no." While the U.S.'s cultural prominence is partially related to its political, military and economic power, such power is not the only cause of America's global cultural hegemony. Rather, the U.S. offers a unique convergence of several factors, including economic opportunity, political freedom and an immigrant culture that served as a test bed for new cultural products.

Let me offer a brief account of the rise of the American film industry to suggest the way political, economic and immigrant forces shaped American cultural hegemony. In the U.S., the film industry started as commercial enterprise largely independent of state control. Movies had to adapt to market conditions to earn profit for their producers. In order to achieve this goal, American movies needed to appeal to a diverse population made up of both native-born and immigrant citizens.

As a consequence, filmmakers had to make movies that could appeal to international audiences simply to meet domestic demand. This fact helped the American film industry become globally preeminent well before the U.S. became a superpower. In other words, while U.S. military and economic power strengthened the position of the U.S. movie industry as globally dominant, that position was not dependent on U.S. military and economic power. Instead, American producers had a competitive advantage in global markets that was later cemented in place by the U.S. post-war economic and military hegemony in the West.

After the dissolution of the USSR, the USA became natural center of the "neoliberal religion" a dominant force in the new world order (the world's only superpower). And they used their newly acquired status against states which were not "friendly enough" very similar to Catholicism with its Crusades, launching a series of invasions and color revolutions against "nonbelievers" in a globalist neoliberal model. The level of plunder of Russia after the dissolution of the USSR looks like a direct replay of Crusades with the siege of Constantinople as primary example (despite stated goals, Crusades were by-and-large a monetary enterprise of the time with fig leaf of spread of Catholicism attached). This period of neoliberal crusades still continued in 2013, sometimes using various proxy to achieve "the regime change" by military means.

As we already refereed to neoliberalism as a cult an interesting question is whether neoliberalism can be viewed new "civic religion". The answer is unconditional yes, and I think that like Marxism before it should be considered to be yet another civic religion. It has it's set of holy books, Supreme being to worship, path to salvation and set of Apostils. Like communism before it propose humanity grand purpose and destiny.

Approliving:

Theistic and civic religions are also similar in that they both offer visions of humanity's grand purpose and destiny.

There are also significant differences between theistic religions and civil religions. Theistic religions explicitly rely on claims of divine authority for their validity, while civil religions rely on reason and the interpretation of commonly-accepted historical knowledge. Followers of theistic religions stress the importance of faith in times of adversity, while followers of civil religions tend to have a more pragmatic attitude when reality casts doubt on their beliefs.

Civil religions are more like big social experiments than actual religions because their central claims are much more falsifiable, and their followers show evidence of holding this perception (e.g. references to "the American experiment"; the voluntary abandonment of Communism throughout Eurasia when it became clear that it wasn't working).

Communism bears so much resemblance to Christianity because, as you mentioned last week, the Western imagination was thoroughly in the grip of Christianity when Communism emerged. Communism is similar to Christianity out of practical necessity: had it not been based on the Christian template, Communism probably would have been too intellectually alien to its Western audience to have ever taken off. Luckily for the founders of Communism, they were also subjected to this Christian cultural conditioning.

With all this in mind, and given that religion is evolving phenomenon, I think that civil religion is actually a distinct species of intellectual organism which has (at least in part) evolved out of religion.

Like Marxism, neoliberalism is first and foremost a quasi religious political doctrine. But while Marxism is aimed at liberation of workers , a political doctrine neoliberalism is aimed at restoring the power of capital. Neoliberalism originated in the rich countries of Anglo-Saxon world (GB and USA) so along with open despise of poor, it always has a distinct flavor of despise for peripheral countries. In global politics, neoliberalism preoccupies itself with the promotion of four basic issues:

As such, neoliberalism, in its crudest form, is crystallized in the Ten Commandments of the 1989 Washington Consensus (policy of debt slavery set for the world by the US via international financial institutions). While pushing the democracy as a smoke screen, they implicitly postulate hegemony of the financial elite (which is a part of "economic elite" that neoliberalism defines as a hegemonic class). Financialization of the economy also serves as a powerful method of redistribution of wealth, so neoliberalism generally lead to deterioration of standard of living for lower quintile of the population and in some countries (like Russia in 1991-2000) for the majority of the population. This is done largely via credit system and in this sense neoliberalism represents "reinters paradise". Neoliberal globalization was built on the foundation of US hegemony, conceived as the projection of the hegemony of the US capital and dollar as the dominant reserve currency. As such it is critically dependent of the power and stability of the US and the financial, economic, political and military supremacy of the US in every region. For this purpose the USA maintains over 500 military bases (737 by some counts) and over 2.5 million of military personnel.

But there are also important differences. Unlike most religions, neoliberalism is highly criminogenic (i.e., having the quality of causing or fostering crime). It is more criminogenic in countries with lower standard of living and in such countries it often lead to conversion of a "normal", but poor state into a kleptocratic state (Yeltsin's Russia is a good example) with the requisite mass poverty (Global Anomie, Dysnomie and Economic Crime Hidden Consequences of Neoliberalism and Globalization in Russia and Around the World). Unfortunately architects of this transformation (Harvard Mafia in case of Russia) usually avoid punishment for their crimes. Corruption of the US regulators which happened under neoliberal regime starting from Reagan is also pretty well covered theme.

While economic crisis of 2008 led to a crisis of neoliberalism, this is not necessary a terminal crisis. The phase of neoliberal dominance still continues, but internal contradictions became much deeper and the regime became increasingly unstable even in the citadel of neoliberalism -- the USA. Neoliberalism as an intellectual product is practically dead. After the crisis of 2008, the notion that finance mobilizes and allocates resources efficiently, drastically reduces systemic risks and brings significant productivity gains for the economy as a whole became untenable. But its zombie phase supported by several states (the USA, GB, Germany), transnational capital (and financial capital in particular) and respective elites out of the sense of self-preservation might continue (like Bolshevism rule in the USSR in 70th-80th) despite increasing chance of facing discontent of population and bursts of social violence.

Cornerstone of neoliberal regime, the economic power of the USA is now under threat from the rise of Asia. This is one reason of mutation of neoliberalism into aggressive neoconservative imperialism that we witness in the USA.

While intellectually neoliberalism was bankrupt from the beginning, after 2008 believing it in is possible only by ignoring the results of deregulation in the USA and other countries. In other words the mythology of self-regulating "free market" became a "damaged goods". In this sense, any sensible person should now hold neoliberal sect in contempt. But reality is different and it still enjoy the support of the part of population which can't see through the smoke screen. With the strong support of financial oligarchy neoliberalism will continue to exists in zombie state for quite a while, although I hope this will not last as long as dominance of Catholicism during European Dark Ages ;-). Still the US is yet to see its Luther. As was noted about a different, older sect: "Men are blind to prefer an absurd and sanguinary creed, supported by executioners and surrounded by fiery faggots, a creed which can only be approved by those to whom it gives power and riches".

Like communism in the USSR it is a state supported religion: Neoliberalism enjoys support of western governments and first of all the US government. Even when the US society entered deep crisis in 2008 and fabric of the society was torn by neoliberal policies it did not lose government support.

US was an imperial nation driven by annexation of territories from the very beginning

The USA has a history of "plain vanilla" (British style) imperialism, based on annexation and occupation of territories since the presidency of James K. Polk who led the United States into the Mexican–American War of 1846, and the eventual annexation of California and other western territories via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden purchase. The term is most commonly used to describe the U.S.'s status since the 20th century (Empire - Wikipedia):

The term "American Empire" refers to the United States' cultural ideologies and foreign policy strategies. The term is most commonly used to describe the U.S.'s status since the 20th century, but it can also be applied to the United States' world standing before the rise of nationalism in the 20th century. The United States is not traditionally recognized as an empire, in part because the U.S. adopted a different political system from those that previous empires had used. Despite these systematic differences, the political objectives and strategies of the United States government have been quite similar to those of previous empires. Krishna Kumar explores this idea that the distinct principles of nationalism and imperialism may, in fact, result in one common practice.

In "Nation-states as empires, empires as nation-states: two principles, one practice?" she argues that the pursuit of nationalism can often coincide with the pursuit of imperialism in terms of strategy and decision making. Throughout the 19th century, the United States government attempted to expand their territory by any means necessary. Regardless of the supposed motivation for this constant expansion, all of these land acquisitions were carried out by imperialistic means. This was done by financial means in some cases, and by military force in others. Most notably, the Louisiana Purchase (1803), the Texas Annexation (1845), and the Mexican Cession (1848) highlight the imperialistic goals of the United States during this "modern period" of imperialism.

The U.S. government has stopped pursuing additional territories since the mid 20th century. However, some scholars still consider U.S. foreign policy strategies to be imperialistic. This idea is explored in the "contemporary usage" section.

... ... ...

Stuart Creighton Miller posits that the public's sense of innocence about Realpolitik (cf. American Exceptionalism) impairs popular recognition of US imperial conduct since it governed other countries via surrogates. These surrogates were domestically-weak, right-wing governments that would collapse without US support.[30] Former President G.W. Bush's Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, said: "We don't seek empires. We're not imperialistic; we never have been."[31] This statement directly contradicts Thomas Jefferson who, in the 1780s while awaiting the fall of the Spanish empire, said: "...till our population can be sufficiently advanced to gain it from them piece by piece".[32][33][34] In turn, historian Sidney Lens argues that from its inception, the US has used every means available to dominate other nations.[35] Other historian Max Ostrovsky argues that the term hegemony is better than empire to describe the US' role in the world but finds that hegemony is likely to be an intermediate stage between states system and empire.[36]

... ... ...

In his book review of Empire (2000) by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Mehmet Akif Okur posits that since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, the international relations determining the world's balance of power (political, economic, military) have been altered. These alterations include the intellectual (political science) trends that perceive the contemporary world's order via the re-territorrialisation of political space, the re-emergence of classical imperialist practices (the "inside" vs. "outside" duality, cf. the Other), the deliberate weakening of international organisations, the restructured international economy, economic nationalism, the expanded arming of most countries, the proliferation of nuclear weapon capabilities and the politics of identity emphasizing a state's subjective perception of its place in the world, as a nation and as a civilisation. These changes constitute the "Age of Nation Empires"; as imperial usage, nation-empire denotes the return of geopolitical power from global power blocs to regional power blocs (i.e., centered upon a "regional power" state [China, Russia, U.S., et al.]) and regional multi-state power alliances (i.e., Europe, Latin America, South East Asia). Nation-empire regionalism claims sovereignty over their respective (regional) political (social, economic, ideologic), cultural, and military spheres.[43]

Annexation was the crucial instrument in the expansion of the USA after it won independence. The United States Congress' ability to annex a foreign territory is explained in a report from the Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations,

"If, in the judgment of Congress, such a measure is supported by a safe and wise policy, or is based upon a natural duty that we owe to the people of Hawaii, or is necessary for our national development and security, that is enough to justify annexation, with the consent of the recognized government of the country to be annexed."

Even prior to annexing a territory, the American government usually held tremendous political power in those territories through the various legislations passed in the late 1800s. The Platt Amendment was utilized to prevent Cuba from entering into any agreements with foreign nations, and also granted the Americans the right to build naval stations on their soil.[39] Executive officials in the American government began to determine themselves the supreme authority in matters regarding the recognition or restriction of [39]

When asked on April 28, 2003, on al-Jazeera whether the United States was "empire building," Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld replied "We don't seek empires, we're not imperialistic. We never have been."[40] And this denial is typical for "Empire of Lies" as some researchers call the USA. Historian Donald W. Meinig says the imperial behavior by the United States dates at least to the Louisiana Purchase, which he describes as an "imperial acquisition-imperial in the sense of the aggressive encroachment of one people upon the territory of another, resulting in the subjugation of that people to alien rule." The U.S. policies towards the Native Americans he said were "designed to remold them into a people more appropriately conformed to imperial desires."[41]

Writers and academics of the early 20th century, like Charles A. Beard, discussed American policy as being driven by self-interested expansionism going back as far as the writing of the Constitution. Some politicians today do not agree. Pat Buchanan claims that the modern United States' drive to empire is "far removed from what the Founding Fathers had intended the young Republic to become."[42]

Andrew Bacevich who is a an influencial writer about the US empite with his book American empite (2002) argues that the U.S. did not fundamentally change its foreign policy after the Cold War, and remains focused on an effort to expand its control across the world.[43] As the surviving superpower at the end of the Cold War, the U.S. could focus its assets in new directions, the future being "up for grabs" according to former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz in 1991.[44]

In Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, the political activist Noam Chomsky argues that exceptionalism and the denials of imperialism are the result of a systematic strategy of propaganda, to "manufacture opinion" as the process has long been described in other countries.[45]

Thorton wrote that "[…]imperialism is more often the name of the emotion that reacts to a series of events than a definition of the events themselves. Where colonization finds analysts and analogies, imperialism must contend with crusaders for and against."[46] Political theorist Michael Walzer argues that the term hegemony is better than empire to describe the US's role in the world;[47] political scientist Robert Keohane agrees saying, a "balanced and nuanced analysis is not aided...by the use of the phrase 'empire' to describe United States hegemony, since 'empire' obscures rather than illuminates the differences in form of rule between the United States and other Great Powers, such as Great Britain in the 19th century or the Soviet Union in the twentieth.".[48] Emmanuel Todd assumes that USA cannot hold for long the status of mondial hegemonic power due to limited resources. Instead, USA is going to become just one of the major regional powers along with European Union, China, Russia, etc.[49]

International relations scholar Joseph Nye argues that U.S. power is more and more based on "soft power", which comes from cultural hegemony rather than raw military or economic force.[69] This includes such factors as the widespread desire to emigrate to the United States, the prestige and corresponding high proportion of foreign students at U.S. universities, and the spread of U.S. styles of popular music and cinema. Mass immigration into America may justify this theory, but it is hard to know for sure whether the United States would still maintain its prestige without its military and economic superiority.

Military and cultural imperialism are interdependent. American Edward Said, one of the founders of post-colonial theory, said that,

[…], so influential has been the discourse insisting on American specialness, altruism and opportunity, that imperialism in the United States as a word or ideology has turned up only rarely and recently in accounts of the United States culture, politics and history. But the connection between imperial politics and culture in North America, and in particular in the United States, is astonishingly direct.[51]

International relations scholar David Rothkopf disagrees and argues that cultural imperialism is the innocent result of globalization, which allows access to numerous U.S. and Western ideas and products that many non-U.S. and non-Western consumers across the world voluntarily choose to consume.[52] Matthew Fraser has a similar analysis, but argues further that the global cultural influence of the U.S. is a good thing.[53]

Nationalism is the main process through which the government is able to shape public opinion. Propaganda in the media is strategically placed in order to promote a common attitude among the people. Louis A. Perez Jr. provides an example of propaganda used during the war of 1898,

"We are coming, Cuba, coming; we are bound to set you free! We are coming from the mountains, from the plains and inland sea! We are coming with the wrath of God to make the Spaniards flee! We are coming, Cuba, coming; coming now!"[39]

Chip Pitts argues similarly that enduring U.S. bases in Iraq suggest a vision of "Iraq as a colony".[ While territories such as Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Puerto Rico remain under U.S. control, the U.S. allowed many of its overseas territories or occupations to gain independence after World War II. Examples include the Philippines (1946), the Panama canal zone (1979), Palau (1981), the Federated States of Micronesia (1986) and the Marshall Islands (1986). Most of them still have U.S. bases within their territories. In the case of Okinawa, which came under U.S. administration after the Battle of Okinawa during the Second World War, this happened despite local popular opinion.[56] As of 2003, the United States had bases in over 36 countries worldwide.[57]

How America built its empire

How America built its empire The real history of American foreign policy that the media won't tell you - Salon.com

When you talk about the effectiveness of American imperialism, you highlight the fact that part of the reason it's so effective is because it has been able to be largely invisible, and it has been invisible, you point out, through, I think, two mechanisms, one, that it trains the elites in other countries in order to manage affairs on behalf of American imperialism, and also because it disseminates, through popular media, images of America that in essence -- I'm not sure you use this word exactly -- indoctrinate or brainwash a population into allowing them to believe that America is instilled with values that in fact it doesn't have, the ability of imperialistic forces to supposedly give these values to the countries they dominate.

I mean, that is a kind of a raison d'être for economic and even military intervention, as we saw in Iraq, in planning democracy in Baghdad and letting it spread out across the Middle East, or going into Afghanistan to liberate the women of Afghanistan. That, as somebody who spent 20 years on the outer edges of empire, is a lie.

The other day I wrote Perry Anderson, the subject of the following interview, to ask what he thought of the foreign policy debates, such as they are, among our presidential aspirants. Logical question: Anderson, a prominent scholar and intellectual for decades, has just published "American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers," a superbly lucid account of U.S policy's historical roots and the people who shape policy in our time.

"Current candidates' f/p talk leaves me speechless," came Anderson's terse reply.

Perfectly defensible. Most of what these people have to say-and I do not exclude the Democratic candidates-is nothing more than a decadent, late-exceptionalist rendering of a policy tradition that, as Anderson's book reminds readers, once had a coherent rationale even as it has so often led to incoherent, irrational conduct abroad.

Born in London in 1938-during the Munich crisis, as he points out-Anderson has been a presence on the trans-Atlantic intellectual scene since he took the editor's chair at the then-struggling New Left Review in 1962, when he was all of 24. Eight years later NLR launched Verso, a book imprint as singular (and as singularly influential) as the journal.

Anderson has headed both at various intervals for years. His own books range widely. My favorites are "Zone of Engagement" (1992) and "Spectrum" (2005), which collect essays on an amazing range of 20th century thinkers. To them I now add the new foreign policy book, which I count indispensable to anyone serious about the topic.

I met Anderson, who has taught comparative political and intellectual history at UCLA since 1989, at his home in Santa Monica this past summer. Over a fulsome afternoon's conversation in his admirably spartan study, he impressed me again and as readers will see for themselves, but the counterarguments are generously given and always rewarding.

The transcript that follows is the first of two parts and includes a few questions posed via email after we met. It is otherwise only lightly edited. Part 2 will appear next week.

"American Foreign Policy and its Thinkers" is well timed, given the unusual prominence foreign policy now assumes in the American political conversation. How would you describe your approach? What distinguishes the book from so many others? How should one read it? What's the project?

The book tries to do two things. One is to cover the history of American foreign policy, from around 1900 to the present, tracing the gradual construction of a global empire. This first really came into view as a prospect during the Second World War and is today a reality across all five continents, as a glance at the skein of its military bases makes clear. The Cold War was a central episode within this trajectory, but the book doesn't treat just the U.S. record vis-á-vis the USSR or China. It tries to deal equally with American relations with the Europe and Japan, and also with the Third World, treated not as a homogenous entity but as four or five zones that required different policy combinations.

The second part of the book is a survey of American grand strategy-that is, the different ways leading counselors of state interpret the current position of the United States on the world stage and their recommendations for what Washington should do about it.

The "big think" set, in other words-Kissinger, of course, Brzezinski, Walter Russell Mead, Robert Kagan. And then people such as Francis Fukuyama, whom I consider a ridiculous figure but whose thinking you judged worth some scrutiny. How did you choose these?

From the range of in-and-outers-thinkers moving between government and the academy or think-tanks-who have sought to guide U.S. foreign policy since 2000, with some intellectual originality. Kissinger isn't among these. His ideas belong to a previous epoch, his later offerings are boilerplate. Fukuyama, who sensed what the effects of office on thought could be, and got out of state service quite early, is a mind of a different order. The figures selected cover the span of options within what has always been a bipartisan establishment.

You make a distinction between American exceptionalism, which is much in the air, and American universalism, which few of us understand as a separate matter. The first holds America to be singular (exceptional), and the second that the world is destined to follow us, that the trails we've blazed are the future of humanity. You call this a "potentially unstable compound." Could you elaborate on this distinction, and explain why you think it's unstable?

It's unstable because the first can exist without the second. There is, of course, a famous ideological linkage between the two in the religious idea, specific to the United States, of Providence-that is, divine Providence. In your own book "Time No Longer" you cite an astounding expression of this notion: "However one comes to the debate, there can be little question that the hand of Providence has been on a nation which finds a Washington, a Lincoln, or a Roosevelt when it needs him." That pronouncement was delivered in the mid-1990s-not by some television preacher, but by Seymour Martin Lipset: chairs at Harvard and Stanford, president of both the American Sociological and the American Political Science Associations, a one-time social democrat.

What is the force of this idea? A belief that God has singled out America as a chosen nation for exceptional blessings, a notion which then easily becomes a conviction of its mission to bring the benefits of the Lord to the world. President after president, from Truman through to Kennedy, the younger Bush to Obama, reiterate the same tropes: "God has given us this, God has given us that," and with the unique freedom and prosperity he has conferred on us comes a universal calling to spread these benefits to the rest of the world. What is the title of the most ambitious contemporary account of the underlying structures of American foreign policy? "Special Providence," by Walter Russell Mead. Year of publication: 2001.

But while a messianic universalism follows easily from providential exceptionalism, it is not an ineluctable consequence of it. You mount a powerful attack on the idea of exceptionalism in "Time No Longer," but-we may differ on this-if we ask what is the more dangerous element in the unstable compound of the nation's image of itself, I would say exceptionalism is the less dangerous. That may seem paradoxical. But historically the idea of exceptionalism allowed for an alternative, more modest deduction: that the country was different from all others, and so should not be meddling with them-the argument of Washington's Farewell Address [in 1796].

A century later, this position became known as isolationism, and as the American empire took shape, it was all but invariably castigated as narrow-minded, short-sighted and selfish. But it could often be connected with a sense that the republic was in danger at home, with domestic ills that needed to be addressed, which vast ambitions abroad would only compound. Mead terms this strand in American sensibility Jeffersonian, which isn't an accurate description of Jefferson's own empire-building outlook, but he otherwise captures it quite well.

We don't ordinarily apply the term "exceptionalist" in the same breath to America and to Japan, though if there is any nation that claims to be completely unique, it is Japan. But the claim produced a drastic isolationism as a national impulse, both in the Tokugawa period [1603-1868, a period of severely enforced seclusion] and after the war. Does that support the point you're making?

Exactly. Historically, exceptionalism could generate a self-limiting, self-enclosing logic as well as the gigantic expansionist vanities of the Co-Prosperity Sphere and the "Free World" [narrative]. In the American case, the two strands of exceptionalism and universalism remained distinct, respectively as isolationist and interventionist impulses, sometimes converging but often diverging, down to the Second World War. Then they fused. The thinker who wrote best about this was Franz Schurmann, whose " Logic of World Power" came out during the Vietnam War. He argued that each had a distinct political-regional base: the social constituency for isolationism was small business and farming communities in the Midwest, for interventionism it was the banking and manufacturing elites of the East Coast, with often sharp conflicts between the two up through the end of thirties. But in the course of the Second World War they came together in a synthesis he attributed-somewhat prematurely-to FDR, and they have remained essentially interwoven ever since. The emblematic figure of this change was [Arthur H.] Vandenberg, the Republican Senator from Michigan [1928-51], who remained an isolationist critic of interventionism even for a time after Pearl Harbor, but by the end of the war had become a pillar of the new imperial consensus.

Mainstream debate today seems to have constructed two very stark alternatives: There is either engagement or isolation. In this construction, engagement means military engagement; if we are not going to be militarily engaged we are isolationists. I find that absolutely wrong. There are multiple ways of being engaged with the world that have nothing to do with military assertion.

True, but engagement in that usage doesn't mean just military engagement, but power projection more generally. One of the thinkers I discuss toward the end of my book is Robert Art, a lucid theorist of military power and its political importance to America, who argues for what he calls selective-expressly, not universal-engagement. What is unusual about him is that in seeking to discriminate among engagements the U.S. should and should not select, he starts considering in a serious, non-dismissive way what would typically be construed as isolationist alternatives, even if ending with a fairly conventional position.

How far do you view the contemporary American crisis-if you accept that we are living through one-as, at least in part, one of consciousness? As an American, I tend to think that no significant departure from where find ourselves today can be achieved until we alter our deepest notions of ourselves and our place among others. I pose this question with some trepidation, since a change in consciousness is a generational project, if not more. Our leadership is not remotely close even to thinking about this. I'm suggesting a psychological dimension to our predicament, and you may think I put too much weight on that.

You ask at the outset whether I accept that Americans are living through a crisis. My reply would be: not anything like the order of crisis that would bring about the sort of change in consciousness for which you might hope. You describe that as a generational project, and there, yes, one can say that among the youngest cohorts of the U.S. population, the ideologies of the status quo are less deeply embedded, and in certain layers even greatly weakened. That is an important change, but it's generational, rather than society-wide, and it's not irreversible.

At the level of the great majority, including, naturally, the upper middle class, the image you use to describe the purpose of your last book applies: you write that it aims "to sound the tense strings wound between the pegs of myth and history during the hundred years and a few that I take to be the American century. It is this high, piercing tone that Americans now have a chance to render, hear, and recognize all at once. We have neither sounded nor heard it yet." That's all too true, unfortunately. The most one can say is that, among a newer generation, the strings are fraying a bit.

I tend to distinguish between strong nations and the merely powerful, the former being supple and responsive to events, the later being brittle and unstable. Is this a useful way to judge America in the early 21st century-monumentally powerful but of dubious strength? If so, doesn't it imply some change in the American cast of mind, as the difference between the two sinks in?

That depends on the degree of instability you sense in the country. In general, a major change in consciousness occurs when there is a major alteration in material conditions of life. For example, if a deep economic depression or dire ecological disaster strikes a society, all bets are off. Then, suddenly, thoughts and actions that were previously inconceivable become possible and natural. That isn't the situation so far in America.

Can you discuss the new accord with Iran in this context? I don't see any question it's other than a breakthrough, a new direction. What do you think were the forces propelling the Obama administration to pursue this pact? And let's set aside the desire for a "legacy" every president cultivates late in his time.

The agreement with Iran is an American victory but not a departure in U.S. foreign policy. Economic pressure on Iran dates back to Carter's time, when the U.S. froze the country's overseas assets after the ousting of the Shah, and the full range of ongoing U.S. sanctions was imposed by the Clinton administration in 1996. The Bush administration escalated the pressure by securing U.N. generalization of sanctions in 2006, and the Obama administration has harvested the effect.

Over the past decade, the objective has always been the same: to protect Israel's nuclear monopoly in the region without risking an Israeli blitz on Iran to preserve it-that might set off too great a wave of popular anger in the Middle East. It was always likely, as I point out in "American Policy and its Thinkers," that the clerical regime in Tehran would buckle under a sustained blockade, if that was the price of its survival. The agreement includes a time-out clause to save its face, but the reality is an Iranian surrender.

You can see how little it means any alteration in imperial operations in the region by looking at what the Obama administration is doing in Yemen, assisting Saudi Arabia's wholesale destruction of civilian life there in the interest of thwarting imaginary Iranian schemes.

This next question vexes many people, me included. On the one hand, the drives underlying the American imperium are material: the expansion of capital and the projection of power by its political representatives. The American mythologies are shrouds around these. On the other hand, the issue of security has a long history among Americans. It is authentically an obsession independent of capital-American paranoia dates back at least to the 18th century. I don't take these two accountings to be mutually exclusive, but I'd be interested to know how you reconcile these different threads in American foreign policy.

Yes, there has been a longstanding-you could say aboriginal-obsession with security in the United States. This can be traced as an independent strand running through the history of American dealings with the outside world. What happened, of course, from the Cold War through to the "war on terror" was a ruthless instrumentalization of this anxiety for purposes of expansion rather than defense. At the start of the Cold War you had the National Security Act and the creation of the National Security Council, and today we have the National Security Agency. Security became a euphemistic cloak for aggrandizement.

The United States occupies the better part of a continent separated by two immense oceans, which nobody in modern history has had any serious chance of invading, unlike any other major state in the world, all of which have contiguous land-borders with rival powers, or are separated from them only by narrow seas. The U.S. is protected by a unique geographical privilege. But if its expansion overseas cannot be attributed to imperatives of security, what has driven it?

A gifted and important group of historians, the Wisconsin school [which included the late William Appleman Williams, among others], has argued that the secret of American expansion has from the beginning lain in the quest by native capital for continuously larger markets, which first produced pressure on the internal frontier and the march across the continent to the Pacific, and when the West Coast was reached, a drive beyond into Asia and Latin America, and ultimately the rest of the world, under the ideology of the Open Door.

A couple of good scholars, Melvyn Leffler and Wilson Miscamble, one a liberal and the other a conservative, have identified my position with this tradition, taxing me with a belief that American foreign policy is essentially just an outgrowth of American business. This is a mistake. My argument is rather that because of the enormous size and self-sufficiency of the American economy, the material power at the disposal of the American state exceeded anything that American capital could directly make use of or require.

If you look at the First World War, you can see this very clearly. East Coast bankers and munitions manufacturers did well out of supplying the Entente powers, but there was no meaningful economic rationale for American entry into the war itself. The U.S. could tip the scales in favor of the British and French variants of imperialism against the German and Austrian variants without much cost to itself, but also much to gain.

The same gap between the reach of American business and the power of the American state explains the later hegemony of the United States within the advanced capitalist world after the Second World War. Standard histories wax lyrical in admiration of the disinterested U.S. generosity that revived Germany and Japan with the Marshall and Dodge Plans [reconstruction programs after 1945], and it is indeed the case that policies crafted at the State and Defense Departments did not coincide with the desiderata of the Commerce Department. The key requirement was to rebuild these former enemies as stable capitalist bulwarks against communism, even if this meant there could be no simple Open Door into them for U.S. capital.

For strategic political reasons, the Japanese were allowed to re-create a highly protected economy, and American capital was by and large barred entry. The priority was to defend the general integrity of capitalism as a global system against the threat of socialism, not particular returns to U.S. business. The importance of those were never, of course, ignored. But they had to bide their time. Today's Trans-Pacific Partnership will finally pry open Japanese financial, retail and other markets that have remained closed for so long.

I'd like to turn to the origins of the Cold War, since I believe we are never going to get anywhere until these are honestly confronted. You give a forceful account of Stalin's reasons for avoiding confrontation after 1945 and Washington's reasons for not doing so. But should we attribute the outbreak of the Cold War to the U.S. without too much in the way of qualification?

We can look at the onset of the Cold War on two levels. One is that of punctual events. There, you are certainly right to pick out the ideological starting gun as Truman's speech on Greece in 1947, designed the "scare hell" out of voters to win acceptance for military aid to the Greek monarchy. In policy terms, however, the critical act that set the stage for confrontation with Moscow was the flat American refusal to allow any serious reparations for the staggering level of destruction Russia suffered from the German attack on it. The most developed third of the country was laid waste, its industry and its cities wrecked, while Americans suffered not a fly on the wrist at home-basking, on the contrary, in a massive economic boom. There was no issue Stalin spoke more insistently about than reparations in negotiations among the Allies. But once the fighting was over, the U.S. reneged on wartime promises and vetoed reparations from the larger part of Germany-far the richest and most developed, and occupied by the West-because it did not want to strengthen the Soviet Union and did want to rebuild the Ruhr as an industrial base under Western control, with a view to creating what would subsequently become the Federal Republic.

Can you put Hiroshima and Nagasaki into this context?

Prior to this came Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan. He did so, of course, to shorten the war, and partly also because the Pentagon wanted to test its new weapons. But there was a further reason for the obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was urgent to secure a Japanese surrender before the Red Army could get close to the country, for fear that Moscow might insist on a Soviet presence in the occupation of Japan. The U.S. was determined not to let the Russians in, as they could not stop them from doing in Germany. So if we look just at events, you can say the starting points were the use of atomic bombs in Japan and the refusal of reparations in Germany. In that sense, those who argue that the Cold War was an American initiative-the Swedish historian Anders Stephanson, who has written most deeply about this, calls it an American project-are justified in doing so.

So these are your "punctual events."

Exactly. On the hand, if we look at the structural origins of the Cold War, they don't lie in these punctual events, but in the radical incompatibility between American capitalism and Soviet communism as forms of economy, society and polity. Revisionist historians have pointed out quite properly that Stalin was defensive in outlook after the war, determined to erect a protective glacis in Eastern Europe against any repetition of the Nazi invasion of Russia, but otherwise acutely conscious of Soviet weakness and superior Western strength.

All of that is true, but at the same time Stalin remained a communist who firmly believed that the ultimate mission of the world's working class was to overthrow capitalism, everywhere. His immediate stance was defensive, but in the much longer run his expectation was offensive. In that sense, U.S. policies toward the USSR were not needlessly aggressive, as revisionists maintain, but perfectly rational. The two systems were mortal antagonists.

Let's move to the topic of social democracy. I did a lot of my learning in developing countries and have a sense that Washington's true Cold War enemy was social democracy as it spread through Western Europe and all the newly independent nations. What's your view of this?

Strong disagreement, so far as Europe is concerned. If you look at the whole period from 1945 through to the present, you could argue that, on the contrary, European social democracy was Washington's best friend in the region. NATO was the brainchild not of the Pentagon but of Ernest Bevin, the social-democratic foreign secretary in Britain. Attlee, his prime minister, then split his own government by cutting the health service to fund rearmament for the American war in Korea. In France, the most ruthless crackdown on labor unrest after the war came from Jules Moch, the Socialist interior minister.

Think, too, of the Norwegian social democrat who Washington put in charge of the U.N. as its first secretary general, Trygve Lie, an odious collaborator with McCarthyism inside the United Nations. This was the period in which Irving Brown of the A.F.L., working closely with local social democrats, was installed in Europe by the C.I.A. with funds to divide and corrupt trade unions everywhere. He was still active in plotting against Allende [the Chilean social democratic president] in the '70s. As to more recent years, who was Bush's most ardent European ally in the war on Iraq? Not any conservative politician, but British social democrat Blair.

There were exceptions to this dismal record, but few and far between. Not by accident, they generally came from neutral countries that stayed out of the Cold War. In Sweden, Olaf Palme was a courageous opponent of the American war in Vietnam, detested by the U.S. for that reason. In Austria, Bruno Kreisky took an independent line on the Middle East, refusing to fall in with Western support for Israel-itself governed in those years by another social democratic party-and so was scarcely less disliked by the U.S.

But the dominant pattern has always been craven submission to Washington.

Well, I was thinking more of figures like Mossadeq, Arbenz and Allende-maybe the Sandinistas, too.

Their fate is certainly relevant, but there you are talking of a different political phenomenon-nationalism in the Third World, typically though not invariably of the left. You could add Lumumba in the Congo, Goulart in Brazil, Bosch in the Dominican Republic and others to the list. Not all were figures of the left, but from the Cold War onward the U.S. regarded nearly all serious attempts at nationalization of local resources as a threat to capital and worked to subvert or overthrow those who undertook them. A good part of my book is devoted to this front of imperial operations.

I've often wondered what the fate of Cuba would have been if Castro had been properly received in Washington in 1960. Could he have become something like a social democrat?

Excluded, if only because of the side of the Cuban Revolution that distinguished it from both the Chinese Revolution and from the outcome of Russian Revolution after Lenin, which was genuine internationalism. It had to be internationalist because it was a small island close to the United States, not a huge country far away, so it needed revolutionary solidarity within Latin America, which it couldn't hope for as long the continent was populated by assorted clients of the United States, most of them dictators. So even if, counterfactually, Eisenhower or Kennedy had rolled out a tactical red carpet for Fidel, there would have still have been insurmountable conflict over all these Latin American regimes propped up by the United States. The Cubans would have never said, if you put up with us, you can do what you want anywhere. Think of the fact they sent troops [in 1975] even to Angola-where they had no regional connection at all-to save it from a U.S.-backed invasion by South Africa.

Do you see any inflections in the development of American foreign policy over this period?

There is an underlying continuity in the long arc of the U.S. imperium that extends from FDR to Obama. But one can distinguish successive phases in this arc. You have the period that runs from Truman to Kennedy, the high Cold War. Then comes Nixon, the only American president with an original mind in foreign policy. He was intelligent because he was so cynical. He wasn't taken in or mystified by the enormous amount of rhetoric surrounding the lofty U.S. mission in the world. He was therefore more ruthless, but also genuinely innovative in a whole series of ways, the most important of which was to capitalize on the Sino-Soviet split.

The next phase runs from Carter through Reagan to the elder Bush, which sees a reversion to the earlier forms of foreign policy during the Cold War. The fourth phase, of humanitarian intervention, from Clinton through the younger Bush to Obama.

I once thought Carter was an exception in this line, but have since been persuaded to think again.

If you're interested in Carter, there's a good chapter on him in the huge "Cambridge History of the Cold War" by a scholar sympathetic to Carter, which captures the ambiguities and contradictions of his presidency quite well. He did, of course, talk a lot about human rights at the beginning of his tenure, and appointed Patricia Derian, who genuinely believed in them but was quite powerless, to an assistant position in the State Department. But one has to remember that at the outset he appointed Zbigniew Brzezinski as national security adviser, on whom he relied throughout his presidency.

Brzezinski was in many ways brighter than Kissinger, in later years an overrated showman not particularly interesting as a thinker. Brzezinski's cold, brittle mind was a good deal sharper. He was also as much, if not more, of a hawk than Kissinger had been. His masterstroke was funding religious and tribal resistance to the Communist regime in Afghanistan well before any Soviet troops were there, with the clear-cut and entirely successful aim of making the country the Vietnam of the USSR. There followed the Carter Doctrine, which put the U.S. into the military emplacements in the Gulf, where it remains today, while the president was toasting the Shah as a close personal friend and pillar of human rights. To top it off, with Brzezinski at his elbow again, Carter patronized and protected Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, keeping them at the U.N. as the legitimate government of Cambodia, as part of the deal with China for its attack on Vietnam.

In the Middle East, the peace treaty between Sadat and Begin is generally credited to Carter. Its precondition, however, was the double rescue of Israel and of Egypt by Nixon and Kissinger in the 1973 war, which put both countries into the palm of the American hand. What was the regional upshot? Sadat ditched the Palestinians and became a well-funded U.S. client, Begin secured an ally on Israel's southern flank and the Egyptians got the tyranny of Sadat, Mubarak and now Sisi for the next 40 years. Yet to this day Carter gushes over Sadat, a torturer whose memory is loathed by his people, as a wonderful human being. What is nevertheless true is that with all his weaknesses-and worse-Carter was a contradictory figure, who, once he was ousted from office, behaved more decently than any other ex-president in recent memory. Today, he's almost a pariah because of what he says on Israel. One can respect him for that.

Turning to Europe for a moment, I often feel disappointed-I don't think I'm alone in this-at the hesitancy of the Europeans to act on what seems to be their underlying impatience with American primacy. Is this an unrealistic expectation?

Impatience isn't the right word. The reality is rather its opposite. Europe has become ever more patient-a better word would be submissive-with the United States. After 1945, Western Europe was far weaker in relation to America than the E.U. today, which is larger than the U.S. in both GDP and population. But think of three European politicians-in France, Germany and England-in the first 15 years after the war. You had a great statesman in De Gaulle; a very strong, if much more limited leader in Adenauer, and a weak ruler in Eden. But the striking thing is all three were quite prepared to defy the United States in a way that no subsequent politician in Europe has ever done.

Eden launched the Suez expedition against Nasser [in late 1956] without informing Washington - the Americans were livid, Eisenhower beside himself, fearing that it would stoke popular anti-imperialism across Africa and Asia. So the U.S. brought the expedition to an abrupt halt by triggering a run on sterling, and Eden fell. But there was an aftermath. The French premier at the time was Guy Mollet, the Socialist who was an accomplice of Eden in the attack on Egypt, with, himself, a terrible record in Algeria. When the idea of a Common Market came up shortly after the Suez debacle, though he was personally favorable to it, he faced a lot of opposition in France - as there was, too, in Germany. Adenauer, who was quite willing to make commercial concessions to France to smooth the path for the undertaking, gave Mollet a political reason for the Common Market. Look what happened when you fought at Suez, he told him. None of our countries is strong enough to resist the U.S. on its own. Let's pool our resources and then we can do so.

Adenauer was loyal enough to the West, and a staunch anticommunist, but Germany, not America, was what counted for him. As for De Gaulle, he famously pulled France out of the military command of NATO, and defied America with éclat virtually throughout.

Since then, there has been nobody like this. If we ask why, I think the answer is that all these people were formed before the First and Second World Wars broke out, in a period in which major European states had as much weight as the United States on the international checkerboard, if not more. They were not brought up in a world where American hegemony was taken for granted. All of them were involved in the two World Wars, and in the Second De Gaulle had good reason to be distrustful of the U.S., since Roosevelt was long pro-Vichy and wanted to oust him as leader of the Free French.

We could add, incidentally, a couple of later politicians, who fought in the second conflict. One was the English Tory prime minister, Edward Heath, the only postwar ruler of Britain who never made the trip to simper on the White House lawn, receiving an audience and paying tribute, that would become a virtual ceremony of investiture for any new ruler around the world. The other was Helmut Schmidt, a veteran of Operation Barbarossa [the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941] who scarcely concealed his disdain for Carter. These were latecomers from the past. Their successors have grown up under U.S. paramountcy and take it for granted. This is America's world. It is second nature for them to defer to it.

You describe a generational difference in sensibility. But what about the EU?

If the generational declension is one big change, another is what has become of the European Union itself. On paper, it's much more powerful than any of the individual countries. But so far as any coherent foreign policy is concerned, it's institutionally paralyzed by the number of states that make it up-originally six, now 28-and the labyrinthine nature of their dealings with each other. None of them has any complete autonomy of initiative. A staggering amount of time is wasted in endless summits behind closed doors, agendas prepared by bureaucrats, tremulous fear of any public disagreement. No serious international statecraft can emerge from this.

During the countdown to the war in Iraq, there were large street demonstrations in not a few countries, which Dominique Strauss-Kahn-no less-described as a European Declaration of Independence. Schröder [Gerhard, the German chancellor from 1998-2005] announced that Germany could not accept the war, and Chirac [Jacques, the French president, 1995-2007] blocked a U.N. resolution endorsing it. Were these bold acts of independence? Far from it. The French envoy in Washington told Bush in advance: You already have one U.N. resolution saying Saddam must comply with inspections, which is suitably vague. Don't embarrass us by trying to get another resolution that is more specific, which we'll have to oppose. Just use that one and go in. No sooner, indeed, was the attack launched than Chirac opened French skies to U.S. operations against Iraq. Can you imagine De Gaulle meekly helping a war he had said he opposed? As for Schröder, it was soon revealed that German intelligence agents in Baghdad had signaled ground targets for "Shock and Awe." These were politicians who knew the war was very unpopular in domestic opinion, and so made a show of opposing it while actually collaborating. Their independence was a comedy.

That was a dozen years ago. What's the position today?

Edward Snowden's break with the illegalities of Obama's government revealed that it was not only spying on European as well as American citizens en masse, but tapping the phones and communications of Merkel, Hollande and other pillars of Atlantic solidarity. How have these leaders reacted? With an embarrassed smile, before the next warm embrace with the Leader of the Free World. Has one single European government dreamt of offering asylum to Snowden? Not one. Under Merkel, indeed, it now emerges that German intelligence itself was illegally spying on Germans at the behest of the U.S., and passing on the information it gathered to the CIA. There are no consequences to such revelations, except to those who reveal them. The level of abjection passes belief.

Let's put the Ukraine crisis in this context. It is, after all, what prompted me to raise the question of European passivity in the trans-Atlantic relationship. Here, it seems to me, the Europeans are furious with Washington for encouraging Kiev toward a patently dangerous confrontation with Russia. Animosity has been evident since Vicky Nuland's infamous "'F'the E.U." remark just before the coup last year. And now we see Merkel and Hollande more or less pushing the U.S. aside in favor of a negotiated settlement-or "seem to see," in any case. What's your view here?

Why should Washington object to European attempts to reach a stand-off in the Ukraine, so long as sanctions in Russia remain in place? Berlin and Paris are not going to defy it. Any real settlement is for the time being out of reach, but if one were materialize, they would be convenient sherpas for it. The E.U. as such hardly matters: Its reaction to Nuland's dismissal [of them] was to turn the other cheek.

Patrick Smith is Salon's foreign affairs columnist. A longtime correspondent abroad, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune and The New Yorker, he is also an essayist, critic and editor. His most recent books are "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century" (Yale, 2013) and Somebody Else's Century: East and West in a Post-Western World (Pantheon, 2010). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is patricklawrence.us.

More Patrick L. Smith.

The Making Of Global Capitalism The Political Economy Of American Empire

The Making Of Global Capitalism The Political Economy Of American Empire Sam Gindin, Leo Panitch

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Hans G. Despain on October 7, 2012

Powerful Political Economy

Panitch and Gindin argue that market economies have never existed independent of nation states. The state was necessary for the genesis of capitalism, and the state was, and still is, necessary for its historical development and continuous reproduction. Nonetheless, Panitch and Gindin argue there is significant autonomy, or historical "differentiation," between the economy and the nation state. There are economic structural tendencies manifest from the logic of capital and the functioning of the market-system. At the same time nation states can affect these structural tendencies in remarkable ways.

In this sense, there has never been "separation" between capitalist reproduction/development and the state, but there is "differentiation" which has radically significant effects. There is a symbiotic relationship between the state and capitalistic reproduction/development.

This is a book of economic history. But is also a book of economic theory. The economic history is rich and interesting, aimed at explaining the historical emergence of global financial capitalism. While the history Panitch and Gindin offer is rich and interesting, the theory is still richer and even more intriguing.

Their history is primarily aimed, (1) at explaining the emergence of the "informal American empire" (what makes this empire "informal" is the hegemony is accomplished primarily through economic strategy, policy, and diplomacy; and less through military might and political coercion) and (2) demonstrating the historical shifting relationship (from decade to decade since the World War I) between workers, business, finance, and the state.

Their theoretical concern is threefold;

  1. (1) offer a theoretical explanation of the crisis of 2007-8;
  2. (2) offer guidance toward the direction the future the "informal American empire" has for guiding the economies of world; and
  3. (3) to understand the "informal American empire" as a set of beliefs, doctrine, and ideology of how to organize modern societies (workers, business, finance and the state) and the global order (both political [e.g. UN, NATO, etc.] and economical [World Bank, IMF, WTO) for the (ideological) common good.

Although Panitch and Gindin accept that capitalistic development is uneven and unstable, it is crucial to their thesis that each crisis is unique depending upon the particular relationships and alliances forged between workers, business, finance, and the state. In this sense, the crisis of 2007-8 is necessarily unique and the solutions or economic fiscal policies necessary for recovery necessarily different from previous crises.

The highlights of their economic global history include that there have been four! major historical global crises, the long depression in the 1870, the Great depression of 1930, the Great recession of 1970s, and the Great financial crisis of 2007-09.

According to Pantich and Gindin, the 1970s is an economic watershed moment which separates "two Golden ages" of American capitalism.

It may be quite strange to many readers to call 1983 - 2007 a Golden Age. But in fact when looking at the economic data of the period it was quite literally a Golden Age, with millions of Americans and Global financiers and business leaders becoming impressively wealthy. Moreover, the levels of production (GDP) and productivity during the second Golden Age generally outperform the levels of production and productivity during the first Golden Age. Nonetheless the distribution of this wealth is radically narrow and concentrated within primarily finance, while political power concentrated toward "free-trade" orientated states, and away from workers and industrial production. Moreover, Pantich and Gindin maintain that workers are generally weaker during the second Golden Age, finance is strengthen and trumps over production processes, which is more or less conventional wisdom of this period of modern history. Less conventional is their thesis that the state, in particular the American domestic fiscal state and global "informal American empire," greatly strengthened post-1973-83 crisis.

It is not clear the direction the post-2007-09 crisis will take the global economy and American capitalism. What is clear is that the symbiotic relationship between workers, business, finance, and the state, and the global order (U.S. Treasury, IMF, World Bank, WTO, UN) is once again shifting. Pantich and Gindin's book offers to the reader a far

Jeb Sprague on November 8, 2014

Fascinating & important book, yet suffers from nation-state centrism & ignores novel social dynamics of Global Capitalism era

Panitch and Gindin's epic and fascinating book has the goal of tracing what the authors describe as the central role of the informal "American empire" and U.S. capital in the formation of the contemporary global capitalist system. I published a review in the journal Critical Sociology (Vol. 40, No. 5. P. 803-807) earlier this year that expands further on the importance of this work but I also have some criticisms, of which I paste some of below:

Whereas the authors emphasize the role of longstanding national and international dynamics, they overlook the numerous studies that have shown how novel transnational dynamics have come about even as historic residue remains (see for example Harris, 2013; Murray G, 2012; Robinson, 2003, 2004, 2014). Other than briefly denying the usefulness of the idea, the authors say little about the good deal of work on transnational class relations, for example in regards to the different fractions of the transnational capitalist class (as detailed in the works of Baker, 2011; Robinson, 2003, 2008; Harris, 2008; Sklair, 2001; Carrol, 2011; Murray J, 2013). Panitch and Gindin argue that theories of a TCC (transnational capitalist class) lead us to overlook uneven development between "nation-states" and the "economic competition between various centers of accumulation" (p. 11).... Yet while capital tends to concentrate in particular built up spaces, this corresponds, as a number of studies have shown, less and less to the strict restrictions of national space. Functionally integrated circuits of production and finance, and other networks, for example, have come to cut through various geographic scales (including national space) (Dicken, 20112; Robinson, 2010). Whereas local, national, regional, and international dynamics remain legion and substantial, many decisive economic, social, and political processes have become transnationally oriented....

The role of the state and its different policies is a clear focus of Panitch and Gindin's book. At times the authors do refer to the role of state elites, but often the authors can reify the state, describing the state as if it acts on its own and of its own accord. We need here to understand more clearly the class nature of the state, how specific social groups operate through state apparatuses as a site of struggle. Rather than individuals of the capitalist class serving directly in the state, it is governing political groups that normally do this. As relatively autonomous these political groups and state elites maintain legitimacy in the eyes of the electorate, even as they overwhelmingly operate in the "collective" interests of capital. This relative autonomy is conditioned by a number of dynamics, such as prevailing socioeconomic conditions, the balance and struggle of social forces, and the position or character of the state. In those instances where Panitch and Gindin do write about state elites and political groups, these groups are presented as essentially the traditional nation-state governing elite who often operate in the interests of domestic capitalists. While these groups may fight among themselves or wrestle with domestic classes to carry out policies that are internationally geared, these political elites, as Panitch and Gindin describe them, do not veer far from the mold of their nation-state predecessors. The authors never recognize the fundamental changes that are taking place, through which state apparatuses, most importantly the U.S., are being utilized to reproduce conditions for circuits of global capital accumulation.

The authors pass over quickly some theories of the state that they disagree with, giving a straw person description of a "supranational global state" (p. 11) and citing an article by Philip McMichael (2001) that similarly misexplained ideas on the emergent transnationalization of state apparatuses and rise of transnationally oriented technocrats and elites who operate through state apparatuses (as discussed by Jayasuriya, 1999, 2005; Liodakis, 2010; Robinson, 2004, 2012; Sprague, 2012). I would argue for example that transnationally oriented state elites and technocrats believe that to develop they must insert their national states and institutions into global circuits of accumulation. They need access to capital, and capital is in the hands of the TCC. However, state elites must still appeal to their home audiences. They still interact with a variety of social groups and social classes, some more transnationally oriented and others with a more national orientation. Because of this, even as ties between state elites and TCC fractions deepen, national rhetoric and national state policies occur that are in apparent contradiction with TCC interests. In this way, political leaders attempt to maintain national political legitimacy while deepening practices of a global nature. However, as these state elites become entangled with and dependent upon processes of global capital accumulation they increasingly transition from taking part in national or international processes to transnational processes.

In regards to law, Panitch and Gindin argue that "Americanized internationalized law" has supplanted local international investment laws in much of the world. Here the authors obscure how transnational legal frameworks have come about through coalitions and the support of various interests and social forces. The mere adoption of laws for instance (even when heavily influenced by U.S. state elites) does not explain how they are implemented or modified. Nor does it explain the different interests behind these changes.

The authors emphasize the role of the "informal U.S. empire," with globalization "imbricated in the American empire," a system "under continuing US leadership," with the country maintaining its "imperial responsibilities for the reproduction of global capitalism" (p. 330). Yet they never clearly explain what is global capitalism, globalization, or the difference between the international and the transnational. This is because their conceptions of class, capital, and the state don't help us to understand the fundamental changes taking place. While they provide an extensive and critical historical overview in pointing out the leading role of the U.S. state and its policies in reproducing today's "system of class power and inequality" (p. 330), they don't recognize how this has occurred through fundamentally new dynamics of the global epoch.

While the authors help us to better understand the key role of the U.S. government and its policies during the late twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries, they do so through an outdated theoretical scope that never gets at the deep changes occurring. Rather than the U.S. nation-state empire and those operating through it creating conditions beneficial for closely aligned internationally active domestic capitalists, more and more we can see how transnationally oriented elites operating through the most powerful national state apparatus (headquartered in Washington) are promoting conditions for circuits of global capital accumulation and in the interests of TCC fractions.

While this book is well worth your time reading, for getting a deeper understanding of contemporary political economy I suggest Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity clearer picture of what is at stake and who are the main institutional actors in the historical drama and capitalistic tragedy we call modern human history.


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

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

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

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

Washington's 'Two Track' Policy for Domination

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

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

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

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

Modern imperialist policies include:

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

Linguistic and Conceptual Perversions

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

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

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

Sanctions: A Tool of Conquest

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

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

Regional and Global Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran Counters the US Global Military Threat

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The US faces a CLANDESTINE CIVIL WAR among its elite!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@Joe Levantine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Nicely Written Article by Petras:

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

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

Durruti for The Anarchist Collective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excellent article and analysis, kudos and gratitude

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

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

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

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

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

[MORE]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

sounds like a perfectly excellent analysis to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

- General Wesley Clark

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

travelling NGO EcoSystem

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

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

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

@Rurik

My fine feathered friend:

I have little to parse in your lengthy essay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is nauseating .

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

@KA

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

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

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

@SolontoCroesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@Joe Levantine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@Miro23

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

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

@Miro23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Oct 11, 2017] The Myths of Interventionists by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... There are dangers and threats in the world, but all of the threats from state actors are manageable and deterrable without spending more on the military, and these threats are much less severe than anything the U.S. faced between the 1940s and the end of the Cold War. The U.S. can and should get by safely with a much lower level of military spending, and our government should also adopt a strategy of restraint that keeps us out of unnecessary wars. ..."
"... The Iraq war is just the most obvious example of how the U.S. forcibly intervenes in other parts of the world over the objections of allies, in flagrant disregard for international law, and with no thought for the destabilizing effects that military action will have on the surrounding region. ..."
"... It would be much more accurate to say that the U.S. intervenes often in the affairs of weaker countries because it can, because our leaders leaders want to, and because there is usually no other power willing or able to stop it from happening. Exorbitant military spending far beyond what is needed to provide for our defense makes it possible to take military action on a regular basis, and the constant inflation of foreign threats makes a large part of the public believe that our government's frequent use of force overseas has something to do with self-defense. This frenetic meddling in the affairs of other nations hasn't made and won't make America any safer, it makes far more enemies than it eliminates, and it imposes significant fiscal and human costs on our country and the countries where our government interferes. ..."
"... At least Churchill had a focus. Neocons claim that any country that doesn't yield to our every desire is an existential threat. One article says, 'Iran', another 'China', yet another 'Russia' or 'N. Korea'. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Dakota Wood makes the usual alarmist case for throwing more money at the military. This passage stood out for how wrong it is:

Churchill repeatedly warned his countrymen of the dangers of complacency, misguided priorities, and weakness of will, of the foolishness to see the world and major competitors as being anything other than what they truly are. While praising the virtues and spirit of moderation that defined the English-speaking peoples of his day, he also urged them to recognize the necessity of having the courage to take timely action when dangers threatened and clearly visible trends in an eroding ability to provide for their common defense were leading toward disaster.

A similar state of affairs afflicts the United States today. To the extent America intervenes in the affairs of others, it is because the United States has been attacked first, an ally is in dire need of assistance, or an enemy threatens broader regional stability [bold mine-DL].

Over ten years ago, Rick Santorum talked incessantly about "the gathering storm" in a very conscious echo of Churchill, and subsequent events have proven his alarmism to have been just as unfounded and ridiculous as it seemed to be at the time. Hawks are often eager to invoke the 1930s to try to scare their audience into accepting more aggressive policies and more military spending than our security actually requires. Some of this may come from believing their own propaganda about the threats that they exaggerate, and some of it may just be a reflex, but as analysis of the contemporary scene it is always wrong. There are dangers and threats in the world, but all of the threats from state actors are manageable and deterrable without spending more on the military, and these threats are much less severe than anything the U.S. faced between the 1940s and the end of the Cold War. The U.S. can and should get by safely with a much lower level of military spending, and our government should also adopt a strategy of restraint that keeps us out of unnecessary wars.

Churchill-quoting alarmists aren't just bad at assessing the scale and nature of foreign threats, but they are usually also oblivious to the shoddy justifications for intervening and the damage that our interventionist policies do. The section quoted above reflects an almost touchingly naive belief that U.S. interventions are always justified and never cause more harm than they prevent. Very few U.S. interventions over the last thirty years fit the description Wood gives. The only time that the U.S. has intervened militarily abroad in response to an attack during this period was in Afghanistan as part of the immediate response to the 9/11 attacks. Every other intervention has been a choice to attack another country or to take sides in an ongoing conflict, and these interventions have usually had nothing to do with coming to the defense of an ally or preventing regional instability. Our interference in the affairs of others is often illegal under both domestic and/or international law (e.g., Kosovo, Libya, Iraq), it is very rarely related to U.S. or allied security, and it tends to cause a great deal of harm to the country and the surrounding region that are supposedly being "helped" by our government's actions.

The Iraq war is just the most obvious example of how the U.S. forcibly intervenes in other parts of the world over the objections of allies, in flagrant disregard for international law, and with no thought for the destabilizing effects that military action will have on the surrounding region. The U.S. didn't invade Panama in 1989 to help an ally or because we were attacked, but simply to topple the government there. Intervention in Haiti in 1994 didn't come in response to an attack or to assist an ally, but because Washington wanted to restore a deposed leader. Bombing Yugoslavia in 1999 was an attack on a country that posed no threat to us or our allies. The Libyan war was a war for regime change and a war of choice. A few allies did urge the U.S. to intervene in Libya, but not because they were in "dire need of assistance." The only thing that Britain and France needed in 2011 was the means to launch an attack on another country whose government posed no threat to them. Meddling in Syria since at least 2012 had nothing to do with defending the U.S. and our allies. Wood's description certainly doesn't apply to our support for the shameful Saudi-led war on Yemen, as the U.S. chose to take part in an attack on another country so that our despotic clients could be "reassured."

It would be much more accurate to say that the U.S. intervenes often in the affairs of weaker countries because it can, because our leaders leaders want to, and because there is usually no other power willing or able to stop it from happening. Exorbitant military spending far beyond what is needed to provide for our defense makes it possible to take military action on a regular basis, and the constant inflation of foreign threats makes a large part of the public believe that our government's frequent use of force overseas has something to do with self-defense. This frenetic meddling in the affairs of other nations hasn't made and won't make America any safer, it makes far more enemies than it eliminates, and it imposes significant fiscal and human costs on our country and the countries where our government interferes.

Posted in foreign policy , politics .

Tagged Syria , Rick Santorum , Yemen , Iraq war , Panama , Libyan war , Saudi Arabia , Haiti , Winston Churchill , Dakota Wood .

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Democracy Vs. Hegemonism? In Defense Of Mary Grabar

Christian Chuba , says: October 11, 2017 at 4:22 pm

'The gathering storm' I read that and I was dying to know which storm he was referring too.

At least Churchill had a focus. Neocons claim that any country that doesn't yield to our every desire is an existential threat. One article says, 'Iran', another 'China', yet another 'Russia' or 'N. Korea'.

It's surprising how low on the list N. Korea typically ranks as the hawks try to turn attention quickly back to Iran. 'Iran is funding and developing their nuclear program, Iran is going to buy their nuclear weapons'. At least in the case of N. Korea we do have a country that obviously does possess WMD and is developing ICBM's and is likely to sell them in the future (even to our best friends the Saudis).

[Oct 11, 2017] Russia may demand U.S. cut diplomatic staff in Russia to 300 or below RIA by Maria Kiselyova

Oct 11, 2017 | www.msn.com

Russia's Foreign Ministry does not rule out ordering the United States to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia to 300 people or below, the RIA news agency cited Georgy Borisenko, the head of the ministry's North America Department, as saying on Wednesday.

In July, Moscow ordered the United States to cut the number of its diplomatic and technical staff working in Russia by around 60 percent, to 455, part of a diplomatic row.

The figure of 455 was meant to mirror the total number of Russian diplomats working in the United States, but also included Russian nationals working at the United Nations in New York, Borisenko told the agency.

"The fact that in the summer we took into account the people working for Russia's mission at the UN, this was good will," Borisenko told RIA.

"If they haven't appreciated this, we have the full right to reduce ... the number of U.S. diplomats," he said, saying Moscow could stop taking Russian U.N. staff into account when calculating what parity between the two countries meant.

"In this case, the number of American personnel in Russia should decline to a level of 300 or below."

(Reporting ; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

[Oct 10, 2017] America Causes War, Sorrow, Poverty - Epic Rant From #1 Russian Anchor (Kiselyov)

Notable quotes:
"... (Full transcript follows below with key points in bold.) ..."
"... When Donald Trump became President, he received the people's mandate to build a rational relationship with Russia, and to implement a more rational policy in the world. ..."
"... He wasn't supposed to overthrow foreign governments . Right now , Trump acts in direct opposition to his voters' expectations. ..."
Oct 10, 2017 | russia-insider.com

Particularly guilty are the media, because they are in the business of selling this horror show to the unsuspecting public.

Take a few minutes and listen to what this man has to say.

He says it well, and he hits the nail on the head, as painful as it might be to admit it.

Time for a change of leadership, America.


(Full transcript follows below with key points in bold.)

Isn't this how how the US acts all over the world though? They destroy countries, cause civil wars, bring sorrow and poverty to entire nations. Just like that. They seem to not even notice the consequences of their actions. They blame others for everything, and then gloat about being sinless. With this simple, carefree mentality, they can allow themselves everything.

America fines European banks and companies, to punish them for defying America. They impose unilateral sanctions in Europe against those who want to buy cheaper Russian gas, instead of the more expensive American gas. They tap phones and read emails of billions of people on the planet, including the leaders of US allied countries. They arrest foreign citizens all over the world and throw them in secret jail outside of the US. Outside of the US of course, so that they can torture them , without fear of breaking any of their own laws. They plan and execute coup d'etats and color revolutions. They usually time them with the elections in the victim country.

They de facto continue to militarily occupy Germany and Japan . The US has a huge number of military bases in these countries. A base, by the way, is a foreign military force. It directly limits the sovereignty and the ability of the occupied country to act in their own national interests.

They start and execute military operations without sanctions from the UN. They falsely justify their own actions and act on false pretenses . For cover, they gather fake coalitions And all of this is done with that simple American air of naïveté. That same mindset allows them to be allied with what is left of Islamic State in Deir-ez-Zor.

With the same simple-mindedness, Trump threatened to destroy an entire country at the UN General Assembly. The Americans have already announced that they are pulling out of the the nuclear agreement with Iran. Without any justifiable reasons, in spite of everything and everyone. Just like that.

When Donald Trump became President, he received the people's mandate to build a rational relationship with Russia, and to implement a more rational policy in the world.

He wasn't supposed to overthrow foreign governments . Right now , Trump acts in direct opposition to his voters' expectations.

Is there, at least , one problem in the world which the US has helped solve this year? - No.

What's worse, he made North Korea even more dangerous and non-complying. South Korea and Japan are in clear danger now. He has deployed more troops to Afghanistan , but we don't know what he is trying to accomplish there either. In Syria, the US has lost its strategic goals and started to directly oppose Russia and the anti-terrorist forces. He is on bad terms with Turkey, he has scared off Europe, and nothing good is happening in South America, either. Tensions between the US and China are growing. Relations with Russia are at an all-time low.

It's bad enough that the US took over Russian diplomatic residencies, but they are also tearing through them like nobody's business. How else one would label the actions of those agents in our Consulate in San Francisco? Does it mean that Russia must respond in a mutual manner? Perhaps as simple-mindedly as the US does? If Russia did, it would ruin the very concept of diplomacy. What would be next? Or does Washington prefer not to think about that? Or do they? The less diplomacy there is, the less politeness and nice words, the higher the demand for US weapons. That's much better.

It's not like diplomacy is very lucrative. It's about airing concerns, which leads to...unneeded restrictions. Taking the high road is difficult, and the low road is always there . It is coarser, but it does have elements of cheap theatricality.

Take for example what Trump did when he went to Puerto Rico after the hurricane. For appearances sake, he brought his wife along. She wasn't wearing her usual high heels , but specially bought yellow Timberlands. He made the local Americans happy, personally throwing paper towels into the crowd. It looked like one big ridiculous show.

And it all took place on a day of nationwide mourning in honor of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

[Oct 10, 2017] Izreal gets 77 percent of oil from Kurdistan. No wonder Israel is making ties to Kurdistan and bucking the central government of Iraq

Notable quotes:
"... The Kurdish leadership is being very short-sighted – no one is going to back them if they get attacked by those three parties. Is the US going to tango with a NATO member? But it could just be that their army gets trounced in the field after putting up a solid resistance and they are able to use that to get reassurances from those various states that Kurds will have a better seat at their respective national assemblies. I certainly don't know the future, but it just seems like the current trajectory is bad. ..."
Oct 10, 2017 | www.unz.com

Talha, October 10, 2017 at 5:08 pm GMT

@RobinG Hi Talha,

Here's an articulate source. Until the web gets outright censored, beyond the select eliminating and demonetizing that's happening now. See also Ryan Dawson's interview of Phil at comment #28. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybIee-u7qnY

War for Oil? (((Whose oil?))) Wow – thanks RobinG! I actually had no clue about that angle!!!

This article backs that up – 77% – that is massive!

http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Israel-importing-77-percent-of-its-oil-from-Iraqi-Kurdistan-report-says-413056

No wonder Israel is making ties to Kurdistan and bucking the central government of Iraq. If the central govt was to assert control, those numbers would change fairly quickly.

And – damn – Kushner's in on this stuff (it's amazing what that guy is up to in a completely unofficial capacity): http://al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2017/04/us-politics-iraq-kushner-diplomacy.html

The Kurdish leadership is setting themselves up for disaster.

Peace.

Talha, October 10, 2017 at 5:54 pm GMT

@iffen

What's going to happen when "the Iranians" attack the Kurds?

Not sure if that'll happen – there's still time to prevent that from taking place. But if it does, it'll likely come from three sides; Turks, Persians and Arabs – since a new Kurdish territory is going to affect the territorial integrity of each one of those existing states.

Uncle Sam to the rescue?

The guy who spilled the milk comes back to spill some more – no thanks. Certainly Israel isn't going to lift a finger – maybe they'll give the Kurdish leadership exile status in Haifa or something for being good pets.

The Kurdish leadership is being very short-sighted – no one is going to back them if they get attacked by those three parties. Is the US going to tango with a NATO member? But it could just be that their army gets trounced in the field after putting up a solid resistance and they are able to use that to get reassurances from those various states that Kurds will have a better seat at their respective national assemblies. I certainly don't know the future, but it just seems like the current trajectory is bad.

Peace.

iffen, October 10, 2017 at 6:21 pm GMT

@Talha

What's going to happen when "the Iranians" attack the Kurds?

Where there is war, a cause can be found.

Talha, October 10, 2017 at 6:41 pm GMT

@RobinG Hey RobinG,

I've had some good exchanges with iffen – though rarely on the subject of Israel. We agree to disagree. But others might gain benefit in a serious reply that brings together some things they haven't thought about.

I think what the Kurdish leadership is doing is deplorable and will not lead to anything good – but unfortunately it seems much of their desire for a Kurdistan is being backed by a lot of their population. That being said; I do not want any more Muslim blood (or anybody else's) being shed by other Muslims in that region.

This fratricide has to end: "The believers are but a single brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your brethren; and fear God, that you may receive Mercy." (49:10)

Peace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Oct 09, 2017] Amazon.com Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges published this book eight years ago and the things he predicted have sadly been realized
Notable quotes:
"... his screed is a liberating tonic against the crazy-making double-speak and the lies Americans are sold by our country's elite in order to distract us from the true threat and nature of the Corporate State, from the cult of celebrity, to how our nation's Universities have been hijacked to serve the interests, not of the public, but of our corporate overlords. It explains the self-same conditions in all aspects of our society and culture that we now must face, the ever-shrinking flame of enlightenment being exchanged for the illusory shadows on a cave wall. ..."
"... He fearlessly and incisively calls us out on the obvious farce our democracy has become, how we got here, and highlights the rapidly closing window in which we have to do something to correct it. It is a revelation, and yet he merely states the obvious. The empire has no clothes. ..."
"... One of the most powerful aspects of this book was in regard to how our Universities are run these days. I may be in the minority, but I experienced a life-changing disillusionment when I gained entrance to a prestigious "elite" University. Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy. In the eyes of the University, students were not minds to be empowered and developed, but walking dollar signs. ..."
"... Instead of critical thinking, students were taught to OBEY, not to question authority, and then handed a piece of paper admitting them to the ruling class that is destroying America without a moral compass. Selfishness, deceit, disregard for the common good, and a win-at-all-costs attitude were rewarded. Empathy, curiosity, dissent, and an honest, intellectually rigorous evaluation of ourselves and our world were punished. Obviously I am not the only one to whom this was cause to fear for the future of our country. ..."
"... The chapter involving the porn trade that is run by large corporations such as AT&T and GM (the car maker, for crying out loud) was an especially dark, profanity-laced depiction of the abuse and moral decay of American society . ..."
"... He is correct in his belief that the continual barrage of psuedo-events and puffery disguised as news (especially television) has conditioned most of Americans to be non-critical thinkers. ..."
"... Entertainment, consumption and the dangerous illusion that the U.S. is the best in the world at everything are childish mindsets. ..."
"... The are the puppet masters." As extreme as that is, he is more credible when he says, "Commodities and celebrity culture define what it means to belong, how we recognize our place in society, and how we conduct our lives." I say 'credible' because popular and mass culture's influence are creating a world where substance is replaced by questionable style. ..."
"... Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible. If not to the millions, on Survivor or Oprah, then to the hundreds, on Twitter or Facebook. ..."
"... Visibility has replaced substance and accomplishment; packaging over product, sizzle not steak. Chris Rojek calls this "the cult of distraction" where society is consumed by the vacuous and the vapid rather than striving for self-awareness, accomplishment and contribution ("Propaganda has become a substitute for ideas and ideology."). Hedges builds on Rojek's descriptor by suggesting we are living in a "culture of illusion" which impoverishes language, makes us childlike, and is basically dumbing us all down. ..."
"... Today's delusionary and corrupted officials, corporate and government, are reminiscent of the narratives penned by Charles Dickens. Alexander Hamilton referred to the masses as a "great beast" to be kept from the powers of government. ..."
"... Edmund Burke used propaganda to control "elements of society". Walter Lippmann advised that "the public must be kept in its place". Yet, many Americans just don't get it. ..."
"... Divide and conquer is the mantra--rich vs. poor; black vs. white. According to Norm Chomsky's writings, "In 1934, William Shepard argued that government should be in the hands of `aristocracy and intellectual power' while the `ignorant, and the uninformed and the antisocial element' must not be permitted to control elections...." ..."
"... The appalling statistics and opinions outlined in the book demonstrate the public ignorance of the American culture; the depth and extent of the corporatocracy and the related economic malaise; and, the impact substandard schools have on their lives. ..."
"... This idea was recently usurped by the U.S. Supreme Court where representative government is called to question, rendering "our" consent irrelevant. Every voting election is an illusion. Each election, at the local and national level, voters never seemingly "miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" to eliminate irresponsible and unresponsive officials. ..."
"... Walt Kelly's quote "We have met the enemy and he is us" prevails! ..."
"... It's also hard to follow at times as Hedges attempts to stress the connections between pop culture and social, political. and economic policy. Nor is Hedges a particularly stylish writer (a sense of humor would help). ..."
"... The stomach-turning chapter on trends in porn and their relationship to the torture of prisoners of war is a particularly sharp piece of analysis, and all of the other chapters do eventually convince (and depress). ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com

H. I. on May 13, 2011

This Book Explains EVERYTHING!!!!!

Hedges cogently and systematically dismantles the most pernicious cultural delusions of our era and lays bare the pitiful truths that they attempt to mask. This book is a deprogramming manual that trims away the folly and noise from our troubled society so that the reader can focus on the most pressing matters of our time.

Despite the dark reality Hedges excavates, his screed is a liberating tonic against the crazy-making double-speak and the lies Americans are sold by our country's elite in order to distract us from the true threat and nature of the Corporate State, from the cult of celebrity, to how our nation's Universities have been hijacked to serve the interests, not of the public, but of our corporate overlords. It explains the self-same conditions in all aspects of our society and culture that we now must face, the ever-shrinking flame of enlightenment being exchanged for the illusory shadows on a cave wall.

As a twenty-something caught in the death-throes of American Empire and culture, I have struggled to anticipate where our country and our world are heading, why, and what sort of life I can expect to build for myself. Hedges presents the reader with the depressing, yet undeniable truth of the forces that have coalesced to shape the world in which we now find ourselves. The light he casts is searing and relentless. He fearlessly and incisively calls us out on the obvious farce our democracy has become, how we got here, and highlights the rapidly closing window in which we have to do something to correct it. It is a revelation, and yet he merely states the obvious. The empire has no clothes.

One of the most powerful aspects of this book was in regard to how our Universities are run these days. I may be in the minority, but I experienced a life-changing disillusionment when I gained entrance to a prestigious "elite" University. Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy. In the eyes of the University, students were not minds to be empowered and developed, but walking dollar signs.

Instead of critical thinking, students were taught to OBEY, not to question authority, and then handed a piece of paper admitting them to the ruling class that is destroying America without a moral compass. Selfishness, deceit, disregard for the common good, and a win-at-all-costs attitude were rewarded. Empathy, curiosity, dissent, and an honest, intellectually rigorous evaluation of ourselves and our world were punished. Obviously I am not the only one to whom this was cause to fear for the future of our country.

Five stars is not enough. Ever since I began reading Empire of Illusion, I have insisted friends and family pick up a copy, too. Everyone in America should read this incredibly important book.

The truth shall set us free.

By Franklin the Mouse on February 5, 2012

Dream Weavers

Mr. Hedges is in one heck of a foul mood. His raging against the evolving of American democracy into an oligarchy is accurate, but relentlessly depressing. The author focuses on some of our most horrid characteristics: celebrity worship; "pro" wrestling; the brutal porn industry; Jerry Springer-like shows; the military-industrial complex; the moral void of elite colleges such as Yale, Harvard, Berkeley and Princeton; optimistic-ladened pop psychology; and political/corporate conformity.

Mr. Hedges grim assessment put me in a seriously foul mood. The chapter involving the porn trade that is run by large corporations such as AT&T and GM (the car maker, for crying out loud) was an especially dark, profanity-laced depiction of the abuse and moral decay of American society .

He is correct in his belief that the continual barrage of psuedo-events and puffery disguised as news (especially television) has conditioned most of Americans to be non-critical thinkers.

Entertainment, consumption and the dangerous illusion that the U.S. is the best in the world at everything are childish mindsets.

The oddest part of Mr. Hedges' book is the ending. The last three pages take such an unexpectedly hard turn from "all is lost" to "love will conquer," I practically got whiplash. Overall, the author should be commended for trying to bring our attention to what ails our country and challenging readers to wake up from their child-like illusions.

Now, time for me to go run a nice, warm bath and where did I put those razor blades?...

By Walter E. Kurtz on September 25, 2011
Amazing book

I must say I was captivated by the author's passion, eloquence and insight. This is not an academic essay. True, there are few statistics here and there and quotes from such and such person, but this is not like one of those books that read like a longer version of an academic research paper. The book is more of author's personal observations about American society. Perhaps that is where its power comes from.

Some might dismiss the book as nothing more than an opinion piece, but how many great books and works out there are opinion pieces enhanced with supporting facts and statistics?

The book is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is about celebrity worship and how far people are willing to humiliate themselves and sacrifice their dignity for their five minutes of fame. But this is not just about those who are willing to make idiots out of themselves just to appear on television. This is about how the fascination with the world of rich and famous distracts the society from the important issues and problems and how it creates unhealthy and destructive desire to pursue wealth and fame. And even for those few who do achieve it, their lives are far from the bliss and happiness shown in movies. More than one celebrity had cursed her life.

Chapter two deals with porn. It offers gutwrenching, vomit inducing descriptions of lives and conditions in the porn industry. But the damage porn does goes far beyond those working in the "industry". Porn destroys the love, intimacy and beauty of sex. Porn reduces sex to an act of male dominance, power and even violence. Unfortunately, many men, and even women, buy into that and think that the sex seen in porn is normal and this is how things should be.

After reading this chapter, I will never look at porn the same way again. In fact, I probably will never look at porn at all.

Chapter three is about education. It focuses mostly on college level education and how in the past few decades it had increasingly changed focus from teaching students how to be responsible citizens and good human beings to how to be successful, profit seeking, career obsessed corporate/government drones. The students are taught that making money and career building are the only thing that matters. This results in professionals who put greed and selfishness above everything else and mindlessly serve a system that destroys the society and the whole planet. And when they are faced with problems (like the current economic crisis) and evidence that the system is broken, rather than rethink their paradigm and consider that perhaps they were wrong, they retreat further into old thinking in search of ways to reinforce the (broken) system and keep it going.
Chapter four is my favorite. It is about positive thinking. As someone who lives with a family member who feeds me positive thinking crap at breakfast, lunch and supper, I enjoyed this chapter very much. For those rare lucky few who do not know what positive thinking is, it can be broadly defined as a belief that whatever happens to us in life, it happens because we "attracted" it to ourselves. Think about it as karma that affects us not in the next life, but in this one. The movement believes that our conscious and unconscious thoughts affect reality. By assuming happy, positive outlook on life, we can affect reality and make good things happen to us.

Followers of positive thinking are encouraged/required to purge all negative emotions, never question the bad things that happen to them and focus on thinking happy thoughts. Positive thinking is currently promoted by corporations and to lesser extent governments to keep employees in line. They are rendered docile and obedient, don't make waves (like fight for better pay and working conditions) and, when fired, take it calmly with a smile and never question corporate culture.

Chapter five is about American politics and how the government and the politicians had sold themselves out to corporations and business. It is about imperialism and how the government helps the corporations loot the country while foreign wars are started under the pretext of defense and patriotism, but their real purpose is to loot the foreign lands and fill the coffers of war profiteers. If allowed to continue, this system will result in totalitarianism and ecological apocalypse.

I have some objections with this chapter. While I completely agree about the current state of American politics, the author makes a claim that this is a relatively recent development dating roughly to the Vietnam War. Before that, especially in the 1950s, things were much better. Or at least they were for the white men. (The author does admit that 1950s were not all that great to blacks, women or homosexuals.)

While things might have gotten very bad in the last few decades, politicians and governments have always been more at the service of Big Money rather than the common people.

And Vietnam was not the first imperialistic American war. What about the conquest of Cuba and Philippines at the turn of the 20th century? And about all those American "adventures" in South America in the 19th century. And what about the westward expansion and extermination of Native Americans that started the moment the first colonists set their foot on the continent?

But this is a minor issue. My biggest issue with the book is that it is a powerful denunciation, but it does not offer much in terms of suggestions on how to fix the problems it is decrying. Criticizing is good and necessary, but offering solutions is even more important. You can criticize all you want, but if you cannot suggest something better, then the old system will stay in place.

The author does write at the end a powerful, tear inducing essay on how love conquers all and that no totalitarian regime, no matter how powerful and oppressive, had ever managed to crush hope, love and the human spirit. Love, in the end, conquers all.

That is absolutely true. But what does it mean in practice? That we must keep loving and doing good? Of course we must, but some concrete, practical examples of what to do would be welcome.

By Richard Joltes on July 18, 2016
An excellent and sobering view at the decline of reason and literacy in modern society

This is an absolutely superb work that documents how our society has been subverted by spectacle, glitz, celebrity, and the obsession with "fame" at the expense of reality, literacy, reason, and actual ability. Hedges lays it all out in a very clear and thought provoking style, using real world examples like pro wrestling and celebrity oriented programming to showcase how severely our society has declined from a forward thinking, literate one into a mass of tribes obsessed with stardom and money.

Even better is that the author's style is approachable and non judgemental. This isn't an academic talking down to the masses, but a very solid reporter presenting findings in an accurate, logical style.

Every American should read this, and then consider whether to buy that glossy celebrity oriented magazine or watch that "I want to be a millionaire" show. The lifestyle and choices being promoted by the media, credit card companies, and by the celebrity culture in general, are toxic and a danger to our society's future.

By Jeffrey Swystun on June 29, 2011
What does the contemporary self want?

The various ills impacting society graphically painted by Chris Hedges are attributed to a lack of literacy. However, it is much more complex, layered, and inter-related. By examining literacy, love, wisdom, happiness, and the current state of America, the author sets out to convince the reader that our world is intellectually crumbling. He picks aspects of our society that clearly offer questionable value: professional wrestling, the pornographic film industry (which is provided in bizarre repetitive graphic detail), gambling, conspicuous consumption, and biased news reporting to name a few.

The front of the end of the book was the most compelling. Especially when Hedges strays into near conspiracy with comments such as this: "Those who manipulate the shadows that dominate our lives are the agents, publicists, marketing departments, promoters, script writers, television and movie producers, advertisers, video technicians, photographers, bodyguards, wardrobe consultants, fitness trainers, pollsters, public announcers, and television news personalities who create the vast stage for illusion. The are the puppet masters." As extreme as that is, he is more credible when he says, "Commodities and celebrity culture define what it means to belong, how we recognize our place in society, and how we conduct our lives." I say 'credible' because popular and mass culture's influence are creating a world where substance is replaced by questionable style.

What resonated most in the book is a passage taken from William Deresiewicz's essay The End of Solitude: "What does the contemporary self want? The camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity. As the two technologies converge -- broadband tipping the Web from text to image, social-networking sites spreading the mesh of interconnection ever wider -- the two cultures betray a common impulse.

Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible. If not to the millions, on Survivor or Oprah, then to the hundreds, on Twitter or Facebook. This is the quality that validates us, this is how we become real to ourselves -- by being seen by others. The great contemporary terror is anonymity. If Lionel Trilling was right, if the property that grounded the self, in Romanticism, was sincerity, and in modernism it was authenticity, then in postmodernism it is visibility."

Visibility has replaced substance and accomplishment; packaging over product, sizzle not steak. Chris Rojek calls this "the cult of distraction" where society is consumed by the vacuous and the vapid rather than striving for self-awareness, accomplishment and contribution ("Propaganda has become a substitute for ideas and ideology."). Hedges builds on Rojek's descriptor by suggesting we are living in a "culture of illusion" which impoverishes language, makes us childlike, and is basically dumbing us all down.

This is definitely a provocative contribution and damning analysis of our society that would be a great choice for a book club. It would promote lively debate as conclusions and solutions are not easily reached.

By S. Arch on July 10, 2011
A book that needs to be read, even if it's only half true.

Empire of Illusion might be the most depressing book I've ever read. Why? Because it predicts the collapse of America and almost every word of it rings true.

I don't know if there's really anything new here; many of the ideas Hedges puts forth have been floating around in the neglected dark corners of our national discourse, but Hedges drags them all out into the daylight. Just about every social/cultural/economic/political ill you can think of is mentioned at some point in the text and laid at the feet of the villains whose insatiable greed has destroyed this once-great country. Hedges is bold. He predicts nothing less than the end of America. Indeed, he claims America has already ended. The American Dream is nothing more than an illusion being propped up by wealthy elites obsessed with power and the preservation of their lifestyle, a blind academia that has forgotten how to critique authority, and a government that is nothing more than the puppet of corporations. Meanwhile, mindless entertainments and a compliant news media divert and mislead the working and middle classes so they don't even notice that they are being raped to death by the power-elite and the corporations.

(Don't misunderstand. This is no crack-pot conspiracy theory. It's not about secret quasi-mystical cabals attempting world domination. Rather, Hedges paints a credible picture of our culture in a state of moral and intellectual decay, and leaders corrupted by power and greed who have ceased to act in the public interest.)

At times Hedges seems to be ranting and accusing without providing evidence or examples to substantiate his claims. But that might only be because his claims have already been substantiated individually elsewhere, and Hedges's purpose here is a kind of grand synthesis of many critical ideas. Indeed, an exhaustive analysis of all the issues he brings forth would require volumes rather than a single book. In any case, I challenge anyone to read this book, look around honestly at what's happening in America, and conclude that Hedges is wrong.

One final note: this book is not for the squeamish. The chapter about pornography is brutally explicit. Still, I think it is an important book, and it would be good if a lot more people would read it, discuss it, and thereby become dis-illusioned.

By Bruce E. McLeod Jr. on February 11, 2012
Thorough and illuminating

Chris Hedges book, "Empire of Illusion" is a stinging assessment and vivid indictment of America's political and educational systems; a well-told story. I agree with his views but wonder how they can be reversed or transformed given the economic hegemony of the corporations and the weight of the entrenched political parties. Very few solutions were provided.

Corporations will continue to have a presence and set standards within the halls of educational and governmental institutions with impunity. Limited monetary measures, other than governmental, exist for public educational institutions, both secondary and post-secondary. Historically, Roman and Greek political elitists operated in a similar manner and may have set standards for today's plutocracy. Plebeian societies were helpless and powerless, with few options, to enact change against the political establishment. Given the current conditions, America is on a downward spiral to chaos.

His book is a clarion call for action. Parents and teachers have warned repeatedly that too much emphasis is placed on athletic programs at the expense of academics. Educational panels, books and other experts have done little to reform the system and its intransigent administrators.

Today's delusionary and corrupted officials, corporate and government, are reminiscent of the narratives penned by Charles Dickens. Alexander Hamilton referred to the masses as a "great beast" to be kept from the powers of government.

Edmund Burke used propaganda to control "elements of society". Walter Lippmann advised that "the public must be kept in its place". Yet, many Americans just don't get it.

They continue to be hood-winked by politicians using uncontested "sound bites" and "racially-coded" phrases to persuade voters.

Divide and conquer is the mantra--rich vs. poor; black vs. white. According to Norm Chomsky's writings, "In 1934, William Shepard argued that government should be in the hands of `aristocracy and intellectual power' while the `ignorant, and the uninformed and the antisocial element' must not be permitted to control elections...."

The appalling statistics and opinions outlined in the book demonstrate the public ignorance of the American culture; the depth and extent of the corporatocracy and the related economic malaise; and, the impact substandard schools have on their lives. This is further exemplified by Jay Leno's version of "Jaywalking". On the streets, he randomly selects passersby to interview, which seems to validate much of these charges.

We are all culpable. We are further susceptible to illusions. John Locke said, "Government receives its just powers from the consent of the governed".

This idea was recently usurped by the U.S. Supreme Court where representative government is called to question, rendering "our" consent irrelevant. Every voting election is an illusion. Each election, at the local and national level, voters never seemingly "miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" to eliminate irresponsible and unresponsive officials.

Walt Kelly's quote "We have met the enemy and he is us" prevails!

By Richard Steiger on January 14, 2012
Powerful in spite of itself

There are many flaws with Hedges' book. For one thing, he is given to writing sermons (his father was a minister), hurling down denunciations in the manner of the prophet Amos. The book also tends to be repetitious, as Hedges makes the same general statements over and over. It's also hard to follow at times as Hedges attempts to stress the connections between pop culture and social, political. and economic policy. Nor is Hedges a particularly stylish writer (a sense of humor would help).

His last-second "happy ending" (something like: we're all doomed, but eventually, somewhere down the line, love will prevail beacuse it's ultimately the strongest power on earth) is, to say the least, unconvincing.

SO why am I recommending this book? Because in spite of its flaws (and maybe even because of them), this is a powerful depiction of the state of American society. The book does get to you in its somewhat clumsy way.

The stomach-turning chapter on trends in porn and their relationship to the torture of prisoners of war is a particularly sharp piece of analysis, and all of the other chapters do eventually convince (and depress).

This book will not exactly cheer you up, but at least it will give you an understanding of where we are (and where we're heading).

[Oct 09, 2017] US Missile Defense Not as Effective As We Think by Scott Ritter

Highly recommended!
The main problem with systems like THAAD is that it costly. Maintaining the global neoliberal empire is also costly. this financial overextension and deterioration of domestic economy and the standard of living tend to put limits on the imperial power. And such overextension is much more dangerous that lack of some cutting edge military capabilities. The USA managed to force some kind of military alliance of Russia and China in a sense that attack on one means the attack on both. China also warned the USA against unilateral military strike on North Korea.
As Ivan Eland noted in May 15, 2016, Obama "is opening missile defenses in Europe, quadrupling U.S. military spending there, and deploying more military forces near Russia-all of which will have the effect of continuing to provoke that already insecure country. Also, Obama has failed to withdraw U.S. ground forces from Afghanistan, inserted them into Iraq and Syria to battle the terror group ISIS, and continued his accelerated air wars over Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya." The U.S. Military Needs to Defend the Country, Not Undermine American Security HuffPost
Which means the end of the USA military supremacy as now the USA needs to take into account the possibility of join counterstrike of both China and Russia. . End of cheap oil also means end of multiple expeditionary wars that the USA managed to fight simultaneously (mostly against rag-tag gueella forces like in Afghanistan) as the costs would escalate very quickly.
Notable quotes:
"... the fact remains that, at the time of the Gulf War, the Patriot was a largely untested system which failed to perform as needed. Had Iraq had better missiles, or if they had been tipped with chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads, this failure could have been catastrophic. ..."
"... Like the Patriot missile of 1991, the THAAD has only been tested under carefully scripted peacetime conditions, with launch crews having the advantage of long flight times (easy to track) and medium speed closure rates (easy to kill) involving single missile launches. ..."
"... The THAAD has not been tested under realistic wartime conditions, involving large salvos of missiles possessing high-closure rates of speed. In war, it is the unexpected that trips you up. ..."
"... the North Koreans have demonstrated a high-loft launch profile, which would have the missile closing in on its target at a far steeper angle, and at much higher speeds, than the conventional ballistic trajectories the THAAD has trained against. ..."
"... The need to justify the acquisition of military hardware always interferes with the rigor of testing. Test results are published and must show success or the Military has egg on its wasteful face. Therefore, it is always a mistake to believe what is said about our weapons systems, however many improvements may have been made. ..."
"... There is another issue that those who depend on missile defenses are overlooking. North Korea could easily pre-position multiple nuclear weapons on non-descript boats, that then sail into the major ports of their foes during or after a war and destroy them. Such weapon delivery systems are very hard to detect and stop. So those who advocate attacking North Korea and feel we can stop their weapons with missiles are fooling themselves. This is one of the reasons that non-combat options to stop North Korea are still the best choice. ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Sometime after midnight on the night of January 21, 1991, I was awoken by the sound of an air raid siren. At the time, I was sleeping in an apartment in Eskhan Village, an abandoned suburban housing area outside Riyadh that served as a barracks facility for thousands of American service members deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Storm. Following protocol, I quickly donned my chemical protective ensemble, inclusive of gas mask; not following protocol, I headed up to the flat roof of the two-story building to see what was happening.

As it turned out, we were under attack. Iraq had launched four of its extended-range SCUD missile derivatives toward Riyadh. The flight paths of two of these missiles were visible to the naked eye, where residual fuel burned from the nozzle of the rocket. As part of a team of SCUD missile analysts assigned to the intelligence section of Central Command headquarters, I was fascinated by this first-hand opportunity to see the SCUD in action. The irony of being on the receiving end of the very missiles I was working to destroy barely registered before I was stunned by the sound of Patriot anti-missile batteries, staged in close proximity to the housing area, firing multiple salvos of interceptors at the incoming SCUDs. Each of the interceptors homed in on their target, their S-shaped trajectories reflecting the in-flight corrections provided by the Patriot's target acquisition radar as it tracked the flight path of the SCUDs. With dramatic effect, the Patriot interceptors exploded along the flight path of the SCUDs, which continued on their ballistic arc before impacting somewhere on the horizon with a bright yellow-green explosion.

This wasn't the first launch of SCUD missiles by Iraq against Saudi Arabia during the war. In the days prior, there had been several missile attacks targeting the sprawling military complex at Dhahran, all of which authorities claimed had been successfully intercepted by Patriot missiles. I had counted more than a dozen Patriot interceptor launches in the vicinity of Eskhan Village on the night of January 21, 1991; more than 35 interceptors in total had been fired in the Riyadh area that night. Reports that crossed my desk the next morning indicated that all four SCUDs targeting Riyadh had been successfully intercepted and destroyed by the Patriots, a finding which puzzled me -- the Patriot intercepts I had witnessed against the two SCUDs I was able to visually track seemed to be exploding behind the SCUDs, and none appeared to stop the SCUDs from detonating on the ground. Later, as part of a team of missile specialists assembled to evaluate the SCUD missile debris from the January 21 attack, I could find no evidence of any shrapnel having impacted the body of the SCUD missile.

After the war, while serving with the United Nations Special Commission charged with disarming Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (inclusive of its SCUD missiles), I read an article in International Security by MIT Professor Theodore Postol titled "Lessons of the Gulf War Patriot Experience." Postol questioned the Patriot's 96 percent success rate claimed by the Army during the Gulf War. Later, while working with Israeli intelligence on the Iraqi SCUD problem, I was able to speak with members of the Israeli Defense Force who were able to confirm Professor Postol's findings: The Patriot missile defense system successfully intercepted less that 10 percent of the SCUDs fired at Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab States during the Gulf War, and only 2 percent of those fired at Israel.

The failure of the Patriot missile defense system to perform during the Gulf War has been largely ignored. The reasons for this are many and varied. There was an extensive and intensive effort undertaken by the Raytheon Company (the manufacturer of the Patriot missile), the Army, and the Department of Defense to challenge Postol's findings, thereby muddying the waters. The fact that Iraq's SCUDs were inaccurate and did not carry WMD likewise skewed public opinion -- a dud warhead landing somewhere in the desert or ocean did not generate the kind of excitement of a chemical warhead landing in a densely populated area. In the quarter of a century that has passed since the Gulf War, the performance of the Patriot has improved, as has missile defense in general. (Witness the success of Israel's "Iron Dome" system.) But the fact remains that, at the time of the Gulf War, the Patriot was a largely untested system which failed to perform as needed. Had Iraq had better missiles, or if they had been tipped with chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads, this failure could have been catastrophic.

My experience with the Patriot missile during the Gulf War has colored my assessment of the deployment of America's new front-line missile defense weapon, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) to South Korea. The THAAD is intended to defend against the threat posed by North Korean short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. Like the Patriot missile of 1991, the THAAD has only been tested under carefully scripted peacetime conditions, with launch crews having the advantage of long flight times (easy to track) and medium speed closure rates (easy to kill) involving single missile launches.

The THAAD has not been tested under realistic wartime conditions, involving large salvos of missiles possessing high-closure rates of speed. In war, it is the unexpected that trips you up. During Desert Storm, the structural failure of Iraq's extended-range SCUDs caused the warhead to separate from the main body of the missile, creating multiple targets the Patriot radar was unable to discriminate against. This, combined with the higher-than-anticipated closure speeds of the longer-range missiles, contributed to the poor performance of the Patriot system.

North Korea has demonstrated the ability to conduct simultaneous launches of up to four ballistic missiles. Given their proximity to South Korea, these weapons would be tracked for a far shorter time with closure speeds greater than the missile targets the THAAD has been tested against to date. Moreover, the North Koreans have demonstrated a high-loft launch profile, which would have the missile closing in on its target at a far steeper angle, and at much higher speeds, than the conventional ballistic trajectories the THAAD has trained against. The THAAD interceptors are tied to the high-tech AN/TPY-2 target acquisition radar, which can cover a 120-degree frontage. North Korea's newly proven submarine-launched ballistic missile capability provides Pyongyang with a capability to maneuver behind the surveillance arc of the THAAD's radar. Such an attack presumes that neither the South Korean or U.S. naval forces would detect and destroy a North Korean submarine attempting such an attack, or that the U.S. Navy's Aegis missile defense system would fail to intercept a launched missile. The point here isn't the likelihood of North Korean success, but the reality that the THAAD is not omnipotent.

Perhaps the greatest threat facing the THAAD, or any defensive system currently deployed in the vicinity of South Korea, is that North Korea could employ a ballistic missile tipped with a nuclear warhead for the purpose of generating a massive electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would knock out the THAAD's radar and electronics -- along with most, if not all, of South Korea's and America's electrical systems stationed in the region. The likelihood of such a scenario seems slim, given the consequences North Korea would endure in the aftermath of any use of nuclear weapons. However, the fact remains that the one attack the THAAD is specifically deployed to prevent -- that of a nuclear-tipped North Korean missile -- is the one attack that could be its undoing.

Missile defense has always been more theoretical than practical. The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) systems of the Cold War were never used, and eventually mothballed. The Patriot failed miserably during the Gulf War, only to succeed a decade later during the 2003 invasion of Iraq by using a much-improved interceptor against a far less capable foe. The much-vaunted Israeli "Iron Dome" missile defense system performed well against the homemade rockets of Hamas, but has yet to be tested against the much more capable arsenal possessed by Hezbollah -- or, for that matter, Iran. The THAAD system is a 30-year-old technology untested in combat, under-tested in peacetime, and is our only line of defense against a North Korean ballistic missile threat that has taken the world by surprise in terms of its scope, breadth, and capability.

During the Gulf War, the Patriot's poor performance did not have any strategic consequences -- 28 Americans tragically lost their lives when a SCUD hit their barracks, and a few Israelis died of heart attacks. The absence of a tangible result wasn't from a lack of effort on the part of Iraq -- Israeli's Dimona nuclear reactor was targeted multiple times, and had any missile caused significant Israeli casualties, Israel would have entered the conflict, placing the delicate coalition President George W. Bush had built at risk, and perhaps changing the outcome of the war. There is little reason to believe that North Korea's missiles lack accuracy, that their targeting will lack purpose, or their warheads will be benign. Whether or not THAAD is up to the task of protecting the South Korean peninsula (or, for that matter, Guam, Japan, and Alaska) from any North Korean ballistic missile attack is still yet to be seen. However, if history is any indication, the likelihood is that the THAAD will significantly underperform -- a possible outcome American military and civilian planners should take into consideration when plotting their next moves against Pyongyang.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War (Clarity Press, 2017).

David , says: September 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Finally, Scott you are one of the few who speaks the shocking truth about US missile defense base on proportional navigation. BUT there is a solution you need to find out about – HIT Technology http://bit.ly/HIT-MissileDefense
Dennis J. Tuchler , says: September 11, 2017 at 5:09 pm
The need to justify the acquisition of military hardware always interferes with the rigor of testing. Test results are published and must show success or the Military has egg on its wasteful face. Therefore, it is always a mistake to believe what is said about our weapons systems, however many improvements may have been made.
James Drouin , says: September 11, 2017 at 6:57 pm
The author's failure to correctly detail the cause of the Patriot's failure, which has been indisputably diagnosed and corrected, brings into serious question any hypothesis he has on THAAD.

In brief, Patriot failed because of a drift in the timing between radar pulses, and the longer the system was online, the greater the drift, thus the greater the miss.

Further, the Israelis, operators of the Patriot system, had in fact, notified the US Army and the Patriot Project office of the flaw, and US military bureaucracy being what it is, the rest is history admit to screwing the pooch, or claim success where none existed.

Bottom line, WITHOUT the timing error, which could be fixed by simply re-booting the system every eight hours, Patriot functions perfectly as a missile killer.

SteveK9 , says: September 11, 2017 at 7:50 pm
Michael, IF N. Korea got rocket engines, the evidence presented in the NY Times suggests it was out-of-work Ukrainians, and N. Korea's oil comes from China.

You have Putin on the brain.

DrivingBy , says: September 12, 2017 at 12:14 am
"Therefore, it is always a mistake to believe what is said about our weapons systems"

The few strategic munitions tests that we know truly worked were those such as Ivy Mike. The people who built that were serious about their work, and there were remarkably few fizzles considering it was then new technology. Unfortunately, there were also a few side effects.

Were the Pentagon staffed by people motivated to defend the USA, we could probably invent a layered missile interceptor system that works pretty well.

Stephen Hubbard , says: September 13, 2017 at 5:53 pm
There is another issue that those who depend on missile defenses are overlooking. North Korea could easily pre-position multiple nuclear weapons on non-descript boats, that then sail into the major ports of their foes during or after a war and destroy them. Such weapon delivery systems are very hard to detect and stop. So those who advocate attacking North Korea and feel we can stop their weapons with missiles are fooling themselves. This is one of the reasons that non-combat options to stop North Korea are still the best choice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch Kucinich's complete interview here:

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


Copyright © 2017 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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[Oct 09, 2017] After Nine Months, Only Stale Crumbs in Russia Inquiry by Scott Ritter

Highly recommended!
US Congress allowed to drag itself into this propaganda swamp by politized Intelligence community, which became a major political player, that can dictate Congress what to do and what not to do. Now it is not that easy to get out of this "intelligence swamp"
Notable quotes:
"... The 2017 ICA on Russia was conceived in an atmosphere of despair and denial, birthed by Democrats and Republicans alike who were stunned by Trump's surprise electoral victory in November 2016. To say that this issue was a political event would be a gross understatement; the 2017 Russian ICA will go down in history as one of the most politicized intelligence documents ever, regardless of the degree of accuracy eventually afforded its contents. The very fact that the document is given the sobriquet "Intelligence Community" is itself a political act, designed to impart a degree of scrutiny and community consensus that simply did not exist when it came to the production of that document, or the classified reports that it was derived from. ..."
"... This was a report prepared by handpicked analysts ..."
"... iven the firestorm of political intrigue and controversy initiated by the publication of this document, the notion of a "general consensus" regarding the level of trust imparted to it by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee does not engender confidence. ..."
"... It was this document that spawned the issue of "collusion." While Sens. Burr and Warner can state that "collusion" is still an open issue, the fact of the matter is that, in this regard, Trump and his campaign advisors have already been found guilty in the court of public opinion, especially among those members of the public and the media who were vehemently opposed to his candidacy and ultimate victory. ..."
"... One need only review the comments of the various Democratic members of the Senate Select Committee, their counterparts serving on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the various experts and pundits in the media, to underscore the degree to which prejudice has "worked its evil" when it comes to the issue of collusion and the Trump campaign in this regard. ..."
"... purchase of advertisements on various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, by the Russians or their proxies. With regard to these advertisements, Senator Burr painted a dire picture. "It seems," he declared, "that the overall theme of the Russian involvement in the US elections was to create chaos at every level." ..."
"... No one wants to be told that they have been victims of a con; this is especially true when dealing with the sacred trust imparted to the American citizenry by the Constitution of the United States regarding the free and fair election of those who will represent us in higher office. American politics, for better or worse, is about the personal connection a given candidate has with the voter, a gut feeling that this person shares common values and beliefs. ..."
"... the percentage of Americans that participate in national elections is low. Those that do tend to be people who care enough about one or more issues to actually get out and vote. To categorize these dedicated citizens as brain-dead dupes who are susceptible to social media-based click advertisements is an insult to American democracy. ..."
"... There is a world of difference between Russian intelligence services allegedly hacking politically sensitive emails and selectively releasing them for the sole purpose of undermining a given Presidential candidate's electoral prospects, and mimicking social media-based advertisements addressing issues that are already at play in an election. The Russians didn't invent the ongoing debate in the United States over gun control (i.e., the "Second Amendment" issue), race relations (the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri) or immigration ("The Wall"). ..."
"... These were, and remain, core issues that are at the heart of the American domestic political discourse, regardless of where one stands. You either know the issues, or you don't; it is an insult to the American voter to suggest that they are so malleable that $100,000 of targeted social media-based advertisements can swing their vote, even if 10 million of them viewed it. ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The 'briefing' is just another exercise in preferred narrative boosting.

The co-chairmen of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held a press briefing Thursday on the status of their ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the American electoral process. Content-wise, the press briefing and the question and answer session were an exercise in information futility -- they provided little substance and nothing new. The investigation was still ongoing, the senators explained, and there was still work to be done.

Nine months into the Committee's work, the best Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), could offer was that there was "general consensus" among committee members and their staff that they trust the findings of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of January 2017, which gave high confidence to the charge that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. The issue of possible collusion between Russia and members of the campaign of Donald Trump, however, "is still open."

Frankly speaking, this isn't good enough.

The 2017 ICA on Russia was conceived in an atmosphere of despair and denial, birthed by Democrats and Republicans alike who were stunned by Trump's surprise electoral victory in November 2016. To say that this issue was a political event would be a gross understatement; the 2017 Russian ICA will go down in history as one of the most politicized intelligence documents ever, regardless of the degree of accuracy eventually afforded its contents. The very fact that the document is given the sobriquet "Intelligence Community" is itself a political act, designed to impart a degree of scrutiny and community consensus that simply did not exist when it came to the production of that document, or the classified reports that it was derived from.

This was a report prepared by handpicked analysts from three of the Intelligence Community's sixteen agencies (the CIA, NSA, and FBI) who operated outside of the National Intelligence Council (the venue for the production of Intelligence Community products such as the Russian ICA), and void of the direction and supervision of a dedicated National Intelligence Officer. Overcoming this deficient family tree represents a high hurdle, even before the issue of the credibility of the sources and methods used to underpin the ICA's findings are discussed. Given the firestorm of political intrigue and controversy initiated by the publication of this document, the notion of a "general consensus" regarding the level of trust imparted to it by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee does not engender confidence.

It was this document that spawned the issue of "collusion." While Sens. Burr and Warner can state that "collusion" is still an open issue, the fact of the matter is that, in this regard, Trump and his campaign advisors have already been found guilty in the court of public opinion, especially among those members of the public and the media who were vehemently opposed to his candidacy and ultimate victory. Insofar as the committee's investigation serves as a legitimate search for truth, it does so as a post-conviction appeal. However, as the distinguished Supreme Court Justice Joseph McKenna noted in his opinion in Berger v. United States (1921):

The remedy by appeal is inadequate. It comes after the trial, and, if prejudice exist, it has worked its evil and a judgment of it in a reviewing tribunal is precarious. It goes there fortified by presumptions, and nothing can be more elusive of estimate or decision than a disposition of a mind in which there is a personal ingredient.

One need only review the comments of the various Democratic members of the Senate Select Committee, their counterparts serving on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the various experts and pundits in the media, to underscore the degree to which prejudice has "worked its evil" when it comes to the issue of collusion and the Trump campaign in this regard.

The two senators proceeded to touch on a new angle recently introduced into their investigation, that of the purchase of advertisements on various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, by the Russians or their proxies. With regard to these advertisements, Senator Burr painted a dire picture. "It seems," he declared, "that the overall theme of the Russian involvement in the US elections was to create chaos at every level."

No one wants to be told that they have been victims of a con; this is especially true when dealing with the sacred trust imparted to the American citizenry by the Constitution of the United States regarding the free and fair election of those who will represent us in higher office. American politics, for better or worse, is about the personal connection a given candidate has with the voter, a gut feeling that this person shares common values and beliefs.

Nevertheless, the percentage of Americans that participate in national elections is low. Those that do tend to be people who care enough about one or more issues to actually get out and vote. To categorize these dedicated citizens as brain-dead dupes who are susceptible to social media-based click advertisements is an insult to American democracy.

There is a world of difference between Russian intelligence services allegedly hacking politically sensitive emails and selectively releasing them for the sole purpose of undermining a given Presidential candidate's electoral prospects, and mimicking social media-based advertisements addressing issues that are already at play in an election. The Russians didn't invent the ongoing debate in the United States over gun control (i.e., the "Second Amendment" issue), race relations (the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri) or immigration ("The Wall").

These were, and remain, core issues that are at the heart of the American domestic political discourse, regardless of where one stands. You either know the issues, or you don't; it is an insult to the American voter to suggest that they are so malleable that $100,000 of targeted social media-based advertisements can swing their vote, even if 10 million of them viewed it.

The take away from the press briefing given by Senator's Burr and Warner was two-fold: One, the Russians meddled, and two, we don't know if Trump colluded with the Russians. The fact that America is nine months into this investigation with little more to show now than what could have been said at the start is, in and of itself, an American political tragedy. The Trump administration has been hobbled by the inertia of this and other investigations derived from the question of Russian meddling. That this process may yet vindicate President Trump isn't justification for the process itself; in such a case the delay will have hurt more than the truth. As William Penn, the founder of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, so eloquently noted:

Delays have been more injurious than direct Injustice. They too often starve those they dare not deny. The very Winner is made a Loser, because he pays twice for his own; like those who purchase Estates Mortgaged before to the full value.

Our law says that to delay Justice is Injustice. Not to have a Right, and not to come of it, differs little. Refuse or Dispatch is the Duty of a Good Officer.

Senators Burr and Warner, together with their fellow members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and their respective staffs, would do well to heed those words.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of "Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War" (Clarity Press, 2017).

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

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

Autopilot Wars Sixteen Years, But Who's Counting?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

[Oct 08, 2017] Todays Republicans Democrats are just two sides of the same coin. We ought to just call them what they really all are -- Neocons.

Notable quotes:
"... I'd like to see this: President Rand Paul, VP Tulsi Gabbard, chief of staff Ron Paul, and Sec. of Defense Wesley Clark, for starters. ..."
"... "In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | steemit.com

steemihal last month

People need to learn, relearn, and talk to others about this. Let's admit it: today's Republicans & Democrats are just two sides of the same coin. We ought to just call them what they really all are -- "Neocons."

Both sides need to be replaced by truly independent voters giving strength to an administration that is neither R nor D, and that should be the Libertarians. Trump is not one, but he's going to end up making the way for them during his four years.

I'd like to see this: President Rand Paul, VP Tulsi Gabbard, chief of staff Ron Paul, and Sec. of Defense Wesley Clark, for starters.

cve3 2 months ago

It was either Mark Twain or Samuel Clemens who said "In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."

[Oct 07, 2017] Us can win against Russi or china but not both of them. And niether Russia or china would allow the other to be destroyed byt he USA. That means end of the US world

Oct 07, 2017 | www.unz.com

Anonymous > , Disclaimer October 5, 2017 at 8:55 pm GMT

@Priss Factor Yeah, right. Perhaps you should reread your history rather than take it simply from pop culture.

Also, Serbia folded quickly once US got involved.

Only after Russia abandoned them, and even so, they still held on for quite some time. This was also when the US forces were more competent.

US held their ground in Korea against millions of Chinese troops.

The "millions" only were perceived so by the Marines during the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River because the Chinese troops had achieved almost complete envelopment – in reality, it was pretty much equal numbers, and American formations shattered would never recover for the remainder of the war. Although the UN forces did better in the second half, it was battles like that of Bloody Ridge and Heartbreak Ridge – which were named for specifically that reason – which proved that total victory was unattainable due to the casualties that Communist forces could inflict upon the UN.

It was far from a cakewalk.

In strength disposition at this point, the US might be able to win a war against either Russia or China alone. But they would obviously not allow the other to be destroyed, and any attack on one of them would result in both of them retaliating.

Its over for the US in terms of unilateral military solutions.

[Oct 07, 2017] Wars are costly and uncertain events even in case of overwhelming technical superiority that the USA still enjoys (against most non-nuclear countries)

Oct 07, 2017 | www.unz.com

FB, October 5, 2017 at 11:20 pm GMT

@Priss Factor

US won every major battle in Vietnam.

And here's the rest of the story

So that's a kill ratio of what, 50 to 1 for third world air force Vietnam against 'superpower' United States ?

Lopsided much ?

That has to be some kind of record for losing aircraft not seen since WW2

Oh and let's not forget the US fleeing their embassy in Saigon by rooftop helicopter

US held their ground in Korea against millions of Chinese troops.

Oh yes let's see

' The defeat of the U.S. Eighth Army resulted in the longest retreat of any American military unit in history The Chinese offensive continued pressing American forces, which lost Seoul, the South Korean capital. Eighth Army's morale and esprit de corps hit rock bottom, to where it was widely regarded as a broken, defeated rabble '

Also, Serbia folded quickly once US got involved.

Hmm interesting.

' The shootdown of an F-117 stealth aircraft over Kosovo in 1999 served as a wake-up call for the Air Force NATO never fully succeeded in neutralizing the Serb integrated air defense system '

and

'Operation Allied Force was the most intense and sustained military operation to have been conducted in Europe since the end of World War II .'

and

'The air campaign over Kosovo severely affected the readiness rates of the United States Air Force's Air Combat Command during that period many aircraft will have to be replaced earlier than previously planned, as their planned fatigue life was prematurely expended. PGM inventories needed to be re-stocked, the warstock of the AGM-86C Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile dropping to 100 or fewer rounds.[11]

Of the more than 25,000 bombs and missiles expended, nearly 8,500 were PGMs, with the replacement cost estimated at $US1.3 billion.[12] Thus the USAF suffered from virtual attrition of its air force without having scored a large number of kills in theater. Even if the United States' best estimates of Serbian casualties are used, the Serbians left Kosovo with a large part of their armored forces intact '

So the combined might of 19 Nato countries with a population of 900 million vs little Serbia and its 7 million people a NATO air armada of over 1,000 aircraft and still little Serbia stood its ground. As for Afghanistan US still hasn't won anything in 16 years. . As Paul Craig Roberts regularly reminds us, the US hasn't won a real war since the pacific war in ww2. Thanks for the opportunity Mr. Priss hope we can dance again sometime oh and have fun in Disneyland

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

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

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

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

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

ISIS playing by the (Saudi) book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Robbing their people blind"

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

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

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

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

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

This piece first appeared in Asia Times .

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

[Oct 04, 2017] The Logical (and Coming) End to the US Empire by Robert Abele

No so fast... Five years later (the article was written in 2013) the US empire is still going strong. meanwhile from 2013 to 2017 it managed to counterattack resource nationalists (killing Kaddafi) and and win in Libya, making the country a colony again. I think Venezuela is the next. Oil prices dropped more then 50% in 2014 (from over $100 to less then $50 per barrel ) and did not yet recovered...
Notable quotes:
"... For an example of the ethical problems of empire, think about the completely unjustifiable attacks on civilians done by the U.S. in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and most prominently in Pakistan and Yemen, especially done by drones. Or consider U.S. use of torture, from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo Bay. As everyone knows by now, ethical and humanitarian appeals have been completely and categorically rejected by U.S. leaders, not beginning with 9-11, certainly rejected with greater vigor since then. ..."
"... But there is another, often overlooked, analysis of U.S. actions, that is the logical result of engaging in the actions of Empire, and that concerns the logical consequence of using massive amounts of resources to attempt to control the resources being used (the second use of the term resources here includes citizens; the people of a city or nation). As the economic, logistic, and humanitarian costs all rise in direct proportion to Empire's actions, the sustaining of the Empire becomes impossible, on the basis of its own internal logic. ..."
"... When the issue of blowback is added "i.e. that other nations and peoples are unlikely to cooperate willingly in having their resources, humanity, and very lives removed from them "the end result, Empire's fall, could be hastened, and is certainly assured. We can now predict not only how it will happen, but also its imminent coming. ..."
"... First, the heaviest resource consumers of fossil fuels, in order, are the U.S. military, U.S. citizens, China, and India. The Department of Defense per capita energy consumption is 10 times more than per capita energy consumption in China, or 30 times more than that of Africa. ..."
"... Oil accounts for more than three-fourths of DoD’s total energy consumption. The Post Carbon Institute estimates that abroad alone, the U.S. military consumes about 150,000 barrels per day. In 2006, for example, the Air Force consumed 2.6 billion gallons of jet-fuel, which is the same amount of fuel U.S. airplanes consumed during all of WWII (between December 1941 and August 1945) (from The Resilience Group of the Post Carbon Institute, www.resilience.org ). ..."
"... This essays suggests that these two solid arguments should now be combined with an institutional-logical analysis to demonstrate not only the intrinsic, natural limits to empire, but to show reasons how and why empire must and will ultimately disintegrate due to the hubris of ignoring natural limitations of unbridled consumption coupled with attempts at singular control over others' resources and peoples. ..."
Jul 29, 2013 | www.counterpunch.org

There are numerous legal and ethical arguments that can and have been made in opposition to U.S. foreign policy of raw aggression. For an example of the illegalities of U.S. Empire, examine the Geneva Conventions, all four of which directly proscribe what they each call outrages to human dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment (I, 1, 3). The outrages are named specifically as torture, mutilation, cruel treatment, taking hostages, murder, biological experimentation, and passing sentences on prisoners without benefit of a regularly constituted court.

Additionally, the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 both underscore the Geneva Conventions and expand the traditional ethical concerns to rights and duties of neutral states by banning the use of poison gases or arms, destroying or seizing enemy private property, attacking towns and cities that are undefended, pillaging, collective punishment, servility of enemy citizens, and bullets made to wreak havoc once inside the human body. Prescriptions to limit the conduct of war include the requirements to warn towns of impending attacks, to protect cultural, religious, and health institutions, and to insure public order and safety.

For an example of the ethical problems of empire, think about the completely unjustifiable attacks on civilians done by the U.S. in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and most prominently in Pakistan and Yemen, especially done by drones. Or consider U.S. use of torture, from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo Bay. As everyone knows by now, ethical and humanitarian appeals have been completely and categorically rejected by U.S. leaders, not beginning with 9-11, certainly rejected with greater vigor since then.

But there is another, often overlooked, analysis of U.S. actions, that is the logical result of engaging in the actions of Empire, and that concerns the logical consequence of using massive amounts of resources to attempt to control the resources being used (the second use of the term resources here includes citizens; the people of a city or nation). As the economic, logistic, and humanitarian costs all rise in direct proportion to Empire's actions, the sustaining of the Empire becomes impossible, on the basis of its own internal logic.

In whatever historical epoch you choose, if you take your compass and draw a circle around any given tribe, you can see the desired extent of their territorial claims for resource control. One thus can see that particular group's

  1. resource consumption; and
  2. circle of desired resource control. But when two further historical developments are added, such as
  3. technologically-driven consumption (e.g. fossil-fuel guzzling appliances and cars, etc.); and
  4. now necessary desires for global resources needed to feed that group's consumption habits "then the situation expands sufficiently to become one of using extensive amounts of the very resources one is attempting to control (in the U.S. case, oil and money) for the sake of controlling the resources over which one needs to exert control! This circular logic cannot be maintained when it meets
  5. a scarcity of resources; and
  6. the natural-institutional-logical antinomy of using resources in massive amounts to control the resources you are using for control. In other words, the empire based on this pattern must end when it runs headlong into resource scarcity, and/or natural-logical contradictions involving its own internal (economic and resource) limitations.

This argument against U.S. Empire is not based on ethical or legal grounds (although those remain the best arguments in favor of voluntarily ending empire and regaining our citizenship [civil rights] and humanness) "since those arguments have been put asunder by the U.S. administrators of empire. Rather, the institutional-logical analysis argues that an empire such as the U.S. has constructed exhausts itself by being unable to expand fast enough to control everything it seeks in order to continue its dominance.

When the issue of blowback is added "i.e. that other nations and peoples are unlikely to cooperate willingly in having their resources, humanity, and very lives removed from them "the end result, Empire's fall, could be hastened, and is certainly assured. We can now predict not only how it will happen, but also its imminent coming. Here's how.

First, the heaviest resource consumers of fossil fuels, in order, are the U.S. military, U.S. citizens, China, and India. The Department of Defense per capita energy consumption is 10 times more than per capita energy consumption in China, or 30 times more than that of Africa.

Oil accounts for more than three-fourths of DoD’s total energy consumption. The Post Carbon Institute estimates that abroad alone, the U.S. military consumes about 150,000 barrels per day. In 2006, for example, the Air Force consumed 2.6 billion gallons of jet-fuel, which is the same amount of fuel U.S. airplanes consumed during all of WWII (between December 1941 and August 1945) (from The Resilience Group of the Post Carbon Institute, www.resilience.org ).

Second, concerning the global dimension of resource control, one needs only to understand the preferred method that U.S. Empire acolytes use to justify their actions abroad: the state of emergency that was declared after 9/11 has continued unabated since then, due to the ongoing threat of terrorism (see Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield , for the latest detailed instances of this process.). The domestic equivalent to his war has been well underway since 9-11. (For detail on the domestic front, see also Trevor Aaronson, Terror Factory , regarding FBI domestic use of the ongoing threat of terrorism to deny basic civil rights to citizens).

This allows U.S. government administrators to maintain a state of exception to the rule of law. Georgio Agamben, in his book States of Exception , defines this phrase as extraordinary governmental actions resulting from distinctively political crises. As such, the actions of such administrators are in-between normal political operations and legal ones. This no man's land of government policy is not only difficult to define, but brings in its wake a suspension of the entire existing juridical order. Thus, states of exception are those in which a government in fact suspends the rule of law for itself, while attempting to maintain some semblance of legal order, for the purpose of consolidating its power and control (see Georgio Agamben, States of Exception , Chapter Two).

Regarding the scarcity of resources issue, none other than the World Bank produced a detailed study of demand and supply projections for the immediate future. The study projects that, on the basis of current consumption and immediately precedent rises in it, the demand for food will rise by 50% by 2030, for meat by 85%, for oil by 20 million barrels a day, and for water by 32%, all by the same year.

This is met by alarming statistics and predictions from the supply side. In their report, they state that global food growth rates fell by 1.1% over the past decade, and are continuing to fall, while global food consumption outstripped production in seven of the eight years between 2000 and 2008. Further, the Food and Agricultural Organization and the UN Environment Program estimate that 16% of the arable land used now is degraded. Intensifying competition between different land uses is likely to emerge in future, including food crops, livestock, etc., and the world's expanding cities. Current rates of water extraction from rivers, groundwater and other sources are already unsustainable in many parts of the world.

Over one billion people live in water basins in which the physical scarcity of water is absolute; by 2025, the figure is projected to rise two billion, with up to two thirds of the world's population living in water-stressed conditions (mainly in non-OECD countries).

On oil , the International Energy Agency has warned consistently that there is a significant risk of a new supply crunch as the global economy recovers. Additionally, the IEA's chief economist argues that peak production could take place by 2020 (from the World Development Report 2011, Background Paper: Resource Scarcity, Climate Change and the Risk of Violent Conflict, www.worldbank.org ).

The conclusion from all of these points is nearly obvious: if resources are even relatively scarce, and the habits of and desires for consumption continue to rise among nations, and especially among the citizens of Empire (as has been documented in part above), and if control over those resources is the goal of Empire, but if the Empire consumes more resources than it can logistically or economically control due to natural limitations of those resources themselves, and/or to the consumption of more resources than is either available to it or that it needs to survive, then the power of the Empire will naturally-logically end in a sharp decline, and soon (For applicable details on this, see Richard Heinberg, The Brief, Tragic Reign of Consumerism "and the Birth of a Happy Alternative, www.postcarbon.org ).

With all indicators predicting that the contradictions of Empire's resource consumption, circle of desired resource control, scarcity of resources, and contradiction in resource use and control, are all about to collide in a few years, not decades, it is time to start planning for a post-Empire future. To that end, any psychologist reading this analysis will recognize themes of realistic conflict theory, which is a theory which explains how intergroup hostility can arise as a result of conflicting goals and competition over limited resources

The key point in bringing this psychological theory into the discussion is that in this theory, it is concluded that friction between groups can be reduced only in the presence of superordinate goals that promote united, cooperative action (see Wikipedia on Realistic Conflict Theory for a good overview, summarized here. https://en.wikipedia.org ). Note the agreement of the ethical, legal, and psychological analyses of Empire's oppression: the most effective resolution to oppression, (empire) dominance, and conflict is united, cooperative action, not the attempt to control or destroy people and nations who stand in the way of our control.

We have seen that progressives have had available to them a standard two-pronged argument against empire "American or any other". Progressives have for good reason appealed consistently to the ethical and the legal arguments available to help stem the desires for world and resource domination.

This essays suggests that these two solid arguments should now be combined with an institutional-logical analysis to demonstrate not only the intrinsic, natural limits to empire, but to show reasons how and why empire must and will ultimately disintegrate due to the hubris of ignoring natural limitations of unbridled consumption coupled with attempts at singular control over others' resources and peoples.

Dr. Robert P. Abele holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Marquette University He is the author of three books: A User’s Guide to the USA PATRIOT Act (2005); The Anatomy of a Deception: A Logical and Ethical Analysis of the Decision to Invade Iraq (2009); Democracy Gone: A Chronicle of the Last Chapters of the Great American Democratic Experiment (2009). He contributed eleven chapters to the Encyclopedia of Global Justice, from The Hague: Springer Press (October, 2011). Dr. Abele is a professor of philosophy at Diablo Valley College, located in Pleasant Hill, California in the San Francisco Bay area.

[Oct 04, 2017] How Kurdish Independence Underpins Israel's Plan to Reshape the Middle East by Jonathan Cook

Notable quotes:
"... It began with Israel's founding father, David Ben Gurion, who devised a strategy of "allying with the periphery" – building military ties to non-Arab states like Turkey, Ethiopia, India and Iran, then ruled by the shahs. The goal was to help Israel to break out of its regional isolation and contain an Arab nationalism led by Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser. ..."
"... Israeli general Ariel Sharon expanded this security doctrine in the early 1980s, calling for Israel to become an imperial power in the Middle East. Israel would ensure that it alone in the region possessed nuclear weapons, making it indispensible to the US. ..."
"... Sharon was not explicit about how Israel's empire could be realised, but an indication was provided at around the same time in the Yinon Plan, written for the World Zionist Organisation by a former Israeli foreign ministry official. ..."
"... Oded Yinon proposed the implosion of the Middle East, breaking apart the region's key states – and Israel's main opponents – by fuelling sectarian and ethnic discord. The aim was to fracture these states, weakening them so that Israel could secure its place as sole regional power. ..."
"... The strategy of "Balkanising" the Middle East found favour in the US among a group of hawkish policymakers, known as neoconservatives, who came to prominence during George W Bush's presidency. ..."
"... Heavily influenced by Israel, they promoted the idea of "rolling back" key states, especially Iraq, Iran and Syria, which were opposed to Israeli-US dominance in the region. They prioritised ousting Saddam Hussein, who had fired missiles on Israel during the 1991 Gulf war. ..."
"... Last month at the Herzliya conference, an annual jamboree for Israel's security establishment, justice minister Ayelet Shaked called for a Kurdish state. She has stated that it would be integral to Israeli efforts to "reshape" the Middle East. ..."
"... The unravelling of Britain and France's map of the region would likely lead to chaos of the kind that a strong, nuclear-armed Israel, with backing from Washington, could richly exploit. Not least, yet more bedlam would push the Palestinian cause even further down the international community's list of priorities. ..."
Oct 04, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

Palestinians and Israelis watched last week's referendum of Iraq's Kurds with special interest. Israeli officials and many ordinary Palestinians were delighted – for very different reasons – to see an overwhelming vote to split away from Iraq.

Given the backlash from Baghdad and anger from Iran and Turkey, which have restive Kurdish minorities, the creation of a Kurdistan in northern Iraq may not happen soon.

Palestinian support for the Kurds is not difficult to understand. Palestinians, too, were overlooked when Britain and France carved up the Middle East into states a century ago. Like the Kurds, Palestinians have found themselves trapped in different territories, oppressed by their overlords.

Israel's complex interests in Kurdish independence are harder to unravel.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the sole world leader to back Kurdish independence, and other politicians spoke of the Kurds' "moral right" to a state. None saw how uneasily that sat with their approach to the Palestinian case.

On a superficial level, Israel would gain because the Kurds sit on plentiful oil. Unlike the Arab states and Iran, they are keen to sell to Israel.

But the reasons for Israeli support run deeper. There has been co-operation, much of it secret, between Israel and the Kurds for decades. Israeli media lapped up tributes from now-retired generals who trained the Kurds from the 1960s. Those connections have not been forgotten or ended. Independence rallies featured Israeli flags, and Kurds spoke of their ambition to become a "second Israel".

Israel views the Kurds as a key ally in an Arab-dominated region. Now, with Islamic State's influence receding, an independent Kurdistan could help prevent Iran filling the void. Israel wants a bulwark against Iran transferring its weapons, intelligence and know-how to Shiite allies in Syria and Lebanon.

Israel's current interests, however, hint at a larger vision it has long harboured for the region – and one I set out at length in my book Israel and the Clash of Civilisations.

It began with Israel's founding father, David Ben Gurion, who devised a strategy of "allying with the periphery" – building military ties to non-Arab states like Turkey, Ethiopia, India and Iran, then ruled by the shahs. The goal was to help Israel to break out of its regional isolation and contain an Arab nationalism led by Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Israeli general Ariel Sharon expanded this security doctrine in the early 1980s, calling for Israel to become an imperial power in the Middle East. Israel would ensure that it alone in the region possessed nuclear weapons, making it indispensible to the US.

Sharon was not explicit about how Israel's empire could be realised, but an indication was provided at around the same time in the Yinon Plan, written for the World Zionist Organisation by a former Israeli foreign ministry official.

Oded Yinon proposed the implosion of the Middle East, breaking apart the region's key states – and Israel's main opponents – by fuelling sectarian and ethnic discord. The aim was to fracture these states, weakening them so that Israel could secure its place as sole regional power.

The inspiration for this idea lay in the occupied territories, where Israel had contained Palestinians in a series of separate enclaves. Later, Israel would terminally divide the Palestinian national movement, nurturing an Islamist extremism that coalesced into Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

In this period, Israel also tested its ideas in neighbouring southern Lebanon, which it occupied for two decades. There, its presence further stoked sectarian tensions between Christians, Druze, Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

The strategy of "Balkanising" the Middle East found favour in the US among a group of hawkish policymakers, known as neoconservatives, who came to prominence during George W Bush's presidency.

Heavily influenced by Israel, they promoted the idea of "rolling back" key states, especially Iraq, Iran and Syria, which were opposed to Israeli-US dominance in the region. They prioritised ousting Saddam Hussein, who had fired missiles on Israel during the 1991 Gulf war.

Although often assumed to be an unfortunate side effect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Washington's oversight of the country's bloody disintegration into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish fiefdoms looked suspiciously intentional. Now, Iraqi Kurds are close to making that break-up permanent.

Syria has gone a similar way, mired in convulsive fighting that has left its ruler impotent. And Tehran is, again, the target of efforts by Israel and its allies in the US to tear up the 2015 nuclear accord, backing Iran into a corner. Arab, Baluchi, Kurdish and Azeri minorities there may be ripe for stirring up.

Last month at the Herzliya conference, an annual jamboree for Israel's security establishment, justice minister Ayelet Shaked called for a Kurdish state. She has stated that it would be integral to Israeli efforts to "reshape" the Middle East.

The unravelling of Britain and France's map of the region would likely lead to chaos of the kind that a strong, nuclear-armed Israel, with backing from Washington, could richly exploit. Not least, yet more bedlam would push the Palestinian cause even further down the international community's list of priorities.

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are " Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and " Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair " (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net .

[Oct 04, 2017] The American Religion of War by William J. Astore

Notable quotes:
"... We are not a rational society. We are a faith-based society. And our temples and crosses are military bases and weaponry, which we export globally. The U.S. has 800 overseas bases, and America dominates the international trade in arms. Meanwhile, our missionaries are our Special Ops troops, which we send to 130 countries, spreading the American gospel. The gospel of war and the gun. ..."
"... A xenophobic form of patriotism exacerbates a religion of violence. Exclusive rather than inclusive, it sets the boundaries of "us" versus "them." Critics and dissenters are cast out and exiled. ..."
"... Our TV shows reinforce our belief in violence and militarism. ..."
"... America is being consumed by a religion of violence and mayhem. We're trapped in a dark maelstrom of death and destruction. Yet how can we repudiate our god of war when we are so busy feeding him? When we talk of "thoughts and prayers" after each tragedy, do we truly know which god we're calling upon? ..."
Oct 04, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

A few thoughts on violence and military idolatry in America

If you believe the polls, America is a nation of believers. A nation of faith. But is our faith truly in a pacific god of love? Or do we instead worship a god of war? Current and past events suggest that too often Americans place their faith in war and the military. We continue to believe despite the evidence our belief is both wrongheaded and destructive.

We have a cult-like affection for war and the military. It drives what we see – what we perceive. Believing is seeing. The military confesses to believe in "progress" in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, so we invent metrics that show how we're winning (which is exactly what we did fifty years ago in Vietnam).

We are not a rational society. We are a faith-based society. And our temples and crosses are military bases and weaponry, which we export globally. The U.S. has 800 overseas bases, and America dominates the international trade in arms. Meanwhile, our missionaries are our Special Ops troops, which we send to 130 countries, spreading the American gospel. The gospel of war and the gun.

The icons of American militarism are our weapons. Our warplanes, our drones, big bombs (the MOAB), the list goes on. They have become the iconic symbols of an idolatry of destruction.

A xenophobic form of patriotism exacerbates a religion of violence. Exclusive rather than inclusive, it sets the boundaries of "us" versus "them." Critics and dissenters are cast out and exiled.

Meanwhile, in far-off foreign lands, we reject the reality of ruins and rubble. We couch it instead in terms of salvation: "we had to destroy the village to save it." It's another aspect of our evangelical approach to war. It's like being born again. You must tear yourself down before you're born again in the spirit of Christ. We seem to believe cities must be ruined before we can declare victory over the enemy.

Consider 9/11/2001. An inward-looking people may have kept the ruins of 9/11 as a monument to the victims. But not us. That's expensive real estate, and on those ruins we were born again, building Freedom Tower , exactly 1776 feet in height. Thus our fall was reinterpreted as rebirth, our defeat as victory, tragedy as triumph. Even 9/11 itself is now celebrated as a day of patriotism.

Yes, we can reconstruct our own rubble, as we did after 9/11. But will foreign rubble ever be reconstructed? Cities like Mosul ? Well, who cares? They are not of the body. They are not us. They are outcasts. Let them survive in what's left of their blasted buildings and homes.

Our TV shows reinforce our belief in violence and militarism. New ones include " The Brave " on NBC, which begins by focusing on a pretty White female doctor kidnapped by Muslim terrorists and "brave" efforts to rescue her; " Valor " on the CW channel, featuring lots of helicopters and flags and automatic weapons; and the rather obvious " SEAL Team " on CBS, with elite Navy SEALs standing in for the superheroes of the past. If you get tired of watching military heroics on TV, there's always military-themed "shooter" video games. Indeed, the military experience is everywhere, even in Madden football, where in "story mode" you can play against quarterback Dan Marino on an Army base in Iraq. (The field is surrounded by a fortified fence, rocky hills, and a helicopter pad, among other exotic military features.)

America is being consumed by a religion of violence and mayhem. We're trapped in a dark maelstrom of death and destruction. Yet how can we repudiate our god of war when we are so busy feeding him? When we talk of "thoughts and prayers" after each tragedy, do we truly know which god we're calling upon?

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

[Oct 04, 2017] Disclaimer

Notable quotes:
"... There's a continuity in American policies that transcend whatever administration happens to be in office. This is particularly true in foreign policy. The US has been expansionist and interventionist since 1898 and continues on this track which inevitably leads to conflict with other countries who don't care to be under the US thumb. ..."
Oct 04, 2017 | www.unz.com

October 4, 2017 at 2:01 pm GMT 100 Words the

most dangerous developments under Trump trace back to Obama initiatives --

There's a continuity in American policies that transcend whatever administration happens to be in office. This is particularly true in foreign policy. The US has been expansionist and interventionist since 1898 and continues on this track which inevitably leads to conflict with other countries who don't care to be under the US thumb.

Hence the current crop of enemies and war drum pounding. This would be the same were Clinton to have been elected. Unfortunately the mass of Americans are getting dragged along with this at increasing peril to them with no recourse available.

[Oct 04, 2017] Neocons credo: We have earned the right to influence public debate, we have earned the right to be heard, we have contributed disproportionately to success of this country...

Oct 04, 2017 | www.unz.com

Franklin Ryckaert > , October 3, 2017 at 11:59 am GMT

Dershowitz : " We have earned the right to influence public debate, we have earned the right to be heard, we have contributed disproportionately to success of this country "

Success of "this country" or success of a tiny minority of "this country"?

Dershowitz : " "Anyone that does [that] has to be treated with economic consequences. We have to hit them in the pocketbook "

That is called Mafia methods in Goyim-speech.

Did this man not write a book called "Chutzpah" ?

(and I don't believe his frequent visits to Jeffrey Epstein's "paedophile -island" were that innocent either.)

[Oct 04, 2017] Why talk about Jewish influence is mostly baloney. People are better then ideologies. neocon are lobbists for MIC first, and only then Israeli firsters

We can talk about Anglo Zionism as a particular version of neocolonial ideology, but to substitute the ideology for nationality or ethnicity is a great mistake. In this sense Russophobia is the new politically correct Anti-Semitism, actually practiced by neocons (many of whom are Jewish ;-). As Marx noted history repeats itself...
Notable quotes:
"... I really don't believe they [Jews] are the only ones. There are others very interested in fomenting war, who aren't Jewish. The war alliance in this instance is one of convenience, where the various proponents of war pursue their own ends. While Likud influence is pervasive, due to the influence of wealth interests on their behalf, there are also others for whom war is an incredible source of profit, as per Gen. Butler's timeless War Is A Racket, and the religion of all of them is money and power, with their ethnicity, not Jewish, irrelevant to that. I haven't seen Dick Cheney wearing a yarmulke. His ilk have their own reasons, which don't have any coincidence with the tenets of either Christianity or Judaism. ..."
"... If Hitler's adherents had succeeded in his so-called Final Solution of genocide of Jews and the many others his followers intended to do in as well as a secondary priority – guess what? There would still be war and imperialism, massacres, genocides, bloodbaths and tortures. ..."
"... To believe anything else, is to be as delusional as that high non Jewish official, James Clapper, who posited that the Russians are genetically programmed to be our eternal enemies. It's more likely that the sin nature Jim Clapper shares with the rest of us has been genetically inherited to look for enemies to destroy and create them where they didn't exist before, absent the corrective of God's Holy Spirit. ..."
"... There is such a thing as being right, but for all the wrong reasons. That leads to actions taken that produce unintended baleful consequences. ..."
"... I don't think that what TAC is engaging in is censorship; no magazine has an obligation to publish anyone, or promote something they think contrary to their objectives. ..."
"... The surest way to defeat an antiwar policy is to yoke it to opinions that will discredit that. I do think a principled rejection of the extremist antisemitic comments that for whatever reasons Phil's comments attract, would go a long way to dispel the impression that perhaps he approves of the untoward things they promote, even if he chooses to let them use his column as an act of live and let live toleration. ..."
"... The problem with Phil's piece isn't that it tells the truth, but that the way it was written, it appeared to tar "the Jews" without differentiation, which would be an arguably racist and a false accusation It then went further, perhaps in a fit of understandable but not completely excusable pique, to suggest that a religious and racial test be established to forbid Jews from being involved in government. ..."
"... As unfortunate as the consequences are, to have any effectiveness in its mission, TAC had to distance itself from what Phil seemed to express, and they can't be blamed for not wanting to identify with a proposal to purge Jewish people from government service. I mean, that makes the assumption that Jewish people, per se, are unsuitable for full citizenship. That really is dangerously close to the arguments of post Weimar Germany, and we are going to at some point have our own post-Weimar America, with all its attendant and destructive temptations. ..."
"... Their influence seems to have been important in getting the US into the Iraq debacle, although Americans Jews were probably more anti war than pro war as compared to the general population and so it is a bit mad to blame Jews for that. ..."
"... As for your firing from TAC: the article was pretty sloppy and rather taints the conservative anti war movement by bridging from it to the type of comments made below your article. Should someone be fired for one poorly conceived and unproductive article? ..."
"... Their descriptions of Jews are insurmountable in their nastiness. Who are these people? Does anyone really think this way about anyone? ..."
"... The problem with neocons and their fellow travelers, many of the latter less Jewish than Hitler himself, is their faulty and destructive values, not their genetic origin. ..."
"... Jew baiters and Jew haters, have nothing of any value to contribute to understanding, blinded as they are by their obsessions. In fact if the neocons have come from the dark side, they surely share the same malignant inspiration. ..."
"... Unfortunately, I think your justified focus on damaging Likudnik policies that are harmful not just to the United States, but ultimately to Israel, caused you to fall into a baleful trap in which you did not disarm this predictable response at the same time. Sure, perhaps you ought not to have to take that much care, but that is the world of a politics that is practiced as if any means is justified to win. ..."
Oct 04, 2017 | www.unz.com

Fran Macadam > , October 4, 2017 at 4:51 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi

I really don't believe they [Jews] are the only ones. There are others very interested in fomenting war, who aren't Jewish. The war alliance in this instance is one of convenience, where the various proponents of war pursue their own ends. While Likud influence is pervasive, due to the influence of wealth interests on their behalf, there are also others for whom war is an incredible source of profit, as per Gen. Butler's timeless War Is A Racket, and the religion of all of them is money and power, with their ethnicity, not Jewish, irrelevant to that. I haven't seen Dick Cheney wearing a yarmulke. His ilk have their own reasons, which don't have any coincidence with the tenets of either Christianity or Judaism.

If Hitler's adherents had succeeded in his so-called Final Solution of genocide of Jews and the many others his followers intended to do in as well as a secondary priority – guess what? There would still be war and imperialism, massacres, genocides, bloodbaths and tortures.

War is most often begun by those making the decisions above the people, to take what belongs to someone else. Propaganda techniques manufacture public opinion to the extent necessary for at least minimal support.

Jewish people aren't any different from others in terms of the character found among them from anyone else.

I have been subjected to prejudice from some Jewish people, and also been befriended by others. That's the experience I've had across the board with humanity, and it's even included the same run of experience among folks from Iran, including Zoroastrians.

To believe anything else, is to be as delusional as that high non Jewish official, James Clapper, who posited that the Russians are genetically programmed to be our eternal enemies. It's more likely that the sin nature Jim Clapper shares with the rest of us has been genetically inherited to look for enemies to destroy and create them where they didn't exist before, absent the corrective of God's Holy Spirit.

Blessed are the peacemakers. Peace is not going to be served by going metaphorically to war with "the Jews," seeing them as intrinsically any more a nefarious force than the face of humanity that stares back from the mirror.

There is such a thing as being right, but for all the wrong reasons. That leads to actions taken that produce unintended baleful consequences.

Fran Macadam > , October 4, 2017 at 4:13 am GMT

If it was the editor, Robert W. Merry holds that post. There are a lot of antiwar folks there who hold official titles as editors as well, some prominent on sites like antiwar.com, who aren't shy about going after neocon policies and those who advance them. It would be interesting to hear their take on this imbroglio, because they are not exactly shy about going up against the status quo, and have regarded Phil collegially in common cause.

I think at one time or another, I've disagreed on some point with all of them, probably the least of all with Phil Giraldi. But I can tell you, I regard all who oppose warmaking anyhow as allies for that purpose. As for the SJW types, my opinion of them can be determined by the doxxing internet campaign they conducted to try to destroy my livelihood and to shut me up through intimidation and fabrication.

I don't think that what TAC is engaging in is censorship; no magazine has an obligation to publish anyone, or promote something they think contrary to their objectives.

The surest way to defeat an antiwar policy is to yoke it to opinions that will discredit that. I do think a principled rejection of the extremist antisemitic comments that for whatever reasons Phil's comments attract, would go a long way to dispel the impression that perhaps he approves of the untoward things they promote, even if he chooses to let them use his column as an act of live and let live toleration.

That said, I've had several instances of being given the chance to pursue other opportunities, and I have to admit the experience did nothing to make me think well of those who made it clear it wasn't just a suggestion.

Fran Macadam > , October 3, 2017 at 10:17 pm GMT

The problem with Phil's piece isn't that it tells the truth, but that the way it was written, it appeared to tar "the Jews" without differentiation, which would be an arguably racist and a false accusation It then went further, perhaps in a fit of understandable but not completely excusable pique, to suggest that a religious and racial test be established to forbid Jews from being involved in government.

Well perhaps an argument could be made for recusal where there really are dual loyalties conflicting. But that would have to be made on a fair case by case basis. Phil said he would have rephrased it if he had it to do over. Sadly, what could likely happen now since pride so often becomes more important than truth, is that Phil's heart will harden, and although a coterie of anti semites will claim victory in making him one of their own, the effectiveness if the main effort to reclaim U.S. Policy from foreign interests contrary to those of the American people will be made less effective.

As unfortunate as the consequences are, to have any effectiveness in its mission, TAC had to distance itself from what Phil seemed to express, and they can't be blamed for not wanting to identify with a proposal to purge Jewish people from government service. I mean, that makes the assumption that Jewish people, per se, are unsuitable for full citizenship. That really is dangerously close to the arguments of post Weimar Germany, and we are going to at some point have our own post-Weimar America, with all its attendant and destructive temptations.

Tyrion > , October 4, 2017 at 1:50 am GMT

Mr Giraldi,

Being Jewish but also a Brit, I don't really get your article. It seems that there were about 15 mostly Jewish intellectuals who had a dream of democratising the Middle East.

Part of the reason they wanted to do this was to improve Israel's neighbourhood, and they have also been pretty anti-Assad and the Iran deal for the same reason.

Their influence seems to have been important in getting the US into the Iraq debacle, although Americans Jews were probably more anti war than pro war as compared to the general population and so it is a bit mad to blame Jews for that.

Assad has also remained in power and the Iran deal is being kept to, so, again, not sure what the fuss is about.

As for your firing from TAC: the article was pretty sloppy and rather taints the conservative anti war movement by bridging from it to the type of comments made below your article. Should someone be fired for one poorly conceived and unproductive article? Probably not, that is what editing is for, so you have my full sympathies.

As for the comments, I tried to come up with an hyperbolic way to describe them to make a point, but I couldn't. Their descriptions of Jews are insurmountable in their nastiness. Who are these people? Does anyone really think this way about anyone?

I appreciate that asking a journalist to criticise his biggest fans is unfair, but since your biggest fans seem to be people in the grips of paranoid schizophrenic delusions about some sort of synagogue of Satan controlling the world – does this not cause you at least a little concern?

As for you general anti-war journalism. Best of luck!

Not one of the countries we have intervened in has been worth the sacrifice of our young servicemen.

Fran Macadam > , October 3, 2017 at 9:49 pm GMT

Pretty soon they'll be singing the praises of Adolf Hitler, except that he failed. Yes?

I wouldn't console myself with the praises of those so possessed, were they the last people on earth.

The problem with neocons and their fellow travelers, many of the latter less Jewish than Hitler himself, is their faulty and destructive values, not their genetic origin.

Jew baiters and Jew haters, have nothing of any value to contribute to understanding, blinded as they are by their obsessions. In fact if the neocons have come from the dark side, they surely share the same malignant inspiration.

Anon > , Disclaimer October 4, 2017 at 1:40 am GMT

"The problem with neocons and their fellow travelers, many of the latter less Jewish than Hitler himself, is their faulty and destructive values, not their genetic origin."

No, that's a distortion. Your comment suggests that it is mere happenstance that neocons are the way they are, as if their beliefs just happened to have fallen from the sky. That's usually not the case.

It is not unreasonable to conclude that many neocons are motivated by an inappropriate attachment to a foreign country given:

1. the most influential neocons are disproportionately Jewish

2. many of these same people are strongly pro-Israel (is there even one example of an anti-Israeli neocon even one?)

3. many of their views track with the current government of Israel's policies (something pointed out in the Israel Lobby)

4. there exists a series of organizations with breathtaking influence and wealth dedicated to advancing neocons and their policies – organizations that also just happen to be heavily pro-Israel

5. neocons seem more heavily fixated on Israel's immediate neighborhood than many other important locations around the planet.

Fran Macadam > , October 3, 2017 at 6:36 am GMT

Phil, I concur in your evaluation of how you ought to have rewritten your article. When I read it, I did get the intimation that there seemed to be a generic anti-Jewish animus because you didn't explain how you have no problem with some clear thinking folks who are also Jewish.

Given that these political critiques are going to generate opposition, because of the high political stakes in which there is going to be no nuance or quarter given, it's practically important that no ammunition for defenestration be even inadvertently proferred.

Unfortunately, I think your justified focus on damaging Likudnik policies that are harmful not just to the United States, but ultimately to Israel, caused you to fall into a baleful trap in which you did not disarm this predictable response at the same time. Sure, perhaps you ought not to have to take that much care, but that is the world of a politics that is practiced as if any means is justified to win.

What isn't helpful, as well, are the commenters who clearly express genuine anti-semitic bigotry, who tar your own insights with their connotation of outright hatred of Jews and Holocaust denial by association. I suggest that moderating these comments to eliminate them would be prudent. I am sure some of them are even Hasbara false flag efforts, but whether or not, they serve no purpose at all useful to a sane discussion of how poorly conceived Israeli policies are actually counterproductive for the wellbeing of all of us, Jew and non-Jew alike.

I would like to know the name of the editor who delivered the blow. I think given your explanation, he ought to reconsider and that we should be able to complain. But then, perhaps you are being more generous than he, because surely it would subject him to destructive personal doxxing by some of those associated with the more unhinged commenters here.

I know from personal experience how unethical such mob driven personal destruction can be, having been doxxed by a campaign of falsehoods designed to destroy, even if it wasn't for the same reason – except the commonality of being effective at debunking status quo opinion.

Fran Macadam > , October 3, 2017 at 6:50 am GMT

In fact, to more accurately reflect your views, why not rewrite the article now? I believe it's not yet too late, and in fact would help the cause of truth and a more peaceful world, our most important goals. I recently had to do something like that in regards to some different more personal issues myself, as I had momentarily lost perspective due to emotional involvement, and I valued truth at least this time more than my ego. The outcome was good and I was forgiven for my lapse, and I didn't violate my integrity either. You can choose not to publish this comment, as it is somewhat personal. God bless.

JackOH > , October 3, 2017 at 10:55 am GMT

@Fran Macadam In fact, to more accurately reflect your views, why not rewrite the article now? I believe it's not yet too late, and in fact would help the cause of truth and a more peaceful world, our most important goals. I recently had to do something like that in regards to some different more personal issues myself, as I had momentarily lost perspective due to emotional involvement, and I valued truth at least this time more than my ego. The outcome was good and I was forgiven for my lapse, and I didn't violate my integrity either. You can choose not to publish this comment, as it is somewhat personal. God bless. "In fact, to more accurately reflect your views, why not rewrite the article now?"

Fran, I agree with you. I scanned Phil's article quickly, and clearly understood "Jews" to mean a clique of unduly influential and like-minded Jews in power and media centers. Not all Jews, not at all. But, I can sort of understand–sort of–how some casual readers could believe Phil's piece to be a smear job.

Phil, any chance of a rewrite to clarify your thinking and add robustness to it?

Fran Macadam > , October 3, 2017 at 12:17 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi Maybe. I had intended that this piece be in part a clarification of what I was thinking. Dunno if it merits a full rewrite. Will sleep on it! Phil, I pray that you do. Your influence in the larger scheme of things and your insights are too good to lose. We are all being driven by societal currents into identity politics, whether we agree with it or not. It is more harmful than useful to individual freedom, because it can never tell us the particular character or principles of any person we will personally encounter. I think of the negative reaction and controversy that the great political philosopher, Hannah Arendt became embroiled in, during the aftermath of the Eichmann trial and her articles about it as an eyewitness. Her own value was her integrity, yet she lost lifetime friendships because she said she would not make her own identity that of a tribe, to the detriment of the truth, which had been demanded of her. We owe it to such brave individuals not to make the mistake of inadvertently tarring them by association to their ethnic or religious origins they may share with the mistaken or even the ill-intentioned, but make it clear that our critiques are over faulty policies driven by mistaken thinking. I think that this satisfies even the question, "Is it good for the Jews?" What is truly good for all, if considered in all consequences, will be policies that are charitable to all. The best practical friend anyone could have, is the one who may not do just what you want, but what is best, keeping you accountable. And so it ought to be, in fairness to friend and foe alike, some of the latter we may even convince if we don't place them beyond the pale.

Fran Macadam > , October 3, 2017 at 12:53 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi Thank you Randal - your last para precisely represents my concern about doing what looks like a rewrite as it could be twisted to look like a recantation. Phil, I successfully negotiated the landmine of feeling that revising a few words of what I wrote would be tantamount to recantation of my fairly held main points. Despite my fears and the feelings that I was being betrayed, the courage to do this, in my own case, resulted in even stronger support for me. I did not recant, I took my friends' concerns sympathetically and seriously, and explained my choice of words. In the end, this allowed them to mount a strong defense on my behalf, instead of dividing us as was the objective of those who didn't like the overall assessment.

I think it understandable that when considering the foreign intelligence information you have seen, which would stun many folks not privy to it, would produce a level of outrage that could lead to wording that could look unfair. Still, it is very important to clarify that there ought not to be a religious or ethnic test for serving in any capacity, merely an open vetting of any particular individual's real views with the policy implications for that. As you may have surmised, as an evangelical Christian, my policy views if not my orthodoxy are outside the group mainstream. So it's the what, not the who, that's important.

Fran Macadam > , October 3, 2017 at 1:04 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi He is constantly self-promoting and also considers a number of neocons friends. He routinely bans comments critical of Israel from his pieces and is quite open about doing so. I don't think he's terribly fond of me, but he has allowed near 100% of my comments, which wasn't the case several years ago. As for self-promotion, he's not retired and isn't going to be getting a government or corporate pension, and given his public opinions neither would he be employable by either, so in that position it's an economic necessity.

John Jeremiah Smith > , October 3, 2017 at 1:17 pm GMT

@Fran Macadam Phil, I concur in your evaluation of how you ought to have rewritten your article. When I read it, I did get the intimation that there seemed to be a generic anti-Jewish animus because you didn't explain how you have no problem with some clear thinking folks who are also Jewish. Given that these political critiques are going to generate opposition, because of the high political stakes in which there is going to be no nuance or quarter given, it's practically important that no ammunition for defenestration be even inadvertently proferred. Unfortunately, I think your justified focus on damaging Likudnik policies that are harmful not just to the United States, but ultimately to Israel, caused you to fall into a baleful trap in which you did not disarm this predictable response at the same time. Sure, perhaps you ought not to have to take that much care, but that is the world of a politics that is practiced as if any means is justified to win.

What isn't helpful, as well, are the commenters who clearly express genuine anti-semitic bigotry, who tar your own insights with their connotation of outright hatred of Jews and Holocaust denial by association. I suggest that moderating these comments to eliminate them would be prudent. I am sure some of them are even Hasbara false flag efforts, but whether or not, they serve no purpose at all useful to a sane discussion of how poorly conceived Israeli policies are actually counterproductive for the wellbeing of all of us, Jew and non-Jew alike.

I would like to know the name of the editor who delivered the blow. I think given your explanation, he ought to reconsider and that we should be able to complain. But then, perhaps you are being more generous than he, because surely it would subject him to destructive personal doxxing by some of those associated with the more unhinged commenters here.

I know from personal experience how unethical such mob driven personal destruction can be, having been doxxed by a campaign of falsehoods designed to destroy, even if it wasn't for the same reason - except the commonality of being effective at debunking status quo opinion.

What isn't helpful, as well, are the commenters who clearly express genuine anti-semitic bigotry, who tar your own insights with their connotation of outright hatred of Jews and Holocaust denial by association.

Something like the American patriots who attacked the British Crown in print? Something like the Negros who attacked Jim Crow? Americans who attacked Hitler's policies and actions as head of state?

You mean people who speak truth? You mean people who speak truth plainly ? Icky people like that?

Are you familiar with the term "Pharisee"?

Andrei Martyanov > , Website October 3, 2017 at 1:18 pm GMT

@Jake I think Rod Dreher is a very easily excitable girly-boy. His heart bleeds and bleeds. His instincts are usually very good, but then something will get his heart bleeding, and then he sounds like another hysterical Liberal woman.

The Left plays Dreher like an old drum, and he always delivers.

His instincts are usually very good

I would disagree with that. But it is just me.

Fran Macadam > , October 3, 2017 at 1:19 pm GMT

There are plenty of Jewish individuals who are appalled by the bullying tactics of Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelson, but if lumped in with them through identity politics, will feel they have to reluctantly support them, just like a lot of beleaguered folks feel corraled into supporting Donald Trump as a matter of self defense.

What can we say about any of our tribes, except that in any of them, those who exemplify our best character and principles will always be in the minority. It's counterproductive to then double down on victimizing those innocents who will also be attacked by the powerful members of their tribes that all of us in the minority are trying to hold accountable.

Flavius > , October 3, 2017 at 3:47 pm GMT

Phil – Samuel Johnson dismissed faux patriotism by calling it "the last refuge of the scoundrel." When the charge of anti-semitism is faux, it lands the accusers squarely in the same contemptible category.

I wouldn't go re-writing anything. People who know the body of your work know that you are not an anti-semite. There is no explanation or refinement that will satisfy the scoundrel. With this set, it is best to "never complain, never explain."

I was a charter subscriber to American Conservative when it had the bona fide cajones to speak truth to power. The election of Barack Obama changed all that. It continued to speak truth to power alright, only it was the power that had been. Now it's just a pathetic wraith of its former self wallowing in sanctimony and sentimental claptrap. Too bad.

Thank you for having placed an indelible underscore on what was once a fine opinion magazine that had become a bad job. Thank you also for taking the heat on showing up a collection of scoundrels that otherwise are never, ever held to accountability for their mis and malfeasance.
Keep up the good work.

Fran Macadam > , October 3, 2017 at 6:03 pm GMT

The comments section is filled too full by those cranks who ascribe all the problems of humanity to Jewish hands. They are delusional, but certainly are useful for neutralizing serious critique of Likudnik policies. I wouldn't take any solace in having marginal folks like that being my defenders. I find it interesting that many are also hostile to Christianity. I suppose that they find it too Jewish. I note that recent congressional hearings posited that Christianity could be a bar to serving in government as well. This is a road that leads to major trouble.

SolontoCroesus > , October 3, 2017 at 6:15 pm GMT

@Fran Macadam In fact, to more accurately reflect your views, why not rewrite the article now? I believe it's not yet too late, and in fact would help the cause of truth and a more peaceful world, our most important goals. I recently had to do something like that in regards to some different more personal issues myself, as I had momentarily lost perspective due to emotional involvement, and I valued truth at least this time more than my ego. The outcome was good and I was forgiven for my lapse, and I didn't violate my integrity either. You can choose not to publish this comment, as it is somewhat personal. God bless.

In fact, to more accurately reflect your views, why not rewrite the article now? I believe it's not yet too late, and in fact would help the cause of truth and a more peaceful world, our most important goals

.

This explication of Dr. Giraldi's position is very well done.

I think it would be a terrible mistake to "rewrite the article."
Fran Macadam, you cite a personal situation in which, if I'm not over interpreting, you issued a mea culpa. You stated that you did so because you had "lost perspective;" apparently you reined in "ego" and were "forgiven."

The example of your personal situation in conjunction with your suggestion that Phil "rewrite" the article highlights all the reasons why neither Phil nor any American who upholds American principles and interests agains what they may consider infringements by another set of individuals who advocate for the interests of a foreign government, should do so: Why should someone who is an American, and who supports and defends American interests, seek "forgiveness" from the offending party(ies)?

Did the authors of the Declaration of Independence struggle to rein in their uppityness and ego-driven perspective (i.e. self-interest) when they set out to
"assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them?"

When Vladimir Jabotinsky arrived in the USA in January, 1935, a reporter asked him,
""How can the Jews achieve a true Homeland in the Holy Land?"
"By demanding it," Jabotinsky said quietly."

http://www.jta.org/1935/01/27/archive/revisionism-is-inevitable-says-jabotinsky-here-for-wide-tour

Why should Americans be any less firm in their demand that the United States be the "true homeland of the American people," above all else?

Jabotinsky never rewrote his intention to displace Palestinians; rather, he doubled-down, crafting the Iron Wall policy; Dennis Ross has never sought forgiveness for his "emotional attachment" to Israel (so intense that he chaired the JCPPPI) or abusing his position in US government to advance Israel's interests.

@ 5. Nicholas Flavius mentioned E Michael Jones.

http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/how-i-got-fired/#comment-2029315

In one of his video lectures Jones discussed how Catholics

"love to internalize the commands of their oppressor. He loves to be considered a good person in the eyes of people who are his enemy, and as a result he becomes completely ineffective."

Jones then reminds his audience that Catholics are enjoined to "love your enemy." And so he "loves Jews."
The implication is clear: We have to be as certain as Jabotinsky what we stand for, and we must not be cowed by the adversary; in fact, we should clarify our thinking to the point that we understand who the adversary is, and having clarified our relative positions, we must assertively speak our truth -- in love.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obtgaZ97Kdc

polskijoe > , October 3, 2017 at 9:26 pm GMT

@Fran Macadam The comments section is filled too full by those cranks who ascribe all the problems of humanity to Jewish hands. They are delusional, but certainly are useful for neutralizing serious critique of Likudnik policies. I wouldn't take any solace in having marginal folks like that being my defenders. I find it interesting that many are also hostile to Christianity. I suppose that they find it too Jewish. I note that recent congressional hearings posited that Christianity could be a bar to serving in government as well. This is a road that leads to major trouble. Problem groups

a)Neoconservatives (Jewish, Christian, other).
b)"Progressive" SJW (Jewish, Christian, atheist, other).

Jews

"Big Jews" are overrepresented in the positions of power (media, financiers)
"Small Jews" majority vote for those two groups. (most their cons are neocon, most of their liberals are progressives).

Fran Macadam > , October 3, 2017 at 9:39 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus


In fact, to more accurately reflect your views, why not rewrite the article now? I believe it's not yet too late, and in fact would help the cause of truth and a more peaceful world, our most important goals
.

This explication of Dr. Giraldi's position is very well done.

I think it would be a terrible mistake to "rewrite the article."
Fran Macadam, you cite a personal situation in which, if I'm not over interpreting, you issued a mea culpa. You stated that you did so because you had "lost perspective;" apparently you reined in "ego" and were "forgiven."

The example of your personal situation in conjunction with your suggestion that Phil "rewrite" the article highlights all the reasons why neither Phil nor any American who upholds American principles and interests agains what they may consider infringements by another set of individuals who advocate for the interests of a foreign government, should do so: Why should someone who is an American, and who supports and defends American interests, seek "forgiveness" from the offending party(ies)?

Did the authors of the Declaration of Independence struggle to rein in their uppityness and ego-driven perspective (i.e. self-interest) when they set out to
"assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them?"

When Vladimir Jabotinsky arrived in the USA in January, 1935, a reporter asked him,
""How can the Jews achieve a true Homeland in the Holy Land?"
"By demanding it," Jabotinsky said quietly."

http://www.jta.org/1935/01/27/archive/revisionism-is-inevitable-says-jabotinsky-here-for-wide-tour
Why should Americans be any less firm in their demand that the United States be the "true homeland of the American people," above all else?

Jabotinsky never rewrote his intention to displace Palestinians; rather, he doubled-down, crafting the Iron Wall policy; Dennis Ross has never sought forgiveness for his "emotional attachment" to Israel (so intense that he chaired the JCPPPI) or abusing his position in US government to advance Israel's interests.

@ 5. Nicholas Flavius mentioned E Michael Jones.
http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/how-i-got-fired/#comment-2029315
In one of his video lectures Jones discussed how Catholics


"love to internalize the commands of their oppressor. He loves to be considered a good person in the eyes of people who are his enemy, and as a result he becomes completely ineffective."
Jones then reminds his audience that Catholics are enjoined to "love your enemy." And so he "loves Jews."
The implication is clear: We have to be as certain as Jabotinsky what we stand for, and we must not be cowed by the adversary; in fact, we should clarify our thinking to the point that we understand who the adversary is, and having clarified our relative positions, we must assertively speak our truth -- in love.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obtgaZ97Kdc It might surprise you, so thoroughly uninformed as you are, wilfully or otherwise, that there are millions of Americans who are Jewish, and their American citizenship and humanity at least equal to yours and mine.

And yes, some of them can be as mistaken just as we are capable of as well.

[Oct 04, 2017] Elizabeth K bler-Ross' five stages of grief, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance are important for understanding not only individual behavior when we are faced with personal loss but entire societies and civilizations

Oct 04, 2017 | www.unz.com

JNDillard > , October 4, 2017 at 12:07 pm GMT

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross' five stages of grief, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance are important for understanding not only individual behavior when we are faced with personal loss but entire societies and civilizations.

At this point Lieberman, Israel, the CIA, the US deep state, NATO and the EU are still fluctuating between denial and anger. The anger isn't even totally authentic yet; it is still mostly "Big Bad Wolf" winning by intimidation anger.

As it starts to dawn on these good people in the West that they are seriously screwed, we will begin to see authentic anger emerge.

That is, of course, the most dangerous stage, because that is when the sense of threat to hubris, arrogance, assumed privilege, control and power is greatest. We will mostly have to rely on cooler heads, like Putin, Xi, and Assad, to pull us through without WWIII.

You will know that we are through the worst when these disciples of freedom and democracy start wanting to do some authentic, serious bargaining, of the type where they actually have to give up something valuable. They are only play bargaining at this point. You can see the same thing with the US "bargaining" with N. Korea and Iran as with Syria; nowhere near actually bargaining.

Kurdistan will have to clearly be impossible and the Americans on the verge of being forced out before there is anything like serious bargaining.

If Putin, Xi, and Assad refuse to take the first, pathetic excuses for offers and instead recognize that they never would be getting serious negotiations if these folks had any cards whatsoever left to play, they will be able to watch the collapse of the West.

[Oct 03, 2017] That Europe might become an independent "third force" has been a matter of concern to U.S. planners since World War II

Notable quotes:
"... That Europe might become an independent "third force" has been a matter of concern to U.S. planners since World War II. There have long been discussions of something like a Gaullist conception of Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals or, in more recent years, Gorbachev's vision of a common Europe from Brussels to Vladivostok. ..."
"... Barsamian: What do you make of the conflict between the Trump administration and the U.S. intelligence communities? Do you believe in the "deep state"? ..."
Oct 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

Barsamian: You have in the past expressed concern about the European Union. What do you think will happen as Europe becomes less tied to the U.S. and the U.K.?

Chomsky: The E.U. has fundamental problems, notably the single currency with no political union. It also has many positive features. There are some sensible ideas aimed at saving what is good and improving what is harmful. Yanis Varoufakis's DiEM25 initiative for a democratic Europe is a promising approach.

The U.K. has often been a U.S. surrogate in European politics. Brexit might encourage Europe to take a more independent role in world affairs, a course that might be accelerated by Trump policies that increasingly isolate us from the world. While he is shouting loudly and waving an enormous stick, China could take the lead on global energy policies while extending its influence to the west and, ultimately, to Europe, based on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the New Silk Road.

That Europe might become an independent "third force" has been a matter of concern to U.S. planners since World War II. There have long been discussions of something like a Gaullist conception of Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals or, in more recent years, Gorbachev's vision of a common Europe from Brussels to Vladivostok.

Whatever happens, Germany is sure to retain a dominant role in European affairs. It is rather startling to hear a conservative German chancellor, Angela Merkel, lecturing her U.S. counterpart on human rights, and taking the lead, at least for a time, in confronting the refugee issue, Europe's deep moral crisis. On the other hand, Germany's insistence on austerity and paranoia about inflation and its policy of promoting exports by limiting domestic consumption have no slight responsibility for Europe's economic distress, particularly the dire situation of the peripheral economies. In the best case, however, which is not beyond imagination, Germany could influence Europe to become a generally positive force in world affairs.

Barsamian: What do you make of the conflict between the Trump administration and the U.S. intelligence communities? Do you believe in the "deep state"?

Chomsky: There is a national security bureaucracy that has persisted since World War II. And national security analysts, in and out of government, have been appalled by many of Trump's wild forays. Their concerns are shared by the highly credible experts who set the Doomsday Clock, advanced to two and a half minutes to midnight as soon as Trump took office -- the closest it has been to terminal disaster since 1953, when the U.S. and USSR exploded thermonuclear weapons. But I see little sign that it goes beyond that, that there is any secret "deep state" conspiracy.

[Oct 03, 2017] US military vehicles paraded 300 yards from the Russian border by Michael Birnbaum

Th at reckless demonstration of force on the border is the essence of Obama administration approach to Russia. With the foreign policy dominated by people from CIA.
Notable quotes:
"... Americans need to stop and look again at the Cuban Missile Crisis. If he had listened to the generals Washington would have been vaporized and we would have had full scale nuclear war. ..."
"... Oh, and by the way, whoever gave the order to participate in such an "in your face" demonstration 300m from the border of a country that already fears for their security, should be COURT MARTIALED!! THIS WHOLE THING IS GOING TO TURN OUT REALLY BAD FOR BOTH COUNTRIES!!!!!! ..."
"... Mutually assured provocation. ..."
"... The U.S. has been "at war" 93% of the time since 1776. 97% if counting the proxy wars. ..."
"... If the EU and US were interested in any Peace they would not be arming and funding terrorist groups like ISIS / Al-Qaeda but would actually fight them. ..."
Feb 24, 2015 | www.washingtonpost.com

MOSCOW - U.S. military combat vehicles paraded Wednesday through an Estonian city that juts into Russia, a symbolic act that highlighted the stakes for both sides amid the worst tensions between the West and Russia since the Cold War.

The armored personnel carriers and other U.S. Army vehicles that rolled through the streets of Narva, a border city separated by a narrow frontier from Russia, were a dramatic reminder of the new military confrontation in Eastern Europe.

Frazzled2 3/9/2015 8:57 PM EDT

Americans need to stop and look again at the Cuban Missile Crisis. If he had listened to the generals Washington would have been vaporized and we would have had full scale nuclear war.

It was only after they did all they could to try to convince Kennedy to bomb Cuba, and many years had passed, that it was found out that the nuclear missiles were operational.

If the Generals (especially Lemay) had been listened to history would have been a WHOLE LOT different!

Another widely unknown fact was that it was not a case of the Russian simply backing down. We gave up missiles in Turkey in return for the removal of the Russian missiles.

So what does any of this have to do with today? Then we had Kennedy who had the strength to do what was right and the foreign affairs intelligence to override his generals and do what was right. Today we have "The Community Organizer" who has to find the wisdom to do what's right.

Oh, and by the way, whoever gave the order to participate in such an "in your face" demonstration 300m from the border of a country that already fears for their security, should be COURT MARTIALED!! THIS WHOLE THING IS GOING TO TURN OUT REALLY BAD FOR BOTH COUNTRIES!!!!!!

Benjamin Jowett 3/9/2015 11:55 AM EDT
"The United States has sent hundreds of military personnel to joint NATO exercises in the Baltics". Hundreds? We sent "hundreds" of "personnel" (of whom only a small proportion were probably combat soldiers)? And that is supposed to intimidate Putin? ...
Arreb 3/9/2015 10:59 AM EDT [Edited]
What a load of bull crap. Most of the people in the UKraine voted against having anything to do with the West controlled EU because they knew they would be raped and pillaged like that has been done to them since the West overthrew their elected government. This vote of the people against the EU was what sparked the US over throw of the Ukraine.

The US had the new Ukraine leader already selected for the take over two months before we over threw their governement.

Not even two weeks after the over throw the US was already talking about starting to frak for gas there .

This take over is all about controlling Russia and pushing Russia into corner and to try to force Russais into another World War when Russia did nothing wrong but bow to the wishes of the people in Crimea and try to protect their people and assets.
The real criminal here is the US and the EU. ... more See More Like Share

Steve Collins 3/9/2015 9:10 AM EDT
NATO is a defense organization. Why is Russia. "NOT" wanting neighbors to have adequate defenses? An Even bigger question; Why do Russian neighbors feel a need to join a defense organization?
Frazzled2 3/9/2015 9:06 PM EDT
Russia LOST 24 MILLION people the last time the west moved up to their borders. Remember how we felt when we lost 3000 on 9/11? how about the 2500 or so 12/7/1941, for that matter how about when we simply had Russian missiles pointed at us in Cuba??

WE still haven't gotten over the effects of either, so imagine how Russia feels about 24 million DEAD and US combat troops right on their borders. I hope that maybe those FACTS puts a little perspective on this, but I doubt it......

Lets all chant together as we watch American and Russian cities go up in a mushroom cloud, "USA USA USA"

SocialistSecurity 3/2/2015 9:57 AM EST
Mutually assured provocation.
jRahall727 2/28/2015 1:50 PM EST
The U.S. has been "at war" 93% of the time since 1776. 97% if counting the proxy wars.
Oleg Moseev 2/28/2015 2:54 AM EST
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKiFCIS2GJU

if one Russian isn't afraid to stand with a flag on your parade, think that will be if we get up all. we want the peace, but we will be able to protect ourselves

Arreb 3/9/2015 11:06 AM EDT [Edited]
The trouble is the US and EU have never has been intersted in peace but only control of every country. This is why they over throw any world government who refuses to join the EU.

We saw this in Syria, Egypt, Iran, other countries as well in the Ukraine and they are not done yet.

If the EU and US were interested in any Peace they would not be arming and funding terrorist groups like ISIS / Al-Qaeda but would actually fight them.

Sergey Alferov 2/28/2015 2:30 AM EST
US became the evil empire and want to unleash the world's third world war. Nuclear.
Sergey Alferov 2/28/2015 2:27 AM EST
Russia defended Europe from the Mongols, the Turks, from fascism and liberated from Napoleon. Russia allowed without blood disconnect from its territory of Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbadzhana, Moldova, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan. Russia helped to reunite Germany. Russia defended in 2008 from Georgia and genocide on its part of the Orthodox Ossetians. Crimea hundreds of years was Russian territory, Russian and live there.

Crimeans happily separated from the Ukraine. US $ 5 billion overthrew the legitimate government of Ukraine and put him in the leadership of the military junta. Ukrainian fascists beginning of genocide against Russian speaking population in the Donbas and Lugansk, Russian volunteers help self-defense forces of the People's Republic of Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republic. Russian-speaking population is oppressed in Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk and Kharkov. MH-17 downed Ukrainian military fighters, for what would provoke hatred of Russia.

Now NATO is defiantly holds military march near the border with Russia. This unfriendly and can have extremely negative consequences.

jRahall727 2/28/2015 1:52 PM EST
Ask Western-backed mercenary assassins.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nowhere in the West is there a sign of intelligence.

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

[Oct 03, 2017] The Vietnam Nightmare -- Again by

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The US military understands it has long ago lost the Afghan War but cannot bear the humiliation of admitting it was defeated by lightly-armed mountain tribesmen fighting for their independence. ..."
"... Vietnam was not a 'tragedy,' as the PBS series asserts, but the product of imperial geopolitics. The same holds true for today's Mideast wars. To paraphrase a famous slogan from Vietnam, we destroyed Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria to make them safe for 'freedom.' ..."
"... The war became aimless and often surreal. We soldiers all knew our senior officers and political leaders were lying. Many soldiers were at the edge of mutiny, like the French Army in 1917. Back in those ancient days, we had expected our political leaders to be men of rectitude who told us the truth. Thanks to Vietnam, the politicians were exposed as liars and heartless cynics with no honor. ..."
"... This same dark cloud hangs over our political landscape today. We have destroyed large parts of the Mideast, Afghanistan and northern Pakistan without a second thought – yet wonder why peoples from these ravaged nations hate us. Now, North Korea seems next. ..."
"... In spite of all, our imperial impulse till throbs. The nightmare Vietnam War in which over 58,000 American soldiers died for nothing has been largely forgotten. ..."
"... For both Vietnam and Afghanistan, as well as other places, the guiding principle is that they live there and we don't. These are all expeditionary wars for the US. Resistant peoples can't be controlled at a distance ..."
"... So, considering that Viet commies stood for patriotism and national sovereignty, maybe the globalist viewpoint is more favorable to US efforts to turn Vietnam into globo-disneyland. ..."
"... Americans at-large have no power. A small cadre runs things now. Once Americans didn't have a draft to worry over, they vacated the streets and left the dying to the farmers' sons (metaphor for the poor). ..."
"... War after war lost, yet the Generals are still revered, money to the pro-war think tanks is never ending and the revolving door between the Pentagon, White House and defense contractors (and their corporate boards) has never been richer. Doesn't matter the war industry doesn't win wars, the money is just so damned good they can't stop, won't stop. And who is to stop them? These are the folks that kill people, that have a file on each of us. Indeed, it is our only remaining industry, flawed and failed though it may be. It certainly is a rich one. And it IS unstoppable. Completely. Utterly. ..."
"... When the communists gave up and joined the party, our globalist masters realized that they could not only amass further wealth by spreading these things to the former communist bloc and under-exploited non-aligned nations, but they could now squeeze even more profit-margin out of the home territories by wearing down the power of the local workforce at all levels, except, of course, for the very pinnacle, by outsourcing production and even many services to the newly "developing world." ..."
"... Ironically, fighting the communist threat probably kept our leadership more honest than they have been in the new world order since the fall of communism. ..."
"... I know opinions vary on Ken Burns/PBS's "Vietnam" documentary, but what struck me is that we're following the same script in Afghanistan and the Middle East as we were in Vietnam and expecting a different (i.e., more favorable) outcome. The script being "pacification" through providing medicine, foodstuffs, soccer balls and American smiles to the local populations combined with placing massive amounts of ordnance on targets deemed hostile. It didn't win hearts and minds then nor is it now. ..."
"... The monumentally stupid war mismanagement of Pentagon chief Robert McNamara, a know-it-all who knew nothing, ..."
"... We have legions of McNamara's calling the shots today. They are called neoconservatives and liberal interventionists. The big brains of the Ivy league do seem to excel at steering us into icebergs time and again. ..."
"... What don't you understand about Clausewitz's dictum "war is the mere continuation of politics with other means"? War is what you do when you can't achieve your political objectives by other means. The United States' political objective in Vietnam was to prevent the American satrapy in the south being re-united by the nationalists in the north. So, where the f ** k is South Vietnam? The United States might believe it won every battle (slight exaggeration) but it still lost the American war. ..."
"... I bet they didn't cover the mutiny in the ranks which is the main reason the US had to withdraw because of a "broken army." That included fragging, mission refusal, and an overall negative attitude as you suggest. Now we have a volunteer army, a warrior class, which changes that dynamic. ..."
"... Too many of the volunteers are really economic draftees. You can have plenty of discipline problems with volunteers, I've seen it up close and personal, although never reaching the level of mutiny. ..."
Sep 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

The current 17-year old US war in Afghanistan has uncanny resemblances to the Vietnam War. In Kabul and Saigon, the US installed puppet governments that command no loyalty except from minority groups. They were steeped in drugs and corruption, and kept in power by intensive use of American air power. As in Vietnam, the US military and civilian effort in Afghanistan is led by a toxic mixture of deep ignorance and imperial arrogance.

The US military understands it has long ago lost the Afghan War but cannot bear the humiliation of admitting it was defeated by lightly-armed mountain tribesmen fighting for their independence. In Vietnam, Washington could not admit that young Vietnamese guerillas and regulars had bested the US armed forces thanks to their indomitable courage and intelligent tactics. No one outside Vietnam cared about the 2-3 million civilians killed in the conflict

Unfortunately, the PBS program fails to convey this imperial arrogance and the ignorance that impelled Washington into the war – the same foolhardy behavior that sent US forces into Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq and perhaps may do so in a second Korean War. The imperial spirit still burns hot in Washington among those who don't know or understand the outside world. The lessons of all these past conflicts have been forgotten: Washington's collective memory is only three years long.

Vietnam was not a 'tragedy,' as the PBS series asserts, but the product of imperial geopolitics. The same holds true for today's Mideast wars. To paraphrase a famous slogan from Vietnam, we destroyed Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria to make them safe for 'freedom.'

One of the craziest things about the Vietnam War has rarely been acknowledged: even at peak deployment, the 550,000 US soldiers in Vietnam were outnumbered by North Vietnamese fighting units.

That's because the huge US military had only about 50,000 real combat troops in the field. The other half million were support troops performing logistical and administrative functions behind the lines: a vast army of typists, cooks, truck drivers, psychologists, and pizza-makers.

Too much tail to teeth, as the army calls it. For Thanksgiving, everyone got turkey dinner with cranberry sauce, choppered into the remotest outposts. But there were simply not enough riflemen to take on the Viet Cong and tough North Vietnamese Army whose Soviet M1954 130mm howitzer with a 27 km range were far superior to the US Army's outdated WWII artillery.

Poor generalship, mediocre officers, and lack of discipline ensured that the US war effort in Vietnam would become and remain a mess. Stupid, pointless attacks against heavily defended hills inflicted huge casualties on US troops and eroded morale.

The monumentally stupid war mismanagement of Pentagon chief Robert McNamara, a know-it-all who knew nothing, turned the war into a macabre joke. This was the dumbest command decision since Louis XV put his girlfriend Madame de Pompadour in charge of his armies.

We soldiers, both in Vietnam and Stateside, scorned the war and mocked our officers. It didn't help that much of the US force in 'Nam' were often stoned and rebellious.

The January 30, 1968 Tet Offensive put the kibosh on US plans to pursue the war – and even take it into south-west China. Tet was a military victory of sorts for the US (and why not, with thousands of warplanes and B-52 heavy bombers) but a huge political/psychological victory for the Communists in spite of their heavy losses.

I vividly recall standing with a group of GI's reading a typed report on our company barracks advising that the Special Forces camp in the Central Highlands to which many of our company had been assigned for immediate duty had been overrun at Tet, and all its defenders killed. After that, the US Army's motto was 'stay alive, avoid combat, and smoke another reefer.'

The war became aimless and often surreal. We soldiers all knew our senior officers and political leaders were lying. Many soldiers were at the edge of mutiny, like the French Army in 1917. Back in those ancient days, we had expected our political leaders to be men of rectitude who told us the truth. Thanks to Vietnam, the politicians were exposed as liars and heartless cynics with no honor.

This same dark cloud hangs over our political landscape today. We have destroyed large parts of the Mideast, Afghanistan and northern Pakistan without a second thought – yet wonder why peoples from these ravaged nations hate us. Now, North Korea seems next.

Showing defiance to Washington brought B-52 bombers, toxic Agent Orange defoliants and endless storms of napalm and white phosphorus that would burn through one's body until it hit bone.

In spite of all, our imperial impulse till throbs. The nightmare Vietnam War in which over 58,000 American soldiers died for nothing has been largely forgotten. So we can now repeat the same fatal errors again without shame, remorse or understanding.

(Republished from EricMargolis.com by permission of author or representative)

anonymous, Disclaimer September 30, 2017 at 3:36 pm GMT

For both Vietnam and Afghanistan, as well as other places, the guiding principle is that they live there and we don't. These are all expeditionary wars for the US. Resistant peoples can't be controlled at a distance. Of course the morale of US soldiers ends up being bad when they realize there's nothing for them to fight for. No one wants to die to help some politician save face. Insofar as the current much publicized Vietnam documentary goes there doesn't seem to be anything that's new or original. All of it has been known for many years to anyone who would bother to brush up on the subject. The question is whether Americans are capable of learning from the past and the answer seems to be no for the vast majority.

anonymous, Disclaimer September 30, 2017 at 3:36 pm GMT

For both Vietnam and Afghanistan, as well as other places, the guiding principle is that they live there and we don't. These are all expeditionary wars for the US. Resistant peoples can't be controlled at a distance. Of course the morale of US soldiers ends up being bad when they realize there's nothing for them to fight for. No one wants to die to help some politician save face. Insofar as the current much publicized Vietnam documentary goes there doesn't seem to be anything that's new or original. All of it has been known for many years to anyone who would bother to brush up on the subject. The question is whether Americans are capable of learning from the past and the answer seems to be no for the vast majority.

Cranky, September 30, 2017 at 3:37 pm GMT

So whose name gets to be the last American killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, etc? Dying for a place on the memorial, boys. "The war was being run by a bunch of four-star clowns who were going to end up giving the whole circus away."

Some things don't change- I wonder if Rand has a new copy of the Pentagon Papers regarding post 9/11. And a new Nixon in office .he vowed to get out too -- and yet pushed more into it simply amazing.

nsa, September 30, 2017 at 5:55 pm GMT

@Sam McGowan First, I was heavily involved in Vietnam from 1965 to 1970. Second, I have written extensively about the war and read the books. The fact is that the US didn't "lose" the war, the left-wing presidents that got us into it, JFK and LBJ, has no intention of defeating the communist insurgency, they just wanted "to contain it". Cam Ranh Bay and made a speech in which he commented to the troops present that he wanted them to "nail the coonskin to the wall." Richard Nixon began withdrawing troops immediately after his inauguration and gave Abrams an edict to "reduce American casualties" shortly afterwards. In fact, Vietnam as well as Korea - as well as other wars around the world - were continuations of World War II, which Americans thought ended when the Japanese surrendered. By the way, I am not watching Ken Burn's latest left-wing propaganda piece nor do I intend to. I don't need him to tell me what happened in Southeast Asia, I was there. Save your senile hot air for the other menopausal drunks drooling in the VFW lounge. The conscript US military completely collapsed fragging, rampant drug usage, desertion, abject morale, chain of command disintegration, and the usual commissioned officer cowardice. Any western country stupid enough to pursue a land war in Asia deserves what it gets .inevitable defeat and humiliation.

Priss Factor, Website September 30, 2017 at 7:27 pm GMT

I don't think CucKen Burns is entirely wrong in empathizing with those who got involved. Sure, there were warmongers. Sure, they were profiteers. Sure, there were power-maniacs. Sure, there were paranoids.

But Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon were not particularly sadistic or cruel men. Eisenhower could be aloof and mean. Kennedy could be vain. Johnson was plenty corrupt. Nixon could be nasty. But were not psychos or radicals like Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, or Mao.

As for military men, well, whaddya expect? They were trained to think of the world in terms of military power. As for CIA, we are talking of more sinister elements, but let's keep in mind that Soviets had their intelligence organizations and methods of subversion. Let's remember Soviets had infiltrated FDR's government and pulled dirty trick. Even got the Bomb during Truman era.
Also, Soviets could be utterly ruthless in their own empire.

Now, would the US have intervened in Vietnam if the nation was to be united by a non-communist nationalist? Probably not. US didn't intervene in Indonesia when it gained independence under Sukarno. The only reason US got involved was because Ho was a Soviet-leaning communist. And even though Domino theory has been 'debunked', it made sense at the time. Even Soviets believed in it. Mao believed in it. Soviets believed that sign of US weakness could spread the revolution all around. Che Guevara believed in the Domino Theory. Communist victory over Cuba, he thought, would herald spread of communism all over Latin America, and then it would spread into US itself. Che really believed this, which is why he died in Bolivia trying to start an insurgency.

Also, in a way, Domino Theory did come true, at least for awhile. Not so much in Southeast Asia, though Laos and Cambodia also fell to communism. And keep in mind Indonesia almost could have become communist if the Peking-backed coup had succeeded. And keep in mind it took lots of British brutality and ruthlessness to stem the communist movement in Malaysia. Brits built huge hamlets and concentration camps. They took extreme measures.

At any rate, communism did continue to spread after the fall of Vietnam. US power seemed to be declining. And not only communists were emboldened by US defeat in Vietnam. Vietnam became a metaphor for anti-Americanism all over the world. May 68 movement that almost brought down the French government was fired up partly by Vietnam(though it began as some silly stuff about dorms and sex). Vietnam was bigger than Algeria because US was seen as the Great Power. French defeat wasn't all that surprising in Algeria. So, after US left from Vietnam, there was a sense that David could beat American Goliath. Iran regime fell and Islamists came to power. Afghanistan turned communist, and Soviets felt emboldened in rolling in tanks. Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Angola turned communist. Communists won in Nicaragua and almost won in El Salvador. There was a raging Maoist insurgency in Peru. Allende came to power through elections, and he was pro-Soviet and pro-Cuba. He was removed only by US-backed coup that did as much harm as good. It blackened US reputation around the world. So, in a way, the Domino Theory wasn't all wrong. Vietnam did signal a sea-change in world politics at least for awhile.

In the end, communism wasn't defeated by the US. It defeated itself. Soviet economics just couldn't sustain the empire. Its subsidies to Cuba were costly. Its support of Marxist regimes in Africa drained Soviet economy. USSR had to prop up Iron Curtain nations economically. And Vietnamese communism was a disaster. Maoism was hell on earth. Some might say communism failed cuz Capitalist West froze the communists out of world trade. But considering that the communist world encompassed resource-rich Soviet Empire, people-rich China, and lots of nations willing to do business with communist nations -- India and Arab nations had good relations with Soviets -- , the real reason for failure of communism was it was its own worst enemy.

And when we look at the aftermath of communist victory in Indochina -- brutal repression in Vietnam and Laos and psychotic democide in Cambodia -- and when we consider how even communist nations like China and Vietnam switched to market economics, it's clear that US was on the right side of history on many issues.

Also, the conflict was complicated because both sides were aggressors. US was the aggressor in working with the French to divide Vietnam in half, in occupying the southern half, and dropping bombs and using Viet women as whores. But the communists were also aggressors because they tried to impose a form of Stalinism on people in the South, most of whom didn't want communism. After all, many more people fled the north to the south than vice versa. Why? There is something prison-like about communism. The commissars never leave you alone. Also, North Vietnamese leaders, though inspired and patriotic, were utterly ruthless in their own way, willing to sacrifice any number of people for victory just like Japanese militarists were willing to Go All the Way instead of calling it quits to save lives.

Still, in retrospect, Ho Chi Minh was a genuine patriot, a legendary figure much beloved by many Viets. And for that reason, US shouldn't have intervened, and the whole mess could have been avoided.

CucKen Burns makes my skin crawl, but at his best, he can look at both sides of the issue instead of going for b/w version of history with good guys vs bad guys.

That said, maybe his position reflects globalism. As Proglobalists now control the US, the neo-Pax-Americana is about the spread of agendas favored by the likes of CucKen Burns, like homomania, Jewish Power, anti-nationalism, and Afromania. Today's progs want the world to become neo-Americanized.

And in Vietnam, as Linh Dinh reported, there is now homo parades and Afromania and Vietcuckery. So, considering that Viet commies stood for patriotism and national sovereignty, maybe the globalist viewpoint is more favorable to US efforts to turn Vietnam into globo-disneyland.

After all, where was CucKen Burns when Obama and Hillary were destroying Libya, Ukraine, Syria, and etc. Where were he and his ilk when Jews were cooking up New Cold War with Russia with hysteria that would make McCarthy blush?

Anon, Disclaimer October 1, 2017 at 4:37 am GMT

Is the view that JFK wanted out of Vietnam merely a conspiratorial fantasy?. The following articles are easy reads:

Exit Strategy: In 1963, JFK ordered a complete withdrawal from Vietnam
James K. Galbraith, BOSTON REVIEW

JFK's Vietnam Withdrawal Plan Is a Fact, Not Speculation
A response to Rick Perlstein.
By James K. Galbraith, THE NATION

Jim Christian, October 1, 2017 at 6:03 am GMT

@anonymous

"The question is whether Americans are capable of learning from the past and the answer seems to be no for the vast majority."

Americans at-large have no power. A small cadre runs things now. Once Americans didn't have a draft to worry over, they vacated the streets and left the dying to the farmers' sons (metaphor for the poor). That's all it is. The damage done to the economy, the sheer quantities of cash vacuumed up from the rest of the country and showered over the Washington DC region escapes the imagination of us out here in the country with our local issues and problems. These, rooted in the sheer theft of our taxes and handed over to the war-mongers of DC because there simply isn't enough left over after feeding The Beast in Washington. We have aircraft carriers that can't launch aircraft, planes that won't fly, weapons that won't work and wrong strategies followed in war-fighting and procurement, yet still, the theft goes on.

War after war lost, yet the Generals are still revered, money to the pro-war think tanks is never ending and the revolving door between the Pentagon, White House and defense contractors (and their corporate boards) has never been richer. Doesn't matter the war industry doesn't win wars, the money is just so damned good they can't stop, won't stop. And who is to stop them? These are the folks that kill people, that have a file on each of us. Indeed, it is our only remaining industry, flawed and failed though it may be. It certainly is a rich one. And it IS unstoppable. Completely. Utterly.

Jim Christian, October 1, 2017 at 6:22 am GMT

@Sam McGowan Concur all, McGowan, good takes. Yeah, my Pop was into Naval spook communications and messaging, he'd pick up the WashPost off the driveway and see various and sundry in the paper lying and white-washing the effort and just be wild by the time he left for work. He knew the carriers were having no success, he knew the air-war was a mess, he knew the Marines were getting killed all over the country. People that knew the truth from the inside hadda keep their traps shut.

By the time I joined up for a 6 year dose of USN carrier decks in 1976 I got the scoop from a few of our officers, almost all of whom had flown with VA35 over Vietnam in A-6′s. Clusterfuck, they could then acknowledge just those few years later, only the most junior officers hadn't served in the air war over Vietnam. And they had good stories that pointed out the folly throughout.

Now? The military is just a revenue-stream, nothing produced, much destroyed to the enrichment of a few insiders.

2/1Doc RVN 68-89, October 1, 2017 at 12:27 pm GMT

Sir
Recently came across some startling statistics about men who served in Vietnam like you and me. Of the 2.7 million who served only 850,000 are still alive at last census!!!!!! 700,500 died prematurely between 1995 census and 2000 census. No country for old men .

The Alarmist, October 1, 2017 at 4:08 pm GMT

@Priss Factor

"And in Vietnam, as Linh Dinh reported, there is now homo parades and Afromania and Vietcuckery. So, considering that Viet commies stood for patriotism and national sovereignty, maybe the globalist viewpoint is more favorable to US efforts to turn Vietnam into globo-disneyland."

Bingo! The only problem is that the globalists are now using the opportunity to also wear down the populations of the home territories as well. The only reason our national economic imperialism wasn't enough of a raging success (don't get me wrong by any rational measure it was) was that it was kept in check by the opposing communist bloc, and still America managed to conquer the so-called free world with Coca Cola, McDonalds, Hollywood Inc., etc.

When the communists gave up and joined the party, our globalist masters realized that they could not only amass further wealth by spreading these things to the former communist bloc and under-exploited non-aligned nations, but they could now squeeze even more profit-margin out of the home territories by wearing down the power of the local workforce at all levels, except, of course, for the very pinnacle, by outsourcing production and even many services to the newly "developing world."

Ironically, fighting the communist threat probably kept our leadership more honest than they have been in the new world order since the fall of communism.

The Alarmist, October 1, 2017 at 4:25 pm GMT

"No one in Washington seemed to know that China and the Soviet Union had split and become bitter enemies. As ever, our foreign human intelligence was lousy."

They knew of the rift that had grown since 1960 or so, but they didn't believe it until the short border war in 1969. The same way that a number of indicators suggested as early as 1983 that the USSR was imploding, but the menace of the USSR was used to keep justifying a buildup and procurement of new systems until and even beyond its actual implosion a few years later.

Evil, stupid, or merely blind. You decide.

KenH, October 1, 2017 at 11:00 pm GMT

I know opinions vary on Ken Burns/PBS's "Vietnam" documentary, but what struck me is that we're following the same script in Afghanistan and the Middle East as we were in Vietnam and expecting a different (i.e., more favorable) outcome. The script being "pacification" through providing medicine, foodstuffs, soccer balls and American smiles to the local populations combined with placing massive amounts of ordnance on targets deemed hostile. It didn't win hearts and minds then nor is it now.

The generals keep telling us that with just a few more antibiotics, soccer balls and troops victory is around the bend.

Hindsight's always 20/20, but to be fair a military force in Vietnam did seem like the right thing do at least in the early years. Any de-escalation and/or withdrawals would have been perceived by a rabidly anti-communist population as surrendering to communist aggression and political suicide for any president proposing it.

The monumentally stupid war mismanagement of Pentagon chief Robert McNamara, a know-it-all who knew nothing,

We have legions of McNamara's calling the shots today. They are called neoconservatives and liberal interventionists. The big brains of the Ivy league do seem to excel at steering us into icebergs time and again.

As it was former allies Vietnam and China briefly fought each other in 1979 and Vietnam didn't have the desire or the ability to project power much beyond Cambodia and Laos.

DB Cooper, October 2, 2017 at 4:38 am GMT

"We really believed that if the US did not make a stand in Vietnam the Soviets and Chinese would overrun all of South Asia."

India played a big role in shaping this narrative. Just five years ago before 1967 China finally responded to India's creeping land grab after years of trying to warn New Delhi's to stop its 'Forward Policy' by launching a massive anticipatory strike into India. India was defeated militarily but India was able to fool the world that India was a hapless victim against an agressive China when in fact the reverse is true.

Diversity Heretic, October 2, 2017 at 6:14 am GMT

@Jim Christian A bit off topic, but, since I know that you had naval experience, any take on why Navy ships keep colliding with merchantmen? Is it reduced competence because of racial and sexual preferences, or overworked sailors because deployed ships are short-staffed as a result of pregnancies? Or is it just a run of bad luck? I've read some different theories but I've seen you post often enough to know that you'll have an informed opinion.

Blowback, October 2, 2017 at 1:07 pm GMT

@Sam McGowan What don't you understand about Clausewitz's dictum "war is the mere continuation of politics with other means"? War is what you do when you can't achieve your political objectives by other means. The United States' political objective in Vietnam was to prevent the American satrapy in the south being re-united by the nationalists in the north. So, where the f ** k is South Vietnam? The United States might believe it won every battle (slight exaggeration) but it still lost the American war.

Jim Christian, October 2, 2017 at 1:09 pm GMT

@Diversity Heretic The military is off-kilter all over. Navigation? Routine. Ought to be. Not anymore. Procurement? Driven by inertia and the corruption of planners that know a carrier's planes are useless if the ship has to stand off 500-1000 miles because of a cruise missile environment that they KNOW every third-world shitbox has been building for 30 years now, starting with the Norks. From aircraft to ships, a complete clusterfuck.

Personnel? Ya gotta be shitting me, right? Between the sexism, reverse-racism and the cultural kookiness from the top of a terrorized Central Command and throughout the military, right down to the pretty little Blonde Hispanic Black Dwarf tranny just dying to terrorize said command with a complaint, we really haven't much good to say about our staffing. It's not a meritocracy anymore, hasn't been since Reagan. The entire thing is sitting there waiting to be taken down and humiliated.

And still? We sprinkle the trillions onto the DC region, make the war planners rich, we still lionize Generals and Admirals that haven't won shit in 75 years and we cycle them through the think tanks and corporate boards of the defense contractors and make THEM rich too. Then we even put them in charge at the White House, having discarded the notion of Congressional approval for the wars they "fight" in our names. And they start wars. And finally, the notion that we have civilian control of our military is long gone. We are a Junta. There is a coup ongoing, two or more in our past and we're no more than a broke but dangerous and heavily armed danger to the rest of the world run by the thugs of the Pentagon, the think tanks, the defense contractors and the lazy sloth of Congress, who is supposed to keep this shit straight and Constitutional. Doom. Yes, the word doom comes to mind.

Don Bacon, October 2, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT

@anonymous re: "No one wants to die to help some politician save face."

I don't have a teevee, but I bet they didn't cover the mutiny in the ranks which is the main reason the US had to withdraw because of a "broken army." That included fragging, mission refusal, and an overall negative attitude as you suggest. Now we have a volunteer army, a warrior class, which changes that dynamic.

Jim Christian, October 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm GMT

@Diversity Heretic

Thanks! Always appreciate your candor!

One man's opinion. I do wish someone would show me where I'm wrong, but I spent too many years down in DC doing their tech stuff after I left the Navy (too many women that couldn't, at that point in 82, go to sea) and so they only had more sea duty because the shore billets were all taken in their haste to "integrate" women into the Navy. Even instructor duty for Naval Air Maintenance was hosted by women that had never served a day in carrier air, training the young mice how to do business on a flight deck. They did offer me, for variety, another four year hitch in a WestPac squadron aboard one damned carrier deck or another. Already having done 5, I said no thanks and went back home to Virginia. And so I got familiar with the workings of the spooks, Booze, Allen, Heritage, Cato, Brookings, the Pentagon, NSA, FBI, Quantico, there were hundreds of them, most with two or three names in the chain of title. I did their phones for decades, they're psychos, they're paranoid, everything classified and spooky and ooga-booga. Worthless ants on a big log and they each think they're steering it down the river.

Bunch of fucking Frank Burns's is what they are..Cheers.

Diversity Heretic, October 2, 2017 at 6:18 pm GMT

@Jim Christian Take care of yourself. People like you are a national asset, appreciated by at least some of us.

anonymous, Disclaimer October 2, 2017 at 11:03 pm GMT

There never was a communist threat. Not since at least the 1920s, when Stalin defeated Trotsky. Trotsky wanted world revolution. Stalin, for all his bloodthirsty antics in Russia, realised this was all nonsense. He just wanted Socialism in One Country, developing the country economically. He wasn't really interested in the outside world.

In the 1930s he was willing to cooperate with right wing western governments till they did a deal with Hitler in 1938. He was never interested in invading countries to grab land and resources. Whenever he did so, Poland in 1939, or Eastern Europe post 1945, it was for security reasons. The part of Poland he occupied in 1939 had been taken from Russia by force in 1920. It was inhabited by 1o million White Russians and Ukrainians and no Poles.

Jack Spratt, October 3, 2017 at 4:57 am GMT

Wissing's book "Funding the enemy" details the totally corrupt Afghan government and is a compelling argument why we should pull out at once and needs to be read by anyone with half a brain. I served in Vietnam also, in 1967, and its deja vu all over again.

Capn Mike, October 3, 2017 at 5:20 am GMT

@The Alarmist Having been on – site at the time (North Tonkin Gulf), I can tell you that China gave U.S.N. units free rein over those waters, including Chinese waters. The fix was in. In 1969 onwards. China and Viet Nam were NEVER friends. Did CIA realize this? I don't know.

Vidi, October 3, 2017 at 6:15 am GMT

@DanC

Anyways, expect the US to keep on wasting money in Afghanistan (and Pakistan and Tajikistan) until it gets bankrupted by the next Big War!

Or until all the routes into Afghanistan are blocked. At the moment, the only route still open passes through Pakistan, and that may close at any time.

wayfarer, October 3, 2017 at 6:19 am GMT

Of the 58,220 Americans who were sacrificed by the U.S. Government during the Vietnam War, 270 were Jewish. That's approximately 0.46 percent of the total number of American kids who died, or less than a half of one-percent.

"Statistical Information About Casualties of the Vietnam War"

https://www.archives.gov/research/military/vietnam-war/casualty-statistics.html

" 9/11 Israel Did It! "

https://wikispooks.com/wiki/9-11/Israel_did_it

Hibernian, October 3, 2017 at 10:57 am GMT

@Grandpa Charlie The Japanese trained their naval cadets using a mock Pearl Harbor type exercise annually for a fair number of years prior to WW2. The Russo-Japanese War of 1905 began with a Japanese surprise attack. You have the unmitigated gall to attack Margolis as an establishment mouthpiece when you yourself are whitewashhing the "sainted" FDR. No prudent military planner would absolutely assume that the attack would come in one particular place, whether the Phillipines, Pearl, or elsewhere.

Hibernian, October 3, 2017 at 11:05 am GMT

@Don Bacon Too many of the volunteers are really economic draftees. You can have plenty of discipline problems with volunteers, I've seen it up close and personal, although never reaching the level of mutiny.

Che Guava, October 3, 2017 at 12:13 pm GMT

@Capn Mike That is interesting to me. As is the Margolis artictle, never knew he had been a USA soldier, very interesting article. Thought he was a Canada person.

I have a question for you, Capn Mike.

If the PRC had allowed the USA free rein in Gulf of Tonkin, where were the supply lines to the Nth. Viet military and Viet Cong?

Must it not still have been overland from PRC at that time you say (1969)?

Hu Mi Yu, October 3, 2017 at 12:52 pm GMT

@Cranky

I don't for a moment believe that the 'saintly' President John Kennedy planned to end the war but was assassinated by dark, rightwing forces, as is claimed. This is a charming legend. Richard Nixon, Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson all feared that a withdrawal from Vietnam would lose them the next election. Republicans were still snarling over 'who lost China'.

I didn't like Kennedy either, but go back and reread the newspapers from the early days of the Kennedy administration. The oval office was bugged, and the information leaked in ways to embarrass Kennedy and UN Ambassador Adelai Stevenson. There is only one way that could have happened. Eisenhower installed those bugs before he left. These same bugs brought down Nixon in the Watergate crisis. The swamp wanted war, and they pulled the rug out from under both presidents as soon as they brought peace.

And a new Nixon in office .he vowed to get out too- and yet pushed more into it simply amazing.

He promised to get out and he did get us out. The peace treaty was announced just before the election in 1972. He knew it was his only hope for re-election. The Vietnamese disputed some of the terms, and that resulted in the Christmas bombing that year. The American withdrawal began in January 1973.

Trump promised to get us out of the Middle East. We should give him some rope. Maybe he hangs himself, or just maybe he can pull it off. He will need to be re-elected in three years.

Max Havelaar, October 3, 2017 at 1:41 pm GMT

Nice personal account of Vietnam.

However, the US foreign policy keeps holocausting the 3-rd world and lately the 2 -cond world.

The holocausts keep coming from US foreign policy of "exceptionalism" = "Nazi Übermensch"="the chosen ones" over this planet, many executed by the CIA-Nazi's:
The Syrian holocaust
The Yemen holocaust
The Ukranïan holocaust (Euromaidan) by Poroshenko/Nuland neo-nazi"s.
The Libyan holocaust
The Irak holocaust
The Afghanistan holocaust

The Belgrad holocaust

The Indonesian holocaust (Kissiger e.a.)
The Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia/Thailand holocaust (Kissinger e.a)
The Korean holocaust

During WWII:

The Jewish/Polish/Russian holocaust by Nazi's funded by Wallstreet/London bankers
The German holocaust (Die Rheinweisen lager) by US army Morgenthau plan.

Before WWII:
The Ukranian and Russain holocausts 1921-22, 1932-33 (holodomor) by Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin.

All these, were and are financed by the Wallstreet elite owners, the Billionaires who are mega-fascists, eugenic and satanic in character. Their credo is GREED.

(sources: Antony Sutton, Carrol Quickley, W.F. Engdahl)

jacques sheete, October 3, 2017 at 3:25 pm GMT

Thanks to Vietnam, the politicians were exposed as liars and heartless cynics with no honor.

A couple of the biggest lies were exposed, but the myths still live that the US government is an effective and dependable force for peace and freedom, and that the US military is an institution of dignity worthy of honor.

And people still put their faith (or is it hope) in the heartless cynics ( eunichs, really) with no balls, fewer brains, no soul, and even less honor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Oct 02, 2017] Presidential Candidates Push American Supremacy, Not National Defenss and anything they say should be taken with a grain of salt

Notable quotes:
"... we should take anything that Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton has to say with a grain of salt. They will say whatever they think will improve their chances of being elected in the fall. That said, I would not expect either of them, if elected, to bring about any serious rethinking of U.S. national security policy. As I suggested in that Harper's piece, they are different versions of hawks. ..."
"... I think that the meeting between FDR and the Saudi King that you cite is a very important waystation. That committed the United States to securing the monarchy, in return for expectations that we would have privileged access to oil in the Persian Gulf. ..."
"... However, I think the real turning point happens in 1980. Prior to 1980, there certainly was a U.S. policy in the greater Middle East, but it was not a U.S. policy that found expression in any serious military commitment. That changes in 1980, when Jimmy Carter promulgates the Carter doctrine. If you recall, that's a statement that designates the Persian Gulf a vital U.S. national security interest, and explicitly a place that we're now willing to fight for. ..."
"... At our present moment, as you and I are speaking, the concern is about ISIS. Certainly it's a, it's reasonable to view ISIS as a threat. It's also true that ISIS would not exist had not the United States invaded Iraq back in 2003. We shattered Iraq, and out of the chaos of Iraq has emerged this new terrorist entity. ..."
"... The foundation of our expectations of being the indispensable nation lie in the belief that we possess military might such as the world has never seen. And yet what we have found time and again in the greater Middle East is our military might is inadequate to the challenge. And we're not willing to admit that. Foreign policy establishment is not willing to admit that. And frankly, I think the majority of the American people are not willing to admit that. Not willing to admit that we are not history's agent. ..."
Jul 09, 2016 | therealnews.com

BACEVICH: Well, I think that's true. I mean, for the moment, we should take anything that Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton has to say with a grain of salt. They will say whatever they think will improve their chances of being elected in the fall. That said, I would not expect either of them, if elected, to bring about any serious rethinking of U.S. national security policy. As I suggested in that Harper's piece, they are different versions of hawks.

... ... ...

BACEVICH: Well, I think, I think that the meeting between FDR and the Saudi King that you cite is a very important waystation. That committed the United States to securing the monarchy, in return for expectations that we would have privileged access to oil in the Persian Gulf.

However, I think the real turning point happens in 1980. Prior to 1980, there certainly was a U.S. policy in the greater Middle East, but it was not a U.S. policy that found expression in any serious military commitment. That changes in 1980, when Jimmy Carter promulgates the Carter doctrine. If you recall, that's a statement that designates the Persian Gulf a vital U.S. national security interest, and explicitly a place that we're now willing to fight for. So prior to 1980, no major U.S. military involvement in the region. Beginning in 1980, a pattern of armed interventionism in the greater Middle East that continues down to the present day, and at least in my judgment has been unsuccessful, and indeed, counterproductive. So the military narrative really begins in 1980.

JAY: Yeah, it's interesting with a Democratic president, from the Democratic Party, certainly under the sway of Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was more or less the architect, I think, of the Carter doctrine, and leads to the war in Afghanistan. I guess--I hope most people know the basic story there, that the Americans funded jihadists in Afghanistan to suck the Russians in, and then successfully so, into a quagmire. And even though that led to the forming of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden.

And I think you can probably draw a straight line from that Carter doctrine right to 9/11, in terms of--it's a good example, I think, of what you're talking about, how this foreign policy--.

BACEVICH: I don't, I don't know that I'd call it a straight line, but there's a line. I mean, there certainly are a whole bunch of dots that can be connected. And I think that the Afghanistan experience, we're supporting the jihadists, is a good example of the unexpected consequences of U.S. interventionism.

At our present moment, as you and I are speaking, the concern is about ISIS. Certainly it's a, it's reasonable to view ISIS as a threat. It's also true that ISIS would not exist had not the United States invaded Iraq back in 2003. We shattered Iraq, and out of the chaos of Iraq has emerged this new terrorist entity.

So both of these, Afghanistan in the '80s, Iraq beginning in 2003, illustrate the larger point that U.S. military interventionism in this region simply has not produced the positive outcomes that policymakers have, have expected.

... ... ....

BACEVICH: ...The foundation of our expectations of being the indispensable nation lie in the belief that we possess military might such as the world has never seen. And yet what we have found time and again in the greater Middle East is our military might is inadequate to the challenge. And we're not willing to admit that. Foreign policy establishment is not willing to admit that. And frankly, I think the majority of the American people are not willing to admit that. Not willing to admit that we are not history's agent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

theomatica -> MSP1984 17 Nov 2016 6:40

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

farga 17 Nov 2016 6:35

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

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

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

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

Social36 -> farga 17 Nov 2016 8:33

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

ForSparta -> farga 17 Nov 2016 14:24

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

SeeNOevilHearNOevil 17 Nov 2016 6:36

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

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

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

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

ProbablyOnTopic 17 Nov 2016 6:37

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

LithophaneFurcifera -> ProbablyOnTopic 17 Nov 2016 7:05

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

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

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

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

Nash25 17 Nov 2016 6:40

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

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

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

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

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

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


VenetianBlind 17 Nov 2016 6:42

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

macfeegal 17 Nov 2016 6:46

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

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

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

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

VenetianBlind -> macfeegal 17 Nov 2016 7:00

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

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

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

[Oct 01, 2017] Gaius Publius The American Flag and What It Stands For

Oct 01, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on September 30, 2017 by Yves Smith By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

A scene from the Hard Hat Riot, March 8, 1970 ( source )

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave
-- " The Stars-Spangled Banner "

Bottom line first. The main point of this piece is -- we should stop pretending.

In light of the recent protests by black athletes during the playing of "The Stars Spangled Banner" before football games -- the "stars-spangled banner" being the American flag, so-named in Francis Scott Key's memorable (and musically deficient) American national anthem -- it seems fair to ask, What does the American flag stand for?

Let me offer several answers.

A Symbol of Abolition and Militarily Forced Unity

During the Civil War, the American flag went from being a simple banner to a powerful symbol of the Union (and the union) cause (my emphasis throughout):

The modern meaning of the flag was forged in December 1860, when Major Robert Anderson moved the U.S. garrison from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Author Adam Goodheart argues this was the opening move of the American Civil War , and the flag was used throughout northern states to symbolize American nationalism and rejection of secessionism . [emphasis added]

In the prologue to his book 1861 , Goodheart writes:

Before that day [in December 1860], the flag had served mostly as a military ensign or a convenient marking of American territory, flown from forts, embassies, and ships, and displayed on special occasions like American Independence day. But in the weeks after Major Anderson's surprising stand, it became something different. Suddenly the Stars and Stripes flew -- as it does today, and especially as it did after the September 11 attacks in 2001 -- from houses, from storefronts, from churches; above the village greens and college quads. For the first time American flags were mass-produced rather than individually stitched and even so, manufacturers could not keep up with demand. As the long winter of 1861 turned into spring, that old flag meant something new. The abstraction of the Union cause was transfigured into a physical thing: strips of cloth that millions of people would fight for, and many thousands die for .

Note two things about this transformation from flag to symbol. First, it represents military conquest -- originally the reconquest of the South, "strips of cloth that millions of people would fight for, and many thousands die for."

Second, those conquests are always presented as defensive -- in this case, "preserving the Union" as opposed to re-annexing territory whose inhabitants were exercising, however good or ill their reasons, the right of self-determination, a prime example of which was the nation's own Revolutionary War of 1776.

The Flag of a Warrior Nation

To expand the second point: We like to think of our warrior nation's wars as fought in defense -- with the flag representing that brave defensive posture -- but I can't think of a single defensive war after the War of 1776, save World War II (a war whose causative attack, some historians argue, we invited).

The War of 1812 was, in large part, a failed U.S. attempt to annex Canada while the British were tied up with Napoleon on the European continent (see also below). The Mexican American War was fought, ultimately, as a result of a dispute over Texas, which had seceded (irony alert) from Mexico and was subsequently welcomed into the U.S. In other words, a war of territorial expansion.

In the Civil War, the U.S. government took the position of the government of Mexico a decade and a half earlier and fought to disallow the secession of Southern states from the national government. One could call that war, among other things, a war to retain territory. Of course, the Civil War was also a war to abolish slavery, but that entirely moral motive came relatively late in the discussion .

The Spanish-American War was also a war of territorial expansion, as Gore Vidal, among many others, so well elucidated . Out of that war, along with other possessions, we acquired the Spanish-speaking island of Puerto Rico, which we're now mightily abusing.

World War I was certainly not a defensive war, whatever else it was. The sinking of the Lusitania , for example, owed as much to American banking and industrial support France and England and the resultant German blockade of England, one that ships carrying U.S-sourced war matériel refused to honor, as it owed to the barbarity of "the Hun," however propagandistically that attack was later portrayed.

Both the Korean War and the Vietnam War were products of U.S. intervention into the Cold War in Asia, though with some differences. In Korea, the U.S. was helping South Korea (a post-World War II created nation ) repel an invasion from North Korea (a similarly created nation).

In Vietnam, the U.S. and its World War II allies violated an agreement with Ho Chi Minh, who had fought with them against the Japanese, not to return Vietnam, his homeland, to French colonial rule. Vietnam was returned to the French, however, and Ho went back to war. He defeated the French in 1954, Vietnam was temporarily partitioned so the defeated French could evacuate, and unifying elections were set for 1956. Realizing that Ho Chi Minh would win overwhelmingly, the U.S. under Secretary of State John Foster Dulles allowed Vietnam south of the demilitarized zone to be declared a separate nation , and Ho again went back to war, with results that are with us today.

It goes without saying that neither of the Iraq wars were defensive, nor are the multiple places in the Middle East with insurrections we are currently bombing, droning, or supporting those (the Saudis, for example) who are doing both with our help.

What does the American flag stand for, militarily? Certainly not defending the nation from attack, since we've so rarely had to do it. Our enemies would say it stands for national aggression. Which leads to the next point.

A Symbol of National Obedience

Take a look at the image at the top. During the Nixon era, enemies of Vietnam War protestors and draft dodgers appropriated the flag as a symbol of their own aggression and anger -- anger at "the hippies"; at free love (which to a man they envied); at "unpatriotic" protests against the nation's wrongdoing; at anything and anyone who didn't rejoice, in essence, in the macho, patriarchic, authoritarian demands for obedience to right-wing leaders like Richard Nixon.

That's not an overstatement, and everyone reading this knows it, given just a little thought. Why do cops wear flags on their uniforms, for example, but not nurses? Ignore the cover-story explanations and ask, is it "national pride" and patriotism the police are expressing, or something closer to the authoritarian anger shown in the image above?

To the Black Lives Matter movement, the answer is obvious. Thus it should be to the rest of us. The obvious reason why cops wear flags is rarely stated though, so I won't say more of it here, except to add the following: The complaint against football players who "took a knee" in protest to American racism -- perpetrated in large part by aggressive, race-angry, flag-decorated police -- is that they don't "honor the flag" and what it represents.

Perhaps, unknowingly, that's exactly what they're doing.

So we're back to the question -- what does the American flag represent beyond its meaning as a heraldic device? What does the American flag stand for?

The answer, of course, is all of the above. Again: all of the above. We should stop pretending.

"The Stars Spangled Banner"

Which brings us back to Colin Kaepernick and the national anthem. Jonathan Schwartz (of A Tiny Revolution ) astutely writes this at The Intercept in a piece subtitled "The National Anthem is a Celebration of Slavery":

Before a preseason game on Friday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." When he explained why, he only spoke about the present: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

Twitter then went predictably nuts , with at least one 49ers fan burning Kaepernick's jersey .

Almost no one seems to be aware that even if the U.S. were a perfect country today, it would be bizarre to expect African-American players to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner." Why? Because it literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans.

Few people know this because we only ever sing the first verse. But read the end of the third verse and you'll see why "The Star-Spangled Banner" is not just a musical atrocity, it's an intellectual and moral one