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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[Dec 10, 2017] When Washington Cheered the Jihadists Consortiumnews

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... William Roebuck, the American embassy's chargé d'affaires in Damascus, thus urged Washington in 2006 to coordinate with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to encourage Sunni Syrian fears of Shi'ite Iranian proselytizing even though such concerns are "often exaggerated." It was akin to playing up fears of Jewish dominance in the 1930s in coordination with Nazi Germany. ..."
"... A year later, former NATO commander Wesley Clark learned of a classified Defense Department memo stating that U.S. policy was now to "attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years," first Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. (Quote starts at 2:07 .) ..."
"... So the answer was not to oppose the Islamists, but to use them. Even though "the Islamist surge will not be a picnic for the Syrian people," Gambill said, "it has two important silver linings for US interests." One is that the jihadis "are simply more effective fighters than their secular counterparts" thanks to their skill with "suicide bombings and roadside bombs." ..."
"... The other is that a Sunni Islamist victory in Syria will result in "a full-blown strategic defeat" for Iran, thereby putting Washington at least part way toward fulfilling the seven-country demolition job discussed by Wesley Clark. ..."
"... The U.S. would settle with the jihadis only after the jihadis had settled with Assad. The good would ultimately outweigh the bad. This kind of self-centered moral calculus would not have mattered had Gambill only spoken for himself. But he didn't. Rather, he was expressing the viewpoint of Official Washington in general, which is why the ultra-respectable FP ran his piece in the first place. ..."
"... The parallels with the DIA are striking. "The west, gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition," the intelligence report declared, even though "the Salafist[s], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [i.e. Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency." ..."
"... ancien régime, ..."
"... With the Saudis footing the bill, the U.S. would exercise untrammeled sway. ..."
"... Has a forecast that ever gone more spectacularly wrong? Syria's Baathist government is hardly blameless in this affair. But thanks largely to the U.S.-backed sectarian offensive, 400,000 Syrians or more have died since Gambill's article appeared, with another 6.1 million displaced and an estimated 4.8 million fleeing abroad. ..."
"... So instead of advancing U.S. policy goals, Gambill helped do the opposite. The Middle East is more explosive than ever while U.S. influence has fallen to sub-basement levels. Iranian influence now extends from the Arabian Sea to the Mediterranean, while the country that now seems to be wobbling out of control is Saudi Arabia where Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is lurching from one self-induced crisis to another. The country that Gambill counted on to shore up the status quo turns out to be undermining it. ..."
"... It's not easy to screw things up so badly, but somehow Washington's bloated foreign-policy establishment has done it. Since helping to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Gambill has moved on to a post at the rightwing Middle East Forum where Daniel Pipes, the group's founder and chief, now inveighs against the same Sunni ethnic cleansing that his employee defended or at least apologized for. ..."
"... The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy ..."
"... I do not believe than anyone in the civil or military command ever believed that arming the jihadists would bring any sort of stability or peace to the region. I do not believe that peace was ever an interest of the US until it has once again gained hegemonic control of central Asia. This is a fight to retain US global domination – causalities do not matter. The US and its partners or co-rulers of the Empire the Saud family and the Zionist oligarchy will slaughter with impunity until someone stops them or their own corruption defeats them. ..."
"... The Empire can not exist without relentless ongoing slaughter it has been at it every day now for 73 years. It worked for them all that time but that time has run out. China has already set the date for when its currency will become fully freely exchanged, less than 5 years. ..."
"... Even the most stupid person on earth couldn't think that the US was using murdering, butchering head choppers in a bid to bring peace and stability to the middle East. The Neocons and the other criminals that infest Washington don't want peace at any price because its bad for business. ..."
"... It's the same GROTESQUE caricature of these wars that the mainstream media always presents: that the U.S. is on the side of good, and fights for good, even though every war INVARIABLY ends up in a bloodbath, with no one caring how many civilians have died, what state the country is left in, that civilian infrastructure and civilians were targeted, let alone whether war could have been prevented. For example, in 1991, shortly after the first Gulf War, Iraqis rose up against their regime, but George H. Bush allowed Saddam to fly his military helicopters (permission was needed due to the no-fly zones), and quell the rebellion in blood – tens of thousands were butchered! Bush said that when he told Iraqis to rebel, he meant the military generals, NOT the Iraqi people themselves. In other words, the U.S. wanted Saddam gone, but the same regime in place. The U.S. never cared about the people! ..."
"... The military-industrial-complex sicced Mueller on Trump because they despise his overtures towards rapprochement with the Kremlin. The military-industrial-complex MUST have a villain to justify the gigantic defense [sic] spending which permeates the entire U.S. politico-economic system. Putin and Russia were always the preferred demon because they easily fit the bill in the minds of an easily brainwashed American public. Of course saber rattling towards Moscow puts the world on the brink of nuclear war, but no matter, the careerism and fat contracts are all that matter to the MIC. Trump's rhetoric about making peace with the Kremlin has always mortified the MIC. ..."
"... This is a rare instance of our elites battling it out behind the scenes, both groups being reprehensible power hungry greed heads and sociopaths, it's hard to tell how this will end. ..."
"... Lets be clear: The military-industrial-complex wants plenty of low intensity conflict to fuel ever more fabulous weapons sales, not a really hot war where all those pretty expensive toys are falling out of the sky in droves. ..."
"... On 24 October 2017, the Intercept released an NSA document unearthed from leaked intelligence files provided by Edward Snowden which reveals that terrorist militants in Syria were under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the war which has now claimed half a million lives. ..."
"... The US intelligence memo is evidence of internal US government confirmation of the direct role that both the Saudi and US governments played in fueling attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, as well as military targets in pursuit of "regime change" in Syria. ..."
"... Israel's support for terrorist forces in Syria is well established. The Israelis and Saudis coordinate their activities. ..."
"... An August 2012 DIA report (written when the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist groups: "the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria." The "deterioration of the situation" was predicted to have "dire consequences" for Iraq, which included the "grave danger" of a terrorist "Islamic state". Some of the "dire consequences" are blacked out but the DIA warned one such consequence would be the "renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena." ..."
"... The heavily redacted DIA memo specifically mentions "the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)." ..."
"... To clarify just who these "supporting powers" were, mentioned in the document who sought the creation of a "Salafist principality," the DIA memo explained: "The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime." ..."
"... The DIA memo clearly indicates when it was decided to transform US, Saudi, and Turkish-backed Al Qaeda affiliates into ISIS: the "Salafist" (Islamic) "principality" (State). NATO member state Turkey has been directly supporting terrorism in Syria, and specifically, supporting ISIS. In 2014, Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle's reported "'IS' supply channels through Turkey." DW exposed fleets of hundreds of trucks a day, passing unchallenged through Turkey's border crossings with Syria, clearly bound for the defacto ISIS capital of Raqqa. Starting in September 2015, Russian airpower in Syria successfully interdicted ISIS supply lines. ..."
"... The usual suspects in Western media launched a relentless propaganda campaign against Russian support for Syria. The Atlantic Council's Bellingcat disinformation operation started working overtime. ..."
"... The propaganda effort culminated in the 4 April 2017 Khan Shaykhun false flag chemical incident in Idlib. Bellingcat's Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta have been paraded by "First Draft" coalition media "partners" in a vigorous effort to somehow implicate the Russians. ..."
"... In a January 2016 interview on Al Jazeera, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn admitted that he "paid very close attention" to the August 2012 DIA report predicting the rise of a "declared or undeclared Salafist Principality" in Syria. Flynn even asserts that the White House's sponsoring of terrorists (that would emerge as Al Nusra and ISIS) against the Syrian regime was "a willful decision." ..."
"... Flynn was interviewed by British journalist Mehdi Hasan for Al Jazeera's Head to Head program. Flynn made it clear that the policies that led to the "the rise of the Islamic State, the rise of terrorism" were not merely the result of ignorance or looking the other way, but the result of conscious decision making ..."
"... General Flynn explained to Hersh that 'If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic.' Hersh's investigative report exposed a kind of intelligence schism between the Pentagon and CIA concerning the covert program in Syria. ..."
"... The article raises a very serious charge. Up till now it appeared that supplying weapons to Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria was just another example of Pentagon incompetence but the suggestion here is that it was a concerted policy and it's hard to believe that there was no one in the Pentagon that was privy to that policy who wouldn't raise an objection. ..."
"... That it conformed with Israeli, Saudi and CIA designs is not surprising, but that there was no dissension within the Pentagon is appalling (or that Obama didn't raise objections). Clark's comment should put him on the hot seat for a congressional investigation but, of course, there is no one in congress to run with it. The policy is so manifestly evil that it seems to dwarf even the reckless ignorance of preceding "interventions". ..."
"... The DIA report released by Gen. Flynn in 2012 predicted the Islamic State with alarm. That is why Flynn was fired as Director of DIA. He objected to the insane policy of supporting the CIA/Saudi madness and saw it as not only counter-productive but disastrous. His comments to AlJazeera in 2016 reinforced this position. Gen Flynn's faction of the American military has been consistent in its opposition to CIA support of terrorist forces. ..."
"... I see Gen. Flynn as a whistleblower. The 2012 report he circulated saw the rise of the Salafist Islamic state with alarm ..."
"... Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. ..."
"... Thank you. Gen Flynn also urged coordination with Russia against ISIS, so it doesn't take much to see why he was targeted. ..."
"... The use of Islamist proxy warriors to help achieve American geo-political ends goes back to at least 1979, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Libya, and Syria. One of the better books on 9/11 is Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed's "The War On Truth: 9/11, Disinformation, and the Anatomy of Terrorism". The first section of that book – "The Geopolitics of Terrorism" – covers, across 150 well-sourced pages, the history and background of this involvement. It is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to be better informed on this topic. ..."
"... Jaycee, actually you have to go back much further than that to WW2. Hitler used the marginalized Turkic people in Russia and turned them into effective fighters to create internal factions within the Soviet Union. After Hitler lost and the Cold War began, the US, who had no understanding of the Soviets at the time radicalized and empowered Islamist including the Muslim Brotherhood to weaponize Islam against the Soviet Union. ..."
"... All these western imperial geostrategic planners are certifiably insane and have no business anywhere near the levers of government policy. They are the number one enemy of humanity. If we don't find a way to remove them from power, they may actually succeed in destroying life on Earth. ..."
"... There is a volume of evidence that the war criminals in our midst were arming and training "jihadists." See link below. http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/10/the-evidence-of-planning-of-wars.html ..."
"... Incompetence and stupidity are their only defense because if anyone acknowledged that trillions of dollars have been made by the usual suspects committing these crimes, the industrialists of war would face a justice symbolized by Nuremberg. ..."
"... The American groupthink rarely allows propaganda and disinformation disturb: endless wars and endless lies and criminality, have not disturbed this mindset. It is clever to manipulate people to think in a way opposite of truth so consistently. All the atrocities by the US have been surrounded by media propaganda and mastery of groupthink techniques go down well. Mention something unusual or real news and you might get heavily criticized for daring to think outside the box and doubt what are (supposedly) "religious truths". Tell a lie long enough and it becomes the truth. ..."
"... The CIA was a key force behind the creation of both al Qaeda and ISIS. Most major incidents of "Islamic Terrorism" have some kind of CIA backing behind them. See this large collection of links for compiled evidence: http://www.pearltrees.com/joshstern/government-supporting/id18814292 ..."
"... This journalist and other journalists writing on some of my favorite Russian propaganda news websites, have reported the US empire routinely makes "deals with the devil", the enemy of my enemy is my friend, if doing so furthers their goal of perpetual war and global hegemony. Yet, inexplicably, these journalists buy the US empire's 911 story without question, in the face of many unanswered questions ..."
"... Bin Laden (CIA staffer) and a handful of his men, all from close allied countries to the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, delivered the 2nd Pearl Harbor on 911. What a timely coincidence! We accept the US Empire provides weapons and military support to the same enemy, and worse, who attacked us on 911, but one is labeled a "conspiracy nut" if they believe that same US Empire would orchestrate 911 to justify their long planned global war. One thing about being a "conspiracy nut", if you live long enough, often you will see your beliefs vindicated ..."
"... So many questions, and so much left unanswered, but don't worry America may run out of money for domestic vital needs but the U.S. always has the money to go fight another war. It's a culture thing, and if you ain't into it then you just don't pay no attention to it. In fact if your life is better off from all of these U.S. led invasions, then your probably not posting any comments here, either. ..."
"... From the October 1973 Yom Kippur War onward, the United States had no foreign policy in the Middle East other than Israel's. Daniel Lazare should read "A clean break: a new strategy for the Realm". ..."
"... For the majority of amoral opportunists of the US, money=power=virtue and they will attack all who disagree. ..."
"... I am stunned that anyone could be so foolish as to think that the US military machine, US imperialism, does things "naively", bumbling like a helpless giant into wars that destroy entire nations with no end in sight. One need not be a "conspiracy theorist" to understand that the Pentagon does not control the world with an ever-expanding war budget equal to the next 10 countries combined, that it does this just because it is stuck on the wrong path. No! US imperialism develops these "big guns" to use them, to overpower, take over and dominate the world for the sake of profits and protection of the right to exploit for private profit. ..."
"... Daniel Pipes, from what I've read of him, is among those who counsel the U.S. government to use its military power to support the losing side in any civil wars fought within Israel's enemy states, so that the wars will continue, sparing Israel the threat of unified enemy states. What normal human beings consider a humanitarian disaster, repeated in Iraq, Syria and Libya, would be reckoned a success according to this way of thinking. The thinking would appear to lead to similar treatment of Iran, with even more catastrophic consequences. ..."
"... I think this pattern of using Salafists for regime change started already in Afghanistan, with Brzezinski plotting with Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan to pay and train Osama bin Laden to attack the pro Russia regime and trying to get the USSR involved in it, also trying to blame the USSR for its agression, like they did in Syri"r? ..."
"... Yes, the Brzezinski/Reagan support of fanatic insurgencies began in AfPak and was revived for the zionists. Russia happened to be on the side more or less tending to progress in both cases, so it had to be opposed. The warmongers are always the US MIC/intel, allied with the anti-American zionist fascists for Mideast wars. ..."
"... Sheldon Adelson, Soros, Saban all wanted carving up of Arabic states into small sectarian pieces (No Nasseric pan-Arabic states, a threat to Israël). And protracted wars of total destruction. Easy. ..."
"... Of course, they were told (by whom?) that the jihadists were 'democratic rebels' and 'freedom fighters' who just wanted to 'bring democracy' to Syria, and get rid of the 'tyrant Assad.' 5 years later, so much of the nonsense about "local councils" and "white helmets" has been exposed for what it was. Yet many 'free thinking' people bought the propaganda. Just like they do on Russiagate. Who needs an "alt-right" when America's "left" is a total disgrace? ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

When a Department of Defense intelligence report about the Syrian rebel movement became public in May 2015, lots of people didn't know what to make of it. After all, what the report said was unthinkable – not only that Al Qaeda had dominated the so-called democratic revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for years, but that the West continued to support the jihadis regardless, even to the point of backing their goal of creating a Sunni Salafist principality in the eastern deserts.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative in August 2014.

The United States lining up behind Sunni terrorism – how could this be? How could a nice liberal like Barack Obama team up with the same people who had brought down the World Trade Center?

It was impossible, which perhaps explains why the report remained a non-story long after it was released courtesy of a Judicial Watch freedom-of-information lawsuit . The New York Times didn't mention it until six months later while the Washington Post waited more than a year before dismissing it as "loopy" and "relatively unimportant." With ISIS rampaging across much of Syria and Iraq, no one wanted to admit that U.S. attitudes were ever anything other than hostile.

But three years earlier, when the Defense Intelligence Agency was compiling the report, attitudes were different. Jihadis were heroes rather than terrorists, and all the experts agreed that they were a low-risk, high-yield way of removing Assad from office.

After spending five days with a Syrian rebel unit, for instance, New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers wrote that the group "mixes paramilitary discipline, civilian policing, Islamic law, and the harsh demands of necessity with battlefield coldness and outright cunning."

Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, assured the Washington Post that "al Qaeda is a fringe element" among the rebels, while, not to be outdone, the gossip site Buzzfeed published a pin-up of a "ridiculously photogenic" jihadi toting an RPG.

"Hey girl," said the subhead. "Nothing sexier than fighting the oppression of tyranny."

And then there was Foreign Policy, the magazine founded by neocon guru Samuel P. Huntington, which was most enthusiastic of all. Gary Gambill's " Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists ," which ran on the FP web site just a couple of weeks after the DIA report was completed, didn't distort the facts or make stuff up in any obvious way. Nonetheless, it is a classic of U.S. propaganda. Its subhead glibly observed: "So the rebels aren't secular Jeffersonians. As far as America is concerned, it doesn't much matter."

Assessing the Damage

Five years later, it's worth a second look to see how Washington uses self-serving logic to reduce an entire nation to rubble.

First a bit of background. After displacing France and Britain as the region's prime imperial overlord during the 1956 Suez Crisis and then breaking with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser a few years later, the United States committed itself to the goal of defeating Arab nationalism and Soviet Communism, two sides of the same coin as far as Washington was concerned. Over the next half-century, this would mean steering Egypt to the right with assistance from the Saudis, isolating Libyan strong man Muammar Gaddafi, and doing what it could to undermine the Syrian Baathist regime as well.

William Roebuck, the American embassy's chargé d'affaires in Damascus, thus urged Washington in 2006 to coordinate with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to encourage Sunni Syrian fears of Shi'ite Iranian proselytizing even though such concerns are "often exaggerated." It was akin to playing up fears of Jewish dominance in the 1930s in coordination with Nazi Germany.

A year later, former NATO commander Wesley Clark learned of a classified Defense Department memo stating that U.S. policy was now to "attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years," first Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. (Quote starts at 2:07 .)

Since the United States didn't like what such governments were doing, the solution was to install more pliable ones in their place. Hence Washington's joy when the Arab Spring struck Syria in March 2011 and it appeared that protesters would soon topple the Baathists on their own.

Even when lofty democratic rhetoric gave way to ominous sectarian chants of "Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the coffin," U.S. enthusiasm remained strong. With Sunnis accounting for perhaps 60 percent of the population, strategists figured that there was no way Assad could hold out against religious outrage welling up from below.

Enter Gambill and the FP. The big news, his article began, is that secularists are no longer in command of the burgeoning Syrian rebel movement and that Sunni Islamists are taking the lead instead. As unfortunate as this might seem, he argued that such a development was both unavoidable and far from entirely negative.

"Islamist political ascendancy is inevitable in a majority Sunni Muslim country brutalized for more than four decades by a secular minoritarian dictatorship," he wrote in reference to the Baathists. "Moreover, enormous financial resources are pouring in from the Arab-Islamic world to promote explicitly Islamist resistance to Assad's Alawite-dominated, Iranian-backed regime."

So the answer was not to oppose the Islamists, but to use them. Even though "the Islamist surge will not be a picnic for the Syrian people," Gambill said, "it has two important silver linings for US interests." One is that the jihadis "are simply more effective fighters than their secular counterparts" thanks to their skill with "suicide bombings and roadside bombs."

The other is that a Sunni Islamist victory in Syria will result in "a full-blown strategic defeat" for Iran, thereby putting Washington at least part way toward fulfilling the seven-country demolition job discussed by Wesley Clark.

"So long as Syrian jihadis are committed to fighting Iran and its Arab proxies," the article concluded, "we should quietly root for them – while keeping our distance from a conflict that is going to get very ugly before the smoke clears. There will be plenty of time to tame the beast after Iran's regional hegemonic ambitions have gone down in flames."

Deals with the Devil

The U.S. would settle with the jihadis only after the jihadis had settled with Assad. The good would ultimately outweigh the bad. This kind of self-centered moral calculus would not have mattered had Gambill only spoken for himself. But he didn't. Rather, he was expressing the viewpoint of Official Washington in general, which is why the ultra-respectable FP ran his piece in the first place.The Islamists were something America could employ to their advantage and then throw away like a squeezed lemon. A few Syrians would suffer, but America would win, and that's all that counts.

The parallels with the DIA are striking. "The west, gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition," the intelligence report declared, even though "the Salafist[s], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [i.e. Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency."

Where Gambill predicted that "Assad and his minions will likely retreat to northwestern Syria," the DIA speculated that the jihadis might establish "a declared or undeclared Salafist principality" at the other end of the country near cities like Hasaka and Der Zor (also known as Deir ez-Zor).

Where the FP said that the ultimate aim was to roll back Iranian influence and undermine Shi'ite rule, the DIA said that a Salafist principality "is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)."

Bottle up the Shi'ites in northwestern Syria, in other words, while encouraging Sunni extremists to establish a base in the east so as to put pressure on Shi'ite-influenced Iraq and Shi'ite-ruled Iran.

As Gambill put it: "Whatever misfortunes Sunni Islamists may visit upon the Syrian people, any government they form will be strategically preferable to the Assad regime, for three reasons: A new government in Damascus will find continuing the alliance with Tehran unthinkable, it won't have to distract Syrians from its minority status with foreign policy adventurism like the ancien régime, and it will be flush with petrodollars from Arab Gulf states (relatively) friendly to Washington."

With the Saudis footing the bill, the U.S. would exercise untrammeled sway.

Disastrous Thinking

Has a forecast that ever gone more spectacularly wrong? Syria's Baathist government is hardly blameless in this affair. But thanks largely to the U.S.-backed sectarian offensive, 400,000 Syrians or more have died since Gambill's article appeared, with another 6.1 million displaced and an estimated 4.8 million fleeing abroad.

U.S.-backed Syrian "moderate" rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video] War-time destruction totals around $250 billion , according to U.N. estimates, a staggering sum for a country of 18.8 million people where per-capita income prior to the outbreak of violence was under $3,000. From Syria, the specter of sectarian violence has spread across Asia and Africa and into Europe and North America as well. Political leaders throughout the advanced industrial world are still struggling to contain the populist fury that the Middle East refugee crisis, the result of U.S.-instituted regime change, helped set off.

So instead of advancing U.S. policy goals, Gambill helped do the opposite. The Middle East is more explosive than ever while U.S. influence has fallen to sub-basement levels. Iranian influence now extends from the Arabian Sea to the Mediterranean, while the country that now seems to be wobbling out of control is Saudi Arabia where Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is lurching from one self-induced crisis to another. The country that Gambill counted on to shore up the status quo turns out to be undermining it.

It's not easy to screw things up so badly, but somehow Washington's bloated foreign-policy establishment has done it. Since helping to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Gambill has moved on to a post at the rightwing Middle East Forum where Daniel Pipes, the group's founder and chief, now inveighs against the same Sunni ethnic cleansing that his employee defended or at least apologized for.

The forum is particularly well known for its Campus Watch program, which targets academic critics of Israel, Islamists, and – despite Gambill's kind words about "suicide bombings and roadside bombs" – anyone it considers the least bit apologetic about Islamic terrorism.

Double your standard, double the fun. Terrorism, it seems, is only terrorism when others do it to the U.S., not when the U.S. does it to others.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

Babyl-on , December 8, 2017 at 5:26 pm

I do not believe than anyone in the civil or military command ever believed that arming the jihadists would bring any sort of stability or peace to the region. I do not believe that peace was ever an interest of the US until it has once again gained hegemonic control of central Asia. This is a fight to retain US global domination – causalities do not matter. The US and its partners or co-rulers of the Empire the Saud family and the Zionist oligarchy will slaughter with impunity until someone stops them or their own corruption defeats them.

The Empire can not exist without relentless ongoing slaughter it has been at it every day now for 73 years. It worked for them all that time but that time has run out. China has already set the date for when its currency will become fully freely exchanged, less than 5 years. When that happens the world will return to the gold standard + Bitcoin possibly and US dollar hegemony will end. After that the trillion dollar a year military and the 20 trillion debt take on a different meaning. Before that slaughter non-stop will continue.

john wilson , December 9, 2017 at 6:31 am

Really, Baby-lon, your first short paragraph sums this piece by Lazare perfectly and makes the rest of his blog seem rather pointless. Even the most stupid person on earth couldn't think that the US was using murdering, butchering head choppers in a bid to bring peace and stability to the middle East. The Neocons and the other criminals that infest Washington don't want peace at any price because its bad for business.

Jerald Davidson , December 9, 2017 at 11:53 am

Babyl-on and John Wilson: you have nailed it. The last thing the US (gov't.) wants is peace. War is big business; casualties are of no concern (3 million Koreans died in the Korean War; 3 million Vietnamese in that war; 100's of thousands in Iraq [including Clinton's sanctions] and Afghanistan). The US has used jihadi proxies since the mujahedeen in 1980's Afghanistan and Contras in Nicaragua. To the US (gov't.), a Salafist dictatorship (such as Saudi Arabia) is highly preferable to a secular, nationalist ruler (such as Egypt's Nasser, Libya's Gaddafi, Syria's Assad).
So the cover story of the jjihadi's has changed – first they are freedom fighters, then terrorists. What does not change is that in either case they are pawns of the US (gov't.) goal of hegemony.
(Incidentally, Drew Hunkins must be responding to a different article.)

BannanaBoat , December 9, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Exactly Baby right on, Either USA strategists are extremely ignorant or they are attempting to create chaos, probably both. Perhaps not continuously but surely frequently the USA has promoted war prior to the last 73 years. Native Genocide , Mexican Wars, Spanish War, WWI ( USA banker repayment war)

Richard , December 9, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Exactly Babylon! Looks like consortiumnews is turning into another propaganda rag. Assad was allied with Russia and Iran – that's why the U.S. wanted him removed. Israel said that they would preferred ISIS in power over Assad. The U.S. would have happily wiped out 90% of the population using its terrorist proxies if it thought it could have got what it wanted.

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 8:50 am

CN tends to make moderate statements so as to communicate with those most in need of them. One must start with the understandings of the audience and show them that the evidence leads further.

Richard , December 10, 2017 at 10:27 am

Sam F, no, it's a DELIBERATE lie in support of U.S. foreign policy. The guy wrote: "the NAIVE belief that jihadist proxies could be used to TRANSFORM THE REGION FOR THE BETTER." It could have been written as: "the stated justification by the president that he wanted to transform the region for the better, even though there are often ulterior motives."

It's the same GROTESQUE caricature of these wars that the mainstream media always presents: that the U.S. is on the side of good, and fights for good, even though every war INVARIABLY ends up in a bloodbath, with no one caring how many civilians have died, what state the country is left in, that civilian infrastructure and civilians were targeted, let alone whether war could have been prevented. For example, in 1991, shortly after the first Gulf War, Iraqis rose up against their regime, but George H. Bush allowed Saddam to fly his military helicopters (permission was needed due to the no-fly zones), and quell the rebellion in blood – tens of thousands were butchered! Bush said that when he told Iraqis to rebel, he meant the military generals, NOT the Iraqi people themselves. In other words, the U.S. wanted Saddam gone, but the same regime in place. The U.S. never cared about the people!

Either Robert Parry or the author wrote that introduction. I suspect Mr Parry – he always portrays the president as having a heart of gold, but, always, sadly, misinformed; being a professional journalist, he knows full well that people often only read the start and end of an article.

Drew Hunkins , December 8, 2017 at 5:31 pm

What we have occurring right now in the United States is a rare divergence of interests within our ruling class. The elites are currently made up of Zionist-militarists. What we're now witnessing is a rare conflict between the two factions. This particular internecine battle has reared its head in the past, the Dubai armaments deal comes to mind off the top of my head.

Trump started the Jerusalem imbroglio because he's concerned about Mueller's witch hunt.

The military-industrial-complex sicced Mueller on Trump because they despise his overtures towards rapprochement with the Kremlin. The military-industrial-complex MUST have a villain to justify the gigantic defense [sic] spending which permeates the entire U.S. politico-economic system. Putin and Russia were always the preferred demon because they easily fit the bill in the minds of an easily brainwashed American public. Of course saber rattling towards Moscow puts the world on the brink of nuclear war, but no matter, the careerism and fat contracts are all that matter to the MIC. Trump's rhetoric about making peace with the Kremlin has always mortified the MIC.

Since Trump's concerned about 1.) Mueller's witch hunt (he definitely should be deeply concerned, this is an out of control prosecutor on mission creep), and 2.) the almost total negative coverage the press has given him over the last two years, he's made a deal with the Zionist Power Configuration; Trump, effectively saying to them: "I'll give you Jerusalem, you use your immense influence in the American mass media to tamp down the relentlessly hostile coverage toward me, and perhaps smear Mueller's witch hunt a bit ".

This is a rare instance of our elites battling it out behind the scenes, both groups being reprehensible power hungry greed heads and sociopaths, it's hard to tell how this will end.

How this all eventually plays out is anyone's guess indeed. Let's just make sure it doesn't end with mushroom clouds over Tehran, Saint Petersburg, Paris, Chicago, London, NYC, Washington and Berlin.

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Trump's purported deviation from foreign policy orthodoxy regarding both Russia and Israel was a propaganda scam engineered by the pro-Israel Lobby from the very beginning. As Russia-gate fiction is progressively deconstructed, the Israel-gate reality becomes ever more despicably obvious.

The shamelessly Israel-pandering Trump received the "Liberty Award" for his contributions to US-Israel relations at a 3 February 2015 gala hosted by The Algemeiner Journal, a New York-based newspaper, covering American and international Jewish and Israel-related news.

"We love Israel. We will fight for Israel 100 percent, 1000 percent." VIDEO minutes 2:15-8:06 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiwBwBw7R-U

After the event, Trump did not renew his television contract for The Apprentice, which raised speculation about a Trump bid for the presidency. Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015.

Trump's purported break with GOP orthodoxy, questioning of Israel's commitment to peace, calls for even treatment in Israeli-Palestinian deal-making, and refusal to call for Jerusalem to be Israel's undivided capital, were all stage-managed for the campaign.

Cheap theatrics notwithstanding, the Netanyahu regime in Israel has "1000 percent" support from the Trump regime.

Drew Hunkins , December 8, 2017 at 8:10 pm

If Trump were totally and completely subservient to Netanyahu he would have bombed Damascus to remove Assad and would have bombed Tehran to obliterate Iran. Of course thus far he has done neither. Don't get me wrong, Trump is essentially part and parcel of the Zionist cabal, but I don't quite think he's 1,000% under their thumb (not yet?).

I don't think the Zionist Power Configuration concocted Trump's policy of relative peace with the Kremlin. Yes, the ZPC is extremely powerful in America, but Trump's position of detente with Moscow seemed to be genuine. He caught way too much heat from the mass media for it to be a stunt, it's almost torpedoed his presidency, and may eventually do just that. It was actually one of the very few things Trump got right; peace with Russia, cordial relations with the Kremlin are a no-brainer. A no-brainer to everyone but the military-industrial-complex.

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 10:59 pm

Russian. Missiles. Lets be clear: The military-industrial-complex wants plenty of low intensity conflict to fuel ever more fabulous weapons sales, not a really hot war where all those pretty expensive toys are falling out of the sky in droves.

Whether it was "bird strike" or something more technological that recently grounded the "mighty" Israeli F-35I, it's clear that America isn't eager to have those "Inherent Resolve" jets, so busily not bombing ISIS, painted with Russian SAM radar.

Russia made it clear that Trump's Tomahawk Tweet in April 2017 was not only under totally false pretenses. It had posed a threat to Russian troops and Moscow took extra measures to protect them.

Russian deployment of the advanced S-400 system on the Syrian coast in Latakia also impacts Israel's regional air superiority. The S-400 can track and shoot down targets some 400 kilometers (250 miles) away. That range encompasses half of Israel's airspace, including Ben Gurion International Airport. In addition to surface-to-air missiles installations, Russian aircraft in Syria are equipped with air-to-air missiles. Those weapons are part of an calculus of Israeli aggression in the region.

Of course, there's much more to say about this subject.

WC , December 9, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Here's a good one from Hedges (for what little good it will do). https://www.truthdig.com/articles/zero-hour-palestine/

john wilson , December 9, 2017 at 6:34 am

Surely, Drew, even the brain washed sheep otherwise known as the American public can't seriously believe that their government armed head choppers in a bid to bring peace to the region, can they?

Drew Hunkins , December 9, 2017 at 1:34 pm

Yup Mr. Wilson. It's too much cognitive dissonance for them to process. After all, we're the exceptional nation, the beacon on the hill, the country that ONLY intervenes abroad when there is a 'right to protect!' or it's a 'humanitarian intervention.' As Ken Burns would say: Washington only acts "with good intentions. They're just sometimes misplaced." That's all. The biggest global empire the world has ever seen is completely out of the picture.

mike k , December 8, 2017 at 5:34 pm

When evil people with evil intentions set out to do something in the world, the result is evil. Like Libya, or Iraq, or Syria. Why do I call these people who killed millions for their own selfish greed for power evil? If you have to ask that, then you just don't understand what evil is – and you have a lot of company, because many people believe that evil does not even exist! Such sheeple become the perfect victims of the evil ones, who are destroying our world.

john wilson , December 9, 2017 at 6:36 am

Correction, Mike. The public do believe that evil exists but they sincerely think that Putin and Russia are the evil ones'

mike k , December 9, 2017 at 5:41 pm

One of the ways to avoid recognizing evil is to ascribe it to inappropriate, incorrect sources usually as a result of believing misleading propaganda. Another common maneuver is to deny evil's presence in oneself, and believe it is always "out there". Or one can feel that "evil" is an outmoded religious concept that is only used to hit at those one does not like.

Mild - ly Facetious , December 8, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Oh Jerusalem: Requiem for the two-state solution (Gas masks required)

https://electronicintifada.net/content/oh-jerusalem-requiem-two-state-solution/22521

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 6:24 pm

On 24 October 2017, the Intercept released an NSA document unearthed from leaked intelligence files provided by Edward Snowden which reveals that terrorist militants in Syria were under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the war which has now claimed half a million lives.

https://theintercept.com/2017/10/24/syria-rebels-nsa-saudi-prince-assad/

Marked "Top Secret" the NSA memo focuses on events that unfolded outside Damascus in March of 2013.

The US intelligence memo is evidence of internal US government confirmation of the direct role that both the Saudi and US governments played in fueling attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, as well as military targets in pursuit of "regime change" in Syria.

Israel's support for terrorist forces in Syria is well established. The Israelis and Saudis coordinate their activities.

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 6:27 pm

An August 2012 DIA report (written when the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist groups: "the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria." The "deterioration of the situation" was predicted to have "dire consequences" for Iraq, which included the "grave danger" of a terrorist "Islamic state". Some of the "dire consequences" are blacked out but the DIA warned one such consequence would be the "renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena."

The heavily redacted DIA memo specifically mentions "the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)."

http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf

To clarify just who these "supporting powers" were, mentioned in the document who sought the creation of a "Salafist principality," the DIA memo explained: "The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime."

The DIA memo clearly indicates when it was decided to transform US, Saudi, and Turkish-backed Al Qaeda affiliates into ISIS: the "Salafist" (Islamic) "principality" (State). NATO member state Turkey has been directly supporting terrorism in Syria, and specifically, supporting ISIS. In 2014, Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle's reported "'IS' supply channels through Turkey." DW exposed fleets of hundreds of trucks a day, passing unchallenged through Turkey's border crossings with Syria, clearly bound for the defacto ISIS capital of Raqqa. Starting in September 2015, Russian airpower in Syria successfully interdicted ISIS supply lines.

The usual suspects in Western media launched a relentless propaganda campaign against Russian support for Syria. The Atlantic Council's Bellingcat disinformation operation started working overtime.

The propaganda effort culminated in the 4 April 2017 Khan Shaykhun false flag chemical incident in Idlib. Bellingcat's Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta have been paraded by "First Draft" coalition media "partners" in a vigorous effort to somehow implicate the Russians.

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 12:26 pm

In a January 2016 interview on Al Jazeera, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn admitted that he "paid very close attention" to the August 2012 DIA report predicting the rise of a "declared or undeclared Salafist Principality" in Syria. Flynn even asserts that the White House's sponsoring of terrorists (that would emerge as Al Nusra and ISIS) against the Syrian regime was "a willful decision."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6Y274U7QIs

Flynn was interviewed by British journalist Mehdi Hasan for Al Jazeera's Head to Head program. Flynn made it clear that the policies that led to the "the rise of the Islamic State, the rise of terrorism" were not merely the result of ignorance or looking the other way, but the result of conscious decision making:

Hasan: "You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn't listening?"

Flynn: "I think the administration."

Hasan: "So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?"

Flynn: "I don't know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision."

Hasan: "A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?"

Flynn: "It was a willful decision to do what they're doing."

Holding up a paper copy of the 2012 DIA report declassified through FOIA, Hasan read aloud key passages such as, "there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime."

Rather than downplay the importance of the document and these startling passages, as did the State Department soon after its release, Flynn did the opposite: he confirmed that while acting DIA chief he "paid very close attention" to this report in particular and later added that "the intelligence was very clear."

Lt. Gen. Flynn, speaking safely from retirement, is the highest ranking intelligence official to go on record saying the United States and other state sponsors of rebels in Syria knowingly gave political backing and shipped weapons to Al-Qaeda in order to put pressure on the Syrian regime:

Hasan: "In 2012 the U.S. was helping coordinate arms transfers to those same groups [Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda in Iraq], why did you not stop that if you're worried about the rise of quote-unquote Islamic extremists?"

Flynn: "I hate to say it's not my job but that my job was to was to to ensure that the accuracy of our intelligence that was being presented was as good as it could be."

Flynn unambiguously confirmed that the 2012 DIA document served as source material in his own discussions over Syria policy with the White House. Flynn served as Director of Intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) during a time when its prime global mission was dismantling Al-Qaeda.

Flynn's admission that the White House was in fact arming and bolstering Al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria is especially shocking given his stature. The Pentagon's former highest ranking intelligence officer in charge of the hunt for Osama bin Laden confessed that the United States directly aided the Al Qaeda terrorist legions of Ayman al-Zawahiri beginning in at least 2012 in Syria.

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Mehdi Hasan goes Head to Head with Michael Flynn, former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency

Full Transcript: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/2016/01/transcript-michael-flynn-160104174144334.html

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 2:11 pm

"Flynn would later tell the New York Times that this 2012 intelligence report in particular was seen at the White House where it was 'disregarded' because it 'didn't meet the narrative' on the war in Syria. He would further confirm to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that Defense Department (DoD) officials and DIA intelligence in particular, were loudly warning the administration that jihadists were leading the opposition in Syria -- warnings which were met with 'enormous pushback.' Instead of walking back his Al Jazeera comments, General Flynn explained to Hersh that 'If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic.' Hersh's investigative report exposed a kind of intelligence schism between the Pentagon and CIA concerning the covert program in Syria.

"In a personal exchange on his blog Sic Semper Tyrannis, legendary DoD intelligence officer and former presidential briefer Pat Lang explained [ ] that the DIA memo was used as a 'warning shot across the [administration's] bow.' Lang has elsewhere stated that DIA Director Flynn had 'tried to persuade people in the Obama Administration not to provide assistance to the Nusra group.' It must be remembered that in 2012 what would eventually emerge as distinct 'ISIS' and 'Nusra' (AQ in Syria) groups was at that time a singular entity desiring a unified 'Islamic State.' The nascent ISIS organization (referenced in the memo as 'ISI' or Islamic State in Iraq) was still one among many insurgent groups fighting to topple Assad.

"In fact, only one year after the DIA memo was produced (dated August 12, 2012) a coalition of rebels fighting under the US-backed Revolutionary Military Council of Aleppo were busy celebrating their most strategic victory to date, which served to open an opposition corridor in Northern Syria. The seizure of the Syrian government's Menagh Airbase in August 2013 was only accomplished with the military prowess of fighters identifying themselves in front of cameras and to reporters on the ground as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

"Public embarrassment came for Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford who reluctantly confirmed that in fact, yes, the US-funded and supplied FSA commander on the ground had personally led ISIS and Nusra fighters in the attack (Ford himself was previously filmed alongside the commander). This after the New York Times publicized unambiguous video proof of the fact. Even the future high commander of Islamic State's military operations, Omar al-Shishani, himself played a leading role in the US sponsored FSA operation."

Obama and the DIA 'Islamic State' Memo: What Trump Gets Right
By Brad Hoff
https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/07/01/obama-and-the-dia-islamic-state-memo-what-trump-gets-right/

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 3:08 pm

"one first needs to understand what has happened in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries in recent years. The original plan of the US and Saudi Arabia (behind whom stood an invisible Israel) was the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad and his replacement with Islamic fundamentalists or takfiris (Daesh, al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra).

"The plan involved the following steps:

"It was an ambitious plan, and the Israelis were completely convinced that the United States would provide all the necessary resources to see it through. But the Syrian government has survived thanks to military intervention by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Daesh is almost defeated and Iran and Hezbollah are so firmly entrenched in Syria that it has driven the Israelis into a state of fear bordering on panic. Lebanon remains stable, and even the recent attempt by the Saudis to abduct Prime Minister Saad Hariri failed.

"As a result, Saudi Arabia and Israel have developed a new plan: force the US to attack Iran. To this end, the 'axis of good"' (USA-Israel-Saudi Arabia) was created, although this is nothing new. Saudi Arabia and the other Arab States in the Persian Gulf have in the past spoken in favor of intervention in Syria. It is well known that the Saudis invaded Bahrain, are occupying it de facto, and are now at war in Yemen.

"The Israelis will participate in any plan that will finally split the Sunnis and Shiites, turning the region into rubble. It was not by chance that, having failed in Lebanon, they are now trying to do the same in Yemen after the murder of Ali Abdullah Saleh.

"For the Saudis and Israelis, the problem lies in the fact that they have rather weak armed forces; expensive and high-tech, but when it comes to full-scale hostilities, especially against a really strong opponent such as the Iranians or Hezbollah, the 'Israel/Wahhabis' have no chance and they know it, even if they do not admit it. So, one simply needs to think up some kind of plan to force the Shiites to pay a high price.

"So they developed a new plan. Firstly, the goal is now not the defeat of Hezbollah or Iran. For all their rhetoric, the Israelis know that neither they nor especially the Saudis are able to seriously threaten Iran or even Hezbollah. Their plan is much more basic: initiate a serious conflict and then force the US to intervene. Only today, the armed forces of the United States have no way of winning a war with Iran, and this may be a problem. The US military knows this and they are doing everything to tell the neo-cons 'sorry, we just can't.' This is the only reason why a US attack on Iran has not already taken place. From the Israeli point of view this is totally unacceptable and the solution is simple: just force the US to participate in a war they do not really need. As for the Iranians, the Israeli goal of provoking an attack on Iran by the US is not to defeat Iran, but just to bring about destruction – a lot of destruction [ ]

"You would need to be crazy to attack Iran. The problem, however, is that the Saudis and the Israelis are close to this state. And they have proved it many times. So it just remains to hope that Israel and the KSA are 'crazy', but 'not that crazy'."

The Likelihood of War with Iran By Petr Lvov https://journal-neo.org/2017/12/09/the-likelihood-of-war-with-iran/

BobH, December 8, 2017 at 7:13 pm

The article raises a very serious charge. Up till now it appeared that supplying weapons to Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria was just another example of Pentagon incompetence but the suggestion here is that it was a concerted policy and it's hard to believe that there was no one in the Pentagon that was privy to that policy who wouldn't raise an objection.

That it conformed with Israeli, Saudi and CIA designs is not surprising, but that there was no dissension within the Pentagon is appalling (or that Obama didn't raise objections). Clark's comment should put him on the hot seat for a congressional investigation but, of course, there is no one in congress to run with it. The policy is so manifestly evil that it seems to dwarf even the reckless ignorance of preceding "interventions".

Linda Wood , December 8, 2017 at 10:24 pm

There WAS dissension within the Pentagon, not only about being in a coalition with the Gulf States and Turkey in support of terrorist forces, but about allowing ISIS to invade Ramadi, which CENTCOM exposed by making public that US forces watched it happen and did nothing. In addition, CENTCOM and SOCOM publicly opposed switching sides in Yemen.

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/4/17/us-generals-think-saudi-strikes-in-yemen-a-bad-idea.html

A senior commander at Central Command (CENTCOM), speaking on condition of anonymity, scoffed at that argument. "The reason the Saudis didn't inform us of their plans," he said, "is because they knew we would have told them exactly what we think -- that it was a bad idea.

Military sources said that a number of regional special forces officers and officers at U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) argued strenuously against supporting the Saudi-led intervention because the target of the intervention, the Shia Houthi movement -- which has taken over much of Yemen and which Riyadh accuses of being a proxy for Tehran -- has been an effective counter to Al-Qaeda.

The DIA report released by Gen. Flynn in 2012 predicted the Islamic State with alarm. That is why Flynn was fired as Director of DIA. He objected to the insane policy of supporting the CIA/Saudi madness and saw it as not only counter-productive but disastrous. His comments to AlJazeera in 2016 reinforced this position. Gen Flynn's faction of the American military has been consistent in its opposition to CIA support of terrorist forces.

BobH , December 8, 2017 at 10:55 pm

Thanks, I never read anything about it in the MSM (perhaps Aljazeera was an exception?). However, this doesn't explain Gen. Flynn's tight relationship with Turkey's Erdogan who clearly backed the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels to the point of shooting down a Russian jet over Syria.

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 8:57 am

The fighter shoot-down incident was before Erdogan's reversals in Syria policy.

Linda Wood , December 8, 2017 at 10:28 pm

I see Gen. Flynn as a whistleblower. The 2012 report he circulated saw the rise of the Salafist Islamic state with alarm.

http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf

B. THE SALAFIST, THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AND AQI ARE THE MAJOR FORCES DRIVING THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA.

C. THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY SUPPORT THE OPPOSITION; WHILE RUSSIA, CHINA, AND IRAN SUPPORT THE REGIME.

C. IF THE SITUATION UNRAVELS THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHIA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN).

D. THE DETERIORATION OF THE SITUATION HAS DIRE CONSEQUENCES ON THE IRAQI SITUATION AND ARE AS FOLLOWS:

–1. THIS CREATES THE IDEAL ATMOSPHERE FOR AQI TO RETURN TO ITS OLD POCKETS IN MOSUL AND RAMADI, AND WILL PROVIDE A RENEWED MOMENTUM UNDER THE PRESUMPTION OF UNIFYING THE JIHAD AMONG SUNNI IRAQ AND SYRIA ISI COULD ALSO DECLARE AN ISLAMIC STATE THROUGH ITS UNION WITH OTHER TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA, WHICH WILL CREATE GRAVE DANGER IN REGARDS TO UNIFYING IRAQ AND THE PROTECTION OF ITS TERRITORY

https://geopolitics.co/2015/12/22/dempseys-pentagon-aided-assad-with-military-intelligence-hersh/
London Review of Books Vol. 38 No. 1 · 7 January 2016
Military to Military: US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war
Seymour M. Hersh

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn't doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. 'If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,' Flynn told me. 'We understood Isis's long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.' The DIA's reporting, he said, 'got enormous pushback' from the Obama administration. 'I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.'

j. D. D. , December 9, 2017 at 8:33 am

Thank you. Gen Flynn also urged coordination with Russia against ISIS, so it doesn't take much to see why he was targeted. Ironically, the MSM is now going bananas over his support for nuclear power in the region, which he had tied to desalination of sea water, toward alleviating that crucial source of conflict in the area.

Abbybwood , December 9, 2017 at 11:24 pm

I believe Wesley Clark told Amy Goodman that he was handed the classified memo regarding the U.S. overthrowing seven countries in five years starting with Iraq and ending with Iran, in 2001, not 2006. He said it was right after 9/11 when he visited the Pentagon and Joint Chief of Staff's office and was handed the memo.

jaycee , December 8, 2017 at 7:19 pm

The use of Islamist proxy warriors to help achieve American geo-political ends goes back to at least 1979, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Libya, and Syria. One of the better books on 9/11 is Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed's "The War On Truth: 9/11, Disinformation, and the Anatomy of Terrorism". The first section of that book – "The Geopolitics of Terrorism" – covers, across 150 well-sourced pages, the history and background of this involvement. It is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to be better informed on this topic.

One disturbing common feature across the years have been US sponsored airlifts of Islamist fighters facing defeat, as seen in Afghanistan in late 2001 and just recently in eastern Syria. In 2001, some of those fighters were relocated to North Africa, specifically Mali – the roots of the Islamist insurgency which has destabilized that country over the past few years. Where exactly the ISIS rebels assisted some weeks ago were relocated is yet unknown.

turk151 , December 9, 2017 at 10:03 pm

Jaycee, actually you have to go back much further than that to WW2. Hitler used the marginalized Turkic people in Russia and turned them into effective fighters to create internal factions within the Soviet Union. After Hitler lost and the Cold War began, the US, who had no understanding of the Soviets at the time radicalized and empowered Islamist including the Muslim Brotherhood to weaponize Islam against the Soviet Union.

Hence the birth of the Mujaheddin and Bin Laden, the rest is history.

j. D. D. , December 8, 2017 at 7:57 pm

The article does not support the sub-headline. There is no evidence provided, nor is there any evidence to be found, that Washington's policy in the region was motivated by anything other than geopolitical objectives.

David G , December 9, 2017 at 7:25 am

I think that phrasing may point to the hand of editor Robert Parry. The incredible value of CN notwithstanding, Parry in his own pieces (erroneously in my eyes) maintains a belief that Obama somehow meant well. Hence the imputation of some "naïve" but ultimately benevolent motive on the part of the U.S. genocidaires, as the whole Syria catastrophe got going on Obama's watch.

Anon , December 9, 2017 at 9:14 am

The imputation of naivete works to avoid accusation of a specific strategy without sufficient evidence.

Skip Scott , December 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

Although I am no fan of Obama, and most especially the continuation of the warmongering for his 8 years, he did balk at the "Red line" when he found out he was being set up, and it wasn't Assad who used chemical weapons. I don't think he "meant well" so much as he knew the exact length of his leash. His bragging about going against "The Washington playbook" was of course laughable; just as his whole hopey/changey thing was laughable with Citigroup picking his cabinet.

Stephen , December 9, 2017 at 2:49 pm

Off topic but you can listen to some of Obama's banking handiwork here: https://sputniknews.com/radio_loud_and_clear/201712091059844562-looming-government-shutdown-will-democrats-fight-trumps-pro-rich-plan/ It starts at about minute 28:14. It explains the whole reaction by Obama and Holder to the banking fiasco in my mind. Sorry but I had to get it from the evil Rooski radio program.

Lois Gagnon , December 8, 2017 at 8:41 pm

All these western imperial geostrategic planners are certifiably insane and have no business anywhere near the levers of government policy. They are the number one enemy of humanity. If we don't find a way to remove them from power, they may actually succeed in destroying life on Earth.

Stephen J. , December 8, 2017 at 8:42 pm

There is a volume of evidence that the war criminals in our midst were arming and training "jihadists." See link below. http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/10/the-evidence-of-planning-of-wars.html

MarkU , December 8, 2017 at 10:00 pm

"Official Washington helped unleash hell on Syria and across the Mideast behind the naïve belief that jihadist proxies could be used to transform the region for the better, explains Daniel Lazare." What a load of old rubbish, naïve belief indeed. it is difficult to believe that anyone could write this stuff with a straight face.

Linda Wood , December 8, 2017 at 10:37 pm

Incompetence and stupidity are their only defense because if anyone acknowledged that trillions of dollars have been made by the usual suspects committing these crimes, the industrialists of war would face a justice symbolized by Nuremberg.

Zachary Smith , December 8, 2017 at 11:37 pm

That Gary Gambill character "outed" himself as a Zionist on September 4 of this year. He appears to have mastered the propaganda associated with the breed. At the link see if you can find any mention of the murders, thefts, ethnic cleansing, or apartheid of his adopted nation. Blaming the victim may be this fellow's specialty. Sample:

The well-intentioned flocked in droves to the belief that Israeli- Palestinian peace was achievable provided Israel made the requisite concessions, and that this would liberate the Arab-Islamic world from a host of other problems allegedly arising from it: bloated military budgets, intolerance of dissent, Islamic extremism, you name it.

Why tackle each of these problems head on when they can be alleviated all at once when Israel is brought to heel? Twenty years later, the Middle East is suffering the consequences of this conspiracy of silence.

Zachary Smith , December 8, 2017 at 11:37 pm

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/The-accidental-Zionist-504221

Gerry , December 9, 2017 at 4:51 am

The American groupthink rarely allows propaganda and disinformation disturb: endless wars and endless lies and criminality, have not disturbed this mindset. It is clever to manipulate people to think in a way opposite of truth so consistently. All the atrocities by the US have been surrounded by media propaganda and mastery of groupthink techniques go down well. Mention something unusual or real news and you might get heavily criticized for daring to think outside the box and doubt what are (supposedly) "religious truths". Tell a lie long enough and it becomes the truth.

It takes courage to go against the flow of course and one can only hope that the Americans are what they think they are: courageous and strong enough to hear their cherished truths smashed, allow the scales before their eyes to fall and practise free speech and free thought.

Theo , December 9, 2017 at 6:35 am

Thanks for this article and many others on this site.In Europe and in Germany you hardly hear,read or see any of these facts and their connections.It seems to be only of marginal interest.

Josh Stern , December 9, 2017 at 6:49 am

The CIA was a key force behind the creation of both al Qaeda and ISIS. Most major incidents of "Islamic Terrorism" have some kind of CIA backing behind them. See this large collection of links for compiled evidence: http://www.pearltrees.com/joshstern/government-supporting/id18814292

triekc , December 9, 2017 at 8:27 am

This journalist and other journalists writing on some of my favorite Russian propaganda news websites, have reported the US empire routinely makes "deals with the devil", the enemy of my enemy is my friend, if doing so furthers their goal of perpetual war and global hegemony. Yet, inexplicably, these journalists buy the US empire's 911 story without question, in the face of many unanswered questions.

Beginning in the 1990's, neocons who would become W's cabinet, wrote detailed plans of military regime change in Middle East, but stating they needed a "strong external shock to the United States -- a latter-day 'Pearl Harbor", to get US sheeple to support increased militarism and global war. Few months after W took office, and had appointed those war mongering neocons to positions of power, Bin Laden (CIA staffer) and a handful of his men, all from close allied countries to the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, delivered the 2nd Pearl Harbor on 911. What a timely coincidence! We accept the US Empire provides weapons and military support to the same enemy, and worse, who attacked us on 911, but one is labeled a "conspiracy nut" if they believe that same US Empire would orchestrate 911 to justify their long planned global war. One thing about being a "conspiracy nut", if you live long enough, often you will see your beliefs vindicated

Joe Tedesky , December 9, 2017 at 11:27 am

You commented on what I was thinking, and that was, 'remember when al Queda was our enemy on 911'? So now that bin Laden is dead, and his al Queda now fights on our side, shouldn't the war be over? And, just for the record who did attack us on 911?

So many questions, and so much left unanswered, but don't worry America may run out of money for domestic vital needs but the U.S. always has the money to go fight another war. It's a culture thing, and if you ain't into it then you just don't pay no attention to it. In fact if your life is better off from all of these U.S. led invasions, then your probably not posting any comments here, either.

Knowing the Pentagon mentality they probably have an 'al Queda combat medal' to pin on the terrorists chest. Sarcasm I know, but seriously is anything not within the realm of believable when it comes to this MIC establishment?

Christene Bartels , December 9, 2017 at 8:53 am

Great article and spot on as far as the author takes it. But the world is hurtling towards Armageddon so I'd like to back things up about one hundred years and get down to brass tacks.

The fact of the matter is, the M.E. has never been at total peace but it has been nothing but one colossal FUBAR since the Ottoman Empire was defeated after WWI and the Allied Forces got their grubby, greedy mitts on its M.E. territories and all of that luscious black gold. First up was the British Empire and France and then it really went nuclear (literally) in 1946 when Truman and the U.S. joined in the fun and decided to figure out how we could carve out that ancient prime piece of real estate and resurrect Israel. By 1948 ..violà ..there she was.

So now here we sit as the hundred year delusion that we knew what the hell we were doing comes crashing down around us. Seriously, whoever the people have been who thought that a country with the historical perspective of a toddler was going to be able to successfully manage and manipulate a region filled with people who are still tribal in perspective and are still holding grudges and settling scores from five thousand years ago were complete and total arrogant morons. Every single one of them. Up to the present moment.

Which gets me down to those brass tacks I alluded to at the beginning of my comment. Delusional crusades lead by arrogant morons always, always, always end up as ash heaps. So, I would suggest we all prepare for that rapidly approaching conclusion accordingly. For me, that means hitting my knees.

Gregory Herr , December 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Middle Eastern people are no more "tribal" or prone to holding grudges than any other people. Middle Eastern people have exhibited and practiced peaceful and tolerant living arrangements within several different contexts over the centuries. Iraq had a fairly thriving middle class and the Syrians are a cultured and educated people.

Gregory Herr , December 9, 2017 at 10:07 pm

Syrian society is constructed very much within the construct of close family ties and a sense of a Syrian homeland. It is solely the business of the Syrian people to decide whether the socialist Ba'ath government functions according to their own sense of realities and standards. Some of those realities may include aspects of a necessitated national security state (necessitated by CIA and Israeli subterfuge) that prompts shills to immediately characterize the Assad government as "an authoritarian regime" and of course that's all you need to know. Part of what pisses the West off about the Syrians is that they are so competent, and that includes their intelligence and security services. One of the other parts is the socialist example of government functioning in interests of the general population, not selling out to vultures.

It bothers me that Mr. Lazare wrote: "Syria's Baathist government is hardly blameless in this affair." Really? Well the Syrian government can hardly be blamed for the vile strategy of using terrorist mercenaries to take or destroy a people's homeland–killing horrific numbers of fathers, mothers, and children on the way to establish some kind of Wild West control over Damascus that can then be manipulated for the typical elite deviances. What was purposely planned and visited upon the Syrian people has had human consequences that were known and disregarded by the planners. It has been and continues to be a grave crime against our common humanity that should be raised to the roof of objection! People like Gambill should be excoriated for their crass appraisal of human costs .and for their contrived and twisted rationalizations and deceits. President Assad recently gave an interview to teleSUR that is worth a listen. He talks about human costs with understanding for what he is talking about. Gambill doesn't give a damn.

BASLE , December 9, 2017 at 10:46 am

From the October 1973 Yom Kippur War onward, the United States had no foreign policy in the Middle East other than Israel's. Daniel Lazare should read "A clean break: a new strategy for the Realm".

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 9:08 am

Yes, Israel is the cut-out or fence for US politicians stealing campaign money from the federal budget. US policy is that of the bribery sources and nothing else. And it believes that to be professional competence. For the majority of amoral opportunists of the US, money=power=virtue and they will attack all who disagree.

Herman , December 9, 2017 at 10:47 am

"Official Washington helped unleash hell on Syria and across the Mideast behind the naïve belief that jihadist proxies could be used to transform the region for the better, explains Daniel Lazare."

Lazare makes the case very well about our amoral foreign policy but I think he errs in saying our aim was to "transform the region for the better." Recent history, going back to Afghanistan shows a very different goal, to defeat our enemies and the enemies of our allies with little concern for the aftermath. Just observing what has happened to the people where we supported extremists is evidence enough.

Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men. We hope the conscience of our nation is bothered by our behavior but we know that is not true, and we sleep very well, thank you.

Marilyn Vogt-Downey , December 9, 2017 at 11:18 am

I am stunned that anyone could be so foolish as to think that the US military machine, US imperialism, does things "naively", bumbling like a helpless giant into wars that destroy entire nations with no end in sight. One need not be a "conspiracy theorist" to understand that the Pentagon does not control the world with an ever-expanding war budget equal to the next 10 countries combined, that it does this just because it is stuck on the wrong path. No! US imperialism develops these "big guns" to use them, to overpower, take over and dominate the world for the sake of profits and protection of the right to exploit for private profit.

There is ample evidence–see the Brookings Institute study among many others–that the Gulf monarchies–flunkies of US imperialism–who "host" dozens of US military bases in the region, some of them central to US war strategy–initiated and nourished and armed and financed the "jihadi armies" in Syria AND Libya AND elsewhere; they did not do this on their own. The US government–the executive committee of the US ruling class–does not naively support the Gulf monarchies because it doesn't know any better! Washington (following British imperialism) organized, established and backed these flunky regimes. They are autocratic, antediluvian regimes, allowing virtually civil rights, with no local proletariat to speak of, no popular base. They are no more than sheriffs for imperialism in that region of the world, along with the Zionist state of Israel, helping imperialism do the really dirty work.

I research this and gathered the evidence to support what I just asserted in a long study printed back in Dec. 2015 in Truthout. Here is the link: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/34151-what-is-the-war-on-terror-and-how-to-fight-it

Look at the evidence. Stop the totally foolish assessment that the US government spends all this money on a war machine just to "naively" blunder into wars that level entire nations–and is not taking on destruction of the entire continent of Africa to eliminate any obstacles to its domination.

No! That is foolish and destructive. Unless we look in the face what is going on–the US government since its "secret" intervention in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 1980s, has recruited, trained, armed, funded and relied on jihadi armies to unseat regimes and destabilize and destroy populations and regimes the US government wants to overthrow, and destroy, any that could potentially develop into an alternative model of nationalist, bourgeois industrial development on any level.

Wake up!!! The evidence is there. There is no reason to bumble and bungle along as if we are in the dark.

Randal Marlin , December 9, 2017 at 11:26 am

Daniel Pipes, from what I've read of him, is among those who counsel the U.S. government to use its military power to support the losing side in any civil wars fought within Israel's enemy states, so that the wars will continue, sparing Israel the threat of unified enemy states. What normal human beings consider a humanitarian disaster, repeated in Iraq, Syria and Libya, would be reckoned a success according to this way of thinking.
The thinking would appear to lead to similar treatment of Iran, with even more catastrophic consequences.

Behind all this is the thinking that the survival of Israel outweighs anything else in any global ethical calculus. Those who don't accept this moral premise but who believe in supporting the survival of Israel have their work cut out for them. This work would be made easier if the U.S. population saw clearly what was going on, instead of being preoccupied with salacious sexual misconduct stories or other distractions.

Zachary Smith , December 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

A Russian interceptor has been scrambled to stop a rogue US fighter jet from actively interfering with an anti-terrorist operation, the Russian Defense Ministry said. It also accused the US of provoking close encounters with the Russian jets in Syria.

A US F-22 fighter was preventing two Russian Su-25 strike aircraft from bombing an Islamic State (IS, former ISIS) base to the west of the Euphrates November 23, according to the ministry. The ministry's spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov described the episode as yet another example of US aircraft attempts to prevent Russian forces from carrying out strikes against Islamic State.

"The F-22 launched decoy flares and used airbrakes while constantly maneuvering [near the Russian strike jets], imitating an air fight," Konashenkov said. He added that the US jet ceased its dangerous maneuvers only after a Russian Su-35S fighter jet joined the two strike planes.

If this story is true, then it illustrates a number of things. First, the US is still providing ISIS air cover. Second, either the F-22 pilot or his commander is dumber than dirt. The F-22 may be a fine airplane, but getting into a contest with an equally fine non-stealth airplane at eyeball distances means throwing away every advantage of the super-expensive stealth.

Zachary Smith , December 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

https://www.rt.com/news/412590-russia-us-syria-air-force/

Pablo Diablo , December 9, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Gotta keep the War Machine well fed and insure Corporate control of markets and taking of resources.

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 2:54 pm

In October 1973, a nuclear armed rogue state almost triggered a global thermonuclear war.

Yom Kippur: Israel's 1973 nuclear alert
By Richard Sale
https://www.upi.com/Yom-Kippur-Israels-1973-nuclear-alert/64941032228992/

Israel obtained operational nuclear weapons capability by 1967, with the mass production of nuclear warheads occurring immediately after the Six-Day War. In addition to the Israeli nuclear arsenal, Israel has offensive chemical and biological warfare stockpiles.

Israel, the Middle East's sole nuclear power, is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In 2015, the US-based Institute for Science and International Security estimated that Israel had 115 nuclear warheads. Outside estimates of Israel's nuclear arsenal range up to 400 nuclear weapons.

Israeli nuclear weapons delivery mechanisms include Jericho 3 missiles, with a range of 4,800 km to 6,500 km (though a 2004 source estimated its range at up to 11,500 km), as well as regional coverage from road mobile Jericho 2 IRBMs.

Additionally, Israel is believed to have an offshore nuclear capability using submarine-launched nuclear-capable cruise missiles, which can be launched from the Israeli Navy's Dolphin-class submarines.

The Israeli Air Force has F-15I and F-16I Sufa fighter aircraft are capable of delivering tactical and strategic nuclear weapons at long distances using conformal fuel tanks and supported by their aerial refueling fleet of modified Boeing 707's.

In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at Dimona, fled to the United Kingdom and revealed to the media some evidence of Israel's nuclear program and explained the purposes of each building, also revealing a top-secret underground facility directly below the installation.

The Mossad, Israel's secret service, sent a female agent who lured Vanunu to Italy, where he was kidnapped by Mossad agents and smuggled to Israel aboard a freighter. An Israeli court then tried him in secret on charges of treason and espionage, and sentenced him to eighteen years imprisonment.

At the time of Vanunu's kidnapping, The Times reported that Israel had material for approximately 20 hydrogen bombs and 200 fission bombs by 1986. In the spring of 2004, Vanunu was released from prison, and placed under several strict restrictions, such as the denial of a passport, freedom of movement limitations and restrictions on communications with the press. Since his release, he has been rearrested and charged multiple times for violations of the terms of his release.

Safety concerns about this 40-year-old reactor have been reported. In 2004, as a preventive measure, Israeli authorities distributed potassium iodide anti-radiation tablets to thousands of residents living nearby. Local residents have raised concerns regarding serious threats to health from living near the reactor.

According to a lawsuit filed in Be'er Sheva Labor Tribunal, workers at the center were subjected to human experimentation in 1998. According to Julius Malick, the worker who submitted the lawsuit, they were given drinks containing uranium without medical supervision and without obtaining written consent or warning them about risks of side effects.

In April 2016 the U.S. National Security Archive declassified dozens of documents from 1960 to 1970, which detail what American intelligence viewed as Israel's attempts to obfuscate the purpose and details of its nuclear program. The Americans involved in discussions with Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and other Israelis believed the country was providing "untruthful cover" about intentions to build nuclear weapons.

mike k , December 9, 2017 at 6:38 pm

The machinations of those seeking to gain advantages for themselves by hurting others, are truly appalling. If we fail to name evil for what it is, then we fail as human beings.Those who look the other way as their country engages in an organized reign of terror, are complicit in that enormous crime.

Den Lille Abe , December 9, 2017 at 8:54 pm

The path the US has chosen since the end of WWII has been over dead bodies. In the name of "security", bringing "Freedom" and "Democracy" and complete unconstrained greed it has trampled countless nations into piles of rubble. To say it is despised or loathed is an overwhelming understatement. It is almost universally hated in the third world. Rightly. Bringing this monstrosity to a halt is a difficult task, and probably cannot be done militarily without a nuclear war, economically could in the end have the same outcome, then how?

Easy! Ruin its population. This process has started, long ago. The decline in the US of health, general wealth, nutrition, production, education, equality, ethics and morals is already showing as cracks in the fabrics of the US.

A population of incarcerated, obese, low iQ zealot junkies, armed to teeth with guns, in a country with a crumbling infrastructure, full of environmental disasters is 21 st century for most Americans. In all the areas I mentioned the US is going backwards compared to most other countries. So the monster will come down.

turk151 , December 9, 2017 at 10:20 pm

I think you are being a little hard on the incarcerated, obese, low iQ zealot junkies, armed to teeth with guns

I am not sure who is more loathsome the evangelicals who were supporting the Bush / Cheney cabal murderous wars until the bitter end or the liberal intelligentsia careerist cheerleaders for Obama and Hilary's Wars in Iraq and Syria, who also dont give a damn about another Arab country being destroyed and sold into slavery as long as Hillary gets elected. At least with the former group, you can chalk it up to a lack of education.

Linda Wood , December 10, 2017 at 1:52 am

This is possibly the most intelligent and hopeful discussion I have read since 9/11. It says that at least some Americans do see that we have a fascist cell in our government. That is the first step in finding a way to unplug it. Best wishes to all of you who have written here. We will find a way to put war out of business.

Barbara van der Wal-Kylstra , December 10, 2017 at 2:46 am

I think this pattern of using Salafists for regime change started already in Afghanistan, with Brzezinski plotting with Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan to pay and train Osama bin Laden to attack the pro Russia regime and trying to get the USSR involved in it, also trying to blame the USSR for its agression, like they did in Syri"r?

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 9:18 am

Yes, the Brzezinski/Reagan support of fanatic insurgencies began in AfPak and was revived for the zionists. Russia happened to be on the side more or less tending to progress in both cases, so it had to be opposed. The warmongers are always the US MIC/intel, allied with the anti-American zionist fascists for Mideast wars.

Luutzen , December 10, 2017 at 9:15 am

Sheldon Adelson, Soros, Saban all wanted carving up of Arabic states into small sectarian pieces (No Nasseric pan-Arabic states, a threat to Israël). And protracted wars of total destruction. Easy.

mike k , December 10, 2017 at 11:05 am

The US Military is part of the largest terrorist organization on Earth. For the super rich and powerful rulers of that US Mafia, the ignorant religious fanatics and other tools of Empire are just pawns in their game of world domination and universal slavery for all but themselves. These monsters of evil delight in profiting from the destruction of others; but their insatiable greed for more power will never be satisfied, and will become the cause of the annihilation of every living thing – including themselves. But like other sold out human addicts, at this point they don't really care, and will blindly pursue their nightmare quest to the very end – and perhaps they secretly hope that that final end of everything will at last quench their burning appetite for blood and gold.

Joe Tedesky , December 10, 2017 at 11:12 am

I'm leaving a link to a very long David Swanson article, where Mr Swanson goes into quite a lot of detail to how the U.S. wages war.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2017/12/76-years-pearl-harbor-lies.html

Brendan , December 10, 2017 at 12:09 pm

What's interesting of course is how not just Washington, but much of the 'left' also cheered on the jihadists.

Of course, they were told (by whom?) that the jihadists were 'democratic rebels' and 'freedom fighters' who just wanted to 'bring democracy' to Syria, and get rid of the 'tyrant Assad.' 5 years later, so much of the nonsense about "local councils" and "white helmets" has been exposed for what it was. Yet many 'free thinking' people bought the propaganda. Just like they do on Russiagate. Who needs an "alt-right" when America's "left" is a total disgrace?

[Dec 09, 2017] Hyping the Russian Threat to Undermine Free Speech by Max Blumenthal

Highly recommended!
This is a simply a brilliant article. Probably the best written on the subject so far. Kudos to Max Blumenthal
Thinks tanks are really ideological tanks -- formidable weapon in propaganda wars that crush everything on its way. And taken together far right think tanks financed by defense sector or intelligence agencies are really a shadow far right political party with its own neocon agenda. Actually subverting the will of American people (who elected Trump) for more peaceful relations (aka detente) with Russia in favor of interest of weapon manufactures and the army of "national security parasites".
At a time when the ruling elite, across virtually the entire western world, is… losing it; it being, political legitimacy and the breakdown of any semblance of a social contract between the ruled and the rulers those think tanks decides to create a fake narrative and blame Russians. Is not this a classic variant of projection ?
The slow strangulation of the US MSM means the crisis of confidence. A strong and confident ruling class welcomes criticism and is ready to brush it all off with a smile and a shrug. When they start running scared and pretending there is no dissent or opposition, well, this is a sign of of degradation of the ruling elite. They are losing the battle of ideas and the battle of solutions to social problems. All that really stands between them and a social revolution is a thin veneer of 'authority' and status, as well as intelligence agencies spying on everybody.
Now all those well paid ( and sometimes even talented) war propagandist intend to substitute the real crisis of neoliberalism in the USA demonstrated during the recent Presidential Elections for the artificial problem of Russian meddling. And they are succeeding in this unfair and evil substitution. The also manage to "poison the well" -- relation between two nations were now at the level probably lower then during Cold War (when many Russians were sympathetic to the USA). I think 70% of Democratic voters now are convinced the Russia was meddling in the USA election and about 30% of Republican voters also think so. For the creators of 'artificial reality" such numbers signify big success. A very big success to be exact.
Notable quotes:
"... In perhaps the most chilling moment of the hearings, and the most overlooked, Clint Watts, a former U.S. Army officer who had branded himself an expert on Russian meddling, appeared before a nearly empty Senate chamber. Watts conjured up a stark landscape of American carnage, with shadowy Russian operatives stage managing the chaos ..."
"... The spectacle perfectly illustrated the madness of Russiagate, with liberal lawmakers springboarding off the fear of Russian meddling to demand that Americans be forbidden from consuming the wrong kinds of media ..."
"... A former U.S. Army officer who spent years in obscurity at a defense industry funded think tank called the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Watts has become a go-to source for cable news producers and print journalists on the subject of Russian bots, always available with a comment that reinforces the sense that America is under sustained cyborg attack. This September, his employers at FPRI hailed him as "the leading expert on developments related to Russian-backed efforts to not only influence the 2016 presidential election, but also to inflame racial and cultural divisions within the U.S. and across Europe." ..."
"... Watts boasts an impressive-looking bio that is replete with fancy sounding fellowships at national security-oriented outfits, including George Washington University's Center Cyber and Homeland Security. His bio also indicates that he served on an FBI Joint Terror Task Force. ..."
"... Though Watts is best known for his punditry on Russian interference, it's fair to say he is as much an expert on Russian affairs as Harvey Weinstein is a trusted voice on feminism. Indeed, Watts appears to speak no Russian, has no record of reporting or scholarship from inside Russia, and has produced little to no work of any discernible academic value on Russian affairs. ..."
"... Whether or not he has the substance to support his claims of expertise, Watts has proven a talented salesman, catering to popular fears about Russian interference while he plies credulous lawmakers with ease. ..."
"... In the widely publicized testimony, Watts explained to the panel of senators that he first noticed the pernicious presence of Russian social media bots after he co-authored an article in 2014 in Foreign Affairs titled, " The Good and The Bad of Ahrar al Sham ." The article urged the US to arm a group of Syrian Salafi insurgents known for its human rights abuses , sectarianism and off-and-on alliances with Al Qaeda. Watts and his co-authors insisted that Ahrar al-Sham was the best proxy force for wreaking havoc on the Syrian government weakening its allies in Iran and Russia. Right below the headline, Watts and his co-authors celebrated Ahrar al-Sham as "an Al Qaeda linked group worth befriending." ..."
"... Watts rehashed the same argument at FPRI a year later, urging the U.S. government to harness jihadist terror as a weapon against Russia. "The U.S. at a minimum, through covert or semi-covert platforms, should take advantage and amplify these free alternative [jihadist] narratives to provide Russia some payback for recent years' aggression," he wrote. In another paper, Watts asked , "Why shouldn't the U.S. redirect some of the jihadi hatred towards those with the dirtiest hands in the Syrian conflict: Russia and Iran?" Watts did not specify whether the theater of covert warfare should be limited to the Syrian battlefield, or if he sought to encourage jihadists to carry out terrorist acts inside Russia and Iran. ..."
"... Next, Watts introduced his signature theme, claiming that Russia manipulated civil rights protests to exploit divisions in American society. Declaring that "pro-Russian" outlets were spreading "chaos in Black Lives Matter protests" by deploying active measures, Watts did not bother to say what those measures were. ..."
"... Watts then moved to the main course of his testimony, focusing on how Trump employed Russian "active measures" to attack his opponents. Watts told the Senate panel that the Russian-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik had produced a false report on the U.S. airbase in Incirlik, Turkey being "overrun by terrorists." He presented the Russian stories as the anchor for a massive influence operation that featured swarms of Russian bots across social media. And he claimed that then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort invoked the incident to deflect from negative media coverage, suggesting that Trump was coordinating strategy with the Kremlin. In reality, it was Watts who was spreading the fake news. ..."
"... Watts has pushed his bogus narrative of RT and Sputnik's Incirlik coverage in numerous outlets, including Politico . Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen echoed Watts' false account on the Senate floor while arguing for legislation to force RT out of the U.S. market on political grounds. And Jim Rutenberg, the New York Times' media correspondent, reproduced Watts' distorted account in a major feature on RT and Sputnik's "new theory of war." Almost no one, not one major media organization or public figure, has bothered to fact check these false claims, and few have questioned the agenda behind them. ..."
"... The episode began during a Trump rally at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump read out an email purportedly from longtime Hillary Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal (the father of this writer), hoping to embarrass Clinton over Benghazi. The text of the email turned out to be part of a column written by the pro-Clinton Newsweek columnist Kurt Eichenwald, not an email by Blumenthal. ..."
"... The source of Trump's falsehood appeared to have been a report by Bill Moran, then a reporter for Sputnik, the news service funded by the Russian government. Having confused Eichenwald's writing for a Blumenthal email, Moran scrubbed his erroneous article within 20 minutes. Somehow, Moran's retracted article had found its way onto the Trump campaign's radar, a not atypical event for a campaign that had relied on material from far-out sites like Infowars to undercut its opponents. ..."
"... In his column at Newsweek, Eichenwald framed Moran's honest mistake as the leading edge of a secret Russian influence operation. With help from pro-Clinton elements, Eichenwald's column went viral, earning him slots on CNN and MSNBC, where he howled about the nefarious Russian-Trump-Wikileaks plot he believed he had just exposed. (Glenn Greenwald was perhaps the only reporter with a national platform to highlight Eichenwald's falsifications .) Moran was fired as a result of the fallout, and would have to spend the next several months fighting to correct the record. ..."
"... When Moran appealed to Eichenwald for a public clarification, Eichenwald staunchly refused. Instead, he offered Moran a job at the New Republic in exchange for his silence and warned him, "If you go public, you'll regret it." (Eichenwald had no role at the New Republic or any clear ability to influence the magazine's hiring decisions.) Moran refused to cooperate, prompting Eichenwald to publish a follow-up piece painting himself as the victim of a Russian "active measures" campaign, and to cast Moran once again as a foreign agent. ..."
"... Representing himself in court, Moran elicited a settlement from Newsweek that forced the magazine to scrub all of Eichenwald's articles about him -- a tacit admission that they were false from top to bottom. This meant that the most consequential claim Watts made before the Senate was also a whopping lie. ..."
"... The day after Watts' deception-laden appearance, he was nevertheless transformed from an obscure national security into a cable news star, with invites from Morning Joe, Rachel Maddow, Meet the Press, and the liberal comedian Samantha Bee, among many others. His testimony received coverage from the gamut of major news outlets, and even earned him a fawning profile from CNN. From out of the blue, Watts had become the star witness of Russiagate, and one of corporate media's favorite pundits. ..."
"... Dr. Strangelove ..."
"... It was not until this summer, however, that the influence operation Watts helped establish reached critical capacity. He had approached one of Washington's most respected think tanks, the German Marshall Fund, and secured support for an initiative called the Alliance for Securing Democracy. The new initiative became responsible for a daily blacklist of subversive, "pro-Russian" media outlets, targeting them with the backing of a who's who of national security honchos, from Bill Kristol to former CIA director and ex-Hillary Clinton surrogate Michael Morrell, along with favorable promotion from some of the country's most respected news organizations. ..."
Nov 13, 2017 | www.truthdig.com

Nearly a year after the presidential election, the scandal over accusations of Russian political interference in the 2016 election has gone beyond Donald Trump and reached into the nebulous world of online media. On November 1, Congress held hearings on "Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online." The proceedings saw executives from Facebook, Twitter and Youtube subjected to tongue-lashings from lawmakers like Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who howled about Russian online trolls "spread[ing] stories about abuse of black Americans by law enforcement."

In perhaps the most chilling moment of the hearings, and the most overlooked, Clint Watts, a former U.S. Army officer who had branded himself an expert on Russian meddling, appeared before a nearly empty Senate chamber. Watts conjured up a stark landscape of American carnage, with shadowy Russian operatives stage managing the chaos.

"Civil wars don't start with gunshots, they start with words," he proclaimed. "America's war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America."

Next, Watts suggested a government-imposed campaign of media censorship: "Stopping the false information artillery barrage landing on social media users comes only when those outlets distributing bogus stories are silenced: silence the guns and the barrage will end."

The censorious overtone of Watts' testimony was unmistakable. He demanded that government news inquisitors drive dissident media off the internet and warned that Americans would spear one another with bayonets if they failed to act. And not one member of Congress rose to object. In fact, many echoed his call for media suppression in the House and Senate hearings, with Democrats like Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Jackie Speier agreeing the most vehemently. The spectacle perfectly illustrated the madness of Russiagate, with liberal lawmakers springboarding off the fear of Russian meddling to demand that Americans be forbidden from consuming the wrong kinds of media -- including content that amplified the message of progressive causes like Black Lives Matter.

Details of exactly what transpired vis a vis Russia and the U.S. in social media in 2016 are still emerging. This year, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published a declassified version of the intelligence community's report on "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections," written by CIA, FBI and NSA, with its central conclusion that Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow's longstanding desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order."

To be sure, there is ample evidence that Russian-linked trolls have attempted to exploit wedge issues on social media platforms. But the impact of these schemes on real-world events appears to have been exaggerated. According to Facebook's data , 56 percent of Russian-linked ads appeared after the 2016 presidential election, and another 25 percent "were never shown to anyone." The ads were said to have "reached" over 100 million people, but that assumes that Facebook users did not scroll through or otherwise ignore them, as they do with most ads. Content emanating from "Russia-linked" sources on YouTube, meanwhile, managed to rack up hit totals in the hundreds , not exactly a viral smash.

Facebook posts traced to the infamous Internet Research Agency troll factory in Russia amounted to only 0.0004 percent of total content that appeared on the social network. (Some of these posts targeted "animal lovers with memes of adorable puppies," while another hawked an LGBT-themed " Buff Bernie coloring book for Berniacs.") According to its " deliberately broad" review , Twitter found that only 0.74 percent of its election-related tweets were "Russian-linked." Google, for its part, documented a grand total of $4,700 of "Russian-linked ad spending" during the 2016 election cycle. While some have argued that the Russian-linked ads were micro-targeted, and could have shifted key electoral voting blocs, these ads appeared in a media climate awash in a multi-billion dollar deluge of political ad spending from both established parties and dark money super PACs.

However, a blitz of feverish corporate media coverage and tension-filled congressional hearings has convinced a whopping 82 percent of Democrats that "Russian-backed" social media content played a central role in swinging the 2016 election. Russian meddling has even earned comparisons by lawmakers to Pearl Harbor, to "acts of war," and by Hillary Clinton to the attacks of 9/11 . And in an inadvertent way, these overblown comparisons were apt.

As during the aftermath of 9/11, the fallout from Russiagate has spawned a multimillion-dollar industry of pundits and self-styled experts eager to exploit the frenetic atmosphere for publicity and profits. Many of these figures have emerged out of the swamp that flowed from the war on terror and are gravitating toward the growing Russia fearmongering industrial complex in search of new opportunities. Few of these characters have become as prominent as Clint Watts.

So who is Watts, and how did he emerge seemingly from nowhere to become the star congressional witness on Russian meddling?

Dubious Expertise, Impressive Salesmanship

A former U.S. Army officer who spent years in obscurity at a defense industry funded think tank called the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Watts has become a go-to source for cable news producers and print journalists on the subject of Russian bots, always available with a comment that reinforces the sense that America is under sustained cyborg attack. This September, his employers at FPRI hailed him as "the leading expert on developments related to Russian-backed efforts to not only influence the 2016 presidential election, but also to inflame racial and cultural divisions within the U.S. and across Europe."

Watts boasts an impressive-looking bio that is replete with fancy sounding fellowships at national security-oriented outfits, including George Washington University's Center Cyber and Homeland Security. His bio also indicates that he served on an FBI Joint Terror Task Force.

Though Watts is best known for his punditry on Russian interference, it's fair to say he is as much an expert on Russian affairs as Harvey Weinstein is a trusted voice on feminism. Indeed, Watts appears to speak no Russian, has no record of reporting or scholarship from inside Russia, and has produced little to no work of any discernible academic value on Russian affairs.

Whether or not he has the substance to support his claims of expertise, Watts has proven a talented salesman, catering to popular fears about Russian interference while he plies credulous lawmakers with ease.

Before Congress, a String of Deceptions

Back on March 30, as the narrative of Russian meddling gathered momentum, Watts made his first appearance before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.

Seated at the front of a hearing room packed with reporters, Watts introduced Congress to concepts of Russian meddling that were novel at the time, but which have become part of Beltway newspeak. His testimony turned out to be a signal moment in Russiagate, helping transition the narrative of the scandal from Russia-Trump collusion to the wider issue of online influence.

In the widely publicized testimony, Watts explained to the panel of senators that he first noticed the pernicious presence of Russian social media bots after he co-authored an article in 2014 in Foreign Affairs titled, " The Good and The Bad of Ahrar al Sham ." The article urged the US to arm a group of Syrian Salafi insurgents known for its human rights abuses , sectarianism and off-and-on alliances with Al Qaeda. Watts and his co-authors insisted that Ahrar al-Sham was the best proxy force for wreaking havoc on the Syrian government weakening its allies in Iran and Russia. Right below the headline, Watts and his co-authors celebrated Ahrar al-Sham as "an Al Qaeda linked group worth befriending."

Watts rehashed the same argument at FPRI a year later, urging the U.S. government to harness jihadist terror as a weapon against Russia. "The U.S. at a minimum, through covert or semi-covert platforms, should take advantage and amplify these free alternative [jihadist] narratives to provide Russia some payback for recent years' aggression," he wrote. In another paper, Watts asked , "Why shouldn't the U.S. redirect some of the jihadi hatred towards those with the dirtiest hands in the Syrian conflict: Russia and Iran?" Watts did not specify whether the theater of covert warfare should be limited to the Syrian battlefield, or if he sought to encourage jihadists to carry out terrorist acts inside Russia and Iran.

The premise of these op-eds should have raised serious concerns about Watts and his colleagues, and even questions about their sanity. They had marketed themselves as national security experts, yet they were lobbying the US to "befriend" the allies of Al Qaeda, the group that brought down the Twin Towers. (Ahrar al-Sham was founded by Abu Khalid al-Suri, a Madrid bombing suspect who was named by Spanish investigators as Osama bin-Laden's courier.) Anyone cynical enough to put such ideas into public circulation should have expected a backlash. But when the inevitable wave of criticism came, Watts dismissed it all as a Russian bot attack.

Addressing the Senate panel, Watts said that those who took to social media to mock and criticize his Foreign Affairs article were, in fact, Russian bots. He provided no evidence to support the claim, and a look at his single tweet promoting the article shows that he was criticized only once (by @Navsteva, a Twitter user known for defending the Syrian government against regime change proponents, not an automated bot). Nevertheless, Watts painted the incident as proof that Russia had revived a Cold War information warfare strategy of "Active Measures," which was supposedly aimed at "crumbl[ing] democracies from the inside out [by] creating political divisions."

Next, Watts introduced his signature theme, claiming that Russia manipulated civil rights protests to exploit divisions in American society. Declaring that "pro-Russian" outlets were spreading "chaos in Black Lives Matter protests" by deploying active measures, Watts did not bother to say what those measures were. In fact, the only piece of proof he offered (in a Daily Beast transcript of his testimony) was a single link to an RT article that factually documented a squabble between Black Lives Matter protesters and white supremacists -- an incident that had been widely covered by other outlets, from the Houston Chronicle to the Washington Post . Watts did not explain how this one report by RT sowed any chaos, or whether it had any effect at all on actual events.

Watts then moved to the main course of his testimony, focusing on how Trump employed Russian "active measures" to attack his opponents. Watts told the Senate panel that the Russian-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik had produced a false report on the U.S. airbase in Incirlik, Turkey being "overrun by terrorists." He presented the Russian stories as the anchor for a massive influence operation that featured swarms of Russian bots across social media. And he claimed that then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort invoked the incident to deflect from negative media coverage, suggesting that Trump was coordinating strategy with the Kremlin. In reality, it was Watts who was spreading the fake news.

In the articles cited by Watts during his testimony, neither RT nor Sputnik made any reference to "terrorists" taking over Incirlik Airbase. Rather, these outlets compiled tweets by Turkish activists and sourced their coverage to a report by Hurriyet, one of Turkey's largest mainstream papers. In fact, the incident was reported by virtually every major Turkish news organization ( here , here , here and here ). What's more, the events appeared to have taken place approximately as RT and Sputnik reported it, with protesters readying to protect the airbase from a coup while Turkish police sealed the base's entrances and exits. A look at RT's coverage shows the network even downplayed the severity of the event, citing a tweet by a U.S.-based national security analysis group stating, "We are not finding any evidence of a coup or takeover." This stands entirely at odds with Watts' claim that RT exaggerated the incident to spark chaos.

Watts has pushed his bogus narrative of RT and Sputnik's Incirlik coverage in numerous outlets, including Politico . Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen echoed Watts' false account on the Senate floor while arguing for legislation to force RT out of the U.S. market on political grounds. And Jim Rutenberg, the New York Times' media correspondent, reproduced Watts' distorted account in a major feature on RT and Sputnik's "new theory of war." Almost no one, not one major media organization or public figure, has bothered to fact check these false claims, and few have questioned the agenda behind them.

Questions emailed to Watts via his employers at FPRI received no reply.

Another Watts Deception, This Time Discredited in Court

During his Senate testimony, Watts introduced a second, and even more distorted claim of Trump employing Russian "active measures" to attack his political foes. The details of the story are complex and difficult for a passive audience to absorb, which is probably why Watts has been able to get away with pushing it for so long.

Watts' testimony was the culmination of a mainstream media deception that forced an aspiring reporter out of his job, drove him to contemplate suicide, and ultimately prompted him to take matters into his own hands by suing his antagonists.

The episode began during a Trump rally at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump read out an email purportedly from longtime Hillary Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal (the father of this writer), hoping to embarrass Clinton over Benghazi. The text of the email turned out to be part of a column written by the pro-Clinton Newsweek columnist Kurt Eichenwald, not an email by Blumenthal.

The source of Trump's falsehood appeared to have been a report by Bill Moran, then a reporter for Sputnik, the news service funded by the Russian government. Having confused Eichenwald's writing for a Blumenthal email, Moran scrubbed his erroneous article within 20 minutes. Somehow, Moran's retracted article had found its way onto the Trump campaign's radar, a not atypical event for a campaign that had relied on material from far-out sites like Infowars to undercut its opponents.

In his column at Newsweek, Eichenwald framed Moran's honest mistake as the leading edge of a secret Russian influence operation. With help from pro-Clinton elements, Eichenwald's column went viral, earning him slots on CNN and MSNBC, where he howled about the nefarious Russian-Trump-Wikileaks plot he believed he had just exposed. (Glenn Greenwald was perhaps the only reporter with a national platform to highlight Eichenwald's falsifications .) Moran was fired as a result of the fallout, and would have to spend the next several months fighting to correct the record.

When Moran appealed to Eichenwald for a public clarification, Eichenwald staunchly refused. Instead, he offered Moran a job at the New Republic in exchange for his silence and warned him, "If you go public, you'll regret it." (Eichenwald had no role at the New Republic or any clear ability to influence the magazine's hiring decisions.) Moran refused to cooperate, prompting Eichenwald to publish a follow-up piece painting himself as the victim of a Russian "active measures" campaign, and to cast Moran once again as a foreign agent.

When Watts revived Eichenwald's bogus version of events in his Senate testimony, Moran began to spiral into the depths of depression. He even entertained thoughts of suicide. But he ultimately decided to fight, filing a lawsuit against Newsweek's parent company for defamation and libel.

Representing himself in court, Moran elicited a settlement from Newsweek that forced the magazine to scrub all of Eichenwald's articles about him -- a tacit admission that they were false from top to bottom. This meant that the most consequential claim Watts made before the Senate was also a whopping lie.

The day after Watts' deception-laden appearance, he was nevertheless transformed from an obscure national security into a cable news star, with invites from Morning Joe, Rachel Maddow, Meet the Press, and the liberal comedian Samantha Bee, among many others. His testimony received coverage from the gamut of major news outlets, and even earned him a fawning profile from CNN. From out of the blue, Watts had become the star witness of Russiagate, and one of corporate media's favorite pundits.

FPRI, a Pro-War Think Tank Founded by White Supremacist Eugenicists

Before he emerged in the spotlight of Russiagate, Watts languished at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, earning little name recognition outside the insular world of national security pundits. Based in Philadelphia, the FPRI has been described by journalist Mark Ames as "one of the looniest (and spookiest) extreme-right think tanks since the early Cold War days, promoting 'winnable' nuclear war, maximum confrontation with Russia, and attacking anti-colonialism as dangerously unworkable."

Daniel Pipes, the arch-Islamophobe pundit and former FPRI fellow, offered a similar characterization of the think tank, albeit from an alternately opposed angle. "Put most baldly, we have always advocated an activist U.S. foreign policy," Pipes said in a 1991 address to FPRI. He added that the think tank's staff "is not shy about the use of force; were we members of Congress in January 1991, all of us would not only have voted with President Bush and Operation Desert Storm, we would have led the charge."

FPRI was co-founded by Robert Strausz-Hupé, a far-right Austrian emigre, with help from conservative corporations and covert funding from the CIA. From the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, Strausz-Hupé gathered a "Philadelphia School" of Cold War hardliners to develop a strategy for protracted war against the Soviet Union. His brain trust included FPRI co-founder Stefan Possony, an Austrian fascist who was a board member of the World Anti-Communist League, the international fascist organization described by journalists Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson as a network of "those responsible for death squads, apartheid, torture, and the extermination of European Jewry." True to his fascist roots, Possony co-authored a racialist tract, " The Geography of Intellect ," that argued that blacks were biologically inferior and that the people of the global South were "genetically unpromising." Strausz-Hupé seized on Possony's racialist theories to inveigh against anti-colonial movements led by "populations incapable of rational thought."

While clamoring for a preemptive nuclear strike on the Soviet Union -- and acknowledging that their preferred strategy would cause mass casualties in American cities -- Strausz-Hupé and his band of hawks developed a monomaniacal obsession with Russian propaganda. By the time of the Cuban missile crisis, they were stricken with paranoia, arguing on the pages of the New York Times that filmmaker Stanley Kubrick was a Soviet useful idiot whose film, Dr. Strangelove , advanced "the principal Communist objectives to drive a wedge between the American people and their military leaders."

Ultimately, Strausz-Hupé's fanaticism cost him an ambassadorship, as Sen. William Fulbright scuttled his appointment to serve in Morocco on the grounds that his "hard line, no compromise" approach to communism could shatter the delicate balance of diplomacy. Today, he is remembered fondly on FPRI's website as "an intellectual and intellectual impresario, administrator, statesman, and visionary." His militaristic legacy continues thanks to the prolific presence -- and bellicose politics -- of Watts.

The Paranoid Style

This year, FPRI dedicated its annual gala to honoring Watts' success in mainstreaming the narrative of Russian online meddling. Since I first transcribed a Soundcloud recording of Watts' keynote address, the file has been mysteriously scrubbed from the internet. It is unclear what prompted the removal, however, it is easy to understand why Watts would not want his comments examined by a critical listener. His speech offered a window into a paranoid mindset with a tendency for overblown, unverifiable claims about Russian influence.

While much of the speech was a rehash of Watts' Senate testimony, he spent an unusual amount of time describing the threat he believed Russian intelligence agents posed to his own security. "If you speak up too much, you'll get knocked down," Watts said, claiming that think tank fellows who had been too vocal about Russian meddling had seen their laptops "burned up by malware."

"If someone rises up in prominence, they will suddenly be -- whoof! -- swiped down out of nowhere by some crazy disclosure from their email," Watts added, referring to unspecified Russian retaliatory measures. As usual, he didn't produce concrete evidence or offer any examples.

"Anybody remember the reporters that were outed after the election? Or maybe they tossed up a question to the Clinton campaign and they were gone the next day?" he asked his audience. "That's how it goes."

It was unclear which reporters Watts was referring to, or what incident he could have possibly been alluding to. He offered no details, only innuendo about the state of siege Kremlin actors had supposedly imposed on him and his freedom-fighting colleagues. He even predicted he'd be "hacked and cyber attacked when this recording comes out."

According to Watts, Russian "active measures" had singlehandedly augmented Republican opinion in support of the Kremlin. "It is the greatest success in influence operations in the history of the world," Watts confidently proclaimed. He contrasted Russia's success with his own failures as an American agent of influence working for the U.S. military, a saga in his career that remains largely unexamined.

Domestic Agent of Influence

"I worked in influence operations in counter-terrorism for 15 years," Watts boasted to his audience at FPRI. "We didn't break one or two percent [increase in the approval rating of US foreign policy] in fifteen years and we spent billions a year in tax dollars doing it. I was paid off of those programs. We had almost no success throughout the Middle East."

By Watts' own admission, he had been part of a secret propaganda campaign aimed at manipulating the opinions of Middle Easterners in favor of the hostile American military operating in their midst. And he failed massively, wasting "billions a year in tax dollars."

Given his penchant for deception, this may have been yet another tall tale aimed at burnishing his image as an internet era James Bond. But if the story was even partially true, Watts had inadvertently exposed a severe scandal that, in a fairer world, might have triggered congressional hearings.

Whatever took place, it appears that Watts and his Cold Warrior colleagues are now waging another expensive influence operation, this time directed against the American public. By deploying deceptions, half-truths and hyperbole with the full consent of Congress and in collaboration with the mainstream press, they have managed to convince a majority of Americans that Russia is "trying to knock us down and take us over," as Watts remarked at the FPRI's gala.

In just a matter of months, public consent for an unprecedented array of hostile measures against Russia, from sanctions and consular raids to arbitrary crackdowns on Russian-backed news organizations, has been assiduously manufactured.

It was not until this summer, however, that the influence operation Watts helped establish reached critical capacity. He had approached one of Washington's most respected think tanks, the German Marshall Fund, and secured support for an initiative called the Alliance for Securing Democracy. The new initiative became responsible for a daily blacklist of subversive, "pro-Russian" media outlets, targeting them with the backing of a who's who of national security honchos, from Bill Kristol to former CIA director and ex-Hillary Clinton surrogate Michael Morrell, along with favorable promotion from some of the country's most respected news organizations.

In the next installment of this investigation, we will see how a collection of cranks, counter-terror retreads and online vigilantes overseen by the German Marshall Fund have waged a search-and-destroy mission against dissident media under the guise of combating Russian "active measures," and how the mainstream press has enabled their censorious agenda.

Read part two here .

Max Blumenthal is a senior editor of the Grayzone Project at AlterNet, and the award-winning author of " Goliath ," " Republican Gomorrah ," and " The 51 Day War ." He is the co-host of the podcast, Moderate Rebels . Follow him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal .

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[Dec 09, 2017] The Rot Of American Party Elites ( the 'Republican Intellectual Elite' means the neocons )

Actually it is rot of the US neocon elite.
Notable quotes:
"... Until you can talk about the problem -- that the 'Republican Intellectual Elite' means the neocons (who promote each other and keep everyone else out) -- you can't do anything about it. This group polices what is intellectually respectable on the right and and you aren't allowed to cross them if you want to stay on the inside. ..."
"... neoconservatism still is the conservative establishment. If you want a 'fellow' of some institute to represent the 'conservative' point of view you are going to get someone who is more or less a neocon. ..."
"... Trump has not changed a thing about who the establishment is: but he threatens change which is one reason why they hate him. It's not that they have gone away but that they have been discredited and won't go away because they have the infrastructure. ..."
Dec 09, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

And for that matter, let us recall that it was the best and brightest of the Republican Party's defense and national security elite that led the nation into its worst foreign policy debacle since Vietnam. Did you see Ken Burns's recent Vietnam documentary? Did you see Errol Morris's fantastic documentary The Fog of War , about Robert McNamara and Vietnam? Those were Democratic Party elites, but the most important fact is that they were American elites, just as the Republican elites that led us into Iraq. And it was American elites -- Republican and Democrat -- that led us into the 2008 economic crash, beginning with the Clinton-era deregulation of Wall Street, continued through the George W. Bush era.

My problem with Donald Trump is not so much that he's a populist rebuke to the GOP elites (who deserve it) but that he's a loudmouth incompetent who's so bad at it -- and his most ardent supporters let him get away with it. This tax bill, which he embraces, gives lie to any substantive claim that Trump is a populist.

... ... ...

Yes, the GOP is putrefying. So is the Democratic Party (as Edsall's analysis reveals). The rot began long before Donald Trump showed up on the political scene. He is both symptom and catalyst, but he didn't start the rot.

Noah172 December 8, 2017 at 11:56 am

He's absolutely right, of course, and the Republicans who voted for that unpopular (see here and here), help-the-rich, deficit-exploding tax bill

Oh, get off it. The bill greatly expands the standard deduction, which reduces the value of all itemized deductions (itemized deductions help the wealthy). It reduces the mortgage interest and SALT deductions, which subsidize rich New Yorkers and Californians (the real reason Democrats hate this bill). It increases the child credit (maybe not enough, but some). A number of analyses show that it will give a modest post-tax income boost across the income spectrum. As for the estate tax thing, remember that heirs pay capital gains and other taxes (e.g. local property) on their inherited assets; tweaking the cost-basis people calculate on inherited assets (I would set it to zero if I were king) could get the feds the same revenue as an estate tax.

It is not a perfect or even that great of a bill, but stop robotically repeating every apocalyptic denunciation of it (literally apocalyptic: Nancy Pelosi said the bill is "Armageddon" and "the end of the world"; and others are screaming that the bill will murder people).

Noah172 , , December 8, 2017 at 11:58 am
NFR: On tax policy and economics, he's governing like a standard-issue plutocratic Republican

Not on trade. Not on immigration. Pay attention.

On foreign policy, he's reducing American power abroad and making war more likely

Have you gone back to neoconservatism?

[NFR: Please. It delights me to think of the yoga-like contortions you're having to do to justify your man's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. -- RD]

Ben H , , December 8, 2017 at 12:12 pm
Until you can talk about the problem -- that the 'Republican Intellectual Elite' means the neocons (who promote each other and keep everyone else out) -- you can't do anything about it. This group polices what is intellectually respectable on the right and and you aren't allowed to cross them if you want to stay on the inside.

Potentially influential people can't talk about these guys because if you do you lose your job. This happens even now, there was a case within the last couple of months that comes to mind.

Even though this group's plans have proceed disastrous time after time, these people are beyond criticism and never suffer any consequences when their actions lead to real world death and destruction.

[NFR: But that's just it -- neoconservatism *was* the conservative establishment, until Trump came along. -- RD]

Ben H , says: December 8, 2017 at 12:37 pm
No, neoconservatism still is the conservative establishment. If you want a 'fellow' of some institute to represent the 'conservative' point of view you are going to get someone who is more or less a neocon.

Trump has not changed a thing about who the establishment is: but he threatens change which is one reason why they hate him. It's not that they have gone away but that they have been discredited and won't go away because they have the infrastructure.

Kent , says: December 8, 2017 at 12:44 pm
"More and more former Republicans wake up every day and realize: "I'm homeless. I'm politically homeless."

Sheepishly raises hand. I was always a Republican not because of any of a thousand issues, but because I believed Republicans knew how to run an efficient, financially prudent government. It was the party of conservative values like work and integrity.

Democrats were the party of budget deficits, handouts, war and favored constituencies. The Republicans have become the Democrats of old, just tweaking who gets the handouts.

GWB's second term was the first time I ever voted for a democrats across the line. Not because I care about their policies (they're basically Republican anyway), but just because its the only way I have to slap the GOP in my small way.

The GOP has become the party of radical incompetence. An embarrassment. I see little difference between Trump and Hillary. And most Republicans I know think there is an ocean between them. That's how small their world has become.

DBN , says: December 8, 2017 at 12:57 pm
The rot afflicting the G.O.P. is comprehensive -- moral, intellectual, political and reputational. More and more former Republicans wake up every day and realize: "I'm homeless. I'm politically homeless."

Cry me a river. A lot of Americans have felt this way way for decades. Pew Research Center polling has consistently shown that the largest group of Americans tilts socially to the right but economically to the left. There has not been a party since FDRs Democrats that felt like a home for these people.

Given that we have a two-party system, and that's unlikely to change, I would rather that at least one party begin represent a significant portion of the population again.

[Dec 08, 2017] Tillerson: Biggest Snag in U.S.-Russia Relations is Ukraine, Not Election Meddling by Robbie Gramer

Not surprising views fro neocon swamp which the foreigh Policy is... Interesting comments from inosmi.ru ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... "There is clear evidence of Russia meddling in democratic elections in the U.S. and Europe," Tillerson said said at a speech in Washington on Nov. 28. "We, together with our friends in Europe, recognize the active threat of a recently resurgent Russia." Trump, for his part, has repeatedly contradicted U.S. intelligence agencies to belittle their conclusions that Russia interfered in the election. ..."
"... "According to Tillerson, the biggest obstacle to achieving this goal is the Kremlin's participation in the war in Ukraine." I would paraphrase this phrase like this: "The biggest obstacle to achieving this goal is the US participation in the war in Ukraine. ..."
"... "What's stopping us is Ukraine," Tillerson said at a meeting of the OSCE in Vienna, I do not see the problem! Read the Russian classics: "I gave birth to you, I will kill you!" Eliminate what you gave birth on the Maidan and - no problem ..."
"... 18:26 08.12.2017 | 2 ..."
"... "To improve relations with Russia" is a crime? And the fact of your established a relationship with Ukrainian Nazis is not a crime? Who asked you to invade the Kiev Maidan by the state Department and senators, the Director of the CIA, the intelligence services', the NATO trainers, to offer and sell weapons? Who staged a sniper shooting, blackmail the legitimate government, and provocation with Boeing? What do You care about earopeyskie selection of Bandera, to civil war? Leave yourself from the Ukraine, the invaders! It is not included in your Alliance. Let the EU coddling them (although I'm sure that you imposed on Ukraine, sanctions, LGBT, refugees, poor Europeans). Evident to all that the United States does not want dialogue, or understand it as the imposition of their interests. What do you care, it is the desire of the Ukrainians, how many percent can a referendum on the area will hold? Afraid? Perhaps the Mexicans or the Texans want to join the CSTO, BRICS, or even in Russia, let us ask. Establish if you want your interests to be taken into account. Syria is only the first step, then the avalanche of anti-Americanism will only increase as inter-civil conflicts. Degrades dove, you do not want on good, will be different. Fuck all your wishlist does not force us to hide from the world your dirty secrets. We have not started to intervene, but if we start... ..."
Dec 07, 2017 | foreignpolicy.com

U.S. 'badly' wants to mend fences with Moscow, Secretary of State Tillerson says.

Tillerson has said for months that normalizing relations with Russia has been one of Trump's top foreign-policy priorities. He has broached the topic of Russian election interference, but not with the rhetoric he leveled against Moscow on Ukraine.

"There is clear evidence of Russia meddling in democratic elections in the U.S. and Europe," Tillerson said said at a speech in Washington on Nov. 28. "We, together with our friends in Europe, recognize the active threat of a recently resurgent Russia." Trump, for his part, has repeatedly contradicted U.S. intelligence agencies to belittle their conclusions that Russia interfered in the election.

Relations between Moscow and most of the West have been severely strained since early 2014, when Russia threw military support behind separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, sparking fighting that has killed some 10,000 and displaced some 1.7 million so far. In March 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, a part of Ukraine -- the first such cross-border land grab in Europe since the bloody wars in the Balkans in the 1990s.

"We can have differences in other arenas, in Syria, we can have differences in other areas but when one country invades another, that is a difference that is hard to look past or reconcile," Tillerson said. "It stands as the single most difficult obstacle to us re-normalizing a relationship with Russia, which we badly would like to do," he added.

There is another potential obstacle to normalized ties: the drumbeat of revelations of the Kremlin's meddling in last year's U.S. election. That includes organizing the release of hacked material harmful to the campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton and the creation of fake social media accounts to spread false news stories that sowed division in the United States.

Most recently, Trump's disgraced former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn pleaded guilty last week to lying to FBI agents about his efforts to carry out freelance diplomacy with Russia as a private citizen during the presidential transition.

Tillerson has said for months that normalizing relations with Russia has been one of Trump's top foreign-policy priorities. He has broached the topic of Russian election interference, but not with the rhetoric he leveled against Moscow on Ukraine.

"There is clear evidence of Russia meddling in democratic elections in the U.S. and Europe," Tillerson said said at a speech in Washington on Nov. 28. "We, together with our friends in Europe, recognize the active threat of a recently resurgent Russia." Trump, for his part, has repeatedly contradicted U.S. intelligence agencies to belittle their conclusions that Russia interfered in the election.

Comments from inosmi.ru (Goggle translation)

zaharov.ny | 17:44 08.12.2017 |

In this nonsense only star-striped donkeys can beleive.

kveinfo 17:52 08/12/2017 |

"According to Tillerson, the biggest obstacle to achieving this goal is the Kremlin's participation in the war in Ukraine." I would paraphrase this phrase like this: "The biggest obstacle to achieving this goal is the US participation in the war in Ukraine.

Retro Grad 17:54 08.12.2017 |

"What's stopping us is Ukraine," Tillerson said at a meeting of the OSCE in Vienna, I do not see the problem! Read the Russian classics: "I gave birth to you, I will kill you!" Eliminate what you gave birth on the Maidan and - no problem

As I live 18:26 08.12.2017 | 2

"To improve relations with Russia" is a crime? And the fact of your established a relationship with Ukrainian Nazis is not a crime? Who asked you to invade the Kiev Maidan by the state Department and senators, the Director of the CIA, the intelligence services', the NATO trainers, to offer and sell weapons? Who staged a sniper shooting, blackmail the legitimate government, and provocation with Boeing? What do You care about earopeyskie selection of Bandera, to civil war? Leave yourself from the Ukraine, the invaders! It is not included in your Alliance. Let the EU coddling them (although I'm sure that you imposed on Ukraine, sanctions, LGBT, refugees, poor Europeans). Evident to all that the United States does not want dialogue, or understand it as the imposition of their interests. What do you care, it is the desire of the Ukrainians, how many percent can a referendum on the area will hold? Afraid? Perhaps the Mexicans or the Texans want to join the CSTO, BRICS, or even in Russia, let us ask. Establish if you want your interests to be taken into account. Syria is only the first step, then the avalanche of anti-Americanism will only increase as inter-civil conflicts. Degrades dove, you do not want on good, will be different. Fuck all your wishlist does not force us to hide from the world your dirty secrets. We have not started to intervene, but if we start...

[Dec 07, 2017] Trump just announced that the US now recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Is there not enough chaos in the Mideast?

Dec 07, 2017 | www.unz.com

Semper Fidelis , December 6, 2017 at 10:34 pm GMT

Trump just announced that the US now recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Now why the feck does he have to go do that for? Is there not enough chaos in the Mideast? Why did he have to go stir up shite like this? Netanyahu is an evil Zionist and he's got his best agent in the WH in the form of the president's son-in-law.

The best thing that could come out of the Mueller investigation is if he ends up sending Jared Kushner to jail.

Breitbart is going bonkers cheering him on. All those Trump fanboys and fangirls from Appalachia are being used like fools by that Zionist rag.

Talha , December 6, 2017 at 4:49 pm GMT
@Rurik

Hey Rurik,

Good to hear from you!

what do you think about it sir?

Some things are best stated in Turkish

I really do hope the Muslim world comes to at least a settlement on this fundamental issue and that the Jordanians do not budge if they know the Muslim world has their backs. My guess is that it will simply be a declaration, that won't mean much on the ground in real terms. Politics as usual. Kind of like if I declare myself the King of Denmark – makes my kids happy that they are princes and princesses, but nobody else cares.

Again Turkish "I didn't come to Israel, I came to Palestine."

Peace.

Cloak And Dagger , December 6, 2017 at 7:18 pm GMT
Haaretz

Jewish groups in the U.S. expressed dismay following Tuesday evening's announcement from U.S. President Donald Trump that he intends to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

The Jewish Reform movement in the U.S. expressed its concern over Trump's expected change in U.S. policy on Jerusalem's Old City. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, said on Wednesday that "President Trump's ill-timed, but expected, announcement affirms what the Reform Jewish Movement has long held: that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel."

Jacobs contested that Reform Jews "cannot support his decision to begin preparing that move now, absent a comprehensive plan for a peace process."

"While the president took the right step in announcing that he would sign the waiver, as have his Republican and Democratic predecessors, the White House should not undermine these efforts by making unilateral decisions that are all but certain to exacerbate the conflict," he noted.

J Street, the U.S.-based, liberal advocacy group also opposed the move. President Jeremy Ben-Ami stated that "the effect of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem prior to a negotiated agreement will be to anger key Arab allies, foment regional instability and undermine nascent U.S. diplomatic efforts to resolve the larger conflict."

"The administration should also note that only a small minority of Jewish Americans – just 20 percent – support unilaterally moving the embassy," he added. "Moving the embassy or recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital could have destructive consequences for American allies in the region- in particular the kingdoms of Jordan and Saudi Arabia," he warned.

Left-wing activist organization Jewish Voice for Peace blasted Trump's reported decision as "an endorsement of Israel's annexation."

Rebecca Vilkomerson, the executive director of JVP, stated that "for 70 years, the US has given Israel tacit approval to steal Palestinian land, build illegal Jewish settlements, and deny Palestinians in East Jerusalem and elsewhere their rights."

"Trump's decision," she charged, "takes these ongoing policies to the next level and is reckless, irresponsible and endangers the lives of Palestinians and Israelis."

The American-based New Israel Fund also raised qualms over the potential dangers such moves could pose to Israelis and Jews in the Diaspora. CEO Daniel Sokatch stated that "President Trump many not understand what's at stake here, but we do. Moving the embassy risks igniting the tinderbox of anger, frustration and hopelessness that already exists in Jerusalem."

"Throwing.. balance off with this unilateral gesture could have grave consequences," he speculated.

Charles Pewitt , December 6, 2017 at 7:54 pm GMT
Young Americans of European Christian ancestry will be the ones who sever all ties between the United States and Israel. The American Empire can never go back to being a republic ever again; but the young White Core Americans will force the American Empire to behave more like a representative republic that strictly puts the interests of the United States ahead of all other nations.

NO MORE WAR FOR ISRAEL IN THE MIDDLE EAST!

Israel will be cut off from all support from the United States. The American Empire will keep US military forces in the Middle East solely to have some control over the natural resources in the region.

The Jewish moment in American history is over. Going forward, the Sam Huntington questions -- Who are we? and What are we fighting for? -- will be answered by young White Americans. The answers are that the United States is a British Protestant-derived European Christian nation and the United States will only fight to advance the interests of the United States. No more wars for Israel such as the Iraq War debacle.

The Jews who put the interests of Israel ahead of the United States, such as Jared Kushner, Paul Singer and Sheldon Adelson, will be disregarded by the young White Core Americans who refuse to allow the US military to be badly used as muscle for Israel in Middle East wars.

President Trump will find that even young evangelicals in the Southern states are highly suspicious and skeptical of any more wars for Israel in the Middle East.

L.K , December 7, 2017 at 1:36 am GMT
Lebanese(?) journalist Sharmine Narwani, whose articles have appeared at TAC and RT, had a good tweet about Kushner:

Kushner looks a bit like what I imagine Damien from Omen looks like as an adult. Genderless, blank-eyed, indistinctive, but dangerous.

2 great articles by her;

Israel's Geopolitical Gut Check: A once favorable balance of power has shifted, clipping Tel Aviv's wings

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/israels-geopolitical-gut-check/

The next one takes care of many of the lies which are constantly repeated about Hezbollah
Hezbollah is Not a Threat to America – 'Trumped' up charges to get at Iran won't work

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/hezbollah-is-not-a-threat-to-america/

L.K , December 7, 2017 at 2:21 am GMT
The Lebanese journalist I mentioned before, Sharmine Narwani, wrote about that one thing that has the zionists in panic mode they fear "delegitimization".

In an article titled 'Excuse Me, But Israel Has No Right To Exist' , she writes:

The United States and Israel have created the global discourse on this issue, setting stringent parameters that grow increasingly narrow regarding the content and direction of this debate. Anything discussed outside the set parameters has, until recently, widely been viewed as unrealistic, unproductive and even subversive.

Participation in the debate is limited only to those who prescribe to its main tenets: the acceptance of Israel, its regional hegemony and its qualitative military edge; acceptance of the shaky logic upon which the Jewish state's claim to Palestine is based; and acceptance of the inclusion and exclusion of certain regional parties, movements and governments in any solution to the conflict.[...]

But this group-think has led us nowhere. It has obfuscated, distracted, deflected, ducked, and diminished, and we are no closer to a satisfactory conclusion because the premise is wrong.

There is no fixing this problem. This is the kind of crisis in which you cut your losses, realize the error of your ways and reverse course. Israel is the problem. It is the last modern-day colonial-settler experiment, conducted at a time when these projects were being unraveled globally.

There is no "Palestinian-Israeli conflict" – that suggests some sort of equality in power, suffering, and negotiable tangibles, and there is no symmetry whatsoever in this equation. Israel is the Occupier and Oppressor; Palestinians are the Occupied and Oppressed. What is there to negotiate? Israel holds all the chips.[...]

Let me correct myself. Palestinians do hold one chip that Israel salivates over – the one big demand at the negotiating table that seems to hold up everything else. Israel craves recognition of its "right to exist."

But you do exist – don't you, Israel?

Israel fears "delegitimization" more than anything else. Behind the velvet curtain lies a state built on myths and narratives, protected only by a military behemoth, billions of dollars in US assistance and a lone UN Security Council veto. Nothing else stands between the state and its dismantlement. Without these three things, Israelis would not live in an entity that has come to be known as the "least safe place for Jews in the world."

Strip away the spin and the gloss, and you quickly realize that Israel doesn't even have the basics of a normal state. After 64 years, it doesn't have borders. After six decades, it has never been more isolated. Over half a century later, and it needs a gargantuan military just to stop Palestinians from walking home.

Israel is a failed experiment. It is on life-support – pull those three plugs and it is a cadaver, living only in the minds of some seriously deluded foreigners who thought they could pull off the heist of the century.[...]

[Dec 07, 2017] Tillerson, Mattis Warned Trump Against Embassy Move by Mark Perry

Dec 07, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Donald Trump's announcement that the U.S. now recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and will eventually move its embassy there, might well be the most predictable decision of an otherwise unpredictable presidency. Trump made his Jerusalem promise back in March of 2016, during an address he gave to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). It was an obvious attempt to convince skeptical Jewish leaders of his uncompromising support for Israel.

But it's not only that Trump was intent to fulfill a campaign promise: The Jerusalem initiative has been in the works since the day he took office, was coordinated with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and is supported by influential voices in the administration -- including Vice President Mike Pence, son-in-law Jared Kushner, Middle East envoy (and former Trump Organization lawyer) Jason Greenblatt, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The decision was all but finalized, The American Conservative has learned, during a late November meeting of Trump's foreign policy advisors at the White House.

... ... ...

In fact, it seems unlikely that this unseemly sleight-of-hand (of making dubious claims), will allay Arab fears that the U.S. continues to be "Israel's lawyer" (to use a term coined by former U.S. Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller). Now it has also become Israel's realtor. This seems not to bother the president, who is becoming known for playing a poor hand by throwing in more chips. The strategy is almost perverse in its beauty, and was on full display among administration officials intent on selling the president's Jerusalem initiative in the wake of his address. The Trump announcement, as one of them argued, doesn't undermine the peace process -- not because there isn't one (as everyone suspects), but because there is, and it's going swimmingly. Trump, this official added, was actually anxious to make Wednesday's announcement because he was so encouraged by the progress made on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by Jared Kushner and his team. "I know a lot of that progress isn't visible," as this official was overheard saying to a prominent television reporter, "[but] it's partly because that progress is not visible that they've been able to make so much progress."

... ... ...

Mark Perry is a foreign policy analyst, a regular contributor to The American Conservative and the author of The Pentagon's Wars, which was released in October. He tweets @markperrydc

[Dec 07, 2017] Trump Settles Debt With Zionists - Confirms That Iran's Struggle Is Righteous

Notable quotes:
"... Destabilisation of Jordan is in prospect, as there is a lot of religious anti-regime feeling already. ..."
"... If Jerusalem is now supposed to be the "only" capital; At this point it might be that the best course of action would be for the Palestinians to demand equal rights, votes, civil law (not military), and the absence of discrimination, apartheid, arbitrary detention, and with recourse against biaised trials, and punitive imprisonment (particularly for the 500+ minors actually held) ..."
"... The proper minimum response from the Muslim world would be to recall their ambassadors from the US, and deliver diplomatic notes to US embassies in their own countries to start. This should unite Muslims Shia and Sunni, but it will not, of course. Instead, there will be meaningless protests in cities in the Muslim world that will peter out in a few weeks, if that long. Erdoğan may cut ties with Israel in a superficial way, but business will continue as usual in the economic realm. Same deal as with the Mavi Marmara incident. ..."
"... Muslims, particularly takfiris, will continue killing Muslims, while US, UK, EU oligarchs supply them with the means to do so. This has been done ad nauseum ..."
"... STATEMENT OF THE POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES. --(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected; (2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and (3) the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999. . . here ..."
"... driving a new wedge between the Neolib and Neocon fractions could also prove valuable. ..."
"... The blatant hypocrisy of the two-state solution has been exposed for the lie it has always been, so as others note, demanding equal rights - land ownership and immigration and voting in national elections - is the only plausible way forward for the Palestinians. Given that there's about a 50-50 split between Jews and Arabs in the entire region of Israel/Palestine, this will be quite unlike the resolution of the apartheid system in South Africa. Let's see how many people are willing to take off their blinders and call for a one-state solution with equal rights for all. ..."
"... Evene worse, Palestinians themselves have been party to this sectarian bs in the region - talk about misplaced priorities!!! I've seen Palestinians waving unfree Syrian army flags in Gaza simply because Assad is "Alawite" and is killing "sunnis" - yes, the same FSA who collaborate openly with Israel. ..."
"... And then we have the impotent Arab leaders who all pretty much take their marching orders from the US. How are they supposed to go against their masters in Washington? ..."
"... To top it up, as a token gesture, Trump has ordered his pet dog in Saudi Arabia to stop his criminal siege on Yemen. As if that's going to calm down the Arab street. ..."
"... "The Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt and the highest authority of Sunni Islam, Al Azhar, warned on Wednesday about the negative consequences of the implementation by the United States of a change to Jerusalem from its embassy in Israel. ..."
"... Perhaps the fuckwit should STFU about a "regular relationship with a terrorist organisation" given how much support the Israeli Occupation Force gives to Al Qaeda, a global terrorist forces. I hope Americans remember 9/11/2001 but I suspect their memories are too short. ..."
"... One state solution with equal rights as some are suggesting here - it wont EVER happen. Jews would become minority, with Palestinians ruling the country. If anyone thinks Jews would ever agree to that, then I have bridges to sell. Sad truth is, Israel will continue to be an Apartheid state, ever expanding its territory, and oppressing or outright killing everyone who stands in their way. ..."
"... What worries me about many of those tweets on that hashtag is that they claim Jerusalem as Muslim when it's the capital of Palestine which has never been and never should be an exclusively Muslim state. Palestine should be a state for all its inhabitants, current or displaced, whether they be Christian, Muslim or Jewish. ..."
"... "The President's decision is an important step towards peace. For there is no peace that doesn't include Jerusalem as the capitol of the State of Israel." "This has been our goal since Israel's first day." ~ Benjamin Netanyahu ..."
"... The comments are interesting, as usual, but most of them neglect the central point b makes, that two-state is a dead duck, a fairy tale. Why believe in it? Some public responses were amusing-- CNN: President Donald Trump's fragile political standing among American voters may be about to cause dangerous reverberations in the Middle East, even provoking the Pope to express concern. ..."
"... Is it a nothingburger? news report: Hours after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital Wednesday, and saying he had instructed the State Department to begin preparation to relocate the US embassy there, US President Donald Trump signed the waiver putting off any such move by another six months. ..."
"... This is a major sticking point because the Israeli government is actively pursuing a demographic shift in its favour by way of building up Jewish settlements illegally in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and evicting Palestinians around Jerusalem and the West Bank. Many see this as a way of Judaizing parts of Palestinian territories. The IDF is well known to do nothing against illegal settlers harassing Palestinians. The expansion of settlements is Israeli opportunism in the face of a disunited Palestinian Authority. ..."
"... and finally it turns out Trump was wrong it was not arabs dancing on van roof tops on 9 and 11 but Mossad arts students ..."
"... Meanwhile the UN had a vote last Thursday which somehow seems to have escaped the notice of the ever diligent MSM. 151 UN states vote to disavow Israeli ties to Jerusalem http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/UN-disavows-Israeli-ties-to-Jerusalem-515730 ..."
"... Canada loves Israel even though does not have its budget filled by US Treasury like Marshall Islands and Micronesia. By the way, why the coalition of Angels lost Palau? My guess, nefarious influence of Tuvalu, yet another reason why invasion of Tuvalu is imperative. Imagine: Palau, Niue, Tuvalu, and even Kiribati joining Sons of Righteousness. Who knows, perhaps Tonga, Samoa and New Zealand will be cowed too! Anyway, Canada is there, next to Marshalls and Micronesia. I hope that the heart of everyone Up There is filled with pride. ..."
Dec 07, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
ab initio | Dec 7, 2017 1:23:36 AM | 89
This move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by Trump is meaningless. So what? Who cares?

The fact is that no one in the Middle East believes the US can be an honest broker. They know that the US is Israel's doberman. In any case the Israelis don't want to negotiate a peace deal when they hold all the cards with respect to the Palestinians who are now already walled in bantustans.

Jerusalem is already pretty much annexed and hosts much of Israel's government as well as their legislature, the Knesset.

The Palestinians are weak and divided and have no ability to take on the Israeli government. Neither the Arabs nor the Persians have the ability to force Israel into any kind of deal nor the ability to threaten and execute military attacks on Israel. Israel will do whatever it wants to do with Jerusalem as it has been doing for several decades already. This is the current reality. Howling outrage may make folks feel better but that's not gonna change the situation on the ground.

Laguerre | Dec 6, 2017 2:53:14 PM | 6

The issue will be: how strong the Muslim reaction.

In principle, with Arab autocratic regimes going in with Israel, it should be muted. But autocratic regimes don't represent their people. The Angry Arab has been highlighting much more angry reactions, as you say. Saudi public certainly doesn't agree with Saudi regime. Quite how far it is going to go, I'm not sure. But Jerusalem is very important in Muslim feeling, it's a religious thing. Third most holy shrine. What with today's populism, it could provoke a bigger movement than Netanyahu anticipates. Destabilisation of Jordan is in prospect, as there is a lot of religious anti-regime feeling already.

Jordan destabilised, there could be jihadis throwing themselves over the Jordan, to certain death. religious feeling can be very strong. It should be recalled that the anti-Crusader movement of the 12th century was built on the recovery of Jerusalem.

stonebird | Dec 6, 2017 2:55:29 PM | 7
If Jerusalem is now supposed to be the "only" capital; At this point it might be that the best course of action would be for the Palestinians to demand equal rights, votes, civil law (not military), and the absence of discrimination, apartheid, arbitrary detention, and with recourse against biaised trials, and punitive imprisonment (particularly for the 500+ minors actually held)

Since the place has been changed from a bi-ethnic state as under the original UN idea, to one where only a certain religious group is now responsible - let them be held responsible - instead of the rest of the world (mainly it's leadership) shirking all their own ethic obligations.

Start by tearing down all those walls. Let the Palestinians build at the same rate as settlers. No "Jewish" only roads. No Palestinian "Ghettos", subject to daily harrassement and bullying.

One country, That is what the Israeli's have been wanting - or is it?

Blue | Dec 6, 2017 3:01:10 PM | 8
The proper minimum response from the Muslim world would be to recall their ambassadors from the US, and deliver diplomatic notes to US embassies in their own countries to start. This should unite Muslims Shia and Sunni, but it will not, of course. Instead, there will be meaningless protests in cities in the Muslim world that will peter out in a few weeks, if that long. Erdoğan may cut ties with Israel in a superficial way, but business will continue as usual in the economic realm. Same deal as with the Mavi Marmara incident.

Muslims, particularly takfiris, will continue killing Muslims, while US, UK, EU oligarchs supply them with the means to do so. This has been done ad nauseum

Don Bacon | Dec 6, 2017 3:48:40 PM | 16
But that [two state] idea had been dead all along.

Palestinians are relegated to a couple dozen walled communities and there is no possibility of a Palestine state. So it's about time that the US ended its hypocrisy and obeyed the law.

PUBLIC LAW 104–45 -- NOV. 8, 1995 (extracts)
JERUSALEM EMBASSY ACT OF 1995
The Congress makes the following findings:
(1) Each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital.
(2) Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.
STATEMENT OF THE POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES. --(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected; (2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and (3) the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999. . . here

Perhaps now there can be a common-sense dialog on what to do to help Palestinians involving the practical realities of the situation, and not some pipe-dream.

Clueless Joe | Dec 6, 2017 3:52:56 PM | 17
Indeed, Trump should have stated that Jerusalem is the capital of both Israel and Palestine - or the future true state of Palestine, since it's not exactly a state yet, with that bloody occupation. That would've been the "master deal-maker" move.

I'm truly amazed at how great 2017 has been for Iran - except for Trump trying to tear apart the nuclear deal, obviously. Apart from wiping out ISIS and securing the bulk of Iraq and Syria, they managed to turn Qatar, they're in way friendlier terms with Turkey, their position in Lebanon was strengthened by Saudis shenanigans, and now this wonderful Christmas / Hanukkah gift which confirms to the Arab and Muslim streets who always backed Quds and the Palestinians and who threw them under the bus.

Quadriad | Dec 6, 2017 4:02:15 PM | 18
This move could help expose the Arab autocrats as the humble and compliant house negros of Zion that they are. As such, it is very likely to help forment an Arab Autumn, when several new Arab Islamic Republics may pop up. Lets face it... there might have been some premeditation to this effect and indirect shitstirring in this direction, not by the limited mind of Trump but, quite possibly, by Chessmaster Volodya V P. And driving a new wedge between the Neolib and Neocon fractions could also prove valuable.
nonsense factory | Dec 6, 2017 4:27:30 PM | 20
The blatant hypocrisy of the two-state solution has been exposed for the lie it has always been, so as others note, demanding equal rights - land ownership and immigration and voting in national elections - is the only plausible way forward for the Palestinians. Given that there's about a 50-50 split between Jews and Arabs in the entire region of Israel/Palestine, this will be quite unlike the resolution of the apartheid system in South Africa. Let's see how many people are willing to take off their blinders and call for a one-state solution with equal rights for all.
Zico | Dec 6, 2017 4:28:34 PM | 21
So, Trump walks into a bar and tosses a grenade on the bar table and hopes it brings peace. WOW!!! How this guys became a very rich and the president of the US at the same time is beyond me.

This was bound to happen anyways. The muslim world have been deliberately divided over the last decade and they've been fithging a bloody sectarian war from Iraq to Libya. ISIS was created for this. Meanwhile, the Zionists occupiers just keep stealing land and cementing their grip on whatever's left of Palestine.

Evene worse, Palestinians themselves have been party to this sectarian bs in the region - talk about misplaced priorities!!! I've seen Palestinians waving unfree Syrian army flags in Gaza simply because Assad is "Alawite" and is killing "sunnis" - yes, the same FSA who collaborate openly with Israel.

And then we have the impotent Arab leaders who all pretty much take their marching orders from the US. How are they supposed to go against their masters in Washington?

To top it up, as a token gesture, Trump has ordered his pet dog in Saudi Arabia to stop his criminal siege on Yemen. As if that's going to calm down the Arab street.

Palestine will be eventually liberated, but not by the current crop of sold out leaders. One good outcome of this bombshell is the soon to be irrelevant Palestinian Authority led by Abu(the Shah of Palestine, aka best double agent) Abbas. He can stop faking it now and do the honorable thing by tossing himself over the nearest dividing wall.

mireille | Dec 6, 2017 4:36:00 PM | 25
Yrump is a Christian Zionist. This should be no surprise. Have you ever noticed how much Kushner looks like the reincarnation of Machiavelli? He has been huddled with Kissinger for months. Something evil obviously in the works. I believe that it has been decided to deport the Palestinians to Sinai. It will become the new Palestine, a district of Egypt as Southern Palestine often was in times past. I think the recent mass murder of Sufis at worship in Sinai was the opening move. There will be false flags, provocations. Egypt will be made to pay dearly for welcoming the Russian military, a bitter price well known to them.

Israel has never met the UN formal standards for a country. No defined borders, no Constitution, flagrant human rights violations, flouting of UN censure hundreds of times. Based on the vision of Hertzl, who hated most Jews with a passion. I think Trump has cast the die that will wipe Israel off the map. Suleiman was Egyptian. He will come forward again and Egypt will have a fine hour.

Check a map. The Sinai border is long. Horns of Hattin.

Jen | Dec 6, 2017 4:46:18 PM | 27
Don Bacon @ 16:

"... Perhaps now there can be a common-sense dialog on what to do to help Palestinians involving the practical realities of the situation, and not some pipe-dream."

Indeed - if you live in the US, would your neighbourhood be prepared to host a large number of Palestinian immigrants or refugees if the practical realities of the new situation in Jerusalem mean that Palestinians can no longer live there and that the city, contrary to what the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 also says about Jerusalem remaining an undivided city respecting the rights of every ethnic and religious group, is to become exclusively Jewish?

elsi | Dec 6, 2017 5:24:06 PM | 34
For those who doubt that the Sunni and the Shia world will not unite against this outrage...Al Azhar is the higuest authority of Sunni Islam:

Al Azhar and the Coptic Church of Egypt condemn Trump's decision on the change of embassy to Jerusalem

http://spanish.almanar.com.lb/153958

"The Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt and the highest authority of Sunni Islam, Al Azhar, warned on Wednesday about the negative consequences of the implementation by the United States of a change to Jerusalem from its embassy in Israel.

In a statement, the Egyptian Coptic Church warned of 'dangerous consequences' of the proposed change, which 'contradicts international legitimacy and resolutions on Jerusalem'.

He also called for maintaining the legal status of Jerusalem within the framework of international law and the relevant UN resolutions.

In the text, that religious authority also reaffirmed its support for the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis and called for negotiations to achieve a just resolution that preserves the historic state of Jerusalem.

The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church administers seven Coptic churches in Jerusalem, which host more than 10,000 Palestinian Coptic Orthodox Christians, according to figures from the Palestinian Information Center.

For its part, Al Azhar of Egypt, the most important Sunni Islamic learning institution in the world, also warned against the negative consequences of the plan proposed by the United States.

Al Azhar said in his statement that the planned transfer of the US diplomatic mission to Jerusalem would be a "threat to world peace and fuel anger among Muslims around the world."

Among other holy places for the three great monotheistic religions, the Old City of Jerusalem houses the third holiest site of Islam, the Al Aqsa mosque and the sanctuary of the Dome of the Rock.

The day before, the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, emphasized in a telephone call to his US counterpart, Donald Trump, the firm position of Egypt that "Jerusalem should maintain its current legal status".

Sisi urged Trump to "not complicate the situation in the region by introducing measures that would undermine the chances of peace in the Middle East," according to a statement from the presidential office."

xor | Dec 6, 2017 5:28:49 PM | 35
"Hashtag "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine" #1 trending right now"

Trending hashtag on a US platform which is known for its manipulation. I call that stillborn protest. The kind of outrage that in contrast to 30 years ago is now neatly funneled into a digital pressure vessel.

"In violating Int'l law & legitimizing Israel's apartheid rule in Jerusalem, Int'l law will no longer serve as a framework"

International law is US whim. When the US sets up it's base in Al Tanf, occupied eastern Syria, supported Daesh in Syria, let KSA bomb Yemen and granted a seat to KSA at UN human rights, "no fly zoned" Libya, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"Trump's move will increase the internal instability of those countries U.S. imperialism in the Middle East depends on."

I really really hope so but I wouldn't even bet 1 cent on it.

Ghost Ship | Dec 6, 2017 5:40:22 PM | 36
It also reveals that Trump has very recently had a stroke of some sort. The British government will say something but that will be it - according to the Conservative Friends of Isreal website 80% of Tory MPs are members of Conservative Friends of Israel including most of the present government and the DUP are, I suspect, anti-Semitic Zionists. Meanwhile, Gilad Erdan, security minister tipped to be Israel's next PM launched a preemptive strike against Labour by suggesting (in The Guardian of course, link ) that they're anti-Semitic rather than anti-Zionist
We recognise and we see that there are antisemitic views in many of the leadership of the current Labour party," Erdan said. "We hope it will be changed. The views.

"That they will come to the right decisions about people in their party who don't understand that Hamas is a recognised terror organisation, that you cannot have a regular relationship with a terror organisation."

Perhaps the fuckwit should STFU about a "regular relationship with a terrorist organisation" given how much support the Israeli Occupation Force gives to Al Qaeda, a global terrorist forces. I hope Americans remember 9/11/2001 but I suspect their memories are too short.

Dbell | Dec 6, 2017 5:47:48 PM | 38
Boys, give the Arabs 24 hours they forget about it. "When the accursed Golda Meir was asked what the hardest days of her life were, she answered, 'The day the Al-Aqsa Mosque was burned.' And when asked for the happiest day of her life, she answered, 'The day the Al-Aqsa Mosque was burned.' They asked her, 'How can this be?' She said, 'The day the Al-Aqsa Mosque was burnt I thought that [we faced the] last day of the State of Israel, but when I saw the Muslim responses, I understood that Israel is safe in the region of the Arab world."
Tacitus | Dec 6, 2017 6:07:15 PM | 50
Nero Trump's decision reflects the hubris on display by the Zionist entity entrenched within US and its realpolitik belief that it no longer conceals, and instead flaunts openly with circumspection tossed into the winds to be carried off into the distance.

How has it come to pass that a foreign entity's interests supersede that own its own interests, that of the people? Through the subtle and innocuous injections, over long periods of time, of a pathogen, one that renders the natural sense of preservation, foresight, critical thinking impotent. Why does a populace of a nation not ask itself: "This thing, what is it in itself, in its own constitution? What is its substance and material?" --- Marcus Aurelius

How pervasive is the problem? Certainly worse than one would tend to believe. An information article written by a former CIA counter intelligence agent Philip Giraldi has some good insight.

Harry | Dec 6, 2017 6:07:53 PM | 51
One state solution with equal rights as some are suggesting here - it wont EVER happen. Jews would become minority, with Palestinians ruling the country. If anyone thinks Jews would ever agree to that, then I have bridges to sell. Sad truth is, Israel will continue to be an Apartheid state, ever expanding its territory, and oppressing or outright killing everyone who stands in their way.

Good news - it wont last forever:

1) Israel initially (around WW2) could do whatever it wanted because of extreme military supremacy compared to simple Palestinian farmers and weak Arab states. This edge is almost erased now.

2) Israel enjoyed US protection and could completely ignore UN resolutions or rely on US veto. This also coming to the end. After few more decades, we will have de facto multipolar World. US influence will be significantly reduced and wont be able to shelter
Israel anymore.

My humble prediction - there will be a two state solution after 20-30 years, and Palestinians will finally have (part) of their country.

Ghost Ship | Dec 6, 2017 6:13:54 PM | 52
>>>> karlof1 | Dec 6, 2017 5:49:29 PM | 39

What worries me about many of those tweets on that hashtag is that they claim Jerusalem as Muslim when it's the capital of Palestine which has never been and never should be an exclusively Muslim state. Palestine should be a state for all its inhabitants, current or displaced, whether they be Christian, Muslim or Jewish.

Daniel | Dec 6, 2017 6:29:43 PM | 56
karlof1 , I'll add one more comment:

"The President's decision is an important step towards peace. For there is no peace that doesn't include Jerusalem as the capitol of the State of Israel." "This has been our goal since Israel's first day." ~ Benjamin Netanyahu

"Peace" to the Zionists has always meant the quiet acquiescence: of the world to their demands. And just as President Trump® has ripped off the mask of US good intentions, Nutty Yahoo is openly admitting the actual goals of Zionism about which they have long deluded the goyim.

Don Bacon | Dec 6, 2017 6:34:00 PM | 57
The comments are interesting, as usual, but most of them neglect the central point b makes, that two-state is a dead duck, a fairy tale. Why believe in it? Some public responses were amusing-- CNN: President Donald Trump's fragile political standing among American voters may be about to cause dangerous reverberations in the Middle East, even provoking the Pope to express concern.

Fox: Senator Feinstein: Dear Mr. President, I write to you today to urge you to reject calls to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. . . .But Feinstein was among those who voted for a 1995 law passed by Congress that required "the relocation of the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem." The measure also required the U.S. recognize the city as the capital of Israel. That law, the Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed the Senate by a 93-5 margin.

Don Bacon | Dec 6, 2017 6:46:29 PM | 61
Is it a nothingburger? news report: Hours after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital Wednesday, and saying he had instructed the State Department to begin preparation to relocate the US embassy there, US President Donald Trump signed the waiver putting off any such move by another six months.
schlub | Dec 6, 2017 8:40:21 PM | 72
from link on another board. https://frontierinsights.me/2017/12/07/trump-takes-big-gamble-jerusalem/

This is a major sticking point because the Israeli government is actively pursuing a demographic shift in its favour by way of building up Jewish settlements illegally in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and evicting Palestinians around Jerusalem and the West Bank. Many see this as a way of Judaizing parts of Palestinian territories. The IDF is well known to do nothing against illegal settlers harassing Palestinians. The expansion of settlements is Israeli opportunism in the face of a disunited Palestinian Authority.

The construction of the "security barrier" has also resulted in Israel absorbing about 10% of Palestinian land in the West Bank. As such, the PA is demanding pre-67 borders, which remains a hotly contentious issue.
...
The fact that this was timed right before Christmas shows that the move was done with Evangelical-Zionist intent.

dorian gay | Dec 6, 2017 9:25:25 PM | 78
other news today: First Israeli Female Combat Tank Operators Are Ready For Deployment

the SAA and Iranian-backed forces just officially established a major land route between Lebanon and Iran.

Russia Announces The Complete Destruction Of ISIS In Syria "All terrorist units of ISIS on Syrian soil have been destroyed, and the territory is liberated," Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov.

and finally it turns out Trump was wrong it was not arabs dancing on van roof tops on 9 and 11 but Mossad arts students.

pantaraxia | Dec 6, 2017 9:31:14 PM | 80
Meanwhile the UN had a vote last Thursday which somehow seems to have escaped the notice of the ever diligent MSM. 151 UN states vote to disavow Israeli ties to Jerusalem http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/UN-disavows-Israeli-ties-to-Jerusalem-515730

"The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to disavow Israeli ties to Jerusalem as part of six anti-Israel resolutions it approved on Thursday in New York. The vote was 151 in favor and six against, with nine abstentions.

snip

In New York, only six countries out of 193 UN member states fully supported Israel's ties Jerusalem: Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, the United States and Israel itself.

snip

The resolution stated that "any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever."

snip

The UNSG on Thursday also approved a second resolution that condemned Israeli settlement activity and called upon it to withdraw to the pre-1967 line. This included leaving the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria during the Six-Day War.

Some 157 nations voted in favor of the text, seven opposed it and eight abstained"

Tacitus | Dec 6, 2017 9:51:55 PM | 81
When will people start to face the stark reality that, amongst other things, US foreign policy is commandered by Israeli firsters at the expense of its own people? When will it be a time for a candid discussion on the subject?

There are those who try to stand up and blow (even those in our IC) the wistle, yet most citizens seem to be oblivious and nonchalant to this growing foreign subversion. There are even brave Jews who stand up to this Zionist Goliath, but like others are labeled anti-Semites (imagine the unadulterated irony in this) or holocaust-deniers. When will this veneer be wiped off so that Zionist interest groups are made naked for all to see? But no, continue to gloss over the Elephant-in-the-room ... but then do not ask about the downfall of your country in the aftermath!!!

Do yourself a favor and at least listen to experts, like Philip Giraldi, a former CIA intelligence agent, amongst others explain the current trajectory of US foreign policy:

Some of his interviews:

Piotr Berman | Dec 6, 2017 10:26:32 PM | 83
Canada loves Israel even though does not have its budget filled by US Treasury like Marshall Islands and Micronesia. By the way, why the coalition of Angels lost Palau? My guess, nefarious influence of Tuvalu, yet another reason why invasion of Tuvalu is imperative. Imagine: Palau, Niue, Tuvalu, and even Kiribati joining Sons of Righteousness. Who knows, perhaps Tonga, Samoa and New Zealand will be cowed too! Anyway, Canada is there, next to Marshalls and Micronesia. I hope that the heart of everyone Up There is filled with pride.

Strangely enough, just a day earlier there were rumors, duly reported in NYT and other MSM of note, that MbS told Abbas about his still unfinished peace proposal. Israeli concession would presumably be a recognition that Palestinians are actually people, and Palestinian concessions would be everything else, no independence, no Jerusalem. Perhaps area B would get privileges of area A (being raided by IDF somewhat less often)? Abbas was quite unhappy and kvetching to everybody who would listen -- like reporters of NYT.

It pretty much sounded like pre-approval of the Trumpian (Kushnerian?) decision, hence the CoC (coalition of clowns) is doing fine. This bodes well for KSA, presumably the end of the carrier of the Crown Prince just got a bit closer (recall late Anwar Sadat).

Which would make ME less funny.

Don Bacon | Dec 6, 2017 10:31:56 PM | 84
Trump's speech (excerpts)
>We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. All challenges demand new approaches.
> In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act urging the federal government to relocate the American Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city, and so importantly, is Israel's capital. This act passed congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. And was reaffirmed by unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.
> After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
> It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.
> Today, I am delivering. I've judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process. And to work towards a lasting agreement.
> Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this is a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace. It was 70 years ago that the United States under President Truman recognized the state of Israel.
> Ever since then, Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem, the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times.
> Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residence of the prime minister and the president. It is the headquarters of many government ministries.
> For decades, visiting American presidents, secretaries of State and military leaders have met their Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem, as I did on my trip to Israel earlier this year.
> That is why consistent with the Jerusalem embassy act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers and planners so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace. . . here
tspoon | Dec 6, 2017 11:44:36 PM | 87
I believe this to be merely a provocation, an attempt to prod the opponents of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Western Elite, into taking some form of action, which can then be responded to, whilst claiming victim status. Of all their recent tactics, this is the one so far that is most likely to succeed, but hopefully still will not. The probable best response from such opponents is to carry on as they were, developing missiles and air defense systems apace, moving them into position, and waiting for the Axis of Stupidity to act according to their nature. They eventually won't be able to help themselves, and will bring upon themselves the culmination of their actions for the last 70 or so years in the area.
Ian | Dec 7, 2017 1:32:34 AM | 90
@Tacitus

What's there to talk about? It's well known here, and in other forums, that Western governments, not just their foreign policies, have been taken over by Israeli firsters. The US is on the top of the list because of their military might. On top of that, there's the social-culture-media centers that have been hijacked. It's all about controlling the narrative. IIRC, there was a movie director (or executive) several years ago, who later admitted that he worked for Israeli Intelligence.

When will it be a time for a candid discussion on the subject?

You'll never get any widespread discussion going until those that control MSM, and their supporters, are removed.

[Dec 05, 2017] Schizophrenic nonsense about Russia in Western MSM

So the anti-Russian campaign probably started after Sochi Olympics if nor earlier. Now we see just a new stage of it.
Notable quotes:
"... Western media, analysts and commentator spew the same inane nonsense regarding Russia. Either Putin is the new Hitler or he is just like Stalin or trying to become a new Tsar. Western experts accuse Putin of trying to revive the USSR one day only to accuse Putin re-establishing the Russian Empire the day afterwards. ..."
"... West media oscillates from Russia is about collapse to Russia is about to invade Europe and conquer the world! ..."
"... For nearly two hours, the Russian president reeled off a litany of resentments. The west had proclaimed victory in the cold war. It had cheated Moscow by expanding the EU and Nato right to Russia's borders. It had ignored international rules to pursue reckless policies in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. ..."
"... So far, the sanctions have acted as what one US official calls an "accelerant" to the unexpected plunge in oil prices, pushing Russia into a deep economic crisis. The rouble has tumbled, leaving Russia facing recession and spiralling inflation, challenging its ability to fund its costly stealth war in Ukraine (where the Kremlin insists there are no Russian soldiers on the ground, despite ample evidence to the contrary [Where is the evidence? Please state what the evidence is.]). ..."
"... I stopped reading the FT years ago . For the financial stuff it was quite good (!) and had a good level for people not accompli in such matters, but it always sucked ass * politically as it is generally to the far right of Ghengis Khan (my apologies to him as I am probably one of the descendents of the many beautiful ladies he porked – apparently 1 in 7 of us are). ..."
Jan 31, 2015 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Warren says:

Western media, analysts and commentator spew the same inane nonsense regarding Russia. Either Putin is the new Hitler or he is just like Stalin or trying to become a new Tsar. Western experts accuse Putin of trying to revive the USSR one day only to accuse Putin re-establishing the Russian Empire the day afterwards.

West media oscillates from Russia is about collapse to Russia is about to invade Europe and conquer the world!

Moscow Exile, February 3, 2015 at 11:02 am
From the above tweet kindly posted by Peter:

Extracts from the FT article: "Battle for Ukraine: How the west lost Putin"

It was past 10pm and the German chancellor was sitting in a Hilton hotel conference room in Brisbane, Australia. Her interlocutor was the implacable Vladimir Putin. For nearly two hours, the Russian president reeled off a litany of resentments. The west had proclaimed victory in the cold war. It had cheated Moscow by expanding the EU and Nato right to Russia's borders. It had ignored international rules to pursue reckless policies in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

The chancellor steered the conversation back to eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists were engaged in a bloody struggle against the western-backed government in Kiev, according to a person familiar with the meeting [WHO? No names, no pack drill?]. Since the crisis began, Ms Merkel [Why Ms? She is "Frau" and she is married. Does the journalist not know that? Does he think that Bundeskanzlerin Merkel wants to keep her marital status a secret? Fucking PC crap!] had worked hard to extract some sense from Mr Putin of what he wanted - something she could use to construct an agreement. When he finally offered a solution, she was shocked. Mr Putin declared Kiev should deal with the rebels the way he had dealt with Russia's breakaway Chechnya region: by buying them off with autonomy and money. A reasonable idea, perhaps, to an ex-KGB colonel. But for an East German pastor's daughter, with a deeply-ingrained sense of fairness, this was unacceptable.

Ms Merkel had asked her closest advisers to stay outside during the Brisbane meeting, on November 15 last year. "She wanted to be alone . . . to test whether she could get Putin to be more open about what he really wants",says someone briefed on the conversation [WHO?]. "But he wouldn't say what his strategy is, because he doesn't know".

For Moscow, too, something snapped. Weeks later, a Kremlin official [WHO?] dismissed the notion, often cited in diplomatic circles, that there had ever been a "special relationship" between the two leaders. "Putin and Merkel could never stand each other", he told the Financial Times. "Of course, they are professionals, so they tried to make the best of it for a long time. But that seems to have changed now."

The Merkel-Putin encounter in Australia marked a turning point. After a year of crisis, the west realised that it had been pursuing an illusion: for all its post-communist tribulations, Russia was always seen to be on an inexorable path of convergence with Europe and the west - what a senior German official [WHO?] calls the notion that "in the end, they'll all become like us".

So far, the sanctions have acted as what one US official calls an "accelerant" to the unexpected plunge in oil prices, pushing Russia into a deep economic crisis. The rouble has tumbled, leaving Russia facing recession and spiralling inflation, challenging its ability to fund its costly stealth war in Ukraine (where the Kremlin insists there are no Russian soldiers on the ground, despite ample evidence to the contrary [Where is the evidence? Please state what the evidence is.]).

According to a senior Washington official [WHO?], Mr Poroshenko, the oligarch elected Ukraine's president in May, was anxious to hold face-to-face meetings with Mr Putin. But he wanted other leaders in the room capable of holding Mr Putin to commitments. Ms Merkel was the obvious choice. "The administration's view is that she's the best interlocutor that we have in the west with Putin," says an ex-US diplomat [WHO?].

US President Barack Obama has held his own share of calls with Mr Putin, but he has largely taken a back seat. US insiders [WHO?] say the president feels Mr Putin was unresponsive to efforts to build a relationship. "Obama sees the world in win-win terms, Putin sees it in zero-sum terms", says the ex-diplomat. The two have a visible lack of chemistry. In Mr Obama's words, Mr Putin has a "kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom".

Diplomats suspect [WHICH DIPLOMATS?] Mr Putin is surrounded by yes-men afraid to give him the unvarnished truth. They suggest, for example, that he has been surprised by the strength of EU unity over sanctions.

She prepares meticulously, studying maps of eastern Ukraine and poring over them in meetings and phone calls with Mr Putin. "There are maps and charts, with roads and checkpoints", says a European diplomat [WHO?]. "She has these details. She knows about them."

In public, Ms Merkel has not said Mr Putin has lied, but she has in private [TO WHOM?]. "'He's lying', that's what she says to all the other leaders," says the EU diplomat.

A partygoer [WHO?] close to Ms Merkel recalls her saying little about the disaster. "The chancellor doesn't like to speak about something until she is sure of her facts. But she was shaken. It was horrendous."

"The Russians just weren't credible. They got beaten", says a senior Washington official [WHO?].

Asked why Mr Putin did not turn MH17 into an opportunity for reconciliation, a former senior Kremlin official [WHO?] said: "Because he was insulted. He acted emotionally. Because your side came out before anything was clear, accusing him of all sorts of things".

and on and on and on.

I've just got fed up of noting the unsubstantiated statements. And to make all this even more annoying,each time I cut and pasted, I received the following notification off FT:

"High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article."

High quality global journalism???

et Al , February 3, 2015 at 12:59 pm
I stopped reading the FT years ago. For the financial stuff it was quite good (!) and had a good level for people not accompli in such matters, but it always sucked ass* politically as it is generally to the far right of Ghengis Khan (my apologies to him as I am probably one of the descendents of the many beautiful ladies he porked – apparently 1 in 7 of us are).

The thing is, none of this should surprise us as established journalism has only got worse. Alternative media fortunately has grown on the back of this atrophy of the circle jerk club. What this goes to show is that the discerning news consumer now looks elsewhere for its news because the Pork Pie News Networks are so transparently bullshit in the extreme and even more unapologetic when they are caught with their pants down pretending to be milking grandma's cow in the middle of the night.

Fern, February 3, 2015 at 5:09 pm
If Putin became 'emotional' every time he was insulted by the west, he wouldn't have gotten out of bed since about 2003. Jeez, the crap these guys write.

[Dec 05, 2017] Russians are concerned with the possibility of organizing Maidan in their country by Western intelligence and internal neoliberal fifth column

Now they should be twice concerned. But, in general, color revolutions became less effective in xUSSR space as more and more people started to understand the mechanics and financial source of "pro-democracy" (aka pro-Washington) protesters. BTW what a skillful and shameless presstitute is this Shaun Walker
Notable quotes:
"... Just because some Russians are paranoid about US interference, that doesn't mean they are wrong. ..."
"... The patriots are most probably a neurotic sort of reaction to what most Russians now perceive to be an attempt from NSA, CIA...and more in general of the US/EU geo-political strategies (much more of the US, of course, as the EU and Britain simply follow the instructions) to dismantle the present Russian system (the political establishment first and then the ARMY). ..."
"... Contrary to what is happening here in the west (where all media seem to the have joined the club of the one-way-thinking against Russia), some important media of that country do have a chance to criticize Putin and his policies. ..."
"... a minority can express their opinion, as long as they do not attempt to overthrow the parliament, which is an expression of Russian people. ..."
"... If you scrap off the BS from this article they do have a point, because it has been a popular tactic of a certain country to change another countries government *Cough* America *Cough* by organising protests/riots within a target country ..."
"... if that doesnt work they escalate that to fire fights and if that doesn't work they move onto say Downing a aeroplane and very quickly claiming its the other side fault without having any evidence or claim they have WMD's well anything to try to take the moral high ground on the situation even thou they caused the situation usual for selfish, arrogant and greedy reasons. ..."
"... Weren't the Maidan protests anti-democracy since they used violence to remove a democratically elected leader? Just another anti-ruskie hit piece from the Guardian. ..."
"... In the US you only get 2 choices - it may be twice as many as you get with a dictatorship but it's hardly democracy. ..."
"... Also the 'election' of the coup government was unconstitutional under article 111 of the Ukraine's own Constitution (Goggle - check for yourself). This is an undisputed and uncomfortable 'fact' which the US and the EU never mention (never) when drawn on the issue. ..."
"... A more interesting story would have been the similarities between this anti maidan group in Russia and Maidan in Kiev. Both have have their military arm, are dangerous and violent, and both very nationalistic and right wing. Both appear to have strong links to politicians as well. Such an analysis might show that Russian and Ukrainian nationalist groups have more in common than they would like to believe. ..."
"... Oh I see Russia has re-entered the media cross hairs in a timely fashion. I wonder what's going to happen in the coming weeks. ..."
"... And the US will continue to murder innocent civilians in the Middle East, Northern Africa and wherever else it wants to plant its bloody army boots. And will also continue to use its NGO's and CIA to foment colour revolutions in other countries, as it did in Ukraine ..."
"... Yes. Decisions should be made in Kiev, but why are they being made in Washington then? ..."
"... Potroshenko was elected with a turnout of 46%. Of this he scored say over half, hardly a majority ..."
"... "Under the slogan of fighting for democracy there is instead total fear, total propaganda, and no freedom." ..."
"... After witnessing what happened during Maidan, and subsequently to Ukraine, I understand some Russians reluctance to see a similar scenario played out in Russia. That being said, I am also wary of vigilantism. ..."
"... As for the anti-Maidan quotes - of course that was organised. Nuland said so, for crying out loud. Kerry and others were there, Brennan was there. Of course the Western powers were partly involved. And it wasn't peaceful protests, it was violence directed against elected officials, throwing Molotov cocktails at policemen. It culminated in the burning alive of 40+ people in Odessa. ..."
"... There were students from Lviv who said they were given "college credit" for being at Maidan. ..."
"... Putinbot = someone who has a different opinion to you ..."
"... How about the reporting on the indiscriminate slaughter of Eastern Ukrainians by Kiev's government troops and Nazi battalions?? ..."
Jan 16, 2015 | The Guardian

Patriotic group formed to defend Russia against pro-democracy protesters by Shaun Walker

The group, which calls itself anti-Maidan, said on Thursday it would fight any attempts to bring Russians on to the streets to protest against the government. Its name is a reference to the Maidan protests in Kiev last year that eventually led to the toppling of former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych.

"All street movements and colour revolutions lead to blood. Women, children and old people suffer first," said Dmitry Sablin, previously a long-standing MP from President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party, who recently became a senator in Russia's upper house of parliament.

"It is not acceptable for the minority to force its will upon the majority, as happened in Ukraine," he added. "Under the slogan of fighting for democracy there is instead total fear, total propaganda, and no freedom."

jgbg -> RunLukeRun, 16 Jan 2015 06:36

BINGO....well done. You've got Neo Nazi's, US Aid, CIA infiltrators, indiscriminate slaughter and Nazi battalions....all in just 8 sentences. great job

I guess these are exactly the sort of people who will enrich the EU:

Nazis on the march in Kiev this month

Would you like to claim that the Azov and Aidar battalions aren't a bunch of Nazis?

Here's a Guardian article about Azov.

The State Department funding of NGOs in Ukraine "promoting the right kind of democracy" to the tune of $5 billion is a matter of record, courtesy of "Fuck the EU" Nuland.

As for CIA involvement, the director of the CIA has visited Ukraine at least twice in 2014 - once under a false identity. If the head of the equivalent Russian organisation had made similar visits, that would be a problem, no?

TuleCarbonari -> garethgj 16 Jan 2015 06:21

Yes, he should leave Syria to paid mercenaries. Do you really want us to believe you still don't know those fighters in Syria are George Soros' militias? Come on man, go get yourself informed.

jgbg -> Strummered 16 Jan 2015 06:19

You can't campaign for greater democracy, it's dangerous, it's far too democratic.

The USA cannot pay people to campaign in Russia to have the right kind of democracy i.e. someone acceptable to the US government at the helm.

Instead of funding anti-government NGOs in other countries, perhaps the USA should first spend the money fixing the huge inequalities and other problems in their own country.

jgbg -> Glenn J. Hill 16 Jan 2015 06:12

What???? Have you been smoking?? Sorry but your Putin Thugs are NOT funded by my country.

I think he is referring the the NGOs which have spent large sums of money on "promoting democracy" in Georgia and Ukraine. Many of these are funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and the US State Department. Some have funding from organisations which are in turn, funded by George Soros. These organisations were seen to back the Rose Revolution in Georgia and both revolutions in Ukraine. Georgia ended up with a president who worked as a lawyer in a US firm linked to the right wing of the Republican Party. Ukraine has a prime minister who was brought up in the USA and a president whom a US ambassador to Ukraine described as "our insider" (in a US Embassy cable leaked by Wikileaks).

The funding of similar organisations in Russia (e.g. Soldiers' Mothers) has been exposed since a law was brought in, requiring foreign funded NGOs to register and publish annual accounts.

Just because some Russians are paranoid about US interference, that doesn't mean they are wrong.

Anette Mor -> Hektor Uranga 16 Jan 2015 06:09

He was let out to form a party and take part in Moscow mayor election. He got respectable 20%. But shown no platform other than anti- corruption. There is anti-corruption hysteria in Russia already. People asked for positive agenda. He got none. The party base disintegrated. The court against him was because there was a case filed. I can agree the state might found this timely. But we cannot blaim on Russian state absence of positive position in Navalny him self. He is reactive on current issues but got zero vision. Russia is a merit based society. They look for brilliance in the leader. He is just a different caliber. Can contribute but not lead. His best way is to choose a district and stand for a parliament seat. The state already shown his is welcomed to enter big politics. Just need to stop lookibg to abroad for scripts. The list of names for US sanction was taking from his and his mates lists. After such exposure he lost any groups with many Russians.

Anette Mor -> notoriousANDinfamous 16 Jan 2015 05:50

I do not disregard positive side of democracy or negative side of dictatorship. I just offer a different scale. Put value of every human life above any ideology. The west is full of aggressive radicals from animal activists and greens to extremist gays and atheists. There is a need to downgrade some concepts and upgrade other, so yhe measures are universal. Bombing for democracy is equaly bad as bombing for personal power.

Anette Mor -> gilstra 16 Jan 2015 05:41

This is really not Guardian problem. They got every right to choose anti-Russian rant as the main topic. The problem is the balance. Nobody watching it and the media as a whole distorting the picture. Double standards are not good too. RT to stay permitted in the UK was told to interrupt every person they interview expressing directly opposite view. Might be OK with some theoretical conversation. But how you going to interrupt mother who just most a child by argument in favor of the killer? The regulator said BBC is out of their reach. But guardian should not be. Yet every material is one sided.

Asimpleguest -> romans

International Observer

''The New Ukraine Is Run by Rogues, Sexpots, Warlords, Lunatics and Oligarchs''

PeraIlic

"Decisions should be made in Moscow and not in Washington or Brussels," said Nikolai Starikov, a nationalist writer and marginal politician.

Never mind that he's marginal politician. This man really knows how to express himself briefly:

An Interview with Popular Russian Author and Politician Nikolai Starikov

Those defending NATO expansion say that those countries wanted to be part of NATO.

Okay. But Cuba also wanted to house Soviet missiles voluntarily.
If America did not object to Russian missiles in Cuba, would you support Ukraine joining NATO?

That would be a great trust-building measure on their part, and Russia would feel that America is a friend.

imperfetto

This article contains unacceptable, apparently carefully wrapped up, distorsions of what is happening in Russia. A piece of journalism which tell us something about the level of propaganda that most mainstream media in our 'free' west have set up in the attempt to organise yet another coup, this time under the thick walls of the Kremlin. This newspaper seem to pursue this goal, as it shows to have taken sides: stand by NATO and of course the British interests. If this implies misguiding the readers on what is taking place in Russia\Ukraine or elsewhere (Syria for example) well...that's too bad, the answer would be. Goals justify the means...so forget about honesty, fair play and truthfullness. If it needs to be a war (we have decided so, because it is convenient) then... lies are not lies...but clever tools that we are allowed to use in order to destroy our enemy.

The patriots are most probably a neurotic sort of reaction to what most Russians now perceive to be an attempt from NSA, CIA...and more in general of the US/EU geo-political strategies (much more of the US, of course, as the EU and Britain simply follow the instructions) to dismantle the present Russian system (the political establishment first and then the ARMY).

The idea is to create an internal turmoil through some pretexts (gay, feminism, scandals...etc.) in the hope that a growing movement of protesters may finally shake up the 'palace' and foster the conditions for a coupe to take place. Then the right people will occupy the key chairs. Who are these subdued figures to be? They would be corrupted oligarchs, allowing the US to guide, control the Russian public life (haven't we noticed that three important ministers in Kiev are AMERICAN citizens!)

But, from what I understand, Russia is a democratic country. Its leader has been elected by the voters. Contrary to what is happening here in the west (where all media seem to the have joined the club of the one-way-thinking against Russia), some important media of that country do have a chance to criticize Putin and his policies. That's right, in a democratic republic. But, instead, the attempt to enact another Maidan, that is a FASCIST assault to the DUMA, would require a due response.

Thus, perhaps we could without any Patriots of the sort, that may feed the pernicious attention of western media. There should merely be the enforcement of the law:

a minority can express their opinion, as long as they do not attempt to overthrow the parliament, which is an expression of Russian people.

VladimirM

"The 'orange beast' is sharpening its teeth and looking to Russia," said The Surgeon, whose real name is Alexander Zaldostanov.

Actually, he used a Russian word "зверек", not "зверь". The latter can be rendered as "beast" but what he said was closer to "rodent", a small animal. So, using this word he just stressed his contemptious attitude rather than a degree of threat.

Kondratiev

There is at least anecdotal evidence that Maiden protestors were paid - see: http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-and-eu-are-paying-ukrainian-rioters-and-protesters/5369316 .

Bosula

These patriotic groups do seem extreme, but probably less extreme and odd than many of the current Ukrainian crop of politicians. Here is an article from the New York Observer that will get you up to speed....

The New York Observer:The New Ukraine Is Run by Rogues, Sexpots, Warlords, Lunatics and Oligarchs

Robert Sandlin -> GreenKnighht

Did you forget the people in charge of the Ukraine then were Ukrainian communists.That many of the deaths were also ethnic Russian-Ukrainians.And the ones making policy in the USSR as a whole,in that period were mostly not ethnic-Russians.The leader was Georgian,his secret police chief and many of their enforcers were Jewish-Soviets.And his closest helpers were also mostly non-ethnic Russians.Recruited from all the important ethnic groups in the USSR,including many Ukrainians.It is a canard of the Wests to blame Russia for the famine that also killed many Russians.I'm sick of hearing the bs from the West over that tragic time trying to stir Russophobia.

seventh

Well, you know a government is seriously in the shit when it has to employ biker gangs to defend it.

Robert Sandlin -> seventh

Really? The government doesn't employ them. Defending the government is the job of the police and military. These civilian volunteers are only helping to show traitors in the pay of Westerners that the common people won't tolerate treason like happened in Ukraine, to strike Russia.Good for them,that should let potential 5th columnists know their bs isn't wanted in Russia.

Bulagen

I watch here in full swing manipulation of public opinion of Europeans, who imagines that they have "democracy" and "freedom of speech". All opinions, alternative General line, aimed at all discredit Russia in the eyes of the population of Europe ruthlessly removed the wording that Putin bots hinder communication "civilized public." And I am even more convinced that all this hysteria about "the problems of democracy in Russia" is nothing more than an attempt to sell Denyen horse (the so-called democratic values) to modern Trojans (Russians).

jezzam -> Bulagen

All the wealthiest, healthiest and happiest societies adhere to "so-called democratic values". They would also greatly benefit the Russian people. Putin opposes these values purely because they would threaten his power.

sashasmirnoff -> jezzam

The "wealthiest, healthiest and happiest societies"? That is description of whom?

I will generalize here - if by those you mean the "West" you are mistaken. The vast majority of it's populace are carrying a huge burden of personal debt - it is the bank that owns their houses and new autos. There is a tiny stratum that indeed is wildly wealthy, frequently referred to as the 1%, but in fact is much less numerous.

The West is generally regarded as being the least healthy society, largely due to horrifying diet, sedentary lifestyle, and considerable stress due to (amongst other things) the aforementioned struggle to not drown in huge personal debt.

I'm not certain as to how you qualify or quantify "happiness", but the West is also experiencing a mental health crisis, manifested in aberrant behaviour, wild consumption of pharmaceuticals to treat or drown out depression, suicide, high rates of incarceration etc. All symptoms of a deeply unhappy and unhealthy society.

One more thing - the supposed wealth and happiness of the West is predicated on the poverty and misery of those the West colonizes and exploits. The last thing on Earth the West would like to see is the extension of "democratic values" to those unfortunates. That would totally ruin the World Order.

Robert Sandlin -> kawarthan

Well the Ukrainians have the corner on Black and Brown shirts.So those colors are already taken.Blue,Red,White,maybe those?

Paultoo -> Robert Sandlin

Looking at the picture of that "patriotic" Russian biker it seems that Ukraine don´t have the corner on black shirts!

WardwarkOwner

Why do these uprisings/ internal conflicts seem to happen to energy producing countries or those that are on major oil/gas pipeline routes far more often than other countries?

Jackblob -> WardwarkOwner

I don't see any uprising in Canada, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, China, Mexico, the UAE, Iran, Norway, Qatar, etc.

So what exactly is your point?

Petros -> Sotrep Jackblob

Well there is problem in Sudan Iraq Syria Libya Nigeria . you have conflicts made up by USA to change governments and get raw materials . so ward is right . you just pretending to be blind . in mexico ppl dying pretty much each day from corrupt people .

PullingTheStrings

If you scrap off the BS from this article they do have a point, because it has been a popular tactic of a certain country to change another countries government *Cough* America *Cough* by organising protests/riots within a target country

if that doesnt work they escalate that to fire fights and if that doesn't work they move onto say Downing a aeroplane and very quickly claiming its the other side fault without having any evidence or claim they have WMD's well anything to try to take the moral high ground on the situation even thou they caused the situation usual for selfish, arrogant and greedy reasons.

Jackblob -> PullingTheStrings

For some reason I do not trust you to discern the BS from the truth since your entire comment is an act of deflection.

The truth is most Russians are very poor, more poor than the people of India. This latest economic turmoil will make it even worse. Meanwhile, Putin and a handful of his cronies hold all the wealth. He proved he did not care about his people when he sent the FSB to bomb Moscow apartment buildings to start a war in Chechnya and ultimately to cancel elections.

Now Putin sees the potential for widespread protests and he is preparing to confront any protests with violent vigilante groups like those seen in other repressive countries.

Bob Vavich -> Jackblob

Wow, this is quite an assertion that Russians are poorer than Indians. I have been to India and I have been to Russia and I don't like using anecdotes to make a point. I can tell you that I have never seen as much poverty as in India. I can also tell you that when I drove through the low income neighborhood of Detroit or Houston, I felt like I was in a post apocalyptic world. Burned out and boarded up houses. Loitering and crime ridden streets. I can go on and on about social injustice. Regardless your comments are even more slanted than the assertion you are making about "Pulling the Strings".

Jackblob -> Bob Vavich

I was just as surprised to learn that Indians earn more than Russians. My source for that info comes from PBS's latest broadcast of Frontline entitled "Putin's Way".

Also, I doubt you've visited many small and lesser known cities in Russia. It's as if the Soviet Union had just collapsed and they were forgotten. Worse, actually.

Hamdog

Weren't the Maidan protests anti-democracy since they used violence to remove a democratically elected leader? Just another anti-ruskie hit piece from the Guardian.

We in the West love democracy, assuming you vote for the right person.

In the US you only get 2 choices - it may be twice as many as you get with a dictatorship but it's hardly democracy.

E1ouise -> Hamdog

Yanukovych was voted out of office by the *elected parliment* after he fled to Russia. Why don't you know this yet?

secondiceberg -> E1ouise

Excuse me, he was forced out of the country at gunpoint before the opposition "voted him out" the next day.

Bosula -> secondiceberg

Yes. That is correct. And armed Maidan thugs (Svoboda and Right Sector) stood around the Rada with weapons while the vote taken.

Also the 'election' of the coup government was unconstitutional under article 111 of the Ukraine's own Constitution (Goggle - check for yourself). This is an undisputed and uncomfortable 'fact' which the US and the EU never mention (never) when drawn on the issue.

Sourcrowd

The soviet union didn't go through some kind of denazification akin to Germany after it disintegrated. Russia today looks more and more like Germany after WWI - full of self pity and blaming everyone but themselves for their own failures.

Down2dirt -> Sourcrowd

I would like to hear more about that denazification of Germany and how did that go.

Since the day one the West and the GDR used nazis for their laboratories, clandestine and civil services...State owned museums still refuse to give back artwork to their rightful owners that were robbed during 1930-45.

I don' t condone Putin's and Russia polity (one of the most neoliberal countries), but you appear to be clueless about this particular subject and don' t know what you are talking about.

Bosula -> Sourcrowd

Are you thinking about Ukraine here, maybe?

Bosula

A more interesting story would have been the similarities between this anti maidan group in Russia and Maidan in Kiev.

Both have have their military arm, are dangerous and violent, and both very nationalistic and right wing. Both appear to have strong links to politicians as well.

Such an analysis might show that Russian and Ukrainian nationalist groups have more in common than they would like to believe.

TuleCarbonari -> Bosula

A very important difference is the Russians are defending their elected government. The Ukrainians were hired by the West to promote a coup d'etat against an elected government, this against the will of the majority in Ukraine and only 3 months from general election in the country. The coup was indeed a way of stopping the elections.

Flinryan

Oh I see Russia has re-entered the media cross hairs in a timely fashion. I wonder what's going to happen in the coming weeks.

MarcelFromage -> Flinryan

I wonder what's going to happen in the coming weeks.

Nothing new - the Russian Federation will continue its illegal occupation of Crimea and continue to bring death and destruction to eastern Ukraine. And generally be a pain for the rest of the international community.

secondiceberg -> MarcelFromage

And the US will continue to murder innocent civilians in the Middle East, Northern Africa and wherever else it wants to plant its bloody army boots. And will also continue to use its NGO's and CIA to foment colour revolutions in other countries, as it did in Ukraine. Kiev had its revolution. Eastern Ukraine is having its revolution. Tit for Tat.

Velska

CIF seems flooded by Putin's sock puppets, i.e. mindless robots who just repeat statements favouring pro-Putinist dictatorship.

To be sure, there's much to hope for in the US democracy, where bribery is legal. I'm not sure whether bribery in Russia is a legal requirement or just a fact of life. But certainly Russia is far from democratic, has actually never been.

Bosula -> Velska

You can take your sock off now and wipe your hands clean.

secondiceberg -> Velska

What kind of democracy is the US when you have a federal agency spying on everything you do and say? Do you think they are just going to sit on what information they think they get?

What will you do when they come knocking at your door, abduct you for some silly comment you made, and then rendition you to another country so that you will not be able to claim any legal rights? Let Russia look after itself in the face of "war-footing" threats from the U.S.

Fight for social justice and freedom in your own country.

cichonio

"All street movements and colour revolutions lead to blood. Women, children and old people suffer first,"

That's why they are ready to use weapons and violence against a foe who hasn't really been seen yet.

Also,

"Decisions should be made in Moscow and not in Washington or Brussels,"

I think decisions about Ukraine should be made in Kiev.

Bosula -> cichonio

Yes. Decisions should be made in Kiev, but why are they being made in Washington then? How much does this compromise Kiev as its agenda is very different from the agenda the US have with Russia. Ukraine is weakened daily with its civil war and the killing its own people, but this conflict benefits the US as further weakens and places Russia in a new cold war type environment.

Why are key government ministries in Ukraine (like Finance) headed by overseas nationals. Utterly bizarre.

secondiceberg -> cichonio

So do I, by the legally elected government that was illegally deposed at gunpoint. Ukraine actually has two presidents. Only one of them is legal and it is not Poroshenko.

Bob Vavich -> cichonio

Yes, if they are taken by all Ukrainians and not a minority. Potroshenko was elected with a turnout of 46%. Of this he scored say over half, hardly a majority. More likely, the right wing Western Galicia came out to vote and the Russian speaking were discouraged. What would one expect when the new government first decree is to eliminate Russian as a second official language. Mind you a language spoken by the majority. Makes you think? Maybe. Probably not.

SHappens

"Personally I am a fan of the civilised, democratic intelligent way of deciding conflicts, but if we need to take up weapons then of course I will be ready," said Yulia Bereznikova, the ultimate fighting champion.

This quite illustrates Russians way of doing. Smart, open to dialogue and patient but dont mess with them for too long. Once on their horses nothing will stop them.

They are ready to fight against the anti Russian sentiment injected from outside citing Ukraine and Navalny-Soros, not against democracy.

"It is not acceptable for the minority to force its will upon the majority, as happened in Ukraine," he added. "Under the slogan of fighting for democracy there is instead total fear, total propaganda, and no freedom."

ploughmanlunch

After witnessing what happened during Maidan, and subsequently to Ukraine, I understand some Russians reluctance to see a similar scenario played out in Russia.
That being said, I am also wary of vigilantism.

FlangeTube

"Pro-democracy" protests? They have democracy. They have an elected leader with a high approval rating. Stop trying twisting language, these people are not "pro-democracy" they are anti-Putin. That, as much as this paper tries to sell the idea, is not the same thing.

Drumming up odd-balls to defend the elected government in Russia is all well and good, but I would think the other 75% (the ones who like Putin, and aren't in biker gangs) should get a say too.

As for the anti-Maidan quotes - of course that was organised. Nuland said so, for crying out loud. Kerry and others were there, Brennan was there. Of course the Western powers were partly involved. And it wasn't peaceful protests, it was violence directed against elected officials, throwing Molotov cocktails at policemen. It culminated in the burning alive of 40+ people in Odessa.

Sergei Konyushenko

Btw, Shaun is always very best at finding the most important issues to raise?

FallenKezef

It's an interesting point, what happened in the Ukraine was an undemocratic coup which was justified after the fact by an election once the previous incumbent was safely exiled.

Had that happened to a pro-western government we'd be crying foul. But because it happened to a pro-Russian government it's ok.

I don't blame Russians for wanting to avoid a repeat in their own country.

Spaceguy1 One

The Crimea referendum "15% for" myth - Human rights investigations

The idea that only 15% of Crimeans voted to join Russia is speeding around the internet after an article was published in Forbes magazine written by Professor Paul Roderick Gregory.

Professor Gregory has, dishonestly, arrived at his 15% figure by taking the minimum figure for Crimea for both turnout and for voters for union, calling them the maximum, and then ignoring Sevastopol. He has also pretended the report is based on the "real results," when it seems to be little more than the imprecise estimates of a small working group who were apparently against the idea of the referendum in the first place.

It appears that Professor Gregory is intent on deceiving his readers about the vote in Crimea and its legitimacy, probably as part of the widespread campaign to deny the people of Crimea their legitimate rights to self-determination and to demonize Russia in the process.

http://humanrightsinvestigations.org/2014/05/06/the-crimea-referendum-15-percent-for-myth/

vr13vr

This is not an unexpected result. EU and US governments are going out of way to stir people's opinion in the former Soviet republics. And they also set the precedent of conducting at least two "revolutions" by street violence in Ukraine and a dozen - elsewhere. There are obviously people in Russia who believe the changes have to be by discussion and voting not by street disturbance and stone throwing.

Beckow

Reduced to facts in the article, a group in Russia said that they will come out and protest in the streets if there are anti-government demonstrations. They said that their side also needs to be represented, since the protesters don't represent the majority.

That's all. What is so "undemocratic" about that? Or can only pro-Western people ever demonstrate? In a democracy a biker with a tatoo is equal to an urbane lawyer with Western connections. That's the way democracies should work.

About funding for Maidan protesters "for which there is no evidence". This is an interesting point. There were students from Lviv who said they were given "college credit" for being at Maidan. And how exactly have tens of thousands of mostly young men lived on streets in Kiev with food and clothes (even some weapons) with no support?

Isn't that a bit of circumstantial evidence that "somebody" supported them. I guess in this case we need to see the invoices, is that always the case or just when Russia issues are involved?

rezevici

Very sad news from Russia. If Putin or the government doesn't condemn this project of the "patriots", if he and government doesn't react against announcement of civilian militia's plan to use violence, I'll truly turn to observe Putin as a tsar.

The ethics of Russians will be on display.

Anette Mor -> rezevici

There are specific politicians who rejected participation in normal political process but chosen street riots instead. The door to politics is open, they can form parties and take part in elections. but then there is a need for a clear political and economical platform and patience to win over the votes. These people refuse to do so, They just want street riots. Several years public watch these groups and simply had enough. There is some edgy opposition which attracts minority but they play fair. Nobody against them protecting and demonstrating even when the call for revolutionary means for getting power, like communists or national-socialists. But these who got no program other than violent riots as such are not opposition. They still have an agenda which they cannot openly display. So they attract public by spreading slander and rising tension. Nothing anti-democratic in forming a group of people who confront these actions. They are just another group taking part in very complex process.

PeraIlic

by Shaun Walker: "Maidan in Kiev did not appear just like that. Everyone was paid, everyone was paid to be there, was paid for every stone that was thrown, for every bottle thrown," said Sablin, echoing a frequently repeated Russian claim for which there is no evidence.

There is evidence, but also recognition from US officials. That at least is not a secret anymore.

Is the US training and funding the Ukraine opposition? Nuland herself claimed in December that the US had spent $5 billion since the 1990s on "democratization" programs in Ukraine. On what would she like us to believe the money had been spent?

We know that the US State Department invests heavily -- more than $100 million from 2008-2012 alone -- on international "Internet freedom" activities. This includes heavy State Department funding, for example, to the New Americas Foundation's...

...Commotion Project (sometimes referred to as the "Internet in a Suitcase"). This is an initiative from the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative to build a mobile mesh network that can literally be carried around in a suitcase, to allow activists to continue to communicate even when a government tries to shut down the Internet, as happened in several Arab Spring countries during the recent uprisings.

Indeed, Shaun! On what would you like us to believe so much money had been spent?

RandolphHearst -> PeraIlic,

You antipathy against the author speaks volumes about the contents of his article.

susandbs12 , link

All of this stems from the stupid EU meddling in Ukraine.

We shouldn't get involved in the EUs regime change agenda. Time to leave the EU.

And also time for us to not get involved in any wars.

daffyddw

Thank you, thank you all, you wonderful putin-bots. I haven't enjoyed a thread so much in ages. Bless you all, little brothers.

susandbs12 -> daffyddw

Putinbot = someone who has a different opinion to you.

Presumably you want a totalitarian state where only your views are legitimate.

Grow up and stop being childish and just accept that there are people who hold different views from you, so what?

LaAsotChayim

Pro democracy protests?? Would that be same protests that Kiev had where Neo-nazis burned unarmed police officers alive, or the ones in Syria when terrorists (now formed ISIS) where killing Government troops? Are these the pro-democracy protests (all financed via "US aid" implemented by CIA infiltrators) that the Guardian wants us to care about?

How about the reporting on the indiscriminate slaughter of Eastern Ukrainians by Kiev's government troops and Nazi battalions?? Hey, guardian??!!

Anette Mor -> Strummered

Democracy is overrated. It does not automatically ensure equality for minorities. In Russia with its 100 nationalities and all world religions simple straight forward majority rule does not bring any good.

A safety net is required. Benevolent dictator is one of the forms for such safety net. Putin fits well as he is fair and gained trust from all faith, nationalities and social groups. There are other mechanisms in Russia to ensure equality. Many of them came from USSR including low chamber of Russian parliament called Nationalities chamber. representation there is disproportional to the number of population but reflecting minorities voice - one sit per nation, no matter how big or small.

The system of different national administrative units for large and small and smallest nationalities depending how much of autonomic administration each can afford to manage. People in the West should stop preaching democracy. It is nothing but dictatorship of majority. That is why Middle East lost all its tolerance. Majority rules, minorities are suppressed.

kowalli -> Glenn J. Hill

US has a separate line in the budget to pay for such "democratic" protests

kowalli -> Glenn J. Hill

U.S. Embassy Grants Program. The U.S. Embassy Grants Program announces a competition for Russian non-governmental organizations to carry out specific projects.

http://moscow.usembassy.gov/democracy.html

and this is only one of them, many more in budget.

MartinArvay

pro-democracy protesters?

like ISIL, Right Sector, UÇK?

They are right

[Dec 04, 2017] Brainwashing as a key component of the US social system by Paul Craig Roberts

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Whitehead documents how hard a not guilty verdict is to come by for an innocent defendant. Even if the falsely accused defendant and his attorney survive the prosecutor's pressure to negotiate a plea bargain and arrive at a trial, they are confronted with jurors who are unable to doubt prosecutors, police, or witnesses paid to lie against the innocent defendant. ..."
"... The question is: why do Americans not only sit silently while the lives of innocents are destroyed, but also actually support the destruction of the lives of innocents? Why do Americans believe "official sources" despite the proven fact that "official sources" lie repeatedly and never tell the truth? ..."
"... The only conclusion that one can come to is that the American people have failed. We have failed Justice. We have failed Mercy. We have failed the US Constitution. We have failed Truth. We have failed Democracy and representative government. We have failed ourselves and humanity. We have failed the confidence that our Founding Fathers put in us. We have failed God. If we ever had the character that we are told we had, we have obviously lost it. Little, if anything, remains of the "American character." ..."
"... The failure of the American character has had tremendous and disastrous consequences for ourselves and for the world. At home Americans have a police state in which all Constitutional protections have vanished. Abroad, Iraq and Libya, two formerly prosperous countries, have been destroyed. Libya no longer exists as a country. One million dead Iraqis, four million displaced abroad, hundreds of thousands of orphans and birth defects from the American ordnance, and continuing ongoing violence from factions fighting over the remains. These facts are incontestable. Yet the United States Government claims to have brought "freedom and democracy" to Iraq. "Mission accomplished," declared one of the mass murderers of the 21st century, George W. Bush. ..."
"... The question is: how can the US government make such an obviously false outrageous claim without being shouted down by the rest of the world and by its own population? Is the answer that good character has disappeared from the world? ..."
"... Or is the rest of the world too afraid to protest? Washington can force supposedly sovereign countries to acquiesce to its will or be cut off from the international payments mechanism that Washington controls, and/or be sanctioned, and/or be bombed, droned, or invaded, and/or be assassinated or overthrown in a coup. On the entire planet Earth there are only two countries capable of standing up to Washington, Russia and China, and neither wants to stand up if they can avoid it. ..."
"... For whatever the reasons, not only Americans but most of the world as well accommodate Washington's evil and are thereby complicit in the evil. Those humans with a moral conscience are gradually being positioned by Washington and London as "domestic extremists" who might have to be rounded up and placed in detention centers. Examine the recent statements by General Wesley Clark and British Prime Minister Cameron and remember Janet Napolitano's statement that the Department of Homeland Security has shifted its focus from terrorists to domestic extremists, an undefined and open-ended term. ..."
"... Americans with good character are being maneuvered into a position of helplessness. ..."
"... When Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, was asked if the Clinton's regime's sanctions, which had claimed the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children, were justified, she obviously expected no outrage from the American people when she replied in the affirmative. ..."
"... ... Americans are "intentionally ignorant" of other countries' rights and sovereignty while other countries had been well-informed of America's malicious intents of destroying other countries' rights and sovereignty ... ..."
"... No, I don't think Americans are intentionally ignorant, any more than other nationalities. What they are tribal. Tribal peoples don't care whether their policies are right or wrong; they are instinctively loyal to them and to those who formulate them. ..."
"... "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind." -- Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda ..."
"... "Americans need to face the facts. The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise." ..."
"... "When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility." ..."
"... In todays information age, ignorance is a choice. ..."
"... Adorno famously pointed out in 1940 that the "Mass culture is psychoanalysis in reverse." ..."
"... He doesn't blame the masses because he simply points out the fact that Americans are completely ignorant and blindly believe anything MSM spoon-fed to them. ..."
"... Paul Craig Roberts believe that the people are capable of creating a better and more just society. Instead the people have voted against their own best interest and overwhelmingly believe the propaganda. ..."
"... "... the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise ..." ..."
"... Cognitive Dissonance ..."
"... "The absolute best controlled opposition is one that doesn't know they are controlled." ..."
"... The article above was another illustration of the ways that the typical reactionary revolutionaries, Black Sheeple, or controlled opposition groups, respond to recognizing the more and more blatant degrees to which there has been an accelerating "transformation of government into a criminal enterprise." THE PROBLEM IS THAT THEY CONTINUE TO STAY WITHIN THE SAME OLD-FASHIONED BULLSHIT-BASED FRAME OF REFERENCE, INSTEAD, AROUND AND AROUND WE GO, STUCK IN THE SAME DEEPENING RUTS, since they do NOT more fully "face the facts" regarding how and why the only realistic solutions to the real problems would require developing better organized crime. INSTEAD, they continue to promote the same dualities based upon false fundamental dichotomies, and the associate bogus "solutions" based upon impossible ideals ... ..."
Jul 25, 2015 | Zero Hedge

Original title: The Eroding Character Of The American People

Paul Craig Roberts

How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool's hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game.-Bob Dylan, "Hurricane"

Attorney John W. Whitehead opens a recent posting on his Rutherford Institute website with these words from a song by Bob Dylan. Why don't all of us feel ashamed? Why only Bob Dylan?

I wonder how many of Bob Dylan's fans understand what he is telling them. American justice has nothing to do with innocence or guilt. It only has to do with the prosecutor's conviction rate, which builds his political career. Considering the gullibility of the American people, American jurors are the last people to whom an innocent defendant should trust his fate. The jury will betray the innocent almost every time.

As Lawrence Stratton and I show in our book (2000, 2008) there is no justice in America. We titled our book, "How the Law Was Lost." It is a description of how the protective features in law that made law a shield of the innocent was transformed over time into a weapon in the hands of the government, a weapon used against the people. The loss of law as a shield occurred prior to 9/11, which "our representative government" used to construct a police state.

The marketing department of our publisher did not appreciate our title and instead came up with "The Tyranny of Good Intentions." We asked what this title meant. The marketing department answered that we showed that the war on crime, which gave us the abuses of RICO, the war on child abusers, which gave us show trials of total innocents that bested Joseph Stalin's show trials of the heroes of the Bolshevik Revolution, and the war on drugs, which gave "Freedom and Democracy America" broken families and by far the highest incarceration rate in the world all resulted from good intentions to combat crime, to combat drugs, and to combat child abuse. The publisher's title apparently succeeded, because 15 years later the book is still in print. It has sold enough copies over these years that, had the sales occurred upon publication would have made the book a "best seller." The book, had it been a best seller, would have gained more attention, and perhaps law schools and bar associations could have used it to hold the police state at bay.

Whitehead documents how hard a not guilty verdict is to come by for an innocent defendant. Even if the falsely accused defendant and his attorney survive the prosecutor's pressure to negotiate a plea bargain and arrive at a trial, they are confronted with jurors who are unable to doubt prosecutors, police, or witnesses paid to lie against the innocent defendant. Jurors even convicted the few survivors of the Clinton regime's assault on the Branch Davidians of Waco, the few who were not gassed, shot, or burned to death by US federal forces. This religious sect was demonized by Washington and the presstitute media as child abusers who were manufacturing automatic weapons while they raped children. The charges proved to be false, like Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction," and so forth, but only after all of the innocents were dead or in prison.

The question is: why do Americans not only sit silently while the lives of innocents are destroyed, but also actually support the destruction of the lives of innocents? Why do Americans believe "official sources" despite the proven fact that "official sources" lie repeatedly and never tell the truth?

The only conclusion that one can come to is that the American people have failed. We have failed Justice. We have failed Mercy. We have failed the US Constitution. We have failed Truth. We have failed Democracy and representative government. We have failed ourselves and humanity. We have failed the confidence that our Founding Fathers put in us. We have failed God. If we ever had the character that we are told we had, we have obviously lost it. Little, if anything, remains of the "American character."

Was the American character present in the torture prisons of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and hidden CIA torture dungeons where US military and CIA personnel provided photographic evidence of their delight in torturing and abusing prisoners? Official reports have concluded that along with torture went rape, sodomy, and murder. All of this was presided over by American psychologists with Ph.D. degrees.

We see the same inhumanity in the American police who respond to women children, the elderly, the physically and mentally handicapped, with gratuitous violence. For no reason whatsoever, police murder, taser, beat, and abuse US citizens. Every day there are more reports, and despite the reports the violence goes on and on and on. Clearly, the police enjoy inflicting pain and death on citizens whom the police are supposed to serve and protect. There have always been bullies in the police force, but the wanton police violence of our time indicates a complete collapse of the American character.

The failure of the American character has had tremendous and disastrous consequences for ourselves and for the world. At home Americans have a police state in which all Constitutional protections have vanished. Abroad, Iraq and Libya, two formerly prosperous countries, have been destroyed. Libya no longer exists as a country. One million dead Iraqis, four million displaced abroad, hundreds of thousands of orphans and birth defects from the American ordnance, and continuing ongoing violence from factions fighting over the remains. These facts are incontestable. Yet the United States Government claims to have brought "freedom and democracy" to Iraq. "Mission accomplished," declared one of the mass murderers of the 21st century, George W. Bush.

The question is: how can the US government make such an obviously false outrageous claim without being shouted down by the rest of the world and by its own population? Is the answer that good character has disappeared from the world?

Or is the rest of the world too afraid to protest? Washington can force supposedly sovereign countries to acquiesce to its will or be cut off from the international payments mechanism that Washington controls, and/or be sanctioned, and/or be bombed, droned, or invaded, and/or be assassinated or overthrown in a coup. On the entire planet Earth there are only two countries capable of standing up to Washington, Russia and China, and neither wants to stand up if they can avoid it.

For whatever the reasons, not only Americans but most of the world as well accommodate Washington's evil and are thereby complicit in the evil. Those humans with a moral conscience are gradually being positioned by Washington and London as "domestic extremists" who might have to be rounded up and placed in detention centers. Examine the recent statements by General Wesley Clark and British Prime Minister Cameron and remember Janet Napolitano's statement that the Department of Homeland Security has shifted its focus from terrorists to domestic extremists, an undefined and open-ended term.

Americans with good character are being maneuvered into a position of helplessness. As John Whitehead makes clear, the American people cannot even prevent "their police," paid by their tax payments, from murdering 3 Americans each day, and this is only the officially reported murders. The actual account is likely higher.

What Whitehead describes and what I have noticed for many years is that the American people have lost, in addition to their own sense of truth and falsity, any sense of mercy and justice for other peoples. Americans accept no sense of responsibility for the millions of peoples that Washington has exterminated over the past two decades dating back to the second term of Clinton. Every one of the millions of deaths is based on a Washington lie.

When Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, was asked if the Clinton's regime's sanctions, which had claimed the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children, were justified, she obviously expected no outrage from the American people when she replied in the affirmative.

Americans need to face the facts. The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise.

benb

The American people have been scientifically mis-educated, propagandized, and beaten down. A disproportionate number of the under 30's are societal DOAs thanks to ... weaponized TV. But I am being too optimistic...

PrayingMantis

... Americans are "intentionally ignorant" of other countries' rights and sovereignty while other countries had been well-informed of America's malicious intents of destroying other countries' rights and sovereignty ...

BarnacleBill

No, I don't think Americans are intentionally ignorant, any more than other nationalities. What they are tribal. Tribal peoples don't care whether their policies are right or wrong; they are instinctively loyal to them and to those who formulate them.

Also, I have to say that I believe the US empire is a long, long, way from collapse. It is still expanding, for goodness sake. Empires collapse only when the shrinking process is well under way. (The recent Soviet Empire was exceptional, in this regard.) It will take several more generations before the darkness lifts, I'm afraid.

macholatte

The only conclusion that one can come to is that the American people have failed.

It's now official, PCR is a complete dipshit.

Hey Paul, how about you get your head out of the clouds and stop looking down your nose at everyone long enough to read a couple of books about brainwashing and then get back to us. Maybe you start with this: http://edward-bernays.soup.io/post/19658768/Edward-Bernays-Propaganda-19...

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind."
-- Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda

OldPhart

"Americans need to face the facts. The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise."

I think that happened August 13, 1971, but didn't get fully organized (as in Mafia) until 2000.

PT

The majority have their nose to the grind stone and as such can not see past the grind stone. They rely on "official sources" to put the rest of the world in order for them, but have no time to audit the "official sources". Would public education suffer if mothers and fathers were monitoring what the children were learning? But who has got time for that when both parents are working? How many non-work organizations were your parents and grand-parents involved in (both the wage-earner and the housekeeper)? How many organizations are you involved in?

Do you constantly hassle your local politicians or do you just say, "I'll vote 'em out in four years time"? (Yes, I know, you just don't vote. Fair enough, this question is for the voters.)

Yes, some of us are guilty of not fighting back. We had "Shut up and do as you're told" and "Well, if you're not happy with what you've got then work harder" beaten into us. Some of us are a little awake because, despite all our efforts, the grind stone was removed from us and then we got to see the larger picture of what lies behind the grind stone. Others are still busy, nose to the wheel, and all they see is the wheel.

And that is before we even consider HypnoToad on the Idiot Box. Some "need" the idiot box to help them wind down. Some can no longer enjoy the silence. (Remember Brave New World? It's true. Many people can no longer stand to be around silence, with nothing but their own thoughts.) I tell everyone that TV is crap. Radio is crap. Newspapers are crap. Turn that shit off for six months to a year, then go back to it and see what you really think of it. But they can't handle the thought of being away from "the background noise".

Ever spoken to grandparents who remember wars and depressions? And even amongst the rations and the hardships they still find positive memories? Time to talk to them again. Or not. I guess we'll get first-hand experience soon enough.

AlaricBalth

Allow me for a moment to share a brief anecdote about the new "American Character".

Last Sunday I was at the local supermarket. I was at the bakery counter, when suddenly a nicely dressed, Sunday best, non-Caucasian woman barrels into my cart riding a fat scooter. She rudely demands from the counter person a single cinnamon bun and then wheels off towards the front. Curious, I follow her up the aisle as she scarfs down the pastry in three bites. She then proceeds to stuff the empty bag between some soda bottles and scooters through the checkout without paying for her item. In the parking lot she then disembarks from her scooter, easily lifts it into the trunk of her Cadillac and walks to the drivers side, gets in and speeds off with her kids, who were in the back seat.

Amazed at what I had just witnessed, I went back into the store, retrieved the empty bag, included it in my few items at checkout and then went to the manager to share this story with him. He laughed and said there was nothing he could do.

The new "American Character" is that of a sense of entitlement and apathy.
I weep for the future.

Headbanger

Having character is not politically correct. Plus there's no need to develop character anymore because there's no jobs requiring any!

Consumption is the ONLY value of the inDUHvidual today.

And the less character they have, the more shit they'll consume to feel fulfilled cause they can't get that from themselves.

clymer Sat, 07/25/2015 - 07:34

Macholatte, i don't think PCR is writing from a point of view that is haughty and contemptful of the American people, per se, but rather from a perspective that is hopeless and thoroughly depressed after contemplating what the American people of many generations ago has taken for themselves as natural rights from a tyrranical government, only to see the nation slowly morph into something even worse than what was rejected by the founders.

"A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within...
He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist."

ThroxxOfVron

"The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise. "

"I think that happened August 13, 1971 "

The entirety of the Western Hemisphere, not just 'The United States', was seized by invaders from Europe.

It is not an 'American' disease: it is a European disease and always was.

The indiginous populations of the Western Hemisphere were suystemaically and with forethought expropriated, ensalved, and slaughtered. The indiginous persons that dwelled within the geographical domain that presently comprise the USA were still being margialized, forcibly relocated, and murdered, long after the so-called 'American Civil War' had been decided.

...& As much as it is fashionable and/or politically expedient to vilify and blame the 'white' Europeans both for this history and extenuate that history to inform the present state of affairs, the Dutch, the French, the Portuguese, and the Spanish ( most eggregiously IMHO) were brutal and savage.

Look at the demographics of the Western Hemisphere.

If you have a shred of honesty you just can't hang the blame on 'whites', put it on a bumper sticker or a #shittyhashtagmeme and go back to fucking off.

The disgusting fraud of Manifest Destiny was a fig leaf to hide the enormity of these crimes; but, they are most obviously European crimes.

...& has Europe changed since the West was settled? Did Europeans even stop their warring amonsgst themselves?

See for yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europe

That would be: Hell NO.

Neither in Europe itself, nor in the settled West.

The Pacific Ocean wasn't named for calm waters.

It was named thusly because it is the natural geographic boundary where the mayhem and brutality and genocide ceased, if only because the greedy and ruthless Europeans had run out of land in the Western Hemisphere with people upon it to plunder and murder...

El Vaquero

The US will collapse within the next decade if some serious new technology is not developed and the infrastructure to use it is put in. There is too much debt and not enough material resources to continue growing the ponzi scheme that is our monetary system at an exponential rate without something breaking. The question is, will it be at the end of this boom-bust cycle, or the next? And if you look at what is being done on the financial front, which is the backbone of our neo-empire, that is shrinking.

The USD is slowly falling out of favor. There will come a point where that rapidly accelerates. We've been in a state of collapse for 15 years.


Abitdodgie

ignorance is choice these days and Americans love it.

AetosAeros

Not only a choice, but the ONLY choice they are prepared to accept. Cognitive Dissonance at it's finest. And to make matters worse, in only the best American fashion, we've asked if if it can be Supersized to go along with the Freedom Lies we feed ourselves.

I've seen the enemy, and....

But only if I'm willing to look in the mirror. Today's American doesn't look for what's right there in front of him/her, we look for all the new 'Social Norms' that we aren't living up to. This article is completely on target, and I hope Roberts hasn't decided to do any remodeling, cause too many idle nails guns make for a great Evening News sidebar mention.

Damnit all to hell.

Fun Facts

Fun Facts's picture

Rubicon727

We educators began seeing this shift towards "me-ism" around 1995-6. Students from low to middle income families became either apathetic towards "education" or followed their parent's sense of "entitlement." Simultaneously, the tech age captured both population's attention. Respecting "an education" dwindled.

Fast forward to the present: following the 2007-8 crash, we noted clear divisions between low income vs middle/upper class students based on their school behavior. Low to slightly middle income students brought to school family tensions and the turmoil of parents losing their jobs. A rise in non-functioning students increase for teachers while the few well performing students decline significantly.

Significant societal, financial shifts in America can always be observed in the student population.

reader2010

Mission Accomplished.

"When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility."

- Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, 1985

Lea

"The American people have been scientifically mis-educated".

You've got the answer there. The education system is the root cause of the problem. I'm from Europe, but if I've understood correctly, the US education policy is to teach as little as possible to children, and expect them to fill in the gaps in the Universities, past a certain age.

Only, it can't work. Children WILL learn, as childhood is the time when most informations are stored. If the schools don't provide the knowledge, they will get it from the television, movies or games, with the consequences we can see: ignorance, obsession with TV and movies stars, inability to differentiate life from movies, and over-simplistic reasoning (if any).

In Europe, we knew full well children learn fast and a lot, and that was why the schools focused on teaching them as much general knowldge as possible before 18 years old, which is when - it is scientifically proved - the human brain learns best.

Recently, the EU leading countries have understood that having educated masses doesn't pay if you want to lead them like sheep, so they are perfidiously trying to lower the standards... to the dismay of parents.

My advice, if I may presume to give any, would be to you USA people: teach your children what they won't learn at school, history, geography, literature (US, European and even Asian, why not), a foreign language if you can, arts, music, etc; and keep them away from the TV, movies and games.

And please adapt what you teach them to their age.

Refuse-Resist

Bang on! One anecdotal example: insisting that all 3rd graders use calculators "to learn" their multiplication tables. If I didn't do flashcards at home with my kids they wouldn't know them.

As somebody who majored in engineering and took many many advanced math courses, I always felt that knowing your 'times tables' was essential to being successful in math.

What better way to dumb down otherwise intelligent children by creating a situation where the kid can't divide 32 by 4 without a calculator.

Trigonometry? Calculus? Linear Algebra? Fuggedaboudit.

doctor10

The CB's and MIC have Americans right where they want them.

the consequences of 3-4 generations of force feeding Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny

ThroxxOfVron

Some of US were never fucking asleep. Some of us were born with our eyes and minds open.

We were, and are: hated, and reviled, and marginalized, and disowned for it.

The intellectual repression was, and is, fucking insane and brutal.

Words such as ethics and logic exist for what purpose?

What are these expressions of? A bygone time? Abstractions?

Those that have tried to preserve their self awareness, empathy, and rationality have been ruthlessly systematically demeaned and condemed for confronting our families, our culture and institutions.

We all have a right to be angry and disgusted and distrustful of the people and institutions around us.

I am very fucking angry, and disgusted, and distrustful of the people and institutions around me.

But I still have hope.

Nothing lasts forever..

This self-righteous nation called The United States, this twisted fraud of a culture called America, is most dangerously overdue for receipt of chastisment and retribution.

It would be best if the citizenry of the United States taught themselves a lesson in stead of inviting Other nations and cultures to educate them.

A serious self education may be tedious and imperfect; but, it would be far far cheaper than forcing someone to come all the way over those oceans to educate Americans at the price they will be demanding for those lessons...

I do not require representation. I will speak my own mind and act of my own accord.

Every time other so-called Americans take a shit on me for thinking and speaking and acting differently it is a badge of honor and a confirmation of my spiritual and intellectual liberty. They don't know it but they are all gonna run out of shit before I run out of being free.

ThroxxOfVron

"The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise. "

"I think that happened August 13, 1971 "

The entirety of the Western Hemisphere, not just 'The United States', was seized by invaders from Europe.

It is not an 'American' disease: it is a European disease and always was.

The indiginous populations of the Western Hemisphere were suystemaically and with forethought expropriated, ensalved, and slaughtered. The indiginous persons that dwelled within the geographical domain that presently comprise the USA were still being margialized, forcibly relocated, and murdered, long after the so-called 'American Civil War' had been decided.

...& As much as it is fashionable and/or politically expedient to vilify and blame the 'white' Europeans both for this history and extenuate that history to inform the present state of affairs, the Dutch, the French, the Portuguese, and the Spanish ( most eggregiously IMHO) were brutal and savage.

Look at the demographics of the Western Hemisphere.

If you have a shred of honesty you just can't hang the blame on 'whites', put it on a bumper sticker or a #shittyhashtagmeme and go back to fucking off.

The disgusting fraud of Manifest Destiny was a fig leaf to hide the enormity of these crimes; but, they are most obviously European crimes.

...& has Europe changed since the West was settled? Did Europeans even stop their warring amonsgst themselves?

See for yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europe

That would be: Hell NO.

Neither in Europe itself, nor in the settled West.

The Pacific Ocean wasn't named for calm waters.

It was named thusly because it is the natural geographic boundary where the mayhem and brutality and genocide ceased, if only because the greedy and ruthless Europeans had run out of land in the Western Hemisphere with people upon it to plunder and murder...

Mini-Me

"The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise."

I agree with the first part. As for the latter, "government," by definition, is a criminal enterprise. It doesn't start out pure as the driven snow and then change into something nefarious over time. Its very essence requires the initiation of violence or its threat. Government without the gun in the ribs is a contradiction.

The fact that those in power got more votes than the losing criminals does not magically morph these people into paragons of virtue. They are almost without exception thoroughly deranged human beings. Lying is second nature to them. Looting is part of the job description. Killing is an end to their means: the acquisition and aggrandizement of power over others, no matter how much death and destruction results.

These people are sick bastards. To expect something virtuous from them after an endless string of wanton slaughter, theft and abuse, is simply wishful thinking.

Jack Burton

I agree with Paul Craig Roberts. He asks "Why" and "How." Well, Paul, here is my answer. Decades of Public Education and over 50 years of mass media monopoly. In an age where FOX is the top rated News station and CNN is considered liberal? Where kids in Public school are offered Chocolate milk and frozen pizza for school breakfast before going to class rooms with 30-40 kids. When Texas political appointees chose school text book content for the nation? A nation where service has ended, replaced with volunteer soldiers signing up for pay and benefits, instead of just serving as service, like we did in the 70's?

Paul Craig Roberts points out the police war against the people. That comes right from the very top, orders filter down to street cops. Street Cops are recruited from groups of young men our fathers generation would have labeled mental! But now they are hired across the board, shaved heads, tatoos, and a code of silence and Cops Above Justice.

The people have allowed the elites to rule in their place, never bothering to question the two fake candidates we are allowed to vote for.

Jtrillian

There is a difference between IGNORANCE and STUPIDITY. As Ron White said, "YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID".

In todays information age, ignorance is a choice.

Part of the problem that no one is talking about or addressing is the population explosion. And it's not linear. Those who are the least educated, fully dependent others for their survival (welfare), the most complacent, and often with violent criminal records are breeding the fastest.

Evolution is not guaranteed. It can be argued that the apathy we experience today is a sign of the human race de-evolving. It takes a certain amount of cognitive ability to observe and question what is going on.

Further, the society we have created where "60 is the new 40" creates very little time to pay attention to what is going on in the world. Many people rely on mainstream media which is not really news any more. When six corporations control more than 90% of the news, it's the message of the corporate elite that we are fed. This becomes painfully obvious when you start turning to other sources for information like social media and independent news. Mainstream media today is full of opinion bias - injecting opinion as though it were fact. They also appeal to the lowest commmon denominator by focusing on emotionally charged topics and words rather than boring facts. Finally, the mainstream media is extremely guilty of propaganda by omission, ignoring important events altogether or only presenting one side of the story as is being done with regard to ISIS, Syria, and Ukraine today. People who watch the mainstream media have no idea that the US played a significant role in arming ISIS and aided in their rise to power. They have no idea that it was likely ISIS that used chemical weapons in Syria. They have no idea that the US has propped up real life neo nazis in high government positions in Ukraine. And they have ignored the continuing Fukushima disaster that is STILL dumping millions of gallons of radioactive water into the ocean every single day.

To sum up, democracies only work when people pay attention and participate. People are either too stupid, too overworked, are are looking to the wrong sources for information.

Until we break up mainstream media, remove incentives for those who cannot even care for themselves to stop breeding, and make fundamental changes to our society that affords people the time to focus on what is happening in the world, it will only get worse.

Much worse.

serotonindumptruck

A dying empire is like a wounded, cornered animal.

It will lash out uncontrollably and without remorse in a futile effort to save itself from certain death.

Enough Already

The problem is that we have no "Constitution." That is a fable. The constitution of the separation of powers has been undermined from almost day one. Witness the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

In the centuries since then, there has been no "separation of powers." Marbury v Madison (1803) gave the Supreme Court the right to "decide" what the "law" was. Although, only in the 20th century did the "Supreme" court really start "legislating" from the bench.

We're just peons to the Overall Federal Power; the three "separate" parts of the federal government have been in collusion from the first.

But like all empires, this one is in the final stage of collapse; it has just gotten too big.

gswifty

Yes sir. Globalization has failed us. The infinite growth paradigm has failed us, as we knew it would. Castro's Cuba, based in a localized agrarian economy, is looking pretty good about now. Localization is the only way back to sustainability.

napples

Books? Who said books? You mean reading books? Let me throw a couple out there:

I read 'The Image: A Guide To Pseudo-Events In America' last year, it was published 50+ years ago by a very recommended writer and accomplished historian. Boorstin's observations are truer today and even more concerning thanks to our modern, ubiquitous "connectivity".

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/159979.The_Image

Another by Boorstin, The Discoverers was my fav, like Bryson's 'Short History' on steroids:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_J._Boorstin

I'm currently trying to fathom all of the historical implications of the claims Menzies is making in his book '1434', where apparently everything I learned about history is a lie. While he's making a lot of claims(hoping some sticks?) I'm not truly convinced. It is a very good, believable thought experiment. It almost makes perfect sense given the anglo/euro history of deceit & dishonesty, but I digress:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavin_Menzies

This one took a long time to grok, Dr Mandelbrot tried to warn us:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/665134.The_Mis_Behavior_of_Markets#

Benoit's friend & protege tried to warn us too:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Swan_%282007_book%29

Put them together and you get the financial meltdown's 'Don't say we didn't warn you' manifesto from 2006(not a book, but a compelling read):
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/5372968a-ba82-11da-980d-0000779e2340.html

OK, I'm tired. Time to unplug.

reader2010

Adorno famously pointed out in 1940 that the "Mass culture is psychoanalysis in reverse." It takes 75 years for someone such as PCR to reiterate. He doesn't blame the masses because he simply points out the fact that Americans are completely ignorant and blindly believe anything MSM spoon-fed to them.

George Orwell once remarked that the average person today is about as naive as was the average person in the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages people believed in the authority of their religion, no matter what. Today, we believe in the authority of what Adorno called Culture Industry and MSM, no matter what. Today we are indeed in another Dark Age


PoasterToaster

"Americans" are not one person. Individuals are not fungible. Reasoning from the "average American" leads to false conclusions.

reader2010

Jacques Derrida says, "The individualism of technological civilization relies precisely on a misunderstanding of the unique self. It is the individualism of a role and not of a person. In other words it might be called the individualism of a masque or persona, a character [personnage] and not a person." There are many Americans but they all play the same role in the Pursuit of Happiness, aka wage slaves, career slaves, debt slaves, information junkies, and passive consumers.

Moccasin

Paul Craig Roberts believe that the people are capable of creating a better and more just society. Instead the people have voted against their own best interest and overwhelmingly believe the propaganda.

When do the people or the society take responsibility for its greater good or own the crimes of those they put into power?

Blaming the aristocracy or the oligarchs seems like a scapegoat when the people have never stood up to the corruption in a cohesive or concerted way. imho, After a few generations of abuse and corruption the people need to take responsibility for their future. I expect that most will just buy into the charade and live the lie, on that basis as a society we are doomed to live in a corporatocracy fascist state.

Aldous Huxley called it a scientific dictatorship, Edward Bernays referred to us as a herd.

Moccasin

In the USA being white, monied and having the capacity to afford a good education is privileged. To his credit he speaks to the greater population, the 'average citizen' and not the plutocratic class.

MSorciere

What we have is the result of conditioning and commoditizing a population. The country is filled with consumers, not citizens. Teach the acquisition of money and goods as the main goal and individualism as the only acceptable social unit. We end up with a nation of insatiable sociopaths, ruled by power-hungry psychopaths.

Divisive politics, jackbooted authority from the DC scumpond down to the cop on the beat, the constant preaching of the cult of the individual as a sustitute for true liberty... all of these have served to destroy a sense of community and decentness between Americans.

The ONLY thing that could threaten the ruling class is a banding together of the people - in large numbers. 'They' have purposefully and effectively quashed that.

Chupacabra1977

When you let jews run your society this is what happens. Go Goy go!!!!!

TrulyStupid

Shifting responsibility to the usual suspects is simply a manifestation of the American moral collapse. Man up and do some self evaluation.

T-NUTZ

"what I have noticed for many years is that the American people have lost, in addition to their own sense of truth and falsity, any sense of mercy and justice for other peoples"

Unfortunately, Paul, the American people have lost any sense of mercy and justice for their own people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXRDq9nKJ0U

Phillyguy

Painful as it may be, we need to rationally look at US history/society. The nascent US was formed by stealing land from the native population and using human capital (read African Slaves) to generate wealth (it took a civil war with circa 500K casualties to stop this- one could argue the US "civil war" never ended). More recently, the US has been almost continuously at war since 1940, we dropped atomic bombs on Japan. Currently, the US/NATO war theater extends from the Levant, to Caspian Basin, Persian Gulf, China Sea, Indian Ocean, Horn of Africa (Saudi/US war on Yemen), the Maghreb and E Europe and Russian Border.

Radical Marijuana

"... the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise ..."

Governments were created by the history of warfare, which was always organized crime developing on larger and larger scales. In the context, the greater problem is that people like Paul Craig Roberts are reactionary revolutionaries, who provide relatively good analysis, followed by bogus "solutions" based upon impossible ideals.

The "American People" are the victims of the best scientific brainwashing that money could buy. As Cognitive Dissonance has previously stated on Zero Hedge: "The absolute best controlled opposition is one that doesn't know they are controlled."

It is practically impossible to exaggerate the degree to which that is so, on such profound levels, because of the ways that most people want to continue to believe that false fundamental dichotomies and impossible ideals are valid, and should be applied to their problems, despite that those mistaken ideas cause the opposite to happen in the real world, because those who promote those kinds of false fundamental dichotomies and their related impossible ideals, ARE "controlled opposition."

Rather, the place to begin would be by recognizing that all human beings and civilizations must necessarily operate as entropic pumps of energy flows, which necessarily are systems of organized lies operating robberies. Everyone has some power to rob, and power to kill to back that up. Governments assembled and channeled those powers. There was never a time when governments were not organized crime. There could never be any time when governments were not organized crime. The only things that exist are the dynamic equilibria between different systems of organized lies operating robberies. Those dynamic equilibria have become extremely unbalanced due the degree that the best organized gangs of criminals were able to control their opposition.

Paul Craig Roberts, as well as pretty well all of the rest of the content published on Zero Hedge, are presentations of various kinds of controlled opposition groups, most of which do not recognize that they are being controlled by the language that they use, and the philosophy of science that they take for granted. THAT is the greatest failure of the American People, as well as most of the rest of the people everywhere else. They believe in false fundamental dichotomies, and the related impossible ideals, and therefore, their bogus "solutions" always necessarily backfire badly, and cause the opposite to happen in the real world.

After all, the overwhelming vast majority of the American People operate as the controlled opposition to the best organized gangs of criminals that most control the government of the USA. Therefore, the FAILURES of the American People are far more profound and problematic than what is superficially presented by guys like Paul Craig Roberts, and also, of course, his suggested bogus "solutions" are similarly superficial.

The ONLY things which can actually exist are the dynamic equilibrium between different systems of organized lies operating robberies. The degree to which the American People, as well as most of the rest of the people in the world, FAIL to understand that is the degree to which they enable the best organized gangs of criminals to control them, due to the vast majority of people being members of various controlled opposition groups. Controlled opposition always presents relatively superficial analysis of the political problems, which are superficially correct. However, they then follow that up with similarly superficial "solutions." Therefore, magical words are bandied about, that express their dualities, through false fundamental dichotomies, and the related impossible ideals.

Governments must exist because organized crime must exist. Better governments could be achieved through better organized crime. However, mostly what get presented in the public places are the utter bullshit of the biggest bullies, who dominate the society because they were the best organized gangs of criminals, who were also able to dominate their apparent opposition. Therefore, instead of more realistic, better balancing of the dynamic equilibria between different systems of organized lies operating robberies, we get runaway developments of the best organized gangs of criminals being able to control governments, whose only apparent opposition is controlled to stay within the same bullshit frame of reference regarding everything that was actually happening.

The mainline of the FAILURES of the American People have been the ways that the international bankers were able to recapture control over the American public "money" supply. After that, everything else was leveraged up, through the funding of the political processes, schools, and mass media, etc., being more and more dominated by that fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting system. Of course, that FAILURE has now become more than 99% ... Therefore, no political possible ways appear to exist to pull out of that flaming spiral nose dive, since we have already gone beyond the event horizon into that social black hole.

Most of the content on Zero Hedge which is based upon recognizing that set of problems still acts as controlled opposition in that regard too. Therefore, the bogus "solutions" here continue to deliberately ignore that money is necessarily measurement backed by murder. Instead of accepting that, the controlled opposition groups like to promote various kinds of "monetary reforms." However, meanwhile, we are actually already headed towards the established debt slavery systems having generated debt insanities, which are going to provoke death insanities.

In that context, the only realistic resolutions to the real problems would necessarily have to be monetary revolutions, that may emerge out of the future situations, after the runaway debt insanities have provoked death insanities. Indeed, the only genuine solutions to the problems are to develop different death control systems, to back up different debt control systems, which must necessarily be done within the context that governments are the biggest forms of organized crime, controlled by the best organized gangs of criminals.

The various controlled opposition groups do not want to face those social facts. Rather, they continue to want to believe in the dualities expressed as false fundamental dichotomies and the related impossible ideals, which is their greatest overall FAILURE. In my view, the article above by Roberts contained a lot of nostalgic nonsense. There was never a time when there were any governments which were not based on the applications of the principles and methods of organized crime, and there could never be any time in the future when that could be stopped from being the case.

The greatest FAILURE of the American People, as well as most of the rest of the world's people, has been to become so brainwashed to believe in the biggest bullies' bullshit world view, that there is no significant opposition that is not controlled by thinking inside of the box of that bullshit. The government did NOT transform into a criminal enterprise. The government was necessarily ALWAYS a criminal enterprise. That criminal enterprise has become more and more severely UNBALANCED due to the FAILURE of the people to understand that they were actually members of an organized crime gang, called their country. Instead, they were more and more scientifically brainwashed to believe in bullshit about everything, including their country.

The ONLY connection between human laws and the laws of nature is the ability to back up lies with violence. The development of the government of the USA has been the developed of integrated systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence. Those systems of ENFORCED FRAUDS have been able to become more extremely unbalanced because there is almost nothing which is publicly significant surrounding that core of organized crime but various controlled opposition groups.

Of course, it seems politically impossible for my recommendations to actually happen within the foreseeable future, as the current systems of debt slavery drive through debt insanities to become death insanities, but nevertheless, the only theoretically valid ideas to raise to respond to the real problems would have to based upon a series of intellectual scientific revolutions. However, since we have apparently run out of time to go through those sorts of paradigm shifts sufficiently, we are stuck in the deepening ruts of political problems which guys like Roberts correctly present to be the case

... HOWEVER, ROBERTS, LIKE ALMOST EVERYONE ELSE, CONTINUE TO PRESUME UPON DUALITIES, AND THEREFORE, HAVE THEIR MECHANISMS REGARDING "SOLUTIONS" ABSURDLY BACKWARDS.

Rather, we should start with the concept of SUBTRACTION, which then leads to robbery. We should start with the recognition that governments are necessarily, by definition, the biggest forms of organized crime. Governments did NOT transform into being that. Governments were always that. The political problems we have now are due to the best organized gangs of criminals, which currently are primarily the biggest gangsters, which can rightly be referred to as the banksters, having dominated all aspects of the funding of politics, enough to capture control over all sociopolitical institutions, so that the American People would more and more be subjected to the best scientific brainwashing that money could buy, which was built on top of thousands of years of previous history of Neolithic Civilizations being based on backing up lies with violence.

The runaway systems of ENFORCED FRAUDS, or the integrated systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, that more and more dominate the lives of the American People are due to the applications of the methods of organized crime, and could not be effectively counter-balanced in any other ways. However, the standing social situation is that there is no publicly significant opposition that is not controlled to stay within the same frame of reference of the biggest bullies, which is now primarily the frame of reference of the banksters. Indeed, to the degree to which people's lives are controlled by the monetary system, they are debt slaves. Moreover, the degree to which they do not understand, and do not want to understand, that money is necessarily measurement backed by murder, then they think like controlled opposition groups, who have their mechanisms absurdly backwards, when they turn from their superficial analysis of what the political problems, to then promote their superficial solutions of those problems.

I AGREE that "Americans need to face the facts." However, those facts are that citizens are members of an organized crime gang, called their country. "Their" country is currently controlled by the best organized gangs of criminals. However, there are no genuine resolutions for those problems other than to develop better organized crime. Since the controlled opposition groups that are publicly significant do not admit any of the deeper levels of the scientific facts regarding human beings and civilizations operating as entropic pumps of energy flows, but rather, continue to perceive all of that in the most absurdly backward ways possible, the current dynamic equilibria between the different systems of organized lies operating robberies continue to become more and more extremely UNBALANCED.

In the case of the article above, Roberts does NOT "face the facts" that governments were always forms of organized crime, and must necessarily be so, because human beings must live as entropic pumps of energy flows. Rather, Roberts tends to illustrate how the controlled opposition takes for granted certain magical words and phrases, such as "Liberty" or "Constitution," that have no adequate operational definitions to connect them to the material world.

We are living inside of an oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, which has applied the progress in science primarily to become better at backing up lies with violence, while refusing to allow scientific methods to admit and address how and why that has been what has actually happened. Therefore, almost all of the language that we use to communicate, as well as almost all of the philosophy of science that we take for granted, was based on the biggest bullies' bullshit, which is now primarily manifested as the banksters' bullshit, as that bullshit developed in America to become ENFORCED FRAUDS.

ALL of the various churches, corporations, and countries are necessarily various systems of organized lies operating robberies. Those which are the biggest now were historically the ones that were the best at doing that. The INTENSE PARADOXES are due to human systems necessarily being organized lies operating robberies, wherein the greatest social successfulness has been achieved by those who were the best professional liars and immaculate hypocrites. That flows throughout ALL of the established systems, which are a core of organized crime, surrounded by controlled opposition groups.

The degree to which the American People, as well as the rest of the world's people, have been more and more scientifically brainwashed to believe in bullshit about governments in particular, and human beings and civilizations in general, is the degree to which the established systems based upon ENFORCED FRAUDS are headed towards some series of psychotic breakdowns. For all practical purposes, it is politically impossible to get enough people to stop acting like incompetent political idiots, and instead start acting more like competent citizens, because they do not understand, and moreover have been conditioned to not want to understand that governments are necessarily organized crime.

Roberts ironically illustrated the deeper nature of the political problems that he also shares, when he perceives that governments have somehow transformed into being criminal enterprise, when governments were always necessarily criminal enterprises. Similarly, with those who recognize that, but then promote the impossible solutions based upon somehow stopping that from being the case, which is as absurdly backwards as stopping human beings from operating as entropic pumps of energy flows, which then also presumes that it would be possible to stop human civilizations from being entropic pumps of energy flows.

Rather, the deeper sorts of intellectual scientific revolutions that we should go through require becoming much more critical of the language that we use to communicate with, and more critical about the philosophy of science that we presumed was correct. Actually, we were collectively brainwashed to believe in the biggest bullies' bullshit, which is as absurdly backwards as it could possibly be. However, due to the collective FAILURES of people to understand that, as reflected by the ways that the core of organized crime is surrounded by nothing which is publicly significant than layers of controlled opposition, there are no reasonable ways to doubt that the established debt slavery systems will continue to drive even worse debt insanities, which will provoke much worse death insanities. Therefore, to be more realistic about the foreseeable future, the development of new death control systems will emerge out of the context of crazy collapses into chaos, wherein the runaway death insanities provide the possible opportunities for new death controls to emerge out of that situation.

Of course, the about 99% FAILURE of the American People to want to understand anything that I have outlined above indicates that the foreseeable future for subsequent generations shall not too likely be catalyzed transformations towards enough people better understanding their political problems, in order to better resolve those problems. Rather, what I mostly expect is for the psychotic breakdowns of the previous systems of ENFORCED FRAUDS to give opportunities to some possible groups of controlled opposition to take advantage of that, to perhaps emerge as the new version of professional liars and immaculate hypocrites, who will be able to operate some new version of organized lies, operating robberies, who may mostly still get away with being some modified versions of still oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, due to social success still being based upon the best available professional liars and immaculate hypocrites, who were able to survive through those transformations, so that the new systems arise from some of the seeds of the old systems.

At the present time, it is extremely difficult to imagine how the human species could possibly reconcile progress in physical science by surpassing that with progress in political science. Rather, what mostly exists now is the core of organized crime, which gets away with spouting the bullshit about itself, such as how the banksters dominate the mass media, and the lives of everyone else who depend upon the established monetary system (which is dominated by the current ways that governments ENFORCE FRAUDS by privately controlled banks), while that core of organized crime has no publicly significant opposition that is not controlled by the ways that they think, which ways stay within the basic bullshit world view, as promoted by the biggest bullies for thousands of years, and as more and more scientifically promoted to brainwash the vast majority of people to believe in that kind of bullshit so completely that it mostly does not occur to them that they are doing that, and certainly almost never occurs to them that they are doing that in the most profoundly absurd and backward ways possible.

That is how and why it is possible for an author like Roberts to correctly point out the ways in which the government of the USA is transforming into being more blatantly based on organized crime ... HOWEVER, Roberts is not willing and able to go through deeper levels of intellectual scientific revolutions, in order to recognize how and why governments were always necessarily manifestations of organized crime. Therefore, as is typically the case, Roberts does not recognize how ironically he recommends that Americans should "face the facts," while he himself does not fully do so.

The whole history of Neolithic Civilizations was social pyramid systems based on being able to back up lies with violence, becoming more sophisticated systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, which currently manifest as the globalized electronic frauds of the banksters, were are backed up by the governments (that those banksters effectively control) having atomic bombs. Those are the astronomically amplified magnitudes of the currently existing combined money/murder systems. Therefore, it appears to be politically impossible at the present time to develop better governments, due to the degree that almost everyone is either a member of the core groups of organized crime, or members of the surrounding layers of groups of controlled opposition, both of which want to stay within the same overall bullshit frame of reference, because, so far, their lives have been socially successful by being professional liars and immaculate hypocrites.

Ironically, I doubt that someone like Roberts, or pretty well everyone else whose material is published on Zero Hedge is able and willing to recognize the degree to which they are actually controlled opposition. Indeed, even more ironically, as I have repeated before, even Cognitive Dissonance, when he previously stated on Zero Hedge: "The absolute best controlled opposition is one that doesn't know they are controlled." DOES NOT "GET IT" regarding the degree to which he too is controlled opposition, even while superficially attempting to recognize and struggle with that situation. (Indeed, of course, that includes me too, since I am still communicating using the English language, which was the natural language that most developed to express the biggest bullies' bullshit world view.)

Overall, I REPEAT, the deeper problems are due to progress in physical science, NOT being surpassed by progress in political science. Instead, while there EXIST globalized electronic frauds, backed by atomic bombs, practically nothing regarding the ways of thinking that made that science and those technologies possible has found any significant expression through political science, because political science would have to go through even more profound paradigm shifts within itself in order to do that.

The INTENSE PARADOXES continue to be the manifestation of the oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, that deliberately refuses to become any more genuinely scientific about itself. Therefore, the banksters have been able to pay for the best scientific brainwashing that money could buy, for generation after generation, in order to more and more brainwash most of the American People to believe in the banksters' bullshit world view. While there exist electronic frauds, backed by atomic bombs, practically nothing regarding the physical science paradigm shifts that made that possible have even the slightest degree of public appreciation within the realms of politics today, which are almost totally dominated by the biggest bullies' bullshit world view, despite that being as absurdly backwards as possible, while the controlled opposition groups, mostly in the form of old-fashioned religions and ideologies, continue to stay within that same bullshit world view, and adamantly refuse to change their perceptual paradigms regarding political problems.

However, I REPEAT, the issues we face are NOT that governments have transformed to become criminal enterprises, but that governments were always necessarily criminal enterprises, which had the power to legalized their own lies, and then back those lies up with legalized violence. Thereby, the best organized criminals, the international bankers, as the biggest gangsters, or the banksters, were able to apply the methods of organized crime through the political processes. Meanwhile, the only "opposition" that was allowed to be publicly significant was controlled, to basically stay within the same bullshit world view, which is what Roberts has done in his series of articles, as well as what is almost always presented in the content published on Zero Hedge.

The NEXT LEVEL of "the need to face the facts" is to recognize that the political economy is based upon ENFORCED FRAUDS, or systems of debt slavery backed by wars based on deceits. However, the NEXT LEVEL "the need to face the facts" is the that the only possible changes are to change the dynamic equilibria between the different systems of organized lies operating robberies, i.e., change those ENFORCED FRAUDS, in ways which CAN NOT STOP THOSE FROM STILL BEING ENFORCED FRAUDS, because of the degree to which money is necessarily measurement backed by murder.

For the American People, as well as the rest of the world's people, to stop being such dismal FAILURES would require them to become more competent citizens. However, at the present time they appear to be totally unable to do that, because they are unwilling to go through the profound paradigm shifts that it would take them to become more competent citizens inside of world where there exist globalized electronic frauds, backed by atomic bombs. The vast majority of the American People would not like to go through the severe cognitive dissonance that would be required, to not only recognize that "their" government was a criminal enterprise, but that it also must be, and that they too must necessarily be members of that organized crime gang. However, without that degree of perceptual paradigm shifts of the political problems, then enough of the American People could not become more competent citizens.

Somehow, most people continue to count on themselves never having to think about how and why progress was achieved in physical science, by going through series of profound paradigm shifts in the ways that we perceived the world. Most people continue to presume that it is not necessary for their perception of politics to go through profound paradigm shifts, that surpass those which have already been achieved in physical science. We continue to live in an oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, that employs science and technology to become better at being dishonest and violent, but does not apply science and technology to "face the facts" about that scientific dictatorship as a whole.

At the present time, technologies which have become trillions of times more capable and powerful are primarily used as special effects within the context of repeating the same old-fashioned, stupid social stories, such as promoted by the biggest bullies, and their surrounding controlled opposition groups. Ironically, especially when it comes to politics, that tends to manifest the most atavistic throwbacks to old-fashioned religions and ideologies being relied upon to propose bogus "solutions," despite that those kinds of social stories adamantly refuse to change their paradigms in light of the profound paradigms shifts which have been achieved in physical science.

The article above was another illustration of the ways that the typical reactionary revolutionaries, Black Sheeple, or controlled opposition groups, respond to recognizing the more and more blatant degrees to which there has been an accelerating "transformation of government into a criminal enterprise." THE PROBLEM IS THAT THEY CONTINUE TO STAY WITHIN THE SAME OLD-FASHIONED BULLSHIT-BASED FRAME OF REFERENCE, INSTEAD, AROUND AND AROUND WE GO, STUCK IN THE SAME DEEPENING RUTS, since they do NOT more fully "face the facts" regarding how and why the only realistic solutions to the real problems would require developing better organized crime. INSTEAD, they continue to promote the same dualities based upon false fundamental dichotomies, and the associate bogus "solutions" based upon impossible ideals ...

Given that overall situation, that there there almost nothing which is publicly significant than the core of organized crime, surrounded by controlled opposition groups, I see no reasonable hopes for the foreseeable material future of a civilization controlled by ENFORCED FRAUDS, since there is no publicly possible ways to develop better dynamic equilibria between the different systems of organized lies operating robberies, since the biggest forms of doing that were most able to get away with pretending that they are not doing that, which was facilitated by their controlled opposition promoting the opinions that nobody should do that, while actually everyone must be doing that.

Roberts' article above, to me, was another typical example of superficially correct analysis, which implies some bogus "solutions" because those are based upon the same superficiality. It is NOT good enough to recognize "transformation of government into a criminal enterprise," unless one goes through deeper levels of analysis regarding how and why that is what actually exists, and then, one should continue to be consistent with that deeper analysis when one turns to proposing genuine solutions to those problems, namely, I REPEAT THAT the only realistic resolutions to the real political problems requires the transformation of government into a better organized criminal enterprise, which ideally should be based upon enough citizens who are competent enough to understand that they are members of an organized crime gang, which should assert themselves to make sure that their country becomes better organized crime.

[Dec 04, 2017] The drive for world hegemony generally, and financial hegemony specifically exhast the nation. Neoliberal elite like Bolsheviks in the past have sacrificed America's enormous and creative productive capacities, as well as its socio-political well-being in the quest for their goal. Soon they might start sacrificing their vassals (the EU's) as well.

Dec 04, 2017 | www.unz.com

Erebus , Next New Comment December 4, 2017 at 1:39 am GMT

@jacques sheete

I hope you're correct

If their words (and deeds) are any indication, they have taken measure of the damage that's been, and continues to be done to both the American state and its people by Hegemony generally, and financial hegemony ($ Reserve) specifically. That "One Ring to Rule " has a pull on those who have, or seek power that's all but irresistible, and they've sacrificed America's enormous and creative productive capacities, and finally its socio-political coherence in support of their lunge for it. After that process was reaching its apex, they started sacrificing their vassals' (the EU's) as well. That the inevitability of such an outcome was noted and decried in academic circles in the '60s (even the '50s) went ignored. Its poets and seers, of course had been decrying it from Spengler (even Nietzsche) onwards.
Half a century later, here we are. "No-one saw it coming"? Yeah, my flaming arse

The lesson is that ultimately, Hegemony destroys the nation that goes for it, and if they're not sufficiently deft at pulling themselves away, its vassals as well.

That's the lesson from history a few people here would do well to learn. Both the Chinese and Russian "empire(s)" learned this lesson several times in their long histories, and don't need to re-learn it. China's borders changed little for a millennium (or even 2), Russia's for centuries. Their current leadership knows it well. The founders of the US knew it and tried to inoculate their new nation against its siren call. Its more recent rulers forgot or never learned it. There's always a first time, I guess.

Whether or not the Russian & Chinese elites have honestly learned the lessons of history, the reality is that seeking Global Hegemony in a world that's entering the "right hand side" of the anomalous developmental/demographic step function that the 19th and 20th centuries represent is a fool's errand. There's no there there. The low-hanging resource fruits that sustain profitable Hegemonic control, much less growth are gone, and they ain't coming back. To attempt it is to set a course for the abyss, and perhaps take your vassals and, in the nuclear age, even the RoW with you.

To be sure, Russia and China's current leadership will be replaced, and whether their successors will be as enlightened is a crap shoot. 'Twas ever thus. As the 21stC goes by, the world's and individual nations' leadership and situation will morph with the times. Multipolarity is not some infinitely powerful panacea that solves all of humanity's problems forever. It's simply the only viable answer to the problems posed by Globalization in a world of diminishing resources, and offers a template (mutatis mutandis) that can be used in solving future problems. Only up to a point, of course but multipolarity's great advantage as a global system is that it can dissolve itself, in whole or in part without threatening life on earth. Global Hegemony carries far greater risks when it fails.

Beckow , Next New Comment December 3, 2017 at 9:32 pm GMT
@Vidi

"U.S. imports goods and "pays" for them with printed money, it is basically stealing those goods"

Yes, that's technically true. But as with lying, it takes two to do it. A lier needs a willing accomplice to lie to, and a scam with fiat money also requires two sides to do the transactions. US has invested a lot (of that same printed money) to buy itself elite loyalty in Europe. It is the core of the system – people in Europe who play along get rewarded.

So it can go on for quite some time. It is a well-thought out system. As with all quasi-pyramide schemes it stops working when it cannot grow more and starts shrinking. That's when people head for the exits. The same positive dynamic that drove it on the way up creates a panic on the way down. We are probably one or two generations away from that point – there is a lot of room to grow left. And all the resistance around the world makes it more stable because it provides a meaning and a sense of boundaries.

Beckow , Next New Comment December 3, 2017 at 10:13 pm GMT
@Erebus

"Things are going wobbly again"

Why do you think so? I think we are about to enter an occasional plateau and things will be stable or even improve for a while.

The Rome analogies are instructive, but they only take you so far. E.g. Rome was collapsing for about two centuries, on and off. Rome was also infinitely more brutal than today's West and the 'barbarians' were real barbarians, not aspiring migrants led by well-paid NGO comprador class.

Why do you think it is getting wobbly?

Beckow , Next New Comment December 3, 2017 at 10:13 pm GMT
@Erebus

"Things are going wobbly again"

Why do you think so? I think we are about to enter an occasional plateau and things will be stable or even improve for a while.

The Rome analogies are instructive, but they only take you so far. E.g. Rome was collapsing for about two centuries, on and off. Rome was also infinitely more brutal than today's West and the 'barbarians' were real barbarians, not aspiring migrants led by well-paid NGO comprador class.

Why do you think it is getting wobbly?

[Dec 03, 2017] West has over-reached and can barely handle its own problems

The problem is that neoliberal ideology entered the state of the crisis in 2008 much like Bolshevik ideology entered the crisis after WWII. The USSR managed to survive for another 50 years after that.
Notable quotes:
"... Multipolar is just that – leave exercise of power and responsibility as close to the local situation as possible. Brussels telling Poland who should be a TV presenter, or Washington deciding what people in rural Hungary should read is idiotic. What's the point of all this busy-body behaviour? It is always justified by some slogans about preventing 'human rights violations'. Right. We have seen the results – a lot more people have died and suffered because of 'humanitarian' interventions than from anything else in the last 20+ years. ..."
"... I do find the current rapprochement between Russia and the major Moslem states amusing. It goes beyond Turkey and Iran, Moscow is working all of them, Egypt, Sudan, I suspect it is a clever attempt to beat US at its own game – US has spent about four decades arming and unleashing any Islamic force it could find against Russians (and Slavs in general), using methods that were beyond brutal and hypocrisy that eventually backfired. Maybe turning it around is a good strategy. It is inconsistent, but when you fight extreme stupidity, often the only thing that works is to use more stupidity ..."
"... Orwell's vision is but one of the possibilities. Another is Armageddon. Yet another is a "(Failed) West and a multipolar Rest". The latter is what I think will actually happen in the near and medium term. Things being what they are, it may even be the best we can hope for. ..."
"... I don't see any other power than the West (=US) aspiring to 'manage the world'. Maybe some ISIS fanatics have the same dream, but they are not in a position to achieve it. West has 'managed' it very poorly: mindless interventions, wars, migrants, hypocrisy, threats and blackmail. ..."
"... The other 'powers' have very modest, regional aspirations. Russia or China really don't care that much who wins the elections in Portugal, or what regional papers write in Hungary – US seems to be obsessed with it. And the only justification that Western defenders offer when pressed is that 'there would be a vacuum' and 'Russians would move in'. This is obvious nonsense and only elderly paranoid Cold Warrior types believe it ..."
"... Europeans have been invited to join the Eurasian Project, to create a continental market from "Lisbon to Vladivostok". Latent dreams of Hegemony hold at least some of their elites back. ..."
"... The West rode an ahistorical rogue wave of development to a point just short of Global Hegemony. That wave broke, and is now rolling back out into the world leaving the West just short of its civilizational resource requirements. No way to get back on a broken wave. In any case, China now holds the $$$ hammer, and Russia holds the military hammer, and they've now got the surfboard. Both of them, led by historically aware elites, know that Hegemony doesn't work, so will focus on keeping their neck of the woods as stable & prosperous as possible while hell blazes elsewhere. ..."
Dec 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

Beckow , December 2, 2017 at 4:19 am GMT

@peterAUS

"The same "hegemon with allies/vassals" as it is now, only in that case divided in three"

Why? There is absolutely nothing about 'multipolar' that dictates three, or four 'hegemons', or even lists who would the 'multis' be. The idea is simply that most people, most of the time are better off left alone.

Is that so hard to understand? Why should people in Washington (or Moscow, Beijing, Brussels, ) be intimately involved with how others live their lives, with their fights and alliances? Knowledge always dissipates with distance, and most of the 'masters of the universe' are not that smart to start with.

Multipolar is just that – leave exercise of power and responsibility as close to the local situation as possible. Brussels telling Poland who should be a TV presenter, or Washington deciding what people in rural Hungary should read is idiotic. What's the point of all this busy-body behaviour? It is always justified by some slogans about preventing 'human rights violations'. Right. We have seen the results – a lot more people have died and suffered because of 'humanitarian' interventions than from anything else in the last 20+ years.

I do find the current rapprochement between Russia and the major Moslem states amusing. It goes beyond Turkey and Iran, Moscow is working all of them, Egypt, Sudan, I suspect it is a clever attempt to beat US at its own game – US has spent about four decades arming and unleashing any Islamic force it could find against Russians (and Slavs in general), using methods that were beyond brutal and hypocrisy that eventually backfired. Maybe turning it around is a good strategy. It is inconsistent, but when you fight extreme stupidity, often the only thing that works is to use more stupidity

Erebus , December 2, 2017 at 8:48 am GMT
@Beckow

"The same "hegemon with allies/vassals" as it is now, only in that case divided in three"

Why? There is absolutely nothing about 'multipolar' that dictates three, or four 'hegemons', or even lists who would the 'multis' be. The idea is simply that most people, most of the time are better off left alone.

Peter's is the apocalyptic view made famous by Orwell. He may be right, it may all unravel and Oceania, Eurasia & Eastasia run a classic 3-power calculus of shifting alliances in a struggle for control of the "hinterlands". Not at all impossible, but certainly not what the proponents of the multipolar world want.

The idea is much more than the notion that most people want to "be left alone". The Multipolar world as it is actually being constructed by its proponents, from its monetary structures to its security, commercial and trade regimes, is precisely the attempt to prevent that Orwellian development in the face of Western decline. Their foundational tenet is that Globalization as a world-historical trend is here to stay (for at least the next few generations), and the "compartmentalization" of the world into alliances and hegemonies as historically occurred is no longer a viable option. The 3 Orwellian powers are all nuclear now, and the #1 priority is to mitigate the risk of war between them. Best to do that by dissolving them into a matrix of commercial and developmental programs that they'd be loathe to destroy.

EG: Though Russia considers both China and Iran "strategic partners", there is no formal alliance with either of them, and there won't be. Alliances cannot be "forbidden", but the countries that have signed onto the multipolar world program view alliances with suspicion.

As a introduction to the coming multipolar world, Kupchan's Western-centric analysis is a good place to start: https://www.amazon.com/No-Ones-World-Council-Relations/dp/0199325227
"Kupchan provides a detailed strategy for striking a bargain between the West and the rising rest by fashioning a new consensus on issues of legitimacy, sovereignty, and governance."

Assuming he even knows the least thing about what the multipolar world is trying to do, Peter's view is that their attempt will fail. Maybe so.
To "fashion a new consensus on issues of legitimacy, sovereignty, and governance" requires that the professional criminal class that grabbed the remains of Western power a decade and a half ago has been forced to let go. If not, the world indeed faces an abyss.

Orwell's vision is but one of the possibilities. Another is Armageddon. Yet another is a "(Failed) West and a multipolar Rest". The latter is what I think will actually happen in the near and medium term. Things being what they are, it may even be the best we can hope for.

Beckow , December 2, 2017 at 9:48 pm GMT
@Erebus

"(Failed) West and a multipolar Rest". The latter is what I think will actually happen in the near and medium term.

I think we already have it, except I don't think West has failed yet. Or it has in a way, the process of failing goes on, but the consequences have not been felt much in the West yet.

I don't see any other power than the West (=US) aspiring to 'manage the world'. Maybe some ISIS fanatics have the same dream, but they are not in a position to achieve it. West has 'managed' it very poorly: mindless interventions, wars, migrants, hypocrisy, threats and blackmail.

The other 'powers' have very modest, regional aspirations. Russia or China really don't care that much who wins the elections in Portugal, or what regional papers write in Hungary – US seems to be obsessed with it. And the only justification that Western defenders offer when pressed is that 'there would be a vacuum' and 'Russians would move in'. This is obvious nonsense and only elderly paranoid Cold Warrior types believe it (peterAUS?). What is really going on is that West has over-reached and can barely handle its own problems. So they scream 'Russians are coming' to distract, or to prolong the agony. Russians are not coming, they don't care in 2017, they can barely control their huge territory today. More you see squealing and lying in the Western media, more it shows that they have not much else to work with.

Erebus , Next New Comment December 3, 2017 at 7:18 am GMT
@Beckow

"(Failed) West and a multipolar Rest". The latter is what I think will actually happen in the near and medium term.

I think we already have it, except I don't think West has failed yet. Or it has in a way, the process of failing goes on, but the consequences have not been felt much in the West yet.

Well, exogenous events aside, "decline and fall" is necessarily a process. A series of steps and plateaus is typical. A major step occurred in 2007/8, when the money failed. The bankers, in a frankly heroic display of coordination, propped up the $$$ and the West got a decade long plateau. Things are going wobbly again, financially speaking and I suspect the next step function to occur rather soon. Stays of execution have been exhausted, so it'll be interesting how the West handles it, and how the RoW reacts.

Europeans have been invited to join the Eurasian Project, to create a continental market from "Lisbon to Vladivostok". Latent dreams of Hegemony hold at least some of their elites back. The USA has also been invited, but its dreams remain much more virile. That is, until Trump who's backers seem to read the writing on the wall better than the Straussians.

I don't see any other power than the West (=US) aspiring to 'manage the world' .
The other 'powers' have very modest, regional aspirations US seems to be obsessed with it.

The fact is that the rise of the West to global dominance is due to a historical anomaly. It was fuelled (literally) by the discovery and harnessing of the chemical energy embedded in coal (late 18thC) and then oil (late 19thC). The first doubled the population, and as first movers gave the West a running start. The second turned on the afterburners, and population grew >3.5 fold. Again the West led the way. To fuel that ahistorical step-function growth curve, control of resources on a global scale became its civilizational imperative.

That growth curve has plateaued, and the rest of the world has caught/is catching up developmentally. The resources the West needs aren't going to be available to it in the way they were 100 years ago. Them days is over, for everybody really, but especially for the West because it has depleted its own hi-ROI resources, and both of its means of control (IMF$ System & U$M) of what's left of everybody else's are failing simultaneously. So its plateau will not be flat, or not flat for long between increasingly violent steps.

The West rode an ahistorical rogue wave of development to a point just short of Global Hegemony. That wave broke, and is now rolling back out into the world leaving the West just short of its civilizational resource requirements. No way to get back on a broken wave. In any case, China now holds the $$$ hammer, and Russia holds the military hammer, and they've now got the surfboard. Both of them, led by historically aware elites, know that Hegemony doesn't work, so will focus on keeping their neck of the woods as stable & prosperous as possible while hell blazes elsewhere.

What is really going on is that West has over-reached and can barely handle its own problems.

IMHO, what's really going on is that the West's problems are simply symptomatic of what "decline and fall", if not "collapse" looks like from within a failing system. A long time ago I read the diary of a Roman nobleman who in the most matter-of-fact style wrote of exactly the same things Westerners complain about today. How this, that or the other thing no longer works the way it did. For all of his 60+ years, every day was infinitesimally worse than the day before, until finally he decides to pack up his Roman households and move to his estates in Spain. It took 170(iirc) more years of continuous decline until Alaric finally arrived at the Gates of Rome. If wholly due to internal causes, collapse is almost always a slow motion train wreck.

'there would be a vacuum' and 'Russians would move in'. This is obvious nonsense and only elderly paranoid Cold Warrior types believe it (peterAUS?).

Actually, it's just stupid. Cold Warrior or not, the view betrays a deep and abiding ignorance of both history and a large part of what drove the West's hegemonic successes. That both militate against anyone else ever even trying such a thing on a global scale can't be seen if you look at historical developments and the rest of the world through 10′ of 1″ pipe.

The idea that Russia wants/needs the Baltics is even more laughable than that it wants/needs the Ukraine or Poland. None of these tarbabies have anything to offer but trouble. Noisome flies on an elephant, it is only if they make themselves more troublesome as outsiders than they would be as vassals would Russia move.

Beckow , Next New Comment December 3, 2017 at 10:13 pm GMT
@Erebus

"Things are going wobbly again"

Why do you think so? I think we are about to enter an occasional plateau and things will be stable or even improve for a while. The Rome analogies are instructive, but they only take you so far. E.g. Rome was collapsing for about two centuries, on and off. Rome was also infinitely more brutal than today's West and the 'barbarians' were real barbarians, not aspiring migrants led by well-paid NGO comprador class. Why do you think it is getting wobbly?

[Dec 03, 2017] Stephen Kotkin How Vladimir Putin Rules

Highly recommended!
This is two years old Foreign Affair article, which actually can be viewed as a precursor of the current anti-Russian witch hunt. Foreign Affairs firmly belong to the neocons swamp, so be prepared ;-). As usual for such publications as Foreign Affairs comments are more interesting that the article. BTW the resistance to the neoliberal empire led by the USA can probably be mentioned as a part of Russian national idea. In this sense Stanislav Belkovsky observation that "the search for Russia's national idea, which began after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, is finally over. Now, it is evident that Russia's national idea is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin." Putin simply became expression of this resistance to neocolonial rule, much like Gandy became in India before.
The US neoliberal elite is fixated on the idea of destroying Russia much like Roman elite was fixated on the idea of destroying Carnage.
This analysis is from 2015 or two years from now. It Is interesting to compare it (along with comments) with he current situation and new developments...
Notable quotes:
"... "the search for Russia's national idea, which began after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, is finally over. Now, it is evident that Russia's national idea is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin." ..."
"... Russia is classified as a high-income economy by the World Bank (having a per capita GDP exceeding $14,000). Its unemployment remains low (around five percent); until recently, consumer spending had been expanding at more than five percent annually; life expectancy has been rising; and Internet penetration exceeds that of some countries in the European Union. ..."
"... it is the predatory West's efforts to enslave people to the European weltanschauung. ..."
"... This is no World Order: it a man eat man world that has been created. ..."
"... Before America decided to KILL Gadhafi by indiscriminatingly arming gangsters to carry out their will, the incipient-unity state of Libya did not have the sectarian violence that we presently hear about. ..."
"... let us examine your assertion for a moment: Bush was a Moron but Saddam was a murderous dictator. By your logic we American must be the epitome of Moron-ness, for we ELECTED Bush; Iraqis must be a gentle and good people who were overpowered by the Saddam, the Murderous Dictator.. ..."
"... By the way, how many Iraqis did Saddam murder? And then, how many Iraqis were murdered, at the command of Bush? Since the Iraqis were killed/murdered at the command of Bush, and Americans elected Bush, Americans are responsible for the murders. We Americans have blood on our hands! ..."
"... My assertion is that America is responsible for 2'000'000 deaths in Iraq ..."
"... Dear Jamil: As an American citizen, I take my hat off to you for telling the exact truth -- that the terrorist state is the United States of America and our media's propaganda stream is now in overdrive, especially in regard to Russia, which is our latest target. ..."
"... The US State Department's Victoria Nuland and our CIA (+ Blackwater mercenaries) installed the puppet Yatsenyuk/Poroshenko govt. in Kiev (to do our bidding) and CIA Dir. James Brennan himself went to Kiev to launch the civil war against the Eastern provinces that Europeans, at least, are now trying to bring to a halt. The US does leave nothing but failed states behind it, and Western Ukraine will be the next failed state in a long list. Since the end of WWII, the best estimate is that the United States, in 67 military operations and countless covert CIA operations, has destroyed between 20 and 30 million people world-wide, largely in the interest of commandeering their resources or serving the interests of the banks to which they owe money--money they were usually cajoled into borrowing. ..."
"... I hold to my original point that Islamic terrorism has been created by unjustified Western interference. ..."
"... He advocates a world ruled by an elite (unspecified). ..."
"... You seem unable to differentiate between an imperialist and a "good Samaritan". You had earlier written that, as a street walker in Europe you had not seen any slaves, my response to that posting simply told you where you could go to see slavery. And specific reference to India was simply to help you find slavery most easily - with 14 million slaves India is the centre of Modern Slavery. However, in my conversations with Indians, especially the demi-literate ones, instead of admitting to the prevailing REALITY in India, they do not admit to seeing it. With their eyes open, the street walkers do not see it ..."
"... Putin-Putin-Putin-Putin-Putin-Putin... :)) Hmmm... oк, about Putin: Look at Putin's foreign agenda this past year: Latin America just as the sanctions came in - an intentional finger in Washington's eye, as I read it - then China, China again recently, Turkey more recently, India just now. He has not been to Iran, but there, as in all these other places, he has forged or reiterated promising relations. The deals cut are too numerous to list. A couple are worth mentioning. The twin gas deals with China, worth nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars, are historic all by themselves. In six years' time China will be buying more gas from Russia than the latter now sells to Europe. And do not miss this: My sources tell me that this gas can be priced such as to crowd the U.S. at least partially out of the Asian market. Other side of the world: Putin has just canceled a planned pipeline to southeastern Europe, the South Stream. This is the defeat Western media put it over as, surely: Russia loses some customers ..."
Mar 28, 2015 | Foreign Affairs
How did twenty-first-century Russia end up, yet again, in personal rule? An advanced industrial country of 142 million people, it has no enduring political parties that organize and respond to voter preferences.

The military is sprawling yet tame; the immense secret police are effectively in one man's pocket. The hydrocarbon sector is a personal bank, and indeed much of the economy is increasingly treated as an individual fiefdom. Mass media move more or less in lockstep with the commands of the presidential administration.

Competing interest groups abound, but there is no rival cen