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Disaster capitalism

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In her groundbreaking book The Shock Doctrine The Rise of Disaster Capitalism  Naomi Klein  has shown how From Chile in 1973 to Iraq today, neoliberals have repeatedly harnessed terrible shocks and violence to implement their radical policies or neoliberalization and debt enslavement of the weaker countries. This concept is closely related to the concepts of Military-Industrial Complex and Predator state. Amazon review of the book states:

Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine advances a truly unnerving argument: historically, while people were reeling from natural disasters, wars and economic upheavals, savvy politicians and industry leaders nefariously implemented policies that would never have passed during less muddled times. As Klein demonstrates, this reprehensible game of bait-and-switch isn't just some relic from the bad old days. It's alive and well in contemporary society, and coming soon to a disaster area near you.

"At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq'' civil war, a new law is unveiled that will allow Shell and BP to claim the country's vast oil reserves… Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly outsources the running of the 'War on Terror' to Halliburton and Blackwater… After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts… New Orleans residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be re-opened." Klein not only kicks butt, she names names, notably economist Milton Friedman and his radical Chicago School of the 1950s and 60s which she notes "produced many of the leading neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in Washington today." Stand up and take a bow, Donald Rumsfeld.

There's little doubt Klein's book--which arrived to enormous attention and fanfare thanks to her previous missive, the best-selling No Logo, will stir the ire of the right and corporate America. It's also true that Klein's assertions are coherent, comprehensively researched and footnoted, and she makes a very credible case. Even if the world isn't going to hell in a hand-basket just yet, it's nice to know a sharp customer like Klein is bearing witness to the backroom machinations of government and industry in times of turmoil. --Kim Hughes 

Publishers Weekly review adds to this:

The neo-liberal economic policies—privatization, free trade, slashed social spending—that the Chicago School and the economist Milton Friedman have foisted on the world are catastrophic in two senses, argues this vigorous polemic. Because their results are disastrous—depressions, mass poverty, private corporations looting public wealth, by the author's accounting—their means must be cataclysmic, dependent on political upheavals and natural disasters as coercive pretexts for free-market reforms the public would normally reject. Journalist Klein (No Logo) chronicles decades of such disasters, including the Chicago School makeovers launched by South American coups; the corrupt sale of Russia's state economy to oligarchs following the collapse of the Soviet Union; the privatization of New Orleans's public schools after Katrina; and the seizure of wrecked fishing villages by resort developers after the Asian tsunami. Klein's economic and political analyses are not always meticulous. Likening free-market shock therapies to electroshock torture, she conflates every misdeed of right-wing dictatorships with their economic programs and paints a too simplistic picture of the Iraq conflict as a struggle over American-imposed neo-liberalism. Still, much of her critique hits home, as she demonstrates how free-market ideologues welcome, and provoke, the collapse of other people's economies. The result is a powerful populist indictment of economic orthodoxy. 

Selected Amazon reviews

Steve Koss VINE VOICE on September 25, 2007

A Stunning and Well-Researched Indictment of Friedmanian Neoliberalism
 

Naomi Klein's THE SHOCK DOCTRINE is a stunning indictment of American corporatism and institutionalized globalization, on a par with such groundbreaking works as Harrington's THE OTHER AMERICA and Chomsky's HEGEMONY OR SURVIVAL. Comprehensive in its breadth and remarkable for its well-researched depth, Klein's book is a highly readable but disturbing look at how the neoliberal economic tenets of Milton Friedman have been implemented across the world over the last thirty-plus years.

The author's thesis is simply stated: that neoliberal economic programs have repeatedly been implemented without the consent of the governed by creating and/or taking advantage of various forms of national shock therapy. Ms. Klein asserts that in country after country, Friedman and his Chicago School followers have foisted their tripartite economic prescription - privatization, deregulation, and cutbacks in social welfare spending - on an unsuspecting populace through decidedly non-democratic means. In the early years, the primary vehicle was dictatorial military force and accompanying fear of arrest, torture, disappearance, or death. Over time, new organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank were employed instead, using or creating impossible debt burdens to force governments to accept privatization of state-owned industries and services, complete removal of trade barriers and tariffs, forced acceptance of private foreign investment, and widespread layoffs. In more recent years, terrroism and its response as well as natural disasters like hurricanes and tsunamis have wiped clean enough of the slate to impose these Friedmanite policies on people too shocked and focused on recovering to realize what was happening until it was too late.

According to Ms. Klein's thesis, these revolutionary economic programs were the "medicine" deemed necessary by neoliberal, anti-Keynesian economists to bring underdeveloped countries into the global trading community. Ms. Klein argues her case in convincing detail a long chronological line of historical cases. Each chapter in her book surveys one such situation, from Chile under Pinochet and Argentina under military junta through Nicaragua and Honduras, Bolivia under Goni, post-apartheid South Africa, post-Solidarity Poland, Russia under Yeltsin, China since Tiananmen, reconstruction of Iraq after the U.S. invasion, Sri Lanka after the tsunami, Israel after 9/11, and New Orleans post-Katrina. Along the way, she lets various neoliberal economists and Chicago School practitioners speak for themselves - we hear their "shock therapy" views in their own words. As just one example, this arrogant and self-righteous proclamation from the late Professor Friedman: "Only a crisis - actual or perceived - producs real change...our basic function, to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable."

What the author makes inescapably clear is that the world economic order has been largely remade in Milton Friedman's image in the last few decades by adopting programs that would never have been democratically accepted by the common people. Military coups, violence and force, wars, induced hyperinflation, terrorism, preemptive war, climate disasters - these have been the disruptive vehicles that allowed such drastic economic packages to be imposed. Nearly always, they are developed in secrecy and implemented too rapidly for citizens to respond. The end results, as Ms.Klein again makes clear, are massive (and too often, continuing) unemployment, large price increases for essential goods, closing of factories, enormous increases in people living in poverty, explosive concentration of wealth among a small elite, and extraordinary opportunity for rapacious capitalism from American and European corporations.

Ms. Klein argues that from its humble beginnings as an economic philosophy, the neoliberal program has evolved (or perhaps devolved) into a form of corporatism. Particularly in America, government under mostly Republican adminstrations has hollowed itself out, using private sector contractors for nearly every conceivable task. Companies ranging from Lockheed and Halliburton to ChoicePoint, Blackwater, CH2M Hill, and DynCorp exist almost entirely to secure lucrative government contracts to perform work formerly done by government. They now operate in a world the author describes as "disaster capitalism," waiting and salivating over the profits to be made in the next slate-wiping war or disaster, regardless of the human cost. In an ominous closing discussion, Ms. Klein describes the privatization of government in wealthy Atlanta suburbs, a further step in self-serving and preemptive corporatism guaranteed to hollow out whatever is left of major American cities if it becomes a widespread practice.

THE SHOCK DOCTRINE is truly a head-shaking read. One can only marvel at the imperiousness of past (mostly) American governmental behavior, the grievous callousness of it all, the massive human despair and suffering created for no other reason than economic imperialism, and the nauseating greed of (mostly Republican) politicians, former political operatives, and corporate executives who prey like pack wolves on people's powerlessness and insecurity. Reading this book, one can no longer ask the question, "Why do they hate us?" The answer is obvious, and no amount of hyperventilation from Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, or Fox News can erase the facts and consequences of behavior that we as a country have implicitly or explicitly endorsed.

THE SHOCK DOCTRINE proves itself as shaming of modern American governmental policy as Dee Brown's epic of 19th Century America, BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE. It is an essential read for intelligent citizens who want to understand the roots of globalization and its blowback effects on our lives.

Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 11, 2007

Format: Hardcover
**FYI** Please note to the best of my knowledge I am NOT related to Naomi Klein.**

If you wonder what happened to the middle class, why poverty is on the rise and what the economies in a democracracy, dictatorship and "communism" have in common, you'll find lots of food for thought in Naomi Klein's THE SHOCK DOCTRINE. Tracing the rise of the "Chicago Boys" laissez-faire economic beliefs, their impact on South America, China, Russia, Poland and South Africa and how it impacted their form of government, Klein makes a compelling argument for the flaws in Milton Friedman's economic science.

Naomi Klein's book looks at the conflict between Milton Friedman's "laissez-faire" approach to business and government where business is largely unregulated running itself and government is little more than a bare bones system. According to Klein, Friedman believed that the economic theories he espoused would be perfect and that any problems with it would be due to outside forces interferring with his free market world. His approach was in complete contrast to Keynes who believed that the prime mission of politicians and economists was to prevent unemployment and avoid a depression or recession by regulating the market place. People like John Kenneth Galbraith (heir to Keynes' mantle)believed part of the purpose of economic regulation was to keep our captalist system fair and prevent a small group of businesses from dominating the market. Galbraith also believed in bills like the Glass-Steagall act which created a firewall between Wall Street and various banking institutions (which former President Clinton helped to eliminate). The net result would be to prevent recreating disasters like the Great Depression and 1929 stock market crash (the current version of which contributed to part of the economic mess we're in today).

It's the conflict between these two economic philosphies that allows our economic world to thrive. You'll have to decide for yourself how accurately she reflects each man's philosphy based on what you know about each respective philosphy but I found, for the most part, that the book gave a pretty accurate summation of the benefits and issues at the core of each, as well as which classes benefit the most.

Klein suggests that "disaster capitalism", i.e., introducing radical changes in terms of economic and government policy when a country is in "shock" (taking advantage of the fact that massed resistence is unlikely to that change), is allowing the rise of unchecked multi-national corporations that take advantage of and damage our society in the process. She suggests that Friedman's beliefs that the market will manage itself and that free market capitalism undermined the Soviet Union is an idealized and naive belief. The impact for good and bad is that a business functions like a plant. If it receives too much sunlight and water, it will overgrow and strangle out everything else in the economic ecosystem. The net result would cause the system to become unbalanced with human suffering and economic disaster as the result if left unchecked. She traces a parallel path between the rise of Friedman's economic philosphy and the rise of human rights violations, rise and fall of various governments throughout the world and the opportunism of the business world to exploit it.

She ties all of this together looking at the economic policies and beliefs that are reshaping American society--for good and bad--into a different society where the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to expand and one where the free market society is being radically retooled. The result is a society where the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer. The pressured middle class continues to shrink. This undermines the foundation of our economic growth. This book will probably divide those along the more extreme political lines but has the ring of truth nevertheless.

Klein crafts a fascinating book. Although some of her observations might be a bit of a stretch and her arguments occasionally flawed, she provides compelling evidence to support her thesis and connects the dots of events that might otherwise appear to be unrelated. Whether or not you agree with Klein or are outraged by her evidence, you'll find plenty of food for thought in her book.

Justin M. Feldman on October 27, 2007

An important read with some shortcomings

Naomi Klein has written this book about the rise of what she calls "disaster capitalism": the global imposition/adoption of Chicago School (neoliberal) economics since the early 1970s. This is a particularly important book because, while many have written about the same topic, I have never seen it treated in a form that is both holistic (ie. a global history) and accessible (ie. largely free from the academic jargon of economics and social theory). The book does suffer from some problems however.

Klein's main thesis is problematic. She writes that the idea of economic shock therapy arose out of the same logic as Electric Convulsive Therapy (ECT). This idea is to create or exploit a destructive event in order to create regression, passivity, and a 'blank slate' on which to build a new order. In supporting this thesis, Klein uses all of Part I of her book to write about psychological torture and the CIA's mind control experiments. She attempts to develop a 'poetics of torture' that links the individual violence of ECT to the structural violence that occurs when neoliberalism is imposed as a governing strategy. Klein is no poet however, and the metaphor seems to die pretty early on in the book. She does thankfully offer a more implicit thesis that she invokes more regularly and supports more thoroughly: free markets did not develop through freedom, but through authoritarian or technocratic interventions.

Secondly, Klein treats capitalism as if it were only 35 years old. Her book however is thematically similar to the work of another woman who wrote on the same issues a century before: Rosa Luxemburg. By only going as far back as the rise of Keynsianism and developmentalism, Klein makes it seem as though neoliberalism is a radical historical exception. Yet it seems that, since the industrial revolution, it is Keynsianism that itself was the historical exception.

This book is mostly comprised of what are essentially case studies. Each case study could certainly be expanded into its own 600-page book, so simplification was necessary. I think that it is also necessary for the author to explicitly admit the complexity of any situation beyond just the power of market forces, which act strongly and ubiquitously but never alone. I think she does admit the shortcomings of her case studies for Israel/Palestine, South Africa, and Iraq (her best and most personally-involved ones), but not for the rest.

All in all, this book is worth a read and is a good introduction to one of the most powerful forces of our times. I just hope that it inspires people to read some other books that illuminate more of the complexities in regards to the theory and practice of neoliberalism in our communities, countries, and worlds.

 I particularly recommend David Harvey's A Brief History of Neoliberalism.

ByBrian F. "Nurse Ratched"on April 7, 2015

How shocking! (pun intended)

I have always been a bit of a history buff and have prided myself on knowing a lot of the history involving the US. Recently, I had an enlightening revelation; one which I think I always knew, but had never heard it articulated. Each of us looks at our place in the world in different ways. Some see the world sociologically, some see it economically and some see it politically. Obviously these three "slants" affect our interpretations, and I totally get that there is obvious cross-over. Within each of these areas there is a continuum and people line up (usually) to one side of center or the other. Until I read Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine, I had not realized just where I aligned. Obviously I was aware that my views tend to be colored with the politics of the world in which I find myself. Having studied some sociology I knew and could interpret things with that lens, as well. What I knew about economics, however, had never given me (that I know of) a different vantage point on history. Until now.

I read through a number of the one star reviews, as is my habit. I like to see what folks have to say who may not be a fan of leftist thought. Let's face it: There's thought (so-called "critical thinking") and then there's blind adherence to ideology. This seems to happen on a lot of levels and is a view shared by many with otherwise opposing world-views. Still, when I read the same old, re-hashed, regurgitated and repeated stuff.... maintaining the status quo, I have to cringe. When I read many of the one star "reviews", I saw a lot of this. One individual who offered quotes from founding father John Adams (among others) rightly pointed out that facts are annoying things. When Ms. Klein put words to paper, she obviously knew this might be an issue. She quotes not only people but documents in support of the argument at hand. Those who oppose her expose on idealogical grounds have often (not always) done so without having given the courtesy of reading the book. Of course, this happens all the time here, on Amazon. Those that have read the book seem to conveniently forget the documents and contemporary quotes of the individuals involved. Unfortunate.

So here's my synopsis (working from memory - I read the book a while ago): Free Market economy, imagined and theorized by Milton Friedman of the Chicago school (University of Chicago, school of economics) in the 50s got it's first real opportunity to prove its mettle in 1970 with Pinochet's coup in Chile. Adherents and followers saw "successes" and shortfalls with this first real-world experiment. The entire southern cone of South American nations experienced similar things, all of which Ms. Klein links through personnel involved to Friedman. They got the okay from Kissinger and the ball got rolling. After South America, then Poland, the USSR/Russia, South Africa, China, and a string of other economies fell into the Friedman fold. He was an advisor!

"Shock and Awe" is followed extremely closely by already laid plans being nearly instantly enacted in order to push through laws and edicts which stood no chance of being passed "democratically". Privatization is the mantra. Donald Rumsfeld was a HUGE Chicago school adherent/supporter who took the idea of privatization to the limit while Secretary of Defense under Bush II, cutting public sector jobs from the DOD with abandon. Iraq's "green zone" was a classic example of a nearly completely privatized entity. A country within a country. Katrina was dealt with in nearly the same manner.

I'll never look at history the same way again. My eyes have been opened. For those of you who will decry my review as leftist praise for a leftist writer... if you're in the 2% and are benefitting, financially, from all this privatization... I can understand you defending it. For ANYONE else, if you defend Laissez Faire / Free Market / or "Trickle Down" economics, you have my sympathy because you are supporting the means of your own suppression. Good Luck!

Pocketson February 20, 2015

Be Ready to be Shocked

This book explains how the CIA bankrolled and encouraged the exploitation and political overthrow of many countries around the world in the '60's, 70's and 80's including Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Iran, Nicaragua and many others. It helps one understand how the Neocons evolved into what their basic philosophy remains today. Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize winning economist, played a major role in this evolution and remained unapologetic about the misery that resulted from his economic model of creating change through shock. This book is very thorough and detailed in its presentation and reads like an exciting novel even though it is a factual reporting of real events.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORDER IT NOW

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Jews in the headline another slow thread.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what are the three times?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You mean something like the Samson option?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She has us all to herself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 09, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

shinola , November 8, 2019 at 3:26 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Darthbobber , November 8, 2019 at 8:43 pm

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

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

Darthbobber , November 8, 2019 at 8:38 pm

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

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

Nov 06, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Teamtc321 , 3 hours ago link

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Nov 04, 2019] https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Latvia

Nov 04, 2019 | www.numbeo.com
Rent Per Month [ Edit ]
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 347.60 € 200.00 - 500.00
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 254.24 € 150.00 - 350.00
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 619.85 € 350.00 - 1,000.00
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 439.12 € 250.00 - 600.00
Buy Apartment Price [ Edit ]
Price per Square Feet to Buy Apartment in City Centre 151.90 € 60.39 - 232.26
Price per Square Feet to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre 94.23 € 46.45 - 139.35
Salaries And Financing [ Edit ]
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) 755.46 €

[Nov 03, 2019] The Saker interviews Michael Hudson by Michael Hudson and The Saker

Nov 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

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Introduction: I recently spoke to a relative of mine who, due to her constant and voluntary exposure to the legacy AngloZionist media, sincerely believed that the three Baltic states and Poland had undergone some kind of wonderful and quasi-miraculous economic and cultural renaissance thanks to their resolute break with the putatively horrible Soviet past and their total submission to the Empire since. Listening to her, I figured that this kind of delusion was probably common amongst those who still pay attention and even believe the official propaganda. So I asked Michael Hudson, whom I consider to be the best US economists and who studied the Baltics in great detail, to reply to a few very basic questions, which he very kindly did in spite of being very pressed on time. Once again, I want to sincerely thank him for his kind time, support and expertise.

* * *

The Saker: The US propaganda often claims that the three Baltic states are a true success, just like Poland is also supposed to be. Does this notion have a factual basis? Initially it did appear that these states were experiencing growth, but was that not mostly/entirely due to EU/IMF/US subsidies? Looking specifically at the three Baltic states, and especially Latvia, these were the "showcase" Soviet republics, with a high standard of living (at least compared to the other Soviet republics) and a lot of high-tech industries (including defense contracts). Could you please outline for us what truly happened to these economies following independence? How did they "reform" their economies going from an ex-Soviet one to the modern "liberal" one?

Michael Hudson: This is a trick question, because it all depends on what you mean by "success."

The post-Soviet neoliberalism has been a great success for kleptocrats at the top. They gave themselves the public domain, from key industries to prime real estate. But the Balts largely let their Soviet industries collapse, making no effort to salvage or reorganize them.

Much of the problem, of course, was that all the linkages to Soviet-era industry were torn apart as the Soviet Union was disbanded. With their supplier and final markets closed down from Russia to Central Asia, the Baltic economies had to start afresh – with a very right-wing tax policy and no government help whatsoever, as the government itself had become privatized in the hands of former officials and grabitizers.

Lithuania was marginally better in having some industrial policy. EU and NATO accession in 2004, along with easy credit, kicked off property bubbles in the Baltics, largely inflated by Swedish banks that made a bonanza off these countries that lacked their own banks or public credit creation. The resulting 2008 crashes were the largest in the world as a percent of GDP, with Latvia suffering the world's biggest contraction.

The neoliberal western advisors who took control of these economies – as if this was the only alternative to Soviet bureaucracy – imposed crushing austerity programs to restore macroeconomic "stability" meaning security of their land and infrastructure grabs. This was applauded by Europe's bankers, who thought the Balts had discovered a workable recipe allowing austerity governments to retain power in a seeming democracy. These policies would have collapsed governments anywhere else, but the ability to emigrate, plus ethnic divisions against Russian speakers, allowed these governments to survive.

It's a historically specific situation, but Europe's bankers promote it as a generalized model. George Soros's INET and his associated front institutions have been leaders in subsidizing this financialization-cum-grabitization. The result has been a massive exodus of prime working age people from Lithuania and Latvia. (Estonians simply commute to Finland.) Meanwhile, their economies are buoyed by foreign bank lending, which sends profits back to home countries and can be reversed at any time.

Politically, the neoliberal revolution also has been a success for U.S. Cold Warriors, who sent over native Balts from Georgetown and other universities to impose "free market" doctrine – that is, a market "free" of domestic regulation against theft of the public domain, against monopolies, against land taxes and other income taxes. The Baltic states, like most of the rest of the former Soviet Union, became the Wild East.

What was left to the Baltic countries was land and real estate. Their forests are being cut down to sell wood abroad. I describe all this in my book Killing the Host .

The Saker: After independence, the Baltic states had tried to cut as many ties with Russia as possible. This included building (rather silly looking) fences, to forcing the Russians to develop their ports on the Baltic, to shutting down large (or selling to foreign interests which then shut them down) and profitable factories (including a large nuclear plant I believe), etc. What has been the impact of this policy of "economic de-Sovietization" on the local economies?

Michael Hudson: Dissolution of the Soviet Union meant that Baltic countries lost their traditional markets, and had to shift their focus to Western Europe and, to some extent, Asia.

Latvia and Estonia had been assigned computer and information technology, and they have found this to be much in demand. When I was in Japan, for instance, CEOs told me that they were looking to Latvia above all to outsource computer work.

Banking also was a surviving sector. Gregory Lautchansky, former vice-rector at the University of Riga had been a major player already in the 1980s for moving out Russian oil and KGB money. (His company, Nordex, was sold to Mark Rich.) Many banks continued to shepherd Russian flight capital via offshore banking centers into the United States, Britain and other countries. Cyprus of course was another big player in this.

The Saker: Russians are still considered "non-citizens" in the Baltic republics; what has been the economic impact of this policy, if any, of anti-Russian discrimination in the Baltic states?

ORDER IT NOW

Michael Hudson: Russian-speakers, who do not acquire citizenship (which requires passing local language and history tests), are blocked from political office and administrative work. While most Russian speakers below retirement age have now acquired that citizenship, the means by which citizenship must be acquired has caused divisions.

Early on in independence, many Russians were blocked from government, and they went into business, which was avoided by many native Balts during the Soviet era because it was not as remunerative as going into government and profiting from corruption. For instance, real estate was a burden to administer. Russian-speakers, especially Jewish ones, have wisely focused on real estate.

The largest political party is Harmony Center, whose members and leadership are mainly Russian-speaking. But the various neoliberal and nationalist parties have jointed to block its ability to influence law in Parliament.

Since Russian speakers are only able to "vote with their feet," many have joined in the vast outflow of emigration, either back to Russia or to other EU countries. Moreover, the poor quality of social benefits has led to few children being born.

The Saker: I often hear that a huge number of locals (including non-Russians) have emigrated from the Baltic states. What has caused this and what has been the impact of this emigration for the Baltic states?

Michael Hudson: The Baltic states, especially Latvia, have lost about 30 percent of their population since the 1990s, especially those of working age. In Latvia, about 10 percent of the loss were Russians who exited shortly after independence. The other 20 percent have subsequently emigrated.

The European Commission forecasts that Latvia's working-age population will decline by 1.6% annually for the next 20 years, while the birth rate remains as stagnant as it was in the late 1980s. The retired population (over age 65) will rise to half a million people by 2030, more than a quarter of today's population, and perhaps about a third of what remains. This is not a domestic market that will attract foreign or local investment.

And in any case, the European Union has viewed the post-Soviet economies simply as markets for their own industrial and agricultural exports, not as economies to be built up by public subsidy as the European countries themselves, the U.S. and Chinee economies have done. The European motto is, "Give a man a fish, and he will be fed all day with your surplus fish and consumer goods – but give him a fishing rod and we will lose a customer."

Readers who are interested might want to look at the following books and articles. I think the leading work has been done by Jeffrey Sommers and Charles Woolfson.

The Saker: Finally, what do you believe is the most likely future for these states? Will the succeed in becoming a "tiny anti-Russia" on Russia's doorstep? The Russians appear to have been very successful in their import-substitution program, at least when trying to replace the Baltic states: does that mean that the economic ties between Russia and these states is now gone forever? Is it now too late, or are there still measures these countries could take to reverse the current trends?

Michael Hudson: Trump's trade sanctions against Russia hurt the Baltic countries especially. One of their strong sectors was agriculture. Lithuania, for instance, was known for its cheese, even in Latvia. The sanctions led Russian dairy farming to develop their own cheese-making, and agriculture has become one of Russia's strongest performing sectors.

This is a market that looks like it will be permanently lost to the Baltic states. In effect, Trump is helping Russia follow precisely the policy that made American agriculture rich: agricultural isolation has forced domestic replacement for hitherto foreign food. I expect that this will lead to consumer goods and other products as well.

The Saker: thank you for your time and replies!


PeterMX , says: November 3, 2019 at 7:01 am GMT

I am in Tallinn, Estonia right now. Just how good an economy is performing is often hard to determine by talking to people, because like economists, many people have different perceptions. I was just talking to a Russian-Estonian who was telling me how much better Lithuanians and Latvians are then Estonians at doing things and how much cheaper things are there. It is true that things are much cheaper in the other Baltic countries because Estonia (a tiny country of just over 1 million people) has taken off. Since the 2008 econmic collapse housing prices have shot up and in Tallinn there is building going on all over the city. But, my acquaintance is wrong about other things. Estonians do things very well and Tallinn is a very nice city, with beautiful cafes, clean and well kept streets and crime is very low. It is a very good city, except it is now very expensive, especially considering how much people make here. The weather is not nice, except for in the summer and there are friendly Estonians but they don't have a reputation for being particularly friendly, even among themselves. I have not been back to Latvia yet, but when I was in Riga years ago, it was a gorgeous city, bigger than Tallinn too. I think they do things very well there too. The Russians I speak to here are often friendly and based on what I have been told, relations between Russians and Estonians are much better than when I was here in the early 2000's.

No offense is intended to Russians, but the Baltic countries had large German populations that played a key role in the development of the cultures and peoples of these countries. There were also many Jews here prior to WW II. By the time WW II had begun the German populations were much smaller than they had been and at the end of the war the Jewish populations were much smaller. Jews were targeted in Latvia and Lithuania and many Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians were shipped off to far off places in the USSR during the war. I believe the Jews were largely pro communist and welcomed the Soviet takeover of these countries in 1940, while the Latvian and Estonian peoples were pro German, thus explaining the hard feelings between Balts and Jews.. They wanted independence and formed legions to fight alongside the German army during WW II.

These countries were very advanced before WW II, having engineering industries and the Russian Empire's first auto company was formed in Riga before WW I. While engineering may have been restarted after WW II, these countries populations were decimated and they never returned to their former heights. Perhaps they still can.

GMC , says: November 3, 2019 at 7:33 am GMT
I'm assuming that these 3 East European countries are being bombarded with the same propaganda as the Ukies are, so Russian speakers and those intelligent enough to see the game being played will be belittled and isolated. But the Russian folks living in Russia have a birds eye view of what is going on in the west and their puppet countries. Russia TV and debate programs, just have to show the delinquencies that are daily happenings in the States, and Europe, in order to make the Ru people say – No Thanks to that way of life. As far as the new Russian cheeses that are now in the markets -lol – they make a lightly smoked gouda that is really good and is about 120-140 roubles a kilo. And, they are making more cheddar that is a white medium taste as well. No scarcity of good natural food in Russia and No POlice state. Spacibo Unz Rev.
Anonymous [159] Disclaimer , says: November 3, 2019 at 8:18 am GMT
The trade volume between Russia and the Baltic states has actually risen, despite the sanctions. The Baltics send food products and booze to Russia (and another 150 countries, food exports to Russia actually grew in 2016-2018). As well as chemical products and pharmaceuticals. Meldonium, btw, is made in Latvia and is still being sent to Russia (as well as 20 other countries), not for athletes, but for regular folks. Work is being carried out on a new generation Meldonium pill (the biggest market will be Russia).

Growth in the Baltic states has been 3-4% in the last few years. GDP per capita, as well as HDI, is higher than in Russia. Foreign investment, including from Russia, has been growing (Russia was the second largest investor in Latvia in 2018). Savings rates are growing, too. After a relative quiet period after 2010, the number of Russian (and other tourists) has grown again.

Estonia's population stopped shrinking in 2016 and is now growing in fact. They've seen immigration from Finland, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, as well as returning Estonians.

Emigration is a problem, of course, but this is partly because the Baltic states are the only former USSR republics whose citizens were even given work permits in the West, imagine what would happen if these permits were given to Russians from the regions.

Neo-liberal policies are of course bad and certain types of investment should be controlled, but to say that there are no social services in the Baltic states is complete nonsense. Due to generous parental payments, birthrates have risen significantly since the 1990s – in fact, birthrates in the Baltics are now slightly higher than the EU average. Life expectancy is also growing. Latvia covers IVF treatments in full. There are free school lunches.

Yes, it is true that some of the Soviet era factories should've been salvaged but the problem was they were not competitive globally at that time (and there was no capital to remodel them). The Soviet market was a closed one. However, some businesses were salvaged. There is local manufacturing (electronics, pharmaceuticals, etc).

Not everything is ideal, but it is also not the kind of gloom and doom as you paint.

Jake , says: November 3, 2019 at 11:46 am GMT
If the Anglo-Zionist Empire comes to save you, you should expect to be raped: culturally and religiously as well as economically.
onebornfree , says: Website November 3, 2019 at 3:48 pm GMT
Saker says: "Initially it did appear that these states were experiencing growth, but was that not mostly/entirely due to EU/IMF/US subsidies?"

"Foreign Aid Makes Corrupt Countries More Corrupt":

"Any time a government hands out money, not just foreign aid, it breeds corruption And there are few better examples than Ukraine – just don't tell the House impeachment hearings. Counting on foreign aid to reduce corruption is like expecting whiskey to cure alcoholism .If U.S. aid was effective, Ukraine would have become a rule of law paradise long ago . The surest way to reduce foreign corruption is to end foreign aid."

http://jimbovard.com/blog/2019/10/29/foreign-aid-makes-corrupt-countries-more-corrupt/

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: November 3, 2019 at 5:16 pm GMT
@onebornfree The EU gives every year about 2,500 million euros to the 3 Baltic countries ( 6 million people the three of them ) , and 9000 million euros to Poland ( 38 million people ) , plus more billions to other eastern members .

Older members of the EU , spetially the UK which is going out , Greece witch was tortured ( again ) economically by Germany , and south Europe in general are not very happy about admitting so many ex-soviets countries en the EU and subsidizing them .

AnonFromTN , says: November 3, 2019 at 9:31 pm GMT
@SeekerofthePresence

Recovery and self-sufficiency since Yeltsin show the brilliance of the Russian people

It's not so much brilliance as sheer necessity to survive under sanctions. But some results were better than anyone expected. Say, food before sanctions used to be so-so in the provinces and downright bad in Moscow because of abundance of imported crap. Now the food is exclusively domestic, fresh and tasty. Russia never had traditions of making fancy cheeses. Now, to bypass sanctions, quite a few Italian and French cheese-makers started production in Russia, so in the last 2-3 years domestically made excellent fancy cheeses appeared in supermarkets. Arguably, Russian agriculture benefited by sanctions more than any other sector, but there are success stories virtually in every industry. Sanctions and Ukrainian stupidity served as a timely wake up call for Russian elites, who earlier wanted to sell oil and natural gas and buy everything else. Replacing imports after the sanctions were imposed had a significant cost in the short run, but in the long run it made Russia much stronger, economically and militarily. Speak of unintended consequences.

Kazlu Ruda , says: November 3, 2019 at 11:58 pm GMT
My mom is from Lithuania and I've been there several times. We have second cousins our age.

Her father was a surveyor for the Republic in the 20s and 30s, charged with breaking up the manors and estates and the state distributing the land to the peasantry. It was near-feudalism. There was very little industrialization; that which existed were in a few urban centers. One interesting comment from her was that the "Jews were communists". From what I've read they were the urban working class, but perhaps part of the socialist/Jewish Bund?

There is no doubt that the Soviet period unleashed considerable industrialization and modernization. Lithuania had some of the best infrastructure in the USSR. Its traditional culture was really celebrated.

When I first visited, not long after the fall of the USSR, there were enormous, vacant industrial plants. The collective farms were in the process of being sold off the western European agribusiness firms. One relative through marriage was from the Ukraine, with a PhD in Physics and had been employed in the military industries -- she was cleaning houses thereafter.

Any usable industrial enterprises were quickly sold off. The utilities are all foreign owned. Part of EU mandates are "open" electricity "markets", which resulting in DC interconnections costing hundreds of millions with the west to import very high priced electricity. The EU has paid for "Via Baltica", a highway running from Poland to Estonia; it is choked with trucks carrying imports and there are huge distribution and fulfillment centers along the highway. Such progress, huh?

There had been good public transport in the earlier years of independence, but that has been replaced with personal automobiles -- usually western European used cars that pollute a lot. Trakai is a commuter town to Vilnius with a medieval castle (restored in Soviet times). First time I went it was very pleasant. Second time in 2018 the place was choked with cars and not very nice at all.

The impact of emigration cannot be over-stated. College educated young people leave by the hundreds of thousands. Those that remain are paid very low wages (e.g., 1000 euros for a veterinarian or dentist), but pay west European prices for many essentials. Housing is cheaper than the west.

Last time in Kazlu Ruda there were huge NATO exercises in progress and even bigger ones planned for 2020. German units were billeted at an airbase nearby, rumored to have been a CIA black site. How fitting, as the Germans with the Lithuanian Riflemens Union exterminated a quarter of a million Jews in a matter of months (see Jager Report on Wikipedia). There is a Red Army graveyard in the town that has the remains of perhaps 350 soldiers killed in the area driving out the Nazis. I was frankly surprised it was still there.

Lithuania hasn't been independent since the days of the Pagans and Vytautas. It surely isn't independent today.

Anecdotal -- yes. But based on personal observation.

AnonFromTN , says: November 4, 2019 at 12:29 am GMT
Who cares about Baltic statelets? Their populations decline:
Latvia:
https://www.politico.eu/article/latvia-a-disappearing-nation-migration-population-decline/
Lithaunia:
https://www.tudelft.nl/en/2017/bk/extreme-population-decline-threatens-stability-of-lithuania/
Estonia:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-20/europe-s-depopulation-time-bomb-is-ticking-in-the-baltics
The decline in Latvia is faster than in Lithuania, in Lithuania it is faster than in Estonia, but so what? If they disappear, who's going to notice? Russia is not interested in acquiring the parasites the USSR used to stupidly feed, their new masters are greedy If someone attacks (which is doubtful), NATO is going to protect them exactly like the UK and France protected Poland in 1939. Let them fend for themselves.

[Nov 03, 2019] Foreign Aid Makes Corrupt Countries More Corrupt

Nov 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Foreign Aid Makes Corrupt Countries More Corrupt by Tyler Durden Sun, 11/03/2019 - 07:00 0 SHARES Authored by James Bovard at jimbovard.com ,

Any time a government hands out money, not just foreign aid, it breeds corruption... And there are few better examples than Ukraine - just don't tell the House impeachment hearings.

Barricade with the protesters at Hrushevskogo street on January 26, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine.Sasha Maksymenko / cc

Counting on foreign aid to reduce corruption is like expecting whiskey to cure alcoholism. After closed House of Representatives impeachment hearings heard testimony on President Trump's role in delaying U.S. aid to Ukraine, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer declared:

" Numbers don't lie . It's even more clear now that President Trump is not the anti-corruption crusader he claims to be."

Most of the press coverage has tacitly assumed that American assistance is vital to fighting corruption in Ukraine. But that ignores foreign aid's toxic record and Ukraine's post-Soviet history.

A 2002 American Economic Review analysis concluded that "increases in [foreign] aid are associated with contemporaneous increases in corruption," and that "corruption is positively correlated with aid received from the United States."

That was the year President George W. Bush launched a new foreign aid program, the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). Bush declared, "I think it makes no sense to give aid , money, to countries that are corrupt." But the Bush administration continued delivering billions of dollars in handouts to many of the world's most corrupt regimes. By 2004, the State Department had codified what amounted to backtracking: " The MCA is an incentive-based supplement to other U.S. aid programs." The Bush team found excuses to give MCA aid to some of the world's most corrupt governments as well, including Georgia.

In 2010, President Barack Obama proclaimed at the United Nations that America was " leading a global effort to combat corruption ." Obama's "aides said the United States in the past has often seemed to just throw money at problems ," the Los Angeles Times reported. But the reform charade was exposed the following year when the Obama administration fiercely resisted congressional efforts to curb wasteful aid. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that restricting handouts to nations that fail anti-corruption tests "has the potential to affect a staggering number of needy aid recipients."

The Obama administration continued pouring tens of billions of American tax dollars into sinkholes such as Afghanistan, which even its president, Ashraf Ghani, admitted in 2016 was "one of the most corrupt countries on earth ." And the deluge of aid the Afghan government received only worsened the corruption. As John Sopko, the heroic Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), observed, " We need to understand how US policies and practices unintentionally aided and abetted corruption. We must recognize the danger of dealing with characters or networks of unsavory repute, tolerating contracting abuses, accepting shoddy performance and delivering unsustainable projects."

The closed House impeachment hearings last week heard from acting U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr., who testified that he " had authority over the bulk of the U.S. effort to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion and to help it defeat corruption." The Washington Post lauded Taylor as someone who " spent much of the 1990s telling Ukrainian politicians that nothing was more critical to their long-term prosperity than rooting out corruption and bolstering the rule of law , in his role as the head of U.S. development assistance for post-Soviet countries."

Transparency International, which publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, shows that corruption surged in Ukraine during the late 1990s and remains at obscene levels (though recent years have shown slight improvements). Taylor was ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009, when corruption sharply worsened despite hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid . Ukraine is now ranked as the 120th least corrupt nation in the world -- lower than Egypt and Pakistan, two other major U.S. aid recipients. What Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is to the NFL, Taylor appears to be to the anti-corruption cause.

Bribing foreign politicians to encourage honest government makes as much sense as distributing free condoms to encourage abstinence. Rather than encouraging good governance practices, foreign aid is more likely to produce kleptocracies, or governments of thieves. As a Brookings Institution analysis observed, "The history of U.S. assistance is littered with tales of corrupt foreign officials using aid to line their own pockets, support military buildups, and pursue vanity projects." And both American politicians and bureaucrats are want to continue the aid gravy train, regardless of how foreign regimes waste the money or use it to repress their own citizens.

If U.S. aid was effective, Ukraine would have become a rule of law paradise long ago. The country's new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, may be sincere in his efforts to root out corruption. But it is an insult to both him and his nation to pretend that Ukraine cannot clean up its act without help from Donald Trump. The surest way to reduce foreign corruption is to end foreign aid.

[Nov 03, 2019] No true war is bad

Nov 03, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


cka2nd 12 hours ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://washingtonsblog.com...

https://thewashingtonstanda...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Nov 01, 2019] The Piece of Presstitute Excrement known as the NYTimes Has Had to Admit that Yes there Is a Deep State at War with President Trump by Paul Craig Roberts

Nov 01, 2019 | www.unz.com

This is a surprisingly good report from Robert Merry. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52461.htm

The only mistake Merry makes is his erroneous statement that Trump held up aid to Ukraine to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate the Ukrainian firm that made $1,750,000 payments to the corrupt Biden and his corrupt son. The transcript of the telephone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president shows no Quid Pro Quo, and the Ukrainian president says there was none. The Quid Pro Quo was entirely on Biden's part when he told the president of Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating the firm that was paying him and his son seven figures in protection money or forfeit $1 billion in US aid. You can watch it here: https://www.wsj.com/video/opinion-joe-biden-forced-ukraine-to-fire-prosecutor-for-aid-money/C1C51BB8-3988-4070-869F-CAD3CA0E81D8.html

Moreover, even it Trump did threaten to withhold aid from a country that was covering up corruption by a US vice president and his son, that is the US president's right. There is no reason whatsoever that a president should permit US taxpayers' money to be given to a government that covers up corruption by a vice president of the United States.

We know for a fact that there was corruption by Vice President Biden. He bragged about it before the Council on Foreign Relations. You can watch him doing so here: https://www.wsj.com/video/opinion-joe-biden-forced-ukraine-to-fire-prosecutor-for-aid-money/C1C51BB8-3988-4070-869F-CAD3CA0E81D8.html

Biden's son has admitted that he used poor judgment taking money from a firm in order to protect it from prosecution.

Even if Trump did what the Democrats allege, which he did not, there is nothing illegal or unethical about it whatsoever. Compared to the tactics US prosecutors use to convict the innocent, Trump's conversation with the president of Ukraine is far above the highest ethics known to US prosecutors.

Why aren't the Democrats complaining about the criminally illegal treatment of Julian Assange and Manning? The reason is that the Democrats, the most utterly corrupt political organization on the face of the Earth, are bought and paid for by the Deep State. The Democrats are dog excrement to the core. They are traitors to America and to our Constitutional order. The entire party should be arrested and put on trial for sedition to overthrow the government of the United States.

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

Oct 30, 2019 | www.realclearinvestigations.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct 30, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

− +

Zsuzsi Kruska 10 hours ago

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

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

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

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

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

[Oct 30, 2019] Read full terms and conditions

Oct 30, 2019 | docs.disqus.com

Dr. Rieux a day ago ,

Chuck Schumer is Senate Minority Leader.

Kenneth_Almquist a day ago ,

"Most of the press coverage has tacitly assumed that American assistance is vital to fighting corruption in Ukraine."

Then I must have missed most of the press coverage. First of all, most of the reporting I've seen has been about Trump's attempts to convince Ukraine to dig up dirt on Trump's political opponents. The purpose of the aid package is a minor part of the story, but when it has been discussed the reporting I've seen has indicated that the purpose of the aid package that Trump held up was to help the Ukrainian military, not to fight corruption. So I can't help wondering: where does James Bovard gets his news?

Wise_pharaoh Kenneth_Almquist 12 hours ago ,

Very true!!! This author set up a straw man argument in the second paragraph, then proceeds to knock it down. I expect better than this on this site.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) Kenneth_Almquist 10 hours ago ,

Then you've missed the point of this article. It's neither about the purpose of that aid. It's about the aid as such leading to corruption. Do you really think Ukrainians will have any troubles with selling those weapons out to some Middle Eastern or African caudillos? Or maybe you think that a single penny from the sums obtained as a result of that sellout will end up in the hands of their average citizens, and not in those of local mobsters and oligarchs?

IanDakar a day ago ,

I believe I am reading this right: That providing foreign aid is always going to lead to corruption. That what Trump did with Ukraine is basically drinking the same sauce others have in the past and anyone else will do in the future. That then suggests that the solution is to close the tap and end using foreign aid because, whatever the initial motive, it's too corrupting an influence.

In that... honestly that's the best argument I've heard against foreign aid. Typically I hear arguments from economic standpoints, which seemed silly when many of the targetted examples are in the millions-pennies by US standards.

But putting it from a control standpoint: that leadership, present or future, will either use foreign aid as a cover for corrupt means or take an active use of foreign aid as a wedge against a foreign country.

I can hear a counterargument that "we are a superpower. We should be helping others." And the response I hear in my head is "given our inability to truly help others without such corruption and how we abuse the status, maybe we really do need to let that title go." It means giving it up to Russia or China, but we aren't doing a good job holding them back, even if we should be doing so.

Ignoring the world really isn't an option. But our priority should probably be to focus on home as we can and better ourselves rather than ruining yourselves while ruining everyone who brushes with us.

So yeah. I can see the idea behind pulling back from these foreign aid elements.

The "just don't tell the House impeachment hearings." did seem rather clickbaity. It suggests this is an argument against the impeachment hearings as if their mistaken believe in supporting foreign aid is a mark against the hearings themselves. The article itself doesn't seem to go that route. "just don't tell congress" would've done far better. But that's a nitpick combined with all of this impeachment discussion leaving me rather kneejerky.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) 20 hours ago • edited ,

Not only Ukraine is the most corrupt country in Europe, it's also the poorest on the continent. It became such after all American aid and after all, much, much bigger IMF loans. Which makes one kind of suggest that the known level of corruption there is only a tip of the iceberg.

But, getting back home, I just love those "closed impeachment hearings". Paraphrasing the famous quotation, why so closed? Afraid that, being it open, any half-literate first-year law college student (not to mention Rudy and the DoJ) would tear the so-called "evidence" asunder?

jeff Alex (the one that likes Ike) 12 hours ago ,
It became such after all American aid and after all, much, much bigger IMF loans

I feel like you're glossing over some other major events that have happened in the South and East of the country which have contributed to the sluggish economic development and hampered the corruption fight...

marqueemoons Alex (the one that likes Ike) 10 hours ago ,

The open hearings will come, Alex. They're closed because those are the rules Republicans abided by with the Benghazi hearings. However it's going to take a lot more than Rudy and the DoJ to combat testimony from Trump-appointed ambassadors who've been plucked from retirement to help with Ukraine and say that there was a quid pro quo.

Grace Austin • 20 hours ago ,

So what's the point here, foreign aid to corrupt governments is standard American policy, so Presidential corruption in distributing that aid is no big deal.

"The surest way to reduce foreign corruption is to end foreign aid."

This is a point that can and has been argued. I remember having just that debate in relation to aid to Africia in the '80s.

However, the House is investigating Presidential coruption in the distribution of that aid and that would seem to be a different matter.

=marco01= 19 hours ago • edited ,

If you think Trump cares about corruption in Ukraine, I have a Trump U course to sell you.

Trump tried to extort a foreign leader to help him win an election, this is beyond dispute to anyone who isn't ignoring the facts. He wanted the president of Ukraine to make a public announcement that he was investigating Hunter Biden. Whether the investigation would turn up anything was irrelevant, Trump knew an appearance of Biden corruption could work wonders for him.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) =marco01= 10 hours ago ,

Oh yes... The purported presence of the "evidence" of the said "extortion" is precisely why the House hearings are closed. And, of course, Trump's most vital necessity was kicking the weakest of his opponents out of the race, so that Democrats could pick someone with better chances, instead of the continuation of the DNC's idiotic course aimed at nominating that one at all costs, which persists even now.

HarryTruman2016 17 hours ago ,

Just like the corrupt aid we have been giving to dictatorships since WW II ended. The difference is the president in previous decades did not use the aid as a bribe to foreign leaders to conduct nefarious investigations on US citizens. I can only imagine the columns TAC would write if Obama called the Saudi Crown Prince in 2010 and told him that military aid is contingent on information about their business dealings with the Bush family because Jeb might run in 2012.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) HarryTruman2016 9 hours ago ,

Then where's the evidence of that "bribe" having even happened? As of yet we have only a clownery called "closed hearings" and the idea that Trump would be interested in getting rid of the weakest of his possible opponents which defies the mere principles of logic.

gdpbull 16 hours ago ,

From the article,

"Ukraine is now ranked as the 120th least corrupt nation in the world -- lower than Egypt and Pakistan"

I predict the following - A Washington Post headline will be

"Obama Administration brought Ukraine onto the list of least corrupt nations in the world."

Jon Lester 15 hours ago ,

Zelensky still needed an oligarch's backing, so I wouldn't get my hopes up.

, Sid Finster Trump=Obama 13 hours ago ,

Hogwash. Tell us how "Russian interference" has forced the Ukrainian junta to be as corrupt, brutal and incompetent as it has been since it became a full-fledged US puppet?

Rossbach 13 hours ago ,

A better use of our hard-earned tax dollars would be for the US government to put its own house in order before addressing problems of "corruption" abroad.

Sid Finster 13 hours ago ,

This has been old news since at least Vietnam.

AdmBenson 11 hours ago ,

Corruption is incidental to the political control that foreign aid provides to the US. In other words, it's a feature and not a bug. The exception to this rule is Israel, where US foreign aid is turned around to exert influence on American politicians. Again, a feature and not a bug.

Don't hold your breath waiting for this situation to change.

marqueemoons 10 hours ago ,

There's a counter-point to this; American aid in Germany and Japan did not produce corrupt cultures.

Jett_Rucker 8 hours ago ,
bureaucrats are want to continue the aid

Letting the children take care of the editing, again?

Ken T • 8 hours ago ,

The purpose of foreign aid is not to end corruption. It is to show the corrupt that we can outbid anyone else they are contemplating turning to.

Jett_Rucker 6 hours ago ,

Charitable (non-government) aid typically nurtures corruption, too
Arm's-length dealing is the cure and the preventive, and it's the only one.
I know - sounds cruel, doesn't it?
I usually do - just ask my children

[Oct 30, 2019] U.S. Aid Makes Corrupt Countries More Corrupt

Oct 30, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

U.S. Aid Makes Corrupt Countries More Corrupt Our 'democracy building' assistance to certain countries--including Ukraine--has produced kleptocracies, or worse. By James Bovard October 30, 2019

Barricade with the protesters at Hrushevskogo street on January 26, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. Sasha Maksymenko / cc Counting on foreign aid to reduce corruption is like expecting whiskey to cure alcoholism. After closed House of Representatives impeachment hearings heard testimony on President Trump's role in delaying U.S. aid to Ukraine, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer declared: " Numbers don't lie . It's even more clear now that President Trump is not the anti-corruption crusader he claims to be."

Most of the press coverage has tacitly assumed that American assistance is vital to fighting corruption in Ukraine. But that ignores foreign aid's toxic record and Ukraine's post-Soviet history.

A 2002 American Economic Review analysis concluded that "increases in [foreign] aid are associated with contemporaneous increases in corruption," and that "corruption is positively correlated with aid received from the United States."

That was the year President George W. Bush launched a new foreign aid program, the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). Bush declared, "I think it makes no sense to give aid , money, to countries that are corrupt." But the Bush administration continued delivering billions of dollars in handouts to many of the world's most corrupt regimes. By 2004, the State Department had codified what amounted to backtracking: " The MCA is an incentive-based supplement to other U.S. aid programs." The Bush team found excuses to give MCA aid to some of the world's most corrupt governments as well, including Georgia.

In 2010, President Barack Obama proclaimed at the United Nations that America was " leading a global effort to combat corruption ." Obama's "aides said the United States in the past has often seemed to just throw money at problems ," the Los Angeles Times reported. But the reform charade was exposed the following year when the Obama administration fiercely resisted congressional efforts to curb wasteful aid. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that restricting handouts to nations that fail anti-corruption tests "has the potential to affect a staggering number of needy aid recipients."

The Obama administration continued pouring tens of billions of American tax dollars into sinkholes such as Afghanistan, which even its president, Ashraf Ghani, admitted in 2016 was "one of the most corrupt countries on earth ." And the deluge of aid the Afghan government received only worsened the corruption. As John Sopko, the heroic Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), observed, " We need to understand how US policies and practices unintentionally aided and abetted corruption. We must recognize the danger of dealing with characters or networks of unsavory repute, tolerating contracting abuses, accepting shoddy performance and delivering unsustainable projects."

The closed House impeachment hearings last week heard from acting U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr., who testified that he " had authority over the bulk of the U.S. effort to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion and to help it defeat corruption." The Washington Post lauded Taylor as someone who " spent much of the 1990s telling Ukrainian politicians that nothing was more critical to their long-term prosperity than rooting out corruption and bolstering the rule of law, in his role as the head of U.S. development assistance for post-Soviet countries."

Transparency International, which publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, shows that corruption surged in Ukraine during the late 1990s and remains at obscene levels (though recent years have shown slight improvements). Taylor was ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009, when corruption sharply worsened despite hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid . Ukraine is now ranked as the 120th least corrupt nation in the world -- lower than Egypt and Pakistan, two other major U.S. aid recipients. What Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is to the NFL, Taylor appears to be to the anti-corruption cause.

Bribing foreign politicians to encourage honest government makes as much sense as distributing free condoms to encourage abstinence. Rather than encouraging good governance practices, foreign aid is more likely to produce kleptocracies, or governments of thieves. As a Brookings Institution analysis observed, "The history of U.S. assistance is littered with tales of corrupt foreign officials using aid to line their own pockets, support military buildups, and pursue vanity projects." And both American politicians and bureaucrats are want to continue the aid gravy train, regardless of how foreign regimes waste the money or use it to repress their own citizens.

If U.S. aid was effective, Ukraine would have become a rule of law paradise long ago. The country's new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, may be sincere in his efforts to root out corruption. But it is an insult to both him and his nation to pretend that Ukraine cannot clean up its act without help from Donald Trump. The surest way to reduce foreign corruption is to end foreign aid.

James Bovard is the author of Lost Rights , Attention Deficit Democracy , and Public Policy Hooligan . He is also a USA Today columnist. Follow him on Twitter @JimBovard .

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

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

anne

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

October 26, 2019

Chile: The poster boy of neoliberalism who fell from grace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Branko Milanovic

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

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

10/29/2019

Via The Saker blog,

Translated by Leo, bold and italics added for emphasis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Igor Konashenkov:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Igor Konashenkov:

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

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


Sirdirkfan , 5 minutes ago link

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

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

Arising , 7 minutes ago link

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

Fish Gone Bad , 15 minutes ago link

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

punjabiraj , 15 minutes ago link

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

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

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

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

Bernard_2011 , 15 minutes ago link

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

haruspicio , 22 minutes ago link

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

Expect the same from MH17.

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

Chain Man , 25 minutes ago link

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

Bernard_2011 , 25 minutes ago link

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

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

NiggaPleeze , 24 minutes ago link

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

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

Roger Casement , 27 minutes ago link

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

You're welcome.

jjames , 26 minutes ago link

no, trump is trying to starve the syrian people.

OliverAnd , 25 minutes ago link

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

NiggaPleeze , 23 minutes ago link

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

After all, nothing spells Globalism like a Global Empire.

OliverAnd , 29 minutes ago link

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

Joe A , 29 minutes ago link

War is a racket.

Manipuflation , 31 minutes ago link

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

IronForge , 31 minutes ago link

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

expatch , 32 minutes ago link

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

KuriousKat , 27 minutes ago link

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

KuriousKat , 34 minutes ago link

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

sbin , 39 minutes ago link

Simple destroy every tanker truck not authorized by Syrian government.

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

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

Demologos , 45 minutes ago link

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

Guderian , 51 minutes ago link

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

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

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

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

All well documented.

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

Dzerzhhinsky , 33 minutes ago link

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

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

Minamoto , 1 hour ago link

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

San Pedro , 26 minutes ago link

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

punjabiraj , 56 minutes ago link

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

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

All devil worshipers say Aye.

gvtlinux , 1 hour ago link

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

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

Demologos , 58 minutes ago link

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

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

God above wins , 48 minutes ago link

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

Omen IV , 40 minutes ago link

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

they probably do it in Black Face !

what a miserable excuse for a country

nuerocaster , 18 minutes ago link

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

KekistanisUnite , 1 hour ago link

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

spoonful , 1 hour ago link

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

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

Oct 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep thinking positive!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

me title=

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

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

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

me title=

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

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


kanoli , 54 minutes ago link

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

comissar , 3 hours ago link

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

Teja , 9 hours ago link

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

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

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

Chochalocka , 9 hours ago link

Pretty hilarious how some see ****.

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

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

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

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

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

2stateshmoostate , 7 hours ago link

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

wdg , 10 hours ago link

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

Brazen Heist II , 10 hours ago link

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

Truth Eater , 10 hours ago link

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

wdg , 9 hours ago link

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

Shemp 4 Victory , 9 hours ago link

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

NorwegianPawn , 10 hours ago link

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

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

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

Fluff The Cat , 10 hours ago link

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

americanreality , 9 hours ago link

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

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

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

this quote was my first red flag.

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

CoCosAB , 12 hours ago link

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

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

punjabiraj , 12 hours ago link

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tiritmenhrta , 13 hours ago link

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

looks so real , 12 hours ago link

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

Jerzeel , 11 hours ago link

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

americanreality , 9 hours ago link

Exorbitant privilege. Paging Charles DeGaulle..

donkey_shot , 13 hours ago link

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

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

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

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

surfing another appocalypse , 13 hours ago link

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

Arising , 13 hours ago link

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

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

donkey_shot , 13 hours ago link

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

[Oct 27, 2019] The Plundering Of Ukraine By Corrupt American Democrats

Notable quotes:
"... Burisma Gas company had to pay extortion money to the president Poroshenko. Eventually its founder and owner Mr Nicolai Zlochevsky decided to invite some important Westerners into the company's board of directors hoping it would moderate Poroshenko's appetites. He had brought in Biden's son Hunter, John Kerry, Polish ex-President Kwasniewski; but it didn't help him. ..."
"... Poroshenko became furious that the fattened calf may escape him, and asked the Attorney General Shokin to investigate Burisma trusting some irregularities would emerge. AG Shokin immediately discovered that Burisma had paid these 'stars' between 50 and 150 thousand dollar per month each just for being on the list of directors. This is illegal by the Ukrainian tax code; it can't be recognised as legitimate expenditure. ..."
"... These [neoliberal] politicians are the absolute dregs of our society. Human cesspits. They make the pirates of old look like kindergarten. And they mass murder to get the loot. ..."
"... Author does not mention approx 40 tons of gold transferred to US at night, covered lorries, darkened airfield. Coincidentally just a few hours before MH370 went missing ..."
"... Implementation of Western values and democracy cost Libia more than 134 ton of gold. Not including shares and valuable papers..How democracy working in Libya? ..."
"... Regarding the Ukraine, about 12 oligarch holding of 60% of the wealth.Today the Ukrainian oligarch have to pay USA democrats oligarch for protection. Whatever who is Ukraine President-they must to pay to USA.Ukraine today is like banana republic :Honduras or Guatemala with 60% of population living below poverty line. Just do the homework all of you readers. ..."
"... All Democrats and RINO's who are currently participating in the impeachment hoax in order to keep themselves from being indicted, prosecuted, and imprisoned for their parts in this corruption are automatically guilty of obstruction of justice, because that's exactly what they're doing. ..."
"... She was never supposed to lose. ..."
"... DNC types always show up at these poor countries to plunder them. Haiti: Clinton Foundation. Ukraine: Clinton Foundation. Ukraine: Biden Family foundation. ..."
Oct 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

This is not the only case of US-connected corruption in Ukraine. There is Amos J. Hochstein, a protege of former VP Joe Biden, who has served in the Barack Obama administration as the Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources. He still hangs on the Ukraine. Together with an American citizen Andrew Favorov, the Deputy Director of Naftogas he organised very expensive "reverse gas import" into Ukraine. In this scheme, the Russian gas is bought by Europeans and afterwards sold to Ukraine with a wonderful margin. In reality, gas comes from Russia directly, but payments go via Hochstein. It is much more costly than to buy directly from Russia; Ukrainian people pay, while the margin is collected by Hochstein and Favorov. Now they plan to import liquefied gas from the United States, at even higher price. Again, the price will be paid by the Ukrainians, while profits will go to Hochstein and Favorov.

In all these scams, there are people of Clinton and spooks who are fully integrated in the Democratic Party. A former head of CIA, Robert James Woolsey, now sits on the Board of Directors of Velta, producing Ukrainian titanium. Woolsey is a neocon, a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), pro-Israel think-tank, and a man who relentlessly pushed for Iraq war. A typical Democrat spook, now he gets profits from Ukrainian ore deposits.

One of the best Ukrainian corruption stories is connected with Audrius Butkevicius, the former Minister of Defence (1996 to 2000) and a Member of the Seimas (Parliament) of post-Soviet Lithuania. Mr AB is supposedly working for MI6, and now is a member of the notorious Institute for Statecraft, a UK deep state propaganda outfit involved in disinformation operations, subversion of the democratic process and promoting Russophobia and the idea of a new cold war. In 1991 he commanded snipers that shoot Lithuanian protesters. The kills were ascribed to the Soviet armed forces, and the last Soviet President Mr Gorbachev ordered speedy withdrawal of his troops from Lithuania. Mr AB became the Minister of Defence of his independent nation. In 1997 the Honourable Minister of Defence "had requested 300,000 USD from a senior executive of a troubled oil company for his assistance in obtaining the discontinuance of criminal proceedings concerning the company's vast debts", in the language of the court judgement. He was arrested on receipt of the bribe, had been sentenced to five years of jail, but a man with such qualifications was not left to rot in a prison.

In 2005 he commanded the snipers who killed protesters in Kyrgyzstan, in Georgia he repeated the feat in 2003 during the Rose Revolution. In 2014 he did it again in Kiev, where his snipers killed around a hundred men, protesters and police. He was brought to Kiev by Mr Turchinov, who called himself the "acting President" and who countersigned Joe Biden's billion dollars' grant.

In October 2018 the name of Mr AB came up again. Military warehouses of Chernigov had caught fire; allegedly thousands of shells stored for fighting the separatists had been destroyed by fire. And it was not the first fire of this kind: the previous one, equally huge, torched Ukrainian army warehouses in Vinnitsa in 2017. Altogether, there were 12 huge army arsenal fires for the last few years. Just for 2018, the damage was over $2 billion.

When Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine Anatoly Matios investigated the fires, he discovered that 80% of weapons and shells in the warehouses were missing. They weren't destroyed by fire, they weren't there in the first place. Instead of being used to kill the Russian-speaking Ukrainians of Donetsk, the hardware had been shipped from the port of Nikolaev to Syria, to the Islamic rebels and to ISIS. And the man who organised this enormous operation was our Mr AB, the old fighter for democracy on behalf of MI6, acting in cahoots with the Minister of Defence Poltorak and Mr Turchinov, the friend of Mr Biden. (They say Mr Matios was given $10 million for his silence).

The loss was of Ukrainian people, and of US taxpayers, while the beneficiaries were the Deep State, which is probably just another name for the deadly mix of spooks, media and politicians.


mog , 4 hours ago link

The Plundering Of Ukraine By Corrupt American Democrats. Whats new. The plundering of Syria - the Golan. Genie oil - Every leading democrat name is on that Shareholder's list. Plundering of Serbia. Kosovo, its Gold mines and Minerals. Speciality per Madeleine Albright . Wesley Clark and the Clintons. Sniff around where the Libyan gold went....not Fort Knox

These [neoliberal] politicians are the absolute dregs of our society. Human cesspits. They make the pirates of old look like kindergarten. And they mass murder to get the loot.

JPHR , 4 hours ago link

Excellent explanation for Democrats trying to undercut Trump/Giuliani in any way they can (or can't actually).

deplorableX , 5 hours ago link

Author does not mention approx 40 tons of gold transferred to US at night, covered lorries, darkened airfield. Coincidentally just a few hours before MH370 went missing .

Franko , 4 hours ago link

Implementation of Western values and democracy cost Libia more than 134 ton of gold. Not including shares and valuable papers..How democracy working in Libya?

Franko , 5 hours ago link

Fantastic article. Thanks for Israel. Thanks God, whatever you believe or not, majority of the World citizens are good and friendly. Were did not nuke each other despite 1% of our corrupted elites. They hold about 90% of media, can give Hollywood Oscar Price or Nobel Price to my lovely dog. If I paid them.

Regarding the Ukraine, about 12 oligarch holding of 60% of the wealth.Today the Ukrainian oligarch have to pay USA democrats oligarch for protection. Whatever who is Ukraine President-they must to pay to USA.Ukraine today is like banana republic :Honduras or Guatemala with 60% of population living below poverty line. Just do the homework all of you readers.

B52Minot , 5 hours ago link

You will NOT see once micron of this on the lame stream Media.....nor out of the mouths of Dems anywhere.....THIS info if true should ensure the Dem corrupt Party is dissolved and a new one using pro-USA model is erected.

That we have seen little of this story in the Wall Street Journal nor Fox News shows just who controls those networks for sure.....This story MUST become a part of the Congressional record....ASAP.....and ALL these folks no matter which Party MUST be held accountable for lost US Funds...OUR TAX DOLLARS. Imagine what could be done with 3 BILLION for OUR Vets or the homeless......yet you see little exposure of this corruption any where in US papers or even conservative outfits...????

LightBeamCowboy , 5 hours ago link

All Democrats and RINO's who are currently participating in the impeachment hoax in order to keep themselves from being indicted, prosecuted, and imprisoned for their parts in this corruption are automatically guilty of obstruction of justice, because that's exactly what they're doing.

She was never supposed to lose.

blindfaith , 5 hours ago link

And the winner is: George Soros

JPHR , 4 hours ago link

Soros still alive because the devil is wise enough to refuse "regime change" operators.

Jackprong , 5 hours ago link

DNC types always show up at these poor countries to plunder them. Haiti: Clinton Foundation. Ukraine: Clinton Foundation. Ukraine: Biden Family foundation.

Zhaupka , 5 hours ago link

Corrupt American Democrats AND Corrupt American Republicans . . . who gave Standing Ovations in Washington, District of Columbia, United States Capitol for the Murders and Burning Humans Alive. United States President Trump never received 5 minute Standing Ovations in Washington, District of Columbia, United States Capitol by the Capitalist Political Party composed of two factions: Corrupt American Republicans AND Corrupt American Democrats.

Idaho potato head , 4 hours ago link

But Poroshenko did.

PeterLong , 6 hours ago link

So Shamir says that Tsarev is claiming Daniluk is the "whistleblower"? A foreigner can be a whistleblower?

And " Daniluk was supposed to accompany President Zelensky on his visit to Washington; but he was informed that there is an order for his arrest. He remained in Kiev." ?? An order to arrest Daniluk in Washington, is that the claim? Why and who would arrest him in Washington?

We would all be better off, including the Ukrainians, if they had stayed with Russia, where they were.

[Oct 27, 2019] The nature of former Ukrainian president revealed on one small typo

He really proved to be pathologically greedy bastard.
Oct 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Oct 27 2019 0:30 utc | 45

james #39
are you familiar with the name porkoshenko


Barfly award to you for best typo this thread. :))

james , Oct 27 2019 1:23 utc | 53
@45 uncle t - lol... porky for short! that is mostly how i think of him..

[Oct 26, 2019] The Plundering of Ukraine by Corrupt American Democrats by Israel Shamir

Highly recommended!
Money quote: “Top Dems are involved in the plundering of the Ukraine: new names, mind-boggling accounts."
Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, John Kerry, the Secretary of State in Obama's administration, was his partner-in-crime. But Joe Biden was number one. During the Obama presidency, Biden was the US proconsul for Ukraine, and he was involved in many corruption schemes. He authorised transfer of three billion dollars of the US taxpayers' money to the post-coup government of the Ukraine; the money was stolen, and Biden took a big share of the spoils. ..."
"... Two years ago, (that is already under President Trump) the United States began to investigate the allocation of 3 billion dollars; it was allocated in 2014, in 2015, in 2016; one billion dollars per year. The investigation showed that the documents were falsified, the money was transferred to Ukraine, and stolen. The investigators tracked each payment, discovered where the money went, where it was spent and how it was stolen. ..."
"... The money was allocated with the flagrant violation of American law. There was no risk assessment, no audit reports. Normally the USAID, when allocating cash, always prepares a substantial package of documents. But the billions were given to Ukraine completely without documents. The criminal case on the embezzlement of USAID funds had been signed personally by the US Attorney General, so these issues are very much alive. ..."
"... Poroshenko was aware of that; he gave orders to declare Sam Kislin persona non grata. Once the old man (he is over 80) flew into Kiev airport and he was not allowed to come in; he spent the night in detention and was flown back to the US next day. Poroshenko had been totally allied with Clinton camp. ..."
"... In all these scams, there are people of Clinton and spooks who are fully integrated in the Democratic Party. A former head of CIA, Robert James Woolsey, now sits on the Board of Directors of Velta , producing Ukrainian titanium. Woolsey is a neocon, a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), pro-Israel think-tank, and a man who relentlessly pushed for Iraq war. A typical Democrat spook, now he gets profits from Ukrainian ore deposits. ..."
"... The loss was of Ukrainian people, and of US taxpayers, while the beneficiaries were the Deep State, which is probably just another name for the deadly mix of spooks, media and politicians. ..."
"... The globalist criminal elites will not be held responsible for any of these crimes. They're bound together by ties of blackmail forged by guys like Epstein, mutually assured incrimination in serial swindles which cross Left and Right political boundaries and literal murder in the case of guys like Seth Rich. ..."
"... If they were only stealing money it would be bad enough, but the fact that these same grifters are our "diplomats" and warmakers is positively Orwellian. Watching these petty hoodlums play nuclear chicken with Russia so they can squeeze more shekels from the supine Ukraine would be laughable if I could get the first-strike nightmares of my Cold War childhood out of my head long enough to laugh. ..."
Oct 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

A talk with Oleg Tsarev reveals the alleged identity of the "Trump/Ukraine Whistleblower" Israel Shamir October 25, 2019 2,400 Words 6 Comments Reply

Top Dems are involved in the plundering of the Ukraine: new names, mind-boggling accounts. The mysterious 'whistleblower' whose report had unleashed the impeachment is named in the exclusive interview given to the Unz Review by a prominent Ukrainian politician, an ex-Member of Parliament of four terms, a candidate for Ukraine's presidency, Oleg Tsarev.

Mr Tsarev, a tall, agile and graceful man, a good speaker and a prolific writer, had been a leading and popular Ukrainian politician before the 2014 putsch; he stayed in the Ukraine after President Yanukovych's flight; ran for the Presidency against Mr Poroshenko, and eventually had to go to exile due to multiple threats to his life. During the failed attempt to secede, he was elected the speaker of the Parliament of Novorossia (South-Eastern Ukraine). I spoke to him in Crimea, where he lives in the pleasant seaside town of Yalta. Tsarev still has many supporters in the Ukraine, and is a leader of the opposition to the Kiev regime.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Firtash Case?

The Democrats wanted to get another Ukrainian oligarch, Mr Firtash, to the US and make him to confess that he illegally supported Trump's campaign for the sake of Russia. Firtash had been arrested in Vienna, Austria; there he fought extradition to the US. His lawyers claimed it is purely political case, and they used Mr Shokin's deposition to substantiate their claim. For this reason, the evidence supplied by Shokin is not easily reversible, even if Shokin were willing, and he is not. He also stated under oath that the Democrats pressurised him to help and extradite Firtash to the US, though he had no standing in this purely American issue. It seems that Mrs Clinton believes that Firtash's funds helped Trump to win elections, an extremely unlikely thing [says Mr Tsarev].

Talking about Burisma and Biden; what is this billion dollars of aid that Biden could give or withhold?

It is USAID money, the main channel of the US aid for "support of democracy". First billion dollars of USAID came to the Ukraine in 2014. This was authorised by Joe Biden, while for Ukraine, the papers were signed by Mr Turchinov, the "acting President". The Ukrainian constitution does not know of such a position, and Turchinov, "the acting President" had no right to sign neither a legal nor financial document. Thus, all the documents that were signed by him, in fact, had no legal force. However, Biden countersigned the papers signed by Turchynov and allocated money for Ukraine. And the money was stolen – by the Democrats and their Ukrainian counterparts.

Two years ago, (that is already under President Trump) the United States began to investigate the allocation of 3 billion dollars; it was allocated in 2014, in 2015, in 2016; one billion dollars per year. The investigation showed that the documents were falsified, the money was transferred to Ukraine, and stolen. The investigators tracked each payment, discovered where the money went, where it was spent and how it was stolen.

As a result, in October 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice opened a criminal case for "Abuse of power and embezzlement of American taxpayers' money". Among the accused there are two consecutive Finance Ministers of the Ukraine, Mrs Natalie Ann Jaresko who served 2014-2016 and Mr Alexander Daniluk who served 2016-2018, and three US banks. The investigation caused the USAID to cease issuing grants since August 2019. As Trump said, now the US does not give away money and does not impose democracy.

The money was allocated with the flagrant violation of American law. There was no risk assessment, no audit reports. Normally the USAID, when allocating cash, always prepares a substantial package of documents. But the billions were given to Ukraine completely without documents. The criminal case on the embezzlement of USAID funds had been signed personally by the US Attorney General, so these issues are very much alive.

Sam Kislin was involved in this investigation. He is a good friend and associate of Giuliani, Trump's lawyer and an ex-mayor of New York. Kislin is well known in Kiev, and I have many friends who are Sam's friends [said Tsarev]. I learned of his progress, because some of my friends were detained in the United States, or interrogated in Ukraine. They briefed me about this. It appears that Burisma is just the tip of the scandal, the tip of the iceberg. If Trump will carry on, and use what was already initiated and investigated, the whole headquarters of the Democratic party will come down. They will not be able to hold elections. I have no right to name names, but believe me, leading functionaries of the Democratic party are involved.

Poroshenko was aware of that; he gave orders to declare Sam Kislin persona non grata. Once the old man (he is over 80) flew into Kiev airport and he was not allowed to come in; he spent the night in detention and was flown back to the US next day. Poroshenko had been totally allied with Clinton camp.

And President Zelensky? Is he free from Clintonite Democrats' influence?

If he were, there would not be the scandal of Trump phone call. How the Democrats learned of this call and its alleged content? The official version says there was a CIA man, a whistle-blower, who reported to the Democrats. What the version does not clarify, where this whistle-blower was located during the call. I tell you, he was located in Kiev, and he was present at the conversation, at the Ukrainian President Zelensky's side. This man was (perhaps) a CIA asset, but he also was a close associate of George Soros, and a Ukrainian high-ranking official. His name is Mr Alexander Daniluk . He is also the man the investigation of Sam Kislin and of the DoJ had led to, the Finance Minister of Ukraine at the time, the man who was responsible for the embezzlement of three billion US taxpayer's best dollars. The DoJ issued an order for his arrest. Naturally he is devoted to Biden personally, and to the Dems in general. I would not trust his version of the phone call at all.

Daniluk was supposed to accompany President Zelensky on his visit to Washington; but he was informed that there is an order for his arrest. He remained in Kiev. And soon afterwards, the hell of the alleged leaked phone call broke out. Zelensky administration investigated and concluded that the leak was done by Mr Alexander Daniluk, who is known for his close relations with George Soros and with Mr Biden. Alexander Daniluk had been fired. (However, he did not admit his guilt and said the leak was done by his sworn enemy, the head of president's administration office, Mr Andrey Bogdan , who allegedly framed Daniluk.)

This is not the only case of US-connected corruption in Ukraine. There is Amos J. Hochstein , a protege of former VP Joe Biden, who has served in the Barack Obama administration as the Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources. He still hangs on the Ukraine. Together with an American citizen Andrew Favorov , the Deputy Director of Naftogas he organised very expensive "reverse gas import" into Ukraine. In this scheme, the Russian gas is bought by Europeans and afterwards sold to Ukraine with a wonderful margin. In reality, gas comes from Russia directly, but payments go via Hochstein. It is much more costly than to buy directly from Russia; Ukrainian people pay, while the margin is collected by Hochstein and Favorov. Now they plan to import liquefied gas from the United States, at even higher price. Again, the price will be paid by the Ukrainians, while profits will go to Hochstein and Favorov.

In all these scams, there are people of Clinton and spooks who are fully integrated in the Democratic Party. A former head of CIA, Robert James Woolsey, now sits on the Board of Directors of Velta , producing Ukrainian titanium. Woolsey is a neocon, a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), pro-Israel think-tank, and a man who relentlessly pushed for Iraq war. A typical Democrat spook, now he gets profits from Ukrainian ore deposits.

One of the best Ukrainian corruption stories is connected with Audrius Butkevicius , the former Minister of Defence (1996 to 2000) and a Member of the Seimas (Parliament) of post-Soviet Lithuania. Mr AB is supposedly working for MI6, and now is a member of the notorious Institute for Statecraft , a UK deep state propaganda outfit involved in disinformation operations, subversion of the democratic process and promoting Russophobia and the idea of a new cold war. In 1991 he commanded snipers that shoot Lithuanian protesters. The kills were ascribed to the Soviet armed forces, and the last Soviet President Mr Gorbachev ordered speedy withdrawal of his troops from Lithuania. Mr AB became the Minister of Defence of his independent nation. In 1997 the Honourable Minister of Defence "had requested 300,000 USD from a senior executive of a troubled oil company for his assistance in obtaining the discontinuance of criminal proceedings concerning the company's vast debts", in the language of the court judgement. He was arrested on receipt of the bribe, had been sentenced to five years of jail, but a man with such qualifications was not left to rot in a prison.

In 2005 he commanded the snipers who killed protesters in Kyrgyzstan, in Georgia he repeated the feat in 2003 during the Rose Revolution. In 2014 he did it again in Kiev, where his snipers killed around a hundred men, protesters and police. He was brought to Kiev by Mr Turchinov, who called himself the "acting President" and who countersigned Joe Biden's billion dollars' grant.

In October 2018 the name of Mr AB came up again. Military warehouses of Chernigov had caught fire; allegedly thousands of shells stored for fighting the separatists had been destroyed by fire. And it was not the first fire of this kind: the previous one, equally huge, torched Ukrainian army warehouses in Vinnitsa in 2017. Altogether, there were 12 huge army arsenal fires for the last few years. Just for 2018, the damage was over $2 billion.

When Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine Anatoly Matios investigated the fires, he discovered that 80% of weapons and shells in the warehouses were missing. They weren't destroyed by fire, they weren't there in the first place. Instead of being used to kill the Russian-speaking Ukrainians of Donetsk, the hardware had been shipped from the port of Nikolaev to Syria, to the Islamic rebels and to ISIS. And the man who organised this enormous operation was our Mr AB, the old fighter for democracy on behalf of MI6, acting in cahoots with the Minister of Defence Poltorak and Mr Turchinov, the friend of Mr Biden. (They say Mr Matios was given $10 million for his silence).

The loss was of Ukrainian people, and of US taxpayers, while the beneficiaries were the Deep State, which is probably just another name for the deadly mix of spooks, media and politicians.


Exile , says: October 25, 2019 at 6:42 pm GMT

The globalist criminal elites will not be held responsible for any of these crimes. They're bound together by ties of blackmail forged by guys like Epstein, mutually assured incrimination in serial swindles which cross Left and Right political boundaries and literal murder in the case of guys like Seth Rich. The cozy proximity of recently-murdered Epstein himself to crypto-converso AG Barr's family only makes me more certain that they will get away with this heist like they've done with dozens of other billion-dollar swindles.

If they were only stealing money it would be bad enough, but the fact that these same grifters are our "diplomats" and warmakers is positively Orwellian. Watching these petty hoodlums play nuclear chicken with Russia so they can squeeze more shekels from the supine Ukraine would be laughable if I could get the first-strike nightmares of my Cold War childhood out of my head long enough to laugh.

romar , says: October 25, 2019 at 8:17 pm GMT
Who will hold then responsible? The country appears to have been entirely taken over by crookish spooks and politicians.
The US is now confirmed as a cleptocracy.
Si1ver1ock , says: October 25, 2019 at 9:28 pm GMT
Kind of makes me wish I owned a national newspaper. This would be a great front page story.
Walt , says: October 26, 2019 at 12:22 am GMT
Ukraine is corrupted by outsiders (those who are not Ukrainian/Russian). In past centuries there was a simple but effective answer to foreigners corrupting their country. The Cossacks would sharpen up their sabres. saddle up their horses and have a slaughter. It was effective then and would be effective today. Get rid of those who are not Slavic.
Erebus , says: October 26, 2019 at 3:37 am GMT
The last act of an Imperial elite is to loot the Empire.

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

Oct 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct 25, 2019 | www.unz.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three-day convoy

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Oct 25, 2019] IMF loans always backfire for the country

Oct 25, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Roy Blakeley on Thu, 10/24/2019 - 2:01pm

@wendy davis that takes them out. However, for the oligarchs and right wing politicians of those countries, they pay off. Lots of income from corruption, privatization, etc.
for the citizens

@Roy Blakeley

they backfire, indeed. but just now in the global IMF austerity resets, the citizenries are raising such a ruckus against them that some oligarchical leaders are having to rescind the 'austeries' put on them. time will tell how it plays out even for ecuador, but for now the indigenous seem to be winning. wish i had a link at hand.

but this is the brilliant bruce cockburn's ode to the IMF ; ):

tle on Thu, 10/24/2019 - 9:40pm
If only I could get information of this quality

from a "news"paper.

I was puzzled by what little I'd read at various "news" sites. Thank you for fleshing out the real story and linking to more info.

[Oct 24, 2019] The argument the Bolivian right-wing is using is exactly the same the Brazilian one used after the 2014 results: election fraud.

Notable quotes:
"... The argument the Bolivian right-wing is using is exactly the same the Brazilian one used after the 2014 results: election fraud. The vice-president of the Bolivian Supreme Electoral Court has already renounced in protest after the institution caved in to the pressure and suspended the publication of the results: ..."
"... Evo Morales is much more fragile than Nicolás Maduro -- even though Bolivia's economy has been much better. The key here is that, in Latin America, every period of economic growth is destined to be followed by a period of economic crisis because it's impelled to follow the neoliberal model of development by the USA. The left-wing presidents are then forced to overcome this through straight up government spending in order to at least alleviate extreme poverty that ravages the subcontinent. ..."
"... But the hardest challenge for the socialists in Latin America are its armed forces: after the 1950s, they were turned into American subsidiaries, each one with a military doctrine that focuses on fighting the "internal enemy" (i.e. the socialists). No Latin American military is able to fight a single conventional war, they are essentially glorified militarized police forces. Maduro has the FANB; Morales doesn't have the Bolivian Armed Forces on his side. ..."
"... Meanwhile, neoliberalism rots. Bolsonaro already know his fate: ..."
"... It must be hard to realize, after years of hallucination and messianic complex, that you were just a disposable puppet of the Americans. ..."
"... A Brazilian prefers to suffer in silence than having to risk his life for a greater cause and, since the 1960s, has an inexplicable fascination with the USA and everything American (Bolsonaro ran his campaign openly as the "Brazilian Trump"). ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Oct 24 2019 1:37 utc | 29

Military coup attempt imminent in Bolivia as Evo Morales makes a desperate call for resistance to the people:

Militares que planejaram golpe tentam consumá-lo em conjunto com oposição, afirma Evo

The argument the Bolivian right-wing is using is exactly the same the Brazilian one used after the 2014 results: election fraud. The vice-president of the Bolivian Supreme Electoral Court has already renounced in protest after the institution caved in to the pressure and suspended the publication of the results:

Vice-presidente do TSE da Bolívia renuncia e diz que resultados preliminares estão corretos

Evo Morales is much more fragile than Nicolás Maduro -- even though Bolivia's economy has been much better. The key here is that, in Latin America, every period of economic growth is destined to be followed by a period of economic crisis because it's impelled to follow the neoliberal model of development by the USA. The left-wing presidents are then forced to overcome this through straight up government spending in order to at least alleviate extreme poverty that ravages the subcontinent.

But the hardest challenge for the socialists in Latin America are its armed forces: after the 1950s, they were turned into American subsidiaries, each one with a military doctrine that focuses on fighting the "internal enemy" (i.e. the socialists). No Latin American military is able to fight a single conventional war, they are essentially glorified militarized police forces. Maduro has the FANB; Morales doesn't have the Bolivian Armed Forces on his side.

Let's wait and see how it evolves.

--//--

Meanwhile, neoliberalism rots. Bolsonaro already know his fate:

Bolsonaro diz que Brasil 'não está livre de problema do Chile' e defende 'endurecimento da lei'

It must be hard to realize, after years of hallucination and messianic complex, that you were just a disposable puppet of the Americans.

However, things are not so simple in Brazil: the majority of the Left is reactionary and pacifist; the Brazilian people has a high tolerance for misery, is very docile and doesn't have a curriculum of violent uprisings or revolutions.

A Brazilian prefers to suffer in silence than having to risk his life for a greater cause and, since the 1960s, has an inexplicable fascination with the USA and everything American (Bolsonaro ran his campaign openly as the "Brazilian Trump").

[Oct 24, 2019] Protests rattle Ecuador following election fraud claims

Any news on the situation in Ecuador? The last I heard was that Lenin Moreno was forced to move his government to Guayaquil away from Quito. Perhaps he is preparing to flee to the US if things don't turn out well for him?
Oct 24, 2019 | www.usatoday.com

Jen | Oct 24 2019 1:50 utc | 34

April 4, 2017

Ecuador - Supporters of Ecuadorean opposition leader Guillermo Lasso gathered in the streets for a second night Monday to protest what they consider fraud at the ballot box that tilted a presidential runoff in favor of his leftist rival.

Sunday's razor-thin election win by ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno bucked the trend of right-wing electoral victories in South America following 15 years of leftist domination. Even as calls from Latin American governments congratulating Moreno poured in, Lasso, a conservative banker, vowed to keep up the fight against the installation of an "illegitimate" government.

"We're not afraid of the miserable cowards who are on the wrong side of history," he told a crowd of a few thousand supporters outside the National Electoral Council in Quito.

By nightfall, many supporters went home but a few hundred die-hards, some with children in tow, remained in a peaceful vigil. A line of riot police looked on.

The scene was much calmer than the one on election night, when thousands of outraged Lasso supporters shouting "fraud" crashed through metal barricades to almost reach the entrance of the electoral council's headquarters in Quito. Scuffles also broke out in Guayaquil, where tear gas was fired to break up the crowd.

With more than 99 percent of polling places counted, Moreno had 51 percent of the vote while Lasso stood at just under 49 percent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fred , 23 October 2019 at 04:54 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations are hardly in order here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Twisted Genius -> CK... , 24 October 2019 at 05:21 PM
CK, the people surrounding Trump are largely appointees. Keane doesn't have to be let into the WH. His problem is that those who would appeal to his non-neocon tendencies are not people he wants to have around him. Gabbard, for instance, would be perfect for helping Trump get ourselves out of the ME, is a progressive. Non-interventionists are hard to come by. Those who he does surround himself with are using him for their own ideologies, mostly neocon and Zionist.
oldman22 , 24 October 2019 at 01:49 PM
Bacevich interview:
> Andrew Bacevich, can you respond to President Trump pulling the U.S. troops away from this area of northern Syria, though saying he will keep them to guard oil fields?

> ANDREW BACEVICH: First of all, I think we should avoid taking anything that he says at any particular moment too seriously. Clearly, he is all over the map on almost any issue that you can name. I found his comment about taking the oil in that part of Syria, as if we are going to decide how to dispose of it, to be striking. And yet of course it sort of harkens back to his campaign statement about the Iraq war, that we ought to have taken Iraq's oil is a way of paying for that war. So I just caution against taking anything he says that seriously.

> That said, clearly a recurring theme to which he returns over and over and over again, is his determination to end what he calls endless wars. He clearly has no particular strategy or plan for how to do that, but he does seem to be insistent on pursuing that objective. And here I think we begin to get to the real significance of the controversy over Syria in our abandonment of the Kurds.

> Let's stipulate. U.S. abandonment of the Kurds was wrong, it was callous, it was immoral. It was not the first betrayal by the United States in our history, but the fact that there were others certainly doesn't excuse this one. But apart from those concerned about the humanitarian aspect of this crisis -- and not for a second do I question the sincerity of people who are worried about the Kurds -- it seems to me that the controversy has gotten as big as it is in part because members of the foreign policy establishment in both parties are concerned about what an effort to end endless wars would mean for the larger architecture of U.S. national security policy, which has been based on keeping U.S. troops in hundreds of bases around the world, maintaining the huge military budget, a pattern of interventionism. Trump seems to think that that has been a mistake, particularly in the Middle East. I happen to agree with that critique. And I think that it is a fear that he could somehow engineer a fundamental change in U.S. policy is what really has the foreign policy establishment nervous.

> NERMEEN SHAIKH: As you mentioned, Professor Bacevich, Trump has come under bipartisan criticism for this decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was one of the many Republicans to criticize Trump for his decision. In an opinion piece in The Washington Post McConnell writes, quote, "We saw humanitarian disaster and a terrorist free-for-all after we abandoned Afghanistan in the 1990s, laying the groundwork for 9/11. We saw the Islamic State flourish in Iraq after President Barack Obama's retreat. We will see these things anew in Syria and Afghanistan if we abandon our partners and retreat from these conflicts before they are won." He also writes, quote, "As neo-isolationism rears its head on both the left and the right, we can expect to hear more talk of 'endless wars.' But rhetoric cannot change the fact that wars do not just end; wars are won or lost." So Professor Bacevich, could you respond to that, and how accurate you think an assessment of that is? Both what he says about Afghanistan and what is likely to happen now with U.S. withdrawal.

> ANDREW BACEVICH: I think in any discussion of our wars, ongoing wars, it is important to set them in some broader historical context than Senator McConnell will probably entertain. I mean, to a very great extent -- not entirely, but to a very great extent -- we created the problems that exist today through our reckless use of American military power.

> People like McConnell, and I think other members of the political establishment, even members of the mainstream media -- _The New York Times_, The Washington Post -- have yet to reckon with the catastrophic consequences of the U.S. invasion of Iraq back in 2003. And if you focus your attention at that start point -- you could choose another start point, but if you focus your attention at that start point, then it seems to me that leads you to a different conclusion about the crisis that we are dealing with right now. That is to say, people like McConnell want to stay the course. They want to maintain the U.S. presence in Syria. U.S. military presence. But if we look at what the U.S. military presence in that region, not simply Syria, has produced over the course of almost two decades, then you have to ask yourself, how is it that we think that simply staying the course is going to produce any more positive results?

> It is appalling what Turkey has done to Syrian Kurds and the casualties they have inflicted and the number of people that have been displaced. But guess what? The casualties that we inflicted and the number of people that we displaced far outnumbers what Turkey has done over the last week or so. So I think that we need to push back against this tendency to oversimplify the circumstance, because oversimplifying the circumstance doesn't help us fully appreciate the causes of this mess that we're in.

more here, about Tulsi, about Afghanistan, about Trump:
https://www.democracynow.org/2019/10/24/trump_lifts_turkey_sanctions_syrian_kurds

Leith , 24 October 2019 at 01:50 PM
In addition to oil from Iran, Assad also gets oil from the SDF and the Kurds. Supposedly a profit sharing arrangement as commented on by JohninMK in a previous post.

This oil sharing deal was also mentioned by Global Research and Southfront back in June of 2018:

https://www.globalresearch.ca/video-syrian-government-sdf-reach-agreement-on-omar-oil-field/5643086

The Twisted Genius -> turcopolier ... , 24 October 2019 at 05:49 PM
Colonel Lang, the only way to "overthrow" Trump is through impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate. That is a Constitutional process, not a coup. The process is intentionally difficult. Was the impeachment of Clinton an attempted coup?
Stephanie said in reply to turcopolier ... , 24 October 2019 at 09:59 PM
Two things.

In the first place isn't the dissolution of Ukraine and Syria and Iraq and Libya and Yemen exactly what we have wished to achieve, and wouldn't an intelligent observer, such as Vladimir Putin, want to do exactly the same thing to us, and hasn't he come very close to witnessing the achievement of this aim whether he is personally involved or not? What goes around comes around?

But that is relatively unimportant compared to the question whether dissolution of the Union is a bad thing or a good thing. Preserving it cost 600,000 lives the first time. One additional life would be one additional life too many. Ukraine is an excellent example. Western Ukraine has a long history support for Nazi's. Eastern Ukraine is Russian. Must a war be fought to bring them together? Or should they be permitted to go their separate ways?

As Hector said of Helen of Troy, "She is not worth what she doth cost the keeping."

Jane , 24 October 2019 at 05:48 PM
After hanging up from a call to Putin, thanking him for Russia's help with the Turks, YPG leader Mazloum Kobane returned to the Senate hearings in which he alternately reminded his flecless American allies of their failure, not only to protect Rojava from the Turks, but didn't even give them a heads up about what was about to happen and begged an already angry [at Trump] Senate about their urgent need for a continued American presence in the territory.

It seems that some in the USG do not understand that all the land on the east bank of the Euphrates is "Rojava" or somehow is the mandate of the Kurds to continue to control. For a long time, now, the mainly Arab population of that region have been chafing under what is actually Kurdish rule. This could be a a trigger for ISIS or some other jihadis to launch another insurgency, or at the least, low level attacks, especially in Rojava to the north.

To remind, the USG is not using military personnel, but also contracts, about 200 troops in one field and 400 contractors in the other.

There is video of the SAA escorting the Americans to the Iraqi border. PM Abdel Hadi has reiterated that the US cannot keep these troops in Iraq, as they go beyond the agreed upon number. It is quite likely that the anti-Iranian aspect of the border region is NOT something they wish to see.

"Iranian proxies" refers to Hezbollah, the various Shia militia groups from Pakistan and Afghanistan, and of course, others, not the SAA.

oldman22 , 24 October 2019 at 08:29 PM
The US is reportedly planning to deploy tanks and other heavy military hardware to protect oil fields in eastern Syria, in a reversal of Donald Trump's earlier order to withdraw all troops from the country. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/24/us-military-syria-tanks-oil-fields
turcopolier , 24 October 2019 at 09:46 PM
oldman22

He let them roll him, just like Obama and so many others. Just a different set of rollers.

[Oct 23, 2019] Zelenskii in Free Fall

I do not think that Ukraine demand are all that bad if other conditions such as grating the region special status and the level of autonomy similar to Crimea in the past are fulfilled. With Russian language restored in status as a regional language. Plus total unconditional amnesty. All three are prerequisite for successful reintegration and in those condition t make sense: (1) the LNR/DNR dissolve themselves, (2) that they have to leave the Ruble zone and switch back to the Grivna, (3) that the local military forces have to be disbanded and, finally, (4) that Kiev wants the total control of the LDNR/Russian border. But also should be a strict prohibition of any member of paramilitary battalions to enter the autonomous region under the penalty to prison sentence for several years to prevent revenge killings.
The problems with Ukrainian economy are structural and the absence of economic detente with Russia alone can be undoing of Zelensky government. Further accumulation of IMF credits is the only way forward. Add to this almost total breakdown of economic ties with Russia because of EuroMaydan and subsequent Western Ukraine nationalist coup d'état, and you have Catch 22 situation for him. Add to the pressure from the USA and the impression is the there is no way of this situation . BTW Poroshenko despite all his rhetoric somehow managed to preserve his chocolate factory in Russia ;-)
Oct 22, 2019 | astutenews.com
...First, Trump, Macron and Merkel apparently told Zelenskii that he had to sign the so-called Steinmeier formula, which basically spells out the sequence of confidence-building and de-escalation measures foreseen by the Minsk Agreements. Now, you would be excused for thinking that this is a no-brainer. After all, the Minsk Agreements were ratified by the UNSC (which makes them mandatory, no "if" or "buts" about this!) and it was Poroshenko who agreed to the Steinmeier formula.

Heck, in 2016 he sure did not have a problem with it, but in 2019 he now calls the self-same formula a Russian invention and that there is no such thing as a Steinmeier formula, see for yourself (in Ukrainian only):

https://www.youtube.com/embed/VN4OEP1QOmo?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

So what is the big deal?

The problem of the "non-existing Nazis"

Zelenskii's problem can be summed up in a simple sentence: the non-existing Nazis. Well, at least in the past all the Neo-Nazis cum Jew-haters were constantly trying to convince us that there are no Nazis in the Ukraine; apparently, my use of the term Ukronazi really set them off. Then came the election in which an absolute majority of Ukrainians rejected Poroshenko's drive for war and voted for Zelenskii. If the Ukrainian people voted en masse to elect an anti-war/pro-peace Jew, surely the Ukronazis were just a small minority of fringe individuals, right?

Wrong! Very very wrong!

And if those who were whitewashing the Ukrainian Nazis (obviously to obfuscate their real ideology and power) had paid closer attention they would have seen signs of real Nazi power all over this election.

First, there was the remarkable change in tone in Zelenskii's rhetoric. Just like so many politicians (including Trump!), he radically changed his tune and clearly tried to say one thing when speaking to the general Ukrainian public and quite another when meeting with the Nazis or nationalist exiles in the USA.

You could say that there is a "Nazi deep state" in the Ukraine which, just like the other deep states out there, can weather any elected president and quickly reassert its control over whomever the people elected.

You don't believe me when I say that he actually hosted the Ukronazis "fringe minority"? Fine, see for yourself:

In the photo above, Zelenskii is sitting with your typical gang of Ukronazi skinheads, including members of the infamous Azov death-squad, and he is trying really hard to charm them while they, very publicly, have threatened him with a new Maidan.

And this is not an isolated case or a fluke.

Zelenskii's prime minister went to a concert for an openly Nazi "Scream" music group called Sekira Peruna and thanked the crowd of veterans of the "anti terrorist operation" (i.e. thugs from the Ukronazi deathsquads) for being there and for saving the Ukraine. I did not find any English language translation of the typical lyrics of Sekira Peruna, but I assure you that they contain all the obligatory nonsense which the Nazi ideology is built upon (see here for a very good article with more details on this event and the Nazis involved).

Check out what their concert posters look like (shown here on the right) or, even better, check out the website of this group: http://sokyraperuna.com/

'Nuff said, I think.

So what is going on here?

Basically, exactly what I predicted as soon as Zelenskii was elected in my article " Zelenskii's dilemma " in which I wrote: (emphasis added)

The Nazi-occupied Ukraine is not a democracy, but a plutocracy combined with an ochlocracy . The oligarchs are still there, as are the neo-Nazis mobs and death squads. And that creates an immense problem for Zelenskii: this new Rada might well represent the views of a majority of the Ukrainian people, but the real power in the country is not concentrated in the Rada at all: it is in the streets ( ) The people of the Ukraine desperately want peace. For the time being, the Rada reflects this overwhelmingly important fact. I say "for the time being" because what will happen next is that the various forces and individuals who currently support Zelenskii have done so just to gain power. They do not, however, have a common ideological platform or even a common program. As soon as things go south (which they will inevitably do) many (most?) of these folks will turn against Zelenskii and side with whoever can muster the biggest crowds and mete out the most violence. Now that he got elected, Zelenskii quasi-instantly switched to the exact same rhetoric as what got Poroshenko so severely defeated. Why? Because Zelenskiii is afraid that the neo-Nazi mobs and death squads will be unleashed against him at the very first opportunity. In fact, the neo-Nazis have already begun promising a new Maidan. The truth is that Zelenskii has to choose between acting on the will of the people and face the wrath of the neo-Nazis or do the will of the neo-Nazis and face the wrath of the people : tertium non datur! So far, Zelenskii has apparently decided that talking is all he is going to do simply because his triumphant electoral victories have landed him in the middle of an immense minefield, and any steps he takes from now on could cost him very dearly . Right now, in the short term, the neo-Nazi mobs represent a much bigger danger to Zelenskii than the (disorganized, demoralized and generally apathetic) people. But this will inevitably change as the economic and political situation gets worse .

We see exactly that scenario unfolding before our eyes. Zelenskii took not one, but three very real, if small, steps. First, he ordered a pullback of some regular Ukrainian armed forces from a few important segments of the line of contact, then he agreed to a relatively minor prisoner exchange and, finally, he ordered the Ukrainian delegation to sign the Steinmeier formula. The prisoner exchange went okay for both sides. The Ukronazis soon categorically rejected any withdrawal and they publicly promised to immediately re-occupy any village vacated by the regular army and they rejected what they call the "Russian" or "Putin" formula. So far there were a few attempts to block the thugs of the Azov battalion, but after a few minor clashes, the Azov people passed the police line. And now, the Nazi organized mass protests in 300 Ukrainian cities. I could post lots of videos here, but that would take a lot of space. If you want to get a feel for what took place today, go to YouTube and copy-paste the following search query "протесты в украине" into the search bar, and then use the filter option and chose "this week": you will easily get many hours of video and you don't even need to understand a word of Ukrainian to immediately get it.

There is another very important factor which you will almost never see on these videos or on any public statements and that is that there are a number of civil and even criminal cases currently being brought to trial in the Ukraine against a host of officials of the ancient régime including even against Poroshenko (11-14 separate investigations just for him already!) These men (Poroshenko, Parubii, Turchinov, etc.) now have absolutely no choice but to try to overthrow Zelenskii.

Just like the US Dems need a coup against Trump (in the form of an impeachment or something else) because the Clinton-Biden gang now risks real, hard, jail time, so do the former Ukronazi leaders now need a coup against Zelenskii or they go to jail.

Initially, it appeared that Trump had given Poroshenko some personal security guarantees, but everybody knows how much the US President's security "guarantees" are worth (just ask the Kurds!). So Poroshenko did not flee the country. It now appears that some of the people behind Zelenskii (aka Kolomoiskii) are out to get the "Poroshenko clan & Associates" – Poroshenko has to either topple Zelenskii or run away abroad. There are also rumors that the US "deep state" (as opposed to the Trump Administration) is now putting pressure on Zelenskii to stop these investigations. Thus, the current battle between Trump and the Neocons and their "deep state" has now spilled over into the Ukraine and it appears that various US interest groups are now creating local Ukrainian surrogates whom they will use in their struggle against each other.

Furthermore, a real possibility opened up now that all sorts of previously buried issues will be investigated by the Ukrainian prosecutors including:

  1. An official and true investigation to find out who opened fired on the police and demonstrators during the Euromaidan
  2. MH-17
  3. Ukronazi atrocities in the Donbass
  4. Human rights violations in the Ukraine (where over 1000 political prisoners are still being held) starting with innumerable cases of horrible torture of detainees (in secret torture camps, ŕ la CIA, including an especially infamous one in Mariupol).
  5. Poroshenko's role in the "Crimea Bridge provocation"
  6. All the many murders of journalists and opponents to the Nazis beginning with the murder of Oles Buzina
  7. A quasi infinite list of war profiteering, corruption, fraud, etc. etc. etc.

Simply put: there is no way that the Ukronazis will just stand by and let those investigations proceed. And while it is true that numerically the Ukronazis are a small minority in the Ukraine, there is plenty enough of them to terrify Zelenskii and his handlers, especially considering that they are 1) well armed 2) many have frontline combat experience and 3) that they are willing not only to engage in "regular" violence, but also to commit atrocities and engage in terrorism (they did plenty of both in the Donbass).

Zelenskii does have a number of things going for him: first, the mandate of the people (though his popularity is already down from 73% to 66% – which is still very big), his legal prerogatives as the President and Commander in Chief and the support of Kolomoiskii's strong network of international connections, especially in Israel.

But that is all rather theoretical so far.

All Zelenskii has done, besides hosting the skinheads in his office, was to make a 14 hour long interview with a group of reporters. Yes, fourteen hours. Alas, all he achieved was to show that he is a much better actor than politician. In fact, most experts seem to agree that in his role as President Zelenskii is a total failure who speaks a lot, says a lot of silly things when he does, and seems to be absolutely unable to take any real action.

At the time of writing (Wed 16th) the leader of the Ukronazis has given Zelenskii 10 days to yield to all the demands of the opposition. If not, he has promised to trigger a new Maidan and bring millions of people to the streets.

Yup. The "tiny" "fringe" and otherwise "non-existing" Nazis have now given Zelenskii an ultimatum.

Zelenskii is in free fall: Trump, Macron and Merkel are demanding that he abide by the decisions of the UNSC, the Minsk Agreements and the Steinmeier formula. The Russians have clearly indicated that unless tangible and real progress is made in the implementation of this formula, there will be nothing else to discuss. The Ukraine is basically bankrupt and desperately needs both Novorussian coal and Russian gas . Furthermore, only a removal of the self-defeating barriers and boycotts imposed by the former regime against any trade or even communications with Russia could begin to kick-start the economy of what is now clearly a failed state.

Yet the Nazis will oppose any and all such measures, with violence if needed. As for Zelenskii, he appears to be in a no win situation: no matter what he does next, things will only get worse. Thus the most likely outcome of all these processes will be, in the short term, further futile attempts by Zelenskii to appease the Nazis (thereby alienating the general population), in the middle term a violent confrontation, followed in the long term by (the probably inevitable) break-up of the Ukraine into separately much more viable parts.

UPDATE : I just heard that the Ukraine is now demanding that 1) the LNR/DNR dissolve themselves, 2) that they have to leave the Ruble zone and switch back to the Hrivna, 3) that the local military forces have to be disbanded and, finally, 4) that Kiev wants the total control of the LDNR/Russian border.

Well, good luck with that, folks! I hope they are not holding their breath (they aren't – they are just trying to find a pretext to renege on their legal and political obligations )


By The Saker
Source: The Unz Review

[Oct 20, 2019] Impeachment as election gambit. Schiff fraud is exposed, but it does not matter: who cares so long as Trump slowly roasts in the court of public opinion

Notable quotes:
"... Just to remind you: the charge against Trump is that he tried to expose a massive rip off of the people of Ukraine, made practical thanks to the US replacing an elected President with a bunch of neo-nazis in uniforms, for political advantage. ..."
"... And that is to put aside the obvious point that nothing could be more advantageous to any Presidential candidate than to have to run against Joe Biden, supported by Hillary Clinton. ..."
Oct 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Oct 20 2019 15:31 utc | 16

"Will he be convicted in the Senate? Who cares so long as he slowly roasts in the court of public opinion."

Do you not see how unlikely it is that a story which demonstrates the utter corruption, personally, of Joe Biden and, institutionally, of the Obama regime will, as it unwinds, turn the people against Trump?

Just to remind you: the charge against Trump is that he tried to expose a massive rip off of the people of Ukraine, made practical thanks to the US replacing an elected President with a bunch of neo-nazis in uniforms, for political advantage.

And that is to put aside the obvious point that nothing could be more advantageous to any Presidential candidate than to have to run against Joe Biden, supported by Hillary Clinton.

... ... ...

[Oct 20, 2019] Researchers Detail How Slashing Pentagon Budget Could Pay for Medicare for All While Creating Progressive Foreign Policy Americ

Notable quotes:
"... "Over 18 years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillion on wars, with only more intractable violence in the Middle East and beyond to show for it," she added. "That's nearly the $300 billion per year over the current system that is estimated to cover Medicare for All (though estimates vary)." ..."
"... cancellation of current plans to develop more nuclear weapons, saving $20 billion a total nuclear weapons ban, saving $43 billion ending military partnerships with private contractors, saving $364 billion production cuts for the F-35 -- a military plane with 900 performance deficiencies, according to the Government Accountability Office -- saving $17.7 billion a shift of $33 billion per year, currently used to provide medical care to veterans, servicemembers, and their families, to Medicare for All's annual budget. ..."
"... "The public rejects the predominant, fear-based framing and policies; instead, they want to see a revamped, demilitarized American foreign policy focused on international cooperation, human rights, and peacebuilding," wrote Data for Progress. ..."
Oct 18, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. For those of you who have friends and colleagues who would go on tilt if you tried educating them about MMT, a simpler approach to persuade them that Medicare for All is affordable is to sell them on another worthy goal, cutting the military-surveillance state down to size.

Even then, I still encourage you to set them up for a later conversation about MMT: "Even if you accept the idea that taxes pay for spending, which actually isn't true for the Federal government, we can still get the money for Medicare for All by ."

Note also that the Pentagon has various black budgets, an "official" one and covert ones.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams

The Institute for Policy Studies on Thursday shared the results of extensive research into how the $750 billion U.S. military budget could be significantly slashed, freeing up annual funding to cover the cost of Medicare for All -- calling into question the notion that the program needs to create any tax burden whatsoever for working families.

Lindsay Koshgarian, director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), took aim in a New York Times op-ed at a "chorus of scolds" from both sides of the aisle who say that raising middle class taxes is the only way to pay for Medicare for All. The pervasive claim was a primary focus of Tuesday night's debate, while Medicare for All proponents Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) attempted to focus on the dire need for a universal healthcare program.

At the Democratic presidential primary debate on CNN Tuesday night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was criticized by some opponents for saying that "costs will go down for hardworking, middle-class families" under Medicare for All, without using the word "taxes." Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), on the other hand, clearly stated that taxes may go up for some middle class families but pointed out that the increase would be more than offset by the fact that they'll no longer have to pay monthly premiums, deductibles, and other medical costs.

"All these ambitious policies of course will come with a hefty price tag," wrote Koshgarian. "Proposals to fund Medicare for All have focused on raising taxes. But what if we could imagine another way entirely?"

"Over 18 years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillion on wars, with only more intractable violence in the Middle East and beyond to show for it," she added. "That's nearly the $300 billion per year over the current system that is estimated to cover Medicare for All (though estimates vary)."

"While we can't un-spend that $4.9 trillion," Koshgarian continued, "imagine if we could make different choices for the next 20 years."

Koshgarian outlined a multitude of areas in which the U.S. government could shift more than $300 billion per year, currently used for military spending, to pay for a government-run healthcare program. Closing just half of U.S. military bases, for example, would immediately free up $90 billion.

"What are we doing with that base in Aruba, anyway?" Koshgarian asked.

Other areas where IPS identified savings include:

"This item takes us well past our goal of saving $300 billion," Koshgarian wrote of the last item.

As Koshgarian published her op-ed in the Times , progressive think tank Data for Progress released its own report showing that a majority of Americans support a "progressive foreign policy" far less focused on decades-long on-the-ground wars, establishing military bases around the world, drone strikes, and arms sales.

"The public rejects the predominant, fear-based framing and policies; instead, they want to see a revamped, demilitarized American foreign policy focused on international cooperation, human rights, and peacebuilding," wrote Data for Progress.

"Voters want to see U.S. funding go to domestic needs such as healthcare, or to other national security tools like diplomacy, instead of to the Pentagon and more endless war," according to the report.

Polling more than 1,000 ppl with YouGov, Data for Progress found that 73 percent of Democratic primary voters ranked numerous issues -- including economic challenges and the climate -- as more important to them than national security and military funding.

Progressive national security proposals proved popular with respondents, including closing Guantanamo Bay, ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and leveraging military aid to Israel to force it to adopt better human rights policies toward Palestinians.

"There is a clear appetite for progressive reforms to U.S. foreign policy," wrote Data for Progress.

In her op-ed, Koshgarian acknowledged that remaking the U.S. military as a truly "defense-based institution, rather than a war machine and A.T.M. for private contractors, will require major changes."

But, she wrote, "that's no excuse for continuing to spend hundreds of billions in ways that make our world more dangerous and deny us the ability to seriously invest in things like jobs, healthcare, education, and all that makes our lives better."


inode_buddha , October 18, 2019 at 4:39 am

I would love to see it, but I strongly doubt this would happen in my lifetime. The Pentagon budget seems to be one of those political "third rail" issues like Social Security.

Many people are so paranoid that I think it constitutes a mass hysteria; others are propagandized into 24×7 jingoism. I'm not talking concepts here, I deal with pro-military people almost daily. Its the glorifying and fetishizing of the military that bothers me.

Most if not all pro-military types are also deeply conservative; bring up *any* social program and they will wonder how to pay for it.

Kurt Sperry , October 18, 2019 at 7:26 am

I don't know, how many "third rail" type taboos has Trump danced on and become more popular because he did? I think the average voter would be *extremely* receptive to a well-crafted message promoting the redirection of resources away from forever foreign wars and bases to concrete material benefits for Americans. I don't even think it'd be a hard sell, once the pearls had been gathered up.

Michael , October 18, 2019 at 7:59 am

It was done before starting in 1990.
Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act.

An amazing process.

dcrane , October 18, 2019 at 5:13 am

What's so maddening about this question is the fact that we know that the military budget is probably much more than 750 billion per year, but we can never know how much more, because the government is expressly allowed to hide and even fake spending totals.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/secret-government-spending-779959/

GF , October 18, 2019 at 11:37 am

Here is an example of unbridled government spending and it is happening right this minute on wall street. It seems the military budget is chump change compared to this:
https://wallstreetonparade.com/2019/10/feds-balance-sheet-spikes-by-253-billion-now-topping-4-trillion/

Sound of the Suburbs , October 18, 2019 at 5:42 am

Why do we worry about money more than anything else?
All money is easy; it comes out of nothing and is just numbers typed in at a keyboard.

Zimbabwe found it all too easy to create so much money they caused hyper-inflation.

Alan Greenspan tells Paul Ryan the Government can create all the money it wants and there is no need to save for pensions.

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

What matters is whether the goods and services are there for them to buy with that money, and this is where real wealth lies.

Governments can create all the money they want, but if they create too much you will get inflation, or hyper-inflation if they type in too many zero's when creating money.

Money has no intrinsic value; its value comes from what it can buy.

Banks create money from loans and that's easy too, just type the numbers in.

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf

They can dash wildly into the latest fad, like the dot.com boom, and finance it with money they create out of nothing.

What could possibly go wrong?

Bankers do need to ensure the vast majority of that money gets paid back, and this is where they keep falling flat on their faces.

Banking requires prudent lending, that is all there is to it.

If someone can't repay a loan, they need to repossess that asset and sell it to recoup that money. If they use bank loans to inflate asset prices they get into a world of trouble when those asset prices collapse.

"It's nearly $14 trillion pyramid of super leveraged toxic assets was built on the back of $1.4 trillion of US sub-prime loans, and dispersed throughout the world" All the Presidents Bankers, Nomi Prins.

When this little lot lost almost all its value overnight, the Western banking system became insolvent. Wall Street can turn a normal asset price bubble into something that will take out the global economy using leverage.

Bankers create money out of nothing and the monetary system requires that nearly all that money they loaned out gets paid back.

Bank credit is a claim on future prosperity, and when you realise all that debt can't be paid back, a financial black hole opens up, as it did in 2008.

When governments create too much money you tend to see it in consumer price inflation.
When banks create too much money you tend to see it in asset price inflation.

We see inflation in asset prices as good and consumer price inflation as bad.

The asset price boom will crash the economy, but no one realises while it's happening.

Sound of the Suburbs , October 18, 2019 at 5:43 am

Asset price inflation.
Financial assets are limited in supply.
Pour more money in and the price goes up.

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

1929 – Inflating the US stock market with debt (margin lending)
2008 – Inflating the US real estate market with debt (mortgage lending)

Bankers inflating asset prices with the money they create from loans.

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf

They believed in the markets and neoclassical economics in the 1920s and after 1929 they had to reassess everything. They had placed their faith in the markets and this had proved to be a catastrophic mistake.

This is why they stopped using the markets to judge the performance of the economy and came up with the GDP measure instead.

In the 1930s, they pondered over where all that wealth had gone to in 1929 and realised inflating asset prices doesn't create real wealth, they came up with the GDP measure to track real wealth creation in the economy.

The transfer of existing assets, like stocks and real estate, doesn't create real wealth and therefore does not add to GDP. The real wealth creation in the economy is measured by GDP.

Inflated asset prices aren't real wealth, and this can disappear almost over-night, as it did in 1929 and 2008.

Real wealth creation involves real work, producing new goods and services in the economy.

notabanktoadie , October 18, 2019 at 10:03 am

Banking requires prudent lending, that is all there is to it. Sound of the Suburbs

100% private banks with 100% voluntary depositors means we (the general public) wouldn't have to give a flip if banks lent prudently or not since we would have an additional but risk-free payment system consisting of debit/checking accounts for all who want one at the Central Bank (or Treasury) itself.

Moreover without government privileges and without captive depositors and unable to hold the economy hostage via a SINGLE payment system that must work through them, you can rest assured that banks WOULD lend prudently or go under, like they should, if they don't.

So what is required is 100% private banks with 100% voluntary depositors and that situation has NEVER before existed in history so it cannot be said to have failed.

notabanktoadie , October 18, 2019 at 10:31 am

When governments create too much money you tend to see it in consumer price inflation. Sound of the Suburbs

Because the DEMAND for fiat is suppressed in that only depository institutions may use it in the private sector.

Fix that injustice and eliminate all other privileges for banks and then government should be able to create much MORE fiat for the general welfare since banks would be much LESS able to create deposits for the private welfare of themselves and for the so-called "worthy" of what is, currently, the public's credit but for private gain.

Grayce , October 18, 2019 at 11:07 am

if they [governments] create too much you will get inflation
Is this true, or is it an economist's assumption? Here's the other thought:
Capitalism embraces borrowing for investment. Real estate development is an example. Borrowing involves an assumption of paying back more than was borrowed, but at a future date. When that future date arrives, it is in the borrower's best interest if the face value dollars are wroth less in spending power that the face value of the loan. You stated that, but the link to inflation is fuzzy.
Bank credit is a claim on future prosperity
Rather than the government's causality, and a nebulous prosperity, it may be the borrower's CFO who then decides to raise consumer prices to keep up with expenses. The borrowed dollars came from a banker-created asset, but the inflation is tied to a direct result similar to the so-called "wage-price spiral." In this case, the "interest-price spiral" that is not visibly tied to the supply of money.

Susan the other` , October 18, 2019 at 1:23 pm

I've got a new disconnect. I understand and appreciate how MMT works. It is the only way, imo, for a sovereign country to pay for the social costs of a good society. And, of course, the government does not charge itself interest, does not expect to be "paid back" at all. The tradeoff for the government is the betterment of society. So if your neighbor loans you $500 and you tell him you'll pay him back as soon as your check comes in and with some interest that seems fair bec. you're dealing with two private budgets. But when a licensed bank loans you money for a new house under the terms that you pay it back over 30 years with interests that amounts to triple the original cost of the house – then you are not dealing as one private person to another. You are then dealing with usury. Made legal by the private financial industry. This private industry does not use its own money – it uses the government's money by a computer click. And the government then lets it profiteer on this tiny transaction of apples and oranges to the degree that over time the money "earned" by the private bank accumulates and topples the steady state of the economy. At that point there's no place left to invest that "private" profit and the whole financial system goes haywire in a panic not to "lose" money. Money that should never have been given to them in the first place. It's an oxymoron – demanding that money be paid back with interest when it's not your money in the first place and you do nothing to stabilize your profligate profiteering. Nothing. Just a thought.

Synoia , October 18, 2019 at 2:49 pm

Zimbabwe found it all too easy to create so much money they caused hyper-inflation.

Yes, after destroying their Ag Industry, and having no Ag products to export, because Mugabe and his party assumed all the white farmers just sat around drinking beer while the dark farm workers did all the work.

After Mugabe took the land, there was no collateral for the farmers to get loans for the next planting season.

Who knew that managing the farm was so much work? /s

John k , October 18, 2019 at 2:55 pm

Inflation in Zimbabwe first came from shortages, especially food, as things looted rhe country of 4x and mismanaged the economy, like farm price controls under cost of production.
Historically shortages cause high inflation.

Burns , October 18, 2019 at 6:45 am

"In her op-ed, Koshgarian acknowledged that remaking the U.S. military as a truly 'defense-based institution, rather than a war machine and A.T.M. for private contractors, will require major changes.'"

Interesting. Beyond cost cutting, what exactly would it take to remake the military into a true defense-based institution ? How would assets be deployed? What weapons systems would be prioritized and ultimately receive funding? What doctrines would need to change to flip from an offensive mindset to a defensive mindset? What alliances would we maintain and what alliances would we discard?

I see that the article offers some examples, but I think crafting a progressive foreign policy would entail answering these kinds of more fundamental military questions. Cost cutting is a laudable goal but it strikes me that there's much more to it if real transformation is desired.

Lord Koos , October 18, 2019 at 2:11 pm

aybe ask Russia – their military policy is based on defensive posture rather than offensive.

Arnold , October 18, 2019 at 7:09 am

As a civil servant working for the Department of Defense, I can tell you that this would be a difficult shift in priorities for Congress to accept. It all comes down to the defense industry political donations they receive year after year, and the jobs the defense industry provides their constituents (no matter how meager or sub-optimal). Since defense spending is basically this nation's sole industrial policy, I think that finding employment for displaced workers (whether defense civil servants or contractors) is the biggest hurdle to address; a green new deal would solve the problem. We'd also need political campaign reform to force Congress off of the teet of defense industry political contributions.

Phacops , October 18, 2019 at 8:12 am

Finding employment for displaced defense civil servants or contractors? We've done that before . . . we tell them to train for the jobs of the future as we did for manufacturing workers and leave it at that. The same goes for the parasites working in health insurance companies, pharmacy benefit management and healtcare administration when M4A becomes a reality.

I have no sympathy for those people nor care for their well being as they deliberately, and with malice aforethought, make life meaner for us all.

John Wright , October 18, 2019 at 9:27 am

I remember when the defense/aerospace industry collapsed in Southern California in the early 1970's as the Vietnam war was winding down.

Tech jobs were scarce.

The political sphere is well aware of potential job loss due to defense cutbacks.

I have mentioned before, the relatively liberal CA Senator Barbara Boxer fought to preserve Mare Island Naval Shipyard, in Vallejo, CA, when it was slated to be shut down in the 1990's.

One could suggest that Vallejo has not fully recovered.

It is a tragedy of immense proportions, as I believe a future historian will remark that the USA, a nation that in its 200 + year history had only one large deadly war on its soil (the internal Civil War), re-titled its WWII "War Department" as "Defense Department" and then consumed tremendous resources in its purported defense for the next 70+ years.

A recent discussion with someone, that I regard as a "Northern California Liberal", about Trump's pullout of Syria further re-enforced that the resistance to ANY change in the MIC in the USA is formidable.

He was sure that Trump would be deservedly impeached because he was pulling out of Syria and abandoning our allies, the Kurds.

And he is old enough to remember Vietnam.

The USA news media and entertainment industries (big sports/Hollywood) are fully on board with the righteous USA "war is good" meme.

Given how the USA economy has restructured much employment and lifelihoods in costly sectors (finance, education, medicine, military) it is difficult for me to see how there would be political will to downsize the military to any extent as "good paying" jobs of politically powerful people would be lost.

Many of the manufacturing jobs have been moved overseas.

It is far easier to "kick the can down the road".

Off The Street , October 18, 2019 at 11:21 am

There is some hope for policy redirection in the Administration's recent Turkey-Syria-Kurd action. If there really is a shift away from foreign nation building and away from endless wars over endless enmities, then that could lead to redirection and reduction of military budgets. Watching the defenders of those engagements fall all over themselves recently has reconfirmed my notion that they are not acting in the best interests of their constituents. Meanwhile, the sun rose today.

xformbykr , October 18, 2019 at 7:38 am

The current defense spending and growth of national debt
more or less "prove" the validity of MMT. This has supported the channeling of resources and energy into military activity (and profits for enterprizes). Something similar is happening with healthcare; maybe it's inelastic
demand. (The similar something is ever-increasing costs.)
Healthcare at the moment seems to be outside of
the scope of current uses of MMT. But there are major
cost-control issues with it nonethess.
In what direction will things head if healthcare is
swept under the government MMT umbrella in the form of medicare for all? Will the government negotiate prices
with providers (hospitals, staff, pharma)? Certainly military procurement is no leading light.

Steve Ruis , October 18, 2019 at 8:17 am

While cutting the bloated Pentagon's budget is a very good idea, why is no one talking about the fringe benefit that is employer provided healthcare? I do believe a sizable fraction of folks on private insurance (maybe 40%?) get their health coverage through a fringe benefit from their employer. If that coverage is no longer necessary under universal coverage, it seems contractually that the money spent on the fringe benefit should go to the employees. That money is enough to pay for their insurance under universal coverage, so the employer pays it to the employee, the government taxes part of that to pay for the universal healthcare and everyone is better off. The employee, due to savings in the system, ends up with more money in pocket. The employer is out from under the ever increasing costs of the fringe benefit (plus can now claim to be paying higher salaries), and, well, the insurance companies are left behind to pick up "expanded coverage" for those wanting to pay for it.

This and "defense" spending cuts could pay for the whole system easily, no?

NotTimothyGeithner , October 18, 2019 at 8:57 am

The relative value of small business based jobs would increase with a functional health care system. There would be an outflow of employees from jobs with healthcare benefits.

With single payer, looking for a less stressful job becomes an alternative. Big employers know this.

rd , October 18, 2019 at 5:35 pm

It also means people may retire earlier if they don't need their employer-provided health insurance.

Health insurance becomes a minor consideration in selecting which employer to work for.

Companies and state/local governments that provide health care coverage in retirement should see their liabilities for that plummet as healthcare costs drop and public insurance improves.

inode_buddha , October 18, 2019 at 10:11 am

What contract? Unless you're in a union you don't have one.

HotFlash , October 18, 2019 at 11:36 am

Medicare for all makes self-employment, gig employment, and starting/running a small business much less terrifying.

Grayce , October 18, 2019 at 12:14 pm

COULD employers give the surplus to employees?
Technically, yes.
WOULD employers give the surplus to employees?
Not in this age of activist stockholders seeking new sources of "revenue." Everywhere. Benefits are simply a "cost." Human Resources is a "cost center." Defined benefits that averaged out the risk among many have segued to defined contribution that is no more than a tax-abated savings account. Risk has monetary value, but risk invisibly is shifting more and more to the individual.

Jeffersonian , October 18, 2019 at 8:37 am

After the last Democratic debate, it is safe say anti-war Progressivism is dead. Everyone was frothing at the mouth to prove how much they care for the Kurds, and our nation's honor, and that we should stay in the ME. Except Tulsi, but her response fell flat with the audience, and judging by my Left friends/family on Facebook, fell flat with them too. Having the same position as Trump is a death sentence. My faith in my fellow citizens is at quite a low ebb.

Grayce , October 18, 2019 at 12:19 pm

Cheer up. No matter what you used to think of Lindsay Graham, he is setting the pace for a representative to think for him/herself. Commentators reported surprise that he was "formerly in Trump's corner." Think about how easily we accept that the future is secured by a majority in either house. The outrageous president is inspiring elected Republicans to analyze issues (imagine!). Even if it is cold and calculated to influence their own voters, let's begin to applaud and encourage those who seem to think for them/ourselves.

Carl , October 18, 2019 at 8:45 am

We don't suffer from a lack of ideas in this area; no, we lack the ability (political will) to accomplish it. Thus, another exercise in mental masturbation.

notabanktoadie , October 18, 2019 at 11:17 am

we lack the ability (political will) to accomplish it. Carl

A Citizen's Dividend would be the camel's nose under the tent since the less wasted by government, the more that could be distributed to citizens to counter price deflation.

And it's only justice that all fiat creation, beyond that created for government to spend for the general welfare, be in the form of an equal Citizen's Dividend.

Carl , October 18, 2019 at 1:15 pm

Give me a shout if that ever happens. I'll be over in Europe enjoying low cost, high quality healthcare and not going bankrupt to pay for it.

notabanktoadie , October 18, 2019 at 1:55 pm

Funny you should mention Europe since an equal Citizen's Dividend for all Euro zone citizens would be a way to eliminate austerity that even Germany might not object to since Germans would receive it too.

Carl , October 18, 2019 at 6:44 pm

For example, Italy gives the unemployed 500 euros per month and tries to find them any sort of job. I think you're a little behind. But by all means, keep tilting at windmills.

Amfortas the hippie , October 18, 2019 at 1:15 pm

i was just thinking about that this am while finishing my fence like in alaska.
i figger that after 40+ years of declining or stagnant wages, a majority of us are owed some frelling back-pay.
but "dividend" works just as well.

notabanktoadie , October 18, 2019 at 2:13 pm

a majority of us are owed some frelling back-pay. Amfortas the hippie

The Citizen's Dividend would vary as required to counter price deflation but during the period when the banks are progressively de-privileged, it would have to be quite high to provide for the conversion of bank deposits to fiat deposits at the Central Bank – with the banks, by necessity, having to borrow the needed fiat from citizens.

notabanktoadie , October 18, 2019 at 2:22 pm

[addendum]

Or sell their assets to citizens at a discount.

In other words, a Citizen's Dividend PLUS de-privileging the banks can easily be a means to re-distribute wealth.

Carl , October 18, 2019 at 6:46 pm

Oh please, in what universe is this going to actually happen? You sound like you're running for office.

rd , October 18, 2019 at 10:08 am

Its still the wrong set of arguments. The problem in the US is not that Medicare-for-All would require new taxes that need funding. The problem is that the US spends twice per capita on healthcare what the average OECD country spends. The US spends more public tax money on healthcare per capita than Canada does, and Canada insures the entire population.

We can pay for our entire military budget as it exists if we simply drop our per capita healthcare spending to less than what Switzerland pays. Name one other thing that costs more in the US than in Switzerland.

Americans simply cannot comprehend how exorbitantly expensive and unequal the US healthcare system is compared to the rest of the developed world.

Mike , October 18, 2019 at 2:33 pm

While I gladly accept the results of these surveys, I question the reasons they seem to have garnered from the public. To most citizens, lower taxes mean much more than non-aggresive foreign policy and peaceful diplomacy. If the question was phrased in such a way that respondents were replying to the lower cost AND the concomitant peace-oriented habits that should (would?) come from it, then it is an issue whether they agreed with both statements. Further, this reorientation of spending would have to be bully-pulpited quite strongly to educate the US as to its long-term benefits since most of us have been prepped to be anxious about foreign nations and the paranoia of saving us from the evil dictator "X". Oh, yes, peace should come, but compare the Syria brou-ha-ha to what would descend upon us when peace broke out. The elites won't disappear.

Adam Eran , October 18, 2019 at 5:18 pm

Bizarre. The question is: How can we afford something that's half as expensive as what we're already paying? I wouldn't expect that level of insanity from someone in a straitjacket yet it's a commonplace in these discussions.

Even worse: the argument that government is financially constrained. It's not "tax & spend," it can't be. Where would taxpayers get dollars to pay those taxes if government didn't spend them first?

So it must be "spend first & then ask for some back in taxes." This is how reality works. And what do we call the dollar financial assets left in the economy, not retrieved by taxes? a) The dollar financial assets of the citizens, i.e. their savings or (same thing) b) National 'Debt'

National 'Debt' is completely unlike household debt. It's like bank debt. If you have a bank account, that's your asset, but to the bank, it's a liability. It's the money they owe you. It's their debt.

Now imagine a mob of depositors marching down to the bank to demand it reduce the size of its debt (i.e. make their accounts smaller) Crazy? Yes, but that's the austerian line of talk.

Finally, the inflationistas: "If you just print money, you'll have [gasp][hyper-]inflation!" This is the finest quality bullshit, and people spout it practically without prompting. The truth: The Fed extended $16 – $29 trillion in credit to cure the frauds of the financial sector in 2007-8. I defy anyone to find a measurement of inflation that says there was any then.

Was there central-bank-run-amok inflation in the classical cases (Weimar, Zimbabwe). Nope. Not even there. Yes they did print lots of Deutchmarks and Zimbabwe currency, but only after a shortage of good occurred that actually caused the inflation. Just printing money, especially if there's spare capacity, does not cause inflation. You need a bidding war for some commodity that's become scarce (like oil in the '70s). So Weimar had the burden of war reparations, a balance of payments problem, and when they delayed sending some telephone poles to France, the French military shut down the German equivalent of Ohio (the Ruhr). Shortages led to the hyperinflation. Similarly, the Rhodesian colonists left Zimbabwe, which had previously fed itself, and food shortages led to the hyperinflation.

The Cato study of 56 hyperinflationary episodes in human history also validates the above. In *no* case did a central bank "run amok" and print too much to kick off the hyperinflation. Always the cost push of a shortage of goods drove it.

Carl , October 18, 2019 at 6:47 pm

Nicely said.

RubyDog , October 18, 2019 at 6:51 pm

Gosh, it's all so simple. We just need to take on the military industrial complex, the medical industrial complex, and our corrupt political system all at the same time.

TG , October 19, 2019 at 12:04 am

Researchers Detail How Slashing the Social Security and Medicare Budgets Could Pay for More Pointless Wars While Creating the Progressive Wall Street Bailouts Americans Want.

[Oct 20, 2019] USA corporations, can not and will not survive without WARS. Complete USA "economy" is a WAR machine

Oct 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

onebornfree , says: Website October 15, 2019 at 1:27 pm GMT

@Proud_Srbin Proud_Srbin says: "USA corporation, can not and will not survive without WARS. Complete USA "economy" is a WAR machine,"

As Randolph Bourne observed: "War is the health of the state". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randolph_Bourne

But its not just the US that is a war machine. Bourne's statement equally applies to _all_ states everywhere, past present and future.

If any state appears to not be making war on other countries at any particular time, its only because it is too busy making war on its own citizens [ eg taxes, drug laws, weapons/gun laws, religion laws, speech laws, environmental laws etc.etc. etc.], and has not yet created enough fake money via its central bank to enable it to debt-fund consistent overseas aggressions against others.

Regards, onebornfree

DESERT FOX , says: October 15, 2019 at 1:38 pm GMT
@onebornfree The Report From Iron Mountain says it all, the ZUS is to fight perpetual wars for the zionist agenda of a zionist NWO.

This report came out in the 1960's and can be googled.

Johnny Walker Read , says: October 15, 2019 at 1:54 pm GMT
@steinbergfeldwitzcohen

What will they do when the U.S. decouples from the Middle East completely?

Believing the U.S. will "completely decouple" from the Middle East is akin to believing in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Moon Landings.
https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia.giphy.com%2Fmedia%2Fc8YC8htf5YQg0%2Fgiphy.gif&f=1&nofb=1

anon [117] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 2:00 pm GMT
@Cloak And Dagger My hypothesis is that the man, narcissistic as he is, has reached the end of his tether. "

This is a truth ,eternal truth ,it applies to ironically both to a person and to a country . Just keep on giving and some more.

melpol , says: October 15, 2019 at 2:03 pm GMT
Wars by the US will never end because arms manufactures own Trump. Almost one half of the US budget goes for the security of the state, domestic and abroad. New weapon development would come to a halt if the US was not threatened. Fake news about China and Russia planning to attack the US keeps the arms industry humming. Over a million national security workers and their families would be devastated if Trump stopped fighting fake wars. God bless imagined threat of wars.
anon [113] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 2:13 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke

The goal all along was not to "take" Syria so much as to destroy it and leave it in fragments acting in the service of Israel.

Just so.

Johnny Walker Read , says: October 15, 2019 at 2:14 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read

This has strengthened the possibility of the revival of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS). There are around 10,000 such ISIS fighters currently lodged in prisons run by the SDF.

And with this, "the war on terror" is guaranteed to go on, and on, and on..

Subhead Corrigendum , says: October 15, 2019 at 2:22 pm GMT
Let's see what CIA actually does

https://armswatch.com/

There ya go.

Anonymous [835] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 2:46 pm GMT
@Sean started to click the Troll button
decided Sean #36 not worth the calories
DESERT FOX , says: October 15, 2019 at 3:27 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read AL CIADA aka ISIS is a creation of the CIA and the MOSSAD and MI6.
Prof Watson , says: October 15, 2019 at 3:39 pm GMT
Trump is Bibi's Shabbos goy.
Agent76 , says: October 15, 2019 at 3:43 pm GMT
September 20, 2019 The Imperial Debris of War

Just in case you hadn't heard the good news, the last man from the president's foreign policy "team" still standing, Trump whisperer Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, recently left National Security Advisor John Bolton in the dust.

https://original.antiwar.com/stephanie_savell/2019/09/19/the-imperial-debris-of-war/

June 27, 2018 Harvard Research Scholar Explains How America Created Al-Qaeda & The ISIS Terror Group

It's truly amazing how much the consciousness of the planet has changed within the past 5 years alone, and it's not just happening within one topic, but in several different areas ranging from health to geopolitics and everything in-between.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49733.htm

Rev. Spooner , says: October 15, 2019 at 4:18 pm GMT
@steinbergfeldwitzcohen Trade wars, sanctions, embargoes are economic warfare. I'm not going to elaborate as teaching Kindergarten is not my forte.
Longfisher , says: October 15, 2019 at 4:18 pm GMT
Oh, what a tangled web we leave when the CIA first seeks to deceive.
Greg Bacon , says: Website October 15, 2019 at 4:20 pm GMT
What Trump wants to do and what he can do are two very different things. The MIC/Zionist rot in DC is way too deep and entrenched for any one man to tackle.

Trump could make all his Schiffty problems go away by bombing Iran. Overnight, the man would be lauded as the president we need and that aging hack Pelosi would suddenly drop that phony impeachment hearing.

Trump is finding out that when making foreign policy, the safest route to take is to first ask, "Is this good for Israel?"

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 4:26 pm GMT
@Cloak And Dagger Agree.

And look what it has revealed the Dems, the Zios, the msm and Trump's Repubs all screaming how the US should stay in Syria

I have no love for Trump BUT .his Syria move has shown us how far into the Trump Derangement throes the Dems are.

It reveals as nothing else he has done so far that we have a government OF THE PARTIES, BY THE PARTIES , FOR THE PARTIES ..not for the people.

I hope people concentrate on that reveal.

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 4:30 pm GMT
@Cloak And Dagger

I have always contended that the best way to use Trump is to support his ego. Let's inundate him with praise for withdrawing from the Kurdish/Turkish quagmire. Sure, he hasn't vacated Syria yet, however, he has no choice but to vacate or be evacuated. His ego will opt for the former

I think you are spot on there also.

Johnny Walker Read , says: October 15, 2019 at 4:45 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX Exactly, with thousands of ISIS,ISIL(American/Israeli proxy forces)types now being freed due to Turkey's incursions into Syria, these "rebels" will be free to re-group and fight another day. Hence the need for American forces to STAY deployed in the Area. This is nothing more than a distraction move by Trump, which will result in the opposite "intended" actions of American forces being withdrawn from Syria. This will also guarantee the "need" for a strong Soviet presence in Syria.

America/Israel/Russia have always wanted the partitioning of Syria, the only point of contention between America/Israel and Russia was whether Assad was to be forced from power or would be allowed to remain President as a puppet of Putin and the Russians. Syria was to never remain a sovereign nation.

Priss Factor , says: Website October 15, 2019 at 4:50 pm GMT

https://www.youtube.com/embed/P0EwGEZKWvA?feature=oembed

Syrian Exposes Media Lies About Syria Withdrawal

The US still hasn't acknowledged the Armenian Massacre by the Turks. Why should it care about Kurds. US is the nation that said killing 500,000 kids in Iraq was worth it.

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 4:52 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke

Syria, Iraq, Libya are now less of a threat to Israel than ever before so that is a kind of peace.

Not really. All are still standing and not under US control. Iraq now leans even more toward Iran and Syria toward Russia ..and that outcome in these countries has made Israel's goal of destroying Iran much harder and less likely .
The curtailment of the Kurds, Israel's long time friends and proxy , is another blow to Israel's plot.

It appears to me that Putin's idea is to force everyone back into their own countries and borders .he may have shared that plan with Trump and that may have resulted in turning Turkey loose to do that job.

Bragadocious , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:01 pm GMT
@WJ Right. But as Giraldi always points out, Trump almost attacked Venezuela. He said mean words and rattled sabres! As opposed to Obama, who said no mean words ('cause he upheld the "dignity of the office") but sent the fighter jets into Libya and turned that country from a stable, secular regime into a human trafficking warzone. And also got an ambassador killed. Here are some of Giraldi's gems from April 2011:

Libya is a humanitarian mission

it [the invasion] has no clearly stated objective except to protect Libyan civilians

it is now clear that the rebels do not have any military organization to speak of and Gaddafi has the whip hand

Nice analysis there, Mr. CIA lifer and Obama lickspittle. I can only assume Giraldi was part of the crack CIA team of Sovietologists who were utterly blindsided when the Soviet Union broke up. It's amazing how much slack he's given around here for his anti-Israel stuff. It's like Teflon for him.

DESERT FOX , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:09 pm GMT
@Priss Factor Agree, and the ZUS has killed millions in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya and Syria, for their zionist masters, the only lives the ZUS cares about is zionists.
Johnny Walker Read , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:09 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke The only question you failed to address is what was the true motives of Putin's intervention into the whole mess. A few good points:

As in Ukraine, Putin will stay in Syria until it no longer suits him. He has no long-term strategic goals beyond creating chaos and weakening the alliances of the free world wherever possible. This allows him to play the big man on the international stage, an essential element of his domestic appeal. 24/7 propaganda and Soviet nostalgia have turned Putin's invasion into a domestic hit in Russia. In contrast, Russians have no interest in Syria or Assad, but who cares what they want? Unlike the leaders of Europe, the U.S., and other democratic countries, Putin doesn't have to worry about how popular his foreign adventures are at home. There are no checks and balances in the Russian government, no free media to criticize him, and no popularity polls that matter more than ranks of well-armed riot police.

https://www.newsweek.com/kasparov-putins-goal-syria-chaos-380620

ben sampson , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:21 pm GMT
Licks for Giraldi: Giraldi has been careless but not where he lists Trumps lies about ending 'silly' wars. from what Trump has actually done compared to what he says about ending America's wars he is a liar of clear and complete proportions
Sean , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:24 pm GMT
@renfro Turkey's invasion of Syria has been condemned by the United States, the European Union, Israel , Iran and some Arab states.
Sean , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:26 pm GMT
@Anonymous

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/10104926/turkey-invasion-of-syria-migrants-europe-fears/

TURKEY'S hardline leader has threatened to send 3.6 million refugees to Europe if it brands his military offensive in Syria an invasion.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to open the gates to "millions" of Syrians over criticism of his deadly attacks on Kurdish targets.

anon [113] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:32 pm GMT
@Bragadocious Why no link? Are you misquoting?
anon [113] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:34 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read You're quoting the Zionist anti-Russian Kasparov? LOLOL.
SafeNow , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:35 pm GMT
"the military the only real source of pride the only thing Americans feel they excel at"

An insightful point. Politicians support the military and its deployments for economic reasons, but the support of the public might derive from "what else is there?" Examples of institutional and private-sector failure abound in the news over recent years, and every day. The Boeing Max. The hotel collapse. 250,000 deaths per year from medical negligence. Power shutoffs. Useless college. The dive boat. A relaxed performance standard. The demise of meritocracy and rationality. During Katrina, every agency except the Coast Guard went into gridlock. There are remaining islands of expertise, but the unraveling is contagious.

Sean , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:38 pm GMT
@Bragadocious International human rights is not a suicide pact.
Anonymous [867] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:41 pm GMT
@Bragadocious

– [Giraldi] bashes Trump for his pre-Presidential life but never delved into Obama's pre-political life, which involved bathhouses and mounds of coke.

At least Obama served in the military. He was a corpse-man.

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:01 pm GMT
@Sean lol ..So What?
Phibbs , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:08 pm GMT
The dirty, filthy hand of the Jew is all over America's Mideast policy. Israel backs ISIS in Syria with weapons. The Israeli-Occupied Government in Washington D.C. has even protected ISIS in Syria at times. The Jew-owned media gives no credit to Iran and Russia for defeating Jew and American-supported terrorists inside Syria. Now the Jew-owned government is aching for war with Iran, which is not a threat to Gentile America.
A123 , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:10 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

The goal was to topple Assad. Remember Obama? Assad must go? Assad and the Assad regime are still there. The losers are the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Replacing Assad was an Globalist goal, heavily pushed by Erdogan. We also remember the failed presidency of Barak Hussein that never represented the citizens of the U.S. So it would be more precise to say that:
-- George Soros, Erdogan, Obama, Wahhabism, and the Globalists are losing.
-- Putin, Trump, Assad, and Populism are winning.

The real test will be Putin getting all other foreign troops & proxies to leave. The Globalist agenda is to keep the fight between Iran (Shia) and Turkey (Sunni) going, when they both leave combatants in Syria. Hopefully, Putin will be able to fully rout the Globalists and move out both Turkish and Iranian agitators.

PEACE

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:11 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read Maybe you don't know who the author of that article is .Garry Kasparov

Kasparov might be great at chess but in Russia he was big fail as a politician .couldn't get any votes on his campaign to make Russia like America. He went into a self-imposed exile in the West. claiming Putin ruined his political campaigning.
Now everything Putin does infuses all Kasparov's punditry

Kasparow's love for Bolton should clue you to what he is about.

Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) · Twitter
As I said about Bolton entering the Trump admin nearly 3 years ago, you may not agree with his views as much as I generally do, but he puts US interests first, not Trump's. Can't say same about Pompeo & the rest.
31 mins ago

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:23 pm GMT
The short story on Syria, Turkey, USAISRAEL, Russia –

Turkey-Syria offensive: Russia vows to prevent clashes with Assad forces
BBC

Takeaways

THEN .

"When the US decided to equip and train Syrian Kurds, as well as some Arabs, to fight IS, they were aware of a potential problem, that their would-be Kurdish allies were regarded as terrorists by their Nato ally, Turkey. Washington turned a blind eye to a problem that could be kicked into the future. Now the future is here, and it has blown up."

NOW .

"On Sunday the Kurds announced a deal with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, agreeing that its troops could advance into the zone that had not been controlled by Damascus since 2012, right up to the border with Turkey. That is a big victory for the regime. The troops moved quickly out of bases they maintained in the north-east. Assad loyalists dug out regime flags.
It was a disastrous day for American Middle East policy. The alliance with the Kurds, and the security guarantee safeguarding their self-governing slice of Syria, gave the Americans a stake in the war's endgame. It was also a way of pushing against the backers of the Assad regime: Russia and Iran. The departure of the Americans, and the advance of the Syrian army, are victories for them too.
European governments, rattled in the way that happens when the problems of the Middle East come knocking at their doors, are calling on Turkey to stop the offensive. Some Nato members can see a nightmare scenario unfolding, with Syria, backed by Russian power, potentially facing off against Turkey, a fellow Nato member. The Russians say they are in regular contact with Turkey. But in a fluid, violent theatre of war. the chances for misperception, mistakes and escalation are always present.

Perhaps what has happened in the last week simplifies the endgame of the Syrian war. Two major players, the Americans and the Kurds, look to be out of the picture. And President Assad, along with his allies from Russia and Iran, continue to solidify their victory in Syria's catastrophic war."

WHAT IS BEING LEFT OUT OF THE CURRENT COMBING THRU THE ASHES OF THE SYRIAN WAR IS THE FACT SAUDI STARTED THE WHOLE FUCKING SYRIAN WAR.

Anyone who doesnt know that can ask me how.

Rurik , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:23 pm GMT

The discussion, if one might even call it that, regarding the apparent President Donald Trump decision to withdraw at least some American soldiers from Syria has predictably developed along partisan, ideologically fueled lines.

Not too sure where this partisan line is, Dr. G.

It looks like they're screeching from both sides of the isle.

https://www.deseret.com/2019/10/7/20903288/president-donald-trump-syria-isis-turkey-kurds-pelosi-mcconnell-romney-islamic-state

Both powerful Republican Liz Cheney and Hillary called the pull out "sickening".

While Republican Senator Rand Paul applauds the decision, Tulsi Gabbard condemns it.

As for 'ideological', we all know that ideologically, the vast majority of all congress-critters (99+%) from both sides of the isle, are motivated by the ideology of doing "what's good for the Jew$"

NATO agreement stipulates that if an alliance member is threatened, other members must support it in its defense. Turkey has not made that claim, but it is completely plausible that it should do so .

Are you joking, Dr. G?

Hasn't Turkey been engaged in waging an aggressive war on Syria these last few years?

Wouldn't Turkey demanding military aid from NATO, (for a "threat" from the Kurds or Syria), amount to the US demanding NATO aid for a "threat" from Iran?

IOW, it's Turkey that has been the murderous aggressor, and the Kurds and Syrians their victims. Not to mention that Turkey's military could make mince-meat out of the Kurdish "threat" in a New York minute.

So it seems to me that the only thing holding Turkey back, is orders from the ZUSA and Russia. Russia is certainly a large part of this equation, IMHO.

did not understand the Turkish mindset regarding the Kurdish threat, which they regard as existential.

'Existential'?

Would a limited autonomy Kurdish state on Turkey's southern border, perhaps incorporating a small swath of Turkey, be the end of Turkey's existence?

When Nazi Germany invaded Poland, the world demanded that Germany sacrifice some of its territory as recompense for its aggressive military imperialism.

If I were in a position to do so, I'd hand Syria a slice of Israel's and Saudi Arabia's and Turkey's territory – as a punishment for their depraved attacks on an innocent and unthreatening Syria.

Definitely the Hatay province, which arguably belongs to Syria anyways.

I'm sure Turkey would call that an existential! calamity, but I'd tell them 'karma's a bitch'.

Finally, there is one other important issue that should be observed. Donald Trump's actual record on ending useless wars is not consistent with his actions. He has sent more soldiers to no good purpose in support of America's longest war in Afghanistan, has special ops forces in numerous countries in Asia and Africa, has threatened regime change in Venezuela, continues to support Saudi Arabia and Israel's bloody attacks on their neighbors and has exited to from treaties and agreements with Russia and Iran that made armed conflict less likely. And he has five thousand American soldiers sitting as hostages in Iraq, a country that the United States basically destroyed as a cohesive political entity and which is now experiencing a wave of rioting that has reportedly killed hundreds. Trump is also assassinating more foreigners using drones based mostly on profile targeting than all of his predecessors. These are not the actions of a president who seriously wants to end wars

I remain you most loyal fan, Dr. G. But I confess this sounds to me like you think the situation above started on the day of Trump's inauguration.

He inherited those things by the former ZUS regimes.

He has tried over and over again to disengage, only to be dragged back by the screeching from the members of his own party. Not to mention the ((media)).

There are a lot of reasons to condemn the actions of Trump. The Golan Heights, for instance. But it seem glaringly obvious to me at least, that Trump is not ideologically committed to Eternal Wars.

As you put it, he threatened regime change in Venezuela.

He wanted to have talks with the Taliban, (and the whole deepstate and their ((media)) screeched)

He "continues to support Saudi Arabia" but as Pat Buchannan points out.. "The Saudis got the message when the U.S., in response to a missile and drone strike from Iran or Iranian-backed militias, which shut down half of Riyadh's oil production, did nothing.

Said Washington, this is between Saudi Arabia and Iran."

And he has five thousand American soldiers sitting as hostages in Iraq, a country that the United States basically destroyed as a cohesive political entity and which is now experiencing a wave of rioting that has reportedly killed hundreds

You really do make it sound like all that is his fault.

I love your work Dr. G. And consider you one of the very best, most honorable and most courageous writers out there.

But I confess, (like so many others!), it seems like to me that you have an irrational, personal hatred for Donald Trump that colors your perspective.

IMHO.

I didn't have time to write this response well, have to go. Hope it's not too off base..

Art , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:27 pm GMT
@animalogic More information on Trump & drone attacks would be useful & welcome.

There is a gigantic problem in America. It makes us dysfunctional. Certain news cannot get to the American people.

Everyone in the know gets it – do not go to the NY Times with anti-Israel news. Do NOT buck the AIPAC agenda – period. The darkest element of the ADL will be at your door within minutes. The US government will soon follow.

It is obvious – when it comes to Jew matters, US government employees fear for their jobs, if not their lives. Same for the MSM.

Johnny Walker Read , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:30 pm GMT
@Bragadocious The Soviet Union never broke up, it just re-branded itself.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dssXAoQou1A?feature=oembed

Johnny Walker Read , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:33 pm GMT
@anon See post #88
anon [117] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
US President Donald Trump has lambasted American broadcaster ABC News for airing a video from Knob Creek Gun Range in the town of West Point, Kentucky, claiming that the network used footage from the facility to depict a Turkish attack on Kurdish civilians in northern Syria. Trump called the mistake "a big scandal" and "a real disgrace".

"A big scandal at @ABC News. They got caught using really gruesome FAKE footage of the Turks bombing in Syria. A real disgrace", the president wrote on Twitter early Tuesday morning.

AMN news

Sean , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
@renfro The Crimean Peninsula was annexed by the Russian Federation in February–March 2014. Despite all the protests about Crimea, the Donbass invasion using asymmetric tactics with Putin out outright denying responsability, Ukraine is a vital interest for Putin, and he would have been willing to confront America and Nato there because it is his home ground and advantage. But Russia is powerful enough to; Putin only went into Syria after Obama decided not to overthrow Assad. No one particularly cares about Syria and neither do they care about the Kurds (despite them having as good a case as the Palestinians to be given a state) and that is why jumped up Turkey can get away with invading Syria and attacking Kurds, just like they INVADED Cyprus.

This whole thing is probably a a storm in a teacup, but if Turkey gets into trouble they know, because they were already told very clearly over Cyprus, that if they play Lone Ranger, Nato does not have their back. Doing something Israel is not happy about and Turkey threatening to get their own nuclear weapons because Israel has them is not very good diplomacy from Turkey's point of view. It is begining to experience delusions of its own importance.

Art , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:41 pm GMT
@renfro It appears to me that Putin's idea is to force everyone back into their own countries and borders .he may have shared that plan with Trump and that may have resulted in turning Turkey loose to do that job.

Here is a very good video – Putin being interviewed. They asked him hard questions. He came across as being very rational.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/qxPepA-Jwr8?feature=oembed

Maybe between Trump and Putin things can work out in Syria?

paranoid goy , says: Website October 15, 2019 at 6:43 pm GMT
@steinbergfeldwitzcohen People! The internet is there for you to verify/debunk any statement you question. Running a website is a lot of work, why don't you guys collect the information you demand from Mr. Unz, and share with us?
Or are you looking at others to supply you with ready-made opinions?
Bragadocious , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:44 pm GMT
@anon Yeah, I'm misquoting, you utter imbecile.
Bragadocious , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:49 pm GMT
Ok.

Maybe you should explain how that comment's relevant to anything.

Proud_Srbin , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:51 pm GMT
@onebornfree Thanks for the link about Mr.Bourne and you correct about his statement applying to ALL states.
They are more like progressive, merciful and humanitarian slave owners.
Be free
anonymous [299] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:55 pm GMT
@renfro

WHAT IS BEING LEFT OUT OF THE CURRENT COMBING THRU THE ASHES OF THE SYRIAN WAR IS THE FACT SAUDI STARTED THE WHOLE FUCKING SYRIAN WAR.

How?

Did Hillary become an honorary member of the Saudi royal family, or just prostitute the US State Dept to make sure the guns were delivered on time?

anonymous [348] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:58 pm GMT
I wonder why the "high IQ" westerners have never deemed it fit to study their undeniable mass psychopathy.

If they were indeed as smart as claimed, they would begin to admit it, and given the claim to their innate highly civilised humanitarian inclinations *cough* , they would come to the conclusion that this world needs less of their cursed kind.

Since that is not going to happen, I guess nature has its way

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sperm-count-dropping-in-western-world/

anon [113] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:59 pm GMT
@renfro How?
c matt , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:09 pm GMT
@Bragadocious Obama's pre-political life

To be fair, I don't know if Obama ever HAD a pre-political life. He seems to be a creation ex publicae.

steinbergfeldwitzcohen , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:12 pm GMT
@Rev. Spooner The point he makes is extremely vague. No specificity. None. Yet 10's of thousands are dead. Ok, how about some evidence.
Why don't you go back to kindergarten, Rev?
renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:13 pm GMT
@Sean

It is begining to experience delusions of its own importance.

I would say Israel is beginning to experience the fallacy of its own importance.

What you clearly don't get is that ..kowtowing to the US as the ME superpower and enforcer is declining.

The rules are out the window, the ways of wars have changed, alliances are temporary, power is fluid, hyenas can eat elephants .

Israel will not be able to navigate this.

steinbergfeldwitzcohen , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:13 pm GMT
@paranoid goy He makes a claim. Where is the journalistic integrity to back it up?
9/11 Inside job , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:15 pm GMT
@SafeNow The support of the public for the military derives from constant and pervasive propaganda particularly through movies and TV shows , David Sirota calls it the "Military Entertainment
Complex".
Zero Hedge : " Documents expose how Hollywood promotes war on behalf of the Pentagon , CIA & NSA ".
steinbergfeldwitzcohen , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:29 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read I was making a rhetorical point. I don't think the U.S. can decouple from the Middle East.
I do, however, think that Trump wants value for blood and treasure.

Long-term, America simply lacks the financial strength to continue to project power. The MIC costs the U.S. a tremendous amount of money. Budget to the MIC will continue to be slashed over time. The Deep State in the U.S. will contract simply due to financial realities.
Israel will be less and less of a priority.
The next financial crisis is already beginning. The U.S. has a massive debt ratio relative to the Money Supply. It is now 5:1. Good luck with that. It will be needed.

Z-man , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:37 pm GMT
@Whitewolf Yes, lack of talent and totall inane radical left wing proposals whiped up by the AOC wing and swallowed by all the candidates 'hook, line and stinker '.
Daniel Rich , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:39 pm GMT
@OscarWildeLoveChild After JFK's assassination, every successive president is/was shown a film clip of JFK's head exploding from an angle nobody's ever seen.

It doesn't matter what party they're from; they'll tow TPTB's line. All of them.

US Foreign Policy = Occupied Palestine Foreign Policy.

That's all that's wrong with US foreign policies in a nutshell.

Curmudgeon , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:40 pm GMT
@Bragadocious Whether he or his father served is irrelevant. Carter was in the Naval Academy, Reagan and Bush 43 were in the reserves. Clinton had none and neither did Roosevelt, Hoover, Coolidge, Harding, or Wilson.
What is telling, is the "alleged bone spurs", and "Trump's surname was changed from the original German Drumpf".
An allegation is an unproven accusation. What Giraldi is stating, is that Trump's physician falsified records. You think old man Trump sent Donnie for a megadollar military academy education so he could avoid the military?
As for Drumpf, I was acquainted with a couple of Schmidts who became Smith, a Bryjolfson who became Byron, a Pachkowski who became Berry and, no one says Roosevelt's name was changed from Rosenfeld. The snide commentary doesn't help.
I have said all along, that there is a lot not to like about Trump, but let's keep it in the realm of reality. Whether he wants to end the stupid wars or not, he will never be allowed to, as long as Giraldi's old employer is in business and making up non-existent bullshit "threats to American interests", whatever they are.
anon [117] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:43 pm GMT
@Sean "Doing something Israel is not happy about and Turkey threatening to get their own nuclear weapons because Israel has them is not very good diplomacy from Turkey's point of view"

Israel is known to puff and bluff . It is grandiose polemic or rabid canine barking. It was not exposed by the west . But the west now knows it ,thanks to Hizbullah

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:48 pm GMT
It is difficult to understand nato secretary Stultemberg , it must be his thick swedish accent . I suppose he does not like turkish music

https://www.youtube.com/embed/YnR0VqDkjuA?feature=oembed

https://www.youtube.com/embed/t5isjGfHa4E?feature=oembed

Daniel Rich , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:55 pm GMT
@anon Getting women to work had nothing to do with their 'liberation.'

Even though my mom had her own [private] school, my dad's salary was enough to provide for all 5 of us, go on annual holidays abroad and put three kids through college, loan-free.

To TPTB, it's better to tax 2 people instead of 1.

To them it's just a number game, like the 'Torches of Freedom' gambit, all spiel, smoke and mirrors, to fool us gullible idiots into believing we do have a say

We should really start to use our guns and rifles to free the country and rid it of the rot that's smothering it.

Oh, look, another Cartra$$hian selfie butt shot on Instagram!!!!!!

Daniel Rich , says: October 15, 2019 at 8:00 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read The Easter Bunny isn't real?

Dang!

I thought the youngster was raped by Epstain.

Hence his egg-shaped penis .

barr , says: October 15, 2019 at 8:07 pm GMT
It's very old habit.Very much ingrained . It is also generational . Increasingly and suddenly religious also as the feckless toothless Evangelicals are rooting for 1 second fame .

But here is a short chronology–

1 Plans for mayhem in Syria have been on the imperial table since the 1950s (Operation Straggle).

2 US general Wesley Clark gave the game away years ago when he revealed US intentions in the Middle East after 9/11: seven countries were to be invaded

3 Seymour Hersh gave the game away too in his 2007 New Yorker article: "The Redirection". In this piece he revealed how the US were hooking up once again with the Saudi/Sunni fundamentalists in and around Syria.
4 France's ex-foreign minister Roland Dumas also gave the game away when he revealed that the British State (a definite CIA asset) was preparing for a war on Syria two years before the start of the Syrian Holocaust in 2011.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/31/homage-to-syria-a/

"This operation [in Syria]," said the former French foreign minister Roland Dumas in June, "goes way back. It was prepared, pre-conceived and planned."

https://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/11/the-biggest-lie/

As we recently learned from former French Foreign Minister Dumas, it was also about that time, that actors in the United Kingdom began planning the subversion of Syria with the help of "rebels"' (Christof Lehmann, Interview with Route Magazine)

https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/12/my-moneys-on-putin/

Between 2006 to 2010, the US spent 12 million dollars in order to support and instigate demonstrations and propaganda against the Syrian government. 6,3 million dollars was funneled to the Movement for Justice and Development, a Syrian dissident organization based in London. The Movement operated the Barada satellite channel

https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/17/the-dirty-politics-behind-the-syrian-conflict/

Daniel Rich , says: October 15, 2019 at 8:20 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read Quote: "America/Israel/Russia have always wanted the partitioning of Syria "

Reply: Kindly allow me to correct your statement.

"America/Israel have always wanted the partitioning of Syria "

Russia has a wet entrance into the Med via Syria.

Perhaps you've dozed off a bit over the past few years, but Russia has been destroying and killing the FUKZUIS 'war' machine goons in Syria [aka the takfiri terrorist].

They're assisting in getting the country back [on its feet] as a whole again.

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 8:30 pm GMT
@anon I'll keep it short. You can find the beginnings back in the 2012 coverage.

In 2012 Saudi sent Saudi Prince Bandar to Syria to be in charge of helping Syrian rebels bring down Assad, an ally of Riyadh's biggest regional rival Iran.
They were originally created, set up and armed and financed by Saudi.
The Saudis were then joined by Israel and Qatari and finally by the US under Obama.

A new twist appeared in the Saudi rebels war with Assad when ISI appeared and joined the fight.
This scared Saudi shitless as they thought this ISI version of ALQ might be a threat to them and lead to an invasion of Saudi as ALQ always saw it as a' westernerized' Saudi.
Everyone doubled down on both fighting Assad and fighting ISI ..which was a FUBAR if there ever was one.

Then enter the proxies, the Kurds, the PPK terrorist group all fighting for their own agendas within and under cover of the original war on Assad.

What could possibility go wrong in all this? LOL

Then enter Russia. Which gave some pause to the US in how far they wanted to go to throw Assad out for Saudi and Israel and open a gateway to get Iran.
So now we are headed to the ending of the Saud and others Syrian adventure which is probably best expressed by the fable of the fox and his shadow.

"A fox arose in the morning and saw his large shadow cast in the morning sun and said " I will have a camel for lunch today'. The fox hunted all day for the camel without success. As he paused in the afternoon setting sun he saw his shadow was much smaller and said "A mouse will do after all."

Daniel Rich , says: October 15, 2019 at 8:44 pm GMT
@anonymous Quote: " sperm-count-dropping-in-western-world.."

Reply: Yet here you are

anonymous [299] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 8:48 pm GMT
@Daniel Rich

In 1992, Alexandra Zapruder began to collect diaries written by children during the Holocaust. These diaries speak eloquently of both hope and despair.

[Alexandra said:] "Anne Frank's diary was the first diary that was published. And her voice was so powerful that it captured the voices of all the children and all the people who had been killed. That's the way it's framed. And that by reading her diary and sort of taking her into our hearts, we could redeem her life. . . ." [US Holocaust Memorial Museum https://www.ushmm.org/confront-antisemitism/antisemitism-podcast/alexandra-zapruder ]

Alexandra Zapruder is the author of Twenty-Six Seconds: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film.
Her grandfather was Abraham Zapruder, who took a twenty-six second home movie of President John F. Kennedy's assassination[1] -- now known as the Zapruder film.( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandra_Zapruder ]

Jon Baptist , says: October 15, 2019 at 8:51 pm GMT
Here is another article found at American Herald Tribune where Phil Giraldi also often has articles posted.

The US Isn't Serious about Leaving Syria at All -David Macilwain
https://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/syria-crisis/3575-the-us-isnt-serious.html

From a strategic point of view it is very noteworthy to observe that Kurdish troops are fully positioned east of the Euphrates River. The Kurds are allies of Israel and a vital proxy implemented to fracture Syria along the lines envisioned for Greater Israel (Oded Yinon Plan).

It is perceived that Russia is an ally of Syria. However, Putin has not prevented Kurdish troops from establishing themselves firmly within Syrian territory.

Israel along with their diaspora will never relent until their abomination of "Eretz Yisrael" is achieved. It's not an accident that the ISIS flag is marked "All Jew."

9/11 Inside job , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:03 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke Washingtonsblog : " Balkanizing the Middle East – The real goal of America and Israel : shatter Iraq and Syria into many small pieces "
Thomas Harrington : " One of the prime goals of every empire is to foment ongoing internecine conflict in the territories whose resources and/or strategic outposts they covet "
Sanchez : " Plan B is to Balkanize Israel is endorsing its plan B for Syria just when its enemies are making it clear that its plan A (Assad must go) is not happening anytime soon ."
Voltara , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:06 pm GMT
The US watching while Syria and Turkey start shooting at each other is something new. For decades the US has run towards conflict in the region
renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:24 pm GMT
Former AIPAC officials launch political action committee to direct funds to pro-Israel candidates
https://www.jweekly.com/2019/03/19/former-aipac-officials-launch-political-action-committee-to-direct-funds-to-pro-israel-candidates/

Pro-Israel America launched Tuesday endorsing 27 candidates -- 14 Democrats and 13 Republicans. All have long histories of working with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to advance the brand of pro-Israel legislation it favors. Its endorsements on its website praise the named lawmakers for their actions favoring the legislative agenda closely identified with the lobby: funding for Israel's defense, sanctions on Iran and its regional proxies, and bills that seek to counter the boycott Israel movement.

They include Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Chris Coons, D-Del.; Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the minority leader; Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, that committee's ranking Republican.

here are all of them listed .make sure you don't vote for one:

https://proisraelamerica.org/endorsements-2020/

anon [123] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:26 pm GMT
@barr Blaming Saudi or Turkey or UAE has possibly some validity but as far as far the effect of the independent move by any of them is concerned , it has less than zero effect on Syria on its own.

It is like a hypothetical scenario where Florida and Alabama are independent countries . Rest of America is splintered into 50 different states and Canada is trying to get rid of Cuban regime for 50 years and only in last 5 years Florida and Alabama have joined the scheme under dubious circumstances of pressure bribery and blackmail.

Art , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:34 pm GMT
Isn't "regime change wars" a mealy-mouthed term? Isn't it time to call a spade a spade?

Why are we using that benign term, for something so destructive of America's future?

Que bono – who benefits from these wars – isn't it just one small but powerful segment of America – AIPAC.

Isn't it time to call these wars by the honest truthful term – "AIPAC Wars?"

These wars and crushing national sanctions against others, all come from AIPAC.

Our elected congressmen and senators are almost all AIPAC such-ups. Let's put it in their face with a factual term.

AIPAC Wars

anon [415] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:40 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke Israel was more powerful and also more favorite of the west across ideological drive until 2003
It is not a normal country . Somewhere that guilt and remorse of stealing and killing have left a mark on its psyche . It doesn't know how to settle and be normal

It doesn't know the meaning of the power, advantage or gain . The paranoia drives to more dangerous world of fear and insecurity . It can't rest . Even if it is left alone, he talks to itself and bangs it head against wall . Recent election is the manifestation of more madness . It's begging jaunt to Russia and screaming through US media show how badly weakened the country is.

The countries that bow to Israel – UK, USA, Egypt, Saudi are finding themselves also badly weakened ,

A seed was planted in 2006 in Lebanon . That tree is growing taller and establishing roots , Israel will be a shrub hiding in the shadow of that tree in a few years time.
Soviet and Russia were both almost destroyed by Jews . Now they look for the Russian shadow to hide .

Anonymous Snanonymous , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:43 pm GMT
@Anon You don't say!
Sean , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:50 pm GMT
@renfro A pack of lions can bring down an adult elephant at night when they have the advantage, but they are careful not to choose a really big strong one. Russia is fighting in the Ukraine its traditional heartland and what H. Mackinder called the Heartland of the World Island. A victory in Syria that only came because Obama chose to not crush Assad with a couple of days of air raids is hardly evidence of the Empire falling.

The real meaning of Trump is the facing of the threat from China, and if the neocons want to play games in the Middle East so what? There is a fight coming with China and it is a match for the West led by giant Bull Elephant America, Backward ME shitholes all together could not take down America in a thousand years.

Republic , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:53 pm GMT
@Cloak And Dagger It is very nice to see a video from RT in Arabic showing the very rapid evacuation of a US base in Syria:

Hope to see many more in the future

anon [414] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:54 pm GMT
And what were the Kurds in Iraq called?
Didn't Saddam use some type of gas on them and that's why we were siding with them? Who told about the incubator babies, maybe some other terrorist group?
anon [113] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:56 pm GMT
@renfro Mmmm, okay, you must have meant something like 'organized shooting' when you said, "SAUDI STARTED THE WHOLE FUCKING SYRIAN WAR." Sorry I bit on false advertising.

As you see from 'barr' at #119 above, your starting point is months, years, even decades too late. For a fact (I've met some of the Syrians who met with Robert Ford in Damascus, now here and still lobbying for regime-change), the US was meddling, encouraging, prompting the anti-Assadists well before the 2011 demonstrations.

EliteCommInc. , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:04 pm GMT
laughing.

We shall see.

jsinton , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:07 pm GMT
It's their back yard, let them figure out where the property line goes. Just get out. Don't argue with that.
Johnny Walker Read , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:19 pm GMT
@Daniel Rich Putin is not the nice guy we have been told he is. He is in Syria for a reason, and that is not simply because he wants Syria returned to al-Assad. Syria is only one cog in the wheel. World wide Communism marches on, if you hadn't noticed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=19&v=4sKxkY0Tz5s
Z-man , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:23 pm GMT
@Anon Stoltenberg-Globalist tool and a moron.
Sick of Orcs , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:26 pm GMT
Trump confuses tweeting with taking action. How many times has he mentioned 'birthright citizenship' and then done nothing about it?

A: Every time.

Commentator Mike , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:43 pm GMT

rapid evacuation of a US base in Syria

LOL. My favourite rapid US evacuation was the CIA flying off the roof of the Saigon Embassy while the Viet Kong were busting in through the door and running up the stairs.

A123 , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:44 pm GMT
@Art

who benefits from these wars – isn't it just one small but powerful segment of America – AIPAC. Isn't it time to call these wars by the honest truthful term – "AIPAC Wars?"

Except the main beneficiary of these wars is George Soros and his anti-Semitic Globalist movement.

Soros intentionally orchestrated the ultra-weak, time limited JCPOA treaty to create a nuclear arms race among Iran, SA, Turkey, and possibly other MENA nations. That way he and his buddies with MIC investments could profit by selling weapons to all sides.

So let's put in everyone's face with a factual term

SOROS Wars

PEACE

HEREDOT , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:52 pm GMT
@Z-man Stoltenberg jewish whore is a bastard.
A123 , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:52 pm GMT
@Sick of Orcs

Trump confuses tweeting with taking action. How many times has he mentioned 'birthright citizenship' and then done nothing about it?

A: Every time.

If Trump drives too hard, too early and the case arrives at the Supreme Court while it is split 5-4 in favor of 'birthright citizenship' Is that a win? Or, a loss?

There is a huge difference between 'failed action' and 'successful action'.

Given the proven hostility of the deep state establishment, it makes a great deal of sense to lay groundwork now (via tweets), but only launch the correct constitutional action once the courts are prepared to support it.

PEACE

ChuckOrloski , says: October 15, 2019 at 11:10 pm GMT
With class, Philip Giraldi amused me by his article's mere title, "Trump wants to end the "Stupid Wars?"

Oh yea! Thanks, Phil , & please continue with offering dashes of intelligent, dissident, & unflappable humor. Haha. For example, "Trump's surname was changed from the original German Drumpf and if there were any Drumpfs at Normandy, they were undoubtedly on the German side."

(Zigh) The insatiable global tag team, M.I.C. and The Land of Bilk & Money , want "Big Time" and more stupidly unnecessary & immoral wars. (Zigh) One sure path to a 2nd term for President Bonespur is for him to get off the "low energy" Turkey/Syria skirmish, & get on with real war against Iran , for Israel.

Thanks, Phil! Fyi, I think Senator Lindsey Graham wants to get Bolton back in The Blue & White House, and sanction Camp Mar a Lago.

P.S.: For all commenters assembled here, linked below is Stephen Colbert's satiric covering of President Drumpf's having followed Israel's yonder (fallen) , and establishing a US Space Force Command! To that, Colbert quipped, "Trump can not join it because of his galactic bonespur."

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 11:23 pm GMT
@anon Well would you like to go baaaaaccccckkkk all the way to the failed US CIA coup attempt in Syria in 1957 ?

If so, do it yourself .I don't feel like typing out a whole history book just for you to jerk off on about how bad the US is..

Robjil , says: October 15, 2019 at 11:26 pm GMT
@9/11 Inside job Seven Nations to Destroy for the nine eleven false flag. Wesley Clark mentioned the seven – Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Lebanon, and Iran.

Seven Nations to Destroy for Yahweh's Israel – Deut. 7:1-2 – Tanakh/OT.

Iraq 2003 invaded Purim – shattered in pieces

Libya 2011 invaded Purim – shattered in pieces

How four other nations on the list that were destroyed.

Somalia –

Since 2006 it has been a mess with Israel/US Al-Qaeda running the show.

Bizarre article about US/Israel terrorists "worried" about the environment.

https://globalnews.ca/news/4310799/al-shabab-plastic-ban-somalia-al-qaeda/

Somalia-based militant group Al-Shabab has reportedly announced a ban on the use of single-use plastic bags in territories under its control.

The Al-Qaeda-affiliated organization, which has been blamed for thousands of deaths since its inception in 2006, dubbed plastic a "serious threat to the well-being of both humans and animals," the BBC reported, citing Al-Shabab's radio station Radio Andalus.

It even mentions that Osama Bin Laden, the puppet of Israel/US, was "worried" about the environment too. It makes one wonder if this Climate Change thing and Imperialism terror are connected.

Bin Laden wrote that Americans needed to save Obama from corporate and other nefarious influences to empower him to "save humanity from the harmful gases that threaten its destiny."

He added that the world would be better off fighting climate change than waging what he claimed was a war against Islam.

Sudan

Divided in two in 2011. Israel/US is pushing for more divisions.

https://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article64102

Asked about his demand for protection during his meeting with Putin, al-Bashir said we wanted to highlight "the big U.S. pressure and conspiracy" on Sudan in Darfur crisis and the huge pressure exerted on his government to separate the South Sudan.

"Now we have information that the American quest is to divide the Sudan into five countries If we do not find protection and security. America took the world leadership and devastated the Arab world. (See) what happened in Afghanistan, what happened in Iraq, what happened in Syria, what happened in Yemen and what happened in Sudan," said al-Bashir.

Lebanon

Invaded by Israel in the summer of 2006. It made a mess out of Lebanon. Israel had a lot of trouble fighting off Hezbollah. This is the reason that Israel fears going into Lebanon again. After this adventure, Golems like US and its friends are the go to for Israel's war adventures.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180712-remembering-israels-2006-war-on-lebanon/

Initially, both Israel and Hezbollah claimed victory in the war, with Nasrallah declaring that Hezbollah had achieved a "divine, historic and strategic victory". Some international observers saw the fact that Hezbollah had survived the Israeli assault, despite the asymmetrical power balance, as a PR victory for the group. According to Reuters, the Lebanese government estimated direct war damage at $2.8 billion, and lost output and income for 2006 at $2.2 billion. The economy also shrank five per cent, with tourism effectively halted.

Six of the seven were messed up, destroyed. It leaves only Iran left. Iran is in the "news" everyday for this reason.

anonymous [403] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 11:31 pm GMT
Trump is flawed, ok then, but we had Clinton as the alternative. She would have been ten times worse so what choice did the American people have? He's rolling up the Obama-Clinton project in Syria which was a huge atrocity. Can you imagine the bloodbath that would have ensued had the US backed jihadi cannon fodder actually succeeded in overthrowing Assad? It's not a one man show and Trump has to go along with much of what has been taking place. Much of this has been imposed upon the American people as well as on Trump.
The brave Turks have been fighting a thirty year war against the "terrorist" Kurdish PKK. Why so long? Maybe the Turks oppress them? There has to be a reason the Kurds have been resisting for so long. But yet the mighty Turks are going to defeat the Kurds of Syria even as they can't defeat the ones living in their own country? Perhaps they'll take on the inferior Syrian army at the same time. After all, they're a big NATO ally with lots of weapons to dump on lightly armed foes. Reality is they haven't fought anyone in a hundred years so who knows how well they'd do.
Quit calling Afghanistan a "war". It's an occupation with anti-guerilla operations going on. Apparently they don't like being occupied so they fight on.
Trump's name is Trump, not Drumpf. Or do we now refer to people by the family name used a hundred years ago, or why not five hundred years ago?
Mark Hunter , says: Website October 15, 2019 at 11:41 pm GMT
Excerpt from
"Trump Mistake: Allowing Turkish Invasion of Northern Syria"
by Joel Skousen (there is no direct link to it but it is/was on his website World Affairs Brief ):

This week in a telephone conversation with Turkish dictator Recep Erdogan he [President Trump] assented to Erdogan's demand from over a year ago to let them enter Turkey and establish a buffer zone where Turkey can resettle the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees that have burdened Turkey since the beginning of the US-created terror attacks on Syria. But as part of that strategy, and without emphasizing that to Trump, Erdogan intends to drive out or destroy the Syrian Kurds which occupy northern Syria. Erdogan calls them terrorists because the US-backed YPG Kurds are affiliated with the homegrown Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which represents about 20% of the Turkish population, and which has been fighting for independence from Turkey. So while the Turkish Foreign Minister plays lip service to Syrian sovereignty, Turkey has already begun the invasion and occupation of northern Syria. While Trump claims he is fulfilling a campaign promise to remove troops from Syria, this isn't really a pullout at all since only two observation posts in the path of the Turkish invasion are pulling out. There are thousands of other US troops elsewhere in Syria protecting US-backed terrorist rebels.

Daniel Rich , says: October 15, 2019 at 11:53 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read H.E. Mr. Putin has clearly stated it's up to the Syrian population to choose who leads them, not him.

Tartus has a port Russia needs and uses.

Khmeimim Air Base is also needed and used by the Russian AF.

These are military strategic assets and used to counter balance the FUKZUS 'war' machine's bases dotted around the ME region. Of course, those you don't mention.

The Red Menace.

I get it.

ploni almoni , says: October 16, 2019 at 12:05 am GMT
No president actually controls the government, least of all Trump. The Deep State controls the government. Trump is a an interloper. Why does one have to remind the author of this elementary fact? The threat to destroy the economy of Turkey was made by Stephen Israel Mnuchin. Trump had to make noises as if it was his "decision" when in fact he had nothing to do with it. What Trump wants to do, and what he can do, are entirely different things. And anyone who has anything to do with Americans knows what happened to all the previous allies. Mnuchin has clued in those Turks who may have had illusions.
Art , says: October 16, 2019 at 12:08 am GMT
@A123 Except the main beneficiary of these wars is George Soros and his anti-Semitic Globalist movement.

Gee -- never heard of ASPAC?????

anon [123] Disclaimer , says: October 16, 2019 at 12:13 am GMT
@renfro very bad US is indeed . It continues to sabotage ,cast evil eye,try to strangle ,and continue to punish Cuba . That long history is really long punctuated by half hearted Obama attempt .
Once empire decided a project,it becomes , NASA , Present Danger , PNAC or NED . The project goes on losing the aim . The project goes on because the vested interest ,employees,pensioner,glory seeking men, arm merchant, politicians and expatriate find means to rake up profit and launder dishonest living into honest lifestyle . Name is changed when it suits the project . Aim is not lost. It becomes the final destination . It never stops energegizing the dishonest, looter,profit seekers, and opportunists . Often the brains that gather under the flag are not that intelligent or ideologically certain.
Money and corruption drive them.
Zumbuddi , says: October 16, 2019 at 12:31 am GMT
@Johnny Walker Read Later
Counterinsurgency , says: October 16, 2019 at 12:49 am GMT
@Agent76

It's truly amazing how much the consciousness of the planet has changed within the past 5 years alone, and it's not just happening within one topic, but in several different areas ranging from health to geopolitics and everything in-between.

Going broke happens slowly at first, then quickly. The Western cities are going broke, as are those in the Third World. Nothing else changes peoples minds like having their basic income reduced or eliminated.

All the promises (including self-governmement and freedom and equality) have turned out to be lies, smoke. Computers, which were supposed to be a seamless adjunct to human existence, a source of education and information, and a liberation from the bad parts of part of reality, have turned into (poor but cheap) entertainment, gossip, a drug substitute, and a propaganda source. The result is shock and horror, sometimes followed by violent psychosis [1] (e.g. antifa).

Once again, I recommend "Marat/Sade"

(1967). It gives you a feel for what a revolution is like once the revolution gets going. Note the movie's final scene, which almost breaks the "fourth wall" convention. It was made during our last revolution, and the director wanted to record the spirit of what he had seen.

Counterinsurgency

Counterinusurgency

1] https://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/guide/what-is-psychosis

nsa , says: October 16, 2019 at 12:51 am GMT
@Phibbs "jew and Amelikan supported terrorists inside Syria"
They call them Joohadis for a reason.
ChuckOrloski , says: October 16, 2019 at 12:53 am GMT
@Art I like it, very catchy, original, Art said: "AIPAC Wars."

Oh yea, Art, thanks, and a "spade is a spade" when one manages to get the hell out of the AIPAC shade.

Unfortunately tonight, millions of process estranged Amerikan Democrat & GOP voters are now "beamed up" to an AIPAC-approved strange & hostile telescreen's DebateLand.

(Zigh) Across aisle, including a possible Beaming Bloomberg entry, , "winnable" 2020 presidential nomination contestants shall pick & choose, finagle & sell, an either/or USrael foreign policy posture, as regrettably follows:
1.) The Zio-Democrat War to end the deplorable Trump's stupid call to end all Amerika's endless Wars just for the paltry good of gradually achieving Greater Israel's unending endgame. or,
2.) The Zio-GOP's War to end all Democrat Party hopefuls' stupid call to end all US endless wars just because a lefty AIPAC-Branch put an Israel Labor Party "bug in their ear" about having lowly dead-ender 'Merikan workers fucking pay for it.

Thanks again, Art, and "Good night America."*

* Phil Giraldi inhabits Sinatra's City That Never Sleeps.

Counterinsurgency , says: October 16, 2019 at 12:57 am GMT
@steinbergfeldwitzcohen

The next financial crisis is already beginning. The U.S. has a massive debt ratio relative to the Money Supply. It is now 5:1. Good luck with that. It will be needed.

Agree.

And the financial debt must be augmented by degradation of physical infrastructure (especially in cities and city support infrastructure) and the degradation of human capital by importation of low IQ populations and effective destruction of education. And the capital misallocation that continues today.

The world will be surprised at what happens when the US power projection ends, as global trade will end with it.

Counterinsurgency

Counterinsurgency , says: October 16, 2019 at 1:07 am GMT
@anonymous

The brave Turks have been fighting a thirty year war against the "terrorist" Kurdish PKK. Why so long? Maybe the Turks oppress them? There has to be a reason the Kurds have been resisting for so long.

Turkish birth rate low (lower in cities than in hinterlands), Kurdish birth rate high. Kurds replace Turks in a few decades. Kurds don't follow Turkish cultural norms, nor Turks follow Kurdish. Kurds don't want to wait a few decades, want power _now_ (c.f. Black Power and Whiteness in USA). Kurds use destructive commando raides ("terrorism") to get power now. Turks don't like that, respond with same.

Long term: demography wins barring very large change.

Please correct parts of this that are wrong. I'm not following this conflict closely.

Counterinsurgency

geokat62 , says: October 16, 2019 at 1:16 am GMT
Latest TruNews godcast, E. Michael Jones: The Deception Facing the Church by Christian Zionism

YT Description:

Today on TruNews, Dr. E. Michael Jones joins us to talk about the influence of modern Christian Zionism upon the American Church, and how that has led to a dramatic radicalization of US foreign policy in favor of one nation, Israel.

Prof. Jones takes the deluded xian Zionists to task, calling them "useful idiots." My favourite passage starts @ 18:58:

.. which means you got a lot of Christians who don't understand the gospel. Because there are plenty of Christians out there who are Christian Zionists. It's a simple fact of life. I think it can be traced to Jewish influence in our culture Jewish influence over the publishing industry, for example. How did the Scofield Bible end up being published by Oxford University Press? Because it's a great scholarly work? No! Because of people like Mr. Untermeyer pulled strings. This is the way this happened. It's the biggest issue facing American politics, right now. The role that Zionism is playing right now, in corrupting the government of the United States, in diverting American resources into a quagmire in the Middle East, which doesn't serve the interests of the American people at all and is all done in the name of Israel.

DESERT FOX , says: October 16, 2019 at 1:50 am GMT
@geokat62 Watched trunews.com tonight and agree with Dr. Jones.
anon [113] Disclaimer , says: October 16, 2019 at 1:51 am GMT
@renfro LOL. You're the one with the hard-on to dump it all on the Saudis, IN ALL CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry to call your bluff, NOT.

steinbergfeldwitzcohen , says: October 16, 2019 at 2:07 am GMT
@Counterinsurgency I'm kind of having a mental barrier with this now.
There is a guy in Vancouver who predicted the 2008 financial crisis, Jensen I believe (he wrote to the Bank of Canada and a list of people in 2006). He argues that the fundamentals are even worse now due to the failure to finance these foreign adventures and other factors (expenditures on domestic expenses not matching tax income, etc.).

I haven't even taken the time to consider the knock on effects. Mentally, I've been more focused on having to sit through the screaming match that is going to occur over who is to blame and the lying that will go on with respect to needing to move to a sound money system but having bankers et al try to argue for a rollover into a new currency. It is going to be ugly, I can feel it. It will provide an opportunity for some serious structural change and constitutional amendments. A whole host of reforms are open when you have a debt induced currency collapse. I just know it could be really ugly and I've been dreading thinking through how this will play out. I keep thinking that I never expected to live in a time like this; I think back to being a teenager during the Reagan years and, despite the Cold War-nuclear war scenario hanging over our heads, it seemed a much more optimistic time.
I am not optimistic. I'm very worried.

IllyaK , says: October 16, 2019 at 2:11 am GMT
Chump will do as is his wont: fold like the numbskull Jew-controlled POS assclown he is.
geokat62 , says: October 16, 2019 at 2:15 am GMT ivan , says: October 16, 2019 at 2:19 am GMT
@Robjil Somalia under a failing Siad Barre regime was going to the dogs with various warlords cannibalising each other. Then the Americans were told in the flush of victory in the Gulf in 1991, that they should just kick the door in to save the dumb Muslims. It is not the fault of the late senior Bush that Somalia is compounded of that specimen of humanity that emerges like clockwork when African tribalism is married to Islamic fanaticism (but is there any other kind?) . The Americans were minding their own business, but were told that it was the humanitarian thing (and furthermore quite cheap to boot) to do at little cost to themselves to save Muslim chillun'.

Afghanistan was no better : The idiot, the younger George Bush instead of bombing the the hell out of Al-Queda and leaving was instead misled by mystagogues of various hues, including his own self into sinking lives and treasure in a vain attempt to civilise the Afghans.

The truth is the further you keep away from Muslims, the better it is for your health and sanity, notwithstanding the parallel machinations of various neocohens, for Islam is a pernicious religion that breeds insanity, intolerance and bloodshed all by itself.

steinbergfeldwitzcohen , says: October 16, 2019 at 2:29 am GMT
E. Michael Jones: a very wise man. He believes in free speech and is hated by Jews who, of course, label him an 'anti-semite'. I would argue they are 'truth averse' fanatical maniacs.
He makes a good case that 'Christian Zionism' is a heresy. I don't believe he uses that term BUT I do.
It's just another bubbling that is bursting.
What will they do besides scream and throw tantrums? Is it time for another false flag 911 type event?
What the media never really exposed was how Syria, and every Middle East country that has been attacked by the DeepStateZio monster, has seen the oldest Christian communities on the planet under attack. Strange pattern. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism, initiated by the British alliance with the Wahabi's and the Saud Family and furthered by the CIA/Mossad in Afghanistan, has corresponded with the destruction and diasporas of the world's oldest Christian communites.
Somehow, Europe has ended up with a bunch of Muslims when these Christians would have fit into their societies much better.
I think that none of this just 'happened'. I strongly suspect that if we were to kick over some rocks we would find the usual suspects: the Khazar/Black Nobility Alliance.
Ilyana_Rozumova , says: October 16, 2019 at 2:29 am GMT
@renfro How?????????????????????????????????????????
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
I do think it was Mc Cain.
Concerning historically lazy Saudis I am entirely confident that they were only taking care of payroll.
( I am not entirely confident but there is a possibility that CIA did channel some profits from Afghanistan poppy fields for this noble cause.
Daniel Rich , says: October 16, 2019 at 3:26 am GMT
@Counterinsurgency Quote: "The world will be surprised at what happens when the US power projection ends, as global trade will end with it."

Reply: Given the vast sums of money set aside to implement China's 1 belt 1 road project, [IMO] the global dollar trade will turn into a trickle over time, but the global trade will not nosedive along with it.

Too much a stake for the multinationals [not necessary a good thing, but alas].

Stan , says: October 16, 2019 at 3:27 am GMT
@Sean Hasbarats are repugnant.
Wally , says: October 16, 2019 at 3:54 am GMT
@Bragadocious Has Giraldi ever stated which current candidate is his preference vs. Trump?

I thought not.

Trump over the alternatives any day.

Justsaying , says: October 16, 2019 at 3:59 am GMT

Damascus had supported U.S. intelligence operations after 9/11 and it was Washington that soured the relationship beginning with the Syria Accountability Act of 2003, which later was followed by the Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act of 2015, both of which were, at least to a certain extent, driven by the interests of Israel.

It's very challenging to come up with any foreign policy initiatives that do not serve Zionist Israel's interests, first and foremost. Israeli interests have defined American foreign policy objectives in the ME for much of the post-WWII era. Not at Israel's behest, but on Israel's instructions and demands via pro-Zionist lobbies and the infestation of the Administration with Israel First officials, Israeli citizens and spies. Add to that the Israel First MSM.

anon [123] Disclaimer , says: October 16, 2019 at 4:04 am GMT
@ivan Is it methamphetamine instead of regular fentanyl ? Anyway, this logic and perverted emotion make sense to you. Unfortunately it will reinforce your decision to switch . Business will sure be coming back from China to rural America.
renfro , says: October 16, 2019 at 4:23 am GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova

Concerning historically lazy Saudis I am entirely confident that they were only taking care of payroll.

The Saudis were just the money ..there were no Saudi fighters in Syria.

Robert Whatever , says: October 16, 2019 at 4:57 am GMT
I voted for Trump. But maybe the people who said Trump has no core values were right all along?
Sick of Orcs , says: October 16, 2019 at 5:58 am GMT
@A123 I respectfully disagree on this particular matter. There is no US law bestowing birthright citizenship. All that would change is recognition of what the law really says.

Trump waiting to win another 4 (still a gamble) AND for RBG's animatronics to fizzle out AND for her replacement to not be another skunk like Roberts is foolish.

There is no underwater 38th-dimensional quantum chess being played here, and we still have no wall.

anon [113] Disclaimer , says: October 16, 2019 at 6:32 am GMT
Oops, I posted this under another writer. (Small wonder I got no answer.) Since then, someone else remarked that at the end of WWI this land (northern Syria) was taken from Turkey. So this is a long grievance, with deep sense of entitlement.

Rurik wrote, " .the Americans (Obama regime), created ISIS- with the intention that they use Libya's stolen arms caches to hack and slaughter their way across Syria "

Yes, and that's why I'm skeptical of dumping of Erdogan. How eager was he for this conflict? Did the Obama CIA promise him N. Syria for his complicity? Doubtless assuring that Assad would fall quickly! Or maybe they dangled EU membership, if he joined the team.


Maybe Phil can enlighten us:

We know that Robert Ford, US Embassador to Syria, was meeting privately with Syrian "civil society" activists before the 2011 demonstrations.
-- Was Erdogan/Turkey also involved in infiltrating, inflaming those anti-Assad elements?
-- How did Turkey involvement begin?
-- Was the CIA actively involved in Syria before the fall of Libya?

Thanks.

EliteCommInc. , says: October 16, 2019 at 7:04 am GMT
"I voted for Trump. But maybe the people who said Trump has no core values were right all along?"

There was no question that the president was going to be a situational leader.

jsigur , says: October 16, 2019 at 8:07 am GMT
C'mon guys.
Using prior military service as some sort of litmus test to the right to critique involvement and opinion sharing today plays to an audience mentality that encourages blind patriotism.
There really are no necessary wars these days as they are all being fought for the banker elite which holds no loyalty to country though it plays on ppl's ignorance to use such loyalties for propaganda purposes.
There is no justification for US troops to be all over the world as a banker mercenary force and this site acknowledges 911 was an Israeli- internationalist false flag which removes all justifications for the meddling in Israeli neighbor's internal affairs.
Tolerating this to get air time with magazines that lie for power is encouraging this negative behavior for personal advantage in a country and world striving to control the most minute areas of our lives.
Going along to get along only brings the eternal boot down of the forehead forever@!

The fact that none of these bickering forces are targeting Israel who always was the catalyst for the divisions there, is a huge clue that we and Israel are the problem causers primarily. Of course we need false flags to excite the population to support the fake war on terror within the US and Europe (as well as justify the reverse colonialism going on). Jews for hundreds of years have counted on stupid goyim to do the fighting but now that Israel is a supposed stand alone nation, that should be harder to accomplish but apparently total corporate media control keeps the truth hidden from 85% of the public.

Counterinsurgency , says: October 16, 2019 at 9:10 am GMT
@Daniel Rich

Reply: Given the vast sums of money set aside to implement China's 1 belt 1 road project, [IMO] the global dollar trade will turn into a trickle over time, but the global trade will not nosedive along with it.

I actually hadn't thought of that. Now that you point it out, of course the dollar trade will decrease. Negative interest rates are, in a way, saying that nobody wants US Dollars anymore, and trades that are not in US Dollars are being actively sought. The decrease will happen a bit before the USN becomes ineffective. And that will be hard on the multi-nationals, but I can't say I have much sympathy. They were firmly behind the move of Western manufacturing to East Asia – what did they think would happen?
But I do disagree over the assertion that global trade will remain about as it is.
The New Silk Road. Interesting topic.

Well, first of all it's a reasonable thing for the PRC to do. Historically, the Silk Road has paid off for China, at least in terms of precious metals, and being dependent on a single transportation mode for one's raw materials is strategically undesirable. It's a good move. It's also an attempt to realize McKinder's proposed making the World Island into a unified state[1].

But a couple of points:

a) New Silk Road is much more expensive than sea transport [2]. If sea lanes are cut off, China's raw materials costs increase by several times.
b) New Silk Road recapitulates the interaction of European empires of the 1800s through 1900s with ethnicities along the Silk Road. The Europeans were resented and eventually ejected. The Chinese are having similar problems.
China has loaned money to various nations which have then spent that money on immediate consumption and are attempting to repudiate the debt. The Chinese (who have no compunctions about debt repudiation through currency devaluation) are apparently taking over completion of the Silk Road facilities for which the natives can no longer pay (having spent the money on other things). Local rulers are saying that this makes the Chinese foreign invaders (on a very low level so far). Just like the Europeans.
Chinese society also does not mix well with either Islamic or African tribal society, yet the Silk Road crosses both cultural territories.
So far as I know, the Chinese takeover of the Panama Canal since the US evacuation has gone well. Last I heard, a few years back, Panama had started teaching Chinese in its public schools. Chinese operations in South and Meso America are increasing, however, and I know little about how they are going.

The nice thing about policed sea lanes is that shippers don't have to worry much about the natives. Piracy is and has been a problem, but so far not a serious one. New Silk Road goes overland, and that has (historically) always led to security problems with the locals, whoever the locals may be.

So: Let's suppose that the USN were to become ineffective. Only the part of the Silk Road guarded by the Russian Federation would remain secure. The rest would be subject to local raids and extortion from the local government. Note that raw materials costs would increase drastically for everybody (because of less shipping), so local governments and bandits would have motives for confiscating goods.

This would be especially the case in Africa, which is largely dependent on food imports. That conflict could become severe, as China is increasingly dependent on Africa for raw materials (as is the rest of the world).

In other words, sole reliance on the New Silk Road (should that ever be necessary) would be expensive in terms of shipping and in terms of security / warfare costs. China's bellicose policy is, IMHO, counterproductive. China should be positioning itself to police the sea lanes cooperatively but reluctantly with a declining USN, gradually assuming the mantle of worldwide protection of the sea lanes that China needs so badly. Current efforts to be able to interdict the sea lanes are not in the PRC's interest, as the PRC needs these sea lanes open. It's sort of like developing a hyperbomb to make the Sun go nova. Under what circumstances would you use such a device? Under what circumstances would China want to cease shipping by sea?

So, what's likely to happen? The USN will decline because it needs recapitalization due to age and a changing threat, and the US is instead devoting its income to debt repayment and immediate social stability expenditures. The PRC, which has never been a naval power, will still attempt to keep global trade alive. When that fails, the PRC will trade more with the Russian Federation It will also take what sea and land it has, make an expeditionary force out of it, and deploy it in some trading zones (possibly in countries that have resources China needs) rather than see its population starve and itself overthrown. That's the standard response from any H. Sap. political organization. Things will get very messy.

And please remember that I'm like the weatherman: I report, I don't cause.

Counterinsurgency

1] http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/geography/mackinders-heartland-theory-explained/42542

2] http://www.economicsdiscussion.net/articles/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-water-transport/2185

Sean , says: October 16, 2019 at 9:49 am GMT
@Stan Israel is a shitty little country but its treatment of the Palestinians is side issue for the West, just as the way the Kurds are treated is unfortunate but hardly our responsibility. A confrontation with burgeoning China beckons, and America needs to be united. Going off on tangents to play Santa to peoples who lost the geopolitical game and are without a state would weaken the West,
geokat62 , says: October 16, 2019 at 12:12 pm GMT
Israel: "It doesn't feel like my country anymore."

My favourite comment:

"Israelis need to learn be multicultural. Ask Barbara Spectre."

Johnny Walker Read , says: October 16, 2019 at 12:59 pm GMT
@Daniel Rich What part of BOTH the US and Russia are only there to serve their own interest don't people understand. My only point is Russia is not there out of the goodness of their hearts. People who claim Russia is fighting the globalist juggernaut and is only in Syria to "fight ISIS/ISL" and to make Syria "safe for Democracy" aren't seeing the big picture. Russia is working hand in hand with China to make sure America is reduced to a second rate global power. Assad has become nothing more than Putin's puppet on a string. Syria will need money for re-construction, thanks to Russia destroying much of their infrastructure, that money more than likely will come from China(China's version of "Economic Hit Men"). All the while, lurking in the back ground, that little shit stain known as Israel.

This report will present the reality of Russia's Syrian campaign. Russia launched air strikes on hospitals, water treatment plants, and mosques. Russia used cluster bombs. Russia almost exclusively targeted non-ISIS targets. These are the truths that Russia will not admit, and the truths that must be understood when negotiating with Russia as a potential partner.

https://publications.atlanticcouncil.org/distract-deceive-destroy/

It's all about the "Belt and Road Initiative". There are no good guy's in this mess, and the real losers in this conflict are the citizens of Syria. Russia is a main partner in "Globalization".

One of the main problems of the People's Republic is to connect the "Belt" with the "Road". For China it is crucial to be able to bypass the choke points represented by the straits that separate the South China Sea from the Indian Ocean (Malacca, Sunda and Lombok) that, being controlled by the US, prevent the Chinese maritime power to fully develop. A first important asset in this sense is represented by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which connects by land Eastern China to the port of Gwadar in Pakistan, in turn connected to the String of Pearls.

Why Syria?

In this perspective, Syria becomes a crucial junction within the BRI: a possible development of its transport and port infrastructures, properly connected with each other and with the Belt and Road Initiative, would allow China a further maritime outlet for its land trade and a formidable trade post in the Mediterranean. A further advantage is represented by the increased quantity of goods that China could deliver into the Mediterranean, overcoming the further bottleneck of the Suez Canal.

Syria also has at least two important factors that represent opportunities to be exploited by Beijing: the country's urgent need to obtain funds to be allocated to reconstruction and development and the simultaneous disengagement of the United States from the Middle East, an empty space not filled by the EU. Syria is therefore an extremely interested and receptive partner to the proposals of the Chinese government, which finds itself at the same time freed from any diplomatic controversy that could slow down its action.

http://mediterraneanaffairs.com/bri-china-syria-reconstruction/

A123 , says: October 16, 2019 at 1:05 pm GMT
@Sick of Orcs

we still have no wall.

We have wall building taking place. (1). However, Trump can only do so much rearranging within congressional appropriations.

Please, correctly lay the blame on Pelosi and Schumer. They are the ones who refuse to find national security.

PEACE
_______

(1) https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/09/04/defense-secretary-mark-esper-oks-diversion-of-3-6b-in-military-construction-funds-to-border-wall/

Johnny Walker Read , says: October 16, 2019 at 1:07 pm GMT
@Counterinsurgency Many good points made in your comments.
A123 , says: October 16, 2019 at 1:12 pm GMT
@Art

Gee -- never heard of ASPAC?????

Gee -- Never heard of George Soros?

He and his cronies out spend AIPAC by at least 100:1. Why don't you care about the anti-Semitic Globalists' massive cash outlays?

PEACE

Abdul Alhazred , says: October 16, 2019 at 1:21 pm GMT
@Cloak And Dagger A very good analysis!

Here is a speech concerning what is the hardest thing he has to do as President!

and some other reactions of import

https://larouchepac.com/20191014/president-trump-kicks-over-chessboard-british-geopolitics

https://larouchepac.com/20191015/historical-sea-change-has-been-launched-president-trump

And the way forward to world peace .the Syria Template!

https://larouchepac.com/20191016/syria-template

Europe Nationalist , says: