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Andrew Bacevich on The New American Militarism

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  “As many frustrated Americans who have joined the Tea Party realize, we cannot stand against big government at home while supporting it abroad. We cannot talk about fiscal responsibility while spending trillions on occupying and bullying the rest of the world. We cannot talk about the budget deficit and spiraling domestic spending without looking at the costs of maintaining an American empire of more than 700 military bases in more than 120 foreign countries. We cannot pat ourselves on the back for cutting a few thousand dollars from a nature preserve or an inner-city swimming pool at home while turning a blind eye to a Pentagon budget that nearly equals those of the rest of the world combined.”

Ron Paul


Introduction

New American militarism is connected with the desire to establish global neoliberal empire ruled by the USA (the dream of total world dominance). It became official policy  since the collapse of the USSR  and involves "heliocentric" view on foreign policy, when the USA is the center of the world order and other states just rotate around it on various orbits. The US population is by-and-large-completely brainwashed into this vision.

Opposition to the US militarism is almost non-existent due contemporary US popular culture infused with the language of militarism and American exceptionalism. As Bacevich  noted:

In any Clancy novel, the international order is a dangerous and threatening place, awash with heavily armed and implacably determined enemies who threaten the United States. That Americans have managed to avoid Armageddon is attributable to a single fact: the men and women of America’s uniformed military and its intelligence services have thus far managed to avert those threats. The typical Clancy novel is an unabashed tribute to the skill, honor, extraordinary technological aptitude and sheer decency of the nation’s defenders. To read Red Storm Rising is to enter a world of ‘virtuous men and perfect weapons’, as one reviewer noted. ‘All the Americans are paragons of courage, endurance and devotion to service and country. Their officers are uniformly competent and occasionally inspired. Men of all ranks are faithful husbands and devoted fathers.’ Indeed, in the contract that he signed for the filming of Red October, Clancy stipulated that nothing in the film show the navy in a bad light.

The "New American militarism" or as it called "Neocon mentality" is not that different from the early Soviets militarism (of  Trotskyite variety), eager to spread the blessings of Scientific Socialism toward other countries on the tips of bayonets.  Here the role of scientific socialism is played by neoliberal ideology. With the slogan "Transnational elite unite" and Davos style Congresses of the new   "Neoliberal International" of comprador elites. While converting other countries into neoliberal model using color revolution of direct military invasion or combination of both) are disguised as spread of "democracy".

In this new Crusade for world hegemony the key ideas of Trotsky Permanent Revolution remains intact -- a crusade for establishing new social system on all counties on the Earth. This is just Great Neoliberal Crusade, instead of Communist Crusade.  This new justification for Crusades has the same problems as two previous. But it does not matter as the key role of democracy here is the same as in quote "the goal justifies the means" 

Professor Andrew Bacevich wrote several short books on the subject. he avoids the term neoliberalism and did not try to explain new American militarism in terms of the quest for neoliberal empire expansion. But he is a very good observer and the books contain many insights into US elite thinking and blunders. Among them we can note two:

While all three books are excellent and raise important issues,  they overlap. Probably the most original and the most important on them is Washington Rules, were Bacevich attempts to explain "Permanent War for Permanent Peace" that the USA practice since the end of WWII. All three books have the same weaknesses: Bacevich does not see connection between Neoliberalism demand for economic expansion and "New American Militarism" and regime of permanent wars that the USA pursue since WWII.

He provide sharp critique of neocons, but never ask the question: which political forces brought those pathetic second or third rate thinkers to the forefront of formulation of the US foreign policy and maintain them for more then a decade after Iraq debacle.

He also mistakenly believe that American people (who were completely estranged from any influence on nation's policies) bear some guilt for the policy which was formulated to benefit the first hundred of the largest US corporations. In other words he does not understand that the USA is yet another occupied country.

Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War; War as a natural state of the USA since 1945

[Neocons] advocate permanent war for permanent peace

Professor Basevich

The foreign policy of the USA since 1945, but especially, after the dissolution of the USSR was and is "open militarism". Recently  John Quiggin  tried to define militarism is came to the following definition (crookedtimber.org):

100 years after the Battle of the Somme, it's hard to see that much has been learned from the catastrophe of the Great War and the decades of slaughter that followed it. Rather than get bogged down (yet again) in specifics that invariably decline into arguments about who know more of the historical detail, I'm going to try a different approach, looking at the militarist ideology that gave us the War, and trying to articulate an anti-militarist alternative. Wikipedia offers a definition of militarism which, with the deletion of a single weasel word, seems to be entirely satisfactory and also seems to describe the dominant view of the political class, and much of the population in nearly every country in the world.

Militarism is the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively[^1] to defend or promote national interests

This new epidemic of the US militarism started after the dissolution of the USSR was called by Professor Bacevich (who is former colonel of the US army)  it New American Militarism.

Bacevich's book  Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War  describe the "sacred trinity" of global US-led neoliberal empire:

Professor Bacevich had shown that the main driver of the US militarism is neocons domination of the US foreign policy, and, especially, neocons domination in State Department regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats are in power. They profess that the US that is uniquely qualified to take on the worldwide foes of peace and democracy, forgetting, revising, or ignoring the painful lessons of World War II, Vietnam, and Iraq. And that establishing and maintaining the neoliberal empire is worth the price we pay as it will take the USA into the period of unprecedented peace.

Bacevich scored a direct hit on the foundations of the American national security state with this scathing critique, and demolishes the unspoken assumptions that he believes have led the United States into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive "perpetual war for perpetual peace".

Bacevich scores a direct hit on the foundations of the American national security state with this scathing critique, and demolishes the unspoken assumptions that he believes have led the United States into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive posture of nearly perpetual war. These assumptions take the form of the "credo" -- which holds that the United States has the unique responsibility to intervene wherever it wants, for whatever purpose it wants, by whatever means it wants -- and the supporting "trinity" of requirements for the U.S. to maintain a global military presence, to configure its military forces for global power projection, and to counter threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism.

Lessons that President Obama is clearly never able to learn. In this sense his book Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War is an excellent peace of research with sections that some may find very troubling as it suggest that the USA elite is suicidal and is ready to sacrifice the county for achieving its delusional goal of world domination.

Here is the summary from Bacevich - Washington Rules (2010) - Synopsis by Mark K. Jensen

UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper CXXXVII: September 27, 2010, 7:00 p.m. 

Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company, August 2010).

Thesis

The Washington consensus on national security policy that constitutes convention wisdom in American foreign policy began with the Cold War and survived, remarkably, the Vietnam War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, no longer serves American interests, but the failure of the Obama administration to alter it shows that change can only come from the American people.

Introduction: Slow Learner

The author's faith in orthodoxy began to crumble when visiting the BrandenburgGate in Berlin in the winter of 1990-1991(1-4). In October 1990 a visit to Jenarevealed the backwardness of EastGermany (4-6). During his years in the Army, Bacevich had kept down doubts; after the end of the Cold War he retired, and his loss of status freed him to educate himself (6-10).

"George W.Bush's decision to launch Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 pushed me fully into opposition" (10). "This book aims to take stock of conventional wisdom" (11). The past 60 years of American history shows continuity: a symbiotic "credo" (formulated by Henry Luce in 1941 as the "American Century") and a "sacred trinity" ("the minimum essentials of international peace and order require the United States to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of  global interventionism") together define "the rules to which Washington adheres" (11-15).

In this book, "Washington" refers to the upper echelons of the three branches of government, the main agencies of the national security state, select think tanks and interest groups, "big banks and other financial institutions, defense contractors and major corporations, television networks and elite publications like the New York Times, even quasi-academic entities like the Council on Foreign Relations and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government" (15).

This book aspires to

(1) trace the history of the Washington rules;

(2) show who wins, who loses, and who pays under them;

(3) explain how itis perpetuated;

(4) show that the rules have lost what utility they might once have had;

and (5) re-legitimate "disreputable (or 'radical') views to our national security debates" (16).

The American Century is ending, and it "has become essential" to devise an "alternative to the reining national security paradigm" (16-18).

Ch. 1: The Advent of Semiwar.

As president, Barack Obama's efforts to change the U.S.'s exercise of power "have seldom risen above the cosmetic"(20). He made clear he subscribes to the "catechism of American statecraft," viz. that 1) the world must be organized, 2)only the U.S. can do it, 3) this includes dictating principles, and 4) not to accept this is to be a rogue or a recalcitrant (20-21).

It follows that the U.S. need not conform to the norms it sets for others and that it should maintain a worldwide network of bases (22-23).

Imagine if China acted in a comparable manner (23-25). The extraordinary American military posture in the world (25-27). To call this into question puts one beyond the pale(27). James Forrestal called this a permanent condition of semiwar, requiring high levels of military spending(27-28).

American citizens are not supposed to concern themselves with it (29-30). As to how this came about, the "standard story line" presents as the result of the decisions of a "succession of presidential administrations," though this conceals as much as it reveals (30-32).

Eisenhower's 1961 Farewell Address on the "military-industrial complex" was a rare exception (32-34). More important than presidents were Allen Dulles [1893-1969] and Curtis Lemay [1906-1990] (34-36).

Bacevich attributes the vision for an American-dominated post-World War II world with the CIA playing an active role to the patrician Dulles (36-43). The development of the U.S. military into a force capable of dominating the world, especially in the area of strategic weapons, he attributes to the hard-bitten Curtis LeMay, organizer of the StrategicAir Command (SAC) (43-52). Dulles and LeMay shared devotion to country, ruthlessness, a certain recklessness (52-55). They exploited American anxieties and insecurities in yin (Dulles's CIA) yang(LeMay's SAC) fashion, leaving the mainstay of American military power, the U.S. Army, in a relatively weak position(55-58).

Ch. 2: Illusions of Flexibility and Control

Kennedy kept Dulles and LeMay to signal continuity, but there was a behind-the-scenes struggle led by Gen. Maxwell Taylor to reassert the role of the U.S. Army by expanding and modernizing conventional forces that was "simultaneously masked by, and captured in, the phrase flexible response " (60; 59-63).

This agenda purported to aim at "resisting aggression" but really created new options for limited aggressive warfare by the U.S. (63-66).

McNamara engaged in a struggle with LeMay to control U.S. policy on nuclear weapons, but he embraced the need for redundancy based on a land-sea-air attack "triad" and LeMay et al. "got most of what they wanted" (66-72).

In the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy instituted the morally and legally "indefensible" Operation Mongoose," in effect, a program of state-sponsored terrorism" against Cuba (80; 72-82 [but Bacevich is silent on its wilder elements, like Operation Northwoods]).

U.S. recklessness caused the Cuban Missile Crisis, and to his credit Kennedy acknowledged this (albeit privately) and "suspended the tradition" in defusing the crisis (82-87).

Bacevich rejects as a romantic delusion the view that in the aftermath of this crisis Kennedy turned against the military-industrial complex and the incipient Vietnam war and shows no interest in Kennedy's assassination itself (87-92).

He sees a parallel between escalation in Vietnam and post-9/11 aggression as "fought to sustain the Washington consensus" (107; 92-107).

Ch. 3: The Credo Restored.

William Fulbright's The Arrogance of Power (1966) urged a rethinking of the Washington rules (109-15). A radicalized David Shoup, a Medal of Honor winner and former commandant of the MarineCorps, argued in "The New American Militarism" (Atlantic, April 1969) that the U.S. had become "a militaristic and aggressive nation" (120; 115-21). The 1960s Zeitgeist shift made LeMay "an embarrassment, mocked and vilified rather than venerated," which showed that the Washington rules had incurred serious damage in Vietnam; the Army was in dire shape (122; 121-27).

Yet astonishingly, in the subsequent decade the "sacred trinity" (cf. 11-15) was "fully restored" (127). As in post-1918 Germany, élites looked for scapegoats and worked to reverse "the war's apparent verdict" (128). The Council on Foreign Relations 1976 volume entitled The Vietnam Legacy: The War, American Society, and the Future of American Foreign Policy is an expression of élite consensus that the Vietnam war was insignificant, an anomaly (129-34).

By 1980, Democrats and Republicans were again on the same page (134-36).Reagan's election "sealed the triumph of Vietnam revisionism" (136; 136-38). And the end of the Cold War posed no challenge to the Washington rules, as Madeleine Albright's pretentious arrogance exemplifies (138-45).

Ch. 4: Reconstituting the Trinity

The period from 1980 to 2000 saw "notretrenchment but reconfiguration" (147). The new mission was not American defense but facilitation of a new world order (148-50). After 9/11 this pretense was dropped and "[a]ctivism became the watchword" (150, emphasis in original;150-52). Resorting to war became "notably more frequent and less controversial" in 1980-2000, finding "its ultimate expression in the Bush Doctrine of preventive war" (152-53). Americans "passively assented" (154).

Behind the scenes, the shape this took was struggled over by the officer corps and civilian semi-warriors pushing RMA(Revolution in Military Affairs) (154-64).Initially, U.S. élites held that victory in Iraq demonstrated that speed could be substituted for mass in military campaigns (165-75). But the experience of the occupation revealed this to be a fantasy (175-81).

Ch. 5: Counterfeit COIN.

Counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine, replacing "shock and awe" as "the Long War" replaced the "global war on terror," is the latest doctrinal effort to preserve the Washington rules (182-86). The so-called "surge" implicitly marked a quest for conditions allowing the U.S. to leave Iraq without admitting defeat (186-91).Gen. David Petraeus emerged as an advocate (and as salesman, through FM3-24, the manual he revised and which Bacevich insists is in its emphasis on narrative replete with postmodernism) of counterinsurgency doctrine as "a substitute [for warfare] suited to the exercise of great power politics in the twilight of modernity" (197; 191-97). Implicitly, the manual argues that "war as such . . . no longer worked" (198; 198-202). Petraeus took credit for progress in Iraq that he did not achieve (202-04).

The general with a Princeton Ph.D. was lionized with a view to normalizing war and lowering expectations, a view now embraced by the Obama administration(205-11). Proponents of global counterinsurgency (GCOIN) emerged, like John Nagl and Gen. Benet Sacolick (211-13). Obama embraced the GCOIN version of the Long War with Gen.Stanley McChrystal to carry it out in Afghanistan, forfeiting the opportunity to reassess American policy (213-21).

Ch. 6: Cultivating Our Own Garden.

Time-honored no-nonsense American pragmatism has turned into an absurdity-swallowing herd mentality (222-23). The problem set the U.S. faces has radically changed from the time of the early Cold War, but the "sacred trinity" (cf. 11-15) that proposes to address them remains essentially the same (224-25).Eisenhower would have been appalled(225-26). The size of the Pentagon budget, the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and the extent of overseas military presence cannot be justified(226-27).

These persist because of the interests they serve, not the mission the fulfill, and are likely to do so for sometime (228-30). Bacevich invokes George Kennan, William Fulbright, and Martin Luther King Jr. in urging that the U.S. needs a new approach, to model freedom rather than impose it (231-37). First and foremost, America should save not the world but itself (237).

Bacevich proposes a new trinity:

  1. the purpose of the military is to defend the U.S. and its vital interests;
  2. soldiers' primary duty stations are on American soil;
  3. force should be used only as a last resort and in self-defense, in accord with the Just War tradition (238-41).

The American public must shoulder its complicity in what has happened, fostered by an all-volunteer force and debt-financed budgets (241-47). It is tragic that Barack Obama, elected to institute change, has lacked the courage to alter the Washington rules, instead "choosing to conform" (247-49). "If change is to come, it must come from the people"(249). The need for education "has become especially acute" (249; 249-50).

Except from Macmillan

Introduction: Slow Learner Worldly ambition inhibits true learning. Ask me. I know. A young man in a hurry is nearly uneducable: He knows what he wants and where he's headed; when it comes to looking back or entertaining heretical thoughts, he has neither the time nor the inclination. All that counts is that he is going somewhere. Only as ambition wanes does education become a possibility.

My own education did not commence until I had reached middle age. I can fix its start date with precision: For me, education began in Berlin, on a winter's evening, at the Brandenburg Gate, not long after the Berlin Wall had fallen. As an officer in the U.S. Army I had spent considerable time in Germany. Until that moment, however, my family and I had never had occasion to visit this most famous of German cities, still littered with artifacts of a deeply repellent history. At the end of a long day of exploration, we found ourselves in what had, until just months before, been the communist East. It was late and we were hungry, but I insisted on walking the length of the Unter den Linden, from the River Spree to the gate itself. A cold rain was falling and the pavement glistened. The buildings lining the avenue, dating from the era of Prussian kings, were dark, dirty, and pitted. Few people were about. It was hardly a night for sightseeing. For as long as I could remember, the Brandenburg Gate had been the preeminent symbol of the age and Berlin the epicenter of contemporary history. 

Yet by the time I made it to the once and future German capital, history was already moving on. The Cold War had abruptly ended. A divided city and a divided nation had re united. For Americans who had known Berlin only from a distance, the city existed primarily as a metaphor. Pick a date— 1933, 1942, 1945, 1948, 1961, 1989—and Berlin becomes an instructive symbol of power, depravity, tragedy, defiance, endurance, or vindication. For those inclined to view the past as a chronicle of parables, the modern history of Berlin offered an abundance of material. The greatest of those parables emerged from the events of 1933 to 1945, an epic tale of evil ascendant, belatedly confronted, then heroically overthrown.

A second narrative, woven from events during the intense period immediately following World War II, saw hopes for peace dashed, yielding bitter antagonism but also great resolve. The ensuing stand-off—the "long twilight struggle," in John Kennedy's memorable phrase— formed the centerpiece of the third parable, its central theme stubborn courage in the face of looming peril. Finally came the exhilarating events of 1989, with freedom ultimately prevailing, not only in Berlin, but throughout Eastern Europe.

.... ... ...

Although commonly depicted as the most advanced and successful component of the Soviet Empire, East Germany more closely resembled part of the undeveloped world.

... ... ...

Briquettes of soft coal used for home heating made the air all but unbreathable and coated everything with soot. In the German cities we knew, pastels predominated—houses and apartment blocks painted pale green, muted salmon, and soft yellow. Here everything was brown and gray

... ... ...

Bit by bit, my worldview started to crumble. That worldview had derived from this conviction: that American power manifested a commitment to global leadership, and that both together expressed and affirmed the nation's enduring devotion to its founding ideals. That American power, policies, and purpose were bound together in a neat, internally consistent package, each element drawing strength from and reinforcing the others, was something I took as a given. That, during my adult life, a penchant for interventionism had become a signature of U.S. policy did not—to me, at least—in any way contradict America's aspirations for peace. Instead, a willingness to expend lives and treasure in distant places testified to the seriousness of those aspirations. That, during this same period, the United States had amassed an arsenal of over thirty-one thousand nuclear weapons, some small number of them assigned to units in which I had served, was not at odds with our belief in the inalienable right to life and liberty; rather, threats to life and liberty had compelled the United States to acquire such an arsenal and maintain it in readiness for instant use.2 I was not so naíve as to believe that the American record had been without flaws. Yet I assured myself that any errors or misjudgments had been committed in good faith. Furthermore, circumstances permitted little real choice. In Southeast Asia as in Western Europe, in the Persian Gulf as in the Western Hemisphere, the United States had simply done what needed doing. Viable alternatives did not exist. To consent to any dilution of American power would be to forfeit global leadership, thereby putting at risk safety, prosperity, and freedom, not only our own but also that of our friends and allies.

The choices seemed clear enough. On one side was the status quo: the commitments, customs, and habits that defined American globalism, implemented by the national security apparatus within which I functioned as a small cog. On the other side was the prospect of appeasement, isolationism, and catastrophe. The only responsible course was the one to which every president since Harry Truman had adhered. For me, the Cold War had played a crucial role in sustaining that worldview.

Given my age, upbringing, and professional background, it could hardly have been otherwise. Although the great rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union had contained moments of considerable anxiety — I remember my father, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, stocking our basement with water and canned goods — it served primarily to clarify, not to frighten.

The Cold War provided a framework that organized and made sense of contemporary history. It offered a lineup and a scorecard. That there existed bad Germans and good Germans, their Germans and our Germans, totalitarian Germans and Germans who, like Americans, passionately loved freedom was, for example, a proposition I accepted as dogma. Seeing the Cold War as a struggle between good and evil answered many questions, consigned others to the periphery, and rendered still others irrelevant.

Back in the 1960s, during the Vietnam War, more than a few members of my generation had rejected the conception of the Cold War as a Manichean struggle. Here too, I was admittedly a slow learner. Yet having kept the faith long after others had lost theirs, the doubts that eventually assailed me were all the more disorienting. Granted, occasional suspicions had appeared long before Jena and Berlin

My own Vietnam experience had generated its share, which I had done my best to suppress. I was, after all, a serving soldier. Except in the narrowest of terms, the military profession, in those days at least, did not look kindly on nonconformity. Climbing the ladder of career success required curbing maverick tendencies. To get ahead, you needed to be a team player. Later, when studying the history of U.S. foreign relations in graduate school, I was pelted with challenges to orthodoxy, which I vigorously deflected. When it came to education, graduate school proved a complete waste of time — a period of intense study devoted to the further accumulation of facts, while I exerted myself to ensuring that they remained inert.

Now, however, my personal circumstances were changing. Shortly after the passing of the Cold War, my military career ended. Education thereby became not only a possibility, but also a necessity. In measured doses, mortification cleanses the soul. It's the perfect antidote for excessive self-regard. After twenty-three years spent inside the U.S. Army seemingly going somewhere, I now found myself on the outside going nowhere in particular. In the self-contained and cloistered universe of regimental life, I had briefly risen to the status of minor spear carrier. The instant I took off my uniform, that status vanished. I soon came to a proper appreciation of my own insignificance, a salutary lesson that I ought to have absorbed many years earlier. As I set out on what eventually became a crablike journey toward a new calling as a teacher and writer—a pilgrimage of sorts—ambition in the commonly accepted meaning of the term ebbed. This did not happen all at once. Yet gradually, trying to grab one of life's shiny brass rings ceased being a major preoccupation.

Wealth, power, and celebrity became not aspirations but subjects for critical analysis.

History—especially the familiar narrative of the Cold War—no longer offered answers; instead, it posed perplexing riddles. Easily the most nagging was this one: How could I have so profoundly misjudged the reality of what lay on the far side of the Iron Curtain? Had I been insufficiently attentive? Or was it possible that I had been snookered all along? Contemplating such questions, while simultaneously witnessing the unfolding of the "long 1990s"— the period bookended by two wars with Iraq when American vainglory reached impressive new heights—prompted the realization that I had grossly misinterpreted the threat posed by America's adversaries. Yet that was the lesser half of the problem. Far worse than misperceiving "them" was the fact that I had misperceived "us." What I thought I knew best I actually understood least. Here, the need for education appeared especially acute.

George W. Bush's decision to launch Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 pushed me fully into opposition. Claims that once seemed elementary—above all, claims relating to the essentially benign purposes of American power— now appeared preposterous. The contradictions that found an ostensibly peace-loving nation committing itself to a doctrine of preventive war became too great to ignore. The folly and hubris of the policy makers who heedlessly thrust the nation into an ill-defined and open-ended "global war on terror" without the foggiest notion of what victory would look like, how it would be won, and what it might cost approached standards hitherto achieved only by slightly mad German warlords. During the era of containment, the United States had at least maintained the pretense of a principled strategy; now, the last vestiges of principle gave way to fantasy and opportunism. With that, the worldview to which I had adhered as a young adult and carried into middle age dissolved completely. *

What should stand in the place of such discarded convictions? Simply inverting the conventional wisdom, substituting a new Manichean paradigm for the old discredited version—the United States taking the place of the Soviet Union as the source of the world's evil—would not suffice. Yet arriving at even an approximation of truth would entail subjecting conventional wisdom, both present and past, to sustained and searching scrutiny. Cautiously at first but with growing confidence, this I vowed to do. Doing so meant shedding habits of conformity acquired over decades. All of my adult life I had been a company man, only dimly aware of the extent to which institutional loyalties induce myopia. Asserting independence required first recognizing the extent to which I had been socialized to accept certain things as unimpeachable. Here then were the preliminary steps essential to making education accessible. Over a period of years, a considerable store of debris had piled up. Now, it all had to go. Belatedly, I learned that more often than not what passes for conventional wisdom is simply wrong. Adopting fashionable attitudes to demonstrate one's trustworthiness—the world of politics is flush with such people hoping thereby to qualify for inclusion in some inner circle—is akin to engaging in prostitution in exchange for promissory notes. It's not only demeaning but downright foolhardy. This book aims to take stock of conventional wisdom in its most influential and enduring form, namely the package of assumptions, habits, and precepts that have defined the tradition of statecraft to which the United States has adhered since the end of World War II— the era of global dominance now drawing to a close. This postwar tradition combines two components, each one so deeply embedded in the American collective consciousness as to have all but disappeared from view.

The first component specifies norms according to which the international order ought to work and charges the United States with responsibility for enforcing those norms. Call this the American credo. In the simplest terms, the credo summons the United States—and the United States alone—to lead, save, liberate, and ultimately transform the world. In a celebrated manifesto issued at the dawn of what he termed "The American Century," Henry R. Luce made the case for this spacious conception of global leadership. Writing in Life magazine in early 1941, the influential publisher exhorted his fellow citizens to "accept wholeheartedly our duty to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit." Luce thereby captured what remains even today the credo's essence.3 Luce's concept of an American Century, an age of unquestioned American global primacy, resonated, especially in Washington. His evocative phrase found a permanent place in the lexicon of national politics. (Recall that the neoconservatives who, in the 1990s, lobbied for more militant U.S. policies named their enterprise the Project for a New American Century.) So, too, did Luce's expansive claim of prerogatives to be exercised by the United States.

Even today, whenever public figures allude to America's responsibility to lead, they signal their fidelity to this creed. Along with respectful allusions to God and "the troops," adherence to Luce's credo has become a de facto prerequisite for high office. Question its claims and your prospects of being heard in the hubbub of national politics become nil. Note, however, that the duty Luce ascribed to Americans has two components. It is not only up to Americans, he wrote, to choose the purposes for which they would bring their influence to bear, but to choose the means as well. Here we confront the second component of the postwar tradition of American statecraft. With regard to means, that tradition has emphasized activism over example, hard power over soft, and coercion (often styled "negotiating from a position of strength") over suasion. Above all, the exercise of global leadership as prescribed by the credo obliges the United States to maintain military capabilities staggeringly in excess of those required for self-defense. Prior to World War II, Americans by and large viewed military power and institutions with skepticism, if not outright hostility. In the wake of World War II, that changed. An affinity for military might emerged as central to the American identity. By the midpoint of the twentieth century, "the Pentagon" had ceased to be merely a gigantic five-sided building.

Like "Wall Street" at the end of the nineteenth century, it had become Leviathan, its actions veiled in secrecy, its reach extending around the world. Yet while the concentration of power in Wall Street had once evoked deep fear and suspicion, Americans by and large saw the concentration of power in the Pentagon as benign. Most found it reassuring. A people who had long seen standing armies as a threat to liberty now came to believe that the preservation of liberty required them to lavish resources on the armed forces. During the Cold War, Americans worried ceaselessly about falling behind the Russians, even though the Pentagon consistently maintained a position of overall primacy. Once the Soviet threat disappeared, mere primacy no longer sufficed. With barely a whisper of national debate, unambiguous and perpetual global military supremacy emerged as an essential predicate to global leadership. Every great military power has its distinctive signature. For Napoleonic France, it was the levée en masse— the people in arms animated by the ideals of the Revolution. For Great Britain in the heyday of empire, it was command of the seas, sustained by a dominant fleet and a network of far-flung outposts from Gibraltar and the Cape of Good Hope to Singapore and Hong Kong. Germany from the 1860s to the 1940s (and Israel from 1948 to 1973) took another approach, relying on a potent blend of tactical flexibility and operational audacity to achieve battlefield superiority.

The abiding signature of American military power since World War II has been of a different order altogether. The United States has not specialized in any particular type of war. It has not adhered to a fixed tactical style. No single service or weapon has enjoyed consistent favor. At times, the armed forces have relied on citizen-soldiers to fill their ranks; at other times, long-service professionals. Yet an examination of the past sixty years of U.S. military policy and practice does reveal important elements of continuity. Call them the sacred trinity: an abiding conviction that the minimum essentials of international peace and order require the United States to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism. Together, credo and trinity—the one defining purpose, the other practice—constitute the essence of the way that Washington has attempted to govern and police the American Century. The relationship between the two is symbiotic. The trinity lends plausibility to the credo's vast claims. For its part, the credo justifies the trinity's vast requirements and exertions.

Together they provide the basis for an enduring consensus that imparts a consistency to U.S. policy regardless of which political party may hold the upper hand or who may be occupying the White House. From the era of Harry Truman to the age of Barack Obama, that consensus has remained intact. It defines the rules to which Washington adheres; it determines the precepts by which Washington rules. As used here, Washington is less a geographic expression than a set of interlocking institutions headed by people who, whether acting officially or unofficially, are able to put a thumb on the helm of state. Washington, in this sense, includes the upper echelons of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government. It encompasses the principal components of the national security state— the departments of Defense, State, and, more recently, Homeland Security, along with various agencies comprising the intelligence and federal law enforcement communities. Its ranks extend to select think tanks and interest groups. Lawyers, lobbyists, fixers, former officials, and retired military officers who still enjoy access are members in good standing. Yet Washington also reaches beyond the Beltway to include big banks and other financial institutions, defense contractors and major corporations, television networks and elite publications like the New York Times, even quasi-academic entities like the Council on Foreign Relations and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

With rare exceptions, acceptance of the Washington rules forms a prerequisite for entry into this world. My purpose in writing this book is fivefold: first, to trace the origins and evolution of the Washington rules—both the credo that inspires consensus and the trinity in which it finds expression; second, to subject the resulting consensus to critical inspection, showing who wins and who loses and also who foots the bill; third, to explain how the Washington rules are perpetuated, with certain views privileged while others are declared disreputable; fourth, to demonstrate that the rules themselves have lost whatever utility they may once have possessed, with their implications increasingly pernicious and their costs increasingly unaffordable; and finally, to argue for readmitting disreputable (or "radical") views to our national security debate, in effect legitimating alternatives to the status quo. In effect, my aim is to invite readers to share in the process of education on which I embarked two decades ago in Berlin. The Washington rules were forged at a moment when American influence and power were approaching their acme. That moment has now passed. The United States has drawn down the stores of authority and goodwill it had acquired by 1945. Words uttered in Washington command less respect than once was the case. Americans can ill afford to indulge any longer in dreams of saving the world, much less remaking it in our own image. The curtain is now falling on the American Century. Similarly, the United States no longer possesses sufficient wherewithal to sustain a national security strategy that relies on global military presence and global power projection to underwrite a policy of global interventionism. Touted as essential to peace, adherence to that strategy has propelled the United States into a condition approximating perpetual war, as the military misadventures of the past decade have demonstrated.

To anyone with eyes to see, the shortcomings inherent in the Washington rules have become plainly evident. Although those most deeply invested in perpetuating its conventions will insist otherwise, the tradition to which Washington remains devoted has begun to unravel. Attempting to prolong its existence might serve Washington's interests, but it will not serve the interests of the American people.

Devising an alternative to the reigning national security paradigm will pose a daunting challenge—especially if Americans look to "Washington" for fresh thinking. Yet doing so has become essential. In one sense, the national security policies to which Washington so insistently adheres express what has long been the preferred American approach to engaging the world beyond our borders. That approach plays to America's presumed strong suit—since World War II, and especially since the end of the Cold War, thought to be military power. In another sense, this reliance on military might creates excuses for the United States to avoid serious engagement: Confidence in American arms has made it unnecessary to attend to what others might think or to consider how their aspirations might differ from our own.

In this way, the Washington rules reinforce American provincialism—a national trait for which the United States continues to pay dearly. The persistence of these rules has also provided an excuse to avoid serious self-engagement. From this perspective, confidence that the credo and the trinity will oblige others to accommodate themselves to America's needs or desires — whether for cheap oil, cheap credit, or cheap consumer goods—has allowed Washington to postpone or ignore problems demanding attention here at home.

Fixing Iraq or Afghanistan ends up taking precedence over fixing Cleveland and Detroit. Purporting to support the troops in their crusade to free the world obviates any obligation to assess the implications of how Americans themselves choose to exercise freedom. When Americans demonstrate a willingness to engage seriously with others, combined with the courage to engage seriously with themselves, then real education just might begin.

In their article ‘The American Century’ Has Plunged the World Into Crisis. What Happens Now?" Conn Hallinan and Leon Wofsy outlined important reasons  of the inevitability of the dominance of chicken hawks and jingoistic foreign policy in the USA political establishment:

June 22, 2015 | fpif.org

U.S. foreign policy is dangerous, undemocratic, and deeply out of sync with real global challenges. Is continuous war inevitable, or can we change course?

There’s something fundamentally wrong with U.S. foreign policy.

Despite glimmers of hope — a tentative nuclear agreement with Iran, for one, and a long-overdue thaw with Cuba — we’re locked into seemingly irresolvable conflicts in most regions of the world. They range from tensions with nuclear-armed powers like Russia and China to actual combat operations in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.

Why? Has a state of perpetual warfare and conflict become inescapable? Or are we in a self-replicating cycle that reflects an inability — or unwillingness — to see the world as it actually is?

The United States is undergoing a historic transition in our relationship to the rest of the world, but this is neither acknowledged nor reflected in U.S. foreign policy. We still act as if our enormous military power, imperial alliances, and self-perceived moral superiority empower us to set the terms of “world order.”

While this illusion goes back to the end of World War II, it was the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union that signaled the beginning of a self-proclaimed “American Century.” The idea that the United States had “won” the Cold War and now — as the world’s lone superpower — had the right or responsibility to order the world’s affairs led to a series of military adventures. It started with President Bill Clinton’s intervention in the Yugoslav civil war, continued on with George W. Bush’s disastrous invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and can still be seen in the Obama administration’s own misadventures in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and beyond.

In each case, Washington chose war as the answer to enormously complex issues, ignoring the profound consequences for both foreign and domestic policy. Yet the world is very different from the assumptions that drive this impulsive interventionism.

It’s this disconnect that defines the current crisis.

Acknowledging New Realities

So what is it about the world that requires a change in our outlook? A few observations come to mind.

First, our preoccupation with conflicts in the Middle East — and to a significant extent, our tensions with Russia in Eastern Europe and with China in East Asia — distract us from the most compelling crises that threaten the future of humanity. Climate change and environmental perils have to be dealt with now and demand an unprecedented level of international collective action. That also holds for the resurgent danger of nuclear war.

Second, superpower military interventionism and far-flung acts of war have only intensified conflict, terror, and human suffering. There’s no short-term solution — especially by force — to the deep-seated problems that cause chaos, violence, and misery through much of the world.

Third, while any hope of curbing violence and mitigating the most urgent problems depends on international cooperation, old and disastrous intrigues over spheres of influence dominate the behavior of the major powers. Our own relentless pursuit of military advantage on every continent, including through alliances and proxies like NATO, divides the world into “friend” and “foe” according to our perceived interests. That inevitably inflames aggressive imperial rivalries and overrides common interests in the 21st century.

Fourth, while the United States remains a great economic power, economic and political influence is shifting and giving rise to national and regional centers no longer controlled by U.S.-dominated global financial structures. Away from Washington, London, and Berlin, alternative centers of economic power are taking hold in Beijing, New Delhi, Cape Town, and Brasilia. Independent formations and alliances are springing up: organizations like the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa); the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (representing 2.8 billion people); the Union of South American Nations; the Latin American trade bloc, Mercosur; and others.

Beyond the problems our delusions of grandeur have caused in the wider world, there are enormous domestic consequences of prolonged war and interventionism. We shell out over $1 trillion a year in military-related expenses even as our social safety net frays and our infrastructure crumbles. Democracy itself has become virtually dysfunctional.

Short Memories and Persistent Delusions

But instead of letting these changing circumstances and our repeated military failures give us pause, our government continues to act as if the United States has the power to dominate and dictate to the rest of the world.

The responsibility of those who set us on this course fades into background. Indeed, in light of the ongoing meltdown in the Middle East, leading presidential candidates are tapping neoconservatives like John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz — who still think the answer to any foreign policy quandary is military power — for advice. Our leaders seem to forget that following this lot’s advice was exactly what caused the meltdown in the first place. War still excites them, risks and consequences be damned.

While the Obama administration has sought, with limited success, to end the major wars it inherited, our government makes wide use of killer drones in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and has put troops back into Iraq to confront the religious fanaticism and brutality of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) — itself a direct consequence of the last U.S. invasion of Iraq. Reluctant to find common ground in the fight against ISIS with designated “foes” like Iran and Syria, Washington clings to allies like Saudi Arabia, whose leaders are fueling the crisis of religious fanaticism and internecine barbarity. Elsewhere, the U.S. also continues to give massive support to the Israeli government, despite its expanding occupation of the West Bank and its horrific recurring assaults on Gaza.

A “war first” policy in places like Iran and Syria is being strongly pushed by neoconservatives like former Vice President Dick Cheney and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain. Though it’s attempted to distance itself from the neocons, the Obama administration adds to tensions with planned military realignments like the “Asia pivot” aimed at building up U.S. military forces in Asia to confront China. It’s also taken a more aggressive position than even other NATO partners in fostering a new cold war with Russia.

We seem to have missed the point: There is no such thing as an “American Century.” International order cannot be enforced by a superpower alone. But never mind centuries — if we don’t learn to take our common interests more seriously than those that divide nations and breed the chronic danger of war, there may well be no tomorrows.

Unexceptionalism

There’s a powerful ideological delusion that any movement seeking to change U.S. foreign policy must confront: that U.S. culture is superior to anything else on the planet. Generally going by the name of “American exceptionalism,” it’s the deeply held belief that American politics (and medicine, technology, education, and so on) are better than those in other countries. Implicit in the belief is an evangelical urge to impose American ways of doing things on the rest of the world.

Americans, for instance, believe they have the best education system in the world, when in fact they’ve dropped from 1st place to 14th place in the number of college graduates. We’ve made students of higher education the most indebted section of our population, while falling to 17th place in international education ratings. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation, the average American pays more than twice as much for his or her education than those in the rest of the world.

Health care is an equally compelling example. In the World Health Organization’s ranking of health care systems in 2000, the United States was ranked 37th. In a more recent Institute of Medicine report in 2013, the U.S. was ranked the lowest among 17 developed nations studied.

The old anti-war slogan, “It will be a good day when schools get all the money they need and the Navy has to hold a bake sale to buy an aircraft carrier” is as appropriate today as it was in the 1960s. We prioritize corporate subsidies, tax cuts for the wealthy, and massive military budgets over education. The result is that Americans are no longer among the most educated in the world.

But challenging the “exceptionalism” myth courts the danger of being labeled “unpatriotic” and “un-American,” two powerful ideological sanctions that can effectively silence critical or questioning voices.

The fact that Americans consider their culture or ideology “superior” is hardly unique. But no other country in the world has the same level of economic and military power to enforce its worldview on others.

The United States did not simply support Kosovo’s independence, for example. It bombed Serbia into de facto acceptance. When the U.S. decided to remove the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Gaddafi from power, it just did so. No other country is capable of projecting that kind of force in regions thousands of miles from its borders.

The U.S. currently accounts for anywhere from 45 to 50 percent of the world’s military spending. It has hundreds of overseas bases, ranging from huge sprawling affairs like Camp Bond Steel in Kosovo and unsinkable aircraft carriers around the islands of Okinawa, Wake, Diego Garcia, and Guam to tiny bases called “lily pads” of pre-positioned military supplies. The late political scientist Chalmers Johnson estimated that the U.S. has some 800 bases worldwide, about the same as the British Empire had at its height in 1895.

The United States has long relied on a military arrow in its diplomatic quiver, and Americans have been at war almost continuously since the end of World War II. Some of these wars were major undertakings: Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq (twice), Libya. Some were quick “smash and grabs” like Panama and Grenada. Others are “shadow wars” waged by Special Forces, armed drones, and local proxies. If one defines the term “war” as the application of organized violence, the U.S. has engaged in close to 80 wars since 1945.

The Home Front

The coin of empire comes dear, as the old expression goes.

According Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the final butcher bill for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars — including the long-term health problems of veterans — will cost U.S. taxpayers around $6 trillion. One can add to that the over $1 trillion the U.S. spends each year on defense-related items. The “official” defense budget of some half a trillion dollars doesn’t include such items as nuclear weapons, veterans’ benefits or retirement, the CIA and Homeland Security, nor the billions a year in interest we’ll be paying on the debt from the Afghan-Iraq wars. By 2013 the U.S. had already paid out $316 billion in interest.

The domestic collateral damage from that set of priorities is numbing.

We spend more on our “official” military budget than we do on Medicare, Medicaid, Health and Human Services, Education, and Housing and Urban Development combined. Since 9/11, we’ve spent $70 million an hour on “security” compared to $62 million an hour on all domestic programs.

As military expenditures dwarf funding for deteriorating social programs, they drive economic inequality. The poor and working millions are left further and further behind. Meanwhile the chronic problems highlighted at Ferguson, and reflected nationwide, are a horrific reminder of how deeply racism — the unequal economic and social divide and systemic abuse of black and Latino youth — continues to plague our homeland.

The state of ceaseless war has deeply damaged our democracy, bringing our surveillance and security state to levels that many dictators would envy. The Senate torture report, most of it still classified, shatters the trust we are asked to place in the secret, unaccountable apparatus that runs the most extensive Big Brother spy system ever devised.

Bombs and Business

President Calvin Coolidge was said to have remarked that “the business of America is business.” Unsurprisingly, U.S. corporate interests play a major role in American foreign policy.

Out of the top 10 international arms producers, eight are American. The arms industry spends millions lobbying Congress and state legislatures, and it defends its turf with an efficiency and vigor that its products don’t always emulate on the battlefield. The F-35 fighter-bomber, for example — the most expensive weapons system in U.S. history — will cost $1.5 trillion and doesn’t work. It’s over budget, dangerous to fly, and riddled with defects. And yet few lawmakers dare challenge the powerful corporations who have shoved this lemon down our throats.

Corporate interests are woven into the fabric of long-term U.S. strategic interests and goals. Both combine to try to control energy supplies, command strategic choke points through which oil and gas supplies transit, and ensure access to markets.

Many of these goals can be achieved with standard diplomacy or economic pressure, but the U.S. always reserves the right to use military force. The 1979 “Carter Doctrine” — a document that mirrors the 1823 Monroe Doctrine about American interests in Latin America — put that strategy in blunt terms vis-à-vis the Middle East:

 “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

It’s no less true in East Asia. The U.S. will certainly engage in peaceful economic competition with China. But if push comes to shove, the Third, Fifth, and Seventh fleets will back up the interests of Washington and its allies — Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Australia.

Trying to change the course of American foreign policy is not only essential for reducing international tensions. It’s critically important to shift the enormous wealth we expend in war and weapons toward alleviating growing inequality and social crises at home.

As long as competition for markets and accumulation of capital characterize modern society, nations will vie for spheres of influence, and antagonistic interests will be a fundamental feature of international relations. Chauvinist reaction to incursions real or imagined — and the impulse to respond by military means — is characteristic to some degree of every significant nation-state. Yet the more that some governments, including our own, become subordinate to oligarchic control, the greater is the peril.

Finding the Common Interest

These, however, are not the only factors that will shape the future.

There is nothing inevitable that rules out a significant change of direction, even if the demise or transformation of a capitalistic system of greed and exploitation is not at hand. The potential for change, especially in U.S. foreign policy, resides in how social movements here and abroad respond to the undeniable reality of: 1) the chronic failure, massive costs, and danger inherent in “American Century” exceptionalism; and 2) the urgency of international efforts to respond to climate change.

There is, as well, the necessity to respond to health and natural disasters aggravated by poverty, to rising messianic violence, and above all, to prevent a descent into war. This includes not only the danger of a clash between the major nuclear powers, but between regional powers. A nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India, for example, would affect the whole world.

Without underestimating the self-interest of forces that thrive on gambling with the future of humanity, historic experience and current reality elevate a powerful common interest in peace and survival. The need to change course is not something that can be recognized on only one side of an ideological divide. Nor does that recognition depend on national, ethnic, or religious identity. Rather, it demands acknowledging the enormous cost of plunging ahead as everything falls apart around us.

After the latest U.S. midterm elections, the political outlook is certainly bleak. But experience shows that elections, important as they are, are not necessarily indicators of when and how significant change can come about in matters of policy. On issues of civil rights and social equality, advances have occurred because a dedicated and persistent minority movement helped change public opinion in a way the political establishment could not defy.

The Vietnam War, for example, came to an end, despite the stubbornness of Democratic and Republican administrations, when a stalemate on the battlefield and growing international and domestic opposition could no longer be denied. Significant changes can come about even as the basic character of society is retained. Massive resistance and rejection of colonialism caused the British Empire and other colonial powers to adjust to a new reality after World War II. McCarthyism was eventually defeated in the United States. President Nixon was forced to resign. The use of landmines and cluster bombs has been greatly restricted because of the opposition of a small band of activists whose initial efforts were labeled “quixotic.”

There are diverse and growing political currents in our country that see the folly and danger of the course we’re on. Many Republicans, Democrats, independents, and libertarians — and much of the public — are beginning to say “enough” to war and military intervention all over the globe, and the folly of basing foreign policy on dividing countries into “friend or foe.”

This is not to be Pollyannaish about anti-war sentiment, or how quickly people can be stampeded into supporting the use of force. In early 2014, some 57 percent of Americans agreed that “over-reliance on military force creates more hatred leading to increased terrorism.” Only 37 percent believed military force was the way to go. But once the hysteria around the Islamic State began, those numbers shifted to pretty much an even split: 47 percent supported the use of military force, 46 percent opposed it.

It will always be necessary in each new crisis to counter those who mislead and browbeat the public into acceptance of another military intervention. But in spite of the current hysterics about ISIS, disillusionment in war as an answer is probably greater now among Americans and worldwide than it has ever been. That sentiment may prove strong enough to produce a shift away from perpetual war, a shift toward some modesty and common-sense realism in U.S. foreign policy.

Making Space for the Unexpected

Given that there is a need for a new approach, how can American foreign policy be changed?

Foremost, there is the need for a real debate on the thrust of a U.S. foreign policy that chooses negotiation, diplomacy, and international cooperation over the use of force.

However, as we approach another presidential election, there is as yet no strong voice among the candidates to challenge U.S. foreign policy. Fear and questionable political calculation keep even most progressive politicians from daring to dissent as the crisis of foreign policy lurches further into perpetual militarism and war. That silence of political acquiescence has to be broken.

Nor is it a matter of concern only on the left. There are many Americans — right, left, or neither — who sense the futility of the course we’re on. These voices have to be represented or the election process will be even more of a sham than we’ve recently experienced.

One can’t predict just what initiatives may take hold, but the recent U.S.-China climate agreement suggests that necessity can override significant obstacles. That accord is an important step forward, although a limited bilateral pact cannot substitute for an essential international climate treaty. There is a glimmer of hope also in the U.S.-Russian joint action that removed chemical weapons from Syria, and in negotiations with Iran, which continue despite fierce opposition from U.S. hawks and the Israeli government. More recently, there is Obama’s bold move — long overdue — to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. Despite shifts in political fortunes, the unexpected can happen if there is a need and strong enough pressure to create an opportunity.

We do not claim to have ready-made solutions to the worsening crisis in international relations. We are certain that there is much we’ve missed or underestimated. But if readers agree that U.S. foreign policy has a national and global impact, and that it is not carried out in the interests of the majority of the world’s people, including our own, then we ask you to join this conversation.

If we are to expand the ability of the people to influence foreign policy, we need to defend democracy, and encourage dissent and alternative ideas. The threats to the world and to ourselves are so great that finding common ground trumps any particular interest. We also know that we won’t all agree with each other, and we believe that is as it should be. There are multiple paths to the future. No coalition around changing foreign policy will be successful if it tells people to conform to any one pattern of political action.

So how does the call for changing course translate to something politically viable, and how do we consider the problem of power?

The power to make significant changes in policy ranges from the persistence of peace activists to the potential influence of the general public. In some circumstances, it becomes possible — as well as necessary — to make significant changes in the power structure itself.

Greece comes to mind. Greek left organizations came together to form Syriza, the political party that was successfully elected to power on a platform of ending austerity. Spain’s anti-austerity Podemos Party — now the number-two party in the country — came out of massive demonstrations in 2011 and was organized from the grassroots up. We do not argue one approach over the over, but the experiences in both countries demonstrate that there are multiple paths to generating change.

Certainly progressives and leftists grapple with the problems of power. But progress on issues, particularly in matters like war and peace and climate change, shouldn’t be conceived of as dependent on first achieving general solutions to the problems of society, however desirable.

... ... ...

Conn Hallinan is a journalist and a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus. His writings appear online at Dispatches From the Edge. Leon Wofsy is a retired biology professor and long-time political activist. His comments on current affairs appear online at Leon’s OpEd.

Another useful review is from  Gerard De Groot -- Andrew Bacevich's Washington Rules and John Dower's Cultures of War  Here are some highlights:

"...These rules have pushed the United States to a state of perpetual war. With enemies supposedly everywhere, the pursuit of security has become open-ended. "
"...One is reminded of John Winthrop, who, in 1630, told the future residents of Massachusetts Bay Colony: "We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us." Over subsequent decades, Winthrop's sermon became the American mission, fired by self-righteousness and fueled by self-confidence. From that mission emerged the idea of Manifest Destiny -- American ideals should spread across the continent and around the globe. Along the way, Americans lost sight of what Winthrop actually meant. His words were both inspiration and warning: Aspire to greatness, but remain honorable. Power lies in virtue. Winthrop envisaged a shining beacon, worthy of emulation. He saw no need to come down from the hill and ram ideals down the throats of the recalcitrant. "
"...Back in 1963, the Kennedy administration was faced with a steadily disintegrating situation in Vietnam. At a turbulent cabinet meeting, Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked: If the situation is so dire, why not withdraw? Arthur Schlesinger, present at the meeting, noted how "the question hovered for a moment, then died away." It was "a hopelessly alien thought in a field of unexplored assumptions and entrenched convictions." The Washington rules kept the United States on a steady course toward disaster. "
"...Barack Obama once promised that change was coming, but then quickly adhered to the old rules by escalating an unwinnable and certainly unaffordable war in Afghanistan. Failures, as Steffens hoped, have been illuminating, but after each flash of light, darkness has prevailed. "
September 12, 2010 | washingtonpost.com

WASHINGTON RULES: America's Path to Permanent War

This Story

By Andrew J. Bacevich

Metropolitan. 286 pp. $25

CULTURES OF WAR

Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq

By John W. Dower

Norton. 596 pp. $29.95

"We need some great failures," the muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens wrote in his autobiography. "Especially we ever-successful Americans -- conscious, intelligent, illuminating failures." What Steffens meant was that a people confident in righteousness need occasionally to be reminded of their fallibility. The past 50 years have produced failures aplenty -- the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam and Iraq among them. Unfortunately, as Andrew Bacevich and John Dower demonstrate, the light of failure has not penetrated the darkness of delusion. As a result, wars provide a repeating rhythm of folly.

"Washington Rules" and "Cultures of War" are two excellent books made better by the coincidence of their publication. In complementary fashion, they provide a convincing critique of America's conduct of war since 1941. Steffens would have liked these books, specifically for the way they use past failures to explain the provenance of our current predicament.

Read "Cultures of War" first. It's not an easy book, but it is consistently perceptive. Dower examines Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, Sept. 11 and the second Iraq War, drawing disconcerting linkages. Pearl Harbor and Iraq, he feels, demonstrate how otherwise intelligent leaders are drawn toward strategic imbecility. Both attacks were brilliantly executed in the short term, but neither paid sufficient attention to the long-term problem of winning a war. More controversially, Dower pairs Hiroshima with Sept. 11, both acts of terror born of moral certitude. Osama bin Laden and Harry Truman justified wanton killing with essentially the same Manichean rhetoric. Motives, context and scale might have been different; methods were not. For both leaders, the ability to separate good from evil made killing easy.

In 1941, Americans drew comfort from the stereotype of the irrational Oriental. They assumed that the Japanese would be easily defeated because they were illogical -- as their attack upon Pearl Harbor proved. That attack was indeed illogical (given the impossibility of defeating the United States in a protracted war), but it was not peculiarly Japanese. As Dower reveals, the wishful thinking, delusion and herd behavior within the court of Emperor Hirohito was a symptom of war, not ethnicity. The same deficiencies, in 2003, convinced those in the Oval Office that invading Iraq was a good idea.

Since the culture of war encourages patterned behavior, folly proliferates. This is the essence of the Washington rules that Bacevich elucidates. The rules dictate that protection of the American way of life necessitates a global military presence and a willingness to intervene anywhere. Power and violence are cleansed by virtue: Because America is "good," her actions are always benign. These rules have pushed the United States to a state of perpetual war. With enemies supposedly everywhere, the pursuit of security has become open-ended.

The alternative, according to Bacevich, is not isolationism or appeasement, two politically loaded words frequently used to pummel those who object to Washington's behavior. He advocates, instead, a more level-headed assessment of danger, advice all the more cogent since it comes from a former soldier. Iraq and Afghanistan did not threaten America; in fact, those countries and the world have become more dangerous because of heavy-handed American intervention. Nor does North Korea pose a threat. Nor did Vietnam.

One is reminded of John Winthrop, who, in 1630, told the future residents of Massachusetts Bay Colony: "We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us." Over subsequent decades, Winthrop's sermon became the American mission, fired by self-righteousness and fueled by self-confidence. From that mission emerged the idea of Manifest Destiny -- American ideals should spread across the continent and around the globe. Along the way, Americans lost sight of what Winthrop actually meant. His words were both inspiration and warning: Aspire to greatness, but remain honorable. Power lies in virtue. Winthrop envisaged a shining beacon, worthy of emulation. He saw no need to come down from the hill and ram ideals down the throats of the recalcitrant.

The power of virtue is Bacevich's most profound message. Instead of trying to fix Afghanistan's Helmand Province, he insists, Americans should fix Detroit and Cleveland. Instead of attempting to export notions of freedom and democracy to nations that lack experience of either, America should demonstrate, by her actions, that she is still a free, democratic and humane nation. Her real strength lies in her liberal tradition, not in her ability to kill.

Back in 1963, the Kennedy administration was faced with a steadily disintegrating situation in Vietnam. At a turbulent cabinet meeting, Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked: If the situation is so dire, why not withdraw? Arthur Schlesinger, present at the meeting, noted how "the question hovered for a moment, then died away." It was "a hopelessly alien thought in a field of unexplored assumptions and entrenched convictions." The Washington rules kept the United States on a steady course toward disaster.

Those unexplored assumptions and entrenched convictions have now pushed the United States into a new quagmire. Despite that predicament, both Dower and Bacevich try to end positively. "If change is to come, it must come from the people," argues Bacevich. Dower agrees. But these feeble attempts at optimism are the least convincing parts of two otherwise brilliant books. Barack Obama once promised that change was coming, but then quickly adhered to the old rules by escalating an unwinnable and certainly unaffordable war in Afghanistan. Failures, as Steffens hoped, have been illuminating, but after each flash of light, darkness has prevailed.

Gerard De Groot is a professor of history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and author of "The Bomb: A Life."

 Andrew Feldman review (Review Washington Rules - FPIF)

Army-officer-turned professor Andrew Bacevich makes the realist case against American expansionism.

By Andrew Feldman, August 26, 2010.

Print

For his first 40 years, Andrew Bacevich lived the conventional life of an army officer. In the military world where success depended on conformity, he followed the rules and “took comfort in orthodoxy…[finding] assurance in conventional wisdom.” Comfort, that is, until he had a chance to peer behind the Iron Curtain, and was shocked to find East Germany more third-world shambles than first-rate threat.

That experience, combined with the introspection that followed his subsequent retirement from the army, led Bacevich to reevaluate the relationship between truth and power. After having taken his superiors at their word for decades, he slowly came to understand “that authentic truth is never simple and that any version of truth handed down from on high…is inherently suspect. The exercise of power necessarily involves manipulation and is antithetical to candor.”

Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War is Bacevich’s fourth book on the subject of American exercise of power. This time, he takes up the question of the political calculations that have produced the basic tenets of American foreign policy since the beginning of the Cold War, examining how and why they came to exist and to survive all challenges to their supremacy.

Bacevich describes two components that define U.S. foreign policy.

These rules, Bacevich argues, are no longer vital to the existence of the United States, and have led to actions that threaten to break the army and bankrupt the treasury. Rather, they are kept in place by individuals who derive personal benefit from their continuance. Bacevich does not hesitate to blame a Washington class that “clings to its credo and trinity not out of necessity, but out of parochial self-interest laced with inertia.”

This is a theme that runs throughout the book: that those who make the rules also benefit from them, and thus their demands should always be regarded skeptically.

While abstaining from questioning the patriotism of past leaders, Bacevich is not reluctant to point out how many policies that were later widely embraced were originally trumpeted by ambitious men who had as much to gain personally by their acceptance as did the country:

The story of foreign policy, then, is not so much different than any government bureaucracy through which vast sums of money flow, and is driven as much by officials jockeying for status than by genuine concern for policy outcomes. Whether in disputes between the Army and the Air Force or the Pentagon and the White House, and whether over money or over purpose, different sectors of the national security establishment propose and promote new doctrines that necessitate increasing their budgets and enhancing their importance.

But Bacevich is not content to only blame leaders. In contrast to George Washington’s ideal of the citizen who would consider it his duty to actively serve his country, Bacevich finds today’s Americans “greedy and gullible,” pursuing personal gain in the stead of collective benefit. Any solution, he argues, must come from an awakened people who demand change from the people they put in office.

As for what that change should look like, Bacevich proposes a new credo and trinity. As a new mission statement, he offers: “America’s purpose is to be America, striving to fulfill the aspirations expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as reinterpreted with the passage of time and in light of hard-earned experience.”

As a new trinity, he suggests that “the purpose of the U.S, military is not to combat evil or remake the world but to defend the United States and its most vital interests…the primary duty station of the American soldier is in America…consistent with the Just War tradition, the United States should employ force only as a last resort and only in self defense.”

Bacevich writes in the short, clipped style with which he also speaks, presumably a legacy of his West Point education and decades in the military. His style allows for easy comprehension and neat packaging of his ideas, and readers will not get bogged down in flowery language.

Parts of Bacevich’s thinking require further scrutiny and remind readers of his self-identification as a conservative (lowercase “c”). Economically, he is no fan of stimulus spending, and socially he places blame on individual failings and personal flaws, choosing not to mention an unequal economic system that leaves tens of millions of Americans with barely the resources to take care of their families, much less have time to be informed and active citizens.

In fact, the emphasis throughout the book is on the fact that expansionism, at this particular moment, is not wrong but impossible. Bacevich is, after all, a realist when it comes to international relations theory, and though he happens to agree with liberal anti-imperials on many issues, it is often for different reasons.

However, debates over theory can wait for when the republic is in less immediate peril. This is the second work Bacevich has published under the auspices of the American Empire Project, a book series documenting America’s imperial adventures and their disastrous consequences. The contribution of conservative authors to this task is vital. They remind us that opposition to imperialism is hardly just a liberal cause, and in fact for much of American history was actually a rallying point for conservatives across the country.

Washington Rules is valuable for putting in print what those inside the military establishment don’t dare admit: that, even aside from moral concerns, U.S. international strategy is neither successful nor sustainable and maintained more by lies than by actual results. Bacevich can truly be said to be a realist in that he understand that leaders, when faced with the choice of admitting failure or lying, will almost always choose the latter.

Andrew Feldman is an intern with Foreign Policy In Focus.

 

The Limits of Power The End of American Exceptionalism

Here is one Amazon reader review of he first book (Amazon.com David R. Cook Dave Cook's review of The Limits of Power The End of American E...)

Cliche or not, this is a "Must Read" book

By David R. Cook on August 15, 2008

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This is the bluntest, toughest, most scathing critique of American imperialism as it has become totally unmoored after the demise of the Soviet Communist empire and taken to a new level by the Bush administration. Even the brevity of this book - 182 pages - gives it a particular wallop since every page "concentrates the mind".

In the event a reader knows of the prophetic work of the American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, you will further appreciate this book. Bacevich is a Niebuhr scholar and this book essentially channels Niebuhr's prophetic warnings from his 1952 book, "The Irony of American History". The latter has just been reissued by University of Chicago Press thanks to Andrew Bacevich who also contributed an introduction.

In essence, American idealism as particularly reflected in Bush's illusory goal to "rid the world of evil" and to bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East or wherever people are being tyrannized, is doomed to failure by the tides of history. Niebuhr warned against this and Bacevich updates the history from the Cold War to the present. Now our problems have reached crisis proportions and Bacevich focuses on the three essential elements of the crisis: American profligacy; the political debasing of government; and the crisis in the military.

What renders Bacevich's critique particularly stinging, aside from the historical context he gives it (Bush has simply taken an enduring American exceptionalism to a new level), is that he lays these problems on the doorstep of American citizens. It is we who have elected the governments that have driven us toward near collapse. It is we who have participated willingly in the consumption frenzy in which both individual citizens and the government live beyond their means. Credit card debt is undermining both government and citizenry.

This pathway is unsustainable and this book serves up a direct and meaningful warning to this effect. Niebuhrian "realism" sees through the illusions that fuel our own individual behavior and that of our government. There are limits to American power and limits to our own individual living standards and, of course, there are limits to what the globe can sustain as is becoming evident from climate changes.

American exceptionalism is coming to an end and it will be painful for both individual citizens and our democracy and government to get beyond it. But we have no choice. Things will get worse before they get better. Bacevich suggests some of the basic ways that we need to go to reverse the path to folly. He holds out no illusions that one political party or the other, one presidential candidate or the other, has the will or the leadership qualities to change directions. It is up to American citizens to demand different policies as well as to govern our own appetites.

While this is a sobering book, it is not warning of doomsday. Our worst problems are essentially of our own making and we can begin to unmake them. But we first have to come to terms with our own exceptionalism. We cannot manage history and there are no real global problems that can be solved by military means, or certainly not by military means alone.

Without Exception
By Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on September 24, 2008

This is one of those books you might find yourself sitting down to read chapter and verse over and over again, only because the writing is so intelligent and so profound. "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism," by Andrew Bacevich, is one of those works that will enthrall the reader with its insight and analysis.

According to the author, the US has reached its limit to project its power in the world. His rationale for this conclusion are three central crises we now face: economic and cultural, political, and military, all of which are our own making.

The first crisis is one of profligacy. Americans want more, whether it is wealth, credit, markets, or oil, without consideration for cost or how these things are acquired. There is complete apathy in what policies are being produced as long as they provide plenty.

The political crisis was born of our mobilization in World War II to meet the threat of tyranny, and from the Cold War to meet the challenge of the Soviet Union. Both gave rise to unprecedented presidential power, an ineffectual Congress, and a disastrous foreign policy. Bacevich contends that our legislature no longer serves their constituents or the common good "but themselves through gerrymandering, doling out prodigious amounts of political pork, seeing to the protection of certain vested interests" with the paramount concern of being re-elected. Our presidents have been willing accomplices in keeping the American dream or greed alive by using our military as part of a coercive diplomatic tool to feed and fuel the first crisis.

Bacevich traces the end of the republic to the start of both wars, which gave rise to the "ideology of national security." The mission of the new Department of Defense is not defense, but to project power globally where we will view any nation as a threat that tries to match us in military might. At the same time, the largest intelligence agencies in the world are created to afford us more security, but after seventy years are unable to defend our cities and buildings in the US while it worries about intrigues worldwide. Competition and rivalry lead to a lack of cooperation, intelligence, and security when it was needed most.

The third crisis is our military which has been employed to satisfy the neuroses of the first and second crises. The author puts much of the blame squarely at the feet of inept military leadership, which he believes has confused strategy with operations. Content with the resilience of the American fighting man or woman, he is scathing in his critique of their leadership finding them "guilty of flagrant professional malpractice, if not outright fraud." He illustrates how improvised explosive devices that cost no more than a pizza have checked a military that is designed for speed and maneuver--that was considered invincible.

Andrew Bacevich contends that nothing will change as long as Americans are told to go to Disney World instead of making sacrifices, as long as the same one half percent of our population continue to populate the military that the president sees as his personal army, as long as an apathetic public and an ineffectual Congress continue to make periodic, grand gestures of curbing presidential power, the United States will have reached the limits of its power and exceptionalism.

This book profoundly moved me, and I was impressed by the insight that Professor Bacevich could bring in such few pages. Passages of this book should be plastered in the halls and offices of Congress, as well as the West Wing.

This book really stands out as a jewel in a sea of mediocre publications by radio and TV personalities who think they know what they are talking about when it comes to economics or geopolitics. The difference is that Andrew Bacevich does

--without exception.

Also Recommended:

The New American Militarism

There are several very insightful reviews of Bacevich latest book The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (2005) on Amazon. I strongly recommend to read them.

Bacevich argues that the new militarism came about because of a convergence of several social forces (and as such has significant social base):

For your convenience some of  them which I judge to be the most insightful are reproduced below:

Andrew J. Bacevich's The New American Militarism: How Americans Are seduced By War, Oxford University Press, New York, 2005, ISBN 0-19-517338-4, is the most coherent analysis of how America has come to its present situation in the world that I have ever read. Bacevich, Professor of International Relations and Director of the Center for International Relations at Boston University, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and holds a Ph.D. in history from Princeton. And he is retired military officer. This background makes him almost uniquely qualified to comment on the subject.

Bacevich admits to an outlook of moderate conservatism. But in ascribing fault for our plight to virtually every administration since W.W. II, he is even handed and clear eyed. Since he served in the military, he understands the natural bureaucratic instincts of the best of the officer corps and is not blinded by the almost messianic status that they have achieved in the recent past.

His broad brush includes the classic period, the American Revolution - especially the impact of George Washington, but he moves quickly to the influence of Woodrow Wilson and his direct descendants of our time, the Neoconservatives. The narrative accelerates and becomes relevant for us in the depths of the despair of Vietnam. At that juncture, neocon intellectuals awakened to the horror that without a new day for our military and foreign policy, the future of America would be at stake. At almost the same time, Evangelical Christians abandoned their traditional role in society and came to views not dissimilar to the neocons. America had to get back on track to both power and goodness. The results of Vietnam on American culture, society, and - especially - values were abhorrent to both these groups.

The perfect man to idealize and mythologize America's road back was Ronald Reagan. Again, Bacevich does not shrink from seeing through the surreal qualities brought to the Oval Office by Reagan to the realities beneath them. The Great Communicator transformed the Vietnam experience into an abandonment of American ideals and reacquainted America with those who fought that horrible war. Pop culture of the period, including motion pictures such as Top Gun and best selling novels by many, including Tom Clancy completely rehabilitated the image of the military.

The author describes how Evangelical leaders came to find common cause with the neocons and provided the political muscle for Reagan and his successors of both parties to discover that the projection of military might become a reason for being for America as the last century closed.

One of his major points is that the all volunteer force that resulted from the Vietnam experience has been divorced from American life and that sending this force of ghosts into battle has little impact on our collective psyche. This, too, fit in with the intellectual throw weight of the neocons and the political power of the Evangelicals.

Separate from but related to the neocons, Bacevich describes the loss of strategic input by the military in favor of a new priesthood of intellectual elites from institutions such as the RAND Corporation, The University of Chicago and many others. It was these high priests who saw the potential that technology provided for changing the nature of war itself and how American power might be projected with `smart weapons' that could be the equivalent of the nuclear force that could never be used.

So it was that when the war we are now embroiled in across the globe - which has its antecedents back more than twenty years - all of these forces weighed heavily on the military leaders to start using the force we'd bought them. The famed question by Secretary of State Madeline Albright to General Colin Powell: "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?" had to have an answer and the skirmishes and wars since tended to provide it.

Bacevich clearly links our present predicaments both at home and abroad to the ever greater need for natural resources, especially oil from the Persian Gulf. He demolishes all of the reasons for our bellicosity based on ideals and links it directly to our insatiable appetite for oil and economic expansion. Naturally, like thousands of writers before him, he points out the need for a national energy policy based on more effective use of resources and alternative means of production.

It is in his prescriptions that the book tends to drift. The Congress must do its constitutionally mandated jobs or be thrown out by the people. Some of his ideas on military education are creative and might well close the gap between the officer corps and civilians that he points to as a great problem.

But it is the clearly written analysis that makes this book shine. It should be a must read for those who wonder how we got to Iraq and where we might be heading as a society. The nation is in grave danger, and this is a book that that shows how we got to this juncture. Where we go from here is up to us. If we continue as we are, our options may narrow and be provided by others.

READ THIS BOOK

===This review is from: The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (Hardcover)

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

Our military idolatry, Bacevich believes, is now so comprehensive and beguiling that it "pervades our national consciousness and perverts our national policies." We have normalized war, romanticized military life that formally was deemed degrading and inhuman, measured our national greatness in terms of military superiority, and harbor naive, unlimited expectations about how waging war, long considered a tragic last resort that signaled failure, can further our national self-interests. Utilizing a "military metaphysic" to justify our misguided ambitions to recreate the world in our own image, with ideals that we imagine are universal, has taken about thirty years to emerge in its present form. It is this marriage between utopians ends and military means that Bacevich wants to annul.

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

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

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

K. Johnson:

 Relevant and Objective, January 3, 2007

Author Andrew Bacevich has superb credentials on military, diplomatic, and historical issues. A Vietnam Veteran, 25+ year career in the Army and now professor of International Relations, Bacevich is one of the few that has the experience *and* knowledge to dissect what has been occurring in American socio-political culture and society for the last several decades. Bacevich notes the current focus on the military to solve the world's problems and to promote America's interests is not the sole work of a President and Congress, but the combination of culture, mentality, political, and now primarily economic, interests. This book has tons of footnoting, which allows you to delve further into these issues on your own.

The author astutely reinforces the fact that the Militarist Mentality won't change, regardless of which political party is in control of the Executive and Houses of Congress in the United States. Here only some examples out of many:

Entry of the U.S. military into the Middle East:

THE CARTER DOCTRINE:

The Carter Doctrine was prescribed at the State of the Union Address in 1980. Another civilian prescription utilizing the military as medicine to alleviate and even cure, political symptoms. This Doctrine began a new era of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, specifically using the American military to enforce its economic interests and lifestyle dependence on oil. The Carter Doctrine was a major shift in American foreign policy in the Middle East. It specifically stated that use of the military can and will be used to enforce U.S. economic interests.

At his State of the Union Address, Carter stated:

"Any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be declared as an assault on the vital interest of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force" (p. 181).

Worth noting is that the Carter Doctrine was declared during the Cold War, when there was a adversary to check U.S interests. Today, that rival is gone.

Some argue the so-called 'War on Terror' is merely a historical continuation of American foreign policy interests in using its military to promote its geo-political and economic interests.

WAR AS SPECTATOR SPORT:

War has been, and now is presented as a spectacle. No different than a spectator sport. Live reports, video display, and laymen presentations of new technology, usually via video, to the civilian public at press conferences.

One example of many are current U.S. newspaper reports: they don't use the term "wounded" when reporting about American soldiers in Iraq. They use the euphemistic term, "injured." "17 Iraqis 'wounded' and 3 American soldiers 'injured.'" Similar to a football game. Slogans such as "Shock and Awe, Support the Troops," and deck of cards identifying the most wanted Baath party members. "Freedom is not Free." Many American military personel (and civilians) have internalized this propaganda.

Using Hollywood To Enhance "Honor" and perpetuate myths:

Bacevich carefully details the planned and choreographed footage of George W. Bush dressed as a fighter pilot on the USS Abraham Lincoln. This was intentionally and specifically lifted from the movie "Top Gun." Immediately after this planned footage, an action figure doll was created and sold for $39.99. It was called the "Elite Force Aviator: George W. Bush: U.S. President and Naval Aviator" (p. 31).

Well-dressed, handsome, and beautiful anchors report about the war in such series as "The Week in War." More simulation of the spectator sport of war in our pop culture. One segment in the "Week in War program" is called "The Fallen," where the photo of a soldier, his name, age, and hometown are presented, and the date of his death. Then the cameramen go to his family's home. Often a family picture of the "fallen soldier" is shown. Then, an interview with the somber, and at times tearful family in their living room, sitting on their couch: "He was a good kid. He always wanted to help people."

The "Fallen" is related to a concept that the Germans began about 300 years ago. This concept is called the "Cult of the Fallen Soldier." When a soldier is killed in war he is elevated to a higher status because of his death. He is placed on a pedestal, because somehow, and in some enigmatic way, he "sacrificed" for a noble cause that is often abstract or confusing to the public. To further simplify the confusion and sullenness resulting from the soldier's death, religion is often injected into the deceased soldiers elevation on a pedestal. You can see this Cult of the Fallen Soldier in Arlington, Virgina today, and in many military cemeteries around the world.

GLORIFICATION OF THE MILITARY THROUGH MOVIES:

Bacevich notes moves and their role. "Top Gun" had a tremendous impact in many ways. Pop culture, and Navy recruiting sky-rocketing. As for the flurry of "Vietnam war movies," again the noble concepts of "courage, honor, fear, triumph" are latently and explicitly reinforced to the public of all ages and socio-economic levels.

It took me a chapter or two to get used to Bacevich's writing style, but I grew to like it.

Chapters: 1) Wilsonians Under Arms 2) The Military Professions at Bay 3) Left, Right, Center 4) California Dreaming 5) Onward 6) War Club 7) Blood for Oil 8) Common Defense

"Support" for the military is often incorrectly linked with one's "patriotism." This faulty thinking is perpetuated by the electronic and print media in often subtle forms but extremely effective forms, and at times very explicit and in aggressive manners. The government intentionally steers the publics' focus to the 'Military aspects of war' to avoid attention to the more realistic and vital 'political aspects.' The latter being at the real heart of the motivation, manner, and outcome of most *political* conflicts.

Bacevich notes journalists: journalist Thomas Friedman complained that a Super Bowl half-time show did not honor the "troops." He then drove to the Command Center to visit and speak with the "troops." Soon after, he carried on with his own self-centered interests, like everyone else.

The military in and of itself is not dangerous nor pernicious. The military doesn't formulate foreign policy. The military just implements it, carrying out the orders and instructions of elitist civilians who have never served in the armed forces. It's not the military nor the men and women serving in it, we must be wary of. It's the civilians masters with vested interests in the governmental and corporate world who must be held accountable.

General Creighton Abrams wanted to diminish the influence of civilian control over the military after Vietnam. Civilians and politicians were making military decisions. It seems the situation is similar in 2007. Chairman of the JCS Peter Pace sounds political. History will be the judge.

This is a very insightful book for those interested in recent history as well as the current situation the United States is in. The troops should be supported for what they do. Because unfortunately they are the ones that pay the price for elitist decisions made by upper-class civilians from the Ivy League cliques that run the U.S. politically and economically.

Highly recommended and relevant to our contemporary times and our future.

Andrew Bacevich did excellent research and writing in this book. I'll think we'll be hearing a lot more of him. Hopefully He'll get more access to the public. If - the mainstream media allows it.

Robert S. Frey
An Informed, Insightful, and Highly Readable Account of American Foreign Policy Today, December 23, 2006

Andrew J. Bacevich's "The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War," should be read and considered carefully by every member of the national political leadership in the United States as well as by adult Americans in general. Bacevich brings impeccable credentials to his work in this book--professor of history and international relations at Boston University, West Point graduate, and veteran of the Vietnam conflict. His writing is engaging, insightful, and historically well anchored. Importantly, this work is highly accessible and eminently readable. The level of documentation is very valuable as well. Finally, the book is not about fault-finding and finger-pointing toward any one national figure or group.

What I found most beneficial was that the book presented well-argued alternative historical "meta-narratives" that are much more closely aligned with post-World War II historical events and processes than the ones currently accepted as "conventional wisdom." A case in point is the periodization of World War IV beginning with President Carter's pronouncements regarding the Persian Gulf area in 1980 rather than with the terrorist attacks on America on 9/11. "The New American Militarism" carefully and credibly brings together the many seemingly disparate actions, decisions, and events of the past 60+ years (e.g., the atomic bombing of Japan, Vietnam, oil shortages of the 1970s and 80s, the end of the Cold War, the First Gulf War, etc.) and illustrates important patterns and trends that help to explain why United States' foreign policy is what it is today. Dr. Bacevich's book helps us understand and appreciate that the global projection of American military power today has deep roots in the national decisions and behaviors of the second half of the twentieth century.

Robert S. Frey, M.A., MBA, MSM
Adjunct Professor, History
Brenau University

Dr. Lee D. Carlson

Interesting, insightful, and motivating, October 21, 2006

Why is it that some people, including this reviewer, are reluctant to criticize the writings or verbalizations of those Americans that have been or are currently in the military? This is particularly true for those officers and soldiers who have served in combat. To be critical of someone is who has faced such horror would be a sacrilege. Their opinions on subjects, especially those related to war and the military, are given much higher weight than those that have never been in the military. What is the origin of this extreme bias and does it not thwart attempts to get at the truth in matters of war and politics? If a war is illegal or immoral, are not the soldiers who participate in it themselves war criminals, deserving the severest condemnation?

The author of this book sheds light on these questions and gives many more interesting opinions on what he has called the 'new American militarism.' If one examines carefully American history, it is fair to say that Americans have been reluctant to go to war, preferring instead to settle conflicts via negotiation and trade agreements. Americans have been led to the horrors of war kicking and screaming, and breath a sigh of relief when they are over. Historically, Americans have applied extreme skepticism to those politicians, like Woodrow Wilson, who wanted to participate in World War I to make the world "safe for democracy." So if Americans are "seduced by war", as the author contends they have been in recent decades, an explanation must be found. It is tempting to say that they have been merely "brainwashed", and contemporary neuroscience lends some credence to this claim, but one must still be open to alternative explanations, and let the evidence determine the proper interpretation. Once the causes have been identified, it becomes necessary to find methodologies and strategies to counter these causes, lest we find ourselves in another unnecessary and brutal conflict, initiated by some who do not directly participate in it, and have no intention ever to do so.

This book is not a scientific study, but instead is a collection of opinions, mostly supported by anecdotal evidence, to support the author's thesis. On the surface his opinions do seem plausible, but one must still apply to his writings the same level of skepticism applied to other studies of the same kind. It does seem reasonable to believe for example that current attitudes about war are governed by the American failure in Vietnam, Carter's supposed ineptitude in dealing with the resulting loss in "self-esteem" of the American populace, and Reagan's exploitation or correction of this loss. But more evidence is needed to set such a conclusion in stone.

The author though is intellectually honest enough to admit that he has not obtained the "definitive version of the truth" on the new American militarism within the pages of his book. His words are more "suggestive than conclusive" he writes, and he welcomes criticism and alternative interpretations. Vietnam, oil and energy considerations, 9-11, and the media all have a role to play in the current American attitudes about war he argues. Further analysis though is needed, and cognizance must be made that all readers, including this reviewer, are embedded in the same culture as the author, and subjected to the same ideological, historical, and media pressures. We must be extremely cautious in our acceptance of what we find in print and indeed in all information outlets. And we must learn that soldiers, active duty or otherwise, are not infallible and must be subjected to the same criticism as any other citizen. This is again, very difficult to do, and this difficulty is perhaps the best evidence for the author's thesis.

R. Albin:

 Exceptional Polemic; 4.5 Stars, October 19, 2006

This concise and well written book is the best kind of polemic; clear, well argued, and designed to provoke debate. Bacevich is definitely interested in persuading readers of the truth of his views but his calm and invective free prose, insistence on careful documentation, and logical presentation indicate that his primary concern is promote a high level of discussion of this important issue. Bacevich argues well that a form of militarism based on an exaggerated sense of both American mission and American power, specifically military power, has infected public life. He views this militarism as both leading to unecessary and dangerous adventures abroad, epitomized by the Iraq fiasco, and corrupting the quality of domestic debate and policy making. Beyond documenting the existence of this phenomenon, Bacevich is concerned with explicating how this form of militarism, which he views as contrary to American traditions, came to be so popular.

Bacevich argues well that the new militarism came about because of a convergence of actions by a number of different actors including our professional military, neoconservative intellectuals and publicists, evangelical Christians, resurgent Republican party activists, and so-called defense intellectuals. For a variety of reasons, these sometimes overlapping groups converged on ideas of the primacy of American military power and the need to use it aggressively abroad. Bacevich devotes a series of chapters to examining each of these actors, discussing their motivations and actions, often exposing shabby and inconsistent thinking. Some of these, like the role of neoconservative intellectuals and the Religous Right, are fairly well known.

Others, like the behavior of professional military over the last generation, will be novel to many readers. Bacevich's chapters have underlying themes. One is the persisent occurrence of ironic events as the actions of many of these groups produced events counter to their goals. The post-Vietnam professional military attempted to produce a large, vigorous military poised to fight conventional, WWII-like, combats. This force was intended to be difficult for politicians to use. But as these often highly competent professionals succeeded to restoring the quality of the American military, the temptation to use it became stronger and stronger, and control escaped the professionals back into the hands of politicians as varied as Bush II and Clinton. Another theme is that politicians seized on use military force as an alternative to more difficult and politically unpalatable alternatives. Jimmy Carter is described correctly as initiating the American preoccupation with control of the Persian Gulf oil supplies, which has generated a great deal of conflict over the past generation. Bacevich presents Carter as having to act this way because his efforts to persuade Americans to pursue sacrifice and a rational energy policy were political losers. Ronald Reagan is presented as the epitome of this unfortunate trend.

Bacevich is generally convincing though, perhaps because this is a short book, there are some issues which are presented onesidely. For example, its true that Carter began the military preoccupation with the Persian Gulf. But, its true as well that his administration established the Dept. of Energy, began a significant program of energy related research, moved towards fuel standards for vehicles and began the regulatory policies that would successfully improve energy efficiency for many household items. No subsequent administration had done more to lessen dependence on foreign oil.

Bacevich also omits an important point. As he points out, the different actors that sponsored the new militarism tended to converge in the Republican Party. But, as has been pointed out by a number of analysts, the Republican Party is a highly disparate and relatively unstable coalition. The existence of some form of powerful enemy, perceived or real, is necessary to maintain Republican solidarity. The new militarism is an important component of maintaining the internal integrity of the Republican party and at unconciously appreciated as such by many important Republicans.

An interesting aspect of this book is that Bacevich, a West point grad, former career Army officer, and self-described cultural conservative, has reproduced many of the criticisms put forward by Leftist critics.

Bacevich concludes with a series of interesting recommendations that are generally rational but bound to be controversial and probably politically impossible. Again, this is an effort to change the nature of the discussion about these issues.

Adam Bahner
How Permanent Military Deployment Became Congruent With World Peace, June 29, 2006

In The New American Militarism, Andrew J. Bacevich contends that American culture and policy since the end of the Cold War has merged a militaristic ethos with a utopian global imaginary. He notes that American militarism is a "bipartisan project" with "deep roots" that even garner support on the political margins, with some leftist activists seeing a humanitarian mission for U.S. global military hegemony. He traces these roots to the worldview of Woodrow Wilson, who envisioned a globe "remade in America's image and therefore permanently at peace." Yet Wilson's view was moderated by a public and policy perception of war as an ugly, costly, brutal, traumatic and unpredictable last resort. This is corroborated by the massive military demobilizations that followed U.S. involvement in both world wars. Bacevich also points to works of popular culture, from Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front to Oliver Stone's Platoon, that reflect on the inhumanity of war from World War I through Vietnam.

Bacevich sees a massive deviation from these historical trends after the end of the Cold War. While conceding that a permanent military mobilization was expected during the Cold War (from roughly NSC-68 to the fall of the Berlin Wall)--no significant demobilization followed. Forces slated for deactivation were quickly mobilized for Operation Desert Storm. No successful popular culture critiques of that war's brutality would emerge. The author sees the end of the cold war and Desert Storm as framing a period of "new American militarism" that breaks from historical precedent in several regards. He claims that since the 1988 presidential campaign, the character of the presidency has emphasized military more than civilian leadership. This contradicts previous presidents of military stature (e.g. Grant, Eisenhower) who obsessively positioned themselves as civilians. Post-Cold War military budgets have been dramatically larger despite no global adversary. The public has uncritically accepted a permanent military stance. The perception of war as ghastly and treacherous has been replaced with war as a clinical and technologically managed spectacle. The link between the covenant of citizenship and military service has been replaced by a specialized force of volunteers. The numbers of veterans serving in congress has steadily decreased since World War II. Bacevich correlates this with the shunning of military service by elites as the military has increasingly drawn from areas of the population that are poor and brown. Because of this, force is "outsourced" and in turn the stature of soldiers has dramatically increased through an infrastructure of praise by the majority who are not involved in military operations. Senior military officers have tremendous clout in politics, policy, and spending.

To understand this new militarism, Bacevich notes that it is point-for-point an inversion of Vietnam's military milieu. There, politicians up through the president framed themselves as civilians, officers felt out of touch with bureaucratic decisions, and war was perceived as carnal and bumbling. The book traces cultural responses to Vietnam that reformed the American relationship to militarism. As military leaders like Creighton Abrams sought to mandate broad political investment for military action by creating interdependence with reserves and to limit the criteria for deployment with the Weinberger doctrine, politicians like Ronald Reagan rehabilitated an American demoralization that peaked with Carter's failed Operation Eagle Claw by invoking popular culture mythologies like Rambo.

Bacevich is unabashedly religious. He ultimately couches America's outsourced and technocratic militarism as a departure from natural Gods in the pursuit of a scientistic idol that more perfectly regulates human affairs. He openly sees in this scientism the same flaw and outcome as Communism or Fascism. He suggests that affirmation of military service across economic privilege would raise the stakes of military engagements and help to contradict the cultural illusions that form the basis of American militarism. (That war is technical, distant, clinical, predictable, outsourced, humane, and everything contrary to what writers like Remarque tell us.) He meticulously synthesizes a new paradigm that relates the difficult subjects of military policy and popular sanction. In this regard, The New American Militarism is an exciting contribution to historical scholarship.

M. Ward:

The New American Militarism - A Bipolar Look at Todays State of Affairs, February 4, 2006

Andrew J. Bacevichs', The New American Militarism, gives the reader an important glimpse of his background when he wrote that, as a Vietnam veteran, the experience baffled him and he wrote this book in an effort to "sift through the wreckage left by the war." After the Vietnam War, the author stayed in the military because he believed being an American soldier was a "true and honorable" calling. Bacevich states he is a devoted Catholic and a conservative who became disillusioned with mainstream conservatism. He also states that he believes the current political system is corrupt and functions in ways inconsistent with genuine democracy.
Bacevich states that he tried to write this book using facts in an unbiased way. However, he cautions the reader that his experiences have shaped his views and that his views are part of this book. This is a way to tell the reader that although he tried to remain unbiased, his background and biases find voice in this book. I believe the authors warning are valid; he draws heavily upon his background and biases to support his thesis.

The book is about American militarism, which Bacevich describes as the "misleading and dangerous conceptions of war, soldiers, and military institutions" that have become part of the American conscience and have `perverted' US national security policy. According to Bacevich, American militarism has subordinated the search for the common good to the permanent value of military effectiveness that will bankrupt the US economically and morally. Bacevich supports this thesis by discussing issues that have contributed to this state of affairs.
Bacevich believes the current state of American militarism has roots dating back to the Wilson administration. Wilson's vision was to remake the world in America's image. God Himself willed the universal embrace of liberal democracies and Wilson saw the US as a `divine agent' to make the world a safe and democratic place. Today, with no serious threat to keep our military forces in check, we are now, more than ever, free to spread liberal democracy using military force, if necessary.
Considering the military, Bacevich makes the point that the militarism of America is also due, in part, to the officer corps of the US military trying to rehabilitate the image and profession of the soldier after the Vietnam War. Officers attempted to do this by reversing the roles of the soldiers and the politicians that was problematic during the Vietnam War. They tried to establish the primacy of the military over the civilians in decisions as to how to use the military. The Weinberger and Powell doctrines were the manifestation of this idea by spelling out conditions for the use of the US military in combat.

Neo-conservatives further enhanced the trend of militarism. They see US power as an instrument for good and the time was right to use the military to achieve the final triumph of Wilson's idea of spreading American liberal democracy around the globe.

Religion also played a role. According to Bacevich, evangelical Protestants see the US as a Christian nation singled out by God and Americans are His chosen people. These evangelicals believed the Vietnam War was not only a military crisis, but also a cultural and moral crisis threatening our status. Evangelicals looked to the military to play a pivotal role in saving the US from internal collapse due to the higher expression of morals and values found in the military. The military would become the role model to reverse the trend of godlessness and social decay.

Another set of actors that contributed to American militarism were the defense intellectuals whose main contribution was to bring the military back under civilian control. According to Bacevich, they laid the groundwork of our current policy of `preventative war' and reinforced American militarism.
Finally, Bacevich accuses politicians of deceiving the American public as to the true nature of American militarism by wrapping militarism in the comfortable trappings of nationalism. By using labels such as the Global War on Terrorism, politicians are using a political sleight-of-hand trick to hide our true militaristic nature in patriotic terms. Bacevich concludes his book with a list of recommendations to mitigate the current trend of American militarism.

Bacevich seems to create a mosaic of conspiracy perpetrated by sinister actors aimed at deceiving an unsuspecting public as to the true nature of American militarism. Until the last chapter where Bacevich tells the reader that there is no conspiracy, it is very easy to believe there might be one lurking in the shadows. I was shocked when I reached Bacevich's recommendations. The contrast between his recommendations and the rest of the book is astounding. I was expecting highly provocative recommendations that would match the tone of the rest of the book. However, his recommendations were solid and well thought out...delivered in the calm manner one would expect from a political scientist. Nevertheless, in the end, Bacevich's message leading up to his recommendations were hard to swallow. I believe he wrote this book not to enlighten but to be provocative in order to sell books and build his status in academic circles. If Bacevich's aim was to build a convincing argument on a serious subject, he needed to be less provocative and more clinical.

David Friedman:
What is militarism? What is it, particularly as applied to today's America? West Point educated Andrew Bacevich opens his book with a concise statement: "Today as never before in their history Amercans are enthralled with military power. The global military supremacy that the United States presently enjoys . . . has become central to our national identity." This is the basic premise of The New American Militarism. Anyone who does not accept the accuracy of this statement, or is unconcerned about its implications should probably not read this book--it will only annoy them. For those, however, who are concerned about how militarism is increasingly seeping into our core values and sense of national destiny, or who are disturbed by the current glaring disconnect between what our soldiers endure "over there", and the lack of any sacrifice or inconvenience for the rest of us "over here", this book is a must-read.

Refreshingly, Bacevich approaches the new American militarism as neither a Democrat nor Republican, from neither the left nor the right. No doubt, those with a stake in defending the policy of the present Administration no matter how foolish, or in castigating it as the main source of our current militarism, will see "bias" in this book. The truth though is that Bacevich makes a genuine effort to approach his subject in a spirit of open and disinterested inquiry. He has earned the right to say, near the end of his book, that "this account has not sought to assign or impute blame." As a result, he is not stymied by the possibility of embarrassing one political side or the other by his arguments or conclusions. This leads to a nuanced and highly independent and original treatment of the subject.

In chronicling the rise of American militarism, Bacevich rightly starts with Wilson's vision of American exceptionalism: an America leading the world beyond the slaughterhouse of European battlefields to an international order of peaceful democratic states. But where President Wilson wanted to create such a world for the express purpose of rendering war obsolete, Bacevich notes that today's "Wilsonians" want to export American democracy through the use of force. He follows this overview with an insider's thumbnail history of American military thinking from Vietnam to the first Gulf war. He explains how the military in effect re-invented itself after Vietnam so as to make it far more difficult "to send the Army off to fight while leaving the country behind." Today's highly professionalized and elite force is largely the result of this thinking. In turn this professional military presented to the country and its civilian leaders a re-invented model of war: war waged with surgical precision and offering "the prospect of decision rather than pointing ineluctably toward stalemate and quagmire." Gulf War I was the triumphant culmination of this model. The unintended and ironic consequence, of course, was that war and the aggressive projection of American military power throughout the world came to be viewed by some in our nation's leadership as an increasingly attractive policy option.

The body of the book analyzes how the legitimate attempt to recover from the national trauma of Vietnam led ultimately to a militarism increasingly reflected in crucial aspects of American life. In religion he traces how a "crusade" theory of warfare has supplanted the more mainstream "just war" theory. In popular culture he discusses the rise of a genre of pop fiction and movies reflecting a glamorized and uncritical idealization of war (he examines "An Officer and A Gentleman", "Rambo: First Blood Part II", and "Top Gun" as examples). In politics he identifies the neo-conservative movement as bringing into the mainstream ideas that "a decade earlier might have seemed reckless or preposterous"; for example the idea that the United States is "the most revolutionary force on earth" with an "inescapable mission" to spread democracy -- by the sword if necessary. Bacevich calls these ideas "inverted Trotskyism", and notes that the neo-conservative movement shares with Mao the assumption that revolution springs "from the barrel of a gun".

Bacevich concludes his book with a pithy ten-point critique offered as a starting point for "a change in consciousness, seeing war and America's relationship to war in a fundamentally different way." Among his points are greater fidelity to the letter and the spirit of the Constituional provisions regarding war and the military, and increased strategic self-sufficiency for America. Perhaps the most important points of his critique are those about ending or at least reducing the current disconnect between er how we might reduce

Patrick Connor

Careful observers will note the abolute claims that lie under the surface of these criticisms. If you criticize anything about the United States, you're automatically anti-Bush. If you question the wisdom of viewing the military as a first-option in handling international problems, you're even worse: a liberal anti-Bush peacenick. History supposedly demonstrates that diplomacy never works with any "tyrant" (whatever that is), while war allegedly always work. It's just one stark claim after another, with never any gray area in the middle.

If you read the book, this "you're either with us or with the terrorists, either dream war or hate President Bush" mentality should remind you of something. It very closely resembles the description Bacevich gives of neoconservatism, which he says engenders a worldview that is constantly in crisis mode. Things are always so dire for neocons, Bacevich explains, that only two feasible options present themselves at any given time: doing what the neocons want (usually deploying military force in pursuit of some lofty but unrealistic goal), or suffering irreversible and potentially fatal setbacks to our national cause.

Is it really surprising that the reviews of this book from a neocon mindset are also the reviews giving one star to a book that sytematically critiques and upends neoconservatism?

In actuality, as many have pointed out already, Bacevich is "anti-Bush" only insomuch as he is anti-neoconservative. Bacevich openly states that he throws his full weight behind traditionally conservative issues, like small government and lower taxes. Indeed, he is a devoutly religious social conservative who himself severed twenty years in the Army officer corps. This is why his exposee on America's new militarism has so much credibility.

Since he was in the military, he knows that sometimes the military is necessary to handle situations that develop in the world. However he also understands that the military is often grossly unfit to handle certain situations. This is the main theme of his book. At its core, the story is about how, in response to Vietnam, military leaders worked frightfully hard to rebuild the military and to limit the freedom of starry-eyed civilians to use the armed forces inappropriately.

Their most important objective was to ensure that no more Wilsonian misadventures (like Vietnam) would happen. The officer corps did this by carving out a space of authority for the top brass, from which they could have unprecedented input in policy decisions, and be able to guide strategy and tactics once the military deployed into action. After ascending to a position of greater prominence, they implemented the "Weinberger Doctrine," followed by the "Powell Doctrine," both specifically tailored to avoid Vietnam-style quagmires. The Gulf War, claims Bacevich, saw the fruition of fifteen years of hard work to accomplish these reforms. And they worked beautifully.

However, the end of the last decade saw the Neo-conservatives challenge the status quo. And with the election of W. Bush, they were finally in a position where their ideas could again have a disproportionate influence on foreign policy. What we now have in Iraq is another military quagmire, where the solution must be political, but where military occupation renders political solutions impossible.

This story is about how the military profession emerged from the post-Vietnam wilderness, dazzled the world during the first Gulf War, then once again lost its independent ability to craft related policies with the arrival of Rummie and the neocons.

It's a fascinating story, and Bacevich relates it skillfully.

Andrew S. Rogers:

 Baedecker on the road to perdition, December 5, 2005

I was sorry to see Andrew J. Bacevich dismiss Chalmers Johnson's 2004 The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project) quite as quickly as he did (on page 3 of the introduction, in fact), because I think these two books, taken together, provide probably the best -- and certainly the most historically-informed -- look at the rise and consequences of American empire. I endorse "The New American Militarism" as heartily as I did "The Sorrows of Empire."

Bacevich's capsule summary of Johnson's work notwithstanding, both these books take the long view of America's international military presence and are quick to grasp one key point. As Bacevich notes on page 205, "American militarism is not the invention of a cabal nursing fantasies of global empire and manipulating an unsuspecting people frightened by the events of 9/11. Further, it is counterproductive to think in these terms -- to assign culpability to a particular president or administration and to imagine that throwing the bums out will put things right."

In several insightful chapters, Bacevich traces the rise of militarism over the course of several administrations and many decades. A former Army officer himself, the author is particularly insightful in charting the efforts of the military's officer corps to recover from the stigma of Vietnam and reshape the *ethos* of the armed services as an elite intentionally separate from, and morally superior to, the society it exists to defend. But the officers are only one of the strands Bacevich weaves together. He also looks at the influence of the "defense intellectuals;" the importance of evangelical Christians and how their view of Biblical prophecy shapes their understanding of politics; the rise of (yes) the neo-conservatives; and even the role of Hollywood in changing America's understandings of the "lessons of Vietnam" and the re-glamorization of the military in films like "Top Gun."

The author is a sharp-eyed analyst, but also an engaging writer, and he gives the reader a lot to think about. I was intrigued, for example, by his discussion of how "supporting the troops" has become the *sine qua non* of modern politics and how doing so has replaced actual military service as an indicator of one's love of country. More fundamentally, his identification and analysis of "World War III" (already over) and "World War IV" (currently underway, and declared [surprisingly] by Jimmy Carter) struck me as a remarkably useful lens for interpreting current events.

In tying his threads together, Bacevich is not afraid to make arguments and draw conclusions that may make the reader uncomfortable. As the passage I quoted above makes clear, for example, someone looking for a straightforward declaration that "It's all Bush's fault!" will have to go someplace else. As a further implication of the above passage, Bacevich argues that the "defense intellectuals," the evangelicals, and even the neocons were and are doing what they believe are most likely to promote peace, freedom, and the security of the American people. "To the extent that we may find fault with the results of their efforts, that fault is more appropriately attributable to human fallibility than to malicious intent" (p. 207). Additionally, Bacevich is unashamed of his military service, holds up several military leaders as heroes, has some choice words for the self-delusions of leftist "peace activists," and even argues that federal education loans should be made conditional on military service.

This doesn't mean the president and his fellow conservatives get off much easier, though. Bacevich is roundly critical of Bush and his administration, including Colin Powell; dismisses the Iraq invasion ("this preposterous enterprise" [p. 202]); and in a move that will probably get him crossed off the Thayer Award nominations list, suggests officer candidates be required to graduate from civilian universities instead of West Point (his alma mater) or Annapolis -- intellectually-isolated institutions that reinforce the officer caste's separation from civil society.

So this book isn't one that will blindly reinforce anyone's prejudices. In part for that reason -- but mostly for its trenchant analysis, readable prose, and broad historical view -- I'm happy to list "The New American Militarism" as one of the best and most important books I've read in some time. Perhaps even since "The Sorrows of Empire."

Izaak VanGaalen:
 Militarism and Public Opinion, August 12, 2005

According to many of the custodians of public opinion, Andrew Bacevich has earned his right to a fair hearing. Not only is he a graduate of West Point, a Vietnam veteran, and a conservative Catholic, he is a professor of international relations and a contributor to "The Weekly Standard" and "The National Review." Obviously, if he were a left-leaning anti-war Democrat and a contributor to, say, "The Nation," he wouldn't be taken seriously as a critic of American militarism - he would be merely another "blame-America-first" defeatist.

Bacevich sees militarism manifesting itself in some disquieting ways. Traditionally America has always gauged the size of its military with the magnitude of impending threats. After the Civil War, World War I and II, the military was downsized as threats receded. Not so after the fall of the Soviet Union. The military budget has continued to grow and the expenditures are greater - by some measures - than all other countries combined. American military forces are now scaling the globe and the American public seems quiet comfortable with it. And everyone else is growing uneasy.

The mindset of the current officer corps is dominant control in all areas "whether sea, undersea, land, air, space or cyberspace." In other words, supremacy in all theaters. Self-restraint has given way to the normalization of using military force as a foreign policy tool. From 1989 (Operation Just Cause) to 2002 (Operation Iraqi Freedom) there have been nine major military operations and a number of smaller ones. The end of the Cold War has given the US a preponderance of military strength (the proverbial unipolar moment) that has enamoured successive administrations with the idea of using military force to solve international problems. In earlier times, war was always an option of the last resort, now it is a preventative measure.

War, according to Bacevich, has taken on a new aesthetic. During World War I and II, and also Vietnam and Korea the battlefield was a slaughterhouse of barbarism and brutality. Now, with the advent of the new Wilsonianism in Washington, wars are seen as moments of national unity to carry out a positive agenda, almost as if it were international social work.

The modern soldier is no longer looked upon as a deadbeat or a grunt, but rather as a skilled professional who is undertaking socially beneficial work. In fact, in a poll taken in 2003, military personnel consider themselves as being of higher moral standards than the nation they serve.

In the political classes, the Republicans have traditionallly been staunchly pro-military, but now even Democrats have thrown off their ant-military inclinations. When Kerry was running for president he did not question Bush's security policies, he was actually arguing that Bush had not gone far enough. Kerry wanted to invest more in military hardware and training. Even liberal Michael Ignatieff argues that US military intervention should be used to lessen the plight of the oppressed and that we should be assisting them in establishing more representative government.

But superpowers are not altruistic; they are only altruistic to the extent that it serves their self-interest. That's probably why Ignatieff will not get much of a hearing and Bacevich will. This book should give us pause as to why the range of opinion in the America on the use of military force is so narrow. If there is one voice that stands a chance of being heeded, it is from this conservative ex-soldier. \

Douglas Doepke:

The US may have been an expansionist and aggressive power as history shows. But unlike European peers, the American public never really took to the seductions of militarism. That is, until now. This is an important and occasionally brilliant book that tells a forty-year tale of creeping over-reliance on the military. And a heck-of an important story it is. I like the way Bacevich refuses to blame the Bush administration, even though they're the ones who've hit the accelerator. Actually the trend has been in motion for some time, especially since 1980 and Reagan's revival of military glory, contrived though it was.

Each chapter deals with an aspect of this growing militariism movement. How intellectual guru Norman Podhoretz and other elites got the big engine together, how twenty million evangelical passengers abandoned tradition and got on board, and how a crew of enthusiastic neo-cons charted a destination -- nothing less than world democracy guaranteed by American military might. All in all, the ride passes for a brilliant post-cold war move. Who's going to argue with freeing up the Will of the People, except for maybe a few hundred million Sharia fanatics. Yet, it appears none of the distinguished crew sees any contradiction between dubious means and noble end, nor do they seem particularly concerned with what anybody else thinks. (Sort of like the old Soviets, eager to spread the blessings of Scientific Socialism.) However, as Bacevich pounts out, there's a practical problem here the crew is very alert to. Policing the world means building up the institutions of the military and providing a covering mystique to keep John Q. Public supportive, especially with tax dollars and blood supply. In short, the mission requires sanitizing the cops on the beat and all that goes into keeping them there. It also means overcoming a long American tradition of minding-one's-own-business and letting the virtues of democratic self-governance speak for themselves. But then, that was an older, less "responsible" America.

Bacevich's remedies harken back to those older, quieter traditions -- citizen soldiers, a real Department of Defense, a revived Department of State, and a much more modest role in international affairs.With this book, Bacevich proves to be one of the few genuine conservatives around, (a breed disappearing even faster than the ranks of genuine liberals). Much as I like the book, especially the thoughtful Preface, I wish the author had dealt more with the economic aspects of build-up and conquest. But then that might require a whole other volume, as globalization and the number of billion-dollar servicing industries expands daily. At day's end, however, someone needs to inform a CNN- enthralled public that the military express lacks one essential feature. With all its hypnotizing bells and whistles, history shows the momentum has no brakes. Lessons from the past indicate that, despite the many seductions, aggressive empires make for some very unexpected and fast-moving train wrecks. Somebody needs to raise the alarm. Thanks Mr. Bacevich for doing your part.

Still his critique of neocons is a class of its own has value in itself as it comes from professional military officer. Professor Bacevich argues  that the US new militarism which emerged after the dissolution of the USSR is the result of a convergence of actions by a number of different groups including our professional military, neoconservative intellectuals and publicists, evangelical Christians, resurgent Republican party activists, and so-called defense intellectuals (see New American Militarism).

Andrew Bacevich has a wonderful essay, in the form of an open letter to Paul Wolfowitz, in the current Harper's. You have to subscribe to read it -- but, hey, you should be subscribing to any publication whose work you value. This essay isolates the particular role Wolfowitz had in the cast of characters that led us to war. As a reminder, they included:

But Paul Wolfowitz was in a category of his own because he was the one who provided the highest-concept rationale for the war. As James Galbraith of the University of Texas has put it, "Wolfowitz is the real-life version of Halberstam's caricature of McNamara" [in The Best and the Brightest].

Bacevich's version of this assessment is to lay out as respectfully as possible the strategic duty that Wolfowitz thought the U.S. would fulfill by invading Iraq. Back before the war began, I did a much more limited version of this assessment as an Atlantic article. As Bacevich puts it now, Wolfowitz was extending precepts from his one-time mentor, Albert Wohlstetter, toward a model of how the United States could maximize stability for itself and others.

As with the best argumentative essays, Bacevich takes on Wolfowitz in a strong rather than an oversimplified version of his world-view. You have to read the whole thing to get the effect, but here is a brief sample (within fair-use limits):

With the passing of the Cold War, global hegemony seemed America's for the taking. What others saw as an option you, Paul, saw as something much more: an obligation that the nation needed to seize, for its own good as well as for the world's....

Although none of the hijackers were Iraqi, within days of 9/11 you were promoting military action against Iraq. Critics have chalked this up to your supposed obsession with Saddam. The criticism is misplaced. The scale of your ambitions was vastly greater.

In an instant, you grasped that the attacks provided a fresh opportunity to implement Wohlstetter's Precepts, and Iraq offered a made-to-order venue....In Iraq the United States would demonstrate the efficacy of preventive war.... The urgency of invading Iraq stemmed from the need to validate that doctrine before the window of opportunity closed.

Bacevich explains much more about the Wohlstetter / Wolfowitz grand view. And then he poses the challenge that he says Wolfowitz should now meet:
One of the questions emerging from the Iraq debacle must be this one: Why did liberation at gunpoint yield results that differed so radically from what the war's advocates had expected? Or, to sharpen the point, How did preventive war undertaken by ostensibly the strongest military in history produce a cataclysm?
 

Not one of your colleagues from the Bush Administration possesses the necessary combination of honesty, courage, and wit to answer these questions. If you don't believe me, please sample the tediously self-exculpatory memoirs penned by (or on behalf of) Bush himself, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Tenet, Bremer, Feith, and a small squad of eminently forgettable generals...

What would Albert [Wohlstetter] do? I never met the man (he died in 1997), but my guess is that he wouldn't flinch from taking on these questions, even if the answers threatened to contradict his own long-held beliefs. Neither should you, Paul. To be sure, whatever you might choose to say, you'll be vilified, as Robert McNamara was vilified when he broke his long silence and admitted that he'd been "wrong, terribly wrong" about Vietnam. But help us learn the lessons of Iraq so that we might extract from it something of value in return for all the sacrifices made there. Forgive me for saying so, but you owe it to your country.
 

Anyone who knows Andrew Bacevich's story will understand the edge behind his final sentence. But you don't have to know that to respect the challenge he lays down. I hope Paul Wolfowitz will at some point rise to it.

For another very valuable assessment of who was right and wrong, when, please see John Judis's piece in The New Republic.


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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 09, 2019] We did torture some folks and according to the guy who scanned every page of the torture memos it was much worse than we were led to believe

"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984
“The trouble [with injustice] is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.” -- Arundhati Roy -- Arundhati Roy
Notable quotes:
"... @irishking ..."
Nov 09, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

irishking on Fri, 11/08/2019 - 8:29am

one more time

@Reverend Jane Ignatowski

god bless Harry Shearer

https://youtu.be/hIeTimus0-s

#5.1.1

people are doing things in banks that they shouldn't be doing

Welcome to the We Tortured Some Folks School of Minimization, where you too can learn to master the deceptive art of manipulative psychological abuse!

I see you, Holder, how you're trying to lie people into believing the bankster crimes are the same kind of petty theft as hungry people stealing food. That's some straight up evil shit, man.

This video is most excellent

@irishking

We did torture some folks and according to the guy who scanned every page of the torture memos it was much worse than we were led to believe. There is a video coming out soon about the torture report and it's findings. I don't remember where I read that and saw the trailer, but if I find it again I will post it.

Remember that the CIA broke into congress' computer files to see what was there and no one was held accountable for it. DiFi made a big deal of looking outraged, but.... yeah, we tortured some folks. The thing is that we still are.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

[Nov 08, 2019] More Evidence that The Comey FBI was a Malevolent Clown Show by Larry C Johnson

Notable quotes:
"... "The "crazies in the basement" is an expression that was coined originally by some unknown member of George W's administration. It used to designate the small clique of Neo-Cons who had found their way into Bush junior's team of advisors, before they rose to dubious fame after the 9/11 attacks. ..."
"... Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, at the time Colin Powell's chief of staff, described their status enhancement from "lunatic fringe" to top executives in the White House with his Southern sense of humor, adding that they had become almost overnight what was henceforth called the Cheney "Gestapo". And what happened over the weekend in the Middle-East – and in D.C. – certainly looked like a distant but distinct reminder of that period in the early 2000s when "crazies" coming right out of a dark basement took over the policy agenda on questions that would require adult supervision." ..."
"... Both in Canada and the States men and women of Eastern European background have risen to positions of influence in the respective administrations. I'd argue that that has not been uniformly beneficial. Not when those men and women enlist under the crazy banner. ..."
"... To a great degree American foreign policy no longer operates in the interests of the broad mass of the American people. It too often plays to the obsessions inherited from Old Europe. ..."
Nov 08, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Brent , 06 November 2019 at 03:04 PM

From what I have read, I gather that the FBI in the Mueller / Comey era has made extensive use of "perjury traps". They then threaten charges to get someone to "flip" on someone bigger, in this case Trump. Flynn wouldn't flip even when they threatened to go after Flynn's son. So they decided to "F" him, as stated by Andrew McCabe.

The FBI has been thoroughly disgraced, and Wray is incapable of cleaning it up. He just wants to keep the dirt under the rug. It is too late for that, it is all coming out. US citizens deserve to know how dirty our FBI and CIA are - they are criminal organizations.

Factotum said in reply to Brent ... , 06 November 2019 at 05:45 PM
I am reminded of Susan MacDougall in the Clinton Whitewater case, decades ago -she claimed "they' were trying to make her flip too - can't remember who was on which side, but was it also government prosecutors against a vulnerable individual who they had hope to break to get the goods they decided they wanted? If so, I guess we need generational reminders of the awesome and terrifying powers of an overly powerful "government".
confusedponderer -> Factotum... , 07 November 2019 at 06:35 AM
Factorum,
re: I guess we need generational reminders of the awesome and terrifying powers of an overly powerful "government".

I'd put it more precise - "the awesome and terrifying powers of ANY overly powerful "government".

If it's an Obama FBI crew getting after you or a Trump FBI crew - it must be very bad every time, guilty of anything or not. A classic case of how really bad it can get is Brazil's evangelical Bolsonaro. Iirc a Brazilian TV station had reported that his son was likely deeply involved in the murder of a left politician or reporter in Brazil, a deed done by former Brazilian cops who also happened to call Bolsonaro's house.

Bolsonaro simply freaked out and was not interested at all in any investigation. or the question whether the report was accurate. He simply threatened the TV station that, when reelected, he would nullify their media license. He showed no interest in any reality or facts but was just trying to brutally silence and intimidate the media outlet he doesn't like. He also suggested that his son should become Brazil's ambassador to the US. Probably a perfect job since Trump doesn't have any problems with the Saudi murder prince MbS as well.

A crook by the book ...

Anon said in reply to Factotum... , 07 November 2019 at 01:55 PM
K.T. McFarland (whose name comes up every now and then in this matter) has some pertinent thought to on how the government used its power against Flynn:
"KT McFarland speaks for first time about Michael Flynn" , Fox News interview, 2019-11-05
Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) , 06 November 2019 at 04:07 PM
Is it just me (wink, wink) but I find it completely coincidental that both Strzok (100%) and Pientka (likely) are of Polish origins. Could it be my Russian paranoia. Nah, I am being unreasonable--those people never had a bad feeling towards Trump's attempts to boost Russian-American relations with Michael Flynn spearheading this effort. Jokes aside, however, I can only imagine how SVR and GRU are enjoying the spectacle. I can only imagine how many "free" promotions and awards can be attach to this thing as a free ride.
English Outsider -> Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) ... , 07 November 2019 at 09:19 AM
Your comment brings to mind the outdated Russophobia of many in positions of influence within the American administration. I couldn't remember who coined the term "the crazies in the basement" as applied to the more hawkish elements in US politics. I thought it had been an American Admiral. I had no luck finding a reference so I googled it. Still no joy with the American admiral, but the list thrown up had near the top of it this informative quote from Patrick Bahzad.

"The "crazies in the basement" is an expression that was coined originally by some unknown member of George W's administration. It used to designate the small clique of Neo-Cons who had found their way into Bush junior's team of advisors, before they rose to dubious fame after the 9/11 attacks.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, at the time Colin Powell's chief of staff, described their status enhancement from "lunatic fringe" to top executives in the White House with his Southern sense of humor, adding that they had become almost overnight what was henceforth called the Cheney "Gestapo". And what happened over the weekend in the Middle-East – and in D.C. – certainly looked like a distant but distinct reminder of that period in the early 2000s when "crazies" coming right out of a dark basement took over the policy agenda on questions that would require adult supervision."

Both in Canada and the States men and women of Eastern European background have risen to positions of influence in the respective administrations. I'd argue that that has not been uniformly beneficial. Not when those men and women enlist under the crazy banner. Or, to put it more soberly, form part of the neocon wing of those administrations. Though I, as an outside observer, might be prejudiced here because I happen not to get on very well with Brzezinski and his copious output.

Allowing for that prejudice, which I confess runs very deep, I still think that to an extent American foreign policy has been hijacked by Eastern European emigres who themselves retain some of the prejudices and mindset of another age and place.

Looking at it from afar, the influence of some Eastern European emigres on American foreign policy has been uniformly deleterious. And that from a long way back and no matter whether those emigres are in Washington or Tel Aviv.

It cannot but help be distorting, that influence. It's not merely that unexamined Russophobia is embedded in the DNA of many Eastern Europeans. There's a narrow minded focus on aggressive Machtpolitik, bred from centuries of violent territorial disputes with neighbors.

That, transferred to the world stage as it must be when it infects the foreign policy of the United States - because that is a country that cannot but help be at the centre of the world stage - distorts US foreign policy. To a great degree American foreign policy no longer operates in the interests of the broad mass of the American people. It too often plays to the obsessions inherited from Old Europe.

In the most famous of his speeches Churchill spoke of the time when, as he hoped, "the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."

Let the historians dispute as they will, that is what happened. And continued to happen for half a century and more. But there was a price few noticed. The New World might have stepped forward to rescue the old, but it carried back from that old world a most destructive freight.

akaPatience , 07 November 2019 at 03:22 AM
If all of this corruption were carried out to entrap or thwart a liberal Democrat instead of Trump and his associates, we all know the MSM would be banging a drum of utter outrage, 24/7. We'd never hear the end of a story such as this -- that the FBI misidentified the authors of Flynn's interview notes. Unbelievable.

A while back, I recall reading about a sexual discrimination or harassment case involving FBI's Andrew McCabe in which Gen. Flynn intervened on behalf of the female accuser, and it was thought by some that the bogus charge against the general was in part an act of revenge on McCabe's behalf. There are so many dots out there, unconnected, because the MSM is doing its best to suppress the truth.

How long can they continue to hear, see and speak no evil if the you-know-what hits the fan? I guess we're going to find out.

Fred -> akaPatience ... , 07 November 2019 at 09:41 AM
akaPatience,

How do you know the FBI/DOJ and our wonderful allies never did this to a Democratic politician before? Keeping them in office and subject to extortion to get favorable policies in place would be far more effective than removing someone from office. Perhaps we should ask Jeffrey Epstein just what those politicians and businessmen were doing on that island, that manions in NYC or the one in Paris.....

jd hawkins , 07 November 2019 at 04:11 AM
" I can only imagine how SVR and GRU are enjoying the spectacle".

Guess the neo fbi is enjoying it too________ or not so much!!!

JohninMK , 07 November 2019 at 07:49 AM
Is this just a situation where the DoJ are giving the judge an easy way out to throw the case for a technical reason?

This would leave Flynn high and dry without his innocence having been proved having just got off on a technicality. Also the DoJ would not be exposed to having to produce all the damning stuff that the Honey Badger wants out in public.

Very interesting to see which way Judge Sullivan goes now. Wonder if he wants another Powell book.

Fred -> JohninMK... , 07 November 2019 at 09:36 AM
JohninMK,

Which country are you from where people have to prove innocence rather than prosecutors prove guilt? A technicality - do you mean that as a joke since this is obviously criminal misconduct by the FBI/DOJ; or do you really believe they made a mistake that went undiscovered through the entire Mueler probe, congressional testimony and a couple years worth of legal discovery by defense counsel?

Flavius , 07 November 2019 at 10:59 AM
The manner in which Comey and his select team of officials engineered the Flynn 'interview' was contemptible, but not surprising. The group had been steeping in politics from the moment Comey agreed to the Clinton e-mail case under the conditions he did. The special organization he created, an FBI within the FBI operating out of HQ, the administering of 'blood oaths', etc, only made matters worse, or better, depending on one's political point of view. The only thing lacking was secret hand shakes.
In my now outdated experience, the charge of lying to the FBI was viewed as B.S., period; it was never even contemplated as as a stand alone charge. Separated from a substantive charge, it is worse than B.S.
There are several things wrong about the Flynn interview. Among them: if there was indeed a reason for a strategy session to deceive Flynn about his possibly requiring a lawyer, that reason to the fair minded person meant there should have been no need for a strategy session: the interview required telling Flynn that he had the right to a lawyer; he should have been told the purpose of the interview, ie what it was he was suspected of having done wrong and that the import of his answers was sufficiently serious that if he didn't tell the truth he could be charged with lying; if there was uncertainty whether Flynn had told the truth, as apparently there was because the 302 was subjected to editing and reediting, itself highly irregular, the proper way to have resolved any question would have been to reinterview Flynn, not tailor the paperwork to support the charge; if in fact Flynn did lie, what was the harm caused by the lie, or put another way, what would have been the outcome if Flynn had told the truth.
On the subject of recorded interviews, I am of uncertain mind. There is a before interview; there is an after interview. Electronics change the dynamics of the interview itself, and it may be to the advantage of the person interviewed and it may be to his or her disadvantage. If an interview is fairly played, there should be no need to record it; if the interview is intent on something other than fair play, he will find some way to game the electronics. Electronics are no panacea to instilling integrity where integrity is not otherwise to be found.
David Habakkuk , 07 November 2019 at 11:00 AM
Larry,

The 'honey badger' was a species unknown to me, but having looked that animal up, it seems an apt comparison.

Indeed, at the risk of being frivolous, I am tempted to quote the Kipling refrain about the 'female of the species' being 'deadlier than the male.' It seems to me quite likely that people at the FBI, and elsewhere, are still finding it difficult to grasp what has hit them.

Something which interests me greatly is the possible knock-on effects of Ms. Powell's breakthroughs in exposing the conspiracy to frame Michael Flynn on other cases, notably those in which Ty Clevenger and Steven S. Biss are involved.

The pair are representing Ed Butowsky and Devin Nunes, and also, crucially, Svetlana Lokhova, in her case against the 'ratfucker' – the term used in the 'Complaint' – Stefan Halper and some of the MSM organisations who have collaborated in his 'dirty tricks.'

In all of these cases, material freely available on the 'Courtlistener' site is a mine of fascinating information.

Of particular interest at the moment, I think, are the efforts of Clevenger to 'prise open' the cover-up over the role over Seth Rich in leaking the materials from the DNC which the conspirators falsely alleged were hacked by the Russians, and that about the circumstances of his murder.

These efforts have been aided by a remarkable 'hostage to fortune' given by Deborah Sines, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in D.C. who was assigned to the Rich case.

On 8 October, Clevenger produced motions to 'accept supplemental evidence' and 'permit discovery' in the case he has himself brought against the DOJ, FBI and NSA. (His filing is freely available at https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6775665/clevenger-v-us-department-of-justice/ .)

The 'supplemental evidence' in question appeared back in July in Episode 5 of the podcast 'Conspiracyland' which Michael Isikoff produced for 'Yahoo! News'. In this, Ms. Sines recycled the familiar disinformation from Andrew McCabe to the effect that it had been established that there was no connection between Rich and Wikileaks.

She then suggested that the FBI had indeed examined his computer, but solely because someone had been trying to 'invade his Gmail account and set up a separate account after Seth was murdered.' The supposed purpose of this activity, by a 'foreign hacker', was 'so they could dump false information in there.'

As Clevenger pointed out, this claim is rather hard to reconcile with the FBI's insistence that it has no records pertaining to Rich, and makes the Bureau's refusal to search its Computer Analysis Response Team ("CART") for relevant records, and the Washington Field Office for email records, look even more suspicious than it already did.

From the 'Courtlistener' pages it also appeared that, following a telephone conference, Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom ruled that the statement by Ms. Sines did not rise to the 'level of bad faith' required to justify the 'discovery' that Clevenger sought, on the basis of it.

Also freely available on 'Courtlistener', however, is an 'Unopposed motion for stay' which Clevenger filed on 30 November. From this, we learn that Judge Bloom had 'noted that Ms. Sines' statements were not made under oath, further suggesting that the Plaintiff might try to obtain a sworn statement from Ms. Sines.'

In response, Clevenger made clear that he intended to subpoena that lady for a deposition, in the relation to the defamation cases brought against Michael Gottlieb et al, and also David Folkenflik et al, where he is representing Ed Butowsky.

Accordingly, he asked the Court to stay his own case 'until the deposition of Ms. Sines can be arranged and the transcripts can be produced.' Apparently, there was no objection from the DOJ, FBI, and NSA.

In addition, Clevenger asked the court to take 'judicial notice' of the fact that, in her reply dated 24 October to the lawyers for the USG, 'attorney Sidney Powell laid out damning evidence that high-ranking FBI officials systematically tampered with records and hid exculpatory evidence for the purpose of framing the defendant, retired General Mike Flynn.'

So it looks as though what the 'honey badger' has been digging out in relation to Flynn may help in the burrowing efforts of others in related matters – who may be in a position to return the favour.

Increasingly, it seems not entirely unthinkable that the cumulative effect of of the cases in which Powell, Clevenger and Biss are involved may blow open the whole conspiracy against the Constitution, irrespective of whether or not Horowitz, Barr and Durham are prepared to go substantially beyond a 'limited hangout.'

Another important, and neglected, aspect here relates to the cases still ongoing against Steele and Orbis in London – that brought by Aleksej Gubarev, and that by the Alfa oligarchs. It is material that libel laws on this side are noticeably less favourable to defendants than on yours – not least in that the 'fair report privilege' retains its original narrower construction here.

Unfortunately, we do not have here any equivalent to 'PACER' and 'Courtlistener.' The last I heard about the Gubarev case was in the spring, when his American lawyers suggested that it should come to court before Xmas.

It would not at all surprise me if it was postponed. Ironically, however, I now think that it may be quite likely that his British lawyers see delay as being in Gubarev's interests.

A critical point is that Steele is making no attempt to defend the accuracy of the claims about the involvement of Gubarev and his companies in hacking in the final memorandum in the dossier.

It seems quite likely that what is coming to light as the result of the lawsuits on your side may make it materially more difficult to mount any credible case that these were not very seriously defamatory.

There have been repeated attempts to locate the dossier attributed to Steele in another version of a familiar 'Russophobic' narrative, suggesting that he was deliberately fed disinformation by his Russian contacts as part of an 'active measures' campaign.

In my view, these are largely BS. However, a possible partial exception has to do with the claims about Gubarev, which follow on from the those made in Company Report 2016/086, which is dated 26 July 2015.

My suspicion has long been that the sloppy misdating – 2016 is clearly meant – reflected the fact that the document was part of a panic-stricken response to the murder of Rich, which had taken place on 10 July. What I may well have happened is that FBI cybersecurity people, who had been cultivating sources among their FSB counterparts, put out an urgent request, which generated material that went into the dossier.

If that was the case however, it would have been likely that some of their informants were playing a 'double game.' And my suspicion is that, when a further request was put in, following Trump's election victory, those making it were fed a 'baited hook' about Gubarev, very likely cast in the hope of producing something like the outcome that materialised.

I noted with interest that both Devin Nunes and Lee Smith are now expressing scepticism about the notion that Steele's role was in actually authoring the dossier, rather than taking ownership of a compendium essentially produced within Fusion GPS.

Another ground for believing this was put into sharp focus with the publication by 'Judicial Watch' in September of – heavily redacted – versions of reports from Steele circulated in the State Department prior to the dossier.

(See https://www.judicialwatch.org/tag/christopher-steele/ )

These clarify a matter which has long puzzled me about the memoranda. Normally, one would expect the product of a serious business intelligence company to be properly presented, on headed stationery, without elementary errors. And one would not expect a numbering which suggests that the documents made public are part of a much larger series.

A document dated 13 June 2014, headline 'RUSSIA-UKRAINE CRISIS: Kremlin Emboldened to Challenge USG Sanctions and Anti-Russian Leverage On Financial Markets', which is labelled 'Report ID: 2014/130a', suggests that we are actually dealing with a format used in an information service sent out to a large number of clients. Precisely what this would not contain was material attributed to highly sensitive sources.

So the clumsy imitation of this formatting in the dossier gives further reason to believe that it was produced by people other than Steele, who were trying to attribute authorship to him.

A further implication is that Steele may have ended up left facing libel charges in relation to claims for which he was not actually responsible.

In addition to those about Gubarev, the use of the transliteration 'Alpha' instead of 'Alfa' for the Fridman/Aven/Khan group makes me think that the author of the relevant memorandum was not a native English speaker, but someone used to thinking in Russian and/or Ukrainian.

If so, the memorandum may be part of 'Ukrainegate', which, unlike 'Russiagate', looks like being a real story.

And here, of course, the question of what became of Seth Rich's laptop, and what information the FBI is concealing about it, is again critical.

It would not in the least surprise me if the kind of traces described by Ms. Sines are actually really present on some hard drive.

If however they are, a quite likely explanation is that Alperovitch and his Ukrainian 'partners-in-crime' organised a hack, after the leak was discovered, as part of the more general attempt to obfuscate the truth.

Factotum , 07 November 2019 at 12:56 PM
Why does the media and virtually every pundit commenting on the Ukrainian phone call intentionally avoid any mention of Trump's Crowdstrike "favor" request?

[Nov 08, 2019] More Evidence that The Comey FBI was a Malevolent Clown Show by Larry C Johnson - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Nov 08, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Brent , 06 November 2019 at 03:04 PM

From what I have read, I gather that the FBI in the Mueller / Comey era has made extensive use of "perjury traps". They then threaten charges to get someone to "flip" on someone bigger, in this case Trump. Flynn wouldn't flip even when they threatened to go after Flynn's son. So they decided to "F" him, as stated by Andrew McCabe.

The FBI has been thoroughly disgraced, and Wray is incapable of cleaning it up. He just wants to keep the dirt under the rug. It is too late for that, it is all coming out. US citizens deserve to know how dirty our FBI and CIA are - they are criminal organizations.

Factotum said in reply to Brent ... , 06 November 2019 at 05:45 PM
I am reminded of Susan MacDougall in the Clinton Whitewater case, decades ago -she claimed "they' were trying to make her flip too - can't remember who was on which side, but was it also government prosecutors against a vulnerable individual who they had hope to break to get the goods they decided they wanted? If so, I guess we need generational reminders of the awesome and terrifying powers of an overly powerful "government".
confusedponderer -> Factotum... , 07 November 2019 at 06:35 AM
Factorum,
re: I guess we need generational reminders of the awesome and terrifying powers of an overly powerful "government".

I'd put it more precise - "the awesome and terrifying powers of ANY overly powerful "government".

If it's an Obama FBI crew getting after you or a Trump FBI crew - it must be very bad every time, guilty of anything or not.

A classic case of how really bad it can get is Brazil's evangelical Bolsonaro.

Iirc a brazilian tv station had reported that his son was likely deeply involved in the murder of a left polician or reporter in Brazil, a deed done by former brazilian cops who also happened to call Bolsonaro's house.

Bolsonaro simply freaked out and was not interested at all in any investigation or the question whether the report was accurate. He simply threatened the tv station that, when reelected, he would nullify their media license.

He showed no interrest in any reality or facts but was just trying to brutally silence and intimidate the media outlet he doesn't like.

He also suggested that his son should become Brazil's ambassador to the US. Probably a perfect job since Trump doesn't have any problems with the Saudi murder prince MbS as well.

A crook by the book ...

Fred -> confusedponderer... , 07 November 2019 at 09:37 AM
confusedponderer,

Thank goodness the German government has never done anything like this.

confusedponderer -> Fred ... , 07 November 2019 at 11:47 AM
Fred,
Thank goodness the German government has never done anything like this ?

Please enlighten me, I am curious and must have missed it - and I live in Germany.

If you want to go back to Attila, Genghis Khan, Adolf or Honnecker - please spare me since about all of that happened long before I was born (and two of those are huns or mongols) and is utterly irrelevant here.

Bolsonaro-isms on the other hand "happen right now" and are an example of pretty obvious abuse of power to cover up crimes like political murder and to permanently silence critics and/or inconvenient media.

In context of Factotum's point that is relevant.

Fred -> confusedponderer... , 07 November 2019 at 05:57 PM
Confused,

There has been plenty of abuse of government power and it doesn't all require a bullet in the back or investigators/prosecutors making false claims. I'm on the road but will write something up about that over the weekend.

Anon said in reply to Factotum... , 07 November 2019 at 01:55 PM
K.T. McFarland (whose name comes up every now and then in this matter)
has some pertinent thoughta on how the government used its power against Flynn:
"KT McFarland speaks for first time about Michael Flynn" , Fox News interview, 2019-11-05
Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) , 06 November 2019 at 04:07 PM
Is it just me (wink, wink) but I find it completely coincidental that both Strzok (100%) and Pientka (likely) are of Polish origins. Could it be my Russian paranoia. Nah, I am being unreasonable--those people never had a bad feeling towards Trump's attempts to boost Russian-American relations with Michael Flynn spearheading this effort. Jokes aside, however, I can only imagine how SVR and GRU are enjoying the spectacle. I can only imagine how many "free" promotions and awards can be attach to this thing as a free ride.
English Outsider -> Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) ... , 07 November 2019 at 09:19 AM
Your comment brings to mind the outdated Russophobia of many in positions of influence within the American administration.

I couldn't remember who coined the term "the crazies in the basement" as applied to the more hawkish elements in US politics. I thought it had been an American Admiral. I had no luck finding a reference so I googled it. Still no joy with the American admiral, but the list thrown up had near the top of it this informative quote from Patrick Bahzad.

"The "crazies in the basement" is an expression that was coined originally by some unknown member of George W's administration. It used to designate the small clique of Neo-Cons who had found their way into Bush junior's team of advisors, before they rose to dubious fame after the 9/11 attacks. Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, at the time Colin Powell's chief of staff, described their status enhancement from "lunatic fringe" to top executives in the White House with his Southern sense of humour, adding that they had become almost overnight what was henceforth called the Cheney "Gestapo". And what happened over the weekend in the Middle-East – and in D.C. – certainly looked like a distant but distinct reminder of that period in the early 2000s when "crazies" coming right out of a dark basement took over the policy agenda on questions that would require adult supervision."

Both in Canada and the States men and women of Eastern European background have risen to positions of influence in the respective administrations. I'd argue that that has not been uniformly beneficial. Not when those men and women enlist under the crazy banner. Or, to put it more soberly, form part of the neocon wing of those administrations. Though I, as an outside observer, might be prejudiced here because I happen not to get on very well with Brzezinski and his copious output.

Allowing for that prejudice, which I confess runs very deep, I still think that to an extent American foreign policy has been hijacked by Eastern European emigres who themselves retain some of the prejudices and mindset of another age and place.


Looking at it from afar, the influence of some Eastern European emigres on American foreign policy has been uniformly deleterious. And that from a long way back and no matter whether those emigres are in Washington or Tel Aviv.

It cannot but help be distorting, that influence. It's not merely that unexamined Russophobia is embedded in the DNA of many Eastern Europeans. There's a narrow minded focus on aggressive Machtpolitik, bred from centuries of violent territorial disputes with neighbours.

That, transferred to the world stage as it must be when it infects the foreign policy of the United States - because that is a country that cannot but help be at the centre of the world stage - distorts US foreign policy. To a great degree American foreign policy no longer operates in the interests of the broad mass of the American people. It too often plays to the obsessions inherited from Old Europe.

In the most famous of his speeches Churchill spoke of the time when, as he hoped, "the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."

Let the historians dispute as they will, that is what happened. And continued to happen for half a century and more. But there was a price few noticed. The New World might have stepped forward to rescue the old, but it carried back from that old world a most destructive freight.

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) -> English Outsider ... , 07 November 2019 at 01:04 PM
Very well put. No better example, apart from being utter academic failure, expected from "white board" theorists with zero understanding of power, exists of this than late Zbig. Only blind or sublime to the point of sheer idiocy could fail to see that Brzezinski's loyalties were not with American people, but with Poland and old Polish, both legitimate and false, anti-Russian grievances. He dedicated his life to settling whatever scores he had with historic Russia using the United States merely as a vehicle. So do many, as you correctly stated, Eastern European immigrants to the United States. They bring with them passions, of which Founding Fathers warned, and then infuse them into the American political discourse. It finally reached it peak of absurdity and, as I argue constantly, utter destruction of the remnants of the Republic.
David Habakkuk -> Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) ... , 07 November 2019 at 01:15 PM
Andrei and EO,

I wrote what follows before reading Andrei's response to EO, but do not see much reason to change what I had written.

When in 1988 I ended up working at BBC Radio 'Analysis' programme because it was impossible to interest any of my old television colleagues in the idea that one might go to Moscow and talk to some of the people involved in the Gorbachev 'new thinking', my editor, Caroline Anstey, was an erstwhile aide to Jim Callaghan, the former Labour Prime Minister.

As a result of his involvement with the Trilateral Commission, she had a fascinating anecdote about what one of his fellow members, the former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, said about another, Zbigniew Brzezinski: that he could never work out which of his country's two traditional enemies his Polish colleague hated most.

Almost a generation after hearing her say this, in December 2013, I read an article Brzezinski published in the 'Financial Times, headlined 'Russia, like Ukraine, will become a real democracy.'

(See https://www.ft.com/content/5ac2df1e-6103-11e3-b7f1-00144feabdc0 .)

Unfortunately, it is behind a subscription wall, but it clearly expresses its author's fundamental belief that after all those years of giving Russia the 'spinach' treatment – to use Victoria Nuland's term – it would finally 'knuckle under', and become a quiescent satellite of the West.

An ironic sidelight on this is provided in a recent article by a lady called Anna Mahjar-Barducci on the 'MEMRI' site – which actually has some very useful material on matters to do with Russia for those of us with no knowledge of the language – headlined 'Contemporary Russian Thinkers Series – Part I – Renowned Russian Academic Sergey Karaganov On Russia And Democracy.'

Its subject, who I remember well from the days when he was very much one of the 'new thinkers', linked to it on his own website, clearly pleased at what he saw as an accurate and informed discussion of his ideas.

(See http://karaganov.ru/en/news/534 )

There is an obvious risk of succumbing to facetiousness, but sometimes what one thinks are essential features of an argument can be best brought out at the risk of caricaturing it.

It seems to me that some of the central themes of Karaganov's writing over the past few years – doubly interesting, because his attacks on conventional Western orthodoxies are very far from silly, and because he is a kind of 'panjandrum' of a significant section of the Russian foreign policy élite – may be illuminated in this way.

So, attempting to link his Russian concerns to British and American ones, some central contentions of his writings might be put as follows:

'"Government of the people, by the people, for the people' looked a lovely idea, back in 1989. But if in practice "by the people" means a choice of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn, how can it be "for the people?"

'Moreover, it turned out that our "deplorables" were always right, against us 'intellectuals', in grasping that, with "Russophobes" running Western policy, a "real democracy" would simply guarantee that we remained as impotent and humiliated as people like Brzezinski clearly always wanted us to be.

'Our past, and our future, both in terms of alliances and appropriate social and political systems, are actually "Eurasian": a 'hybrid' state, whose potential greatest advantage actually should be seen as successfully synthesising different inheritances.

'As the need for this kind of synthesis is a normal condition, with which most peoples have to reckon, this gives us a very real potential advantage over people in the West, who, like the communists against whom I rebelled, believe that there is one path along which all of humanity must – and can – go.'

At the risk of over-interpreting, I might add the following conclusion:

'Of course, precisely what this analysis does not mean is that we are anti-European – simply that we cannot simply come to Europe, Europe come some way to meet us.

'Given time, Helmut Schmidt's fellow countrymen, as also de Gaulle's, may very well realise that their future does not lie in an alliance with a coalition of people like Brzezinski and traditional "Russophobes" from the "Anglosphere".

'And likewise, it does not lie with the kind of messianic universalist "liberalism" – and, in relation to some of the SJC and LGBT obsessions, one might say "liberalism gone bonkers" – which Putin criticised in his interview with the "Financial Times" back in June.

(This is also behind a subscription wall, but is available at http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/60836 . It is well worth reading in full.)

An obvious possibility implicit in the argument is that, if indeed the continental Europeans see sense, then the coalition of traditional 'Anglophobes' and the 'insulted and injured' or the 'borderlands' may find itself marginalised, and indeed, on the 'dustbin of history' to which Trotsky once referred.

Of course, I have no claims to be a Russianist, and my reading of Karaganov may be quite wrong.

But I do strongly believe that very superficial readings of what was happening when I was working in the 'Analysis' office, back in 1988-9, have done an immense disservice alike to Britain and the United States.

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) -> David Habakkuk ... , 07 November 2019 at 01:33 PM
David, Karaganov is an opportunist, granted a smart one. But the events of two days ago with Putin and Lavrov being personally present at the unveiling of the monument to Evgenii Primakov in a front of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs speaks, in fact screams, volumes. You know of Primakov's Doctrine. It is being fully implemented as I type this and it means that the West "lost" (quotation marks are intentional--Russia was not West's to lose) Russia and it can be "thankful" for that to a so called Russia Studies field in the West which was primarily shaped and then turned into the wasteland, in large part thanks to influx of East European "scholars" and some "Russian" dissidents which achieved their objectives by drawing a caricature. They succeeded and Russia had it with the West.
Vig said in reply to David Habakkuk ... , 08 November 2019 at 08:45 AM
DH, appreciate your comment. Haven't read the MEMRI paper yet. Scanned the first page though.

Karaganov is an opportunist, granted a smart one. ... You know of Primakov's Doctrine. It is being fully implemented as I type this and it means that the West "lost" (quotation marks are intentional--Russia was not West's to lose)

Well, two things sticked out for me during Tumps reelection campain.
1) on the surface he stated, he wanted closer relations to Russia. Looked at more closely, as should be expected, maybe. They were ambigous. If I may paraphrase it colloguially: I meet them and, believe me, if I don't get that beautiful deal, i'll be out of the door the next second.
2) he promised to be enigmatic, compared to earlier American administrations. In other words, hard to read or to predict. Guess one better is as dealmaker. But in the larger intelligence field? Enigmatic may well be a commonplace. No?

Otherwise, Andrei, I would appreciate your further elaboration on Karaganov as opportunist.

That said, would you please explain why

Petrel said in reply to Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) ... , 07 November 2019 at 11:03 AM
Andrei: Strzok and Pientka come from Galicia -- the westernmost portion of what is now Ukraine -- that was acquired by Empress Maria Theresa in the mid - 18th century.
Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) -> Petrel... , 07 November 2019 at 01:06 PM
Andrei: Strzok and Pientka come from Galicia

Well, that explains a lot. Not all of it, but a lot.

David Habakkuk -> Petrel... , 07 November 2019 at 01:25 PM
Petrel,

I have been curious about precisely where both Srzok and Pientka came from, but have not had time to do any serious searches.

What is the actual evidence that they have Galician origins?

And, if they do, what are these?

I would of course automatically tend to assume that Polish names mean that their origins are Polish.

But then, if this is so, why are they enthusiastically collaborating with 'Banderista' Ukrainians?

It has long been a belief of mine that one of Stalin's great mistakes was to attempt to incorporate Galicia into the empire he was creating.

Had he returned it to Poland, the architects of the Volhynia massacres of Poles – as also of the massacres of Jews in Lviv/Lvov/Lemberg – could have gone back to their old habits of assassinating Polish policemen.

Petrel said in reply to David Habakkuk ... , 07 November 2019 at 05:50 PM
Andrei Martyanov & David Habakuk:

I first picked up the Galician connection in an article by Scott Humor: " North America is a land run by Galician zombies " -- published by The Saker on July 4, 2018. It seems that Galicians, especially those that arrived after WWII, migrate into security positions such as ICE / FBI / NSA etc. It may have to do with a family history of work in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Regrettably, I am not from Eastern Europe and cannot help you further about the Bortnicks, the Gathkes, Buchtas, and so on.

akaPatience , 07 November 2019 at 03:22 AM
If all of this corruption were carried out to entrap or thwart a liberal Democrat instead of Trump and his associates, we all know the MSM would be banging a drum of utter outrage, 24/7. We'd never hear the end of a story such as this -- that the FBI misidentified the authors of Flynn's interview notes. Unbelievable.

A while back, I recall reading about a sexual discrimination or harassment case involving FBI's Andrew McCabe in which Gen. Flynn intervened on behalf of the female accuser, and it was thought by some that the bogus charge against the general was in part an act of revenge on McCabe's behalf. There are so many dots out there, unconnected, because the MSM is doing its best to suppress the truth.

How long can they continue to hear, see and speak no evil if the you-know-what hits the fan? I guess we're going to find out.

Fred -> akaPatience ... , 07 November 2019 at 09:41 AM
akaPatience,

How do you know the FBI/DOJ and our wonderful allies never did this to a Democratic politician before? Keeping them in office and subject to extortion to get favorable policies in place would be far more effective than removing someone from office. Perhaps we should ask Jeffrey Epstein just what those politicians and businessmen were doing on that island, that manions in NYC or the one in Paris.....

jd hawkins , 07 November 2019 at 04:11 AM
" I can only imagine how SVR and GRU are enjoying the spectacle".

Guess the neo fbi is enjoying it too________ or not so much!!!

JohninMK , 07 November 2019 at 07:49 AM
Is this just a situation where the DoJ are giving the judge an easy way out to throw the case for a technical reason?

This would leave Flynn high and dry without his innocence having been proved having just got off on a technicality. Also the DoJ would not be exposed to having to produce all the damning stuff that the Honey Badger wants out in public.

Very interesting to see which way Judge Sullivan goes now. Wonder if he wants another Powell book.

Fred -> JohninMK... , 07 November 2019 at 09:36 AM
JohninMK,

Which country are you from where people have to prove innocence rather than prosecutors prove guilt? A technicality - do you mean that as a joke since this is obviously criminal misconduct by the FBI/DOJ; or do you really believe they made a mistake that went undiscovered through the entire Mueler probe, congressional testimony and a couple years worth of legal discovery by defense counsel?

Flavius , 07 November 2019 at 10:59 AM
The manner in which Comey and his select team of officials engineered the Flynn 'interview' was contemptible, but not surprising. The group had been steeping in politics from the moment Comey agreed to the Clinton e-mail case under the conditions he did. The special organization he created, an FBI within the FBI operating out of HQ, the administering of 'blood oaths', etc, only made matters worse, or better, depending on one's political point of view. The only thing lacking was secret hand shakes.
In my now outdated experience, the charge of lying to the FBI was viewed as B.S., period; it was never even contemplated as as a stand alone charge. Separated from a substantive charge, it is worse than B.S.
There are several things wrong about the Flynn interview. Among them: if there was indeed a reason for a strategy session to deceive Flynn about his possibly requiring a lawyer, that reason to the fair minded person meant there should have been no need for a strategy session: the interview required telling Flynn that he had the right to a lawyer; he should have been told the purpose of the interview, ie what it was he was suspected of having done wrong and that the import of his answers was sufficiently serious that if he didn't tell the truth he could be charged with lying; if there was uncertainty whether Flynn had told the truth, as apparently there was because the 302 was subjected to editing and reediting, itself highly irregular, the proper way to have resolved any question would have been to reinterview Flynn, not tailor the paperwork to support the charge; if in fact Flynn did lie, what was the harm caused by the lie, or put another way, what would have been the outcome if Flynn had told the truth.
On the subject of recorded interviews, I am of uncertain mind. There is a before interview; there is an after interview. Electronics change the dynamics of the interview itself, and it may be to the advantage of the person interviewed and it may be to his or her disadvantage. If an interview is fairly played, there should be no need to record it; if the interview is intent on something other than fair play, he will find some way to game the electronics. Electronics are no panacea to instilling integrity where integrity is not otherwise to be found.
David Habakkuk , 07 November 2019 at 11:00 AM
Larry,

The 'honey badger' was a species unknown to me, but having looked that animal up, it seems an apt comparison.

Indeed, at the risk of being frivolous, I am tempted to quote the Kipling refrain about the 'female of the species' being 'deadlier than the male.' It seems to me quite likely that people at the FBI, and elsewhere, are still finding it difficult to grasp what has hit them.

Something which interests me greatly is the possible knock-on effects of Ms. Powell's breakthroughs in exposing the conspiracy to frame Michael Flynn on other cases, notably those in which Ty Clevenger and Steven S. Biss are involved.

The pair are representing Ed Butowsky and Devin Nunes, and also, crucially, Svetlana Lokhova, in her case against the 'ratfucker' – the term used in the 'Complaint' – Stefan Halper and some of the MSM organisations who have collaborated in his 'dirty tricks.'

In all of these cases, material freely available on the 'Courtlistener' site is a mine of fascinating information.

Of particular interest at the moment, I think, are the efforts of Clevenger to 'prise open' the cover-up over the role over Seth Rich in leaking the materials from the DNC which the conspirators falsely alleged were hacked by the Russians, and that about the circumstances of his murder.

These efforts have been aided by a remarkable 'hostage to fortune' given by Deborah Sines, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in D.C. who was assigned to the Rich case.

On 8 October, Clevenger produced motions to 'accept supplemental evidence' and 'permit discovery' in the case he has himself brought against the DOJ, FBI and NSA. (His filing is freely available at https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6775665/clevenger-v-us-department-of-justice/ .)

The 'supplemental evidence' in question appeared back in July in Episode 5 of the podcast 'Conspiracyland' which Michael Isikoff produced for 'Yahoo! News'. In this, Ms. Sines recycled the familiar disinformation from Andrew McCabe to the effect that it had been established that there was no connection between Rich and Wikileaks.

She then suggested that the FBI had indeed examined his computer, but solely because someone had been trying to 'invade his Gmail account and set up a separate account after Seth was murdered.' The supposed purpose of this activity, by a 'foreign hacker', was 'so they could dump false information in there.'

As Clevenger pointed out, this claim is rather hard to reconcile with the FBI's insistence that it has no records pertaining to Rich, and makes the Bureau's refusal to search its Computer Analysis Response Team ("CART") for relevant records, and the Washington Field Office for email records, look even more suspicious than it already did.

From the 'Courtlistener' pages it also appeared that, following a telephone conference, Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom ruled that the statement by Ms. Sines did not rise to the 'level of bad faith' required to justify the 'discovery' that Clevenger sought, on the basis of it.

Also freely available on 'Courtlistener', however, is an 'Unopposed motion for stay' which Clevenger filed on 30 November. From this, we learn that Judge Bloom had 'noted that Ms. Sines' statements were not made under oath, further suggesting that the Plaintiff might try to obtain a sworn statement from Ms. Sines.'

In response, Clevenger made clear that he intended to subpoena that lady for a deposition, in the relation to the defamation cases brought against Michael Gottlieb et al, and also David Folkenflik et al, where he is representing Ed Butowsky.

Accordingly, he asked the Court to stay his own case 'until the deposition of Ms. Sines can be arranged and the transcripts can be produced.' Apparently, there was no objection from the DOJ, FBI, and NSA.

In addition, Clevenger asked the court to take 'judicial notice' of the fact that, in her reply dated 24 October to the lawyers for the USG, 'attorney Sidney Powell laid out damning evidence that high-ranking FBI officials systematically tampered with records and hid exculpatory evidence for the purpose of framing the defendant, retired General Mike Flynn.'

So it looks as though what the 'honey badger' has been digging out in relation to Flynn may help in the burrowing efforts of others in related matters – who may be in a position to return the favour.

Increasingly, it seems not entirely unthinkable that the cumulative effect of of the cases in which Powell, Clevenger and Biss are involved may blow open the whole conspiracy against the Constitution, irrespective of whether or not Horowitz, Barr and Durham are prepared to go substantially beyond a 'limited hangout.'

Another important, and neglected, aspect here relates to the cases still ongoing against Steele and Orbis in London – that brought by Aleksej Gubarev, and that by the Alfa oligarchs. It is material that libel laws on this side are noticeably less favourable to defendants than on yours – not least in that the 'fair report privilege' retains its original narrower construction here.

Unfortunately, we do not have here any equivalent to 'PACER' and 'Courtlistener.' The last I heard about the Gubarev case was in the spring, when his American lawyers suggested that it should come to court before Xmas.

It would not at all surprise me if it was postponed. Ironically, however, I now think that it may be quite likely that his British lawyers see delay as being in Gubarev's interests.

A critical point is that Steele is making no attempt to defend the accuracy of the claims about the involvement of Gubarev and his companies in hacking in the final memorandum in the dossier.

It seems quite likely that what is coming to light as the result of the lawsuits on your side may make it materially more difficult to mount any credible case that these were not very seriously defamatory.

There have been repeated attempts to locate the dossier attributed to Steele in another version of a familiar 'Russophobic' narrative, suggesting that he was deliberately fed disinformation by his Russian contacts as part of an 'active measures' campaign.

In my view, these are largely BS. However, a possible partial exception has to do with the claims about Gubarev, which follow on from the those made in Company Report 2016/086, which is dated 26 July 2015.

My suspicion has long been that the sloppy misdating – 2016 is clearly meant – reflected the fact that the document was part of a panic-stricken response to the murder of Rich, which had taken place on 10 July. What I may well have happened is that FBI cybersecurity people, who had been cultivating sources among their FSB counterparts, put out an urgent request, which generated material that went into the dossier.

If that was the case however, it would have been likely that some of their informants were playing a 'double game.' And my suspicion is that, when a further request was put in, following Trump's election victory, those making it were fed a 'baited hook' about Gubarev, very likely cast in the hope of producing something like the outcome that materialised.

I noted with interest that both Devin Nunes and Lee Smith are now expressing scepticism about the notion that Steele's role was in actually authoring the dossier, rather than taking ownership of a compendium essentially produced within Fusion GPS.

Another ground for believing this was put into sharp focus with the publication by 'Judicial Watch' in September of – heavily redacted – versions of reports from Steele circulated in the State Department prior to the dossier.

(See https://www.judicialwatch.org/tag/christopher-steele/ )

These clarify a matter which has long puzzled me about the memoranda. Normally, one would expect the product of a serious business intelligence company to be properly presented, on headed stationery, without elementary errors. And one would not expect a numbering which suggests that the documents made public are part of a much larger series.

A document dated 13 June 2014, headline 'RUSSIA-UKRAINE CRISIS: Kremlin Emboldened to Challenge USG Sanctions and Anti-Russian Leverage On Financial Markets', which is labelled 'Report ID: 2014/130a', suggests that we are actually dealing with a format used in an information service sent out to a large number of clients. Precisely what this would not contain was material attributed to highly sensitive sources.

So the clumsy imitation of this formatting in the dossier gives further reason to believe that it was produced by people other than Steele, who were trying to attribute authorship to him.

A further implication is that Steele may have ended up left facing libel charges in relation to claims for which he was not actually responsible.

In addition to those about Gubarev, the use of the transliteration 'Alpha' instead of 'Alfa' for the Fridman/Aven/Khan group makes me think that the author of the relevant memorandum was not a native English speaker, but someone used to thinking in Russian and/or Ukrainian.

If so, the memorandum may be part of 'Ukrainegate', which, unlike 'Russiagate', looks like being a real story.

And here, of course, the question of what became of Seth Rich's laptop, and what information the FBI is concealing about it, is again critical.

It would not in the least surprise me if the kind of traces described by Ms. Sines are actually really present on some hard drive.

If however they are, a quite likely explanation is that Alperovitch and his Ukrainian 'partners-in-crime' organised a hack, after the leak was discovered, as part of the more general attempt to obfuscate the truth.

Factotum , 07 November 2019 at 12:56 PM
Why does the media and virtually every pundit commenting on the Ukrainian phone call intentionally avoid any mention of Trump's Crowdstrike "favor" request?

[Nov 08, 2019] Inconvenient Truths by Stephen F. Cohen

Notable quotes:
"... The Democratic establishment is deeply and widely imbued with rancid Russophobic attitudes. Most telling was (and remains) a core "Russiagate" allegation that "Russia attacked American democracy during the 2016 presidential election" on Trump's behalf -- an "attack" so nefarious it has often been equated with Pearl Harbor. ..."
"... We have also learned that the heads of America's intelligence agencies under President Obama, especially John Brennan of the CIA and James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, felt themselves entitled to try to undermine an American presidential candidacy and subsequent presidency, that of Donald Trump. ..."
"... We also learned that, contrary to Democratic dogma, the mainstream "free press" cannot be fully trusted to readily expose such abuses of power. ..."
"... Opponents of Barr's investigation into the origins of Russiagate say it is impermissible or unprecedented to "investigate the investigators." But the bipartisan Church Committee, based in the US Senate, did so in the mid-1970s. It exposed many abuses by US intelligence agencies, particularly by the CIA, and adopted remedies that it believed would be permanent. Clearly, they have not been. ..."
"... However well-intentioned Barr may be, he is Trump's attorney general and therefore not fully credible. As I have also argued repeatedly, a new Church Committee is urgently needed. It's time for honorable members of the Senate of both parties to do their duty. ..."
Nov 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

Almost daily for three years, Democrats and their media have told us very bad things about Donald Trump's life, character, and presidency. Some of them are true. But in the process, we have also learned some lamentable, even alarming, things about the Democratic Party establishment, including self-professed liberals. Consider the following:

The Democratic establishment is deeply and widely imbued with rancid Russophobic attitudes. Most telling was (and remains) a core "Russiagate" allegation that "Russia attacked American democracy during the 2016 presidential election" on Trump's behalf -- an "attack" so nefarious it has often been equated with Pearl Harbor. But there was no "attack" in 2016, only, as I have previously explained , ritualistic "meddling" of the kind that both Russia and America have undertaken in the other's elections for decades. Little can be more phobic than the allegation or belief that one has been "attacked by a hostile" entity. And yet this myth and its false narrative persist in the Democratic Party's discourse, campaigning, and fund-raising. We have also learned that the heads of America's intelligence agencies under President Obama, especially John Brennan of the CIA and James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, felt themselves entitled to try to undermine an American presidential candidacy and subsequent presidency, that of Donald Trump. Early on, I termed this operation " Intelgate ," and it has since been well documented by other writers, including Lee Smith in his new book . Intel officials did so in tacit alliance with certain leading, and equally Russophobic, members of the Democratic Party, which had once opposed such transgressions. This may be the most alarming revelation of the Trump years: Trump will leave power, but these self-aggrandizing intelligence agencies will remain. We also learned that, contrary to Democratic dogma, the mainstream "free press" cannot be fully trusted to readily expose such abuses of power. Indeed, what the mainstream media -- leading national newspapers and two cable news networks, in particular -- chose to cover and report, and chose not to cover and report, made the abuses and consequences of Russiagate allegations possible. Even now, exceedingly influential publications such as The New York Times seem eager to delegitimize the investigation by Attorney General William Barr and his appointed special investigator John Durham into the origins of Russiagate. Barr's critics accuse him of fabricating a "conspiracy theory" on behalf of Trump. But the real, or grandest, conspiracy theory was the Russiagate allegation of "collusion" between Trump and the Kremlin, an accusation that was -- or should have been -- discredited by the Robert Mueller report. And we have learned, or should have learned, that for all the talk by Democrats about Trump as a danger to US national security, it is their Russiagate allegations that truly endanger it. Consider two examples. Russia's new "hyper-sonic" missiles, which can elude US missile-defense systems, make new nuclear arms negotiations with Moscow imperative and urgent. If only for the sake of his legacy, Trump is likely to want to do so. But even if he is able to, will Trump be entrusted enough to conduct negotiations as successfully as did his predecessors in the White House, given the "Putin puppet" and "Kremlin stooge" accusations still being directed at him? Similarly, as I have asked repeatedly, if confronted with a US-Russian Cuban missile–like crisis -- anywhere Washington and Moscow are currently eyeball-to-eyeball militarily, from the Baltic region and Ukraine to Syria -- will Trump be as free politically as was President John F. Kennedy to resolve it without war? Here too there is an inconvenient truth: To the extent that Democrats any longer seriously discuss national security in the context of US-Russian relations, it mostly involves vilifying both Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin. (Recall also that previous presidents were free to negotiate with Russia's Soviet communist leaders, even encouraged to do so, whereas the demonized Putin is an anti-communist, post-Soviet leader.)

The current state of US-Russian relations is unprecedentedly dangerous, not only due to reasons cited here -- a new Cold War fraught with the possibility of hot war. Whether President Trump serves one or two terms, he must be fully empowered to cope with the multiple possibilities of a US-Russian military confrontation. That requires ridding him and our nation of Russiagate allegations -- and that in turn requires learning how such allegations originated.

Opponents of Barr's investigation into the origins of Russiagate say it is impermissible or unprecedented to "investigate the investigators." But the bipartisan Church Committee, based in the US Senate, did so in the mid-1970s. It exposed many abuses by US intelligence agencies, particularly by the CIA, and adopted remedies that it believed would be permanent. Clearly, they have not been.

However well-intentioned Barr may be, he is Trump's attorney general and therefore not fully credible. As I have also argued repeatedly, a new Church Committee is urgently needed. It's time for honorable members of the Senate of both parties to do their duty.

[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 05, 2019] American Conspiracies Cover-Ups

Nov 05, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

American Conspiracies & Cover-Ups by Tyler Durden Tue, 11/05/2019 - 00:10 0 SHARES Authored by Douglas Citignano via Off-Guardian.org,

In today's world, the phrase "conspiracy theory" is pejorative and has a negative connotation. To many people, a conspiracy theory is an irrational, over-imaginative idea endorsed by people looking for attention and not supported by the mainstream media or government.

History shows, though, that there have been many times when governments or individuals have participated in conspiracies. It would be naïve to think that intelligence agencies, militaries, government officials, and politicians don't sometimes cooperate in covert, secretive ways.

Following are five instances when it's been proven that the government engaged in a conspiracy.

THE GULF OF TONKIN RESOLUTION

On August 4, 1964, Captain John J. Herrick, the commander of the USS Maddox, a US Navy vessel that was on an intelligence-gathering mission in the Gulf of Tonkin, reported to the White House and Pentagon that North Vietnamese patrol boats had fired torpedoes at his ship, and, so, the Maddox had fired back.

Two days later, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara testified to the Congress that he was certain that the Maddox had been attacked. On August 7, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed, the Congressional act that allowed President Johnson free reign to commence war; Johnson immediately ordered air strikes on North Vietnam and the Vietnam War -- which would eventually kill fifty-eight thousand Americans and two million Asians -- was underway.

Since then, it has been shown and proven that no North Vietnamese boats ever fired on the Maddox, and that McNamara had been untruthful when he testified before Congress. According to the official publication of the Naval Institute,

once-classified documents and tapes released in the past several years, combined with previously uncovered facts, make clear that high government officials distorted facts and deceived the American public about events that led to full US involvement in the Vietnam War."

In the weeks prior to the Gulf of Tonkin incident, South Vietnamese ships had been attacking posts in North Vietnam in conjunction with the CIA's Operation 34A. According to many inside sources, the Johnson administration wanted a full-scale war in Vietnam and through Operation 34A was trying to provoke North Vietnam into an attack that would give Johnson an excuse to go to war. But when McNamara was asked by the Congress on August 7 if these South Vietnam attacks had anything to do with the US military and CIA, McNamara lied and said no.

Within hours after reporting that the Maddox had been attacked, Captain Herrick was retracting his statements and reporting to the White House and Pentagon that "in all likelihood" an over-eager sonar man had been mistaken and that the sonar sounds and images that he originally thought were enemy torpedoes were actually just the beat of the Maddox's own propellers.

Herrick reported that there was a good probability that there had been no attack on the Maddox, and suggested "complete reevaluation before any action is taken."

McNamara saw these new, updated reports and discussed them with President Johnson early in the afternoon of August 4. Even though this was so, on the evening of August 4, President Johnson went on national television and announced to the American public that North Vietnam had engaged in "unprovoked aggression" and, so, the US military was retaliating.

A few days after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Johnson remarked, "Hell, those damn stupid sailors were just shooting at flying fish."

Recently, new documents related to the Gulf of Tonkin incident have been declassified and according to Robert Hanyok, a historian for the National Security Agency, these documents show that the NSA deliberately "distorted intelligence" andand "altered documents" to make it appear that an attack had occurred on August 4.

When President Lyndon Johnson misrepresented to the American public and said he knew that North Vietnam had attacked a US ship, and when Defense Secretary Robert McNamara lied to the Congress and said he was sure that the Maddox had been attacked and that the CIA had nothing to do with South Vietnam aggression, and when NSA officials falsified information to make it appear that there had been an attack on the Maddox, that was a government conspiracy.

OPERATION NORTHWOODS

In 1962, the most powerful and highest ranking military officials of the US government, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, felt strongly that the communist leader Fidel Castro had to be removed from power and, so, came up with a plan to justify an American invasion of Cuba.

The plan, entitled Operations Northwoods, was presented to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on March 13, 1962, and was signed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lyman L. Lemnitzer.

Operations Northwoods was a proposal for a false flag operation, a plan in which a military organizes an attack against its own country and then frames and blames the attack on another country for the purpose of the purpose of initiating hostilities and declaring war on that country.

The proposal was originally labeled Top Secret but was made public on November 18, 1997, by the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board. The complete Operation Northwoods paper was published online by the National Security Archive on April 30, 2001, and this once-secret government document can now be read by anyone.

The actions that General Lemnitzer and the other chiefs wanted to d to take under Operations Northwoods are shocking. According to the plan, CIA and military personnel and hired provocateurs would commit various violent acts and these acts would be blamed on Castro to "create the necessary impression of Cuban rashness and irresponsibility" and "put the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances."

One of the most ambitious plans of Operation Northwoods was to blow up a plane in midflight. The strategy was to fill a civilian airplane with CIA and military personnel who were registered under fake ID's; an exact duplicate plane -- an empty military drone aircraft -- would take off at the same exact time.

The plane of fake passengers would land at a military base but the empty drone plane would fly over Cuba and crash in the ocean, supposedly a victim of Cuban missiles. "Casualty lists in US newspapers" and conducting "fake funerals for mock-victims" would cause "a helpful wave of national indignation" in America.

The Operation Northwoods proposal also states: "We could blow up a US ship and blame Cuba." Whether the ship was to be empty or full of US soldiers is unclear. The document also says: "Hijacking attempts against US civil air and surface craft should be encouraged."

Some of the recommendations of Operation Northwoods would have surely led to serious injuries and even deaths of Cuban and American civilians. The plan suggests:

We could sink a boatload of Cubans on route to Florida (real or simulated)."

And:

We could foster attempts on lives of anti-Castro Cubans in the United States even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized We could explode a few bombs in carefully chosen spots."

Lemnitzer and the chiefs wanted many of these staged terrorist attacks to be directed at the Guantanamo Bay United States Naval Base in Cuba. The plans were:

When Secretary of Defense McNamara was presented with the Operation Northwoods plan, he either stopped and rejected the plan himself or passed it on to President Kennedy and JFK then rejected it. But if Kennedy and McNamara had agreed with the plan, then the Joint Chiefs of Staff wanted to begin enacting Operation Northwoods "right away, within a few months."

Even though Operation Northwoods was never initiated, when the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the other highest-ranking military officials of the United States Government planned to organize violent attacks on Americans and anti-Castro Cuban citizens, knowing those attacks could severely injure and kill those citizens, and when they planned to blame those attacks on Cuba and then use that as an excuse to invade Cuba, that was a government conspiracy.

FBI AND THE MAFIA

In March 1965, the FBI had the house of New England organized crime boss Raymond Patriarca wiretapped and overheard two mobsters, Joseph Barboza and Vincent Flemmi, asking Patriarca for permission to kill another gangster, Edward Deegan. Two days later, Deegan's blood-soaked body was found dead in a Boston alley.

Within days, an official FBI report confirmed that Joseph Barboza and three other mobsters were the murderers. Instead of those men going to prison for murder, though, three years later a man named Joseph Salvati was brought to trial for the murder of Edward Deegan. At that trial Joseph Barboza testified and lied that Salvati was one of the murderers. On the basis of Barboza's testimony, Joseph Salvati was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

At that time, in the mid 1960s, the FBI was being pressured more and more to do something to stop organized crime. The bureau began using members of the mafia -- criminals and murderers -- to inform against fellow mafia members. Joseph Barboza was one of these FBI-protected, paid informants. The FBI didn't want Barboza to go to prison for the murder of Deegan because they wanted him to continue infiltrating the mafia and testifying against other mafia members.

The bureau, apparently, did want a conviction in the Deegan murder case, though, and, so, let Barboza lie under oath and let a man they knew to be innocent, Joseph Salvati, go to prison.

The Witness Protection Program was first created for Joseph Barboza, and Barboza was the first mafia informant to be protected under the program. After helping to convict a number of mobsters, Barboza was sent off to live in California. While under the Witness Protection Program, Barboza committed at least one more murder, and probably more.

On trial for a murder in California, FBI officials showed up for Joseph Barboza's trial and testified on his behalf, helping Barboza to get a light sentence.

Joseph Salvati ended up serving thirty years in prison for a murder that he was innocent of. During that thirty-year period, lawyers for Salvati requested documents from the FBI that would have proved Salvati's innocence, but the bureau refused to release them.

Finally, in 1997, other evidence came forth suggesting Salvati's innocence and the governor of Massachusetts, William Weld, granted Salvati's release. A few years later, the FBI was ordered to release all its reports on the case; hundreds of documents showed the FBI knew that Barboza was a murderer, that he had murdered Edward Deegan, and that Joseph Salvati had had nothing to do with the crime.

Salvati was exonerated in a court of law, and was eventually awarded millions of dollars in a civil lawsuit against the government. (Three other defendants were also exonerated. At the 1968 trial, Joseph Barboza had testified that three other men -- men who were also not guilty -- had participated in Deegan's murder. These three innocent men were, with Salvati, also sent to prison.)

Perhaps the most shocking thing that the FBI documents showed, though, was that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover himself knew Salvati was innocent and that Barboza had killed Deegan.

Hoover was working closely, almost daily, with the agents handling Joseph Barboza, and it was probably Hoover directing the operation. The congressional committee that investigated the case was the House Committee on Government Reform and Congressman Dan Burton was the chairman.

When asked by CBS's 60 Minutes journalist Mike Wallace "Did J. Edgar Hoover know all this? " Burton replied:

"Yes . . . It's one of the greatest failures in the history of American justice J. Edgar Hoover knew Salvati was innocent. He knew it and his name should not be emblazoned on the FBI headquarters. We should change the name of that building."

Congressman Burton claimed there was evidence that there were more cases when the FBI did the same sorts of things they did in the Joseph Salvati case; when Burton and his committee requested the files on these cases, the Attorney General and the White House refused to release them.

When FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and top FBI officials let a known murderer lie and perjure himself in a courtroom, when they let four men they knew to be innocent suffer in the hell of a prison cell for thirty years, and when they deliberately covered that up for decades, that was a government conspiracy.

THE MANHATTAN PROJECT

In 1939, Albert Einstein and two other European physicists sent a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt informing Roosevelt that the German government was working on developing the science that could lead to the creation of a nuclear bomb. FDR immediately formed a committee to look into the idea of the US government making an atomic bomb.

In 1942, the Manhattan Project, the United States program to build a nuclear bomb, headed by General Leslie R. Groves of the US Army Corps of Engineers, was formed.

The program existed from 1942–1946, spent two billion dollars, had plants and factories in thirty cities, and employed 130,000 workers. But virtually no one knew about it. The Manhattan Project is considered the "Greatest Secret Ever Kept."

The US government wanted to keep the Project a secret lest Germany or one of America's other enemies found out about it and built -- more quickly -- a larger, better bomb. In the early 1940s, when American scientists began working on splitting atoms and nuclear fission, US government officials asked the scientists to not publish any reports on the work in scientific journals. The work was kept quiet.

In 1943, when newspapers began reporting on the large Manhattan Project construction going on in a few states, the newly formed United States Government Office of Censorship asked newspapers and broadcasters to avoid discussing "atom smashing, atomic energy, atomic fission . . . the use for military purposes of radium or radioactive materials" or anything else that could expose the project. The press kept mum. The government didn't talk about the Manhattan Project, the press didn't report on it, and the public knew nothing about it.

Not even the 130,000 Manhattan Project laborers knew they were building an atom bomb.

In 1945, a Life magazine article wrote that before Japan was attacked with a-bombs, "probably no more than a few dozen men in the entire country knew the full meaning of the Manhattan Project, and perhaps only a thousand others even were aware that work on atoms was involved."

The workers were told they were doing an important job for the government, but weren't told what the job was, and didn't understand the full import of the mysterious, daily tasks they were doing. The laborers were warned that disclosing the Project's secrets was punishable by ten years in prison, and a hefty financial fine.

Whole towns and cities were built where thousands of Manhattan Project workers lived and worked but these thousands didn't know they were helping to build nuclear bombs.

The Manhattan Project finally became known to the public on August 6, 1945, when President Harry Truman announced that America had dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

Truman, himself, had not been informed of the Manhattan Project until late April 1945.

When the government kept the purpose of the Manhattan Project a secret from the press, from the public, from America's enemies, from Harry Truman, and even from the 130,000 laborers who worked for the Manhattan Project, that was a government conspiracy.

THE CHURCH COMMITTEE INVESTIGATION

In the early 1970s, after the Watergate affair and investigative reports by the New York Times, it became apparent that the CIA and other US intelligence agencies might be engaging in inappropriate and illegal activities. In 1975, the Church Committee, named after the Committee's chairman Senator Frank Church, was formed to investigate abuses by the CIA, NSA, FBI, and IRS.

The Church Committee reports are said to constitute the most extensive investigations of intelligence activities ever made available to the public. Many disturbing facts were revealed. According to the final report of the Committee, US intelligence agencies had been engaging in "unlawful or improper conduct" and "intelligence excesses, at home and abroad" since the administration of President Franklin Roosevelt.

The report added that "intelligence agencies have undermined the Constitutional rights of citizens" and "checks and balances designed by the framers of the Constitution to assure accountability have not been applied."

One of the most well-known revelations of the Committee was the CIA's so-called "Family Jewels," a report that detailed the CIA's misdeeds dating back to Dwight Eisenhower's presidency. The committee also reported on the NSA's SHAMROCK and MINARET programs; under these programs the NSA had been intercepting, opening, and reading the telegrams and mail of thousands of private citizens.

The Church Committee also discovered and exposed the FBI's COINTELPRO program, the bureau's program to covertly destroy and disrupt any groups or individuals that J. Edgar Hoover felt were bad for America. Some of the movements and groups that the FBI tried to discredit and destroy were the Civil Rights movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr.

The most alarming thing that the Church Committee found, though, was that the CIA had an assassination program. It was revealed that the CIA assassinated or had tried to assassinate Dinh Diem of Vietnam, Raphael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, General Rene Schneider of Chile, Fidel Castro, Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, and other political leaders throughout the world.

The Committee learned about the different ways the CIA had developed to kill and assassinate people: inflicting cancer, inflicting heart attacks, making murders look like suicides, car accidents, boating accidents, and shootings. At one point, CIA Director William Colby presented to the Committee a special "heart attack gun" that the CIA had created. The gun was able to shoot a small poison-laden dart into its victim. The dart was so small as to be undetectable; the victim's death from the poison would appear to be a heart attack, so no foul play would be suspected.

In response to the Church Committee report, in 1976 President Gerald Ford signed Executive Order 11,905, which forbade employees of the US government from engaging in or conspiring to engage in political assassinations.

In that same year, the Senate approved Senate Resolution 400, which established the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the committee responsible for providing vigilant oversight over the intelligence agencies.

Many former CIA employee-whistleblowers and other people, though, claim that US intelligence agencies are still acting in improper ways. In 2008, it was revealed that the CIA had hired Blackwater, a private company made up of ex-Navy Seals, to track down and assassinate suspected terrorists.

Later in the 2000s, when the Congress formed a committee to investigate if CIA waterboarding and other methods of interrogation constituted torture, congressmen complained that they couldn't get to the bottom of the matter because CIA officials and the CIA director were lying to the congressional committee.

Forty-five years after the revelations of the Church Committee, it seems US intelligence agencies are still engaging in covert and improper conduct.

When US intelligence agencies and the CIA plot to influence the affairs of foreign nations, when the CIA plots assassinations and assassinates foreign leaders and political dissidents, when the CIA develops new ways to kill and assassinate and interrogate and torture, and when the CIA keeps all that from Congress, the press, and the public, that's a government conspiracy.

* * *

If these five instances of government engaging in conspiracies have been proven to be true -- and they have been -- isn't it logical to assume that government agencies may have engaged in other conspiracies? It is the very nature of intelligence agencies and militaries to act in secretive, conspiratorial ways.

The phrase "conspiracy theory" shouldn't have a negative connotation. Politics always plays out with backroom handshakes. It is the suggestion of American Conspiracies and Cover-Ups that government agencies and officials and the special interests that influence them are often engaging in conspiratorial actions, and that conspiracies have been behind some of the most iconic and important events of American history.

A conspiracy theorist was regaling a friend with one conspiracy theory after another. Finally, the friend interrupted and said, "I bet I know what would happen if God Himself appeared out of the sky right now, looked down at us, and said, 'There is no conspiracy.' I bet you would look up and say, 'So the conspiracy goes higher than we thought.'"

Perhaps if the Almighty appeared to inform us that politicians and governments and government officials don't act in secretive, covert, conspiratorial ways, then we could accept that.

But when the evidence indicates otherwise .

Theories questioning if multiple people might have shot at JFK, or if interior bombs brought down the World Trade Center, or if somebody was able to rig the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections can make for dramatic, sensational storytelling.

But it is not the purpose of American Conspiracies and Cover-Ups to be sensational; the purpose of this book is to talk about "conspiracy realities" that can hopefully give us a deeper and more meaningful understanding of politics.

If elements in the intelligence agencies participated in assassinating President Kennedy, then how can the intelligence agencies be better controlled? If elements in the government allowed or caused 9/11 to happen to give us an excuse to go to war in the Middle East, then how much of the War on Terror is disinformation and propaganda?

If presidential elections can be rigged, then how can we have fairer, uncorrupted elections? If secretive influences behind the scenes, a Deep State, are controlling our social, political, and financial systems for their own selfish purposes, then it would benefit us to expose who and what these secretive influences are.

American Conspiracies and Cover-Ups may give us a glimpse into the way that government and politics work.

Or don't work.

* * *

This is an extract from American Conspiracies and Cover-Ups , by Douglas Cirignano published by Simon&Schuster . It can be purchased in hard copy, digital and audio-book form through Amazon and other booksellers.

[Nov 04, 2019] The Taliban wiped out poppy production in 2000. Americans retored it

Nov 04, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Stephanie , 03 November 2019 at 09:57 AM

Gosh, the Taliban wiped out poppy production in 2000. The Twin Towers were destroyed in 2001. Bush (son of CIA Bush) invaded Afghanistan to... well, to do what? To defeat the Taliban? Why? To restore poppy production? To find bin Laden? Didn't really do that. After all he was in Pakistan. And what has happened to poppy farming since we invaded? Booming. For 17 years. Those farming families are doing really well under the protection of U.S. troops. Just like the oil families in Syria that are protected by U.S. troops. Now, Trump seems to be throwing a spanner in all this. Of course, "We came, we saw, he died [giggle, giggle]" Clinton would have never committed Trump's crimes. Trump's just a loose cannon.

Angleton, quoting Jesus, said "In my Father's house are many mansions."

I guess we know which mansion Brennan inhabits.


May 20, 2001
The first American narcotics experts to go to Afghanistan under Taliban rule have concluded that the movement's ban on opium-poppy cultivation appears to have wiped out the world's largest crop in less than a year, officials said today.

The American findings confirm earlier reports from the United Nations drug control program that Afghanistan, which supplied about three-quarters of the world's opium and most of the heroin reaching Europe, had ended poppy planting in one season.

But the eradication of poppies has come at a terrible cost to farming families, [A TERRIBLE COST TO FARMING FAMILIES, OH, THOSE POOR FARMING FAMILIES]and experts say it will not be known until the fall planting season begins whether the Taliban can continue to enforce it.

''It appears that the ban has taken effect,'' said Steven Casteel, assistant administrator for intelligence at the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington.

The findings came in part from a Pakistan-based agent of the administration who was one of the two Americans on the team just returned from eight days in the poppy-growing areas of Afghanistan.

Tue 11 Sep 2001: 9/11

Tue 25 Sep 2001:
In a dramatic and little-noticed reversal of policy, the Taliban have told farmers in Afghanistan that they are free to start planting poppy seeds again if the Americans decide to launch a military attack.
Drug enforcement agencies last night confirmed that they expect to see a massive resumption of opium cultivation inside Afghanistan, previously the world's biggest supplier of heroin, in the next few weeks.

The Taliban virtually eradicated Afghanistan's opium crop last season after an edict by Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Taliban leader.

In July last year he said that growing opium was "un-Islamic" and warned that anyone caught planting seeds would be severely punished.

Taliban soldiers enforced the ruling two summers ago and made thousands of villagers across Afghanistan plough up their fields. Earlier this year UN observers agreed that Afghanistan's opium crop had been completely wiped out.

[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] Corporatism does not know any party by Saagar Enjeti Saagar Enjeti

Notable quotes:
"... Monday, that same company which was saved by the United States government was thrown a birthday party in the halls of the United States Congress committee which dispersed those funds? It literally doesn't get more corrupt than that. These people are so shameless they bragged about this party. They allowed it to be reported in Politico because that's just business as usual in our capital city ..."
"... So many on the right lecture the millennial generation and the working class as lazy. They give no credence to why exactly these people are angry. They watched the middle class get decimated, money get sent to Wall Street while our student debt exploded and any surplus cash that happened to be laying around was spent trying to turn the Middle East into a democratic paradise. America voted twice for change-agent Barack Obama to try and clean up the system, but he mostly just lectured corporations with an upturned chin and wagging finger, while letting them continue shipping jobs to China and Mexico. ..."
"... Institutionalized corruption has yielded disastrous results. ..."
Nov 01, 2019 | thehill.com

The House Ways and Means Committee threw a bipartisan "birthday bash" for insurance company AIG, that was widely attended by staffers across the aisle. The chairman of the committee, Richard Neal , who is a Democrat, gave remarks at the party. It included snacks, and an open bar serving a "centennial smash" signature cocktail, all while an acapella group serenaded the group to the tune of Pharrell's "Happy."

This is Versailles 1790's level stuff. It is a repulsive illustration of the bipartisan corruption that has seeped into our system. Don't forget this is the company received 190 billion dollars in bailout funds while the rest of the American middle class plummeted to destruction. It's also the same company which paid out $165 million in bonuses to its executives after receiving bailout money and facing zero repercussions from the Obama administration.

Monday, that same company which was saved by the United States government was thrown a birthday party in the halls of the United States Congress committee which dispersed those funds? It literally doesn't get more corrupt than that. These people are so shameless they bragged about this party. They allowed it to be reported in Politico because that's just business as usual in our capital city

Corporatism does not know any party. It has wormed its way into the highest levels of the United States government. It has ruled us to our detriment now for almost 40 years now. The left has responded to this moment with democratic socialism. The right looking at this movement is learning all of the wrong reasons; they're flying socialism sucks banners all across America without responding to the underlying structure of the American system as extraordinarily flawed

So many on the right lecture the millennial generation and the working class as lazy. They give no credence to why exactly these people are angry. They watched the middle class get decimated, money get sent to Wall Street while our student debt exploded and any surplus cash that happened to be laying around was spent trying to turn the Middle East into a democratic paradise. America voted twice for change-agent Barack Obama to try and clean up the system, but he mostly just lectured corporations with an upturned chin and wagging finger, while letting them continue shipping jobs to China and Mexico.

Institutionalized corruption has yielded disastrous results. A new survey from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation finds that more than 70% of millennials say they are likely to vote socialist, and that 1 in 5 think that America would be better off if private property was abolished. This makes perfect sense to me, because this generation sees the AIG bailout and the party 10 years later and goes, well if that's capitalism, then this crap is not for me

I know some of the people watching this probably are actual socialists. I don't think most of you are though. You're just fed up and you've been told that if you're against our current system then you're a socialist. So you shrug and go, sure, I guess. It is incumbent upon the right to restore and equitable and fair playing field within our system if we, correctly in my view, believe that capitalism is intrinsic to the strength of the United States

The libertarian streak of the Republican Party will be the electoral and moral death of it. Libertarianism was founded upon the idea that the greatest threat to you and your life is institutionalized power in the form of the government. It's time they understood that the government isn't the only institution which can hold power in our society. It's time to reign in that power wherever it reigns.

[Oct 31, 2019] Uncovering Russiagate's Origins Could Prevent Future Scandals

This is not a scandal, this is color revolution, a putsch supported by a large part of the USA intelligence agencies and Clinton wing of the Democratic Party.
Notable quotes:
"... And given the intrusion of the nation's intelligence's services into domestic politics, a failure to learn lessons and enact safeguards could leave future candidates, especially on the left, vulnerable to similar investigations . ..."
Oct 31, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

[Aaron Maté, The Nation ].

"There is no doubt that Donald Trump would like to exact political revenge on those behind the Russia probe, and it is fair to be skeptical of his Department of Justice. But it would be a mistake to reflexively dismiss the inquiry, which is led by US Attorney John Durham and overseen by Attorney General William Barr. The public deserves an accounting of what occurred.

And given the intrusion of the nation's intelligence's services into domestic politics, a failure to learn lessons and enact safeguards could leave future candidates, especially on the left, vulnerable to similar investigations .

And even with this all-consuming investigation now over, we still do not have a firm understanding of how it began." • A lonely voice of reason.

[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 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] Expert Panel Finds Gaping Plot-Holes In OPCW Report On Alleged Syrian Chemical Attack by Caitlin Johnstone

Highly recommended!
This implicates State Department in the attempt to run a false flag operation. If we add that the State Department is the key organization behind for color revolution against Trump that picture becomes even more disturbing. This is really a neocon vipers nest.
Notable quotes:
"... This was because the public had already been shown that highly suspicious chemical attacks tended to happen when the Trump administration begins pushing for a reversal of standing US Syria policy, as I noted in April 2017 immediately following the alleged attack in Khan Shaykhun. ..."
"... "I was able to predict Douma in 2018 because it happened already almost exactly 1 year prior, at Khan Shaykhun, April 4, 2017," Cox told me on Twitter earlier today. ..."
"... And, like clockwork, on April 7 2018 dozens of civilians in Douma were killed in an incident which was quickly reported as a Syrian government chemical attack by all the usual establishment narrative managers on Syria , with everyone from the White Helmets to Charles Lister to Eliot Higgins to Julian Röpcke loudly flagging it on social media to draw the attention of mainstream news outlets who were slower to pick up the story. ..."
"... Long before any investigation into this suspicious incident could even be begun, much less completed, the US State Department declared it to have been a chemical weapons attack perpetrated by the Syrian government, saying "the Assad regime must be held accountable", and that Russia "ultimately bears responsibility" for the attack. Which was of course mighty convenient for US geostrategic interests. ..."
"... On the 14th of April 2018, the US, UK and France launched an airstrike on the Syrian government as punishment for using chemical weapons, citing secret "intelligence" which the US government claimed gave them "very high confidence that Syria was responsible." The public has to this day never been permitted to see this intelligence. This all happened before any formal international investigation could take place. ..."
"... The OPCW conducted their investigation, and in July 2018 published an interim report saying that "no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties." This ruled out sarin gas, invalidating earlier reports by Syria war pundits like Charles Lister who claimed that sarin had been used, but it didn't rule out chlorine gas. In March of this year the OPCW issued its final report saying forensics were consistent with chlorine gas use and advancing a ballistics report which strongly implicated the Assad government by implying it was an aerial drop (Syrian opposition militias have no air force). The official Twitter account for the UK Delegation to the OPCW tweeted at the time that the report "confirms chemical weapons used, demonstrating the vital importance of OPCW's work. This confirmed chlorine attack was only the latest example of Asad regime's CW attacks on its own population." ..."
"... In May of this year, a leaked internal document from the OPCW investigation was published by the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media which completely contradicts the findings of the official report published in March. The leaked Engineering Assessment said that "observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest there is a higher probability both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft," which would implicate the forces on the ground in the incident rather than the Assad government. ..."
"... The OPCW indirectly confirmed the document's authenticity by telling the press that its release had been "unauthorised". Climate Audit's Stephen McIntyre published an excellent thread breaking down how the document invalidates the OPCW's claims which you can read by clicking here . Establishment narrative managers had a very difficult time spinning the fact that the OPCW had taken it upon itself to hide findings from the public which dissented from its official report on an incident which preceded an international act of war upon a sovereign nation, and all the implications that necessarily has for the legitimacy of the organization's other work. ..."
"... "Based on the whistleblower's extensive presentation, including internal emails, text exchanges and suppressed draft reports, we are unanimous in expressing our alarm over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, near the Syrian capital of Damascus on 7 April 2018. We became convinced by the testimony that key information about chemical analyses, toxicology consultations, ballistics studies, and witness testimonies was suppressed, ostensibly to favor a preordained conclusion ." ..."
"... "The convincing evidence of irregular behaviour in the OPCW investigation of the alleged Douma chemical attack confirms doubts and suspicions I already had. I could make no sense of what I was reading in the international press. Even official reports of investigations seemed incoherent at best. The picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing. " ..."
"... "The interpretation of the environmental analysis results is equally questionable. Many, if not all, of the so-called 'smoking gun' chlorinated organic chemicals claimed to be not naturally present in the environment' (para 2.6) are in fact ubiquitous in the background, either naturally or anthropogenically (wood preservatives, chlorinated water supplies etc). The report, in fact, acknowledges this in Annex 4 para 7, even stating the importance of gathering control samples to measure the background for such chlorinated organic derivatives. Yet, no analysis results for these same control samples (Annex 5), which inspectors on the ground would have gone to great lengths to gather, were reported." ..."
"... "One alternative ascribing the origin of the crater to an explosive device was considered briefly but, despite an almost identical crater (understood to have resulted from a mortar penetrating the roof) being observed on an adjacent rooftop, was dismissed because of ' the absence of primary and secondary fragmentation characteristics'. In contrast, explosive fragmentation characteristics were noted in the leaked study ." ..."
"... "Contrary to what has been publicly stated by the Director General of the OPCW it was evident to the panel that many of the inspectors in the Douma investigation were not involved or consulted in the post-deployment phase or had any contribution to, or knowledge of the content of the final report until it was made public . The panel is particularly troubled by organisational efforts to obfuscate and prevent inspectors from raising legitimate concerns about possible malpractices surrounding the Douma investigation." ..."
Oct 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

The Courage Foundation , an international protection and advocacy group for whistleblowers, has published the findings of a panel it convened last week on the extremely suspicious behavior of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in its investigation of an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria last year. After hearing an extensive presentation from a member of the OPCW's Douma investigation team, the panel's members (including a world-renowned former OPCW Director General) report that they are "unanimous in expressing our alarm over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, near the Syrian capital of Damascus on 7 April 2018."

I'll get to the panel and its findings in a moment, but first I should provide some historical background so that readers who aren't intimately familiar with this ongoing scandal can fully appreciate the significance of this new development.

In late March of last year, President Trump publicly stated that the US military would soon be withdrawing troops from Syria, causing some with an ear to the ground like independent US congressional candidate Steve Cox to predict that there would shortly be a false flag chemical weapons attack in that nation. This was because the public had already been shown that highly suspicious chemical attacks tended to happen when the Trump administration begins pushing for a reversal of standing US Syria policy, as I noted in April 2017 immediately following the alleged attack in Khan Shaykhun.

"I was able to predict Douma in 2018 because it happened already almost exactly 1 year prior, at Khan Shaykhun, April 4, 2017," Cox told me on Twitter earlier today.

"Khan Shaykhun also occurred within days of the Trump Admin saying we're leaving Syria."

And, like clockwork, on April 7 2018 dozens of civilians in Douma were killed in an incident which was quickly reported as a Syrian government chemical attack by all the usual establishment narrative managers on Syria , with everyone from the White Helmets to Charles Lister to Eliot Higgins to Julian Röpcke loudly flagging it on social media to draw the attention of mainstream news outlets who were slower to pick up the story.

There was immediate skepticism, partly because acclaimed journalists like Sy Hersh have been highlighting plot holes in the official story about chemical weapons in Syria since 2013, partly because Assad would stand nothing to gain and everything to lose by using a banned yet highly ineffective weapon in a battle he'd already essentially won in that region, and partly because the people controlling things on the ground in Douma were the Al Qaeda-linked extremist group Jaysh-al Islam and the incredibly shady narrative management operation known as the White Helmets. Those groups, unlike the Assad government, most certainly would stand everything to gain by staging a chemical attack in the desperate hope that it would draw NATO powers into attacking the Syrian government and perhaps saving their necks.

Long before any investigation into this suspicious incident could even be begun, much less completed, the US State Department declared it to have been a chemical weapons attack perpetrated by the Syrian government, saying "the Assad regime must be held accountable", and that Russia "ultimately bears responsibility" for the attack. Which was of course mighty convenient for US geostrategic interests.

On the 14th of April 2018, the US, UK and France launched an airstrike on the Syrian government as punishment for using chemical weapons, citing secret "intelligence" which the US government claimed gave them "very high confidence that Syria was responsible." The public has to this day never been permitted to see this intelligence. This all happened before any formal international investigation could take place.

The OPCW conducted their investigation, and in July 2018 published an interim report saying that "no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties." This ruled out sarin gas, invalidating earlier reports by Syria war pundits like Charles Lister who claimed that sarin had been used, but it didn't rule out chlorine gas. In March of this year the OPCW issued its final report saying forensics were consistent with chlorine gas use and advancing a ballistics report which strongly implicated the Assad government by implying it was an aerial drop (Syrian opposition militias have no air force). The official Twitter account for the UK Delegation to the OPCW tweeted at the time that the report "confirms chemical weapons used, demonstrating the vital importance of OPCW's work. This confirmed chlorine attack was only the latest example of Asad regime's CW attacks on its own population."

In May of this year, a leaked internal document from the OPCW investigation was published by the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media which completely contradicts the findings of the official report published in March. The leaked Engineering Assessment said that "observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest there is a higher probability both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft," which would implicate the forces on the ground in the incident rather than the Assad government.

The OPCW indirectly confirmed the document's authenticity by telling the press that its release had been "unauthorised". Climate Audit's Stephen McIntyre published an excellent thread breaking down how the document invalidates the OPCW's claims which you can read by clicking here . Establishment narrative managers had a very difficult time spinning the fact that the OPCW had taken it upon itself to hide findings from the public which dissented from its official report on an incident which preceded an international act of war upon a sovereign nation, and all the implications that necessarily has for the legitimacy of the organization's other work.

Throughout this time, critical thinkers like myself have been aggressively smeared as deranged conspiracy theorists, war crimes deniers and genocide deniers for expressing skepticism of the establishment-authorized narrative on Douma. Which takes us to today.

The Courage Foundation panel who met with the OPCW whistleblower consists of former OPCW Director General José Bustani (whose highly successful peacemongering once saw the lives of his children threatened by John Bolton during the lead-up to the Iraq invasion in an attempt to remove him from his position), WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson , Professor of International Law Richard Falk , former British Army Major General John Holmes , Dr Helmut Lohrer of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, German professor Dr Guenter Meyer of the Centre for Research on the Arab World, and former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East Elizabeth Murray of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

So these are not scrubs. These are not "conspiracy theorists" or "Russian propagandists". These are highly qualified and reputable professionals expressing deep concerns in the opaque and manipulative way the OPCW appears to have conducted its investigation into the Douma incident. Some highlights from their joint statement and analytical points are quoted below, with my own emphasis added in bold:

"Based on the whistleblower's extensive presentation, including internal emails, text exchanges and suppressed draft reports, we are unanimous in expressing our alarm over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, near the Syrian capital of Damascus on 7 April 2018. We became convinced by the testimony that key information about chemical analyses, toxicology consultations, ballistics studies, and witness testimonies was suppressed, ostensibly to favor a preordained conclusion ."

"The convincing evidence of irregular behaviour in the OPCW investigation of the alleged Douma chemical attack confirms doubts and suspicions I already had. I could make no sense of what I was reading in the international press. Even official reports of investigations seemed incoherent at best. The picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing. "
~ Bustani

"A critical analysis of the final report of the Douma investigation left the panel in little doubt that conclusions drawn from each of the key evidentiary pillars of the investigation (chemical analysis, toxicology, ballistics and witness testimonies,) are flawed and bear little relation to the facts. "

From the section on Chemical Analysis:

"The interpretation of the environmental analysis results is equally questionable. Many, if not all, of the so-called 'smoking gun' chlorinated organic chemicals claimed to be not naturally present in the environment' (para 2.6) are in fact ubiquitous in the background, either naturally or anthropogenically (wood preservatives, chlorinated water supplies etc). The report, in fact, acknowledges this in Annex 4 para 7, even stating the importance of gathering control samples to measure the background for such chlorinated organic derivatives. Yet, no analysis results for these same control samples (Annex 5), which inspectors on the ground would have gone to great lengths to gather, were reported."

"Although the report stresses the 'levels' of the chlorinated organic chemicals as a basis for its conclusions (para 2.6), it never mentions what those levels were -- high, low, trace, sub-trace? Without providing data on the levels of these so-called 'smoking-gun' chemicals either for background or test samples, it is impossible to know if they were not simply due to background presence . In this regard, the panel is disturbed to learn that quantitative results for the levels of 'smoking gun' chemicals in specific samples were available to the investigators but this decisive information was withheld from the report ."

"The final report also acknowledges that the tell-tale chemicals supposedly indicating chlorine use, can also be generated by contact of samples with sodium hypochlorite, the principal ingredient of household bleaching agent (para 8.15). This game-changing hypothesis is, however, dismissed (and as it transpires, incorrectly) by stating no bleaching was observed at the site of investigation. (' At both locations, there were no visible signs of a bleach agent or discoloration due to contact with a bleach agent' ). The panel has been informed that no such observation was recorded during the on-site inspection and in any case dismissing the hypothesis simply by claiming the non -observation of discoloration in an already dusty and scorched environment seems tenuous and unscientific ."

From the section on Toxicology:

"The toxicological studies also reveal inconsistencies, incoherence and possible scientific irregularities. Consultations with toxicologists are reported to have taken place in September and October 2018 (para 8.87 and Annex 3), but no mention is made of what those same experts opined or concluded. Whilst the final toxicological assessment of the authors states ' it is not possible to precisely link the cause of the signs and symptoms to a specific chemical ' (para 9.6) the report nonetheless concludes there were reasonable grounds to believe chlorine gas was the chemical (used as a weapon)."

"More worrying is the fact that the panel viewed documented evidence that showed other toxicologists had been consulted in June 2018 prior to the release of the interim report. Expert opinions on that occasion were that the signs and symptoms observed in videos and from witness accounts were not consistent with exposure to molecular chlorine or any reactive-chlorine-containing chemical. Why no mention of this critical assessment, which contradicts that implied in the final report, was made is unclear and of concern. "

From the section on Ballistic Studies:

"One alternative ascribing the origin of the crater to an explosive device was considered briefly but, despite an almost identical crater (understood to have resulted from a mortar penetrating the roof) being observed on an adjacent rooftop, was dismissed because of ' the absence of primary and secondary fragmentation characteristics'. In contrast, explosive fragmentation characteristics were noted in the leaked study ."

From the section titled "Exclusion of inspectors and attempts to obfuscate":

"Contrary to what has been publicly stated by the Director General of the OPCW it was evident to the panel that many of the inspectors in the Douma investigation were not involved or consulted in the post-deployment phase or had any contribution to, or knowledge of the content of the final report until it was made public . The panel is particularly troubled by organisational efforts to obfuscate and prevent inspectors from raising legitimate concerns about possible malpractices surrounding the Douma investigation."

I'll leave it there for now.

* * *

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[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] What can we conclude about Trump?

Notable quotes:
"... If Obama was CIA, and GW Bush was CIA (via daddy Bush), and Clinton was CIA (via Arkansas drug-running and the Presidency), and Bush Sr was CIA ... then what can we conclude about Trump? 1) he's also CIA, or 2) he's a willing stooge. ..."
"... There is a third possibility. What if Trump wasn't supposed to become President, according to the CIA's plans? This seems plausible to me, because during the 2016 election, it seemed to me at least that almost nobody in the US political and media establishments took Trump's candidacy seriously. Clinton was so sure she could easily beat Trump that she used her influence with the media to get Trump media coverage, in order to weaken the "serious" Republicans, one of whom everyone thought would get the nomination, like Jeb Bush. ..."
Oct 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Oct 26 2019 23:51 utc | 41

jadan @32:
As we know from Wayne Madsen's little book, "The Manufacturing of a President", Obama has been a CIA asset since he was a suckling babe.
If Obama was CIA, and GW Bush was CIA (via daddy Bush), and Clinton was CIA (via Arkansas drug-running and the Presidency), and Bush Sr was CIA ... then what can we conclude about Trump? 1) he's also CIA, or 2) he's a willing stooge.
Glenn Brown , Oct 27 2019 0:32 utc | 46
Jackabbit @ 41

There is a third possibility. What if Trump wasn't supposed to become President, according to the CIA's plans? This seems plausible to me, because during the 2016 election, it seemed to me at least that almost nobody in the US political and media establishments took Trump's candidacy seriously. Clinton was so sure she could easily beat Trump that she used her influence with the media to get Trump media coverage, in order to weaken the "serious" Republicans, one of whom everyone thought would get the nomination, like Jeb Bush.

I know you believe that Trump was somehow exactly what the US deep state needed. I don't agree, but even if you are right, are you really sure that the CIA and the rest of the deep state were smart enough to understand and agree that they needed someone like Trump?

[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 26, 2019] The most dangerous aspect of Western logic of hegemony in general, and the American logic of hegemony in particular, is their basic belief that they own the world, and have the right to hegemony due to their supremacy in several fields

The USA is a real leader in technology and arm production. This is the country that created PC, Internet and smartphones, which changed the world. So technical supremacy paves the way to imperial behaviour.
CIA is one of the most powerful tools of the empire, the force that is instrumental in peeking the USA on globalist path now (looks at Russiagate) .
Oct 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

redmudhooch , says: October 26, 2019 at 1:37 am GMT

The CIA! http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30605.htm The CIA: 70 Years of Organized Crime: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47873.htm Regime Change and Capitalism: https://dissidentvoice.org/2018/07/regime-change-and-capitalism/

Hassan Nasrallah should know:

The path of U.S.-Israeli arrogance and domination, with its various dimensions, and with its direct and indirect extensions and alliances, which is witnessing military defeats and political failures, reflected successive defeats for the American strategies and plans, one after the other. All this has led [the U.S.] to a state of indecision, retreat, and inability to control the progress of events in our Arab and Islamic world. There is a broader international context for this – a context that, in its turn, helps to expose the American crisis, and the decline of the [U.S.] unipolar hegemony, in the face of pluralism, the characteristics of which are yet to be stabilized.

"The crisis of the arrogant world order is deepened by the collapse of U.S. and international stock markets, and by the confusion and powerlessness of the American economy. This reflects the height of the structural crisis of the model of capitalist arrogance. Therefore, it can be said that we are in the midst of historic transformations that foretell the retreat of the USA as a hegemonic power, the disintegration of the unipolar hegemonic order, and the beginning of the accelerated historic decline of the Zionist entity.

After World War II, the U.S. has adopted the leading, central hegemonic project. At its hands, this project has witnessed great development of the means of control and unprecedented subjugation. It has benefited from an accumulation of multi-faceted accomplishments in science, culture, technology, knowledge, economy, and the military, which was supported by an economic political plan that views the world as nothing but open markets subject to the laws of [the U.S.].

"The most dangerous aspect of Western logic of hegemony in general, and the American logic of hegemony in particular, is their basic belief that they own the world, and have the right to hegemony due to their supremacy in several fields. Thus, the Western, and especially American, expansionist strategy, when coupled with the enterprise of capitalist economy, has become a strategy of a global nature, whose covetous desires and appetite know no bounds.

The barbaric capitalism has turned globalism into a means to spread disintegration, to sow discord, to destroy identities, and to impose the most dangerous form of cultural, economic, and social plunder. Globalization reached its most dangerous phase, when it was transformed into military globalization by the owners of the Western hegemony enterprise, the greatest manifestation of which was evident in the Middle East, from Afghanistan to Iraq, to Palestine, and to Lebanon.

There is no doubt that American terrorism is the source of all terrorism in the world. The Bush administration has turned the U.S. into a danger threatening the whole world, on all levels. If a global opinion poll were held today, the United States would emerge as the most hated country in the world.

The most important goal of American arrogance is to take control of the peoples politically, economically, and culturally, and to plunder their resources.

– Hassan Nasrallah December 8, 2009

... ... ...

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

Oct 25, 2019 | www.unz.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three-day convoy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fred , 23 October 2019 at 04:54 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations are hardly in order here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notable quotes:
"... "The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time," Hunt said. "Since you can't connect dots you don't have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever." ..."
"... "Technology in this world is moving faster than government or law can keep up," he said. "It's moving faster I would argue than you can keep up: You should be asking the question of what are your rights and who owns your data." ..."
"... In its vast Utah Data Center constructed earlier this decade, the National Security Agency has the capacity to store virtually unlimited amounts of digital data it hoovers up daily. This is what Gus Hunt was talking about. The biggest problem is how to make that data useful for the government's purposes -- that is, how to find the needle in the haystack of data. ..."
"... " Your entire life is in storage somewhere -- and the government will be able to search it at will, quickly." ..."
"... 'Somewhere' has an address. Add in the data stored by FB/Amazon/Google, and a nearly complete picture of you as an individual, your thoughts, fears, hopes, etc is online and can be quantified. https://www.theatlantic.com... ..."
"... I sincerely hope that the NSA, looking at my life, will find itself sufficiently entertained that it will put up with my boring comments. I would hate to be responsible for someone its bowels to be put to sleep at an inopportune moment and have a serious national crisis occur as a result ..."
"... The hubris is that tech is all powerful, because we have experienced a rapid growth in the ability to produce and access information, but it is not bringing wisdom or any beer governance. ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In his new memoir, Permanent Record , Edward Snowden writes about a speech that Gus Hunt, the CIA's chief technology officer, gave in 2013. Only the Huffington Post covered it (though you can watch it online). From HuffPo's report:

Speaking before a crowd of tech geeks at GigaOM's Structure:Data conference in New York City, CTO Ira "Gus" Hunt said that the world is increasingly awash in information from text messages, tweets, and videos -- and that the agency wants all of it.

"The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time," Hunt said. "Since you can't connect dots you don't have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever."

Hunt's comments come two days after Federal Computer Week reported that the CIA has committed to a massive, $600 million, 10-year deal with Amazon for cloud computing services. The agency has not commented on that report, but Hunt's speech, which included multiple references to cloud computing, indicates that it does indeed have interest in storage and analysis capabilities on a massive scale.

More:

"It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information," Hunt said. After that mark is reached, Hunt said, the agency would also like to be able to save and analyze all of the digital breadcrumbs people don't even know they are creating.

"You're already a walking sensor platform," he said, nothing that mobiles, smartphones and iPads come with cameras, accelerometers, light detectors and geolocation capabilities.

"You are aware of the fact that somebody can know where you are at all times, because you carry a mobile device, even if that mobile device is turned off," he said. "You know this, I hope? Yes? Well, you should."

Hunt also spoke of mobile apps that will be able to control pacemakers -- even involuntarily -- and joked about a "dystopian" future where self-driving cars force people to go to the grocery store to pick up milk for their spouses.

Hunt's speech barely touched on privacy concerns. But he did acknowledge that they exist.

"Technology in this world is moving faster than government or law can keep up," he said. "It's moving faster I would argue than you can keep up: You should be asking the question of what are your rights and who owns your data."

Note well: "It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information."

Here is a link to Gus Hunt's speech on YouTube.

In its vast Utah Data Center constructed earlier this decade, the National Security Agency has the capacity to store virtually unlimited amounts of digital data it hoovers up daily. This is what Gus Hunt was talking about. The biggest problem is how to make that data useful for the government's purposes -- that is, how to find the needle in the haystack of data.


Adamant 3 hours ago

" Your entire life is in storage somewhere -- and the government will be able to search it at will, quickly."

'Somewhere' has an address. Add in the data stored by FB/Amazon/Google, and a nearly complete picture of you as an individual, your thoughts, fears, hopes, etc is online and can be quantified. https://www.theatlantic.com...

Charles Cosimano 3 hours ago
I sincerely hope that the NSA, looking at my life, will find itself sufficiently entertained that it will put up with my boring comments. I would hate to be responsible for someone its bowels to be put to sleep at an inopportune moment and have a serious national crisis occur as a result
John 2 hours ago
Or, optionally, you refuse to participate by maintaining a minimal online presence or communicating in person. Also, this sure is all snazzy, but it's happening in a nation which is facing serious material and structural issues.

The hubris is that tech is all powerful, because we have experienced a rapid growth in the ability to produce and access information, but it is not bringing wisdom or any beer governance. The material systems which underlie the technical ones, such as infrastructure, food production, and so on, can't be "quantized" in a supercomputer. If anything, reliance on tech really moves us closer to real collapse.

[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, à 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 23, 2019] Google's Auto-Delete Tools Are Practically Worthless For Privacy

Oct 23, 2019 | yro.slashdot.org

By default, Google collects a vast amount of data on users' behavior, including a lifelong record of web searches, locations, and YouTube views.

But amid a privacy backlash and ongoing regulatory threats, the company has started to hype its recently released privacy tools, like the ability to automatically delete some of the data it collects about you -- data that helps power its $116 billion ad business. [...]

In reality, these auto-delete tools accomplish little for users, even as they generate positive PR for Google. Experts say that by the time three months rolls around, Google has already extracted nearly all the potential value from users' data, and from an advertising standpoint, data becomes practically worthless when it's more than a few months old . "Anything up to one month is extremely valuable," says David Dweck, the head of paid search at digital ad firm WPromote.

"Anything beyond one month, we probably weren't going to target you anyway." Dweck says that in the digital ad industry, recent activity is essential.

If you start searching on Google for real estate or looking up housing values, for instance, Google might lump you into a "prospective home buyers" category for advertisers. That information becomes instantly valuable to realtors, appraisers, and lenders for ad targeting, and it could remain valuable for a while as other companies, such as painters or appliance brands, try to follow up on your home buying.

Still, it's unusual for advertisers to target users based on their activity from months earlier, Dweck says.

[Oct 22, 2019] A Call For A Coup Clinton, McRaven, Pelosi, Gabbard

Oct 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Unz Review,

There was what might be described as an extraordinary amount of nonsense being promoted by last week's media. Unfortunately, some of it was quite dangerous.

Admiral William McRaven, who commanded the Navy Seals when Osama bin Laden was captured and killed and who has been riding that horse ever since, announced that if Donald Trump continues to fail to provide the type of leadership the country needs, he should be replaced by whatever means are necessary. The op-ed entitled "Our Republic is Under Attack by the President" with the subtitle "If President Trump doesn't demonstrate the leadership that America needs, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office" was featured in the New York Times, suggesting that the Gray Lady was providing its newspaper of record seal of approval for what might well be regarded as a call for a military coup.

McRaven's exact words, after some ringing praise for the military and all its glorious deeds in past wars, were that the soldiers, sailors and marines now must respond because "The America that they believed in was under attack, not from without, but from within."

McRaven then elaborated that "These men and women, of all political persuasions, have seen the assaults on our institutions: on the intelligence and law enforcement community, the State Department and the press. They have seen our leaders stand beside despots and strongmen, preferring their government narrative to our own. They have seen us abandon our allies and have heard the shouts of betrayal from the battlefield. As I stood on the parade field at Fort Bragg, one retired four-star general, grabbed my arm, shook me and shouted, 'I don't like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic!'"

It is a call to arms if there ever was one. Too bad Trump can't strip McRaven of his pension and generous health care benefits for starters and McRaven might also consider that he could be recalled to active duty by Trump and court martialed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And the good admiral, who up until 2018 headed the state university system in Texas, might also receive well merited pushback for his assessment of America's role in the world over the past two decades, in which he was a major player, at least in terms of dealing out punishment. He wrote ""We are the most powerful nation in the world because we try to be the good guys. We are the most powerful nation in the world because our ideals of universal freedom and equality have been backed up by our belief that we were champions of justice, the protectors of the less fortunate."

Utter bullshit, of course. The United States has been acting as the embodiment of a rogue nation, lashing out pointlessly and delivering death and destruction. If McRaven truly believes what he says he is not only violating his oath to defend the constitution while also toying with treason, he is an idiot and should never have been allowed to run anything more demanding than a hot dog stand. Washington has been systematically blowing people up worldwide for no good reasons, killing possibly as many as 4 million mostly Muslims, while systematically stripping Americans of their Bill of Rights at home. "Good guys" and "champions of justice" indeed!

And then there is the Great Hillary Clinton caper. In an interview last week Hillary claimed predictably that Donald Trump is "Vladimir Putin's dream," and then went on to assert that there would be other Russian assets emerging, including nestled in the bosom of her own beloved Democratic Party. She said, clearly suggesting that it would be Tulsi Gabbard, that "They're also going to do third-party again. I'm not making any predictions, but I think they've got their eye on someone who's currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She's the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far."

Clinton explained how the third-party designation would work, saying of Jill Stein, who ran for president in 2016 as a Green Party candidate, "And that's assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she's also a Russian asset. Yeah, she's a Russian asset -- I mean, totally. They know they can't win without a third-party candidate. So I don't know who it's going to be, but I will guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most needed."

Tulsi responded courageously and accurately "Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton . You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know -- it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose. It's now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don't cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly."

Tulsi has in fact been attacked relentless by the Establishment since she announced that she would be running for the Democratic nomination. Shortly before last Tuesday's Democratic candidate debate the New York Times ran an article suggesting that Gabbard was an isolationist, was being promoted by Russia and was an apologist for Syria's Bashar al-Assad. In reality, Gabbard is the only candidate willing to confront America's warfare-national security state.

The Hillary Clinton attack on Gabbard and on the completely respectable Jill Stein is to a certain extent incomprehensible unless one lives in the gutter that she and Bill have wallowed in ever since they rose to prominence in Arkansas. Hillary, the creator of the private home server for classified information as well as author of the catastrophic war against Libya and the Benghazi debacle has a lot to answer for but will never be held accountable, any more than her husband Bill for his rapes and molestations. And when it comes to foreign interference, Gabbard is being pilloried because the Russian media regards her favorably while the Clinton Foundation has taken tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments and billionaires seeking quid pro quos , much of which has gone to line the pockets of Hillary, Bill and Chelsea.

Finally, one comment about the Democratic Party obsession with the Russians. The media was enthusing last Friday over a photo of Speaker Nancy Pelosi standing up across a table from President Trump and pointing at him before walking out of the room. The gushing regarding how a powerful, strong woman was defying the horrible chief executive was both predictable and ridiculous. By her own admission Pelosi's last words before departing were "All roads lead to Putin." I will leave it up to the reader to interpret what that was supposed to mean.


Push , 2 minutes ago link

McRaven didn't command anything that 'captured' British asset Osama bin Laden (living in London until 2 months before 9/11) because he was already dead. My sources from within special forces and intelligence verified that he was dead long before he was alleged to have been captured. McRaven is merely a shill who sold his soul to the highest bidder. Another globalist scumbag who is willing to tote the company line for a few crumbs. And now, once again, he's screaming from the rooftops what the company has told him to repeat.

All of the globalists are standing there, pumping lies. This is their endgame in the US. Total destruction of the institution of the presidency, the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and Constitution to leave the US in a state that resembles something like Nazi Germany; with the hope that the US will launch an assault on the arch enemy of those who wish to control Mackinder's Inner Crescent, Russia, just as they did with Hitler.

So let's try to put things into perspective. The United States broke free from the chains of imperialism. The imperial forces fought to take it back, first by a second invasion, then by staging a color revolution known as the Civil War, then politically with the assassination of McKinley and installation of their puppet - Teddy Roosevelt.

Afterwards, subsequent globalist shills begin to infiltrate our system of politics. Swallowing control of the banking system and creating Wall Street. Then further tightening the noose by controlling mass-media, de-industrializing our nation, creating a backwards "feel-good" counter culture, and making people fear technological progress. Along the way murdering any leader that posed a threat to their system.

Today, after creating the public perception that snow is actually black in a dumbed-down, ill-equipped populace, they're ready to tighten that noose. McRaven, Clinton, Pelosi and the rest of the globalist shills, who believe that you and I are animals, are attempting to bring about that end.

It's happening right here, right now. What are you gonna do about it?

Element , 2 minutes ago link

Too bad Trump can't strip McRaven of his pension and generous health care benefits for starters and McRaven might also consider that he could be recalled to active duty by Trump and court martialed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

I suppose Mattis is too old for that though, he seems to think he can nominate and also define what a US 'ally' is (I thought that was a function of elected chambers and the Dept of State), and to concoct his own personal version of 'US foreign policy' in the ME! What a foolish thing to do at the end of his career, unfortunately he's stayed well beyond his shelf-life.

Arising , 2 minutes ago link

They have seen our leaders stand beside despots and strongmen, preferring their government narrative to our own. They have seen us abandon our allies and have heard the shouts of betrayal from the battlefield...

All this was promised by Trump at the last elections and half of Americans still voted for him.

So what is this Admiral trying to say? That Trump is destroying the Republic ( as he claims) or he's not a warmongering POTUS and puts the Admiral's violence-based livelihood at risk?

_triplesix_ , 5 minutes ago link

McRaven is just playing his part as commanded by his deep state masters.

They know Trump has the goods on them and destroying him is the only way to preserve their corruption.

And let's make one thing clear--the vast majority of the military is behind Trump. If it gets bloody, good guys will be on Trump's side.

Clashfan , 8 minutes ago link

Very good piece, TY for sharing, Tylerz.

This admiral, wow. Like anyone believes the bogus OBL story anyway. Sounds like some kind of satanic flag-waver to me.

Oh and the *** York Times ran his coup piece? I'm no huge fan of Rump--very suspicious--but this stuff is simply overboard warmongering and sedition. One of the big reasons Rump won is his anti-war posturing. Calling that "Russian" is kind of like the Johnson and Nixon toadies calling the war protesters communists or traitors. Same stuff, different millennia.

WorldView , 15 minutes ago link

So, this General is stating that Trump is attacking the FBI, The DOJ, The State Department, and the Press.

Let's see, here.

And this, my friends, is NOT OBVIOUS to the General, who thinks these outfits were/are perfectly fine.

This is another reason why Democrats ( Socialists ) and Republicans ( Patriots ) cannot live side by side.

The Democrats ( I bet the General is one ) are completely goofy and dangerous.

[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.

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