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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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[Oct 16, 2018] How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley

From the book How Fascism Works The Politics of Us and Them Jason Stanley Amazon.com Hardcover: 240 pages Publisher: Random House (September 4, 2018)
Fascism is always eclectic and its doctrine is composed of several sometimes contradicting each other ideas. "Ideologically speaking, [the program] was a wooly, eclectic mixture of political, social, racist, national-imperialist wishful thinking..." (Ideologically speaking, [the program] was a wooly, eclectic mixture of political, social, racist, national-imperialist wishful thinking..." )
Some ideas are "sound bite only" and never are implemented and are present only to attract sheeple (looks National Socialist Program ). he program championed the right to employment , and called for the institution of profit sharing , confiscation of war profits , prosecution of usurers and profiteers, nationalization of trusts , communalization of department stores, extension of the old-age pension system, creation of a national education program of all classes, prohibition of child labor , and an end to the dominance of investment capital "
There is also "bait and switch" element in any fascism movement. Original fascism was strongly anti-capitalist, militaristic and "national greatness and purity" movement ("Make Germany great again"). It was directed against financial oligarchy and anti-semantic element in it was strong partially because it associated Jews with bankers and financial industry in general. In a way "Jews" were codeword for investment bankers.
For example " Arbeit Macht Frei " can be viewed as a neoliberal slogan. Then does not mean that neoliberalism. with its cult of productivity, is equal to fascism, but that neoliberal doctrine does encompass elements of the fascist doctrine including strong state, "law and order" mentality and relentless propaganda.
The word "fascist" is hurled at political / ideological opponents so often that it lost its meaning. The Nazi Party (NSDAP) originated as a working-class political party . This is not true about Trump whom many assume of having fascist leanings. His pro white working class rhetoric was a fig leaf used for duration or elections. After that he rules as a typical Republican president favoring big business. And as a typical neocon in foreign policy.
From this point of view Trump can't be viewed even as pro-fascist leader because first of all he does not have his own political movement, ideology and political program. And the second he does not strive for implementing uniparty state and abolishing the elections which is essential for fascism political platform, as fascist despise corrupt democracy and have a cult of strong leader.
All he can be called is neo-fascist s his some of his views do encompass ideas taken from fascist ideology (including "law and order"; which also is a cornerstone element of Republican ideology) as well as idealization and mystification of the US past. But with Bannon gone he also can't even pretend that he represents some coherent political movement like "economic nationalism" -- kind of enhanced mercantilism.
Of course, that does not mean that previous fascist leaders were bound by the fascism political program, but at least they had one. Historian Karl Dietrich Bracher writes that, "To [Hitler, the program] was little more than an effective, persuasive propaganda weapon for mobilizing and manipulating the masses. Once it had brought him to power, it became pure decoration: 'unalterable', yet unrealized in its demands for nationalization and expropriation, for land reform and 'breaking the shackles of finance capital'. Yet it nonetheless fulfilled its role as backdrop and pseudo-theory, against which the future dictator could unfold his rhetorical and dramatic talents."
Notable quotes:
"... Fascist politics invokes a pure mythic past tragically destroyed. Depending on how the nation is defined, the mythic past may be religiously pure, racially pure, culturally pure, or all of the above. But there is a common structure to all fascist mythologizing. In all fascist mythic pasts, an extreme version of the patriarchal family reigns supreme, even just a few generations ago. ..."
"... Further back in time, the mythic past was a time of glory of the nation, with wars of conquest led by patriotic generals, its armies filled with its countrymen, able-bodied, loyal warriors whose wives were at home raising the next generation. In the present, these myths become the basis of the nation's identity under fascist politics. ..."
"... In the rhetoric of extreme nationalists, such a glorious past has been lost by the humiliation brought on by globalism, liberal cosmopolitanism, and respect for "universal values" such as equality. These values are supposed to have made the nation weak in the face of real and threatening challenges to the nation's existence. ..."
"... fascist myths distinguish themselves with the creation of a glorious national history in which the members of the chosen nation ruled over others, the result of conquests and civilization-building achievements. ..."
"... The function of the mythic past, in fascist politics, is to harness the emotion of ­nostalgia to the central tenets of fascist ideology -- authoritarianism, hierarchy, purity, and struggle. ..."
Oct 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Chapter 1: The Mythic Past

It's in the name of tradition that the anti-Semites base their "point of view." It's in the name of tradition, the long, historical past and the blood ties with Pascal and Descartes, that the Jews are told, you will never belong here.

-- Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1952)

It is only natural to begin this book where fascist politics invariably claims to discover its genesis: in the past. Fascist politics invokes a pure mythic past tragically destroyed. Depending on how the nation is defined, the mythic past may be religiously pure, racially pure, culturally pure, or all of the above. But there is a common structure to all fascist mythologizing. In all fascist mythic pasts, an extreme version of the patriarchal family reigns supreme, even just a few generations ago.

Further back in time, the mythic past was a time of glory of the nation, with wars of conquest led by patriotic generals, its armies filled with its countrymen, able-bodied, loyal warriors whose wives were at home raising the next generation. In the present, these myths become the basis of the nation's identity under fascist politics.

In the rhetoric of extreme nationalists, such a glorious past has been lost by the humiliation brought on by globalism, liberal cosmopolitanism, and respect for "universal values" such as equality. These values are supposed to have made the nation weak in the face of real and threatening challenges to the nation's existence.

These myths are generally based on fantasies of a nonexistent past uniformity, which survives in the traditions of the small towns and countrysides that remain relatively unpolluted by the liberal decadence of the cities. This uniformity -- linguistic, religious, geographical, or ­ethnic -- ​can be perfectly ordinary in some nationalist movements, but fascist myths distinguish themselves with the creation of a glorious national history in which the members of the chosen nation ruled over others, the result of conquests and civilization-building achievements. For example, in the fascist imagination, the past invariably involves traditional, patriarchal gender roles. The fascist mythic past has a particular structure, which supports its authoritarian, hierarchical ideology. That past societies were rarely as patriarchal -- or indeed as glorious -- as fascist ideology represents them as being is beside the point. This imagined history provides proof to support the imposition of hierarchy in the present, and it dictates how contemporary society should look and behave.

In a 1922 speech at the Fascist Congress in Naples, Benito Mussolini declared:

We have created our myth. The myth is a faith, a passion. It is not necessary for it to be a reality. . . . Our myth is the nation, our myth is the greatness of the nation! And to this myth, this greatness, which we want to translate into a total reality, we subordinate everything.

The patriarchal family is one ideal that fascist politicians intend to create in society -- or return to, as they claim. The patriarchal family is always represented as a central part of the nation's traditions, diminished, even recently, by the advent of liberalism and cosmopolitanism. But why is patriarchy so strategically central to fascist politics?

In a fascist society, the leader of the nation is analogous to the father in the traditional patriarchal family. The leader is the father of his nation, and his strength and power are the source of his legal authority, just as the strength and power of the father of the family in patri­archy are supposed to be the source of his ultimate moral authority over his children and wife. The leader provides for his nation, just as in the traditional family the father is the provider. The patriarchal father's authority derives from his strength, and strength is the chief authoritarian value. By representing the nation's past as one with a patriarchal family structure, fascist politics connects nostalgia to a central organizing hierarchal authoritarian structure, one that finds its purest representation in these norms.

Gregor Strasser was the National Socialist -- Nazi -- Reich propaganda chief in the 1920s, before the post was taken over by Joseph Goebbels. According to Strasser, "for a man, military service is the most profound and valuable form of participation -- for the woman it is motherhood!" Paula Siber, the acting head of the Association of German Women, in a 1933 document meant to reflect official National Socialist state policy on women, declares that "to be a woman means to be a mother, means affirming with the whole conscious force of one's soul the value of being a mother and making it a law of life . . . ​the highest calling of the National Socialist woman is not just to bear children, but consciously and out of total devotion to her role and duty as mother to raise children for her people." Richard Grunberger, a British historian of National Socialism, sums up "the kernel of Nazi thinking on the women's question" as "a dogma of inequality between the sexes as immutable as that between the races." The historian Charu Gupta, in her 1991 article "Politics of Gender: Women in Nazi Germany," goes as far as to argue that "oppression of women in Nazi Germany in fact furnishes the most extreme case of anti-feminism in the 20th century."

Here, Mussolini makes clear that the fascist mythic past is intentionally mythical. The function of the mythic past, in fascist politics, is to harness the emotion of ­nostalgia to the central tenets of fascist ideology -- authoritarianism, hierarchy, purity, and struggle.

With the creation of a mythic past, fascist politics creates a link between nostalgia and the realization of fascist ideals. German fascists also clearly and explicitly appreciated this point about the strategic use of a mythological past. The leading Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, editor of the prominent Nazi newspaper the Völkischer Beobachter, writes in 1924, "the understanding of and the respect for our own mythological past and our own history will form the first condition for more firmly anchoring the coming generation in the soil of Europe's original homeland." The fascist mythic past exists to aid in changing the present.

Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. Stanley is the author of Know How; Languages in Context; More about Jason Stanley

5.0 out of 5 stars

July 17, 2018 Format: Hardcover Vine

Highly readable

w.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R36R5FWIWTP6F0/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0525511830">

By Joel E. Mitchell on September 13, 2018
Massive Partisan Bias

This could have been such a helpful, insightful book. The word "fascist" is hurled at political / ideological opponents so often that it has started to lose its meaning. I hoped that this book would provide a historical perspective on fascism by examining actual fascist governments and drawing some parallels to the more egregious / worrisome trends in US & European politics. The chapter titles in the table of contents were promising:

- The Mythic Past
- Propaganda
- Anti-Intellectual
- Unreality
- Hierarchy
- Victimhood
- Law & Order
- Sexual Anxiety
- Sodom & Gomorrah
- Arbeit Macht Frei

Ironically (given the book's subtitle) the author used his book divisively: to laud his left-wing political views and demonize virtually all distinctively right-wing views. He uses the term "liberal democracy" inconsistently throughout, disengenuously equivocating between the meaning of "representative democracy as opposed to autocratic or oligarchic government" (which most readers would agree is a good thing) and "American left-wing political views" (which he treats as equally self-evidently superior if you are a right-thinking person). Virtually all American right-wing political views are presented in straw-man form, defined in such a way that they fit his definition of fascist politics.

I was expecting there to be a pretty heavy smear-job on President Trump and his cronies (much of it richly deserved...the man's demagoguery and autocratic tendencies are frightening), but for this to turn into "let's find a way to define virtually everything the Republicans are and do as fascist politics" was massively disappointing. The absurdly biased portrayal of all things conservative and constant hymns of praise to all things and all people left-wing buried some good historical research and valid parallels under an avalanche of partisanism.

If you want a more historical, less partisan view of the rise of fascist politics, I would highly recommend Darkness Over Germany by E. Amy Buller (Review Here). It was written during World War II (based on interviews with Germans before WWII), so you will have to draw your own contemporary parallels...but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

[Oct 14, 2018] American politicians and media are becoming increasingly unhinged

Oct 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

jayc , Oct 13, 2018 5:44:07 PM | link

American politicians and media are becoming increasingly unhinged.

Threatening friends and allies with tariffs on automobiles, and using these threats to impose unilateral trade agreements which include language designed to upend future trade with China ("non-market economies") - as done recently with Mexico and Canada - will hasten the isolation of the U.S., particularly when it demands European countries follow this line. The opportunity to secure a gradual soft landing for the dissolution of its hegemonic moment exists for the Americans, but its arrogant and delusional establishment will not turn from its confrontational policy, ensuring a harsh reality lesson sooner than most might predict.

[Oct 12, 2018] Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

Oct 12, 2018 | southfront.org

Institutional Corruption

If one had to identify the main reason behind the utter failure of the U.S. political establishment and military leadership, both civilian and in uniform, to identify and prioritize weapons programs and procurement that was truly in line with the national defense needs of the country, it would be the institutional corruption of the U.S. military industrial complex. This is not a fault of one party, but is the inevitable outcome of a thoroughly corrupted system that both generates and wastes great wealth at the expense of the many for the benefit of the few.

Massive defense budgets do not lead to powerful military forces nor sound national defense strategy. The United States is the most glaring example of how a nation's treasure can be wasted, its citizens robbed for generations, and its political processes undermined by an industry bent on maximizing profitability by encouraging and exacerbating conflict. At this point it is questionable that the United States' could remain economically viable without war, so much of its GDP is connected in some way to the pursuit of conflict.

There is no doubt that the War Department was renamed the Department of Defense in an Orwellian sleight of hand in 1947, just a few years after end of World War II. The military industrial complex grew into a monolith during the war, and the only way to justify the expansion of the complex, was by finding a new enemy to justify the new reality of a massive standing military, something that the U.S. Constitution expressly forbids. This unlawful state of affairs has persisted and expanded into a rotten, bloated edifice of waste. Wasted effort, wasted wealth and the wasted lives of millions of people spanning every corner of the planet. Tens of thousands of brave men and women in uniform, and millions of civilians of so many nations, have been tossed into the blades of this immoral meat grinder for generations.

President Donald Trump was very proud to announce the largest U.S. military budget in the nation's history last year. The United States spent (or more accurately, borrowed from generations yet to come) no less than $874.4 billion USD. The declared base budget for 2017 was $523.2 billion USD, yet there are also the Overseas Contingency Operations and Support budgets that have to be considered in determining the total cost. The total DOD annual costs have doubled from 2003 to the present. Yet, what has the DOD really accomplished with so much money and effort? Very little of benefit to the U.S. tax payer for sure, and paradoxically the exorbitant waste of the past fifteen years have left every branch of the U.S. military weaker.

The U.S. Congress has the duty and responsibility of reigning in the military adventurism of the executive branch. They have the sole authority to declare war, but more importantly, the sole authority to approve the budget requests of the military. It is laughable to think that the U.S. Congress will do anything to reign in military spending. The Congress and the Senate are as equally guilty as the Executive in promoting and benefitting from the military industrial complex. Envisioned as a bulwark against executive power, the U.S. Congress has become an integral component of that complex. No Senator or Representative would dare to go against the industry that employs so many constituents within their state, or pass up on the benefits afforded them through the legalized insider-trading exclusive to them, or the lucrative jobs that await them in the defense industry and the many think tanks that promote continued prosecution of war.

[Oct 12, 2018] Trump's Trade War is part of the attempt to gain Full Spectrum Dominance:

Oct 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Oct 11, 2018 1:29:41 PM | link

Alastair Crooke shows Trump's Trade War is part of the attempt to gain Full Spectrum Dominance:

"... the radical, scorched-earth leverage now being pursued in Trump's companion foreign policy lunge is aimed, not just at returning the US to its status quo ante , but is aimed rather at forcing the capitulation of all resistance to US hegemony." [Emphasis original]

Crooke attempts to show Trump's put all his chips on Red: "But the crux of it is that when you put 'all' on one colour or the other in roulette, you either win big, or lose all."

Pepe Escobar on Brazil's election as an example of the "Future of Western Democracy" examined in an essay 3x the length of his asiatimes.com reports:

"Stripped to its essence, the Brazilian presidential elections represent a direct clash between democracy and an early 21st Century, neofascism, indeed between civilization and barbarism.

"Geopolitical and global economic reverberations will be immense. The Brazilian dilemma illuminates all the contradictions surrounding the Right populist offensive across the West, juxtaposed to the inexorable collapse of the Left. The stakes could not be higher ." [My emphasis]

Yes, the two issues are linked. Pepe's piece makes it easier to see the strategic reasoning behind the immigrant invasion unleashed by Turkey and EU response, but it was planned by Obama, not Bannon and Trump.


uncle tungsten , Oct 11, 2018 8:36:10 PM | link

@Greece 9
Nonsense, it sure was Obummer and his evil SOS 'genius'Hillary the Hun that sent wave after wave of refugees to the EU with a little help from Erdy the Turd.

Let us not mince words here Greece: you cannot whitewash Obummer and his warmongering ghouls and the same goes for dumping all responsibility on Trump and his warmongering ghouls.

Remember prophets and false prophets in your warmongering book are eloquently described and whitewashed too in recent times. The western ghouls all hide behind the Abrahamic texts that salaciously awaits the apocalypse. As do all warmongers who hide behind their precious divine scribbles.

I'm with karlof 1 here because no amount of propaganda will make me forget who are the perpetrators of evil.

ben , Oct 11, 2018 8:58:29 PM | link
ut @ 24 said;"Remember prophets and false prophets in your warmongering book are eloquently described and whitewashed too in recent times. The western ghouls all hide behind the Abrahamic texts that salaciously awaits the apocalypse. As do all warmongers who hide behind their precious divine scribbles.

Agreed, and well said...

[Oct 12, 2018] Kuwait and Bahrein might reevaluate relations with Syria, the UAE might slowly move out the Yemen war

Oct 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Virgile , Oct 12, 2018 10:40:45 AM | link

Qatar is jubilating! Turkey, too! Saudi Arabia will be criticized and isolated as most GCC countries would dissaprove and prefer to dissociate from such a crime. Dismembering the body of a dead moslem man is a very serious crime in Islam.

Kuwait and Bahrein are already cozyng up with Syria, the UAE is slowly moving out the Yemen war and reviewing ist relation with Syria.

Kashoogi's alleged martyr may save Yemenis lives and may have the Western world faced to the reality that in the region, the evil is not Iran but their best friend, Saudi Arabia and its smiling monster MBS.

Kashoogi may have succeeded unintentionally to destabilize MBS and probably trigger his removal. The USA will have no problem in sacrificing MBS for the sake of keeping the Saudi milking under control. The only problem will be that it will reflect on Kushner-MBS Grand Palestinian plan.

Maybe Kashoogi's love for fiancee made him take the risk to get a divorce paper from the Saudi Arabia consulate and be killed.

A sad ending to a love story.

dh , Oct 12, 2018 3:19:01 PM | link

@75 Why should Trump make a big issue about some dead Arab? Because he was a journalist? Trump hates journalists.

If bleeding heart progressives want to make a fuss so be it. He knows his base don't give a shit about the world outside the USA as long as they buy American arms.

[Oct 12, 2018] Like the values and rules that led the NSA to eavesdrop on Chancellor Merkel's phone calls for years, and to use American Embassies as listening posts. Mutti Merkel was very understanding, considering they were only doing it to keep us all safe.

Oct 12, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman October 4, 2018 at 11:02 am

"the GRU's disregard for global values and rules that keep us all safe".

Like the values and rules that led the NSA to eavesdrop on Chancellor Merkel's phone calls for years, and to use American Embassies as listening posts. Mutti Merkel was very understanding, considering they were only doing it to keep us all safe.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/cover-story-how-nsa-spied-on-merkel-cell-phone-from-berlin-embassy-a-930205.html

The British and the Dutch – and doubtless all America's many 'allies' – have no real pride left. They just keep bending over further.

[Oct 10, 2018] A Decalogue of American Empire-Building A Dialogue by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Financial Times, NBC, CNN, ABC ..."
"... This is not new and has been going for at least a century. And the US elites have a long tradition of false flags to to get the people of America riled up for war. ..."
"... As Petras says: "The ten theses define the nature of 21st century imperialism" because, I feel, they are the same values that defined the British Colonial Empire. ..."
Oct 10, 2018 | www.unz.com

Introduction

Few, if any, believe what they hear and read from leaders and media publicists. Most people choose to ignore the cacophony of voices, vices and virtues.

This paper provides a set of theses which purports to lay-out the basis for a dialogue between and among those who choose to abstain from elections with the intent to engage them in political struggle.

Thesis 1

US empire builders of all colors and persuasion practice donkey tactics; waving the carrot and wielding the whip to move the target government on the chosen path.

In the same way, Washington offers dubious concessions and threatens reprisals, in order to move them into the imperial orbit.

Washington applied the tactic successfully in several recent encounters. In 2003 the US offered Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi a peaceful accommodation in exchange for disarmament, abandonment of nationalist allies in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 2011, the US with its European allies applied the whip – bombed Libya, financed and armed retrograde tribal and terrorist forces, destroyed the infrastructure, murdered Gaddafi and uprooted millions of Africans and Libyans. . . who fled to Europe. Washington recruited mercenaries for their subsequent war against Syria in order to destroy the nationalist Bashar Assad regime.

Washington succeeded in destroying an adversary but did not establish a puppet regime in the midst of perpetual conflict.

The empire's carrot weakened its adversary, but the stick failed to recolonize Libya ..Moreover its European allies are obligated to pay the multi-billion Euro cost of absorbing millions of uprooteded immigrants and the ensuing domestic political turmoil.

Thesis 2

Empire builders' proposal to reconfigure the economy in order to regain imperial supremacy provokes domestic and overseas enemies. President Trump launched a global trade war, replaced political accommodation with economic sanctions against Russia and a domestic protectionist agenda and sharply reduced corporate taxes. He provoked a two-front conflict. Overseas, he provoked opposition from European allies and China, while facing perpetual harassment from domestic free market globalists and Russo-phobic political elites and ideologues.

Two front conflicts are rarely successful. Most successful imperialist conquer adversaries in turn – first one and then the other.

Thesis 3

Leftists frequently reverse course: they are radicals out of office and reactionaries in government, eventually falling between both chairs. We witness the phenomenal collapse of the German Social Democratic Party, the Greek Socialist Party (PASOK), (and its new version Syriza) and the Workers Party in Brazil. Each attracted mass support, won elections, formed alliances with bankers and the business elite – and in the face of their first crises, are abandoned by the populace and the elite.

Shrewd but discredited elites frequently recognize the opportunism of the Left, and in time of distress, have no problem in temporarily putting up with Left rhetoric and reforms as long as their economic interests are not jeopardized. The elite know that the Left signal left and turn right.

Thesis 4

Elections, even ones won by progressives or leftists, frequently become springboards for imperial backed coups. Over the past decade newly elected presidents, who are not aligned with Washington, face congressional and/or judicial impeachment on spurious charges. The elections provide a veneer of legitimacy which a straight-out military-coup lacks.

In Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela, 'legislatures' under US tutelage attempted to ouster popular President. They succeeded in the former and failed in the latter.

When electoral machinery fails, the judicial system intervenes to impose restraints on progressives, based on tortuous and convoluted interpretation of the law. Opposition leftists in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador have been hounded by ruling party elites.

Thesis 5

Even crazy leaders speak truth to power. There is no question that President Trump suffers a serious mental disorder, with midnight outbursts and nuclear threats against, any and all, ranging from philanthropic world class sports figures (LeBron James) to NATO respecting EU allies.

Yet in his lunacy, President Trump has denounced and exposed the repeated deceits and ongoing fabrications of the mass media. Never before has a President so forcefully identified the lies of the leading print and TV outlets. The NY Times , Washington Post , the Financial Times, NBC, CNN, ABC and CBS have been thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the larger public. They have lost legitimacy and trust. Where progressives have failed, a war monger billionaire has accomplished, speaking a truth to serve many injustices.

Thesis 6

When a bark turns into a bite, Trump proves the homely truth that fear invites aggression. Trump has implemented or threatened severe sanctions against the EU, China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, North Korea and any country that fails to submit to his dictates. At first, it was bombast and bluster which secured concessions.

Concessions were interpreted as weakness and invited greater threats. Disunity of opponents encouraged imperial tacticians to divide and conquer. But by attacking all adversaries simultaneously he undermines that tactic. Threats everywhere limits choices to dangerous options at home and abroad.

Thesis 7

The master meddlers, of all times, into the politics of sovereign states are the Anglo-American empire builders. But what is most revealing is the current ploy of accusing the victims of the crimes that are committed against them.

After the overthrow of the Soviet regime, the US and its European acolytes 'meddled' on a world-historic scale, pillaging over two trillion dollars of Soviet wealth and reducing Russian living standards by two thirds and life expectancy to under sixty years – below the level of Bangladesh.

With Russia's revival under President Putin, Washington financed a large army of self-styled 'non-governmental organizations' (NGO) to organize electoral campaigns, recruited moguls in the mass media and directed ethnic uprisings. The Russians are retail meddlers compared to the wholesale multi-billion-dollar US operators.

Moreover, the Israelis have perfected meddling on a grand scale – they intervene successfully in Congress, the White House and the Pentagon. They set the Middle East agenda, budget and priorities, and secure the biggest military handouts on a per-capita basis in US history!

Apparently, some meddlers meddle by invitation and are paid to do it.

Thesis 8

Corruption is endemic in the US where it has legal status and where tens of millions of dollars change hands and buy Congress people, Presidents and judges.

ORDER IT NOW

In the US the buyers and brokers are called 'lobbyists' – everywhere else they are called fraudsters. Corruption (lobbying) grease the wheels of billion dollars military spending, technological subsidies, tax evading corporations and every facet of government – out in the open, all the time and place of the US regime.

Corruption as lobbying never evokes the least criticism from the mass media.

On the other hand, where corruption takes place under the table in Iran, China and Russia, the media denounce the political elite – even where in China over 2 million officials, high and the low are arrested and jailed.

When corruption is punished in China, the US media claim it is merely a 'political purge' even if it directly reduces elite conspicuous consumption.

In other words, imperial corruption defends democratic value; anti-corruption is a hallmark of authoritarian dictatorships.

Thesis 9

Bread and circuses are integral parts of empire building – especially in promoting urban street mobs to overthrow independent and elected governments.

Imperial financed mobs – provided the cover for CIA backed coups in Iran (1954), Ukraine (2014), Brazil (1964), Venezuela (2003, 2014 and 2017), Argentina (1956), Nicaragua (2018), Syria (2011) and Libya (2011) among other places and other times.

Masses for empire draw paid and voluntary street fighters who speak for democracy and serve the elite. The "mass cover" is especially effective in recruiting leftists who look to the street for opinion and ignore the suites which call the shots.

Thesis 10

The empire is like a three-legged stool it promotes genocide, to secure magnicide and to rule by homicide. Invasions kills millions, capture and kill rulers and then rule by homicide – police assassinating dissenting citizens.

The cases are readily available: Iraq and Libya come to mind. The US and its allies invaded, bombed and killed over a million Iraqis, captured and assassinated its leaders and installed a police state.

A similar pattern occurred in Libya: the US and EU bombed, killed and uprooted several million people, assassinated Ghadaffy and fomented a lawless terrorist war of clans, tribes and western puppets.

"Western values" reveal the inhumanity of empires built to murder "a la carte" – stripping the victim nations of their defenders, leaders and citizens.

Conclusion

The ten theses define the nature of 21 st century imperialism – its continuities and novelties.

The mass media systematically write and speak lies to power: their message is to disarm their adversaries and to arouse their patrons to continue to plunder the world.


Jeff Stryker , says: August 11, 2018 at 4:26 am GMT

When was the last time "Nation building" resulted in a livable country. Iraq? Libya? Americans, and I am one, can barely keep their own country from sinking into a pit of decay.

Why "deliver Democracy" when Dubai makes much of the US look like shit in terms of infrastructure, crime and poverty.

RealAmericanValuesCirca1776Not1965 , says: August 11, 2018 at 6:57 am GMT
@Jeff Stryker

When was the last time "Nation building" resulted in a livable country.

Why "deliver Democracy" when Dubai makes much of the US look like shit

Because what a ZOG does with it's host nation has nothing to do with improving anything for the occupied peoples.

Think of it like the Communist Manifesto. They thump it around, preaching utopia and equality and all that sugar and honey. This is because they want you to buy what they are selling. But they don't have any intention of ever delivering. None whatsoever.

All they're really trying to do is whip up an army of useful idiots to be used as blunt instruments. And once these useful idiots are done fulfilling their role in the redistribution of wealth and power, they are discarded only to realize too little too late that they have been working against their own interests all along.

The same thing goes for exporting Democracy. It's never been about improving anyone's lives. In the West or any of their target nations. It's been about whipping useful idiots up into an army that can be used as a blunt instrument against the obstacles in the way of (((someone's))) geopolitical ambitions.

... ... ..

Malla , says: August 11, 2018 at 6:58 am GMT
This is not new and has been going for at least a century. And the US elites have a long tradition of false flags to to get the people of America riled up for war.

False Flag Events Behind the Six Major Wars

False flags to fool Americans into the Spanish American War, WW1, WW2, Korean War, Vietnam War and the War on terror.

jilles dykstra , says: August 11, 2018 at 7:28 am GMT
Interesting is that a USA textbook already describes USA imperialism, without using the word: Barbara Hinckley, Sheldon Goldman, 'American Politics and Government, Structure, Processes, Institutions and Policies', Glenview Ill., 1990
jilles dykstra , says: August 11, 2018 at 7:37 am GMT
@Jeff Stryker Ockam's Razor: the simplest theory that explains the facts is the best.

There is no effort to create livable countries, the objective is to destroy them.

Under Saddam's dictatorschip Iraq was a prosperous country, without liberty, true.

Under old Assad, I visited Syria in the mid eighties, the same, though less prosperous, at the time, as far as I know, no Syrian oil or gas.

Aleppo, a cosmolitan and lively city, the suq, now destroyed, a great thing to have seen, medieval, but with happy looking people.

... ... ...

Den Lille Abe , says: August 11, 2018 at 8:10 am GMT
Nation building? When did that happen? I must have been asleep for 60 years.
Jeff Stryker , says: August 11, 2018 at 11:20 am GMT
@RealAmericanValuesCirca1776Not1965 Geopolitical ambitions?

Vietnam was a mess for a decade at least and created an immigration crisis in Australia. The US had a surplus budget when Clinton left office. When Bush left office, oil prices were sky-high and the economy was dreadful. Who benefits. Israel? Syria is a mess that threatens their borders.

annamaria , says: August 11, 2018 at 11:31 am GMT
A great comment with the proper name calling for the ZUSA in relation to the current situation in Turkey: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/08/how-turkeys-currency-crisis-came-to-pass.html#comments
Excerpts:
" The Dollar op indicates that the USA ( or rather those who pull the strings in the US ) finally admits that our Ally is responsible for almost all mischievous events which took place in Turkey.
The USA is not a country, but rather a useful contract killer on a larger scale compared to the PKK-FETO-ISIS etc.
The US is now stepping forward fearlessly because 'the arms of the octopus', as Erdogan put last week, has been severed in Turkey."

These two definitions do stick:
1. the US is manipulated by the puppeteers -- people (the US citizenry at large) have no saying in the US decisions (mostly immoral and often imbecile); the well-being of the US is not a factored in the decisions
2. the US has become a "contract killer" for the voracious puppeteers

JackOH , says: August 11, 2018 at 11:38 am GMT
Prof. Petras, thanks. A while back I read something called Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (?) in which the writer describes his efforts to put other nations into debt to American institutions and American-controlled or -influenced international institutions for the ulterior purpose of political control. Sounded plausible enough, and I saw the author speak on TV on his book tour.

How do any of us know we're living in a country gone massively wobbly? Can a German sipping wine in Koblenz in 1936 even imagine Hitler's Germany will be a staple of American cable shows eighty years hence, and not in a good way? Can a Russian in the same year imagine that the latest round of arrests won't be leading to a Communist utopia now, or ever?

FWIW-my guess is America's imperial adventures are heavily structural, being that foreign policy is strongly within the President's purview, and Congress can be counted on to rubber-stamp military expeditions. Plus, empire offers a good distraction from domestic politics, which are an intractable mess of rent-seeking, racial animus, and corporate interests.

I don't like it much having to live in a racketeerized America, but there's not a whole lot we can do.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: August 11, 2018 at 12:11 pm GMT
Professor Petras glasses are becoming little bit foggy, but his scalpel still cuts to the bone. But this article is lecture for beginner class, or the aliens visitors who just landed on Earth
jacques sheete , says: August 11, 2018 at 12:55 pm GMT

Yet in his lunacy, President Trump has denounced and exposed the repeated deceits and ongoing fabrications of the mass media.

A damned good article, Sir! And bless you for calling bankster propaganda anything but "mainstream."

Ours is a problem in which deception has become organized and strong; where truth is poisoned at its source; one in which the skill of the shrewdest brains is devoted to misleading a bewildered people.

-Walter Lippman, A Preface to Politics ( 1913 ), quoted in The Essential Lippmann, pp. 516-517

Lippman was an Allied propagandist among many other things.

Anonymous [317] Disclaimer , says: August 11, 2018 at 12:57 pm GMT
The 10 theories that led Petras to conclude "{the message is "to disarm their adversaries and to arouse their patrons" to continue to plunder the world}" is an example, that the American people are clueless about how events documented by Petras research, led Petras to conclude the USA is about plunder of the world .

There is a distinct difference between USA governed Americans and the 527 persons that govern Americans.

Access by Americans to the USA 1) in person with one of its 527 members, 2) by communication or attempted communication via some type of expression or 3) by constitutionally allowed regime change at election time. None of these methods work very well for Americans , if at all; but they serve the entrenched members of the USA, massive in size corporations and upstream wealthy owners, quite well.

Secondly, IMO, Mr. Petras either does not understand democracy or has chosen to make a mockery of it? The constitution that produced the USA produced not a democracy, but a Republic. A republic which authorized a group ( an handful of people) to rule America by rules the USA group decides to impose. Since the group can control the meaning of the US Constitution as well as change it's words, the group has, unlimited power to rule, no matter the subject matter or method (possible exceptions might be said to be within the meaning of the bill of rights; but like all contract clauses, especially a contract of the type where one side can amend, ignore, change or replace or use its overwhelming military and police powers to enforce against the other side, leaving the other side no recourse, is not really a contract; it might better be called an instrument announcing the assumption of power which infringes inalienable human rights).

Therefore just because 527 members of the USA government might between themselves practice Democracy does not mean the governed enjoy the same freedoms.

So the USA is ruled by puppets, 527 of them, puppets of the Oligarchs. Since the ratification of the USA constitution, Americans have been governed by the USA [The US constitution (ratified 1778) overthrew and disposed of the Articles of Confederation (Government of America founded 1776). Not a shot was fired, but there was a war none-the-less (read Federalist vs Anti-Federalist and have a look at the first few acts of the USA).

(Note: The AOC, was the American government that defeated the British Armies [1776-1783], the 1776 American AOC American Government was the government that surveyed all of the land taken from the British by the AOC after it defeated the entire British military and stopped the British aristocrat owed, privately held corporate Empires from their continuous raping of America and abuse of Americans. those who did the work.

The AOC was the very same American Government that hired G. Washington to defeat and chase the British Aristocratic Corporate Colonial Empires out of America. The 1776 American AOC Government was the very same government that granted freedom to its people (AOC really did practice democracy, and really did try to divide and distribute the vast American lands taken from the British Corporate Colonial Empire equally among the then living Americans. The AOC ceased to exist when the US Constitution installed the USA by a self proclaimed regime change process , called ratification). There were 11 presidents of the AOC, interestingly enough, few have heard of them.

Once again the practice of political self-determination democracy is limited to the 525 USA members who have seats in the halls of the Congress of the USA or who occupy the offices of the President of USA or the Vice-President of the USA. All persons in America, not among the 527 salaried, elected members of the USA, are governed by the USA.

jilles dykstra , says: August 11, 2018 at 3:22 pm GMT
@Heisendude Israel has no constitution, and therefore no borders. A constitution also describes borders. An Israeli jew one asked Ben Gurion why Israel has no defined borders, the answer was something like 'we do not want to define borders, if we did, we cannot expand'.
AnonFromTN , says: August 11, 2018 at 4:50 pm GMT
@Jeff Stryker Why does Israel assist all sorts of bandits, including, but not limited to, ISIS, in Syria? Just recently Israel helped in extracting the White Helmets, a PR wing of Nusra (Syrian branch of Al Qaida) from South Syria. Please explain.
AnonFromTN , says: August 11, 2018 at 4:56 pm GMT
@Anonymous Those 527 are bought and paid for lackeys. We don't know how many real owners of the USA there are, don't know many of their names, but we do know that when those lackeys imagine that they are somebodies and try to govern, they are eliminated (John Kennedy is the most unambiguous example).
RealAmericanValuesCirca1776Not1965 , says: August 11, 2018 at 6:01 pm GMT
@Jeff Stryker

Geopolitical ambitions?

You may have heard of it. Globalism, N(J)ew World Order. That which the (((internationalists))) are always working towards. A one world government with them at the top, the ruling class.

Vietnam was a mess for a decade at least and created an immigration crisis in Australia.

Australia is a white nation. All white nations are supposed to suffer and ultimately collapse upon the creation of their New World Order. Vietnam was a complete success for the one's who really wanted that war.

The US had a surplus budget when Clinton left office. When Bush left office, oil prices were sky-high and the economy was dreadful.

Bush was a neocon, wars for Israel with that 'surplus' were the intention all along. As wars under Hillary would have been as well. And as they potentially could still be if Trump proves to be a lap dog for Israel as well. He campaigned on no pointless wars, but there's no saying for sure until he either brings all our troops home or capitulates and signs Americans up to be cash cows and cannon fodder for more Israeli geopolitical ambitions.

Who benefits.

Those same rootless cosmopolitans that always benefit from playing both sides of the field, seeding conflict and then cashing in on the warmongering, genocidal depopulation and population displacement in the name of their geopolitical ambitions.

Israel? Syria is a mess that threatens their borders.

Israel made that mess. Threatened their borders with war. Land theft. Y'know. Golan Heights. Genocide land theft and displacement are all Israel does. Their borders have expanded every year since their creation.

Everything that's happening in the Middle East is because of the Rothschild terror state of Israel and the Zionist Jews who reside in it .. as well as in our various western ZOGs.

Have you really never heard of the Oded Yinon Plan ? Their genocidal outline for waging wars of aggression for the purpose of expanding their borders and becoming the dominant regional superpower by balkanizing the surrounding Arab world.

The only nations of significance left on their check list are as follows : Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia. And many will argue that the House of Saud has always been crypto, helping Israel behind the scenes. Their sudden post-coup cooperation with their former 'enemies' is little more than a sign that they are needed as a wartime ally more in the current phase of their Yinon Plan than as controlled opposition funding and arming ISIS while keeping the public eye off of Israel's role in their creation and direction. Sure enough, it seems there is a rather strong push for an alliance between KSA, Israel and the US for war with Iran.

Here you go:

https://archive.fo/U7XTH

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: August 11, 2018 at 6:59 pm GMT
Technological progress, particularly the progress in information technology is pushing mankind with accelerated speed toward final solution and final settlement.
renfro , says: August 11, 2018 at 8:34 pm GMT
Good article

Corruption is endemic in the US where it has legal status and where tens of millions of dollars change hands and buy Congress people, Presidents and judges.

Yep. I have been ranting for years calling for a Anti-Corruption Political Party Platform by some group.
The corruption of our politicians is the cause of all the problems everyone else is ranting about.

In some ways I think most people deserve what they are going to get eventually because they ignore the corruption of their heroes .whether it be Trump, Hillary or any other.

I tell you sheeple .if someone will cheat and lie to others they will do the same thing to you ..you are stone cold stupid if you think other wise.

Jim Bob Lassiter , says: August 12, 2018 at 1:09 am GMT
@Biff Jeff and Mikeat are both correct if my friend's account of his participation in a recent trade show there is true. My friend's wife is a ding bat Hillarybot and she got to yammering to me after returning about all the wonderful diversity she saw in the streets of Dubai, but I shut her down pretty quickly by pointing out that the diversity darlings in Dubai were paid help for the Sheikdom and weren't even second class temporary residents by US standards; that they can be (and are) summarily deported to some slave market in Yemen if they don't mind their Ps and Qs VERY carefully in that society. She's also a wino, but confessed that the Trader Joe's box grade merlot sold for about US$18 to $25 a goblet in a tourist zone food and beverage joint. (and that didn't slow her down one bit) Hubby had to watch her close, as obvious public drunkenness (even in the tourist zone) has high potential for extreme justice.

The New Economy plan being promoted there is the development of a sort of Disneyworld on steroids international vacation attraction, as the leaders seem to think that their oil is going to run out soon.

jilles dykstra , says: August 12, 2018 at 7:50 am GMT
@peterAUS CNN, Washpost and NYT since a very long time suffer from a serious mental disorder.
It reminds me of Orwell's The Country of the Blind.
When the man who could see was cured all was well.
Anon [317] Disclaimer , says: August 12, 2018 at 12:31 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX While the Fed is a focal point, it is not the central issue. If Americans, were actually in voting control of the central issue Americans could and probably would abolish the fed and destroy its income by removing the income tax laws, very early on.

But if the Fed and Income taxes are not the central issue, what is the central issue? Could it be majority will "control of the structure and staffing of that structure" that often people call government? Look back to the creation of the US Constitution! There the central issue for the old British Aristocracy accustomed to having their way, was: can Aristocrats stay in control (of the new American democracy) and if so, how should "such control" be established so that British corporate power, British Aristocratic wealth and British Class Privilege can all survive the American revolution? {PWP}.

The question was answered by developing a form of government that enabling the Oligarch few to make the rules [rule of law] that could control the masses and to produce a government that had a monopoly on the use of power, so that it could enforce the laws it makes, against against the masses and fend off all challenges. The constitution blocked the people's right to self determination; it empowered the privileged, it favored the wealthy, and most of all it protected and saved pre-war British owned PWP as post war PWP.

Today those who operate the government do so in near perfect secrecy (interrupted only occasionally by Snowden, Assange, and a few brave others). It spies on each person, records each human breath taken by the masses, relates relationships between the masses, because those in charge fear the power of the masses should the masses somehow find a way to impose their will on how things are to be. How can rules made by Aristocrats in secret, be considered to be outcomes established by self- determination of the masses who are to be governed?

Ratification is the process that abolished Democracy in America. The story of those who imposed ratification has not yet been told. Ratification was used to justify the overthrow of the Articles of the Confederation (AOC was America's government from 1776 to 1789). To defeat the British empire the AOC hired the most wealthy man it could find to organize an Army capable to defeat the British Military. The AOC warred on the British Armies with the intent to stop colonial corporate empires from continuing to rape American productivity and exploit the resources in America for the benefit of the British Corporate Empires [Read the Declaration of Independence].

You might research.. How did George Washington achieve his massive, for its time, wealth? I don't think tossing coins across the mile wide Potomac made him a dime? How did GW attain such wealth in British owned, corporately controlled Colonial America? Why was George Washington able to keep that British earned wealth after the British were chased out of America? More importantly many gave their all, life, liberty and property to help chase the British out, GW gave ..?

Title by land grants [Virginia and West Virginia] are traceable to GWs estate.

What the land grant landowners feared most was that the new American democracy, might allow the masses to revoke or deny titles to real estate in America, if such title derived from a foreign government (land grant). The Articles of Confederation government was talking about dividing up all of the lands in America, and parceling it out, in equal portions, to all living AOC governed America. Deeds from kings and queens of England, France, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands to land in America would not be recognized in the chain of title? Such lands would belong to the new AOC government or to the states who were members of the AOC.

You might check out Article 6, (Para 1) of the US Constitution.. it says in part
" All Debts contracted and Engagements[land grants and British Corporate Charters] entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the confederation.

(meaning loans to British Banks would be repaid and land deals made with foreign nations and corporations including those that resulted in creating a land Baron in British Colonial America, were to be treated as valid land titles by US Constitution. Consider the plight of Ex British Land Grant Barron Aristocrat [EBLGBA] who finds himself in now independent democratic America? Real Americans might decide EBLGBAs were some kind of terrorist, or spies. Under such circumstances, the EBLGA might look at Americans as a threat to their Aristocracy, a threat to their PWP..

Example: A Spanish Land Grant property in America ( King of Spain gave 5 million acres of land in America to ZZ in 1720 (ZZ is a Spanish Corporation ZZ doing business in America), the land transaction was recognized as valid under British Colonial Law in America. But would Independent AOC America recognize a deed issued by a Spanish King, or British Queen to Real Estate in America?

After the Revolution, the question does a EBLGBA retain ownership in the American located land that is now part of Independent America? Ain't no dam deed from a Spanish government going to be valid in America. King of England cannot give a deed to land that is located in independent America.

So if, a corporation, incorporated under British Law, claims it owns 5 million acres of American land because the Queen of England deeded it the the corporation: does that mean the 5 million acres still belongs to British Corporation X, and of course to the person made Aristocrat by virtue of ownership of the British Corporation). Is a British Corporation now to be an American Corporation? British Landed Gentry (land grant owners) in independent post war America, were quick to lobby for the constitution because the constitution protected their ownership in land granted to them by a foreign king or queen in fact the constitution protected the PWP.

I agree with your Zionist communist observation. It is imperative for all persons interested in what is happening to study the takeover of Russia from the Tzar by Lenin and his Zionist Communist because what the Zionist did to the Christians in Russia in 1917 seems to be approaching for it to happen here in America and because that revolution was a part of the organized Zionist [1896, Hertzl] movement to take control of all of the oil in the world. Let us not forget, Lenin and crew exterminated 32 million White Russians nearly all of whom were educated Christians living in the Ukraine.

As Petras says: "The ten theses define the nature of 21st century imperialism" because, I feel, they are the same values that defined the British Colonial Empire.

jacques sheete , says: August 12, 2018 at 12:32 pm GMT
@Anonymous

So the USA is ruled by puppets, 527 of them, puppets of the Oligarchs. Since the ratification of the USA constitution, Americans have been governed by the USA [The US constitution (ratified 1778) overthrew and disposed of the Articles of Confederation (Government of America founded 1776). Not a shot was fired, but there was a war none-the-less (read Federalist vs Anti-Federalist and have a look at the first few acts of the USA).

What a relief to find that there are a few (very few) others who have a clue. The "constitution" was effectively a coup d'etat. We proles, peasants and other pissants have been tax and debt slaves ever since, and the situation has continuously worsened. Lincoln's war against Southern independence, establishment of the Federal Reserve, Wilson's and especially FDR's wars, and infiltration of the US government and industry by Commies, Zionists and other Eastern European goon-mafiosi scum have completely perverted what this country is supposedly about.

I doubt the situation will ever begin to improve unless and until the mass of brainwashed dupes understand what you wrote.

jacques sheete , says: August 12, 2018 at 1:17 pm GMT
@Anon Please comment more often. Excellent info there.

You might research.. How did George Washington achieve his massive, for its time, wealth?

True. Especially since the guy was a third rate, (probably mostly incompetent), Brit military officer and terrorist who treated the men under his command like sh!t.

Reminds me of Ol Johnny Boy McCain and other such scum.

annamaria , says: August 12, 2018 at 8:53 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra "Ben Gurion: 'we do not want to define borders, if we did, we cannot expand'. -- Right. Hence the mass slaughter in the Middle East.
Hapless Canada is going to accept the "humanitarian" terrorists from While Helmets organization. The rescue is a joint Israel-Canada enterprise: https://www.rt.com/op-ed/435670-white-helmets-canada-syria/
-- -- -- -
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (a committed banderist and admirer of Ukrainian neo-Nazis) and Robin Wettlaufer (Canada's representative to the Syrian Opposition and a harsh critic of Assad "regime") have been playing a key role in the evacuation of the White Helmets. But there are some questions to Robin: "Did Canadians get to vote on whether or not to bring potential terrorists or supporters of terrorists to Canada? No. No vote in the Parliament, no public discussion. Why did the Canadian government refuse the entry of 100 injured Palestinian children from Gaza in 2014, a truly humanitarian effort, and yet will fast-track the entry of potentially dangerous men with potential ties to terrorists?" https://www.rt.com/op-ed/435670-white-helmets-canada-syria/
-- Guess Robin Wettlaufer, due to her ethnic solidarity, would be fine with these injured Palestinian children being smothered by someone, but the well-financed White Helmets are the extremely valuable material for realizing Oded Yinon plan for Eretz Israel (see Ben Gurion answer).
Kratoklastes , says: August 17, 2018 at 12:20 am GMT
@Jeff Stryker

The US had a surplus budget when Clinton left office

It turns out that 'budget surplus' does not mean what most people think it means. When your household has a budget surplus, its rate of debt accumulation reverses (i.e., the total value of household debt falls). Credit cards get paid down, mortgages get paid off, and eventually you end up with a large and growing positive net worth. That's what running a 'budget surplus' means , right?

Not so for governments : the US government could run perpetual budget 'surpluses' and still grow government debt without bound – because they do not account for things the way they insist that we serfs account for things there are a bunch of their expenditures that they simply don't count in their 'budget'.

It's a bit like if you were to only count the amount your household spent on groceries , and declare your entire budget to be in 'surplus' or 'deficit' based on whether or not there's change after you do your weekly shopping. Meanwhile, you're spending more than you earn overall, and accumulating debt at an expanding rate.

Runaway debt is what destroys – whether it's families or countries.

There has only been one year since 1960 in which the US Federal Debt has fallen : 1969 .

During the much-touted "Clinton Surpluses", the US Federal Debt rose by almost a quarter- trillion dollars . The first two Bush years had larger surpluses than either of the two Clinton surpluses – but still added $160 billion to the Federal debt.

I know those don't sound like big numbers anymore – much given that Bush added $602 billion per year on average, and Obama added twice Bush 's amount (1.19 trillion per year).

[Oct 09, 2018] During the attack on Serbia, US flew more than 90% of NATO missions and it managed to destroy three missile batteries and one radar station (using HARM)

Notable quotes:
"... Thanks to media, to this day very few people in the West know that towards the end of the 78-day war, US and UK deliberately targeted several completely civilian facilities (bridges, hospitals and schools) and in just a few days of such targeting killed about 200 civilians. ..."
Oct 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

Kiza says: October 7, 2018 at 7:50 am GMT 500 Words @Quartermaster I am not going to insult you personally, but as a cheap paid troll you have absolutely no clue about the subject you are typing about for your Israeli masters. FB has not explained everything perfectly but what he wrote is correct. It is not true that an airforce would target radar installations only with HARM missiles, which all NATO countries and Israel have, but in practice HARM are the only missiles to reliably target mobile air defence. During the attack on Serbia, US flew more than 90% of NATO missions and it managed to destroy three missile batteries and one radar station (using HARM). But the mobility of the Serbian immobile air defences had two major effects:
1) Unlike Iraq, Serbia let NATO bomb targets without always switching on its air defences to be detected and destroyed; this grossly reduced NATOs air effectiveness because with every bomber they had to constantly send at least one support plane with jammers, HARMs etc. NATO tried to claim a virtue out of this by saying that they were soft on Serbia and will get tougher, but in reality their military attack was becoming difficult to manage, expensive and risky (the NATO unity was beginning to fray).
2) It was a running joke in Serbia how NATO planes would attack some completely empty hill (Serbia is a relatively hilly country), create literally free fireworks for the villagers, just because there was an air defense installation on the hill maybe 5-10 hours ago. A similar joke was how the Serbian military or even the local villagers would spread a strip of black builders plastic over a river and NATO planes flying at above 5 km to avoid manpads would blast this $2 bridge with $200,000 worth of bombs (adding mission cost to the cost of bombs).

Regarding US F117, it was more "stealth" than F35 and similar stealth to the smaller F22, but the Serbians used the Checkoslovakian TAMARA passive radar, using ionospheric scatter, and also launched multiple operator guided missiles at F117 without a proper engagement radar to be HARMed. Self-confident in stealth the pilots of F117 did not manoeuvre, thus it was easy to predict their path even without the targeting and engagement radar.

Forcing US to retire F117 was the second costliest damage the Serbians have done (Lockheed did not cry, through their lobbyists they turned the loss into an opportunity to sell more rubbish). But the biggest cost to US was that Milosevic sold several unexploded cruise missiles and all F117 parts to China and used the money to rebuild and repair all civilian buildings in Serbia destroyed by NATO. Later, UK and US did a colour revolution in Serbia, got their hands on Milosevic, who then died from a health "accident" in NATO jail.


Kiza , says: October 7, 2018 at 8:16 am GMT

@Cyrano You are spot-on. The Serbian military fought NATO to a draw, proven by the fact that the peace treaty signed in Kumanovo in FYRM, did not contain the Rambouye clauses and even left Kosovo under Serbian jurisdiction as per UNSC 1244.

Even this military draw was forced on Serbia by increased bombardment of civilian targets in Serbia combined with open threats of carpet bombing by US B57. Serbia is a fairly densely populated country, no jungles to hide in as in Vietnam. The civilian targets were bombed to show that they could do carpet bombing with impunity (with the help of MSM). Thanks to media, to this day very few people in the West know that towards the end of the 78-day war, US and UK deliberately targeted several completely civilian facilities (bridges, hospitals and schools) and in just a few days of such targeting killed about 200 civilians.

Naturally, any agreements with the West are totally pointless. After the Kumanovo agreement, US and UK organized a color revolution in Serbia, took Kosovo away and got their Serbian puppets to agree to all Rambouye demands. Serbia did not lose the war, but it lost the agreement peace with the West.

FB , says: October 8, 2018 at 5:03 pm GMT
@Kiza

' to my knowledge the Serbians did not use a radiating radar to shoot-down one/two F117. They used a passive radar, which does not emit at all, it only receives a rough and noisy location of the stealth plane '

This is complete nonsense once again you choose to pontificate on things in which you have no knowledge

In your earlier comment, you identified this 'passive radar' allegedly used by the Serbs as the Czech 'Tamara' system which the Serbs did not possess

Not only that but this kind of system is not used for guiding SAM shots, and is certainly not any kind of 'anti-stealth' weapon this category of device is known as an emitter locator system [ELS], and is used to listen in on radio emissions from hostile aircraft and to then track them, by means of a number of geometrically deployed antennas that can then triangulate the bearing and direction of the aircraft

However, the basic physics involved means that these emitter locators are effective at tracking signals OTHER THAN the aircraft's onboard radar this would include the IFF [identification friend or foe transponder signal] and other onboard radio emitters which are OMNIDIRECTIONAL emitters

An aircraft radar's narrow pencil beam could not reach multiple [at least 2] ELS antenna [which would be geographically dispersed] to provide the needed triangulation

Once again Dr Carlo Kopp provides an excellent technical overview of ELS systems here

' A topic which appears to crop up with monotonous regularity [is] Warsaw Pact equipment "capable of detecting stealth aircraft".

These claims invariably involve either the Czech designed and built Tesla-Pardubice KRTP-86 Tamara or ERA Vera Emitter Locating Systems, or the Ukrainian designed and built Topaz Kolchuga series of Emitter Locating Systems.

More than often this equipment is described as 'anti-stealth radar', 'radar' or 'passive radar', all of which are completely incorrect.

Much of everything else you have farted out here regarding the Serb takedown of the F117 is similar bullshit

The 3′rd battery of the 250′th Air Defense missile Brigade, commanded by then Lt Col Zoltan Dani killed both F117s [the second one made it back to Aviano, Italy but was scrapped, as USAF Col Riccioni confirms in his F22 report I linked to earlier] as well as the kill on the F16 of then 555′th squadron Commander, then Lt Col David Goldfein, who, since 2016 happens to be Gen Goldfein and the USAF Chief of Staff

Here is Goldfein's F16 canopy and tail feathers on display at the Belgrade Aviation Museum

Incidentally, Col Riccioni mentions in that same report that Goldfein was doing 'other than what he was supposed to be doing' when shot down I guess in today's USAF that means you have the 'right stuff' to become The Chief

Also incidentally, the Goldfein kill was overseen by Col Dani's Deputy Maj Bosko Dotlic, as Col Dani was off duty at the time

The point is that that one single S125 battery accounted for ALL the confirmed kills of the Serb IADS in 1999 [although there are many more 'probable' kills that either ditched in the Adriatic, or limped back but were scrapped]

This speaks to my earlier point about human competence and the 'hawks' and 'doves' just like a small fraction of fighter pilots rack up the overwhelming majority of kills the same goes for air defense commanders, submarine captains, tank commanders etc

You have spewed here a whole lot of garbage about 'secret' anti-stealth weapons and 'lucky shots' etc which is a complete insult to the historical record and the great work by Col Dani and his men and to the entire principle of working and training hard to achieve professional competence in a military skill

Here is a picture of the side of the 3′rd Battery Command Cabin, with Three kills stenciled in the F117 [black] on top a B2 [not confirmed] and Goldfein's F16 in white at bottom

The battery used the standard SNR125 'Low Blow' engagement radar [1960s vintage technology] which operates at 9 GHz, so it is NOT a low-frequency radar proving that low frequency is not necessary to take out 'stealth' aircraft

As per standard Russian air defense design doctrine, the S125 uses a separate acquisition and tracking radar which DOES operate at a lower frequency in this case the P15 'Flat Face' which operates in the decimetric wavelength band [which is similar to ATC radar frequency of about 1.2 to 1.4 GHz...ie L band]

As explained previously the acquisition radar serves to find and track the target at long range and cues the engagement radar to scan a precise sector where the acquisition radar has found the target the engagement radar's increased precision [due to its higher frequency and antenna size] then provides pinpoint accuracy to guide the missile

It is this combination of separate radars working together that allows the targeting of low observable aircraft and what the 3′rd Battery did was a textbook example of using the equipment to its full potential despite the fact that this old radar technology was in fact susceptible to jamming, which the Nato forces employed massively

Col Dani also trained his men hard to be able to disassemble their radar and launchers within 90 minutes and load everything up on trucks and move to another location he also exercised strict discipline with regard to emissions allowing the radar to be turned on only for very short bursts at a time about a minute or two at most

This is all textbook Soviet operating procedure and the difference was the exceptional work ethic and competence that Col Dani maintained in his unit

It should be noted here that the Serb air defense was in fact very successful overall war is a game of survival and attrition and what the Serbs accomplished was noted by air combat practitioners

'The air campaign over Kosovo severely affected the readiness rates of the United States Air Force's Air Combat Command during that period. Units in the United States were the most badly affected, as they were were stripped of their personnel and spare parts to support ACC (Air Combat Command) and AMC (Air Mobility Command) units involved in Operation Allied Force.

The Commander of the USAF's Air Combat Command, General Richard E Hawley, outlined this in a speech to reporters on 29 April, 1999.[10] Further, many aircraft will have to be replaced earlier than previously planned, as their planned fatigue life was prematurely expended.

PGM inventories needed to be re-stocked, the warstock of the AGM-86C Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile dropping to 100 or fewer rounds.[11] Of the more than 25,000 bombs and missiles expended, nearly 8,500 were PGMs, with the replacement cost estimated at $US1.3 billion.[12]

Thus the USAF suffered from virtual attrition of its air force without having scored a large number of kills in theatre. Even if the United States' best estimates of Serbian casualties are used, the Serbians left Kosovo with a large part of their armoured forces intact.

–Andrew Martin RAAF [retired]

Incidentally, several years ago the downed USAF pilot Col Dale Zelko, traveled to Serbia to visit the man who shot him down Col Dani a film The Second Meeting was made here is a trailer

PS I will have more to say later, as you have littered this thread with all kinds of technically incorrect crapola

Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 12:25 am GMT
@Johnny Rico NATO failed to defeat the Yugoslav army so NATO targeted Serbian civilians. You have suffered far more losses than you acknowledge so you started killing women and children. You rained the main marked and the main hospital of my hometown with cluster bombs. That's why Serbia accepted UN resolution 1244 and the Kumanovo agreement. Given the ultimatum in Rambouillet, that's not what I would call a capitulation. The only reason Serbia signed was because you threatened to mass murder Serbian civilians. Why would you threaten to massacre civilians if you had so soundly defeated the Yugoslav army? Never have so many American military died during training exercises than during the aggression against Serbia. We consider you to be shit at war. Extremely armed fags who pee in their pants when they face opposition. But believe what you want.
Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 12:44 am GMT
@Kiza The Russians failed to defend Serbia in 1999. That's the Serbian approach.
Why on Earth would Russians defend Serbs who only remember "Russian" brothers when they're in dire straits?
Why would the Russian "love" us more than we "love" them? What is their interest? Because Serbs love "Tolstoevsky"?
Don't blame the Russian for Serbian failures. In true love as in a true contract, you have to give in order to take. Russia has given us a lot with no expectance of return. If she expected anything, we have given her nothing. We aren't Russia's spoiled child.
peterAUS , says: October 9, 2018 at 12:55 am GMT
@Vojkan

NATO failed to defeat the Yugoslav army so NATO targeted Serbian civilians.

Actually, they started to target civilian infrastructure. The objective was to intimidate the regime in Belgrade into surrender by pushing the country towards stone age.

I guess you could be onto something here:

You have suffered far more losses than you acknowledge .

and

Never have so many American military died during training exercises than during the aggression against Serbia.

As for

That's why Serbia accepted UN resolution 1244 and the Kumanovo agreement.

there was a little matter of Russia guaranteeing something too, I guess. While the drunkard was in the Kremlin.

Perceptions aside (Argentinians still believe they sank Royal Navy aircraft carrier in '82, for example) NATO delivered what its political masters wanted at the time.
Serbs lost .BADLY.

That's all what matters, really.

Beefcake the Mighty , says: October 9, 2018 at 1:43 am GMT
@Vojkan Yes. It's pretty much standard American practice to bomb civilian infrastructure immediately, regardless of the degree of resistance put up by the opposing military.
Cyrano , says: October 9, 2018 at 1:48 am GMT
@Vojkan I don't mean to interfere in inter-Serbian squabble, but I'll volunteer an opinion anyway. I think you are exaggerating what Russia has done for Serbia for example. How so? As a proud Balkaneer ( I am exaggerating here a little bit myself – the proud part) I have to say that we in the Balkans have always benefited from the simple fact that usually Russia's enemies are our enemies too, so when Russia takes care of their enemies, they automatically take care of our enemies too.

But I don't think that the Russians would necessarily put their neck on the line for the Balkan Slavs to defend them against enemies that are not their enemies as well. So, unfortunately for Serbia, that equation didn't work for them in the 90's – simply put – Serbia's enemies were not automatically Russia's enemies too. Russia was still trying to be friends with the west. I forgot who it was, but some prominent Russian politician at the time said: "We are not going to start nuclear war with US over Serbia".

But it seems that Serbia is always the canary in the mine – whenever someone attacks Serbia – Russia is next. That's why that buffoon Yeltsin had to go. Friendship with the west was over the moment they attacked Yugoslavia (Serbia). Now the Russia didn't start a nuclear war over Serbia, but they still might have to – to defend themselves, and as always Serbia will benefit from this – if anything is left over from this world after things go nuclear.

Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 1:54 am GMT
@peterAUS Serbs did lose badly. Albeit not on the battlefield. Though there never was a real battlefield.
I have no reason to doubt the accounts of my friends in the military who sought in the rare conversations I've had with them on the subject, to humble down their achievements.
I believe Russians capitalised on the Serb's defeat. I can't blame them for that. No one is responsible for what happened to Serbs, as it happened, but Serbs. They're so keen on making the wrong decisions for the sake of appearing glorious, you can't blame the devil for that. It's their informed choice
Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 2:09 am GMT
@Beefcake the Mighty To be fair, they only did it after they realised that the Serb military were too smart to be depleted by aerial bombardment and that in order to defeat them, you'd have to fight them on the ground. That's why NATO bombarded civilians. On a man to man basis, Serbs and Russians are the best soldiers in the world. No navy seal, no marine, no SAS can match them. Fighting for their homes gives them the little bit of adrenaline needed to prevail.
Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 2:40 am GMT
@Cyrano My point was never "Russians" are our brothers. My point is, whatever cultural, religious or blood affinity I have with the Russians, they have their interests and we have ours. I cannot expect of Russians to defend Serbia for "ses beaux yeaux". The same goes the other way around. To some people Russia has "betrayed" Serbia, to some other Serbia has "betrayed" Russia. Yet the West sees us as one whole, Russia and little "Russia". I didn't ask myself before but now I love Russia infinetely more than the West. Russia has asked me nothing, has given me nothing and is expecting nothing from me.
If we can have a mutually beneficial relationship with Russia, great. We will never have that with the USA or the UK or Germany or France. They're guilty of the spoilation of Serbs' lives and private properties. Russians never spoiled Serbs of anything.

[Oct 09, 2018] The idea of 'stealth' aircraft is in fact mostly a gimmick designed to enrich the military contractors

Oct 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

FB , says: October 6, 2018 at 7:24 pm GMT

@Frederick V. Reed The idea of 'stealth' aircraft is in fact mostly a gimmick designed to enrich the military contractors it doesn't actually work very well at all, as proved in 1999 when the Serb air defense, using ancient Soviet surface to air missiles of 1950s vintage, shot down the USAF F117 aircraft and damaged another that was then written off, and therefore counts as a kill

–F117 canopy displayed at the Belgrade Aviation Museum

But let's look at the idea of 'low observable' aircraft technology in a little more detail, and how it may be countered by air defense

Let's start at the beginning the physics behind 'stealth' was developed by a Russian scientist named Petr Ufimtsev who is now known as the 'father of stealth'

Ufimtsev, working at the Moscow Institute of Radio Engineering, developed a coherent theory on the behavior of radio wave scattering off solid objects he published his seminal work Method of Edge Waves in the Physical Theory of Diffraction in 1962 the Soviet military saw no real value in this and allowed it to be published

In 1971, the USAF translated this work into English and a couple of engineers at Lockheed realized that Ufimtsev had provided the mathematical foundation to predict how radar waves deflect off an aircraft it was a lightbulb moment the main insight of Ufimtsev's work was that the size of a radar return was more a function of the edge geometry of the aircraft than its actual size

Retired USAF Lt Colonel William B O'Connor, who flew the F117 gives a good telling of the story here

The end result is that the F117 and B2 were developed by programming Ufimtsev's math into powerful computers in order to come up with aircraft shaping geometry that minimized radar reflection subsequent 'low observable' aircraft like the F22 and F35 all build on this basic physics

Now while the idea of reducing an aircraft's radar return sounds good in principle it has a lot of real-world drawbacks for instance the shaping can only be optimized for one particular aspect, such as a head-on if the aircraft turns into a bank for instance its radar return will increase by as much as 100 fold owing to the simple fact that a banking aircraft exposes its broad underbelly, which has no way to be optimized to also be 'stealthy' the shaping cannot accomplish the same result of scattering radio waves off in all directions, from all angles

There are other challenges the vertical tail surfaces will also bounce back radio waves this is why a tailless, flying wing design like the B2 is better suited to the task but this kind of configuration brings with it compromises in aircraft maneuverability and agility

Aside from the aircraft geometry, which is the main means of achieving 'low observability' there are also special coatings that are designed to 'absorb' radio waves although this is only of limited effectiveness and depends a lot on the thickness of the rubbery coating I had the opportunity to physically examine a piece of the wreckage of that F117 shot down in Serbia, and the thickness and weight of that coating was surprising it was about 1/16 inch thick in places along the vertical stabilizers and seemed to weigh more than the underlying composite honeycomb structure itself [typical of Lockheed lightweight structural design]

This additional weight is a major disadvantage of 'stealth' aircraft aircraft must be as light as possible to perform well that is just basic physics but these logical design considerations have seemingly been sidelined in what can only be explained as a money-making gimmick that only detracts from actual aircraft capability

Col Everest E Riccioni, one the USAF's most legendary test pilots and Air Force Academy instructors has probably done more than anyone to debunk the 'stealth' nonsense his 2005 report on the F22 is insightful reading and proved quite prescient about the failure of this aircraft to become anything more than a glorified hangar queen

The F35 is far worse of course but Col Riccioni passed away before he could fully train his guns on this very deficient aircraft

The fact of the matter is that the F117 was more 'stealthy' than the F22 or F35 this due to its faceted design wherein the airframe shape was defined largely by a series of flat plates [remember that the whole physics of radio reflection boils down to edge geometry...]

The current MIC propaganda is that the faceted shape is not necessary due to improved supercomputers that can calculate the math for curved surfaces well, the physical fact is that curved surfaces reflect in all directions and no amount of 'supercomputing' can change that Col Riccioni, who is no slouch in physics, having designed and taught the first graduate-level course in astronautics at the USAF Academy, confirms that the F117 was a more 'stealthy' design than the F22 and the F35 is considered not as stealthy as the F22

As for defending against 'low observable' aircraft with surface to air missiles [SAMs] let us review some of the pertinent factors that go into this equation a SAM system consists basically of powerful radars that spot and track enemy aircraft and guide a missile shot to the target the only way to kill a SAM system by means of an attacking aircraft is to target its radars with a special type of missile that homes in on radio signals known as anti-radiation missiles [HARMs] such as the US AGM88

The problem becomes one of reach how far can the SAM missiles reach and how far can the HARMs reach ?

A long range SAM like the S300/400 wins this contest easily the S300 can hit targets as far as 250 km away [400 km for S400] while the best Harms can reach about 150 km at most and that's if fired at high aircraft speed and altitude so it becomes a question of how do you get within the SAM missile kill zone to fire your Harm in the first place ?

In the 1999 bombing of Serbia, the US and 18 participating Nato allies mustered over 1,000 aircraft and fired a total of over 700 Harms at Serb air defenses, over the course of 78 days but managed to knock out only three 1970s era mobile SAM units the 2K12 'Kub'

A good account of that operation was published by Dr Benjamin Lambeth in 2002, in the USAF's flagship technical publication, Aerospace Power Journal

This campaign was truly a David vs Goliath match, yet the Serbs effectively fought the alliance to a draw

NATO never fully succeeded in neutralizing the Serb IADS [integrated air defense system], and NATO aircraft operating over Serbia and Kosovo were always within the engagement envelopes of enemy SA-3 and SA-6 missiles -- envelopes that extended as high as 50,000 feet.

Because of that persistent threat, mission planners had to place such high-value surveillance-and-reconnaissance platforms as the U-2 and JSTARS in less-than-ideal orbits to keep them outside the lethal reach of enemy SAMs.

Even during the operation's final week, NATO spokesmen conceded that they could confirm the destruction of only three of Serbia's approximately 25 known mobile SA-6 batteries.'

Lambeth notes that things could have been much different had the Serbs had the S300

'One SA-10/12 [early S300 variant] site in Belgrade and one in Pristina could have provided defensive coverage over all of Serbia and Kosovo. They also could have threatened Rivet Joint, Compass Call, and other key allied aircraft such as the airborne command and control center and the Navy's E-2C operating well outside enemy airspace.

Fortunately for NATO, the Serb IADS did not include the latest-generation SAM equipment currently available on the international arms market.'

Since 1999, the last major SEAD [suppression of enemy air defense] operation by Nato the Russian air defense capabilities have only become more lethal the radars employed on the S300/400 series are phased array types which are very difficult to jam and much more precise in guiding a missile to the target

Phased array means that instead of a parabolic dish, the antenna consists of several thousand individual antenna elements that are electronically steered in order to create a very precise radar beam [instead of a dish antenna being mechanically rotated and tilted]

When it comes to air defense it's really mostly about the radar Dr Carlo Kopp, an expert on Russian air defense systems notes that even the early iterations of the S300 engagement radar were a huge step forward in capability

'With electronic beam steering, very low sidelobes and a narrow pencil beam mainlobe, the 30N6 phased array is more difficult to detect and track by an aircraft's warning receiver when not directly painted by the radar, and vastly more difficult to jam.

While it may have detectable backlobes, these are likely to be hard to detect from the forward sector of the radar. As most anti-radiation missiles rely on sidelobes to home in, the choice of engagement geometry is critical in attempting to kill a Flap Lid.'

Shown is the latest generation 92N6 'Grave Stone' engagement radar used with S300/400 systems the engagement radar actually guides the missile shot, while separate early warning and acquisition and tracking radars first detect the target, then cue the engagement radar to point to the target and guide the missile shot

Another important point with the S300 transfer to Syria that is overlooked in this article is the option to hybridize the Syrian S200 missiles with the S300 radars

In this scenario the weakest link of the S200 is eliminated its obsolete parabolic dish type engagement radar the S200 missile is instead guided to the target by the formidable new S300/400 radars

'In this arrangement, an SA-20/21 system with its high power aperture and highly jam resistant acquisition and engagement radars prosecutes an engagement, but rather than launching its organic 48N6 series missile rounds, it uses the SA-5 Gammon round instead

The challenge which a hybrid SA-5/SA-20/SA-21 system presents is considerable. The SA-20/21 battery is highly mobile, and with modern digital frequency hopping radars, will be difficult to jam.

Soft kill and hard kill become problematic. In terms of defeating the SA-5 component of the hybrid, the only option is to jam the missile CW homing seeker, the effectiveness of which will depend entirely on the vintage of the 5G24N series seeker and the capabilities of the jamming equipment. If the customer opts for an upgrade to the seeker electronics, the seeker may be digital and very difficult to jam.'

This could be the most important part of the story, since the Syrians have a large number of S200 systems it is certain that a number of additional S300/400 radars have been delivered as part of that '49 pieces' reported in Russian media and these powerful and fully mobile radars [truck mounted] will be used to modernize the S200 network

It is worth noting also that SAM mobility is a key advance of the S300/400 systems the various radars and the missile launchers are all mounted on large trucks and are designed for five minute shoot and scoot this mobility proved key to the Nato difficulty with Serbian SAMs, even though those old systems were not designed for that, but the Serbs nonetheless would dismantle and move the fixed radars and launchers on a regular basis

In order to attack a SAM with an aircraft you first have to know where it is the only way to know is when it turns on its radar at which point it may be too late if it is pointed at you after taking the shot, the whole thing packs up and moves in five minutes flat [the Patriot takes 30 minutes by comparison]

It should be noted here that these mobile Russian search and acquisition radars are extremely powerful the 'Big Bird' series is in the same class as the Aegis radar mounted on USN missile cruisers and destroyers

'The 64N6E Big Bird is the key to much of the improved engagement capability, and ballistic missile intercept capability in the later S-300P variants.

This system operates in the 2 GHz band and is a phased array with a 30% larger aperture than the US Navy SPY-1 Aegis radar, even accounting for its slightly larger wavelength it amounts to a mobile land based Aegis class package. It has no direct equivalent in the West.'

The final piece of the puzzle when it comes to countering 'stealth' aircraft is a special category of radar designed specifically for that purpose these operate at much lower frequencies [ie longer wavelength] which renders the stealth shaping useless since the physics dictates that aircraft features shorter than the radar wavelength cannot produce the desired scattering effect as Col Riccioni notes

[The F22's] radar signature is admittedly small in the forward quarter but only to airborne radars. The aircraft is detectable by high-power, low-frequency ground based radars

it is physically impossible to design shapes and radar absorptive material to simultaneously defeat low power, high-frequency enemy fighter radars, and high power, low-frequency ground based radars.'

Kopp gives a good overview of the advanced Russian anti-stealth radars in this category

The system uses a series of radars of varying wavelength each mounted on a mobile chassis as with all the modern Russian SAM radars the long wavelength radar finds the 'stealth' target easily and then cues a shorter wavelength radar to further pinpoint the target, which, in turn, cues the engagement radar that guides the missile shot

Shown is such a deployment of three radars and a command vehicle in the background

All told, the upgrade of the Syrian air defenses now presents a very formidable system it should be noted that the S200 missile when used with these powerful radars could be an especially deadly combination this rocket was until 2009 the longest range SAM rocket in the world, with a maximum range of up to 375 km

Unlike modern SAM missiles that use solid propellant rocket motors [basically a bottle rocket] the S200 uses a real liquid fuel rocket engine it has a top speed of 2.5 km/s which is actually faster than the S400 rockets and the liquid engine means it can be throttled to decrease or increase its speed [minimum flying speed is 700 m/s] something that a solid rocket cannot do

In the right hands, this combination of advanced S300 radars and the superb kinematic performance of the S200 missile could be a deadly combination the fact that Syria has a lot of these S200 missiles means that adding those S300 radars makes it a whole new ballgame we already saw back in February when an S200 shot down an Israeli F16 in Israeli airspace there are unconfirmed reports that a second aircraft was hit and possibly destroyed

The question of Israeli F35s trying to attack these mobile S300 SAMs is not really a serious consideration for any air combat practitioner the F35 has terrible flight characteristics such as very high wing loading, which directly affects its turning ability [think of running with a 100 lb backpack and how that might affect your maneuverability]

The basic flight physics of this airplane are terrible, as many qualified experts have pointed out it would be difficult to envisage how it could play a role in mounting an attack against these Syrian S300s

The only realistic option to attack such an air defense zone would be to use the mountainous terrain along the Levant coast and fly a nap of the earth mission with highly maneuverable fighters like the F15 and F16 to try to hide from radar in the mountains and get close enough to deliver a Harm missile to an S300 radar

But this would be a very risky mission especially considering that the Russians are flying their AWACS planes over Syria, so even terrain following is not going to work in trying to hide

[Oct 08, 2018] NATO Bombed You To Protect You Stoltenberg Explains 1999 Bombings During Visit To Serbia

Oct 08, 2018 | southfront.org

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that people having "poor" memories of NATO's 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia are wrong because the military bloc did this to protect civilians and save lives.

"I stressed that we did this to protect civilians and to stop the Milosevic regime," Stoltenberg stated during a meeting with the students of Belgrade University.

The NATO secretary stated further that the bloc supports a "dialogue" between Serbia and its breakaway region [now a self-proclaimed state] of Kosovo. According to him, Belgrade has to "look into the future" for furher cooperation between the two sides.

The attitude showed by Stoltenberg is a common example how the US-NATO propaganda works. Any actions, incluindg illegal military interventions, false flag provocations and mass civilian casualties, are being explained by the need to "defend democracy", "protect civilians" and "save lives".

https://www.youtube.com/embed/2M42BAJAk84?feature=oembed

[Oct 08, 2018] British intelligence now officially a by-word for organized crime by John Wight

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... And what about the possibility of MI5's involvement in, dare we use the term, false flag operations? ..."
"... As someone who abhors the premise of conspiracy theory on principle, the fact that more and more are turning to its warm embrace as an intellectual reflex against what is politely described as the 'official narrative' of events, well this is no surprise when we learn of the egregious machinations of Western intelligence agencies such as Britain's MI5. ..."
"... If any such investigation is to be taken seriously, however, it must include in its remit the power to investigate all possible links between Britain's intelligence community and organisations such as, let's see, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group ? ..."
"... The deafening UK mainstream media and political class silence over the trail connecting 2017 Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi and MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence agency, leaves a lingering stench of intrigue that will not out. The work of investigative journalist Mark Curtis on this sordid relationship is unsurpassed. ..."
"... "The evidence suggests that the barbaric Manchester bombing, which killed 22 innocent people on May 22nd, is a case of blowback on British citizens arising at least partly from the overt and covert actions of British governments." ..."
"... "The evidence points to the LIFG being seen by the UK as a proxy militia to promote its foreign policy objectives. Whitehall also saw Qatar as a proxy to provide boots on the ground in Libya in 2011, even as it empowered hardline Islamist groups." ..."
"... "Both David Cameron, then Prime Minister, and Theresa May – who was Home Secretary in 2011 when Libyan radicals were encouraged to fight Qadafi [Muammar Gaddafi] – clearly have serious questions to answer. We believe an independent public enquiry is urgently needed." ..."
"... In words that echo down to us from ancient Rome, the poet Juvenal taunts our complacency with a question most simple and pertinent: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" Who will guard the guards themselves? ..."
Oct 08, 2018 | www.rt.com

8 Oct, 2018

An intelligence service given free rein to commit 'serious crimes' in its own country is an intelligence service that is the enemy of its people. The quite astounding revelation that Britain's domestic intelligence service, MI5, has enjoyed this very freedom for decades has only just been made public at a special tribunal in London, set up to investigate the country's intelligence services at the behest of a coalition of human rights groups, alleging a pattern of illegality up to and including collusion in murder.

The hitherto MI5 covert policy sanctioning its agents to commit and/or solicit serious crimes, as and when adjudged provident, is known as the Third Direction. This codename has been crafted, it would appear, by someone with a penchant for all things James Bond within an agency whose average operative is more likely to be 5'6" and balding with a paunch and bad teeth than any kind of lantern-jawed 007.

The Pat Finucane Centre , one of the aforementioned human rights groups involved in bringing about this tribunal investigation (Investigatory Powers Tribunal, to give it its Sunday name) into the nefarious activities of Britain's domestic intelligence agency, issued a damning statement in response to the further revelation that former Prime Minister David Cameron introduced oversight guidelines with regard to the MI5 covert third direction policy back in 2012.

Cameron's decision to do so, the group claims, was far from nobly taken:

"It can be no coincidence that Prime Minister David Cameron issued new guidelines, however flawed, on oversight of MI5 just two weeks before publication of the De Silva report into the murder of Pat Finucane. The PM was clearly alive to the alarming evidence which was about to emerge of the involvement of the Security Service in the murder. To date no-one within a state agency has been held accountable. The latest revelations make the case for an independent inquiry all the more compelling."

Pat Finucane, a Belfast Catholic, plied his trade as a human rights lawyer at a time when the right to be fully human was denied the minority Catholic community of the small and enduring outpost of British colonialism in the north east corner of Ireland, otherwise known as Northern Ireland. He was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries in 1989, back when the decades-long conflict euphemistically referred to as the Troubles still raged, claiming victims both innocent and not on all sides.

Unlike the vast majority of those killed and murdered in the course of this brutal conflict, Finucane's murder sparked a long and hard fought struggle for justice by surviving family members, friends and campaigners. They allege – rather convincingly, it should be said – that it was carried out with the active collusion of MI5.

Stepping back and casting a wider view over this terrain, the criminal activities of Britain's intelligence services constitute more than enough material for a book of considerable heft. How fortunate then that just such a book has already been written.

In his 'Dead Men Talking: Collusion, Cover Up and Murder in Northern Ireland's Dirty War', author Nicholas Davies "provides information on a number of the killings [during the Troubles], which were authorized at the highest level of MI5 and the British government."

But over and above the crimes of MI5 in Ireland, what else have those doughty defenders of the realm been up to over the years? After all, what is the use of having a license to engage in serious criminal activity, including murder and, presumably, torture, if you're not prepared to use (abuse) it? It begs the question of how many high profile deaths attributed to suicide, natural causes, and accident down through the years have been the fruits of MI5 at work?

And what about the possibility of MI5's involvement in, dare we use the term, false flag operations?

As someone who abhors the premise of conspiracy theory on principle, the fact that more and more are turning to its warm embrace as an intellectual reflex against what is politely described as the 'official narrative' of events, well this is no surprise when we learn of the egregious machinations of Western intelligence agencies such as Britain's MI5.

What we are bound to state, doing so without fear of contradiction, is this particular revelation opens up a veritable Pandora's Box of grim possibilities when it comes to the potential crimes committed by Britain's domestic intelligence agency, ensuring that a full and vigorous investigation and public inquiry is now both necessary and urgent.

If any such investigation is to be taken seriously, however, it must include in its remit the power to investigate all possible links between Britain's intelligence community and organisations such as, let's see, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group ?

The deafening UK mainstream media and political class silence over the trail connecting 2017 Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi and MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence agency, leaves a lingering stench of intrigue that will not out. The work of investigative journalist Mark Curtis on this sordid relationship is unsurpassed.

As Curtis writes,

"The evidence suggests that the barbaric Manchester bombing, which killed 22 innocent people on May 22nd, is a case of blowback on British citizens arising at least partly from the overt and covert actions of British governments."

In the same report he arrives at a conclusion both damning and chilling:

"The evidence points to the LIFG being seen by the UK as a proxy militia to promote its foreign policy objectives. Whitehall also saw Qatar as a proxy to provide boots on the ground in Libya in 2011, even as it empowered hardline Islamist groups."

Finally: "Both David Cameron, then Prime Minister, and Theresa May – who was Home Secretary in 2011 when Libyan radicals were encouraged to fight Qadafi [Muammar Gaddafi] – clearly have serious questions to answer. We believe an independent public enquiry is urgently needed."

In words that echo down to us from ancient Rome, the poet Juvenal taunts our complacency with a question most simple and pertinent: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" Who will guard the guards themselves?

Edward R Murrow puts it rather more bluntly: "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves."

Sooner or later, people in Britain are going to have to wake up to who the real enemy is.

Read more

John Wight has written for a variety of newspapers and websites, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal.

[Oct 08, 2018] The idea of 'stealth' aircraft is in fact mostly a gimmick designed to enrich the military contractors

Oct 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

pogohere , Oct 7, 2018 7:50:12 PM | link

Greece @ 25

"Also do not forget that all invisible stuff that US army had during the Clinton/HRC era, were easily visible. F-117 in Serbia,"

See: Comment #43: (very detailed, links to open source US mil docs)

"The idea of 'stealth' aircraft is in fact mostly a gimmick designed to enrich the military contractors it doesn't actually work very well at all, as proved in 1999 when the Serb air defense, using ancient Soviet surface to air missiles of 1950s vintage, shot down the USAF F117 aircraft and damaged another that was then written off, and therefore counts as a kill "

http://www.unz.com/tsaker/s-300s-and-other-military-hardware-for-syria/#comment-2558132

Grieved , Oct 7, 2018 9:05:49 PM | link

@26 pogohere

Thanks for that link. That's an essay in itself, and I'm still reading it. Fascinating and valuable background on stealth.

First takeaway for me is that the Russians invented stealth but considered it impracticable at the time. The US designers took the Russian equations and ran with them, throwing out many other considerations of plane-worthiness in order to promote this dud of a magic bullet.

[Oct 04, 2018] In the Heart of a Dying Empire by Tom Engelhardt

Notable quotes:
"... After all, from National Security Advisor John Bolton (the invasion of Iraq ) and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (a longtime regime-change advocate) to CIA Director Gina Haspel ( black sites and torture ), Secretary of Defense James "Mad Dog" Mattis (former Marine general and CENTCOM commander ), and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (former Marine general and a commander in Iraq), those adolts and so many like them remain deeply implicated in the path the country took in those years of geopolitical dreaming. They were especially responsible for the decision to invest in the U.S. military (and little else), as well as in endless wars , in the years before Donald Trump came to power. And worse yet, they seem to have learned absolutely nothing from the process. ..."
"... Fear: Trump in the White House ..."
"... And so Donald Trump became the latest surge president, authorizing, however grudgingly, the dispatching of yet more American troops and air power to Afghanistan (just as he recently authorized an "indefinite military effort" in Syria in the wake of what we can only imagine was another such exchange). Of Mattis himself, in response to reports that he might be on the way out after the midterm elections, the president recently responded , "He'll stay we're very happy with him, we're having a lot of victories, we're having victories that people don't even know about." ..."
"... They proved to be neither the empire builders of their dreams, nor even empire preservers, but a crew of potential empire burners. ..."
"... Occupation (ongoing) and forced partition of Germany. Operation "Gladio" – destroying not pro-American political parties across Europe, like in Italia. Murder of neutral politicians like Olaf Palme. Should we remember Chile and president Aliende? Installing DHS operative Norriega as Panama dictator, then removing him. Did USA even had allies that were not vassals? ..."
"... Exactly right. But he also failed to mention that the NATO nations, the Anglo-Saxon nations, Japan, etc., are completely subsevient to the empire, and seem to be so by choice. No rats are jumping off the sinking ship. Sweden was neutral and independent during WW2 and the Cold War. But now it seems that Swedish rats jump ONTO the sinking ship. ..."
"... Stalin said that a country's political system follows its military. When the shooting stopped in Europe in 1945 the US had its forces in countries (UK, France, Italy, Germany, etc.) that, with the exception of Austria became American "allies", just as the Soviet army occupied countries became Soviet "allies". ..."
"... You can't pin the inevitable decline on Trump: It started a couple decades ago with rise of the New World Order. ..."
"... Last night, I stumbled across The Saker's Vineyard. He once wrote a blog post discussing how he was blacklisted in his native Switzerland after speaking out against NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia. I asked him how he could get himself censored in a "neutral" country that's supposedly independent from NATO or the EU, and since when Switzerland had become a lapdog of NATO. ..."
Oct 04, 2018 | www.unz.com

Meet the Empire Burners

Donald Trump is in the White House exactly because, in these years, so many Americans felt instinctively that something was going off the tracks. (That shouldn't be a surprise, given the striking lack of investment in, or upkeep of, the infrastructure of the greatest of all powers.) He's there largely thanks to the crew that's now proudly referred to -- for supposedly keeping him in line -- as "the adults in the room." Let me suggest a small correction to that phrase to better reflect the 16 years in this not-so-new century before he entered the Oval Office. How about "the adolts in the room"?

After all, from National Security Advisor John Bolton (the invasion of Iraq ) and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (a longtime regime-change advocate) to CIA Director Gina Haspel ( black sites and torture ), Secretary of Defense James "Mad Dog" Mattis (former Marine general and CENTCOM commander ), and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (former Marine general and a commander in Iraq), those adolts and so many like them remain deeply implicated in the path the country took in those years of geopolitical dreaming. They were especially responsible for the decision to invest in the U.S. military (and little else), as well as in endless wars , in the years before Donald Trump came to power. And worse yet, they seem to have learned absolutely nothing from the process.

Take a recent example we know something about -- Afghanistan -- thanks to Fear: Trump in the White House , Bob Woodward's bestselling new book. Only recently, an American sergeant major, an adviser to Afghan troops, was gunned down at a base near the Afghan capital, Kabul, in an "insider" or "green-on-blue" attack, a commonplace of that war. He was killed (and another American adviser wounded) by two allied Afghan police officers in the wake of an American air strike in the same area in which more than a dozen of their compatriots died. Forty-two years old and on the eve of retirement, the sergeant was on his seventh combat tour of duty of this century and, had he had an eighth, he might have served with an American born after the 9/11 attacks.

In his book, Woodward describes a National Security Council meeting in August 2017, in which the adolts in the room saved the president from his worst impulses. He describes how an impatient Donald Trump "exploded, most particularly at his generals. You guys have created this situation. It's been a disaster. You're the architects of this mess in Afghanistan You're smart guys, but I have to tell you, you're part of the problem. And you haven't been able to fix it, and you're making it worse I was against this from the beginning. He folded his arms. 'I want to get out and you're telling me the answer is to get deeper in.'"

And indeed almost 16 years later that is exactly what Pompeo, Mattis, former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, and the rest of them were telling him. According to Woodward, Mattis, for instance, argued forcefully "that if they pulled out, they would create another ISIS-style upheaval What happened in Iraq under Obama with the emergence of ISIS will happen under you, Mattis told Trump, in one of his sharpest declarations."

The reported presidential response: "'You are all telling me that I have to do this,' Trump said grudgingly, 'and I guess that's fine and we'll do it, but I still think you're wrong. I don't know what this is for. It hasn't gotten us anything. We've spent trillions,' he exaggerated. 'We've lost all these lives.' Yet, he acknowledged, they probably could not cut and run and leave a vacuum for al-Qaeda, Iran, and other terrorists."

And so Donald Trump became the latest surge president, authorizing, however grudgingly, the dispatching of yet more American troops and air power to Afghanistan (just as he recently authorized an "indefinite military effort" in Syria in the wake of what we can only imagine was another such exchange). Of Mattis himself, in response to reports that he might be on the way out after the midterm elections, the president recently responded , "He'll stay we're very happy with him, we're having a lot of victories, we're having victories that people don't even know about."

Perhaps that should be considered definitional for the Trump presidency, which is likely to increasingly find itself in a world of "victories that people don't even know about." But don't for a second think that The Donald was the one who brought us to this state, though someday he will undoubtedly be seen as the personification of it and of the decline that swept him into power. And for all that, for the victories that people won't know about and the defeats that they will, he'll have the adolts in the room to thank. They proved to be neither the empire builders of their dreams, nor even empire preservers, but a crew of potential empire burners.

Believe me, folks, it's going to be anything but pretty. Welcome to that most unpredictable and dangerous of entities, a dying empire. Only 27 years after the bells of triumph tolled across Washington, it looks like those bells are now preparing to toll in mourning for it.

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture . He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com . His sixth and latest book is A Nation Unmade by War (Dispatch Books).


Cyrano , says: September 27, 2018 at 8:43 pm GMT

The main difference between US and the "lesser" empire USSR is how they got their "allies". The USSR won their "allies" by the force of their military. The US won their allies by the promise of economic prosperity.

When the "lesser" empire collapsed, US got delusional and decided to try their luck at winning new allies (or more accurately – expanding their influence) with the force of their military – who let's face it was never that impressive compared to other great empires in history.

Conclusion: US should have stuck with what they were good at – winning battles on the economic battlefield, not let the Cold War "victory" get to their heads making them delusional that they can win any "hot" wars of any significance.

Arioch , says: September 28, 2018 at 11:54 am GMT
@Cyrano >

The US won their allies by the promise of economic prosperity.

Occupation (ongoing) and forced partition of Germany. Operation "Gladio" – destroying not pro-American political parties across Europe, like in Italia. Murder of neutral politicians like Olaf Palme. Should we remember Chile and president Aliende? Installing DHS operative Norriega as Panama dictator, then removing him. Did USA even had allies that were not vassals?

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: September 28, 2018 at 3:43 pm GMT
Almost brilliant and innovative look, except truth about 911.
Tulips , says: September 28, 2018 at 4:29 pm GMT
Exactly right. But he also failed to mention that the NATO nations, the Anglo-Saxon nations, Japan, etc., are completely subsevient to the empire, and seem to be so by choice. No rats are jumping off the sinking ship. Sweden was neutral and independent during WW2 and the Cold War. But now it seems that Swedish rats jump ONTO the sinking ship.
Josep , says: September 29, 2018 at 1:38 am GMT
@Tulips What about Switzerland? It's not a member of either NATO or the EU (unlike Sweden). It remained neutral and independent during WWII and the Cold War. Last time I checked, it doesn't even have any American bases.
Begemot , says: September 29, 2018 at 6:18 pm GMT
@Cyrano

"The USSR won their "allies" by the force of their military. The US won their allies by the promise of economic prosperity."

Stalin said that a country's political system follows its military. When the shooting stopped in Europe in 1945 the US had its forces in countries (UK, France, Italy, Germany, etc.) that, with the exception of Austria became American "allies", just as the Soviet army occupied countries became Soviet "allies".

In Asia US occupied Japan and South Korea became US "allies". In Eastern Europe the Soviets arranged the political situation to ensure that political opponents were removed from power.

In Italy and France in 1946 the democratically elected Communists in the French and Italian governments were removed from power, not by popular election.

There is enough symmetry here to suggest that your contention is dubious at best. When I was a member of the US Army in Germany back during the Cold War I came to the conclusion that I was there not so much to drive to the East German border to keep the Soviets out of West Germany and points west as to be ready to drive on Bonn to ensure the West Germans remained within the fold.

Cyrano , says: September 29, 2018 at 7:16 pm GMT

There is enough symmetry here to suggest that your contention is dubious at best.

I kind of both agree and disagree with what you are saying . It's true that there are similarities in how both the US and USSR "won" their allies in Europe in WW2. The main difference is that USSR won their allies by the power of their military alone, while US "won" their allies by the power of their military while also being generously helped by the power of the USSR military too.

If this wasn't true, the US would have "won" their allies (or at least it would have start winning them) in 1990-91 instead of 1944-45 when the Germans were pretty much already beaten to a pulp by the Russians.

To prove my theory that the biggest draw to being US ally is economic prosperity, not being impressed by the power of their military and what they can offer in terms of protection, it's the fact that the former Warsaw pact countries joined NATO after USSR was gone and they didn't need any protection by anybody against anyone anymore. They joined NATO for purely economic reasons, because they didn't want to miss the opportunity to kiss American b*tts and in the process to profit from the pleasant gesture.

The Alarmist , says: October 2, 2018 at 12:39 am GMT
You can't pin the inevitable decline on Trump: It started a couple decades ago with rise of the New World Order. If anything, TPTB will deliberately crash the global system to get the NWO that Trump detailed back on the tracks.
Josep , says: October 3, 2018 at 1:01 am GMT
@Josep Come to think of it, now I can see why Tulips (#4) didn't mention Switzerland.

Last night, I stumbled across The Saker's Vineyard. He once wrote a blog post discussing how he was blacklisted in his native Switzerland after speaking out against NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia. I asked him how he could get himself censored in a "neutral" country that's supposedly independent from NATO or the EU, and since when Switzerland had become a lapdog of NATO. The next morning, he said:

The sad truth is that Switzerland, which truly used to be a neutral country, completely caved in into NATO by the late 1980s. The visible first sign of that was when Switzerland allowed NATO to use her airspace to bomb Yugoslavia and when she caved in to the blackmail of international Jewish organizations and the Volcker Commission and paid over a billion dollar in ransom money. There was a lot of resistance to this kind of behavior from the common people and from some politicians (such as Christoph Blocher), but the globalists still won. I rather not discuss that in more details.
Kind regards,
The Saker

Biff , says: October 4, 2018 at 4:21 am GMT

On September 11, 2001, thanks to Osama bin Laden's precision air assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, they got their wish

I wish people would stop with this ridiculous nonsense.

[Oct 02, 2018] War time propaganda serves for the USA elite as a tool to contain/constrain discontent of allies and citizenry as they attempt to damage or destroy the Russian and Chinese economies.

Notable quotes:
"... Along these lines, the Trump Administration has informed Russia in April 2017 that the period of "strategic patience" is over (well, at least official 'cause being 'patient' didn't seem to deter regime change and covert ops) . They now employ a policy of "maximum pressure" instead. ..."
"... Also note: The Trump Administration has officially labeled Russia and China as enemies when they called them "recidivist" nations in the National Defense Authorization Act in late 2017. (Note: "recidivist" because Russia and China want to return to a world where there is not a hegemonic power, aka a "multi-polar" world). ..."
"... we're already within an ongoing Hybrid Third World War, which is more readily apparent with Trump's Trade War escalation. ..."
"... the "real" US economy is only 5 Trillion, only 25% of what's claimed as the total economy ..."
"... at's clearly happening--and it's been ongoing for quite awhile--for those with open eyes is the Class War between the 1% and 99%. The domestic battle within the Outlaw US Empire for Single Payer/Medicare For All healthcare is one theatre of the much larger ongoing war. ..."
"... Clearly, the upcoming financial crisis must spark a massive political upheaval larger than any ever seen before to prevent institution of the 2008 "solution." ..."
"... The primary dynamic of history is war. This has caused immense suffering. It is now becoming exponentially worse ..."
"... If we think of humankind as a large complex living entity, then like all such entities it will expire at some point. So in the larger picture, what we are moving towards is natural, and to be expected. ..."
Oct 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sally Snyder , Oct 2, 2018 12:26:42 PM | link

Here is a detailed look at what the United States is getting for its $700 billion defense budget:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/09/voting-for-war.html

It is rather surprising that the Democrats who have demonized Donald Trump at every turn have voted in favour of the this extremely bloated defense budget, putting even more military might into the hands of a President and Commander-in-Chief that they seem to despise and who they are demonizing because of his alleged collusion with Russia.

m , Oct 2, 2018 1:33:28 PM | link

Speaking of WWIII...
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/10/02/us-switching-ukraine-location-start-world-war-iii-against-russia.html
Mike Maloney , Oct 2, 2018 1:55:09 PM | link
We've been in WW3 for several years now. Bolton went "Full Monty" with his declaration that U.S. forces will stay in Syria until Iran vacates. The introduction of a Yemen War Powers Resolution in the House last week is a hopeful sign. A reason to root for a Blue Wave in November. Dem leadership, already on record backing the War Powers Resolution, would be obligated to block U.S. enabling genocide in Yemen.
Jackrabbit , Oct 2, 2018 2:25:59 PM | link
m @9

I disagree with Eric Zusse's belief that USA wants to start WWIII. I think they want to contain/constrain discontent of allies and citizenry as they attempt to destroy the Russian and Chinese economies. War is only a last resort. But heightened military tensions mean that the major protagonists have to divert resources to their military, causing a drag on the economies.

Along these lines, the Trump Administration has informed Russia in April 2017 that the period of "strategic patience" is over (well, at least official 'cause being 'patient' didn't seem to deter regime change and covert ops) . They now employ a policy of "maximum pressure" instead.

The big concern for me is that "maximum pressure" also means an elevated chance of mistakes and miscalculations that could inadvertently cause WWIII.

Also note: The Trump Administration has officially labeled Russia and China as enemies when they called them "recidivist" nations in the National Defense Authorization Act in late 2017. (Note: "recidivist" because Russia and China want to return to a world where there is not a hegemonic power, aka a "multi-polar" world).

PS IMO Trump election and the Kavanaugh and Gina Haspel nominations are key to the pursuit of global hegemony.

karlof1 , Oct 2, 2018 3:02:57 PM | link
Most warnings have centered on a financial meltdown, as this article reviews . As most know, IMO we're already within an ongoing Hybrid Third World War, which is more readily apparent with Trump's Trade War escalation.

As noted in my link to Escobar's latest, the EU has devised a retaliatory mechanism to shield itself and others from the next round of illegal sanctions Trump's promised to impose after Mid-term elections.

In an open thread post, I linked to Hudson's latest audio-cast; here's what he said on the 10th anniversary of the 2008 crash: "So this crash of 2008 was not a crash of the banks. The banks were bailed out. The economy was left with all the junk mortgages in place, all the fraudulent debts."

Another article I linked to in a comment to james averred the "real" US economy is only 5 Trillion, only 25% of what's claimed as the total economy . Hudson again: "Contrary to the idea that bailing out the banks helps the economy, the fact is that the economy today cannot recover without a bank failure ." [My emphasis]

Wh at's clearly happening--and it's been ongoing for quite awhile--for those with open eyes is the Class War between the 1% and 99%. The domestic battle within the Outlaw US Empire for Single Payer/Medicare For All healthcare is one theatre of the much larger ongoing war.

As Hudson's stated many times, the goal of the 1% is to reestablish Feudalism via debt-peonage. All the other happenings geopolitically serve to mask this Class War within the Outlaw US Empire. Clearly, the upcoming financial crisis must spark a massive political upheaval larger than any ever seen before to prevent institution of the 2008 "solution." Many predict that this crisis will be timed to occur in 2020 constituting the biggest election meddling of all time.

The crisis will likely be blamed on China without any evidence for hacking Wall Street and causing the subsequent crash -- a Financial False Flag to serve the same purpose as 911.

karlof1 , Oct 2, 2018 3:44:26 PM | link
james @16--

Much can occur and be obscured during wartime. The radical changes to USA from 1938-1948 is very instructive--the commonfolk were on the threshold of gaining control over the federal government for the first time in US history only to have it blocked then reversed (forever?) by FDR and the 1% who tried to overthrow him in 1933.

Same with the current War OF Terror's use to curtail longstanding civil liberties and constitutional rights and much more. To accomplish what's being called "Bail-In" within the USA, Martial Law would need to be emplaced since most of the public is to be robbed of whatever cash they have, and World War would probably be the only way to get Martial Law instituted--and accepted by the military which would be its enforcer.

A precedent exists for stealing money from the people--their gold--via Executive Order 6102 , which used a law instituted during WW1 and still on the books.

mike k , Oct 2, 2018 3:51:45 PM | link
The primary dynamic of history is war. This has caused immense suffering. It is now becoming exponentially worse . Critical graphs are going off their charts. The end is near.

If we think of humankind as a large complex living entity, then like all such entities it will expire at some point. So in the larger picture, what we are moving towards is natural, and to be expected.

Like individual humans, the human population as a whole can pursue activities that maintain it's health, or it can indulge in activities that create disease and hasten it's death. Humankind is deep in toxifying behaviors that signal it's demise in the near future.

[Oct 02, 2018] Google should acquire the status of a public utility -- like the Ma Bell telephone system was regulated in the 1950's. Google is too powerful -- it should not have the cultural monopoly power it has over our society.

Oct 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

Art , says: August 10, 2017 at 6:28 pm GMT

Clearly Google should acquire the status of a public utility -- like the Ma Bell telephone system was regulated in the 1950's. Google is too powerful -- it should not have the cultural monopoly power it has over our society.

"The people" and their mass interests are preeminent in the hierarchy things. Like it or not -- Google is a product of our culture -- therefor our culture has a valid claim on its actions.

It comes down too private ownership vs. public interest. As a pure libertarian I do not like it -- but as a realist, the mass interests of the people counts.

The "golden mean" must win out. A compromise must be reached.

Google's actions must be regulated.

Peace -- Art

utu , says: August 10, 2017 at 7:01 pm GMT
@Art STEVE BANNON WANTS FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE REGULATED LIKE UTILITIES

https://theintercept.com/2017/07/27/steve-bannon-wants-facebook-and-google-regulated-like-utilities/

Darin , says: August 10, 2017 at 9:30 pm GMT
@Art

Clearly Google should acquire the status of a public utility

Why you think United States Googlemaster General would be more friendly to free speech than current Google leadership?

Igor , says: August 11, 2017 at 5:24 pm GMT
Google wants to be
Ein Land
Ein Volk
Ein Führer

[Oct 02, 2018] In the Heart of a Dying Empire

Notable quotes:
"... Pax Republicana ..."
"... Fear: Trump in the White House ..."
"... Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the ..."
"... American Empire Project ..."
"... and the author of a history of the Cold War, ..."
"... . He is a fellow of the ..."
"... Nation Institute ..."
"... . His sixth and latest book is ..."
"... (Dispatch Books). ..."
"... [ Note: My special thanks go to two old friends, Jim Peck, author of ..."
"... , and Nancy Milton for their thoughts and contributions to this piece. ~ Tom] ..."
"... on Twitter and join us on Facebook . Check out the newest Dispatch Books, Beverly Gologorsky's novel ..."
"... and Tom Engelhardt's ..."
"... , as well as Alfred McCoy's ..."
"... , and John Feffer's dystopian novel ..."
Oct 02, 2018 | original.antiwar.com

Imagine! After so many centuries of rivalries between great powers and that final showdown between just two superpowers, it was all over (except for the bragging). Only one power, the – by definition – greatest of all, was left on a planet obviously there for the taking.

Yes, Russia still existed with its nuclear arsenal intact, but it was otherwise a husk of its former imperial self. (Vladimir Putin's sleight-of-hand brilliance has been to give what remains a rickety petro-state the look of a great power, as in MRGA, or Make Russia Great Again.) In 1991, China had only relatively recently emerged from the chaos of the Maoist era and was beginning its rise as a capitalist powerhouse overseen by a communist party – and, until that moment, who would have believed that either? Its military was modest and its leaders not faintly ready to challenge the U.S. It was far more intent on becoming a cog in the global economic machinery that would produce endless products for American store shelves.

In fact, the only obvious challenges that remained came from a set of states so unimpressive that no one would have thought to call them "great," no less "super" powers. They had already come to be known instead by the ragtag term "rogue states." Think theocratic Iran, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and Kim Il-sung's (soon to be Kim Jong-il's) North Korea, none then nuclear armed. A disparate crew – the Iraqis and Iranians had been at war for eight years in the 1980s – they looked like a pushover for well, you know who.

And the early results of American global preeminence couldn't have been more promising. Its corporate power initially seemed to " level " every playing field in sight, while conquering markets across the planet. Its thoroughly high-tech military crushed the armed forces of one rogue power, Iraq, in a 100-hour storm of a war in 1991. Amid a blizzard of ticker tape and briefly soaring approval ratings for President George H.W. Bush, this was seen by those in the know as a preview of the world that was to be.

So what a perfect time – I'm talking about January 2000 – for some of the greatest geopolitical dreamers of all, a crew that saw an " unprecedented strategic opportunity " in the new century to organize not half the planet, as in the Cold War, but the whole damn thing. They took power by a chad that year, already fearing that the process of creating the kind of military that could truly do their bidding might be a slow one without "some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor." On September 11, 2001, thanks to Osama bin Laden's precision air assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, they got their wish – what screaming newspaper headlines promptly called "a new day of infamy" or "the Pearl Harbor of the twenty-first century." Like their confreres in 1991, the top officials of George W. Bush's administration were initially stunned by the event, but soon found themselves swept up in a mood of soaring optimism about the future of both the Republican Party and American power. Their dream, as they launched what they called the Global War on Terror, would be nothing short of creating an eternal Pax Republicana in the U.S. and a similarly never-ending Pax Americana first in the Greater Middle East and then on a potentially planetary scale.

As their 2002 national security strategy put it, the U.S. was to "build and maintain" military power "beyond challenge" so that no country or even bloc of countries could ever again come close to matching it. For them, this was the functional definition of global dominance. It gave the phrase of that moment, "shock and awe," new meaning.

A Smash-Up on the Horizon?

Of course, you remember this history as well as I do, so it shouldn't be hard for you to jump into the future with me and land in September 2018, some 17 years later, when all those plans to create a truly American planet had come to fruition and the U.S. was dominant in a way no other country had ever been.

Whoops my mistake.

It is indeed 17 years later. Remarkably enough, though, the last superpower, the one with the military that was, as President George W. Bush put it, " the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known," is still fruitlessly fighting – and still losing ground – in the very first country it took on and supposedly "liberated": poor Afghanistan. The Taliban is again on the rise there. Elsewhere, al-Qaeda, stronger than ever , has franchised itself, multiplied, and in Iraq given birth to another terror outfit, ISIS, whose own franchises are now multiplying across parts of the planet. In no country in which the U.S. military intervened in this century or in which it simply supported allied forces in a conflict against seemingly weaker, less-well-armed enemies has there been an obvious, lasting victory of the kind that seemed so self-evidently an American right and legacy after 1991 and again 2001.

In fact, there may not be another example of a truly great power, seemingly at the height of its strength and glory, so unable to impose its will, no matter the brutality and destructive force employed. The United States had, of course, been able to do exactly that, often with striking success (at least for a while), from Guatemala to Iran in the Cold War years, but "alone" on the planet, it came up cold. Of those three rogue powers of the 1990s, for instance, Iran and North Korea are now stronger (one of them even nuclear-armed ) and neither, despite the desires and plans of so many American officials, has been toppled. Meanwhile, Iraq, after a U.S. invasion and occupation in 2003, has proven a never-ending disaster area.

Not that anyone's drawing lessons from any of this at the moment, perhaps because there's that orange-haired guy in the Oval Office taking up so much of our time and attention or because there's an understandable desire to duck the most obvious conclusion: that Planet Earth, however small, is evidently still too big for one power, however economically overwhelming or militarily dominant, to control. Think of the last 27 years of American history as a demo for that old idiom: biting off more than you can chew.

In 2016, in what came to be known as the "homeland," American voters responded to that reality in a visceral way. They elected as president a truly strange figure, a man who alone among the country's politicians was peddling the idea that the U.S. was no longer great but, like Putin's Russia, would have to be made great again. Donald Trump, as I wrote during that campaign season, was the first presidential candidate to promote the idea that the United States was in decline at a moment when politicians generally felt obliged to affirm that the U.S. was the greatest , most exceptional , most indispensable place on the planet. And, of course, he won.

Admittedly, despite a near collapse a decade earlier, the economy is seemingly soaring, while the stock market remains ebullient. In fact, it couldn't look sunnier, could it? I mean, put aside the usual Trumpian tweets and the rest of the Washington sideshow, including those Chinese (and Canadian) tariffs and the bluster and bombast of the leakiest administration this side of the Titanic, and, as the president so often says, things couldn't look rosier. The Dow Jones average has left past versions of the same in the dust . The unemployment rate is somewhere near the bottom of the barrel (if you don't count the actual unemployed). The economy is just booming along.

But tell me the truth: Can't you just feel it? Honestly, can't you?

You know as well as I do that there's something rotten in well, let's not blame Denmark but you know perfectly well that something's not right here. You know that it's the wallets and pocketbooks of the 1% that are really booming, expanding, exploding at the moment; that the rich have inherited , if not the Earth, then at least American politics ; that the wealth possessed by that 1% is now at levels not seen since the eve of the Great Depression of 1929. And, honestly, can you doubt that the next crash is somewhere just over the horizon?

Meet the Empire Burners

Donald Trump is in the White House exactly because, in these years, so many Americans felt instinctively that something was going off the tracks. (That shouldn't be a surprise, given the striking lack of investment in, or upkeep of, the infrastructure of the greatest of all powers.) He's there largely thanks to the crew that's now proudly referred to – for supposedly keeping him in line – as "the adults in the room." Let me suggest a small correction to that phrase to better reflect the 16 years in this not-so-new century before he entered the Oval Office. How about "the adolts in the room"?

After all, from National Security Advisor John Bolton (the invasion of Iraq ) and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (a longtime regime-change advocate) to CIA Director Gina Haspel ( black sites and torture ), Secretary of Defense James "Mad Dog" Mattis (former Marine general and CENTCOM commander ), and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (former Marine general and a commander in Iraq), those adolts and so many like them remain deeply implicated in the path the country took in those years of geopolitical dreaming. They were especially responsible for the decision to invest in the U.S. military (and little else), as well as in endless wars , in the years before Donald Trump came to power. And worse yet, they seem to have learned absolutely nothing from the process.

Take a recent example we know something about – Afghanistan – thanks to Fear: Trump in the White House , Bob Woodward's bestselling new book. Only recently, an American sergeant major, an adviser to Afghan troops, was gunned down at a base near the Afghan capital, Kabul, in an "insider" or "green-on-blue" attack, a commonplace of that war. He was killed (and another American adviser wounded) by two allied Afghan police officers in the wake of an American air strike in the same area in which more than a dozen of their compatriots died. Forty-two years old and on the eve of retirement, the sergeant was on his seventh combat tour of duty of this century and, had he had an eighth, he might have served with an American born after the 9/11 attacks.

In his book, Woodward describes a National Security Council meeting in August 2017, in which the adolts in the room saved the president from his worst impulses. He describes how an impatient Donald Trump "exploded, most particularly at his generals. You guys have created this situation. It's been a disaster. You're the architects of this mess in Afghanistan You're smart guys, but I have to tell you, you're part of the problem. And you haven't been able to fix it, and you're making it worse I was against this from the beginning. He folded his arms. 'I want to get out and you're telling me the answer is to get deeper in.'"

And indeed almost 16 years later that is exactly what Pompeo, Mattis, former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, and the rest of them were telling him. According to Woodward, Mattis, for instance, argued forcefully "that if they pulled out, they would create another ISIS-style upheaval What happened in Iraq under Obama with the emergence of ISIS will happen under you, Mattis told Trump, in one of his sharpest declarations."

The reported presidential response: "'You are all telling me that I have to do this,' Trump said grudgingly, 'and I guess that's fine and we'll do it, but I still think you're wrong. I don't know what this is for. It hasn't gotten us anything. We've spent trillions,' he exaggerated. 'We've lost all these lives.' Yet, he acknowledged, they probably could not cut and run and leave a vacuum for al-Qaeda, Iran, and other terrorists."

And so Donald Trump became the latest surge president, authorizing, however grudgingly, the dispatching of yet more American troops and